What if you could have a conversation with your younger self? What experiences would you share? What advice would you give? Drop in on the unfiltered conversation between Annie Younger, aged 25, and Annie Older, 35 years her senior. As references are made to prior episodes, the conversation is best understood if followed sequentially from the beginning. Click here to read the first installment.
Annie O: Okay, Annie Younger, we just talked about capturing your NLEs—your Near-Life Experiences—those happenings in your life when you were so engaged in the moment, you were totally oblivious to the passage of time and what was going on around you.
Annie Y: Yeah, I’ve captured them on paper Annie Older, the ones I could think of so far, anyway. Now you’re going to tell me how to make a narrative out of them—a Near-Life Experience Narrative, which you call an NLEN, “en-len” to rhyme with “gremlin.” Right?
Annie O: Right. And I’m glad you didn’t feel like you were compelled to find every single NLE residing in your memory. Over time, they’re going to bubble up to the surface as you become increasing aligned with your life purpose.
Annie Y: And that’s really the purpose of this exercise, right. To help people find and align with their life purpose. You said that these NLEs and the story they tell point in that direction.
Annie O: Correct. NLEs reveal what you value in life. And what you value is where you want to focus your attention, your time and energy. That’s where rewards and fulfillment reside. If you value something highly, you’re motivated to manifest it in your life.
Annie Y: So, we already talked about two NLEs—the ice dancing as a kid in front of the imaginary crowd and the map making as a university student. I don’t see at all how those have shared values.
Annie O: First tell me what other NLEs you’ve captured.
Annie Y: Well, you know them, obviously. Playing school and being the summertime teacher of my—our—bratty kid brothers, public speaking contests in elementary school, writing poetry in high school.
Annie O: Okay. Next step is to list your NLEs in a chart with two columns. In the first column, write the brief description of the NLE and in the second column enter just a sentence or two to describe what you were feeling in connection with each NLE. For example, concerning the skating routine on the frozen pond, I remember feeling energized to perform absolutely perfect routines to my imaginary audience. You remember that feeling?
Annie Y: For sure!
Annie O: We’ll carry on our conversation again after you’ve populated your chart. Don’t try to rush it. Be mentally still. Recall being in each NLE and note what feeling or feelings you first become aware of. That’s it. Don’t try to analyze anything at this point, or make it what you think the feeling should be. Just record honestly what you recall feeling most clearly in each experience. When you’ve completed that, then we’ll consider your comment about not seeing how those NLEs have shared values. Okay?
Annie Y: Sounds good. I’m guessing this will take us into the narrative bit?
Annie O: It will. But I have to emphasize, don’t think about narrative at this point. Focus only on the feelings that you become aware of. You don’t want to skew the observations by projecting any thoughts about what your observed feelings mean or ought to be.
Annie Y: Got it. I have a question though. I remember you saying earlier that the term you use—Near-Life Experience—is a play on the term Near-Death Experience. And when people have near-death experiences their lives are often changed dramatically—for the better. They’ve seen or otherwise experienced something that’s given them a new perspective. I guess that’s what this NLEN process is doing, right? It’s a less dramatic, less extreme way to bring about the same sort of life-enhancing change.
Annie O: You said it very nicely.
Annie Y: I’m off to get in touch with my feelings! I’m so curious as to where this might take me!