My 3 best friends: Past Me – Present Me – Future Me
Everything you see here today is my conversation with my “past self”. Sometimes I address my past self from ten years ago; sometimes it’s the person I was only yesterday.
I am not addressing some hypothetical target audience, nor do I imagine a specific person facing their own problems; I’m not trying to save the world and I’m certainly not trying to please everyone (although I would like to be liked, yes). I talk to my past self about what I see today, in order to adjust my path. Offering help and support, removing fears, undoing any limiting beliefs and often just giving myself a good splash of cold water – it all makes me healthier.
I’ve been engaged in this practice even since “Call of the Orient”. Overflowing with emotion after my six month trip, I regaled my friends with stories, and though they were happy to listen I noticed a marked lack of applied interest. It was like they were watching “Around the World” but with me as the only contestant. No one else seemed to need such a life-changing experience for self-fulfillment, and yet I wanted to share! I really did! Not landscapes, or cathedrals or gorgeous beaches or local ways of life, but the fact that this was real: real and possible for a girl of 23 to pick up and set off travelling around Asia. Alone. Around the continent, from China to Borneo – even as a young girl. Even as a young girl who was afraid.
Many of my previous “deep-rooted beliefs” turned out to be false, and seeing as the world had shown me many truths, I felt obliged to share what I had learned. Somewhere there must be a young soul, who, like my former self, wants to see the world but is inundated with a hundred “what ifs”. How do I tell him or her that everything is possible and easier than it seems? How do I touch people’s hearts?
The only heart I’ve ever really touched is my own; and it’s my own heart I decided to let lead the way. I decided to write to my 20-year-old self.
And so began my dialogue with my past self and it has never stopped. Everything I do, starting with the blog on LiveJournal and followed by my projects and programmes, is in response to things I have asked of myself at various times, through the prism of my personal experience. It’s as honest as possible, extremely effective, and without embellishment or smoothing over any rough spots. It is unforgiving, because this is the only way to cut through the many illusions that have surrounded me.
I believe that honesty is the very thing that targets our own ignorance while also helping others. Perhaps, we really are all one? And our efforts to “help others” is like shooting into the mirror and reflecting the shot back at ourselves… it doesn’t reach its target, and you might hurt yourself on the shards of broken glass.
I spent many years thinking that I was having a dialogue with my past self, until something recently dawned on me – or rather, stunned me. It actually frightens me because I still can’t grasp the magnitude of this realization.
What’s the point? Say, for example, I’m destined to live to 40 (I try to be careful with these kinds of statements – I certainly don’t want to tempt fate: there are no guarantees, even for tomorrow) – then what? What happens when I actually get there?
If at 30, I write to my 20-year-old self; to my 25 and 28-year-old self and so on? Well then, what happens at 40?
(That thunderclap you hear in the distance is the sound of my mind blowing.)
Well at 40, I’ll be writing to myself at 30 – there’s no two ways about it! Which means…
Well, it means that today, I might not just be communicating with my past self, but perhaps someone from the future is also sending me a vibe, and I have a pretty good idea who that might be.
And suddenly, I feel better.
If I were to do something fundamentally wrong today, my future self would undoubtedly send an alarm signal. I’ve always had this understanding with myself that if I ever do something wrong, it’s better to feel a sharp, unbearable emotional pain that can’t be ignored, than a dull, barely noticeable poke from my soul, trapped in a box of convention and prejudice, which I might only notice when it’s too late. Symptoms in the genre of “everything is fine but nothing is good”, unshakeable laziness, or severe mental anguish are all signs that your path needs some urgent adjustment. In order to save yourself you have to let yourself feel the full impact of this anxiety so that change is your only option.
Well, this is exactly what I would do, if my future self were pulling me away from a destructive present.
Once when I was in Bali I sent two letters to my future self, one for a year’s time and one for five years’ time, using the service futureme.org. I’ve already received one of the letters:
January 13th 2013 – INBOX
Dear Future Me,
I’m writing to you from Bali at the beginning of 2012. If you’re reading this, then the end of the world has been re-predicted for some other year. Congratulations!
I’d like to write some sort of beautiful introduction, but perhaps it’s better not to stand on ceremony. Ok, let me tell you what I’m feeling in my soul right now so that you may remember this feeling.
I’m sitting here in this gorgeous house, eating grapes and suffering terribly. I’m plagued by certain obsessive thoughts, I often cry, I’m constantly changing my mind and my head is just a mess. I’m struggling with food – today, for example, I decided that a raw food diet would cure me. I also can’t seem to do any exercise: today I went to the gym, then changed my mind, and then decided to at least walk along the beach for a bit. This is all because I got so geared up for my free time in Bali – anticipating the beach, doing exercise, yoga, having some down-time and meeting people etc. – that now I can’t seem to take advantage of it, and I’ve no idea why not. My justification is that I have been depressed for six months now (shit!!) and I’m going through some sort of identity crisis.
So this is what I want to tell you: if by chance you’re ever in this state again, if you’re still riddled with thoughts that you’re “all alone” or any other kind of crap, then run away with all your might. RUN – do you hear me? Just get rid of it, let go, find someone, be alone or whatever – just don’t let these thoughts live inside you. Life goes on, it’s been a whole year, and yet you’re dragging the past behind you. This is not what life is for. Be happy: this is your sacred responsibility. Don’t waste life worrying, no matter what. You are still here, and this can only mean happiness, purpose and heart.
DO something. Remember: ACTION dispels fear.
I truly hope you’ve overcome all of this and are already heading towards the light. Please, just read this and then never let anything similar happen ever again. Chase every negative thought away – this isn’t you, do you hear? Darling, I’m in Bali and I can’t even enjoy it, for god’s sake, but I’m dealing with it. Your task is to keep it up. Deal?
I won’t reread this.
Lots of love,