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Date: 01/01/2014
  • Practices
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Letter From the Future

from chapter 9 of Coming Back to Life by Joanna Macy and Molly Brown; second edition, published 2014. Page 183. Please acknowledge the source when you use any of these practices.


Time: 40 minutes


In writing exercise, we identify with a human living on Earth one or two centuries from now and, from that perspective, see our current efforts and receive counsel and encouragement. It can also be used as a stand-alone practice, or in Going Forth. Molly has used it to begin a retreat focused on the rights of future generations, where it evoked a sense of mission.



Closing their eyes, people are invited to journey forward through coming generations and identify with a human living one or two hundred years from now. They need not figure out this person’s circumstances, but only imagine that he or she is looking back at them in their present lives.

Now imagine what this being would want to say to you. Open your mind and listen. Now begin putting it on paper, as if this future one were writing a letter just to you. 

Allow ample time for the writing. After ten minutes or so, people may read their letters aloud in small groups or the whole group. These simple letters can have a remarkable and lasting effect, bringing people their “marching orders.” They are often very meaningful to the hearers as well.

Contributor/Author: Joanna Macy & Molly Brown