Use the Future to Create a Better Life for Yourself: The Ebenezer Effect

Recovery and Your Future The Ebenezer Effect2

Want to see your future? What you see may shock you.

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Imagine that you could glimpse into your future. Would it change you?

Some people imagine that a vision of the future would change them: To see yourself in your successes, your loneliness, your struggles.

We live life on cruise control

Life is every day. Every. Day.

Each day, you and I practice the same routines and make decisions to keep our lives on track. But we forget that each day, we are moving forward, aging. If we live without thinking, we will be surprised 20 years from now with a life that we did not envision (and perhaps don’t want to be in).

You may live your life on cruise control or that may not be your thing.

Addiction and mental health are fighting for control of your future

Addiction, depression and anxiety present a strong vision of a future turned inward. They surround you, keeping your life, your highs and your lows predictable. You may hate what you feel, but it is known.

Addiction, depression and anxiety present a strong vision of a future turned inward. They surround you, keeping your life, your highs and your lows predictable. You may hate what you feel, but it is known.

Doing the work to imagine a realistic future separate from our addiction or our mental illness can be liberating. Keep in mind that if you are in the middle of a serious depression, a binge or a resurgence of our anxiety this work is not recommended. We have to be ready for it, it needs to be done in stages, and change takes time to seep in and germinate new hope.

The heart of depression is hopelessness, a feeling or perception that nothing good will ever happen. Imaging helps transform hopelessness into hope. And hope brings the promise of a brighter future. Robyn Kurdas

Recovery and Your Future The Ebenezer Effect

When you are ready, you can see into the future.

Some people call this the Ebenezer Effect. It is based on the life of Ebenezer Scrooge, who experienced a dramatic life transformation after three ghosts (the past, the present, and the future) visited him and they gave him a vision of himself. The vision was real, powerful and unflattering. That was enough to motivate Ebenezer to change. If you want to read more about the Ebenezer Effect, click here.

You may be in addiction recovery, or in mental health recovery. Or you may just want a different view of your life. Regardless of where you are at, you can use the Ebenezer Effect to imagine yourself 20 years in the future.

The Ebenezer Meditation

You may have a preference as to how you like to get quiet and reflect. You may close your eyes and envision, or you may journal with your eyes open, or you may walk and imagine, or you may visit the mountains and let the peace enter your bones while you propel yourself forward.

However you do it, be in a place where you can think, and where you can listen.

Set aside some time to imagine yourself far enough into the future that your present troubles are not an issue. Your life is not perfect, you still have a body, you have problems, you are in relationships and you face struggles. But you are wiser, you know more, you have learned.

For most of us, 20 years is about right.

When you are quiet, ask yourself some questions (you can use these, or use your own. Also, don’t feel you have to do all of this in one sitting):

  • How do you see your relationships? (family, friends, colleagues)
  • How do you envision your work? (full time and/or freelance work)
  • How do you envision your leisure? (hobbies, exercise, travel)
  • How do you envision your spiritual life? (volunteering, causes you believe in, what recharges and connects you with something greater than yourself)

After your reflection, ask yourself:

“If I continue with my current relationships (work routines, lifestyle, spiritual life), will I feel satisfied with this part of my life, 20 years from now?”

If you need some help with this, try reading the novel “Flashforward” by Robert J. Sawyer. The novel asks you and me to imagine what would happen if the entire world experienced a vision of themselves in the future.

Two minutes and seventeen seconds that changed the world

Suddenly, without warning, all seven billion people on Earth black out for more than two minutes. Millions die as planes fall from the sky, people tumble down staircases, and cars plow into each other.

But that’s the least of the survivors’ challenges. During the blackout, everyone experienced a glimpse of what his or her future holds—and the interlocking mosaic of these visions threatens to unravel the present.” (Goodreads)

A glimpse of the future can change you if you are ready for it. The future is not fixed, it is flexible. Your choices can change what you experience and how your life unfolds.

A glimpse of the future can change you if you are ready for it. The future is not fixed, it is flexible. Your choices can change what you experience and how your life unfolds.

Today is yesterday’s future. Are you living with purpose, or are you wandering forward?

You may also want to read the posts Are You Addicted to Change? And Recovery and Happiness.

I write articles about wellness, leadership, parenting and personal growth. My hope is to deliver the best content I can to inspire, to inform and to entertain.

Sign up for my blog if you want to receive the latest and best of my writing.

Keep it Real

Photos by Kevin Krejci and Michael Rael

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