Time Travel!

You likely had one of two reactions to seeing the title of this post: Curiosity or skepticism. Or, maybe a combination of both. Understandable. I hear you: “Time travel? That’s not possible!” or “Time travel? Cool! I like Star Trek and quantum physics!”. 🙂 So, what are we talking about here!? Regardless of your reaction, I am going to tell you that time travel is possible—but not in the way you may be thinking. In fact, we do it all the time. Let me explain before you shut this website down—and lock your doors for fear of being beamed up! 🙂

Truthfully, all we have, is NOW. We may remember the past and carry feelings about it. We may think about the future, plan for it, and have feelings about it. But, really, we only live in the moment. So, with that understanding, it makes a lot of sense to enjoy the present moment, as ours and others’ entire lives are a series of many moments. With that said, though we cannot travel through time physically, we often travel through time psychologically. We travel through time, to the past, whenever we have regrets about the past, or feel hindered from moving forward because of our past experiences. We travel through time to the future when we are anxious or worried about anticipated future events. In general, though there is some overlap, sadness and depression are about the past and fear and anxiety are about the future. Even if what you are anxious about is saying the next sentence of a public speech your are giving, though the overall activity is occurring in the present, your anxiety would still be future-based.

Is there anything inherently wrong with psychological time travel? The answer is an unequivocal “No!” We think. And we remember. It is what we do. It is how our brains work. Memory gives us a sense of time, continuity, and history. The ability to remember allows us to cherish the wonderful experiences in the past, but also helps us to learn not to repeat the mistakes we made previously. Anxiety about the future can help us to plan well so that we are able to avoid potentially dangerous situations. Anxiety may also be combined with excitement about upcoming events that we are looking forward to. So, psychological time travel is not good or bad. It is part of who we are. But, it can, however, either serve us well, or it can keep us stuck or derail us from enjoyable lives, work, and relationships. The degree to which our psychological time travel sabotages our capacity to enjoy life in the moment, and to live from—and fully express—our authentic selves, is the degree to which it is dysfunctional for us.

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So, here is the purpose of this post: How and when to use psychological time travel so you can move forward in your life.

First, let’s start with when to avoid time travel: When mental time travel to the past or future keeps us from our fullest potential!

If sadness about the past or anxiety about the future are strong enough, they can rob us of living our hopes and dreams. So, we need to land, park, and turn off our mental spaceship. Let it’s engine cool down—or flux capacitor, or whatever you’d like to imagine. 🙂 There will be another time to take off and fly to the past or the future, but now is not the time. Your energy is sapped by sadness about the past, anxiety about tomorrow, or both. It is time to detach mentally, and just be in the moment. There are many ways to do this. We can find such practices in the many religious and spiritual traditions across the world. Relaxation exercises and meditation are also ways of centering ourselves in the present moment, and their effectiveness has been validated by scientific research.

Detaching from the past or future allows us to just be in the present moment. When we do so, we give ourselves permission to enjoy our lives, work, and relationships.

The song, Recover Your Soul, by Elton John, speaks well to letting go and being. (This will be the second Elton John song I have mentioned in a post—read my previous post). Take a moment to read the lyrics and you will see what I mean. 

When we do allow ourselves to be in the present moment, we recover something beyond restored cognitive functioning. We begin to recover physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and if we allow ourselves, we can open up to something much greater than ourselves that we may have never experienced before. This is the stuff of spiritual experience, of transcendence, where we connect with the highest forms of energy, creativity, and passion. I know, because I have experienced it many times. Have you?

Now let’s talk about when time travel is beneficial: When our present circumstances keep us stuck.

When we are sad or depressed in the moment we can really get in a funk. Our energy lags, it is hard to get going, and we just want to hide from the world. This may indicate that it is time to get back in that spaceship and take off to a new land. Also, when we have a lot of anxiety (e.g. being tremendously busy and feeling we have no time for a break, or being very anxious about a job everyday, for example, it is time to jet! Dust that spaceship off (use some spaceship polish if need be!) and fly high.

How do we leverage ourselves out of the present moment? We do it with our imagination! It is time to imagine that your life and circumstances can be different.

Here are two ways of doing this.

Relax your body, close your eyes, and breathe calmly. Imagine how you would like your life to be. You can imagine you are in a different time and place. Really get into it. What do you feel, smell, see? What are you thinking? Who are you with? Give yourself permission to really feel like you are there. And when you are ready, open your eyes and allow the new experience to integrate with your present circumstances. This takes practice, but it is worth it. This will train your brain and body to see life in a much more positive way. You will, increasingly, be able to see the bigger picture.

Another way to detach from the present is to get involved with your environment physically. For this, I recommend taking a walk in an area where your surroundings are not completely familiar. Of course, choose a safe area. For example, instead of taking a walk around your immediate neighborhood with which you are very familiar, you might opt for a road in your neighborhood that is just a bit less familiar to you. The reason? You want your environment to be just unfamiliar enough that your imagination can have free reign. As you walk, relax, breathe calmly, and smile. Clear your thoughts. Allow yourself to feel like your are someplace else. You could be anywhere. The time could be anytime in the past or future. You can be anyone you choose. Tell yourself, “I do not need to be here, now. I could be anywhere, be anyone I desire to be. I am not bound by the circumstances I have been experiencing. Things can be different. I am bigger than this. Bigger than my own perceptions. Bigger than the perceptions others have of me. I have unlimited potential! I am free! I am fully me!”

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These are some great ways to detach from the past, future, and present. And you can practice these yourself. Sometimes, however, doing these alone can be difficult. Having a guide can help. Having a coach or counselor to join with you in your travels who will assist you in overcoming the blocks you have to realizing your goals and dreams can be very powerful. This is what I do as a coach. I join with people on their journeys to self-discovery and purposeful, passionate, abundant living.

While coaching is right for many people, for others, counseling or therapy is a better choice. As both a counselor and coach, I can help you decide if coaching is right for you. I draw on all my experiences and training, both in coaching and counseling, to help my clients excel and reach their goals. I specifically help people with disabilities. Social Security disability beneficiaries who desire to obtain meaningful full-time work.

You owe it to yourself to invest in yourself! You can overcome great odds and adversity!

Reach out! I would love to hear from you!


Your coach for YOUR journey,



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