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  • Writer's pictureDerek Carlson

Escape Your Fate by Revisiting Childhood Photos

Images are powerful.

The only reason I am thinking about images right now is I recently installed the Mylio photo organization software so that I could wrangle the myriad of photos I have across several devices.  After I installed it, I was magnetically drawn to the “People” section, and within a few hours I was neck deep going through all of the results of the automatic face tagging.

I was looking through the photos that it thought might be me, and as I confirmed each one, I started coming across a bunch of childhood photos that I forgot I even had.  I had scanned them a decade ago when I had attended school for a degree in Spiritual Psychology.  The project we were working on was called “A History of Loving,” and it was a way to psychologically connect with one’s younger self to apply loving to childhood hurts and therefore transform unloving images and pain trapped in the psyche.

But I had forgotten about some photos, and I even uncovered other photos that I didn’t even know existed.  One photo really struck me.  It felt like it revealed a truth that hadn’t really been acknowledged, a truth that revealed underpinnings of trauma that have affected my entire life.

The photo I am referring to showed me just a few days old, laying in my mother’s lap, looking sad and scared.  My mother looked really mean, stern, like she didn’t want to be dealing with whatever she was dealing with.  And my father was beside her, looking, well… if I had to guess, I’d say probably drunk.   It feels to me like he was a big part of what she didn’t want to be dealing with.

As I looked at that picture, I realized that all the negative, unloving energy that I experienced as that little several-day-old baby – that negative energy caused an imprint.  It created painful and destructive feelings, thoughts, and beliefs – I’ll collectively refer to these as “images” - and those all got imprinted into my psyche.

Remember what I said about images being powerful?

“Imprint” doesn’t actually honor the significance and severity of this process.  This type of negativity is literally traumatic to the baby, often highly so, and it can cause what’s sometimes referred to as splits in, or disowned aspects of, the psyche.  And this imprinting also happens while a fetus is in the womb where it truly can’t escape the negative energy of its environment.  It also continues in more obvious ways through a child’s formative years.

In some ways, our childhood, from when we are in the womb until however many years old, is a big exercise in hypnosis.  Programming.  The Matrix is the environment that we grew up in, with all of its energies, all of its pain, all of its mistaken and unloving ideas. 

The powerful images in our imaginations, anchored in the subconscious by the disowned aspects of our psyches, are creating our lives.  They are creating not only moods and mood swings, but they are creating the overall arc of our lives from year to year, decade to decade, and birth to death.  They are a blueprint for an entire lifetime.  

The end result of childhood trauma, in most cases, is an adult with issues.  All sorts of issues.  Some relatively minor.  Some utterly tragic.  For me, it was lifelong depression and disconnection.

That has been my life direction, my life arc, and essentially my fate for almost 50 years. So as I was looking at that photo of me just a few days old, it really felt like I was getting a clear glimpse of where it all started.

A glimpse.  But this is all very complex and very nuanced.  We all come into this world pre-programmed by our genetics.  And we also come pre-programmed energetically by the unresolved issues of our parents, the unresolved issues of our parents’ parents, and so on up through our family history.  If you’ve been reading the history books, you’ve noticed that there’s been a lot of trauma in the past, both personal and societal, and the energy of that trauma doesn’t disappear when the person is dead or the event has passed.  The energy lives on in each one of us, channeled by us in various ways and to various extents, some quite mysterious.

To a greater or lesser extent, it affects our lives and is something we might spend a lifetime trying to ignore or avoid; for me, I’ve done both of those, intermixed with a number of valiant attempts to deal with it.

These issues and energies have crippled my life, emotionally and practically, for decades.  I haven’t been a happy camper.  I’ve been more like a miserable, brooding, off-in-my-tent-alone camper who hates mosquitos and just wants to go home.

But it doesn’t stop there.  It gets worse.

The emotional state of our parents, especially our mothers, started programming us while we were in the womb.  Now, if she was happy, loving, relatively issue-free, and was so excited to have a baby, then we’ve hit the jackpot!  But for most people, this wasn’t the case.  The overall emotional situation with most people on the planet is somewhat negative, and often quite negative.  It’s not an evenly spread out bell curve; it’s skewed heavily towards the negative.  By and large, the people on this planet don’t yet have their loving act together.

So, a lot of us, in addition to genetics, and in addition to family energetics, are also negatively impacted by the environment that we grow in.  All that programming sets us on a subconscious, almost hypnotically programmed trajectory that isn’t very pretty.  

That’s the fate I’m talking about.

You can try to fight it through hard work and will power, and to some extent, some people succeed with this method, but that approach doesn’t work for most in my experience, and it certainly didn’t work for me.

But back to me and my photos.  

In Mylio, I continued tagging pictures of myself, wading through another handful of pictures of me as a toddler.  I was happy and smiling in a few, getting a bath in the kitchen sink in one photo, helping my dad in the garage in another.  But in most of the photos I looked pouty or downright sad.

Some people don’t have major issues, but I suspect most people do.  And those issues are imprinted into the subconscious mind and are often really difficult to heal.  I consider myself a pretty smart, savvy, capable person, but despite my best efforts of over 25 years, I’ve only recently started getting some serious traction in healing childhood issues.

So, if any of this resonates with you, what can you do to fix this?  How can you escape your fate?  How can you heal the negative images, the destructive core beliefs, the splits in your psyche, and the pain in your subconscious that is relentlessly miscreating your life?

There are a ton of things to do, and I’ve done many of them over the years, and I suspect they have all helped a little bit.  Nothing I have done has been an obvious magic bullet – no book, no therapist, no shaman, no hundreds (perhaps thousands) of hours of meditation, no change in diet, no change in exercise, no change in lifestyle, no significant other, no drug, no mind control technique, no seminar – but one thing that feels like it’s made the greatest impact has been what’s referred to as inner child work.  

It comes in many shapes and forms, but one place you can start is with photos of yourself as a child.  


In our mind we think thoughts.  And we see images.  And images provoke thoughts, and thoughts provoke images.  Thoughts are not external, but images can be.  So external images are leverage.  External images are access.  External images prime the pump, set the tone, move you in a direction.  It could be in a healing direction, and that’s the direction we are shooting for here.

Maybe all of your photos are in a box in the garage.  If so, go grab that box.  Maybe your childhood photos are with your parents.  If so, see if you can get them or if they can send them to you.  Or maybe you’ve already scanned many of your photos into your computer.  If so, grab some photo organization software like Mylio and get all the images of you collected in one place.  Then, once you’ve got them in front of you, wade through the ones of you as a toddler.  Look for ones that you seem to have an emotional connection to (positive or negative) as well as for ones where you seem obviously unhappy.

Once you’ve collected a handful of images, find a way to create a collage.  If you’ve got physical photos, tape them on a poster board.  If you’ve got digital photos, you can either print them out and then tape them onto a poster board, or you can use software like Canva, Photoshop, Gimp, or any online photo collage service to put them all in one image that you can look at and meditate upon.

Once you’ve created your collage, spend time with it.  Perhaps nightly, or maybe a few times a week, or maybe whenever you feel like it.  Trust your inner guidance.  The point would be to really look at your younger self with curiosity and compassion.  Try to connect with him or her.  Be open to having emotions come over you.  If it feels natural to do so, send loving, supportive thoughts to the younger you in those images.  Tell him or her you love them.  Or tell him or her that they did nothing wrong.  Or tell him or her whatever is in your heart to tell them.  Or, if nothing comes to mind, just gaze at those images, knowing that something good is mysteriously shifting in your psyche.

You might think you are just looking at old pictures.  But as quantum physics is currently teaching us, time in an illusion.  And as much research into the psyche is now revealing, your younger selves are actually quite present and alive in your psyche.

Images are really powerful.  These images of your younger self are leveraged access into parts of your psyche where answers lie, where healing lies, but where you don’t usually look for answers.

It’s actually quite fascinating.  Referring back to the splits in the psyche that I mentioned earlier, our psyches often split because we were traumatized and couldn’t deal with the pain.  And when our psyche splits, it’s almost like a carbon copy of ourselves gets frozen in time in our minds.  All of the images, thoughts, feelings, and even literal factual knowledge that was present at the time of the trauma gets trapped as a separate, almost individualized, aspect of our psyche.

There are therapeutic modalities that give us direct access to these disowned aspects, and my mind has been blown as I’ve seen the previously invisible pain and feelings come to the surface.  I’ve also seen people’s aspects reveal specific facts of past situations that the person didn’t even consciously remember.  Once we can actually get in touch with the subconscious, we can start to heal it.

And a really easy way to start the process is to spend time with the collage of your younger selves.  That’s a good start if you’re on the path of emotional healing.  That’s a good start if you’re on the path of life transformation.  That’s a good start if you want to escape your fate and realize your destiny.

I have tremendous compassion for anyone walking this path because it feels like I have been banging my head against a brick wall trying to solve this problem for 25 years, and only now am I starting to see results.  If you have read to this point and I can do anything to help you with similar challenges, please get in touch and I’ll help you in any way I can.

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