I think most of us have regrets. We look back, with so much more perspective, and shake our heads at our own naivity, as if we should have known better. Okay, maybe we really did know better and chose anyway, but did we have the perspective we have now?
If a child made a decision they were regretting, what would you say to that child?
You might say, “Just learn from it and move on,” or you might suggest, “Use that decision to grow and next time make a different decision.” You sure wouldn’t want the child to hang on to nagging guilt would you?
And yet, isn’t that exactly what we often do to ourselves? We tell ourselves not to feel guilty, but feel it anyway.
Recently a wise elder, friend, and professional coach, Sharon Hooper, shared with me something she tells her clients and I found a lot of comfort in this perspective, “We do what we need to do until we no longer need to do it.”
I had been carrying around some regrets in the back of my mind, and the minute I heard her say this, my shoulders relaxed, and I thought, “Yep, I have done what I needed to do until I no longer needed to do it, and now I do it differently. That about wraps it up.”
I got it. There just wasn’t anything to regret. Something is complete when it is complete and not a minute before. There are realizations, perspectives and experiences that simply need to be in place and then we just change.
So until all of that is in place, we do what we do, and quite frankly, as another elder once reminded a group of us, “Most people, most of the time are doing their best.”
That includes me. Most of the time, I’m doing my best, and I’ve discovered she was right. Even when we are making some really interesting decisions, we are usually doing our best in that moment in time.
As I’ve been contemplating the world of regrets, another realization came to me recently. The matrix of life is like a tapestry being woven in the moment. I know I haven’t done all the things I intended to do in the time frame I intended to do them, but I also know that the tapestry is constantly in creation.
There are other actions I have chosen, that perhaps I didn’t intend to do before I came to earth, that have served equally well or better. Perhaps other people have picked up something I had intended to do and visa versa.
Creation is not static. It is in constant process. If I had seen more of my potential life and intentions at a younger age, I might not have learned to trust in the flow of creation and its mystery.
There are streams of possibilities for each of us, and I have learned it is wise not to become attached to any one stream, but rather to engage in the joy of discovery that each moment has to offer.
I have come to believe that my heart offers me a clear path as I learn how to listen to its deeper truths, and give myself permission to courageously follow its drum-beat. The more that I choose from the truth of a heart that is honest, yet without attachment, the fewer regrets I have.
I don’t have to see more of the future, though sometime I may. What serves me better is to live in this moment with the realization that every choice I have made up to this moment—whether I deem them to be wise or unwise—has led me to this perfect moment in which I may once again choose to live fully in my greatest truth, my best right now.
For support in your unique spiritual journey, visit the Foundation Reverend Misa volunteers for: New Dream Foundation