Counselling & Psychotherapy considers:
Psychotherapy & Counselling in London, Camden, Kings Cross
Our Relationship To Our Past, Present & Future
Concept Of Time, Caught Up In Time For many of us time is a mystery. It can seem to race ahead (e.g. when we are caught up and involved in an activity), go so slowly (e.g. when we are waiting for something to happen) or stand still, expand in certain moments (e.g. as we sense ourselves, free of doing things, meditation), contact with others, when we are engaged in things or in a rush. Time can be perceived, experienced as standing still, having all the time in the world, to running out, flying by. The readiness of time - when the time is right and sensing this, may play a part in our life, as if waiting for will to be aligned (see also Wind Of Change). We can make an enemy or friend of time and the quality of patience may play a role. There are different forms of clocks, cycles which impact upon how we view and experience time. We can be affected by astronomical, biological clocks (our bodies have their own sense of time), nature and the seasons' cycles (which have their own different realm of time). On the one hand time is simple, concrete and rigid - we just look at a clock (which relates to the earth and sun) and it tells us the time. This linear usage of time tends to be more fixed and goal driven. Yet when we are immersed in something, however trivial or profound and our very being is engaged (being with time and our sense of internal presence), we can be in a different space, zone, as time melts, slows down, until something brings us back or we end the activity. Time can seem more fluid and subjective, as our mind expands in time. Our sense of time is not always "by the clock", and can be experienced as past, present, future with separate, yet connected converging dimensions, with the present containing not only the past, but also the future within it (as an acorn has the potential to become a tree). In our actual lived experience and perceptions of time, especially in certain moments, experiences in our life seems to have the effect of being elastic - stretching and bending, opening up a different space, interconnectedness or peak experiences. Counselling and psychotherapy can offer a space to explore the impact of our conscious and unconscious processes - imagination, dreams, and daydreaming.
The time (sponsored by consciousness) is now o'clock
Time & Daydreaming Sometimes when taking downtime we are in touch with our being through our doing. Affecting our awareness of time, most of us have periods of incubation when we "zone out" - allowing our mind to wander (see also Wandering Mind, Monkey Mind), getting lost in our thoughts and see what happens or if we daydream (maybe through boredom or to recharge our batteries) - think about the past (maybe re-living what happened a long time ago in some ways now), the footprints we've made, yet to make and imagine or yearn for our future - maybe trying to control our future. Our daydreaming and quiet thoughts often in silence can let our mind wander, give it space, help us switch off, relax, have the potential to play with things and suppose things in our mind (e.g. "I could do this..., supposing this happens..." ), help us reflect, be mindful, replay things, evaluate our and others' emotional reactions. Daydreaming can facilitate our imagination and creativity, help us consolidate and improve our memories - reviewing the meaning of our experiences, assist us in seeing other perspectives and possibilities, helping us solve problems, consolidate our learning, support our moral reasoning, be in touch with our compassion and prepare us for the future. Our daydreaming can be experienced as the bridge between the unconscious and our conscious selves. Engrossed, we may lose our sense of time, affecting our consciousness, as our concrete world transforms to a more imaginary world. We may also have learnt to daydream as a child, as a way of coping with uncomfortable feelings, which may have taken the form of magical beliefs, magical thinking. And for some we may daydream, as if on autopilot affecting our focus, attention, concentration. Daydreaming for others may be a way to avoid feelings (maybe numbing them, closing them down), and we may have abandoned ourself, become lost or stuck, procrastinate, remain in a dream-like state. We may replay old memories or worry about future scenarios. Our scripted daydreams can be a way of keeping us from the present and cut off our creative imagination. Our daydreaming may hinder our achievements and we may have a tendency to be more of a dreamer than we would like, struggling to bring our dreams into form.
The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.Chinese Proverb
Stuck, Fixed Somewhere Between The Past, Present Or Future If we are thinking about our past, lost in disappointment, future fantasies, burdened by irrelevant thoughts, stuck in our heads, we may bypass the experience of what is happening now. (And living in the moment, without awareness, reflection may present its own challenges.) We may for example have grief for what has happened in the past (be fearful of the future), which stops us living in the moment (see also Trusting Our Self, Our Innateness). Some may keep revisiting the past (maybe struggling to learn what we need to learn), and our memories can colour our present feelings, thoughts and reactions, determining our future. Yet we are not our past. Fear of dying may also play a role for some. This fear and grief can stop us living in the moment. Echoes from our past and future scenarios, hopes, desires, anxieties, fears, etc. may cloud or shape our present and who we are now (and similarly, our present thoughts, beliefs, feelings may be influencing our perception of our past and how we live our future). Some of us may view the present as an obstacle in the way - something we have to get through to live our future (wishing out time away until...), which never seems to arrive. Watching ourself from afar, all this dwelling on our past, overthinking, fretting, looking forward and speculation about future outcomes (maybe always trying to work out all possibilities, including worrying about what might get in the way, go wrong) or backward can stop us living and acting now, valuing the present (and our time), as if we are waiting for life to start, rather than begin our future by doing something in the moment, having clarity, peace of mind, so we accompany ourself in the present moment into our future. (See also Releasing Ourselves & Letting Go)
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.Ralph Waldo Emerson
Accompanying Ourselves "In The Moment" With Awareness, Reflection Life is unpredictable and some of us may only want to experience the spontaneity of the present (frequently benefiting our creativity), that everything is only about right now and so immediate, experiencing what reality is moment by moment - what we so preciously feel in each moment, without thinking about any consequences. Yet we know there is more to our life than only what's happening in the moment, in the instant as if short-termism is everything. As if life is only a sprint, we can do things for the short term, present benefit, yet future detriment. We may have a tendency to act on any impulse or compulsion we have (maybe oversharing our thoughts, feelings), struggling to have awareness, reflect on our past or present experiences, the consequences. It may also be important for us to not lose sight of where we are going, have perspective, plan or think about our future aspirations. It can be a conscious challenge to allow ourselves to experience life simply as it is, be in the moment, deciding where to place our attention, be with our self in the present moment, reflecting on our past and forming our thinking about our future and potential when we need to (see also Taking The Long Way Home).
Remembering - Choosing How We Look Around Us Now, How We Look Back & Ahead When looking back we may choose to do so with regret, guilt or with some appreciation. When we remember things, it can be as if we are re-remembering them often connecting and building layers upon layers to the last time we remembered this, and as we re-account things now, look on, the narrative changes, affecting us. What happened, has happened, yet through the passage of time how we narrate our story of what happened may erode, slightly shift or be embellished, as may the quality and strength of emotions attached to our narrative. Revised versions of our story may emerge. As we re-tell our narration about things that have happened, it can be as if we are also adding to the story of our self, making meaning, forming a part of our identity, especially when we have a lot of emotion, imagination invested. For some making associations can be an enriching experience, yet for others, not so (we may for example have experienced trauma) - see also Repetition Compulsion. In some similar ways to selecting a film and replaying a film (including the type of film and scenes we are drawn to), we may want to consider the memories we choose, learning what we need to learn. which best suit our purpose now - our options for editing, deleting, saving, replaying our memories. We may link our identity to our memories, as if this is all of who we are, yet as we remember things, we are able to reflect. This experience of our self reflecting alongside appreciating what surrounds us now, the nature of our free will, what next steps propel us forward without fixed scenarios, can be explored in the counselling and psychotherapy.
Remembering - Old Emotions, Current Emotions We can forever tell ourselves stories of what's happened, what's happening, what's going to happen and these stories shape how we experience life (see also What We Do With Our Thoughts & Beliefs, Our Reasoning & The Weighting We Put On Things). As our beliefs and emotions change, so too may the narrative we tell to ourselves (which can also influence our ability to forgive ourselves or others). Sometimes we may want to remember things, which portray us in a certain light. As well as the weighting we put on things, our memory can also be influenced by our current emotions and moods (old hooks, triggers and buttons pressed). Alongside the benefits of hindsight, memories of our past may also influence how we look into our future, imagining it (e.g. what's progressive, regressive including any learnt helplessness), as we speculate what may happen and then living it (see also Impending Doom, Sense Of Dread, Catastrophising, Awfulising). For some it can seem as if we are enacting scenarios, have become the actor in our own play, taking on certain roles, re-enacting things now and as if we are adhering to some sort of life script influencing our sense of identity and for our future, as if our future life story is written in tablets of stone - see also Our Free Will. (It can be as if we are almost watching ourself doing what we are doing from our script and we can also play out a drama in our relationship.) Turning prediction into facts, we may want to explore how we tell our story, which also influences how we feel, think and act (see also Projecting Onto Others). We may allow old emotions to take us over (see also Repetition Compulsion), which in turn can trigger old thought patterns, cycles of behaviour. In the roles we take on - including those in our relationship, our relationship style, it can seem as if we are in a drama. It may also be important to reflect upon, be in touch with the sources of our motivation, some of them previously unconscious. Not only does the script about our past get edited, so too do we have the potential to change our future script, by the decisions we make, the narrative we tell ourselves, catching our internal dialogue, so we are the author of our own life. Choosing to edit our stories in meaningful, empowering ways may support us. Looking ahead, we can do so with regret, fear, hope, fresh eyes, confidence or purpose (see also Our Vision, Visualisation, Envisioning The Reality We Wish To Be True). How we look around us now, in the present moment, we may for example choose to blame or accept things as they are, and looking ahead to our future, viewing our present and future as unknown, open, spotless. (See also Our Perceptions, How We See Ourself)
Look not mournfully into the past. It comes not back again. Wisely improve the present. It is thine.Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Go forth to meet the shadowy future, without fear.
Being Connected To Who We Are In Relationship To Our Present Situation, Past, Future Counselling and psychotherapy provides a space for these aspects to be explored further, offering support in understanding our present situation and the impact of our past, learn what we need to learn, so we are empowered to consciously create a different future (freer of the need to control it) in each moment, without necessarily ruminating about our present, past or future (if for example we live or replay the past, our future may resemble or mirror our past). The therapy can support our connection to our past, present and future potential, other people and the wider world. How connected we are to our self - who we are in our own ground, not just reacting to our past, present or future worries, may be important, so we don['t waste our time trying to predict the future. It may now also be important for us to take responsibility for who we are, what we've done, who and how we want to be. Fully experiencing life, being connected to ourselves and others may be important for us (see also Aloneness, Loneliness, Emptiness, Alienation).
We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploringT.S. Eliot
will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.
Internal Interconnectedness - Connecting Consciousness To Our Past, Present, Future, Sensing Our Aliveness, Space Beyond Us When we relate with others and feel interconnected, it can also be a platform to sense other interconnections. Making connections, linking our present to our past and future potential, allowing for the unknown may be important. When we do this, for some it can seem as if time concertinas in the present moment and our sense of reality shifts. Sometimes our previous experiences and associated feelings can be experienced in the present time, as if we were back there, now. As if seeing things through a telescope, memories of what we saw, felt like, looked like, what was happening, can be evoked seemingly as if we are looking back, re-living, replaying those situations again even evoking physical symptoms, sights, smells, sounds, etc. Perceptions of time can blur as we sense and reflect upon who and how we are now. As our consciousness evolves, unfolding, it expands into our field of awareness. Our unconscious is also timeless and it is more of a space. And in this different space or sense of timelessness it can be as if we have a sixth sense and are on the bridge between the unconscious and conscious, waking up to something emerging, as if everything is interconnected in which we may experience grace. In moments, like unfolding waves of time, it can be as if our present, past and future merge into one (where we are now, how this relates to our past, what might be emerging and transforming for us), and the therapy takes these conscious and unconscious aspects of us into consideration. In these moments, our imaginary and creative world may expand and it can be as if we experience a wind of change, as if the time is right. Feeling more energised in our body, perceptions and senses, a different quality to what we notice, see, hear, touch, smell, taste and feel. We may experience moments of clarity, where everything comes together as one and has meaning, a rhythm or sense of peace (peace of mind), as if we are "in the zone", experiencing a sense of synchronicity, as if we have free will yet our will is aligned (see also Impact Of The Unconscious). For some this can be a space of transformation. We can be aware of this sometimes (being conscious that we are conscious) and other times less so. (At other times things don't always go the way we would like and our challenge may be to choose to resist, adapt, making the best of things, going with the flow.) And in this moment of time we may also be in touch with previously unconscious processes. This includes what's happening in our imagination, dreams (what they might mean or be saying to us), which may point to our future - what might be emerging for us (see also Life's Journey - Connecting To Our Own Inner Direction & Creating Our Own Destiny). We may become more aware of our personal consciousness at this point, feel more alive and in sensing our aliveness we may also be in tune with our body's interconnectedness to our thoughts, emotions, etc., in touch with our being. We may also sense a Love and Will that comes together, yet is beyond the personal, be more curious about the wider world - a collective or global consciousness (see also In Tune With Us & The Wider World, Our Interdependence, Interconnectedness) or be drawn to spiritual enquiry. Others, aware that we are all part of one whole, may be warmed by this and want to express this connection in their own gestures, however small. (See also The Connections We Need & Make)
Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great floodNorman Maclean, "A River Runs Through It"
and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops.
Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters.