Directions: Pick a time in your life that was critical to your development. You can go back or forwards in time. It can be real or imagined. After all, it is real if you imagine it!
Choose an idea or a skill or a value you hold dear in the present and infuse it into that time period.
Share your story of what happens to positively impact your life.
There are still some dates left, so if you’d like to join the challenge check out the list at the bottom of her post for the dates that are open.
I decided to go back to high school and a tale of changing history. I was a pretty unhappy kid in high school. I got good grades and hung out with others in the “smart” group, participated in enough activities to look good on college applications. But I was miserable.
There were mean kids at the school — is there a school that doesn’t have some? — and a few unhappy incidents. Mostly I tried to be invisible and succeeded in being ignored. Miserable and ignored. And I blamed everyone else and the town and the school… I couldn’t wait to graduate and get out.
Once gone, I just felt happy to be away. I loved college and big city life. When my Dad retired and my parents asked how I’d feel if they moved to Florida, I responded that never going back to Flushing, MI would be fine with me. Any time I thought of high school or my town, it was with vitriol. My best friends were equally unhappy with their high school experience and we all periodically agreed we never wanted to go to a reunion or be there again.
Then in my thirties I started exploring spirituality. Meditating. Practicing the Five Tibetan Rites, etc. Examining my past and releasing anger and issues. In 1990 I received an invitation to the twentieth reunion of my high school class. It included a form to fill out for a “yearbook” they were creating with updates from all who sent back the form. You could order one for $5.
I still had no desire to go to a reunion but I sent in my check for the updates and later in the summer the book arrived. I was stunned at the long list of classmates who’d died (I suspect if I researched I’d find a few were lost in Viet Nam]. Moved to read the stories of so many people I’d known and lost track of. Suddenly I wanted to go back.
I booked a room at a B&B in a nearby town and drove off to spend a weekend exploring. I drove around Flint (the main city of the “metropolitan area”), where I’d lived from birth to age 12. I hung out in Flushing (one of a ring of small satellite towns), where I’d spent my junior high and high school years. And I slowly realized that I’d actually lived in a charming town. That I’d had lovely friends and more people than I’d acknowledged who’d tried to include me.
But I was a miserable introvert with no self esteem, a definite lack of social skills and a chip on my shoulder. I didn’t know how to be happy or to be part of things. And I blamed everyone else for my unhappiness. Looking at it from a place of calm, having learned a greater capacity for self-acceptance, love and compassion, completely changed my perspective.
For me it changed the history. I understood I was the cause of my own misery. Had I been able to step outside of myself and had I known some skills for staying centered and positive, the entire experience would have been different. I fell in love with my little town and felt sorry about the lost opportunities with people I could have known and appreciated and loved more. Ever since that day I’ve felt a warm glow in my heart when I think of my home town and I adore taking my mother back every year to visit.
It’s tempting to wish I could time travel back to high school with what I know now about inner strength, staying centered, etc. Of course I’d have been happier. Tempting to infuse that unhappy girl with positive thoughts and give her a copy of Louise Hay’s You Can Heal Your Life. But really I think the misery of then and the process of healing are key pieces of my journey. I think what I’m able to do with this blog and other writing about the journey directly arises from what I’ve experienced in that flow from misery to happiness.
For me the change that arose from time travel came from looking back at the past with new eyes and discovering a different story there.
Be sure to check out the next post in the series. Right now it’s scheduled for Oct. 9 at EyesofOdysseus (which means October 7 and 8 are two of the dates still open if you want to grab one FAST).