Now that you have detected in the present in support of finding your True Self, it’s time to go back in time.

Archeologists excavate artifacts and study them. We will do the same. To the extent that you are able, find things from your past that meant something to you.

Sometimes, due to life circumstances, there are no old things to find. If that’s the case for you, get yourself in whatever position is easiest for you to search the memory banks of your brain, and do your digging there.

You are looking for things from your past that spark something for you. That spark tells you something about the core of You.

For example, here are three things from my past and what I think they say about me:

  1. A small zippered bag, handmade, woven of beads, suede on the inside, a gift from when I was I somewhere between six and eight years old. It tells me that I like things that are made by hand, and art, and things that have an interesting texture.
  2. A coarsely carved wooden box that was my grandmother’s and sat on her dresser until she died, when I was ten. On the inside of the lid she pasted this text:


Being alone without feeling alone is one of the great experiences of life, and he who practices it has acquired an infinitely valuable possession. People fly to crowds for happiness, not knowing that all the happiness they find there they must take with them. Thus they divert and distract that within them which creates power and joy, until by flying always away from themselves, seeking satisfaction from without rather than from within, they become infinitely boresome to themselves so that they can scarcely bear a moment of their own society.

David Grayson

When I first read this, I thought it was a message from my grandmother, for her and for me. I wondered about the story of this box that was carved in China and bought by her cousin in 1946, in Peking, now Beijing.

This box tells me that my grandmother’s love for me is important to me, as are stories and the power of words to inspire or comfort.

  • The results of many tests and assessments: ACT, SAT, Campbell, Strong Campbell, California Psychological Inventory, MBTI, SkillsOne, Insights, Emode, StengthsFinder, VIA Character Strengths. (This is what happens from being the assessment guinea pig at several companies.)

What these say about me: learner, high verbal skills, artistic, likes to solve concrete and abstract problems, craves variety and adventure. Most similar to: architect, college professor, ski instructor, photographer. Least similar to: financial planner, hospital administrator, child care provider, CEO.

Now it’s your turn to dig into your past.

Go on a hunt! Write about what you find and what it says about the core of You.

BONUS POINTS: The VIA Character Strengths assessment has a free version of the results report. What I like about this assessment is that it includes dimensions I’ve never seen elsewhere, such as “Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence,” my number two strength. Take the assessment at

Chewing the Cud of Good

Thankful for the power of art and for another year of Dr. Heiden saying, “everything looks beautiful.”

Nuclear Beach photograph, people swimming with nuclear reactors in the background
This photograph is uncredited, unlike every other photo that hangs nearby on the fourth floor of the Intercontinental Hotel and Suites at the Cleveland Clinic. (Dr. Heiden relocated from Chicago to Cleveland—how convenient!)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top