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Guest Post: Consulting Your 90-Year-Old Self

by Frame of Mind September 25, 2015

old woman


When President and Founder of FOM Coaching Kim Ades’s clients encounter a dilemma, she often asks them, “what would your 90-year-old self say?” FOM Coaching client and JournalEngineTM licensee Dr. Jessica Michaelson is no stranger to this question. In fact, she asks her clients it as well.

Very often, I am struck with the familiar feeling that I just don’t know what to do, be it in my parenting, relationships, physical health or work.

And then I experience a double whammy – first, the pain of struggling, and then the pain on top of that pain caused by the fear of not knowing what to do.

Fortunately, I’ve learned to ask myself a simple question that unhooks me from the fear, doubt, agony and angst.

This question feels like magic. I share it with my clients every day, and it is magic for them too. It is:

What does your 90-year-old self have to say about this?

Suddenly, there is a shift. A serene, wise part of you wakes up, and says, “Oh hello, dear. I’m so glad you asked…”

This part of you, this 90-year-old self, is miraculously calm, not burdened by what-will-they-thinks and perfectionist panics. This wise, old woman has clarity, a soft sense of humor, and loves you oh so very much. Here’s how it works:

Step One: Imagine Her
For me, she has long, gray hair wrapped into a thick bun on the back of her neck. She sways in a rocking chair on a wide wrap-around porch, watching younglings chase and squeal, and enjoying the rhythmic creak of the screen door as her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren move in and out of the family home. I imagine sitting by her side rather than face-to-face, just listening to her wisdom…

Step Two: Ask Her Questions
Here are my favorites:

Why is this so hard for me right now?
She’s pretty good at seeing where I’m being too hard on myself, what I’m most afraid of, and what I’m most longing for.

What’s important in this situation?
She helps me laugh away the petty details that I’m stuck on, and see the bigger themes at play.

What should I do next?
She may be old and into the big picture, meaning-of-life stuff, but she’s surprisingly good with details. She helps me locate the best next step, which usually involves some combination of chilling the eff out and being more courageous.

Step Three: Become Her
She is not just there as abstract inner wisdom. Your 90-year-old self can also be a very concrete person who you decide to become more and more like. She is what you’re all about.

Notice how she dresses and let yourself look more like her today.

Notice the pace of her breath, the rate of her speech and let yourself sound more like her today.

Notice how she holds her body, what she does with her hands, how she leans in to hear you speak and let yourself feel more like her today.

Jessica MichaelsonDr. Jessica Michaelson helps women make their
personal and professional dreams come true, while
still managing all of their grown-up responsibilities.
She has 20 years of experience as a therapist,
counselor, and teacher, all with the focus on creating
a life you love, regardless of your past or circumstances.

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