This sounds absurd to say, but this week, plastic water bottles changed my life. It started with a trip to visit family in Minnesota, where I spent considerable time with my cousin who was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer, which has been heartbreaking for all of us.
Just before my flight home, I bought two bottles of water. When I finally landed in Austin, I looked in my bag, and did a double take. One empty bottle was crushed, like they normally are from the pressure change, but the other empty water bottle was completely intact, somehow unaffected by the pressure. I checked the cap, maybe I’d left it unscrewed and it equalized, but no. And somehow, this just spoke to me that everyone experiences pressure in their lives, even extreme pressure, but the difference is in whether you allow yourself to be crushed by the pressure, or whether you hold yourself intact, leaving room for great things to come to you again. It was a reminder to not let the pressure of life define my form.
When I got home, I was extremely busy working and also catching up on the stuff around the house from being gone. I was exhausted, and one night, as I was filling a glass of water from my Berkey water filter (you seriously need one of these), I realized it was nearly empty, and I sighed because now I would have to go fill up jug of water to refill it and I wanted nothing more than to finally go to bed. I reached for the empty jug, and it was full. I felt the exact same feeling as if a friend had done something really nice to help me. I didn’t remember filling it (I almost never refill it for myself), but unless the dogs suddenly developed opposable thumbs and used them for filling water jugs instead of stealing the food out of the fridge, I’d made the choice to do that to help myself in the future, and in that moment, I understood what it meant to connect with your future self and care for them like you would a friend, and it was powerful.
We learned in this class that our mind identifies our future self the same way it identifies with a stranger (proven in MRI scans), so we procrastinate because we are connected with ourselves now, but have no special feelings towards our future self, so we don’t want to take away from our time or enjoyment now to make a difference for someone who is a stranger to us. This course is designed to connect you with your future self so that you start making decisions and taking action now to set the stage for your future self to experience everything you want.
In that moment when I grabbed for what I thought was an empty jug I’d have to fill, I felt this huge surge of gratitude, and actually thanked my past self for taking that minute to take care of me by doing something to make my life a little easier. I felt the connection between my past, present, and future self, and ever since then, I have been living one of the class affirmations of “Do it now!” even more, taking some time from my present self to do little chores to show my future me that I care and want to make her life better and easier. And each time I come to one of these things that my past self has done, and I feel the gratitude and relief, I feel more and more connected with the idea of doing things today that will give me the tomorrow I want, now starting with the small things and working up to the bigger things!