Spirituality teaches that living in regret serves no purpose, and instead, to live in the ‘here and now’ as today is all you have. Tomorrow is a promise and yesterday is already gone. I understand this concept well. I try consciously to live my life in the moment, but today, I cannot help myself wanting to take a trip down memory lane. I hope that you don’t mind and accompany me while my heart fills with melancholy.
Spirituality teaches that if you feel emotions, you do not fight them. Instead, you acknowledge your feelings and allow them to pass through you. Bless the fact that you are allowing yourself to feel your feelings without shame or judgment. So in the spirit of that, I am allowing myself to feel the sadness that comes with reminiscing about things past.
‘If I could turn back time’ is the phrase that echoes in my soul. There is a sadness that overtakes my being. I wish that I could travel back in time and have the opportunity to do so many things differently than the ones I did. Unfortunately, I don’t know Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) the eccentric scientist from the movie, Back to the Future (1985). I could surely use his time machine built from a DeLorean car to travel back through time as Marty McFly (Michel J. Fox) did.
I also cannot go inside a black hole where time and space are said to change places. Nor do I live in a fantasy world, visited by guardian angels to offer me a trip back to the past, as it is the case in some of our beloved Hollywood movies.
Mr. Destiny, 1990. Larry Burrows, played by Jim Bulushi, meets an angel disguised as a bartender (Michael Caine). The angel fixes Larry a special cocktail that sends Larry back to a pivotal moment in time, a time in which a single decision Larry made caused him a different path in his life. The angel gives Larry a chance to go back and change his action. Thus allowing Larry to achieve the life that he thought he wanted.
Another favorite one, The Family Man, 2000. Wall Street playboy, Jack Campbell (Nicolas Cage) is at the top of his professional game with a fast-paced lifestyle that he thinks he loves. His life drastically changes one snowy Christmas night when he stumbles into an angel who sends Jack back in time. He gives Jack a glimpse of what his life would have been like had he made different choices, thus, Jack makes a different choice that leads him to a very different outcome for his life. I find these two movies interesting and pensive, as they both give the opportunity many of us would love to have.
Like Larry and Jack, I remember with precision my ‘pivotal moment’ and the decision that I made that changed forever the course of my life.
Do you remember yours?
If an angel came to give you the opportunity to travel back in time to have second chances, would you take it?
Sometimes you become blind by your insecurities and emptiness. You make others responsible for your happiness. When unfulfilled, you blame others for coming short on your expectations. You kill great loves. Great friendships break and partnerships end. It is only you who handle your destiny and your happiness.
Everything that happens to us, we cause consciously or unconsciously. I can’t believe that I would have somehow attracted painful circumstances into my life. I never felt myself willing these things to me, but that is how it is, whether I like it or not. Everything I have gone through in my life, good or bad, was caused and attracted by me. But remember also that those things were put in motion for a reason. To teach you and propel you closer to your destiny.
In knowing this, ask yourself, “How many relationships could you have saved had you known this? I don’t know about you, but I am guilty of ending some great things in my life. I blamed others for my lack of self-love, awareness, and purpose.
I cannot change the past. It’s gone, but if I could, I would…
- Go back and make it right.
- Make repairs.
- Make amends.
- Make peace.
- Say what I meant to say.
- Do what I had hoped to do.
- Take away the hurt I caused, especially to those I love so much.
- Think before I acted.
- Stay the course I insisted on changing.
- Endure the storm.
- Love more.
- Forgive more.
- Enjoy more.
- Appreciate more.
- Nurture my inner self more.
- Make different decisions.
- Make better choices.
- Walk away sooner from harmful people and situations.
- Meet someone again for the first time and make it right.
- Take the chances I did not take.
- Do the things I was too fearful to experience.
- If I could go back, I would like to relive incredible moments so that I can get to experience them twice.
If I could turn back time…
Going back in time would be like getting a second chance to do it all over again and amend regrets. There are many things I wish that I could change. I know you probably share my sentiments. I do not believe that there is anyone who would not like to go back in time and change something in their past. We are all human, and we are all connected by the love we give and by the harm we cause.
I will share with you something very personal. When I was in my 20’s, I remember saying, “If I were to die today, I could say I have lived a life of no regrets.” That was an amazing feeling. Now at 46, I can no longer say the same. So what has transpired in those 20 years? How could my life have taken such a different path? I don’t know. Perhaps I lost perspective. I forgot what was truly important. I became selfish. I let my impulses govern my actions. I let my fear-based-ego-driven-life take over.
My conscious has awakened, and 20 years later, I find myself wanting to be open-hearted and vulnerable with you about all the things I feel at this moment. I realized that those very things are the very gems that have sent me on this path of self-discovery. Without them, I would not be where I am today. As my spiritual coach teaches, everything that took place, took place because it was for my ultimate good. So I could bring consciousness to the things I needed to address and change in my life.
I would like to take this opportunity to tell all those I hurt that I am deeply sorry for any pain my actions may have caused you. Intentionally or not, I know now that words often cut deeper than the sharpest knife.
To my family and friends know that I love you. I no longer want to live with the regret of not saying ‘I love you’ often enough. Please know that you add such wonderful meaning to my life and I am grateful to have you as a blessing.
I can’t change the past. I have to live with that. I am conscious that feeling a sense of nostalgia is part of my progress as I look to atone the errors of my past. In life, you learn to take the hits and to know its all part of the human experience.
You cannot choose whether we experience regret, but you can choose to learn from it or have it go in vain.
So I am choosing to look at my regrets not as dark spots in my life, but as diamonds that illuminate my present and future path. I accept that it is part of my life’s lesson to transform me into the person I am today. As Meriane Williamson says, “We become who we are meant to be sometimes by having to eat some hard-edged, bitter thorns of human existence and that is the ultimate healing. The realization that we can be better people because of it. ”
So how do I find a resolution to my nostalgia?
By staying at peace in knowing that everything that has happened and everything that happens, is HAPPENING FOR ME, to put me in the path that is meant for my highest good. By choosing to live authentically and honorably so I can look at my daughters and feel no shame in the person that I am. It is in the process of facing our darkness, in the courage to endure it, to learn from it, to process it, to transcend it, that we get the self-realization that leads to a more peaceful life. It’s in this process that we find the keys to truly living a powerful fulfilled life.
- So I choose to live each day doing what is right not what is easy.
- I choose to live in the moment.
- I choose to see others from a place of empathy.
- I choose to treat others as I would like others to treat me.
All I can do is look at each new day as a gift. A new opportunity to start over and live from a place of pride and gratitude.
Looking back at my regrets and releasing them to the Universe is healing for me. In letting myself feel the regret, I have learned as much about my darkness as I have about my light. The thoughts that sometimes haunt my nights, when I cannot relegate them to the activities of the day, is when I have the chance to face my inner self. I cannot and should not try to escape my inner self, as dark as those moments may be, it’s these moments that open the doorway to my light and destiny.
Feeling the sadness, the regret, the pain, is all part of being human.
“Hello darkness, my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again” are not just lyrics from Simon and Garfunkel’s song. It is a way of living, an acceptance that at this moment I am faced with the longing for a chance to heal my past – all the ‘could have beens.’
I think I see so much of what I would love to change because I am in such a better place in my life now. I wish that I could go back and apply all that I have learned and gift my past with such great things that I know today. I think that is the reason for my sadness.
Knowing how great it is today, makes me want to make it all great from the start.
But I can’t.
I have to learn to live with the painful moments of the past and the memories they bring. I acknowledge that things happen as they do, disguised as agents for change. It is due to these life lessons that I can now live in such a state of gratitude today.
“Regret, remorse, humiliation, physical pain, grief, failure, loss – all these can be excruciating. As difficult as they can be to endure, they can also pave the way at times to illumination, conscience, forgiveness, humility, contribution, appreciation, gratitude, and faith.” – Meriane Williamson
Each time I write about my journey, I let my heart open while it breaks. Each time I get deep about my life, things I need to heal, surface, but I do not know a better therapy or healing agent than to make conscious of my life and actions. Spiritually is truly about that. It is not a journey of meditation and bliss. It is a journey of trial and triumph. As Meriane Williamson says, “the path to spirituality is one in which when we fall into the valley of darkness, we have learned how to get ourselves out it. It is not about suppressing our emotions, rather about bringing them up so we can place them on a path to true healing.”
So in the spirit of that, I surrender all my ‘could have beens’ and accept the Universe’s gift of a new day, a new dawn, a new beginning to remake my life over and over again. It is realizing and appreciating my losses of the past that I am learning to find happiness in the things that remain.
Yes, I do not have the opportunity that Jack Campbell or Larry Burrows had to go back to remake their pasts again.
But that is alright.
I have the opportunity to make my present and future right. Sometimes the fact that things won’t ever be the same can be a blessing. I won’t be who I used to be, but who I chose to become is completely up to me. I have released all my regrets and I can now start with a clean slate. I intend to live my God-gifted days from now until I die in a way that I can say again,
“If I were to die today, I have lived a life of no regrets. Knowing in my heart that I lived facing up to my fears. I have broken from the bondage of suffering and I have lived each day in gratitude for the opportunity to remake and live my life again without regret.”