I say all the time that change is evidence of growth — that to grow is to evolve, and to evolve is to honor one’s soul as an intrinsic and integral part of the ever evolving Universe, for this is the purpose of the soul’s incarnation; To experience, to learn, and ultimately to evolve.
In a previous post about visualization, I discussed a variety of techniques that can be used to build momentum in creating change and accomplishing goals, but in regards to self growth, I wanted to hone in on one thing in particular that I mentioned, and that is the idea of the “Ecstatic Self”.
When I reached my rock bottom in my battle with depression, part of the catalyst in my healing process that gave me the inspiration and motivation I needed to start climbing my way back up was to imagine myself in a state of ecstasy — not some sort of drug induced or ungrounded high, but simply a moment somewhere in the future where I felt pure happiness in my heart and the infinite flow of the Universe in my soul.
The “Ecstatic Self” is what I’ve now come to call this vision of the ideal future self that we desire to grow into. To be clear, the goal here is not to create and strive for an image of oneself in a permanent state of blind joy where nothing upsetting or frustrating ever happens again — just as we have both day and night, life is a deliberate and necessary balance of light and dark, and to seek constant sunlight is both unrealistic and unhealthy. Remember that in darkness we learn to appreciate the light more deeply, and when we are not looking outward we learn to discern and appreciate our inner world more completely and emphatically.
The Ecstatic Self, then, is an image that we can step into, an awareness that we can lean into, in order to look through transformed eyes, feel with a transformed heart, and integrate these new senses and perceptions into our being until we ultimately merge with them and they become our own.
Making changes for ourselves — even when we know in our bones that we need to for our own greater good — can nevertheless be scary and overwhelming; We are traversing unfamiliar space, trying to find footing on unfamiliar ground, trying to find our rhythm in an unfamiliar dance and our voice in an unfamiliar song. We find ourselves vulnerable in a new vibration of energy that we don’t quite yet know how to move gracefully with.
But by working with your Ecstatic Self, you grant yourself the opportunity to test out this new territory and familiarize yourself with these new energetic dynamics, almost like test driving a new car.
HOW TO CONNECT WITH YOUR ECSTATIC SELF
First take some time to clear your mind and get centered in your body. Find a quiet place where you will be undisturbed, and give yourself a few minutes to meditate, do some journaling — whatever helps you feel grounded and open.
When you are ready, close your eyes and imagine that you are visiting yourself at some point in the future. Don’t worry about when or where this moment is — in fact keep your future eyes closed too for now — just focus on allowing a feeling of ecstasy to bubble up from your heart. Know that in this moment in the future, you are loved, you are safe, and you are unburdened. Sit with this feeling for a moment and feel it grow stronger inside of you, then open your future eyes and see your future self.
How do you look? Where are you? What are you doing?
My Ecstatic Self was driving on an open road in the desert, then pulled over to twirl in circles under the stars. Again, it doesn’t matter so much where you are or what you are doing — the key is to simply be immersed in a moment of bliss that makes you feel connected with the Universe, whatever and however that that may be.
Hold your hands out to your Ecstatic Self, and feel her gently take your hands in her’s. Feel yourself slowly dissolve into her in her embrace, and how it feels to be in this new body. Look around through her eyes. Walk around on her feet. Feel that feeling of ecstasy with her heart and how it feels to form on a smile on her face.
Let this feeling, this moment, sink into you and become a part of your consciousness. Know that in truth she is you, and that you are her.
WORKING WITH YOUR ECSTATIC SELF
Now that you have connected with your Ecstatic Self, let her be your guide as you begin to integrate her energy into your own until your vibration resonates in unity with her’s. When you are faced with a challenge, you can ask yourself, “how would Ecstatic Me handle this?” Then step into her and let her show you.
For example, I’ve always been rather shy in unfamiliar social situations — consumed in my anxiety, I would forget the names of people I was introduced to just as soon as they were uttered, I would have difficulty following conversation, and therefore tended to withdraw into a corner and avoid conversation all together. This is something I desired to change; I wanted to feel more comfortable in my own skin, and more comfortable connecting with new people. So, I worked on this with my Ecstatic Self;
I decided that Ecstatic Me makes a point to take a conscious breath and ground herself before entering a social gathering. Instead of looking at the floor when walking into a room and avoiding contact, Ecstatic Me makes a point to acknowledge those around her with a smile. When she is introduced to someone, Ecstatic Me makes a point to repeat the person’s name aloud while shaking their hand and making a mental note of something special that stands out about them to remember them by. To practice, I meditate and merge with my Ecstatic Self, imaging a situation and familiarizing myself with these new ways of being through her, and eventually they become my own.
I find it helpful to start with some journaling — exploring how the Ecstatic Self inhabits her body, what her energy feels like and how in manifests in her behavior, how she perceives her world and how she responds and reacts to different situations.
Here is a list of some journal prompts to get you started:
- How do you feel when you wake up in the morning?
- What do you most look forward to in your day?
- What gives you a sense of purpose?
- What are you most proud of?
- What do you love most about yourself?
- How do you carry yourself?
- How do you take care of and honor your body?
- How do you express your appreciation and gratitude for your loved ones?
- How do you express your needs and boundaries?
- What makes your home comfortable and peaceful?
- What do you do when you meet someone new?
- What leisure activities bring you joy or inspire your creativity?
- What new things are you learning about?
- How do you handle stress?
- What makes it easy to relax and fall asleep at night?