Several years ago I had a vision of the future that transformed my life and helped me to determine what new career path to pursue. Leading into that moment was the fact that, at the age of 40, after years of working in computers, I was back at school. I was an adult returnee in my “senior” year at college and my three most favorite professors had each approached me about entering into their field of expertise: Asian Studies, the School of Journalism, and Psychology. What a wonderful compliment! — each thought that I would excel in their profession and offered me mentoring, contacts and references for further graduate work. I was both flattered and immobilized with indecision, completely unable to settle down and make a choice. I felt passionately about each field (and loved my teachers!) and thought each held great appeal.
My saving grace came in the form of meditation, something I had begun practicing just a few years before. One afternoon I decided to meditate on the question of which field to choose and, as soon as I relaxed, I got an immediate response. In my minds-eye I saw myself answering questions from a reporter about US-China relations and I understood that I was the “go to” person for knowledge and a quote about foreign affairs with Asia. I felt good in this scenario: confident, authoritative, and briskly efficient.
As soon as I registered those emotions I felt myself swoop down into the second part of my vision. There I saw myself as an extremely old and vibrant witch of a woman, discussing mental health with a few professionals — specifically how the Diagnostic Statistical Manual, or DSM IX or X, had to be rewritten to incorporate our new understanding of multi-dimensional realities. At the time I believe the DSM edition was only up to III, so I knew this was far in the future. In the vision I was extremely happy and alert, engaged and laughing with my peers. I felt wonderful and once again, as soon as I registered those emotions, I felt myself come awake and snap out of my meditative trance.
Several things were clear to me in that moment. I had a sense of awe and gratitude for the clarity of the visions. I wondered why I hadn’t seen anything about journalism and then I sensed that writing would be a part of any future that I chose. I felt a deep inner “knowing” and made my choice in an instant, going with the greater happiness I experienced as the old woman discussing multi-dimenional reality and its affect on mental health, over the more intellectual gratification of being an Asian affairs pundit. Foregoing further graduate work (and debt), I focused on psychotherapy and finished getting certified in hypnosis, or hypnotherapy as my vocation. That vision and that decision served me well for several years.
Now, as I reach another decision point (or two, or three) I remember the tool of meditation and how easy it is to tap into transformative experiences and possible future scenarios. I know how important it is to pay attention to emotion, or how each choice feels. And finally, I know that there are no bad choices, only different visions.
Old lady photo image credit: Wikipedia.org