I do this exercise at my Manifestation retreats where you write a letter to your sixteen-year-old self. It’s powerful, revelatory, and sometimes, incendiary. Every time I write the letter, I discover something different about myself. I see others have major breakthroughs. People laugh and cry as they write these letters to their younger selves. How did I hate myself so much? Why did I wear my hair like that? Why did I take myself so seriously? Why didn’t I kiss him? Wow, if only I realized then how beautiful I was…
Recently, I sat with a group (happened to be all men) and asked them to do this exercise during a Manifestation Yoga® workshop. I flipped it a bit this time. I asked them to visualize themselves as an eighty-five-year-old man and to write a letter to the them of NOW. I thought it felt fitting for the New Year approaching. They gave me the letters, and with permission, I will share a few snippets, anonymously.
Yo Bubba! You finally made that change you were talking about. Your life got so much better. Not bad for a doubter. You made the finish line. Congratulations, Your Future.
Take it easy, __________. Be happy. You’ll realize that it’s all you’ve got. See the beauty within and without that God has given you. Don’t destroy it. Share it with others. Soon, all this may be transformed into something you may not understand. Love yourself. That will make it easier.
Dear __________, Everything ends up ok. Keep the faith, and all will be well. See you soon!
Dear __________, Thanks for stopping drinking—we wouldn’t have made it if you hadn’t. Your life got better when you quit. You felt better…You had more energy…You made everyone around you relax and stop worrying so much about you. Retirement has been fun. You and M. went to many places you talked about going. Let’s talk again at ninety-five.
It seems that they all saw their future selves as the best versions of themselves.
How powerful to visualize our future selves as happy, present, self-loving. And why shouldn’t we? Isn’t it our birthright to be happy?
I loved the guy who said “Not bad for a doubter. You made the finish line.” Why? Because as much as I am a cheerleader and someone who leads workshops around the world, I still struggle. With doubt, fear, anxiety, and worry.
Visualizing myself as an older me (eighty-five years old or seventy-five or 100—it doesn’t matter), I see someone who is happy, present, self-loving. Not someone full of worry. So, when does that change occur? Exactly.
I have to start now. Being the person I want to be at the end of my life.
@JenPastiloff (Click to Tweet!)
Or being the person I want to be tomorrow. Being the person I want to be today.
Below is an excerpt from Mary Oliver’s “When Death Comes.”
When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.
I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.
Below, post your own letter from your future self to the you of right now. I can’t wait to read them, beloved Tribe. And Happy Happy New Year. Let’s do this! xo, Jen
Jen will be leading Manifestation Writing/Yoga retreat at Kripalu Center in Massachusetts in February 2014 as well as her annual retreat to Tuscany July 2014. She travels around the country leading her signature Manifestation Workshops. Check out her site jenniferpastiloff.com for all retreat listings.
*Image courtesy of Simplereminders.com and Iyanla Vanznt.