It is difficult to know who you are, where you should go, or how you should get there, unless you know where you came from. The Past Authoring Program has therefore been designed to help you write a structured autobiography. The program will help you:
- Divide your life into seven different time periods or epochs.
- Identify the most significant events that occurred during each epoch.
- Describe how each of those experiences has shaped who you are today.
It would be particularly useful to complete the Past Authoring Program if you have memories that are more than about eighteen months old that still intrude upon your thoughts, or that still evoke emotion such as fear, regret, shame or confusion. If this is happening, it means that your mind has not yet been able to fully process your past experiences, and that the brain areas associated with negative emotion still regard the past events in question as unresolved threats. This is not good, because your brain reacts to unresolved threats with emergency physiological preparation, including the production of stress hormones such as cortisol that can be very toxic when chronically elevated.
The Past Authoring program is the most difficult and time-consuming of all the programs. We recommend that you complete it after the Present and Future Authoring programs, once you have become accustomed to the process.
"The Past Authoring program was particularly valuable to me. When I began it, I struggled to think of experiences to include. I thought that my life was mundane, that I lacked significant/pivotal life events. With some thought, I began to remember experiences that I had not thought of for a while, that involved early family conflict. Working through the exercises for chosen experiences made me understand their significance and their persistent influence on me. Working through the exercise personally made me organize my thoughts and feelings about these experiences."
"The autobiography was a painful, yet important experience. I feel that everyone should do it at some point in their lives. I managed to isolate all the negative events in my life that still bother me, to this day, and took the necessary steps to make it better. Furthermore, since there was a limit on the amount of memories I could write about, it helped me prioritize the negative events that could be fixed, and distinguish them from others that just needed to be forgotten. On a positive note, I identified the common patterns and themes that mattered to me the most. The challenge of relationships/triumph of friendships, the relationship with my parents and the associated volatility/instability, and the need for competition and inspiration to help maximize my own potential."
"I definitely enjoyed doing the Past and Future Authoring programs. It was fun reminiscing about past events, working through past struggles and concretely identifying where I've come from and why I'm at where I'm at."
"Trying to figure out which experiences were more significant than others was challenging itself. However, as the process continued and we had to analyze our experiences more in depth, the pieces of my past seemed to fit together. I obviously knew what my past consisted of (in terms of the things I had experienced, people I had met, etc.), but I had never thought about them in the way this program forces you to. Overall, completing this assignment has shed a new light on my past, making me realize and aware of the significance of my experiences, and the influence they have had on shaping the person I am today."