Adventures with Time Lines
Patterns for Adventuring in Time
Judith Pearson, Ph.D.
As a “semantic class of life” (Korzybski) who live by and in symbols, we cannot help but process, code, and represent the abstraction of “time.” We cannot but help (sic) live by symbolic representations of events and learnings that happened in the past or will happen in the future. To our glory and our agony, our “time” consciousness serves as the basis for our ability to transcend this place and time and to develop awareness of the spiritual dimension. (p. 130)
We are all adventurers in time, consistently leaving behind, forever, the events of the past, and exploring the unknown territory of the future that lies just beyond our awareness, often with only the most obvious landmarks vaguely outlined on our inner maps. Time Lining, by Bobby G. Bodenhamer and L. Michael Hall tells us how to chart that journey. This book gives NLP practitioners a new perspective on time-lines and general semantics, integrating the many concepts of time into a multi-dimensional model with logical levels and applications for personal growth, healing, creativity, and productivity. It is an exciting contribution to NLP that truly advances the study of time-line interventions and enhancements. Bodenhamer and Hall show us how to modify our time-lines to live more fully and powerfully, and for pursuing whatever purposes we deem valuable and worthwhile.
The purpose of this instructional text is to explain the nature of time itself, within the larger contexts of philosophy, psychology, religion, learning, and linguistics. The book contains an excellent review of time-line patterns with which NLP practitioners are familiar, and expands that knowledge base to include many advanced patterns. Time Lining takes up where Time Line Therapy™ (Tad James and Wyatt Woodsmall, Meta Publications, 1988) and Time For a Change (Richard Bandler, Meta Publications, 1993) leave off. Whether you are a therapist, trainer, or consultant, Time Lining will make an excellent addition to your NLP library.
According to Tad James, who wrote the forward for this book,
Your personal “time-line” is how you unconsciously store your memories and how you unconsciously know the difference between a memory from the past and a projection of the future. It has been established that behavioral change takes place at an unconscious level and releases the effects of past negative experiences and changes “inappropriate” programming in minutes. This is deep, lasting change, documented by a decade of research and experience. (p. vii)
Time Lining is a process for bringing our codings of time under conscious control by modifying the manner in which we represent and subjectively experience temporality, including memories of the past, experiences of the present, and expectations about the future. Time-lining is a process of change which takes place place through altering critical submodalities for remedial or generative changes.
Philosophers have long explored the origins of the concept of “time” and its relationship to human experience. The interest in “time” among NLP practitioners began in the early 1980’s when Leslie Cameron Bandler taught a workshop on Meta Programs and Belief Systems, in which she distinguished “in time” and “through time” meta programs. Other NLP trainers, such as Anne Linden and Frank Stass began to elicit representations of time, finding that people tend to represent time in a linear fashion. Steve and Connierae Andreas gave a presentation on Time Lines at the second NANLP conference in 1983. In 1988 James and Woodsmall published Time Line Therapy and the Basis of Personality. Since then, numerous NLP practitioners have continued to expand our knowledge of time-line procedures.
Time Lining consists of 15 chapters divided into four parts. In Part I, “Getting Started,” the authors discuss the philosophers’ long-standing struggle to define time. Bodenhamer and Hall present information about how we have developed time consciousness as individuals, and as a species. Time has many meanings, referring, for example, to clock measurements (hours, minutes, etc.), historical periods (ancient times, modern times), the territory of experience (traveling through time), the incessant flow of events (the passing of time), a subjective quantity (too much time or too little time), and as the span of one life (one’s time on earth). Even though humans have nominalized time, time has no external referent, and does not exist beyond our nervous systems. Time exists only in our own perceiving, thinking about, and conceiving of relationships among events. Our time consciousness orders and structures our perceptions, emotions, and neurology, thereby creating various personality structures.
Part II is about “Time Line Patterns and Processes.” We code time mainly through visual submodalities, of which size, distance, and location are the most important. Most people store their concept of time (events) sequentially and linearly, around, behind, in front of, above, and below the body, and at varying distances. Each individual has his or her unique time-line. How we store time leads to various consequences in emotions, beliefs, and behaviors. In-time people live “in” their time-lines, getting caught up at the primary level of events, fully associated, and often having trouble releasing emotions. Through- time people are detached from their time-lines, seeing the ordering and sequencing of events, yet having difficulty living in the now. Sometimes in-time and through-time orientations are context dependent.
For many people, the ways in which they represent past events or projected events bring about unresourceful states. Yet, because we represent events sequentially and linearly, we can mentally “travel” backward or forward in “time” to make changes. We can change submodalities of the time-line by viewing distressing or traumatic events in a dissociated manner, from various vantage points above the time-line, that allow us to disconnect from dysfunctional decisions and painful emotional associations.
Part of why some people do not let go of the past lies in the fact that in over-valuing and over-believing in the painful experiences they have suffered through, they forget that they could have had other experiences, and, if they had, they would have drawn different conclusions; conclusions that would free them up from the sabotaging and traumatizing mental maps they did make. (p. 127)
NLP interventions such as V/K Dissociation and Reimprinting work well in conjunction with time-line methods. Moreover, we can install new memories on the time-line, resulting in a recoding and/or reinterpreting of subsequent events. We can even change personality traits and meta-programs by altering the submodalities of the time-line itself!
In Part III, “Adventuring in Time,” the authors move beyond the level of recoding events on the time-line, to recoding our relationships to “time” itself. Bodenhamer and Hall introduce time-line methods for getting unstuck from the negatives of the past, living more fully in the present, and preparing proactively for the future. We have the power to create bright futures by living intentionally and consciously each day, having well-formed outcomes, attaching motivating meanings to our actions, goals, and objectives, and managing our representations so that our visions of the future create resourceful states. By finding a purpose for living, we experience the sacredness of time. An entire chapter in Time Lining is devoted to guidelines (taken from the writings of Ben Franklin) for creating a life well-lived. These guidelines include “Discover values of excellence by which to govern life,” “Adopt a style of honesty and integrity,” and “Properly acquire wealth.”
Time is a mental-neurological construct, and, as such, it is a non-thing. Yet our species has the unique ability to “bind” time so that we continuously create the culture of the human race. We are the only time-binding class of life, in that we use symbols (language) to communicate conceptual meanings to ourselves and others and transmit knowledge of the accomplishments and learnings of others who have lived in previous ages. Thus, we can pass knowledge from one generation to the next and build on one another’s discoveries. In this way, we advance our culture, rather than having to consistently re-invent it. Time-binding delivers us from making multitudes of mistakes and moves us into the accelerated learning experience known as modeling. Through our abilities to model excellence, make enhancing adjustments to mistakes, and develop communication skills, we can become efficient as time binders, continuing the flow of wisdom and creativity, and passing our learnings along to others.
Part IV explores “Time in Logical Levels,” beginning with a philosophical and semantic analysis of how humans create various awarenesses and dimensions of time, such that time becomes a multi-ordinal concept. Our time-consciousness generates our psychological experience of time. Our beliefs, values, and meanings, even the things we say to ourselves about time, all determine how comfortable we feel with time; whether we feel we have too little or too much. The ultimate time management skill, then, is the ability to “language time” with words, symbols, beliefs and values that build enhancing maps of time.
The final chapters present advanced methods for Time-Lining, teaching readers patterns for the following:
Entering a place (state) of pure potentiality
Developing the ability to access a pure flow state of the eternal now
Developing more time for patience–Now
Linguistically re-narrating life
Developing new rhythms for time
Finishing a past gestalt
In the pattern called “developing more time for patience,” for example, the authors advise you to access and examine your personal representations of not having enough time. Next, discover the meanings behind the feelings of impatience. What does it mean, for example, that you don’t get all those things accomplished? Then, challenge the “demandingness” within those meanings. Go to a “meta position” of acceptance about the thoughts and feelings about impatience. Alter your representation of time, while “re-languaging” yourself; saying “I have plenty of time and refuse to threaten myself in an erroneous way by thinking of ‘time’ in terms of scarcity.”
The authors show us that we can feel pressured by not having enough time, or we can acknowledge that time is ample. We can feel patient or impatient with the pace of events. We can choose boredom or fascination. We can picture futures devoid of opportunities or full of potential. We can perceive time as passing slowly or quickly. We can, should we choose, access the flow state of timelessness, living in the eternal now. We can resourcefully relate to time. We can favorably alter, not only our relationships with time in its immediateness, but also change our consciousness of the life process itself.
Drs. Bobby Bodenhamer and L. Michael Hall are well-known to the readers of Anchor Point. They are two of the most prolific authors on the NLP scene today, consistently pushing the limits of what we know about altering human understandings and states. Both are accomplished authors, known for their integrity, creativity, dedication to detail, and conscientious research. Time Lining is one of three books which they have recently co-authored.
Bobby G. Bodenhamer is the principal author of the book and his education in Philosophy, Psychololgy, Religion, and Ministry are evident throughout. He is a Master Practitioner and Trainer of NLP, maintains a private practice, and serves his community by teaching NLP at Gaston College in Gastonia, North Carolina, and as Pastor to Christ Fellowship Community Church. L. Michael Hall contributes an education in Psychology, Human Resources, and Biblical Language and Literature, with a doctorate in Cognitive Behavioral Psychology. His articles appear frequently in Anchor Point and other NLP journals. He has written 16 books on NLP and is the author of Metamorphosis—the Journal. He is the developer of the concept of Meta-states.
In Time Lining, the authors perform an artistic blending of the mystical, the philosophical, and the practical for an unforgettable exploration of the intriguing riddles of “time.” Bodenhamer and Hall draw from the pioneering efforts of NLP stalwarts (Richard Bandler, Thad James, Wyatt Woodsmall, Steve and Connierae Andreas) as well as the works of Stephen Covey, Ben Franklin, Victor Frankl, William Glasser, William James, and the Bible. They express their ideas and concepts eloquently and make cogent arguments for the methods and perspectives featured in this book. They explain procedures in a logical, easy-to-follow manner, with each step numbered and defined precisely, often with the aid of diagrams and flow-charts. Time-Lining is scholarly and well-referenced, with a glossary, bibliography, and an index.
Time Lining is likely to be one of the most thought-provoking books you will ever read, because it asks more questions than it answers. Finding the answers to the questions it poses will take you one step further in your own quest for meaning within the context of time. Our individual passages through time are the hero’s journeys, wherein we encounter dangers, test our mettle, resist or succumb to temptation, lose or find our souls, and meet with defeats and victories, while partaking of the full range of human emotions. Is your adventure through time taking you somewhere you want to go? What meanings and values do you want to carry with you on your journey? What destiny are you creating?
One thing that you can count on in the weeks and months to come, you will move through “time.” Will you so move that your movements convey power, excellence, and grace? Will you move through “time” with excitement and vitality? Will you feel empowered as you so move through “time” so that you create a life “well lived?” Will you take charge of yourself and your energies so that you will direct your mind-and-emotions toward those goals and outcomes that will enhance your life? If you so choose, you can. (p. 164)
Judith E. Pearson, Ph.D.
Dr. Judith Pearson is a Licensed Professional Counselor with a psychotherapy practice in Northern Virginia, specializing in Hypnotherapy and NLP. She has been in private practice since 1987. She is a Master Practitioner of Clinical Hypnosis and Executive Director of Certification for the National Board of Certified Clinical Hypnotherapists. She is a Certified Trainer of Neuro-Linguistic Programming and an instructor for the American Hypnosis Training Academy and the Mid-Lantic Institute for NLP.
Dr. Pearson speaks on the uses of NLP and Hypnosis for personal growth, healing, motivation, and self improvement. She has published extensively in association magazines and professional journals. She makes frequent appearances on local television talk shows, both as a speaker and as a guest host. She is a member of Toastmasters International where she has earned the title of Distinguished Toastmaster and in which she has won many awards for her speaking and leadership skills. Dr. Pearson is available to write guest articles and for speaking engagements on topics such as:
Maximize Your Motivation!
Relax and Reduce Your Pain.
Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking
Develop Empowering Beliefs
Love Who You Are and Get What You Want.
To contact Judith, call 703-764-0753
Mailing Address: 5417-C Backlick Road, Springfield, VA 22151