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What Are Timelines? How To Have A Balanced Life

We humans have an unconscious way of storing time. I’m sure you have heard these statements: “ Put that behind you and get on with the future”, or “I’m looking forward to seeing you”. After reading this post you will have a better understanding of how you store time on a “timeline” your past, your future, and your now. Here are a few things I will cover:

1. Finding your timeline

2. Are you you “through time” or “in time”?

3. What does that mean?

4. Timelines are adjustable

5. There isn’t a perfect timeline for all contexts

Would you like to be more time organized and be a better planner ? Or be able to enjoy a vacation or “now”without being distracted by thoughts about things that need to be done that you haven’t done?

When you heard a statement like, “why don’t you put the past behind you and get on with your life?”,  or “I look forward to seeing you” what does that tell us about the other person’s timeline? The first statement is telling us that this person’s past is behind the plane of their eyes and the second person’s statement means the person’s future is in front of the plane of the eyes.

You are also going to find where your “Now”, “Future”, and “Past” are located. Get a piece of paper and a pen and on the paper draw a small 2” circle with how you would see the head from above with a nose that you added like the picture below.

On the audio I sent am going to ask you some questions so that you can find out how your timeline is constructed. It isn’t important for you to remember the memories. What’s important is what direction the memory comes to you from.

“In Time”:

The following attributes to these two ways of storing memories on your timelines are just generalizations.

If you have an “in time” timeline your timeline passes through your body and the past is usually behind the plane of the eyes and the future is usually in front. “Now” is either inside the body or very close (within 3 feet).

You are often late to work or meetings, and you have a tendency to repeat mistakes over and over again. You often find it difficult to get your future in order. You have a tendency to get caught up in the moment, prefer not to plan, forget anniversaries, birthdays, and other important dates. Most of your memories are in first person and it is easy to be in the here and now. This is the perfect timeline to enjoy vacations, now, free time, and sex.

“Through Time”:

If you have a “through time” timeline you have three (3) references of time. Your past and future are in front of the plane of your eyes. Most people have their past to their left and their future to their right, although sometimes this can be reversed. Usually “now” is in front of the body. The farther away , the less you feel kinesthetically (more on that later).

You generally arrive on time or early for work or appointments. Planning is easy for you and you are very aware of time. You remember important dates. You are usually an “observer of yourself” in most of your memories.

If you have an “in time” timeline and you find that you want more organization in your life in certain contexts (like work or planning), maybe  a change to “through time” might help.

Imagine your past timeline is on a pivot like a clock minute hand and you can move your past to your front left and have your future directly in front. Imagine what it would be like to have your future in front with your past in front to the left like a V. If your “now” is inside your body you can move to your front a few feet away (further away from your body the less you will feel).

Now you will have three (3) references of time in front. Write this down on a piece of paper the change and test it for a few days, then re-evaluate. You can make the change back as before, or make it only for periods like off time when you want to enjoy now. Give careful thought before you make any permanent changes to your timeline!

If you are always stressed by being “through time” because either you have a lot of traumatic memories or you just want to be “in now” more often, you can imagine your timeline past is on a pivot like a watch hand and move your past behind the plane of your eyes and move your “now” inside your body. Just imagine what it would be like if your timeline was arranged this way.

Write down on the same piece of paper the change and test it for a few days, then re-evaluate. Make the changes back as before, make it only during certain time periods (like on days you do your job), but whatever you do, give careful consideration to what this will do to you by not having three (3) references of time!

You can also make another major change in your timeline. Notice in the future how far away is a day, a week, a month, and a year are from now. If you always feel pressured because of time you might experiment by moving these time frames further away, but not too far or you won’t get anything done. Those that can’t imagine seeing a month or a year from now might experiment by bring a year from now 20 feet away from now and let the other time frames (months, weeks, days) fill into now. Mark your changes on the piece of paper so you remember any changes you made.

Remember to give careful thought by testing the changes for a few days before making any permanent changes to your timeline!

I have had clients that had their past timeline overlapping their future timeline. Their experience was that they couldn’t see their future because of their past. Sometimes people no longer have a future timeline or a past timeline, because of a traumatic experience. Another not so common timeline organization is the client has their future behind the plane of their eyes and their past is in front. Guess what they pay attention to and talk about?

I want to reemphasize timelines are malleable. Be careful and experiment. And remember to have fun.

Thirty years ago, I worked with an nineteen year old girl that was starting junior college and was always a C & D student in high school. She was working part time at Macy’s and had recently received a Letter of Warning for being late twice on her afternoon shift. She was “in time” and she changed to “through time” on her workdays at Macy’s and her college class days. When she wanted to enjoy now , she reverted back to “in time”. That was the only therapy intervention we did.

A year later, she won a USA Today Newspaper scholarship to Texas Tech, where she graduated with honors, and also received her Masters in Computer Graphics Design. For a number of years she was the product manager for a Major Top US 500 Company.

I have found “time” to be one of my most favorite subjects – especially since I am approaching seventy-nine years. Time is the most important thing in this life time and if you are religious – the next life.


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