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 enlightening 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 Y: Mission accomplished, Annie Older. I finished the assignment. I made that list of my Near-Life Experiences—NLEs, as you call them—and beside each entry I tried to summarize the feelings I was experiencing when each NLE was occurring. That was actually a pretty cool task. Took me down happy memory lanes.
Annie O: Good stuff, Annie Younger. Now I’m going to ask you to do the observing I asked you to refrain from previously. If I recall, you were recalling the ice dancing, the map-making, the school teaching, the public speaking and the poetry writing as your NLEs. Did I get that right?
Annie Y: Yeah, those were the ones I listed.
Annie O: Okay. So, what kind of feeling words did you write down to describe those experiences?
Annie Y: Ummm. Energized. Rewarded. Connected. Immersed. Satisfied.
Annie O: Now, take a few moments to look again at all your NLEs, while reliving those feelings, and tell me what’s the common thread in the various activities you’re noticing.
Annie Y: Give me a minute…Well, the one that jumps out is that they all involve creativity in some aspect or other.
Annie O: Good. What else?
Annie Y: I’m thinking…I guess I’m offering up something to others in all of them.
Annie O: So, what is it about the offering up of something that you’ve created that causes those feelings you recalled from over the years?
Annie Y: Let me think about that… Let’s see… Maybe it’s because I’m offering up something I’ve created to either make someone feel good—like the ice dancing. Or help them learn something new—as in all my other NLEs.
Annie O: Interesting!
Annie Y: Interesting? Yeah, right! You’ve already figured all this out.
Annie O: Yes, but I’m enjoying revisiting it. Why do you think offering up your creativity to potentially help someone else learn makes you feel so good?
Annie Y: You got me there… Hmm…You know what I’m thinking? I think it’s because I myself love learning new stuff to grow on! And I wanna share that. And giving away something that’s meaningful to me—which could help somebody else too—that just makes me feel good. I especially love creative writing and speaking. That’s my NLEN—my Near-Life Experience Narrative—isn’t it?!
Annie O: Bingo! That’s what your NLEs are telling you. I’ve recently summarized it as saying my purpose, through creative oral and written communication, is to assist others to find their life purpose. Generally, everyone’s NLEN involves creativity in some way or other because that’s a human form of expression, but for someone else it might show up as being a—I don’t know—say, a quilter creating a unique design, or a chef creating a new dish, or a pilot creating the perfect flight, or a firefighter creating a safe rescue, or a farmer creating a harvest, or a social worker creating a supportive experience. Everyone has something to offer in a uniquely creative way to somehow positively impact the lives of others, right? Align with your passion and you’re perpetually energized to live your life purpose. I know this now.
Annie Y: I’m just sad it’s going to take me another 30 years to figure all this out, Annie O. I wish this conversation was really happening so I can get aligned with my passion much sooner. Why is it going to take me so long to realize this? What’s getting in my way?