Put It In Your Rear View

Today is my birthday. Yes, I am turning 47. No, I don’t feel like 47.

My birthday is one of those days when I like to sit and reflect, allowing myself to “just be,” without any expectations or pressure. I take the day to process my life quietly in my mind – not in a morose or in a regretful manner mind you, but rather to ponder the journey that brought me to this place and time and just go, “WOW!”

It is a day with a lot of time spent looking in the rear view.

I created a process several years ago that I use with clients called “The Rear View Process.” Through this method, a client can frame a crisis, problem, conflict or occurrence and minimize its impact, creating relief from whatever is irritating them.

The premise is simple: whatever happens to us, no matter if it happened yesterday or even today, will eventually come to be in our rear view. Whatever happened yesterday will be in the rear view today, and whatever happens today will be in the rear view tomorrow. With every passing minute, hour, day, or year, it will be further and further back, looming less and less ominous in our life.

Just as we might drive away and peer into the rear view mirror, watching objects minimize with time and distance, the same theory applies for any life issues we encounter.

The application of the process has a fun component, which also allows the client to be distracted from, and focus less on, whatever the issue may be. Whenever you are bothered by some event or situation, try The Rear View Process to put things in perspective.

The Rear View Process

  1. Imagine that you are standing in a parking lot. Envision the thing, person, situation, event, or circumstance causing you angst, anxiety, or grief. Try to picture it in detail as a physical object of some sort, possessing mass and size.
  2. Now imagine (this is where the fun part comes in) that next to you is your dream car or vehicle. It could be a shiny sports car, monster truck, or even a tricked out motorcycle; make it something that resonates with you and that symbolizes power, strength, and maybe even beauty.
  3. Picture yourself getting into the vehicle. Get comfortable. Adjust the rear view mirror so that the image that you conjured up in step one is now visible behind you. See it and notice it there. Also, note that it is now BEHIND YOU and already in the rear view.
  4. Imagine putting your vehicle in gear and slowly moving forward. Look back in the rear view mirror and you will see that image shrink in size. Keep imagining yourself moving forward. The image will eventually disappear altogether.
  5. Stop the vehicle in your mind and get out. Observe your new landscape. In your minds eye, look around and notice what exists in that moment, removing whatever was originally bothering you.
  6. Repeat the process as many times as you need or want, to remind yourself that even though it might not feel like it, you are moving further, father away and forward with each passing day.

This simple yet powerful process will help you put things in perspective. Even if you do not consciously use this process, the great thing is that life and the passing of time will do it for you.

So today is my birthday, and in celebration I am sharing this gift with you. Always remember that whatever happens, whatever you are facing, it will eventually end up in the rear view – it is up to you to choose how quickly to put your vehicle in motion and leave the past where it belongs – in the past.

Andy Wooten M.A. Counseling – Certified Life Coach – Aspen, Colorado

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