There are a multitude of rituals and exercises one can undergo in the quest for getting in touch and deepening the relationship with oneself. What I especially find fascinating is when a process allows for an interaction between seemingly “split” aspects of the persona. These sorts of internal communications can evoke healing and self comprehension. From a developmental standpoint it’s obviously rewarding but it also serves as a reminder that we are far more complex than we have been taught. This might all sound terrific but a tad fluffy or abstract. How could it translate in practical terms? One course to take for an exchange between “separate” units of ourselves and extract the benefits of such transmission, is through writing letters. Oh and by the way, the “separate” parts within you I’m referring to in this context will be between “you”, the conscious self in the now, and “you” existing in another time. Yup, it’s going to get deep.
To start off, there are no rules or frameworks for how this works. You can conduct these letters in whatever form feels right to you. Based on your own needs and purposes the letter may shift in length, content and tone. What’s essential is to have a clear intention beforehand, the letter be directed to a version of you in another timeline and to set aside a generous amount of time to establish the interlink. I’ll share a few letter template ideas for those tempted to try this out.
The “you go girl” letter
I love to send my past self encouraging words just because. There’s no real motive besides feeling good inside. When I’ve done or achieved something in the past which for whatever reason went unacknowledged (by myself, others or both). I’ll retroactively feel pride and give credit for it to my past self.
The trauma/healing letter
More commonly though, I take out my notebook and pen after getting emotionally triggered ( more about triggers in “Let the trigger game begin!” and “When you’re triggered as f**k). I start by pinpointing where the trauma first occurred. Where was I? How old was I? What were the circumstances? Then the writing begins to the past version of myself who’s in the midst of the trauma. My main aim is to support, soothe, offer guidance and, most importantly, provide a sense of meaning of it all to “her” (since I now will have a broader perspective of what’s occurring compared to then).
The reassurance letter
The letters don’t only need to adress huge traumas. Sometimes I’ll recall a snippet of an uncomfortable or uncertain moment. Like before I held my first class teaching English (while evaluated by my supervisor and classmates) or when I was boarding the plane to New Zealand ( which you can read about in”Traveling solo and my anxiety“). Both times I was a nervous/anxious wreck. I’ll go back in time and give myself what I needed at the time to rectify the inner tension. By revisiting that aspect of me metally and sending a heartfelt note reminding “her” to breathe deeply, assure her that truly everything will work out and to enjoy the ride!
So what does this sort of communication do? Besides releasing out of date tensions in the body (and opening the heart) it mends the part of us “back in time” and consequently us in the “now”. It’s a sort of healing domino effect.
PS. if no particular feeling moves in the body or comes forth it can indicate that it’s become a mind exercise which won’t tweak the emotions towards the better. For a process to provide healing it’s central to tune in to the emotions that arise and through writing settle it, meaning you hit an emotional neutral point (process completed). So pay close attention to what’s transpiring in the body (not mind).
Hold up! we’re not done just yet. Writing letters does not only apply to one’s past self. We also have a future self (or selves to be more exact) that sits on a ton of knowledge and inside information. Reaching out to the “yet to be ” embodiment of yourself can be both entertaining and helpful but does require some stretching of our mental limitations.
Back in the day me and my friends would write letters filled with speculations of where we would be and what we would’ve accomplished at a certain age. Once we hit that point in life we’d open the letters. This is one (fun) way to bond with our future self. But there is incredibly more to gain once we open up to the possibility that the communication isn’t one sided but a two way street, meaning we can receive answers too. This leads us to:
The “asking for help” letter
I encourage writing letters to your future self for guidance, support or clarity. State what’s happening in your life, detailing how you feel and dear to ask the part of you that’s “ahead” for help. Obviously you might not get a response in your mailbox (or maybe you will) but stay open for the answers you seek, you might be in for a surprise 🙂 Remember, your future self has lived through what you are facing and therefore has attained a wider understanding of you and your path (so it has the capacity to provide the same thing for you, as you do for your past self) . Same logic goes for things you desire and wish for. There’s a version of you “in the future” who has managed to attain that and knows how to go about it. After you’ve “sent” the letter, relax and listen to her/his/it’s advice when it comes through (and it will at the right time). What might the reply from the future look like? Perhaps you’ll receive the information you seek audibly, in the dream state, through automatic writing or have deja vu experience and in that exact moment the answer just hits you (my favorite way of receiving answers). There are infinite ways the response to your letter will reveal itself. Your only job is to trust and remain open to it.
Interplaying with our past and future versions lies dormant to most. In fact, it might be considered unrealistic and more in line with fiction. Definitely not something able to influence us presently. So mind flexibility blended with the openness to challenge that which is perceived as “normal” is required to say the least. I believe this sort of time correspondence can elicit literal change, I’m talking emotional, physical (are you aware of tensions stored in your body due to past traumas for example?) energetic and mental. I’m aware that it’s easy for the mind to downplay that which is not tangible. So in this line of work the only way to accurately “measure” progress is through feeling. The untrained mind is often lagging but will catch up later on accepting and integrating the updated version of you.
It’s time to sweep away the restrictive beliefs and give way for the inner fluidity among our infinite parts to unlock true self empowerment and healing.