I wish I could say that I have walked through the trials and tribulations with ease, grace and joy, embracing each new experience, not as a trial or tribulation, but as a lesson to be savored. But, as my grandma would say, I would be a big, fat fibber.
In fact, if anything, I’ve made the burden unnecessarily large by virtue of the fact that I’ve taken the lessons that I have learned and tuned them into weapons of regret against myself. I’ve been using hindsight to beat myself up over decisions that I’ve made and things that I’ve done, not understanding that I was only doing the best I could at the time. I wasn’t operating with all of the information that I have now. It’s a classic case of Monday Morning Quarterbacking. And it’s something that we all do.
Whether it’s something as seemingly mundane as a decision you made at work or something more grave like guilt over how you raised your child, we all have a tendency to judge ourselves using the knowledge and information we have now instead of seeing ourselves with compassion. We can not be perfect – we can never be perfect. There is no such thing. So why would we continue to raise the whip and debase ourselves? We weren’t perfect then and we certainly aren’t perfect now.
This was, and continues to be, a tough lesson for me. This may be one I struggle with for the rest of my life. And the tendency that I think we all have when we go through this is to close our hearts and shut down, both to others and to new experiences. We become desperately afraid of making a mistake again – I know I am. Why would I want to get burned again? But here’s the thing, when you get burned, say by fire, you don’t go the rest of your life never seeking to find warmth again. You would die. You are always open to the possibility of, and in fact actively looking for, warmth without the burn because that is how you are meant to experience things (you know, being the warm-blooded, relatively fragile mammal that you are). The same is true for everything else.
If you make a bad decision, don’t let that stop you from making other decisions using your new insight. If you feel regret over how you raised your own children, don’t not love your grandchildren or think that you will make the same mistakes with them. If you’ve had your heart broken, don’t let that stop you from loving again. These experiences are not meant to be ammunition to use against yourself or to use as an excuse not to open fully or as a reason to throw yourself a pity party. They are there to serve as contrast and as lessons.
However, regret is a natural part of the human experience. But remember, regret is just another word for ammunition – the kind we use against ourselves. The remedy for all of the things that you regret is to continue to live with an open heart and to continue to move to a place where you are feeling through, and leading with, your heart. You must let the experiences move through you as music moves through a flute; the openness of your heart will dictate the tone and strength of the song. More and more, you will have a knowing about what is “right” and what is appropriate, and you will instinctively gravitate to those things. It is a place of all-that-is-possible and a place of miracles.
And remember, you make your own miracles, after all……
In love and light,