Looking out my living room window, I see the saplings we planted a few days ago. It will be years before they throw the shade I’ve felt myself longing for in the front yard.
Why didn’t I plant trees there long ago? I really don’t know.
What is it that keeps us from doing the very things that will nurture us more and more as time goes on. What keeps us from taking action today in support of, and in kindness toward, our future selves?
This notion, first introduced to me while reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s writing, of being kind to my future self is growing on me. And as I gradually and consciously choose actions with the intention of supporting my future self, when the moment comes to enjoy and benefit from that kindness, my present self – knowing the intention and kindness my past self acted with – is deeply grateful.
Gratitude for myself? Towards myself? This is truly revolutionary. It could be one of the most powerful practices of self compassion you could try.
These fledgling trees are a gift to my future self. Stopping to wonder if they’ll be good climbing trees for our family’s little ones, I’m transported back to my younger self, sitting in the canopy of a neighborhood tree. The sense of solitude and quiet joy in resting, nestled in its reaching branches, is palpable. Climbing and savouring the experience of sitting in that tree a while, was a gift to my future self.
What might you do today that the you of tomorrow will be delighted with? A little while ago my present self threw some food in the slow cooker. My future self, the one who will have been able to keep creating later than usual today, will walk into the kitchen at dinnertime, find a hot meal ready to eat, and have a happy heart for the extra time spent creating.
There’s no end to the small things we can do – many of them mundane and tedious – which become sparkling acts of kindness for ourselves when we carry them out with the intention of offering a gift to a self who exists at some point in the future .