I sometimes do a form of journeying in my sessions and in my own meditations. I’ve posted a couple here. As with all such explorations, I do my preparations. For my “alternate self” explorations, I start with the same image, a glade, warm and inviting, surrounded by trees. There are wildflowers, bees and butterflies dancing in the soft breeze. I come here to communicate with alternate selves – the “me’s” from other realities or other timelines from whom I can learn.
My perch is on a large rock in the center of the glade. I find my special place, a hollow just right for me to sit comfortably. I relax and breathe, imaging the sunlight in the foliage and warmth on my back.
Today I’m wondering if my choices were wrong, if I “went astray” in not following a more traditional woman’s path. I want to connect with an alternate self who took the path I avoided, the path of marriage and children and “normality”. Once I am settled in, I call out, asking her to appear.
It takes a few minutes, but gradually I can see her approaching in my mind’s eye. She comes toward me through the grass. She looks like me, but no purple streaks in her hair. She’s a bit thicker in the waist. I notice her wedding ring. She looks at me quizzically. She’s as curious about me as I am about her.
“Are you who I would have been if I’d never married or had children? If I’d chosen a career instead? That sounds exciting.”
Hmm, I guess it has its exciting moments, but doesn’t every path? I ask her what it’s like to have one partner, to plan a life based on husband and children. Instead of answering she offers to switch psyches with me, letting each of us experience being the other directly. Whoa! Is that possible? Even as I wonder, I find myself experiencing her life.
I feel the sweet romance as she found a man to marry. I’m surprised to realize that it isn’t so much a falling in love as knowing that she wanted to build a family and connecting with a man who wanted the same. I feel the comfort of lying in bed with one person over the years, of increasingly ‘fitting’ with one another. Their excitement at pregnancy and the heaviness as the life within her grew. The agony and relief of birth. The bustle of growing children and school and worklife. The pleasure of little things – a child’s first “art work” posted on the refrigerator, comforting skinned knees and bruises. Her pride as a child moves ahead in school. I feel the poignancy as the children grow more independent and experience the quiet smile and shared look with her husband as they adjust to their changing relationship with each other and the children.
Gradually I come back to awareness of my own life and my own choices. She laughs that she found my life very exciting. Having a career, working with colleagues, traveling around the country and interviewing different people. Giving presentations and classes, being seen as “an expert”. But, she confesses, she found it a bit overwhelming and exhausting. I admit that I found her life rich, but for me, a little…well, dull. Much of the same day to day – same activities, same people, same environment. We smile at each other, with greater understanding of our sameness and differences.
I come away, realizing that my life has evolved from a series of choices. These choices have been consistent with what is important to me, so that my life is perfect for me. It cannot be compared to any other.