One of a series of exercises and reflections for expanding the benefits of mapping and moving one or more feeling states…
In the same way that we can go back and rewrite our interpretations of the past, we can imagine ourselves into the future to re-craft our expectations. By doing so, we can make it easier and more likely that we will respond in new ways to situations that used to trigger our reactive states.
The way to do this is simple. Think back to recent situations that used to trigger your old, dysfunctional patterns. Particularly focus on situations in which you strongly felt a specific reactive feeling state. Choose situations which are likely to occur again in the future. Common examples of these are challenging interactions at work or difficult encounters with family members.
First go backwards. Imagine what would be different in that situation in the past, if you had access to this new, ideal feeling state. How would you perceive things differently, if you were able to go back? What would you do or say differently, if you could do it all over again?
Now project into the future and use these questions as prompts.
- Having easy access to your new, ideal state as a way of being, what seems true, or real, or important about that situation?
- What can you imagine doing or saying differently, the next time you find yourself in that situation?
- How might you expect other people might respond differently to you as a result?
- What opportunities are available, now that you have access to the full spectrum of your feeling path, that were not available to you in the past?
Spend a little time and energy making your rehearsal as clear, and vivid, and life-like as you can. See what you anticipate seeing, hear people’s voices and other sounds, notice the physical sensations of your posture and surroundings.
Take a few notes. Write the new scenario in present tense, as if it is happening right now. Be as specific as possible, noting various details that come to mind.
Follow through into the time after the situation has ended. Imagine how you will feel, having responded differently. What will you appreciate about your new way of being?
Also be alert for what might remain difficult. What did you notice in your rehearsal that might get in the way of your being fully present? Did you notice any other feeling states that came up in your mental scenario which you might also want to map and move? Do so, and when you finish, conduct your future rehearsal once again. Continue until you feel as comfortable as you want, that you can handle the situation in a way that feels authentic, preserves your integrity, and respects all the people involved.
Finally, let it go. Trust your creativity and be prepared to be delighted by the results.