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Future Self


I am Charles Joseph Popov. Inchoate, curious, resilient, unsatisfied yet content, hopeful, skeptical, and strong.  I am moving towards my values of family connection, wealth, integrity, health, and furthering my education.  In two years of recovery at this point, I am dealing with internal problems internally (with internal means) , and external problems externally (with external means).

I’ve seen myself like Odysseus as I have been through a lot of shit on my way back to “Ithaca.” I’ve always been resilient, and I rise from the ashes like the Phoenix in flight.  My future self does not ruminate on past failures or successes, but lives in the present moment and is hopeful for the future.  I strive for full-heartedness, genuineness, idealism tempered with realism. Pessimism is not my normal state, yet I struggle with it from time to time.   The future, however, can be approached with fear and consternation, but because I self-soothe, practice self-compassion, and deliberatively do self-care, I am not as anxious. My future self is more introspective as I allow the individuation process to take place. I’m attempting to look at whatever pain I am experiencing as tied to something meaningful, and instead of instinctually reacting to the pain with short term approaches, I am intuitively and inquisitively asking of it, and giving myself some space to behave in a way that moves me towards my values.  Therefore, I can be more genuine and credible. Future self is financially solvent, and as such, can give more freely to others in need. Future self is spiritual, but not in the sense of organized/formal or institutional religion. I am full of hope for the future yet tend to feel anxious at times. I am bold and may be perceived as eccentric or outlandish to others. I have never deliberatively and purposefully pursued a wholehearted approach to life, and therein lies the anxiety. I have pursued the values of others, institutions, and societal norms with great discipline for decades.  For the most part, I had a good report card.  However, I lived in a state of cognitive dissonance, which admittedly was also a lack of integrity—complying outwardly to the expectations and rules, but not always wholeheartedly. Again, this is a recipe for anxiety.  Now I try to ask myself the question for any given behavior: “Is this moving me towards what is important to me?”

Depth work is difficult as I wrestle with past failures, memories, traumas, losses, humiliations, and failures. As stated, I am spiritual and believe in an Absolute Reality. It may be superstitious on my part, but somehow I believe that aligning myself with the Universe causes everything to “fall into place.” My hypothesis is there is a God, and God has loved me throughout my life. My future self trusts others, although he is not under any grand illusions that others can always be trusted. However, I do not believe that people are innately evil, but good. The world is fascinating and promising, and therefore worth pursuing and exploring boldly. My future self believes that the world can live in reasonable peace with one another when reciprocal mutual respect is shown. Therefore, it is important to listen to others’ point of view attentively.

It takes a horrific fall in order to be able to know where one stands.  When one hits a proverbial brick wall, one can certainly to continue to unravel, or not.  Personally, I could have receded into the obscurity of shame, disillusionment, and failure, but I have chosen to channel this pain productively.  “We perceive that only through the utter defeat are we able to take our first steps toward liberation and strength. Our admissions of personal powerlessness finally turn out to be firm bedrock upon which happy and purposeful lives can be built.” (12 Steps and Traditions, p.21).  My future self believes there is still time for personal growth, redemption, forgiveness, recalibration, and success. Future self reads voraciously, exercises, meditates, eats well, sleeps well, and daily practices mindfulness and breathing. Future self believes that alcohol and other drugs do not serve him well so refrains from use. Future self sits with clean discomfort and not dirty discomfort, realizing that pain means that there is something important or valuable attached to it.  It gives me some space (defusion) from instinctively reacting to the pain, I now try to intuitively question it.  Future self realizes that the distressing emotions are like the weather, changing constantly, and can be observed from the vantage point of the sky, which is consistent. Future self recognizes it’s tendency to live cognitively dissonant, and therefore deliberatively recognizes and identifies behaviors, impulses, and thoughts which do not align with my values (i.e. Simply asking myself, “is this behavior moving me towards what is important to me?”).   Future self is a specimen of health, not just for my age, but in general. Future self can measure this by BMI, pulse, blood pressure, blood serum, and outward appearance (future self looks confident, composed, and tranquil, because he is). In the world, future self is a man, admittedly flawed, one who has been/is in life’s crucible. He has succeeded and failed, won and lost, gained and regressed, and like the phoenix has risen from the ashes.  Future self-cares for the welfare of others and attempts to help them. Future self makes himself vulnerable through transparency and honesty, and it is exactly my story (good and bad, happy and sad, success and failure, strength and weakness, victory and loss, and resilience to carry on another day) which can assist them in their life’s journey.  Future self appears successful by society’s standards, but has his own measuring system of standards which are worth observing. Integrity. Wholeheartedness is my approach.  Honesty to self-first.  “To thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.”

Future self-pursues spirituality through attending a men’s bible study, reading the bible and spiritual masters such as Jung, William James, Richard Rohr, philosophy, mythology. Future self asks Absolute Power to show him what to do. It may sound superstitious to some, but Future Self believes that when one aligns oneself with the Universe, all the domains of life, with its plethora of problems, tend to resolve. Things begin to fall into place.  Future self is involved in nature through growing, walking in it, watching programs about it, and reading. Every experience is an ontological/teleological one that validates my hypothesis of a Universal Designer. Because future self respects nature, he works with nature to produce an optimal healthy existence. This is simply done by regular 7.5-8 hours of sleep per night, exercising 5-6 times per week, breathing, and meditating every day, a daily green and fruit drink, being cognizant of food intake amounts and types (complete avoidance of certain foods). Future self consumes a 75% vegetable and fruit diet, eats red meat rarely, and consumes fish several times per week (essentially a Mediterranean/Keto diet), takes ID Life and Juice Plus supplements. As mental health is as important, future self attempts to center his thinking on positive aspects of life while still using acceptance and commitment to “sit with” the negative aspects of life.  Control over how much “bad news” through media is consumed is important.  Future self concentrates on source documents and tries to avoid commentary and analysis. Future self leaves technology devices aside for extended periods in the day and does not view these devices past 6 pm. Concerning money, it is necessary. Future self wants to be financially solvent, enjoy life with it, and give it to others.   Future self pays additional principal on mortgage and adds to the principal of a personal loan consistently. Future self invests in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc. consistently.   Future self looks for “deals” and enjoys finding these. Future self is always watchful for ways to generate new income through new business ventures.   Future self is frugal but not miserly. Concerning self-care, much has already been said. Plant based, phytonutrient rich, minimal saturated fats, poly and monounsaturated fat intake, and supplements. Future self exercises 6 days per week with weights and calisthenics, and at least 4 cardio sessions.  Future self  is learning Spanish, converses with wife, plays piano, prays, and is attempting to build support networks with family and friends. Future self is striving to release the unconscious through dream work and individuation. Future self-talks to himself as follows: Admitting my wrongs, confessing them to another when appropriate, forgiving myself, loving myself, and realizing the human frailty and deficit that exists within himself. Future self does know that he has to love himself to truly love others.  Future self says, “you have a worthwhile story that others need to hear. You are valuable, important, your view counts, you can make a difference, you can achieve and succeed.0989522001641479929.jpg0363040001641479849.jpg

Notable Quotes

“To doubt everything, or to believe everything are two convenient solutions: both dispense of necessary reflection.”

“This above all, to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.”

“What you resist, persists.”

“Pain is the teacher that commands the attention of every student. A lesson learned from suffering is not easily forgotten.” 

“Own your shit.”

“So I am well pleased with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, and with difficulties, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak [in human strength], then I am strong [truly able, truly powerful, truly drawing from God’s strength].’

“Your vision will become more clear only when you look into your own heart. He who looks outside dreams, he who looks inside, awakes.”

“We are the authors of our own lives. We write our own endings.”

“One should never think that man can reach perfection, he can only be complete. That would be the necessity and indispensable condition if there were any question of perfection at all.  For how can you perfect a thing that is not complete?  Make it complete first and see what it is then.  But to make it complete is already a mountain of a task, and by the time you arrive at completion, you find that you are already dead, so you never reach that preliminary  condition for perfecting yourself.”

“I am striving to be a free spirit, and primarily this means I am anti-dogmatic and sceptic of science, religion, and philosophy. I am detached from conventional norms. Not in rebellion of society but questioning of societal norms and mores. I choose to have a cheerful temperament and to pursue my own spiritual goals.  I appreciate the aesthetic and mystic. I’m attempting to rid myself of illusion, and not in a resentful way, I want to hold religion and public opinion accountable.  I am not going to reject everything, but I want to figure things out for myself. I want to be an independent mind. I am shaped by hardship and discipline, ask difficult and uncomfortable questions, and want to pursue truth at all costs. I am entirely aware of my own susceptibility to delusion (close mindedness), skeptical, and able to distance myself from my own beliefs. Furthermore, I will question my own beliefs, as well as examine others’ prejudices, motives, and values. I will remain open to explore a large variety of ideas and try to remain less susceptible to bias and double standards.  Few are made for independence, which is a privilege of the strong. My journey may seem strange to others, and I may risk being misunderstood and isolated. “

I am Odysseus, son of Laertes, “he said with a long sigh, “the same Odysseus who waited inside that great horse with my warriors.  Since that time, the gods have given me more than my share of troubles.”  He had to pause while his audience gasped in surprise.  “I come from the island of Ithaca.  It’s a rugged land, but to me, the most beautiful place on earth.”  Then the bard set down his lyre, and the world’s greatest story teller launched into his own story, leaning forward, savoring the power he could still hold over an audience.  Grown men cringed as he described the binding of Polyphemus, the fiery lakes of Hades, the water spouts of Charybdis.  They marveled at the lotus eaters magic fruit and the Sirens’ deadly song, which Odysseus alone had lived to tell about.  And all through the afternoon he told of the monsters and of the women who had loved and protected him.  “But they never had my heart,” he told them, remembering Circe and Kalypso.  The story worked its magic on the teller as well, for as he relived the wonders of his journey, Odysseus understood that he was ready to return with a full heart to the simple life on Ithaca.  It was deep night when  he finished; his listeners in the great hall sat spellbound as the silence pooled around them.   


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