Feeling Now How you Want to Feel in the Future

Recently a high school maths teacher came to work with me on finding her true purpose, because she was feeling uninspired and stuck in her current work. She dreamed of creating a business where she took adults out into the wild places she loves to discover bushwalking and connect deeply with nature.
She loved the thought of doing this and knew it would make her feel very good, but she was so de-energised by her current teaching load she didn’t have any oomph to take steps to create this new life.

A scene with my granddaughter comes to mind.  We’re due out and I want her to get in the car quickly without mucking around. She’s just started walking and wants to get into the car seat by herself.  I know pushing her will make her resist and I’m feeling impatient. I feel powerless to make her get into her seat without a struggle.

I’m not enjoying this moment and I want to get out of it as fast as possible.

Moments like these are so common. When you just don’t want to be where you are and want to push the action to the next scene as fast as possible. But at the same time you feel no energy or creativity about how to move from here, where you are, to there, where you want to be. Sound familiar?

Whenever you would prefer to be somewhere else, underneath you’re really wanting to feel a different feeling. You want this stuck moment to be over, and to feel at ease.

You don’t have to wait. You can activate the feeling you want now.

The feeling you’re imagining having in the future is the key to moving out of the stuck place you’re in now. It has the exact energy you need to move on.

That day with my granddaughter, I knew that pushing her would create resistance and conflict. I didn’t want go down that track, but what to do instead?

Firstly I paused, and took a deep breath. I acknowledged my impatience and dropped it as best I could. Then I allowed myself to see what I was pushing for. I saw a picture of my granddaughter safely strapped in her seat and us driving away.

I noticed that this picture evoked a relaxed, safe feeling in me; an “everything is fine as it is” feeling. I welcomed the feeling of “everything is fine as it is” into my body, as I stood beside the open car door watching my granddaughter.

Immediately the tension eased and I was able breathe and relax. I could properly take in what the child was doing.

Wow – I got how amazing it was for her to have the power to explore my car for the first time! Now I wanted to give her space for playful learning. My impatience had gone completeely.  As we ‘chatted’ about the enthralling features of bits of the car a wave of love rushed into my heart. I kissed her and gave her a cuddle and she relaxed into me and gave me a lovely hug. Soon I was able to playfully encourage her into her seat and we set off happily with love and peace between the two of us.

Pretty amazing, hey. And this success was not a fluke. There is a principle here that you can learn and apply over and over again. It’s called: Feel NOW how you want to feel in the future.

Here’s a simple (if slightly wacky) way to put this principle to the test in your life right away.

It just takes a couple of minutes to do.

Step #1: Experience the feeling of not wanting to be where you are.
Notice that you feel flat and stuck where you are. You realise that you want to be in a future time or somewhere other than where you are.

Tune in to the feeling of stuckness and not wanting to be in this moment. Give the feeling space to just be as it is. (If you can, close your eyes to make it easier to tune into your feelings.)

Now allow your body to make a movement that expresses that feeling. Just let this happen. You don’t need to think. In fact it’s much better not to think! If you’re alone you can have fun leaping about or shouting or making odd noises.

When you’re not alone you can make movements that are very small and invisible to others, say with your hands or fingers. You can even imagine a whole body movement and approximate it in some way with hands or fingers so that only you can see.

For example, a woman I know did this exercise when she was feeling tense and stuck at work. She felt like her face wanted to screw itself up and her body wanted to tense all over and shiver and shake. She approximated this by sitting at her desk and tensing all her muscles and shaking her hands slightly under the table. She just imagined the feeling of the facial expression!

Step #2: Evoke the feeling of the future you’d like to be in
Ask yourself: What would I prefer to be happening instead?

For instance, in the middle of a conflict you might see yourself where you want to be, maybe after the fight is resolved, relaxed and comfortable in this person’s company, or it might be that you see yourself safely far away from that person. When stuck in resistance to cooking you might see yourself later in the evening, serving a delicious meal to your family.

Now you’ve discovered what you’re wishing for, giving it as much sensory detail as you can. How do you see yourself there? Notice your posture in this scene and your way of moving and relating.

How do you feel as you imagine this? Open to the feeling in your body and allow it to become stronger in you. Breathe it into your whole body. Allow your body to spontaneously express in its own way the feeling of your wished for future.

When the teacher I told you about did this she saw herself out in the bush enthusiastically sharing her bush craft and love of nature with eager clients. She saw the bushwalkers’ bright shining faces. To express the feeling she found herself striding forward with an upright open posture, a contented face, and deep satisfying breathing. Her hands opened into a gesture of giving.

Step 3: Bring the Energy of the Imagined Future to the Now
With that uplifting feeling activated in your body, take in your current situation with new eyes.

What change does this feeling in your body make to what you see and how you are motivated to act?

When my teacher friend did this exercise she noticed she brought more energy and enthusiasm to her teaching. One day in particular she was explaining a maths concept and the students were totally spellbound. After this class many students actually stayed behind to thank her for the clear way she had explained the lesson.

Now let’s be honest, staying behind to tell a teacher how much they appreciated the lesson is not a common thing for high school students to do! My teacher friend was pretty gobsmacked.

She said: “I didn’t teach that lesson differently from usual except for the feeling in me. I felt as I was explaining the math just like I do when I’m leading people on a bushwalk! In that actual moment of teaching I had the aha that I love maths because it is nature. I guess I expressed that and the students felt it enough to actually come and tell me. ”

Now she knows she can evoke the feeling of sharing her love of nature while teaching maths, she doesn’t feel so stuck teaching high school. She feels more energy to develop her dream of doing the work she loves best, taking people out into the bush.

Bringing the feeling of where you dream of being, into where you are now, gives you fresh energy to move forward.

Try this method and find out for yourself that it works. I’d love to hear how you get on.


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