The Roman God, Janus

In Ancient Roman times, Janus was the god of beginnings, gates, transitions, time, duality, doorways, passages and endings.  He is depicted as having two heads – one looking at the past and the other to the future.  It is thought that the month of January was named for him. 

At the start of the New Year, I have been thinking about: the month of January; the god Janus; the past, present and future; looking forward and looking back, and how these fit with coaching and NLP.

Here are some suggestions of ways you could evaluate your life, and possibilities of how to move forward to a future that is successful in whichever ways are meaningful for you. 

Looking Back

1.  Look back with positivity

Think of your life in terms of the occurrences and events that have brought you happiness, celebration, achievement and fun.  Relive and focus on these because these memories form a secure and joyful basis to the person you are.  You may want to think about your role in making these moments happen, or how you were positively affected by those around you.  Hold these memories and thoughts dear to you, making the colours, sounds, tastes, smells and feelings associated with them clear and bold. 

2.  Look back with balance

There may be things that happened in your life that you can look back on with greater balance and equilibrium now that time has passed.  Perhaps there were times when you felt disappointed, confused, upset or under stress.  Did these situations naturally and organically play out and you can see them in a rounded way and with a balanced view?  They may sit better with you now and bring you acceptance and peace. 

3.  Look back with reflection

When we spend time truly reflecting on our life, the choices we have made, and our role and responsibility to making things happen, this is when we can truly learn.  Reflect in its highest and purest form.  Do not be afraid to face moments that are difficult, or manifest feelings of guilt, sorrow or shame. 

Also, hold a mirror to yourself and reflect deeply on the ways you have brought love, happiness and warmth to others and therefore yourself.  These may be simple ways, or they may be profound.  Actually, they may be simple gestures with profound outcomes.  So often the way. 

4.  Look back in ….

I have always loved listening to the Oasis song ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’.  If we don’t look back in anger, what do we look back in?  In this section I am leaving it up to you to decide.  After all, it is your life and you can choose how you look back on it. 

Looking Forward

1.  Making future plans

It might be that you look forward to looking forward!  Your future lies before you, with the promise of great things to come and achievements within grasping distance.  You can look forward in many different ways.  You may have dreams, ideas and ambitions.  Keeping journals and creating vision boards may work for you.  Some people ask the universe.  Others write lists and make plans.  People may form short term and/or long term goals. And some make New Year’s resolutions!

It might be beneficial for you to think about how you look to your future and what works well for you, so that you can live the life you want to lead. 

2. Neuro Linguistic Programming

Our lives are made up of positive experiences and those that affect us negatively too.  Chance, throw away comments can deeply hurt us.  Stressful and emotional times rock us to our core.  Traumatic events stay with us for a long time. 

NLP is highly effective at changing thought processes so that people can be free from beliefs that are limiting them.  For example, believing that they are inadequate, unintelligent, or incapable of success, to name but a few.  There are also NLP techniques to overcome trauma, phobias and to become ambivalent to past negative and emotional experiences.

I wonder what it would be like to be free from these types of thought patterns and to live your life in a different way.

3.  Coaching

Well, what can I say about coaching?  My life has changed hugely because of its subtle processes and amazing benefits.  Professionally and personally I am glad that coaching entered my life.  It never takes away.  It always adds. 

Coaching is made for ‘looking forward’!  There may be some reflection on the past and I always coach so that positives are built on.  Mostly, I create a safe and confidential space so that time almost seems to stand still.  It is a chance to ponder, plan, set goals, reflect, learn, build, be empowered, become motivated, have fun, challenge yourself.  The list is endless. 

I am going to repeat a phrase that I have already used. 

Coaching enables us to look forward to looking forward. 

Can we take something from Janus, the Roman god with two heads, and apply it to our lives today?  Perhaps he simply reminds us that we can successfully build a future when we occasionally look back too. Face the future with a reflective nod to the past.