The Benefits of Befriending Your Future Self

#truelove #allowing #dating

GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
The Benefits of Befriending Your Future Self
When was the last time you checked in with your future self? I mean really sat down and envisioned who you would be decades from now and what your life would look like? Just because you don’t have a DeLorean time machine at your disposal like Marty McFly in Back To The Future, it doesn’t mean you can’t vividly connect with your future self.

In fact, you can mentally connect with who you’ll become from the comfort of your own living room in ways that can yield amazing results. Most of us are disconnected, both emotionally and intellectually, from who we will be in the future, and as a result we tend to privilege choices that provide instant gratification over those that would provide significant (and sometimes life saving) benefits in the future. However, Hal Hershfield, assistant professor of marketing at NYU’s Stern School of Business, has found that when people can realistically imagine their future selves in a clear and positive light they are increasingly able to make choices that will benefit that future self.

Hershfield examined people’s ability to appropriately save for retirement and his research demonstrated that when given opportunity to interact with virtual images of their future selves people were more likely to allocate funds to savings account. Additional research in this realm has found that connection to the future self also decreases engagement in delinquent or unethical behavior. So channeling that future self might literally help keep you out of trouble.

Given its benefits, here are two creative ways that you can meet future you:

1) Create an Age-Progressed Image of Yourself

If you are having a hard time imagining your future self, there are websites and apps that can help. Merrill Edge’s Face Retirement and the apps Aging Booth and Hour Face are just a few of the many options that allow you to create age progressed images of yourself. So whether it’s allocating more of your paycheck to your 401k or choosing to commit to a new workout routine, taking a peek at an image of your future self may assist you in making choices that will better the future you. Rather than keeping an age progressed picture hanging on your bathroom mirror or looking at it daily, Hershfield suggests looking at it only before making important decisions. While this has yet to be empirically tested, Hershfield speculates that if someone were to look at the picture daily, “There’s a chance they would grow so accustomed to the image that it would cease to have any impact.” I played with several different versions of the aging apps and while I did find their results a bit frightening, they certainly had a tangible effect. I’ve been religiously using my eye cream and other anti-aging products ever since.

2) Write a Letter to Your Future Self

Writing a letter to your future self is a great way to get in touch with the needs and desires of who you’ll be later on in life. Hershfield suggests writing a letter “in which one can accurately envision who the future self will be and what that distant self will want and desire.” The most important piece here, he explained, is really taking the time to “fully think through how their future self would respond.” Here are some questions that you might pose to your older self: What does your life look like on a daily basis? Where do you live and what is the quality of your life? How do you feel about yourself? What are you most proud of? What are the experiences that you have had that have added the most value to your life? I recently engaged in this exercise myself (click here to read the letter) and found it both eye opening and beneficial. Upon completing the letter I immediately made a contribution to my retirement account. Professor Hershfield, my future self really thanks you!

So go get in touch with your future self. Both the current and future you will thank you. Be creative and have fun with it.

Please share your successes with me on twitter @Tempestalcsw.

Confused Cutie Doesn’t Understand Why We Don’t Take Cookies From Strangers
Every child must learn one of life’s most important lessons — never go off with a stranger, even if that stranger offers you a nice big cookie, an ice cream cone or a promise to go swimming.

For Ye Bin, this concept is little difficult to take in though. Especially when said stranger offers her something she can’t refuse.

Mom quizzes her daughter: “A strange man says, ‘Ye Bin, let’s go eat cookies.’ You say…?” “I like that!” Ye Bin answers.

Watch the video above to see this mother try again and again to instill the “stranger danger” lesson into her daughter. Ye Bin’s struggle to understand is pretty darn adorable.

(Hat tip: Viral Viral Videos)

How to Bring Presence to Our Modern, Digitized World
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For the past few years, I’ve attended an interactive conference called Wisdom 2.0, an annual event that encourages the ongoing conversation about how to bring more mindful awareness and compassion to our modern-day, digital world. At the most recent gathering in San Francisco, I was honored to be both a participant and a speaker in a weekend full of presentations, breakout sessions, and discussions.

I was struck deeply by the spirit of openness shared by participants and faculty alike, the energetic encouragement to connect, and the motivation to bring a change into our ever-more frenetic and ironically disconnected ways of living. I call it “ironic” because as we continue to connect digitally, hooked into our laptops, smartphones, and tablets, research suggests we are feeling ever more isolated and overwhelmed.

And so it may not be much of a surprise to you to hear that many presenters at Wisdom 2.0 suggested a digital detoxification, a time to disconnect from the digital domain and instead find connection with both other real-life human beings and to our inner experience.

Paths to achieve this authentic form of joining between and within are numerous, including simply taking the time to shut off our gadgets, time to meditate and do some form of mindful awareness practice like yoga, tai chi, qigong, or simply going for a walk at taking in the sights, sounds, and scents without an agenda.

The scope of the discourse presented by the speakers was compelling. Arianna Huffington offered the powerful lessons she explores in her new book, Thrive, such as how we need a new approach to well-being, a “third metric” that we can add to power and money to make sure we don’t get lost in ultimately unsatisfying and even harmful pursuits.

Jon Kabat Zinn focused the audience on fundamental questions of “who are you?” and “who is the person who is aware of being aware?” as he invited us to take a step back from doing and simply drop into being.

And Eckhart Tolle illuminated further the importance of how we cultivate our awareness, stating that for him he does not use the term, “mindful” unless he is saying why he does not use this word that infers a “full mind.” For him, presence is a more apt term, and he beautifully demonstrated how to get beneath the language of thought and dip into this important way of being in the world.

For my part on the main stage of the conference, Alanis Morissette and I were given a chance to have a dialogue around “conscious communication in the digital age,” and we focused on a range of issues, including the exploration of the central function of a process called integration. Integration is the linkage of different parts of a system, like two people honoring each other’s differences and then promoting compassionate communication as they link together.

Integration can be between us, and it can also be within us, such as when we link the differentiated right and left sides of the brain when we combine the power of linear, logical language with the contextual images of autobiographical reflections, or the integration of the upper and lower regions of the nervous system when we become aware of the body. In many ways, integration can be seen as the mechanism of harmony, of well-being, of health. And integration is what our digital age could, but rarely does, promote in our lives.

When we think of digitally disconnecting and inviting presence into our lives, we are creating the conditions of integration within and between. Even studies of wisdom can be seen as revealing how we integrate the many aspects of our inner intuition and our interpersonal dedication all within an unfolding life of meaning, compassion, connection, and equanimity which the Greeks called eudaimonia.

Recent studies by Barbara Fredrickson and colleagues reveal how living such a life not only feels good, but it is associated with changes in how we regulate our gene’s expression to fight off life-threatening diseases, such as cancer and diabetes. Studies by Elissa Epel and colleagues have also revealed how presence is associated with enhancements in the enzyme telomerase, which repairs and maintains the important telomere caps at the ends of our chromosomes.

Presence is a state of being that invites us to link a wide range of differentiated aspects of our lives into a harmonious and ever-emerging whole. Presence permits integration to unfold. And integration is at the heart of well-being, even at the level of our cellular functions.

Integration made visible is kindness and compassion, wisdom and connection. Presence is the state of mind that invites integration to unfold. With this science in mind, our intention can be to cultivate presence in our life to create the conditions of integration within us, and among us. There is no time like the present to invite presence into our collective lives!

You can learn more about mindsight and Dr. Dan Siegel at www.DrDanSiegel.com.

Watch videos of the presentations from the 2014 Wisdom 2.0 Conference here.

Like Dr. Dan Siegel on Facebook
Follow @DrDanSiegel on Twitter (#Brainstorm)

Why Everyone Should See The Lego Movie
I reluctantly joined my friends to see The Lego Movie in New York City a few days ago, assuming it would be the equivalent of watching the Lego battles my little brother used to have with his friends. By the time it ended, I not only wanted to see it again to examine any subtle nuances I missed, but I was also grappling with several central questions of human existence — mainly, how I, one human being in this world of millions, can contribute something important.

This is not just a movie for children who want to watch a bunch of plastic toys battle for their universe. Of course, it contains all of the great components of a children’s film: adventure, catchy music and amazing visual effects — every single inch of the Lego world, down to the roaring ocean, has been manipulated to appear Lego-fied. Everything about this new world makes us feel like we have been skyrocketed into a child’s imagination.

But beyond all of that, this movie contains intelligent intrigue and sophisticated humor, the kind that will leave you laughing out loud because it so wittily points out universal truths. The story becomes a quest for individuality in a world of conformity, and I would go so far as to say it becomes an allegory for communism versus democracy. It opens on a world full of ignorant Lego people who wake up every day with a rulebook on how to live their lives. Most of them are ignorant to the point where they don’t realize they are being oppressed and have been manipulated into believing they are happy.

Each Lego person has the same favorite song and television show and are convinced by their evil ruler, President Business, that order, uniformity and repetitiveness is the key to success. Innovation is against nature in the world of President Business. The citizens live blissfully unaware of other Lego worlds beyond their own city limits, and they do not realize that, beneath their propagandized desire to sing “everything is awesome” for five hours while they work, they each possess repressed individual qualities.

The main character, Emmet, has the least individuality of anyone. His co-workers express that each of them has something specific about themselves, such as liking chicken, whereas Emmet has never once expressed something about himself that makes him unique. When he discovers that he is “The Special,” and is destined to fulfill a prophecy that we learn is ultimately made-up, the story becomes about Emmet’s discovery that he truly does have unique qualities. The fact that the prophecy is fake serves to show Emmet that he had this “specialness” inside him all along, that everybody has specialness inside them and that each person’s unique ideas bring greater contributions to society as a whole than does the standardization of human existence purported by a communist society. Only when each Lego brings his own creations to the table are the people able to rise up against their oppressive regime and find true happiness.

From a child’s perspective, this movie is about creativity. It is about allowing your imagination to run free and allowing order to sometimes descend into chaos because that is how great discoveries are made. But from a broader perspective, this is an Orwellian movie about rising up against big brother.

This movie has a remarkable amount of layers and sophistication, and it presents these layers to its audiences in an exceedingly entertaining way — through a hilarious cast of characters that include Lego Batman, Dumbledore, Gandalf and a heroine named Wyldstyle.

No matter how you feel about Legos, this movie will not only leave you laughing over and over again, but it will take you on a journey with exciting twists and turns along the way. Even more, it will make you think.

Marianne Williamson Hopes To Bring Wisdom To Washington With Run For Congress
Marianne Williamson is best known for the new age spiritual guidance she offers in books like the bestseller “A Return To Love,” but these days she’s hoping for a new job.

Williamson is running for Congress in California in an effort to make mindfulness a part of politics. She joined HuffPost Live’s Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani to explain why a spiritual point of view is necessary for legislators as they guide the county’s direction.

“Spirituality is not in a separate category. It underlies everything. It has to do with the path of the heart. We all know that when you follow a path of your heart in your personal life, things go better, and when you do not, things are chaotic,” Williamson said. “If you look at what’s happening in our country today, there’s no path of heart. There is less and less of a path of even ethics or justice, and therefore things are chaotic.”

Williamson added that politics is a tricky game in the age of ubiquitous cameras and social media, but she’s taking the experience in stride.

“Running for office is a real spiritual challenge and spiritual growth opportunity, I assure you,” she said.

See the full HuffPost Live conversation with Marianne Williamson in the video below.

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