People grow most when they hold their life to date as a thing of beauty. We get stuck in past versions of ourselves by clinging to mistakes we regret and ruing opportunities we missed. In the self-guided transformation retreat we have been developing, we include a process called the Life Walk. This is a way of getting perspective on the most impactful events of your life and exploring a potent question (which I will come to later). Here is an outline of how you do it.
The Path Of Your Life To Date
Create a letter-size paper tile to mark each decade of your life. First tile will say “0”, next “10” and so on up to your current age. Lay out the tiles on the floor to form the path of your life to date.
Most of the time we see our lives so close up—one incident at a time filling our view—that it is hard to appreciate the context. This visual gives you perspective on your life as a whole. For example, a recent client saw how each year he had become more empathic. Another saw the broadening of his vision over time.
Sit at the “0” and make a list of 6-8 most emotionally impactful moments. Create a card for each with the title of what occurred and space to write in the emotion. People often remember potent formative incidents that even their loved ones haven’t heard.
Emotionally Impactful Moments
Now walk the path of your life to date. Stop when you get to the age of your first emotionally impactful moment. For example, between the “0” and “10” tile you might stop at age 7 when you first wore glasses to school and got teased. Close your eyes and feel what it was like to be you experiencing that moment. Write the feeling on the card and place it at that spot on the path. As you place each card, affirm something honorable about who you were back then: some quality you expressed or learned.
When you have walked the full path of your life to date, feeling and noting the emotional impact of these key moments, sit at your current age looking back. See the whole thing in perspective. Most people see how remarkable their life actually is. For all the joys and the challenges, how it is a perfect spring board for what is to come. We suggest journaling on the following question:
If my life so far was a preparation what is to come, what might all this be a preparation for?
People see how constantly moving home as a child—upsetting as it was—taught them to be an incredibly astute read of people and situations. Or how the pure joy winning a team sport as a kid helped them become an infectiously passionate motivator. The point is not to try predict the future as to honor your life. To acknowledge the continually emerging qualities of who you are and appreciate how everything that has occurred sets you up for what is to come now.
How has your life to date prepared you for what is coming next?
Numina Transformation Retreat
All the materials and instructions you need for seven powerful retreat processes to do in your own space, with the support of a remote facilitator. Email me at — david [at] numina [dot] team — to learn more.