Can 'seeing' the future make you change the life you live now

Can ‘seeing’ the future make you change the life you live now: CLOVER STROUD was deeply sceptical of the latest woo-woo therapy, until she met herself in 30 years’ time

  • Future Life Progression is a blend of hypnosis, visualisation and ‘intuitive work’, which guides people to ‘meet’ a future version of themselves 
  • Clover Stroud was sceptical but decided to visit FLP practitioner Anne Jirsch
  • UK-based writer says the experience gave her confidence and self belief 

Like many other women, I binge-watched this month’s highly acclaimed BBC adaptation of Kate Atkinson’s novel Life After Life. 

It’s the story of Ursula Todd, a girl doomed to repeat her life over and over again. Born in 1910, each time she dies, the reborn Ursula knows exactly what will happen to her future self because she has embodied it in an endless cycle. 

In Atkinson’s novel, it’s a terrifying concept. But it left me wondering how I would react if I, too, could see into the future. Would I be sitting here now, typing away alone in a room, if I could see myself in ten years’ time? 

Ursula’s knowledge allows her to alter the course of each life she lives and thus to seek greater happiness or avoid certain fates. But could such knowledge help us here and now? 

Future Life Progression is a blend of hypnosis, visualisation and ‘intuitive work’, which guides people to ‘meet’ a future version of themselves. Clover Stroud (right) was sceptical but decided to visit FLP practitioner Anne Jirsch (left)

I’m not a total cynic about ideas like these. I love the odd session with an intuitive, a spiritual guide who uses intuition, and have tried them four or five times over several decades. 

At 47, questions about the direction of my life are starting to nag. The pandemic forced many of us to re-evaluate our lives. But in 2019 I also lost my sister to cancer, and with her the anchor I’d had for four-and-a-half decades. I’m a married mother of five, a writer and journalist, but I’m getting to that post-baby-rearing stage where you ask: ‘What next?’ 

So when a friend mentioned Anne Jirsch, a pioneer of Future Life Progression (FLP), I was curious. 

FLP is a blend of hypnosis, visualisation and ‘intuitive work’ that, practitioners such as Anne claim, guides people to ‘meet’ a future version of themselves. 

The idea is that an encounter with this different self who is five, ten, 20 years older than you are now, can offer guidance about how to create the future you’re capable of. 

But Anne goes further. She also claims to take clients to meet a far distant future self, a version in 1,000 years that manifests as a highly evolved being to guide their path. 

I was deeply sceptical about the idea of meeting myself in several decades, let alone 1,000 years. Even as someone open to the idea of the power of intuition, that’s a stretch. And yet I did have a dilemma I wanted my future self to clear up: my husband Pete works abroad a lot, meaning I spend much of my time on my own, and the question of moving with our family to join him hovers over me. 

Two weeks ago, I quashed my doubts and drove to Anne’s office in the unlikely setting of a business park near Maidenhead. Slight as a sparrow, she, nevertheless, has a big presence and an inquisitive, welcoming face. 

‘People expect me to have a cat or wear a long dress, but that’s just not me,’ she laughs when I comment on her smart business suit. 

A rented office is less conspicuous for celebrities, she tells me as we settle into her room, furnished with nothing more than two chairs, a bookshelf lined with copies of some of the books she’s written and a Buddha statue. 

Clover (pictured) reveals how she was brought to tears with a sense of deep reassurance that life in 30 years will look stable, nurturing and loving

Anne’s career has spanned decades, as a speaker, intuitive and coach, and her website tells me politicians and business leaders turn to her for advice. I’m intrigued, too, by the quote from film producer Paul Duddridge on her most recent book, Future Vision Your Working Life: ‘In my working life I’ve found there is one golden rule. Do what Anne Jirsch tells you. . .her advice is always right and, if followed to the letter, always gets results.’

Most of Anne’s clients want a sense of how their near future might look. But I also want to move beyond that, first to a version 30 years in the future and then beyond that, to see who I would be in the next life, after reincarnation. We can achieve all of this in two sessions, Anne says. 

Before we start, I’m curious to know how Anne became an intuitive, assuming it must be a shadowy skill she was born with, perhaps passed through her family. But no, her father worked in a car factory and her mother ran a garage. 

‘As a child, I watched my grandma reading cards and tea leaves in Spitalfields Market in the East End of London. I spent my summer holidays with her and was desperate to be like her and have a premonition, but I was impatient and didn’t feel it.’ 

It wasn’t until her early 20s, on a trip to India, that she developed her understanding of intuition and its potential when used to explore the far-distant future. 

‘I spent time talking to a beggar in Kolkata, who coached me in how to understand human nature, how it affects intuition, and how to use it to shape our futures,’ she says. ‘He helped me understand “soul journeys”, too, and how we can use information from different lives to guide this one to live up to our potential.’ 

Back in England, she trained as a clinical hypnotherapist. But it was a chance meeting with two soldiers, who had fought together in Iraq and wanted to understand themselves and their friendship better, which set her on her current path. Anne brought in a regressionist, who specialised in looking into past lives, to work alongside her. 

‘Working with those soldiers changed me. Although we’d worked together with a regressionist, we found that collectively, using hypnosis and by silencing the noise and focus in present life, we jumped forwards. 

‘Using this technique, we foresaw huge world events, such as the election of Obama followed by Trump,’ explains Anne. ‘I started to understand how to move between past and future life regression. Meeting your future self is a powerful experience. It can completely change you, or help you create circumstances to become that change.’ 

As I settle into my chair, I’m not sure what to expect. But as Anne starts to take me through a relaxation technique using hypnosis, I quickly find myself slipping into a heavy state where I’m awake but also in a different space, as if Anne’s voice is both speaking from across the room and close to me. 

With Anne’s guidance, I visualise walking into a room and looking at my life. I don’t get a strong sense of anyone around me, like my family, but instead the image that occurs to me is focused on where I am. 

Anne then walks me into another room where a future version of myself in ten years is waiting. 

Anne doesn’t focus on my physical looks, and isn’t concerned about whether I have aged, for example. Instead, the emphasis is on tuning into and describing to her how my life at that point feels. And when Anne starts asking what I see in my future life, I’m aware of feeling, for the first time, slightly uncomfortable. I don’t have a sense of my life taking a drastic new path in this future room. 

Perhaps Anne notices my hesitation as she reassures me there’s no right answer. Eyes closed, I tell her I don’t know what the future me really feels like. 

I sit there feeling disappointed I’m having no blinding clarity about becoming a yoga teacher or moving to Scotland. 

Anne says to keep moving into a new room, where she tells me to visualise the life I really want. She says to imagine how it feels, and what the colour and tone might be. 

Immediately, I am aware of being flooded with a bright pink colour. I can’t sense anything specific, except I know this new room feels good, and I am aware of the positive energy as Anne tells me to focus on the colour and turn up the feeling of it within my life, like a dial. 

Then I hear her voice interrupting my thoughts. ‘I don’t think books and writing will be the only way you shape your career,’ she tells me. She says speaking opportunities which enable me to communicate my own message about adversity and living in a bold way should be where I see my future. 

Although I didn’t mention our real-life dilemma about moving abroad, she also says she thinks part of my future life will be in a different country. She brings me back by counting backwards. When I’m out of the hypnosis, I feel energised by a general sense of potential, but still slightly frustrated that I’ve been given no specifics about how my life will change.

Anne says the vagueness is partly because some of the central pillars in my life — my work, my relationship, my role as a mother — are in place, but that other people who come to her for readings are given specific information, such as seeing children they didn’t know they’d have. ‘Seeing’ these things in their future lives, she tells me, helps them then create or find them in their present life. 

But I am also impatient for more answers, so when we meet the next day, we quickly get into the distant future. I close my eyes as we walk back into the relaxation technique, and Anne says to visualise a cloud that I settle into, then push myself forward, across the decades, until I’m 30 years hence. 

At that point, something changes in me, and the experience of FLP shifts profoundly. Without warning, I go from vaguely sceptical to highly emotional. I start crying as Anne tells me to sit quietly and look at myself in 30 years. I feel a massive sense of relief to see myself as a version of who I am now, but less frenetic and less stressed. 

Clover reveals that what she learnt from both sessions she had with Anne was that the answers were there within her 

Even in my hypnotic state, I am amazed to find myself crying with a sense of deep reassurance that life in 30 years will look stable, nurturing and loving. Having only really been able to visualise myself in our last session, now I see multiple grandchildren, and myself surrounded by a greater sense of peace. 

Relief is my main experience as I look at my future self, since the previous few years have involved a huge amount of turbulence, loss and change. I find myself sobbing with a kind of joy. 

Then we move forward again, to a new place in my future life after this one. Anne tells me to keep my mind open and allow any thoughts to settle, rather than to fight anything. 

‘Do you see yourself as a man or a woman?’ she asks, and I tell her I’m not sure. She presses me, and I am clear my gender is indeterminate, but that I’m in a hot climate, in a place of some uncertainty but dynamism. I am part of a community who are surviving in difficult circumstances. 

Anne asks what advice that future self has, and I get a strong message to be brave, and that life will change fundamentally but still make sense. 

Then we move forward again, as Anne describes moving across centuries, to myself in 1,000 years’ time. 

‘You will meet a highly evolved version of yourself there and need to be open to what that being tells you,’ she says. I feel a sense of reassurance as a kind of multi-bodied being greets me in a cloud of white light. 

‘What advice does this being give you?’ Anne asks. I tell her the message from this being, who is me and yet not me, is one of deep love and reassurance. 

A single phrase is in my head: ‘Everything will become clear, there’s no need to worry’ — and again I feel myself crying, as Anne says to reach out and take my future self’s hand. 

I’m flooded with a feeling of intense love. Anne tells me to register that feeling, to hold it, to remember it, since it’s that which can guide my present self. 

Then we move backwards, count down, and I am back in the room. I feel energised, with a new sense of positivity, and over the next day I’m left with a feeling that working with Anne, and my future self, was more profound, surprising and thoughtprovoking than I’d anticipated. It was also harder than I imagined. I did not, as I had expected, see a clear version of myself doing something different, but instead left with a firmer sense that who I am, the path I am following, is the right one. 

The advice of her first session had been bracingly practical: hone your message and work on your craft as a writer to connect with a wider audience around emotional truths — which is not so different from what a business coach might say. Yes, it focused my mind and helped me feel more confident, but it was the second session which felt life-changing. 

What interested me most — and I got this from both sessions — was the sense that all the answers are within me. I put this to Anne and she agrees. ‘This is part of the beauty of FLP. It helps people take control and realise their destinies. It helps you recognise talents you already have and then actually use them.’ 

I do not face huge uncertainty in my life — I have a career I love which I’m not hoping to change, and neither am I wanting to gain insight into whether I might start a family, for example. 

But FLP did help me find a new kind of confidence, greater self belief, a feeling I’m on the right track and a more defined ability to appreciate what I have. That, indeed, is life-changing. And for that, I am profoundly grateful. 


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