Imagine if you knew what you know now, and were suddenly your child’s age once again? Most of us former clueless nerds would rule the school, based purely on our hard-won wisdom about how insecure everyone else actually is (not to mention how much more lovable our past selves are to us now, compared to how we felt about ourselves back then).
An exercise I like to do sometimes, and find healing for others, is to imagine your child self at a time of pain, despair, loneliness and general misery—a time when you could scarcely imagine becoming the person you are today. Now imagine traveling back in time and, like an unseen apparition, putting an arm around your former child self and saying something to the effect, “I know you can’t see or hear me, but I’m here and I believe in you, love you and I promise that although things are painful, you will endure and there will be pleasures and adventures ahead. Hang in, you are more loved than you know.”
Next, imagine your future self, twenty or thirty years from now, coming to you where you sit, reading these very words. Open your heart to imagine an older and wiser self, one who thinks you look pretty young compared to them (and pretty cute, in contrast to what your current self might be thinking)—an older self who puts arms around you and and transmits to you the same abiding and unconditioned love as you are able to now, hopefully, give to your former self. Trust that just as much as you wish that you could comfort, protect and empower your former self, your future self just might be sending you a like message. For all we know this could be more than just an imaginal exercise…
So, let’s dedicate today to love for our past, and love from our future conspiring to make this very day pulse with the poetry of being alive, of loving and being loved. And let’s place this bid for good feelings that come today and, hopefully, last long beyond tomorrow in the service of all our collective children.