The NLP Pattern of the Month:
Time Line Longevity Procedure
- Create a Physical Life-Line
Imagine a line, extending from left to right, on the ground in front of you This line represents your past, present and future.
Creating a physical life-line will allow you to have a concrete reference for the events in your life. As you will find out, it will allow you to put your whole body into the process as well as words and images.
- Establish a 'meta position' off of the time line.
When you are to the side of your time-line, looking at it from left to right, you are in 'meta position'. From this position you are a disassociated observer of the events of your life. You should be able to view the events of your life without reliving them or experiencing the emotions associated with them.
- Go to a Positive Future
Step onto your time line into the place that marks the 'present'. You should be facing your future, extending indefinitely into the distance in front of you, with your past trailing off behind you. Assuming a relaxed and resourceful physical posture, walk slowly into your future. You may create as distant a future as you would like. The exact amount of time in years is not important. What is important is that you are able to actually experience yourself in your future in your desired state, feeling vibrant, healthy and vital. Make sure that your future satisfies the following conditions:
- You are going towards something positive.
- "Think about what you will be feeling and experiencing in terms of your health (as opposed to what you will be avoiding)."
- You feel in control of your own health; that it is normal and you deserve it. It is a part of who you are.
- You can experience it with all of your senses.
- "What, specifically, do you see, hear and feel as you manifest this future you?"
- You are still of value to others and can use your age as a benefit.
- You are in touch with, congruent with, guided and protected by something bigger than you.
- Your actual physical posture and movements are balanced and symmetrical as you stand in your future.
- Treasure Hunt.
Turn around and face your past. Focusing on the feelings of vitality and health that you are experiencing as you stand in your future, begin to slowly walk along your time line into the past. Find the 'treasures' in your past - i.e., any positive experiences that support the capabilities or beliefs needed to accomplish your desired life goals. Also identify any significant others that have helped you develop those beliefs and capabilities, have supported you or have served as a positive model for you. Stop at each place on your time-line where you discover one of these treasures and fully relive the experience, feeling it and enjoying it.
It is not necessary that you be conscious of exactly what happened in a particular event or even when exactly it was. Allow the feeling of health and vitality from your future to guide you to the experiences that are most supportive and appropriate.
"Treasures" are Past Experiences that support the Future Goal
- Uncovering 'Buried Treasure'
You may stumble upon negative memories or experiences that do not seem to support the future goal. If you want you may simply step over or around those experiences. Often times, however, these experiences hold 'buried treasures'. That is, that they were an important learning experience and, if framed appropriately, can become a positive experience as opposed to a negative one.
To do this:
- Step off of your time-line to meta-position so that you are no longer associated into any of the negative aspects of the experience and can look at it from the outside.
- As you look back at that event think about what resource you would have needed to make it different. What belief, knowledge or capability would have made it become a more positive experience. Try some of the the following strategies to help you:
- Compare the negative experiences to something worse that could have happened. As you look back at the negative experience, think of something worse that could have happened but didn't. It may make you thankful that what did occur was only as bad as it was.
- Find positive meanings to negative events. An event that is negative on one level may mean something positive within the framework another level. The fact that you experienced a problem on one level may mean that you had solved one on another level. The fact that you perceived something you did as negative may mean that you did not compromise your standards even for yourself.
- Find causal links from the negative events to positive events. Search for how these negative experiences actually caused positive events to happen at later times. Perhaps some of the most positive things in your life would never have happened without these seemingly negative events. Sometimes the chain of events can be quite long or involved. Try starting with positive events in your life and trace them back to how they were caused either directly or indirectly be the negative events.
- Keep the different logical levels in mind. Something that was negative on a behavioral level may have caused positive growth on an identity or spiritual level, etc. For example, a negative physical event may make you a stronger person.
- Find positive intentions behind the negative events. Even if a particular event is negative the intentions behind the seemingly negative behaviors or situations that caused them may be very positive. For example, the positive intention behind getting ill may be to stop a dangerous life pattern or get needed attention. (Again, positive intentions will probably be on a different level than the actual event itself.)
- Find the humor in the seemingly negative events. Humor allows to view events from a different perspective. Its healing properties have been well documented. George Bernard Shaw said, "Life does not cease to be funny when people die anymore than it ceases to be serious when people laugh."
Once you have made all of these reframes on each of the negative events, associate back into the events on your time line and relive the experiences again within the framework of your new insights.
- Find a place in your life when you were able to be most in touch with the resource that you would have needed in the negative experience.
- Identify the spot on your time-line that the resource experience is located and associate into it fully.
- Fully experience and feel what that resource is like. Imagine that this resource is a kind of light? Visualize what color of light it would be. What kind of brightness and movement would it have?
- Standing at this resource location, imagine you are shining that light across time to the location of the negative experience. Keep shining the light into the negative experience until it has changed, or your perception of it has changed.
Often you will discover that the seemingly negative experience will become a kind of 'buried treasure' rather than something painful.
- Collecting your Treasures into Your 'Treasure Chest'
When you have finally reached the earliest supportive memory, turn back around and once again face your future. Slowly walk into the future, again reliving all of the supportive and resourceful events of your life. This time, however, instead of leaving them where they occurred on your time-line, collect together all of those positive, supporting experiences, memories and significant others and take them with you into your future. So that you feel that all those times and all of those people are with you right now.
(As before, you may simply step over or around any negative or non-supportive experiences.)
As you are walking, listen inside you for a song that represents or encapsulates the sense of resourcefulness, support, health and wholeness that you feel. Let that song fill your mind and your heart as you walk toward your future.
- Build a 'Health Hologram'
When you once again arrive at the future goal location you should have brought all of those positive and supportive memories to that location. Fully experience all of these resources and the goal together so they form a single self-reinforcing experience and you feel that your future is fully connected to all of the important people and resources of your past - that all of the events of your life lead congruently and directly to this vital healthy future.
Also see the Article of the Month or the Archives if you are interested in checking out NLP in more depth.
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