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Hidden Wisdom and Letters to the Self

by | How to Journal

We’ve got a lot of hidden wisdom locked away in our beans.

Wisdom we’ve either forgotten or can’t yet access. And I’ve found a method for teasing it out.

We’re going to get a little metaphysical today. This can twist your noodle in a bit of a knot, so don’t hurt yourself. (Feel free to smoke the funny stuff and read some Carlos Castaneda, if you’re so inclined.)

I’ve talked about writing unsent letters before, even touching on the letter to the self. Let’s take that to a whole new level.

If we picture our desired future selves in full detail, we can then ask that future self how she got there. This puts us in touch with the wisdom we already have – the wisdom that got us where we are today.

Daydreaming your way to wisdom

The other night I was relaxing, lying in bed thinking, watching movies in my head as I often do. (Many an exasperated teacher has berated me for “daydreaming” – like that’s a bad thing!) And the image of my future came to me in gorgeous, vivid color.

I saw with absolute clarity exactly what I want. Not only physically, but emotionally. Spiritually. Creatively. Financially. This whole world appeared in my head, fully formed, and it was mine.

When I say specific, I don’t mean “I am living in a two bedroom house in Seattle with dogs.”

I mean, my house on Delridge has a view of the sun setting behind the Olympic Mountains, and the floors are glossy Douglas Fir hardwood, and two retired greyhounds are sleeping in front of the slate fireplace while I drink pomegranate tea out of an earthenware mug and pick lavender from the garden.

I saw what I was wearing, I saw the interior color of my vintage car parked in garage. I could picture my email inbox – who was writing me and with what news. I could picture my bank account, my social calendar, the contents of my kitchen cabinets.

So I decided to ask my future self how she got there. How she achieved those results. What steps she took. What choices she made.

Here’s a slice of the journal entry:

I stumbled upon this epiphany last night and suddenly I’m able to see that all my scrappings – all my cave hiding and furniture moving – is just fear.

It’s just a refusal to acknowledge that it’s time to level up. It’s all struggling against the beautiful forward movement that wants to grow organically.

And I see this older, wiser, more confident version of myself smiling compassionately, knowing about the struggle, and extending a hand in invitation to stop. “You’re making this harder than it has to be,” she tells me.

Because I think I’ve already got some of the same wisdom that my future self has. I just don’t have access to it – yet. So maybe writing myself a letter would help me tap into it.

Huge lightbulb going off. Amazing idea. (Every once in awhile I impress myself.)

Letter to the Self

I decided to try the exercise and ask my future self for some guidance. I began the letter:

“Dear Future Kristin,

This is a little awkward since we’ve never met. But I just feel like I know you.

(Of course, I can’t take anything 100% seriously! 🙂 Anway…)

Just recently I’ve been able to see you clearly for the first time. And the chasm between where I am and where you are is huge. The details baffle me.

But I can see how I felt a year ago, what I knew then (and didn’t know, mostly) and the amount of knowledge and skill I’ve developed over the past 12 months.

I know if I looked too far ahead I would have been parlayed. I had to focus on one thing at a time, on what needed to be done NEXT.

So I know better than to get overwhelmed by the unknowns. I trust that more will be revealed.

In the meantime, I’ve got a few questions for you.

What came out of this exercise is pretty amazing. I wrote the questions. And then I used my imagination to conjure up my future self. And I answered those questions from her point of view.

I discovered that I instinctively know which details will sort themselves out, and which will require attention.


I feel like I’ve found a new mentor. My future self has so much wisdom to share.

Whenever I get stuck and I’m unsure what to do next, I can just picture myself standing on those fir floors stirring my mug of tea, creativity fulfilled and spiritually content. And I ask myself, “What would Future Kristin do?”

Because getting there is no different than getting where I am now, if you ask my past self.

What does your future self know? What is he or shy dying to teach you? What do you most need guidance on?

Picture the person you want to be and the life you want to have. Picture it in startling detail. And then ask the person you’ve become to reveal the way. Because she’s already done it.

Get out your journal and ask her how.

Yours in journaling,


hey, friend!

I’m Kristin. Welcome to Journaling Saves. If you’re new to the site, start here for the grand tour. Thanks for coming!