Regrets are brutal. They are energy vampires. Happiness slayers. Joy slammers.
The thing is – we wake up every day with the potential to start over! That cliché about “today is a new day” is totally true…even though you may want to throw rotten veggies at someone saying it to you in the moment. Here’s why:
When we feel regret about something – your last relationship, your birth experience, how you handled your last argument with your partner or friend – we can stay open to a time and space that feels similar to that moment/resonates with that moment. Then, we can see that moment of resonance with the past as an opportunity to create a new one. As my colleague, Dr. Claudia Welch, says, “That new space/time makes the old new again, and we are then allowed to have a ‘do-over.'” Really? Yes.
For example, I think about how lately I’ve been leaning more into my morning ritual, and making sure I prioritize it so that I start the day off fresh and inspired and grounded. This helps me feel at ease with all the mornings that I wasted away with lazily sleeping in (which, BTW, is perfectly fine if it doesn’t bother you or throw off your day!), gluten or wine hangovers, or ruminating about all my worries. I am making up for those big time, because my NEW mornings are infused with freakin’ magic, peeps. My mornings, even before a day filled with ho-hum errands, are started with epic spiritual refining and tuning-in.
I’ve been working with many of my clients in developing these morning rituals as well, and they are reporting massive results – more energy, more creativity, more groundedness, more juicy living. You see, mornings are energetically in alignment with the beginnings of our lives, and with every other new day in the past, so we can harness that and create a new experience and oust the regrets – every morning! In Ayurveda, this is particularly true, and this philosophy or health places a big emphasis on moments and transitions throughout the day. Each moment, each day, is so full of potential for changing how we experience life.
Think of how you start your days. Do you wake up at the last minute so you are rushing out of the house and spilling your tea or coffee everywhere? Do you lie in bed for minutes or hours putting off shit you need to get done? Do you feel foggy and sluggish because of eating unhealthfully or living a less-than-healthy lifestyle? You can indeed do it differently in the morning. And really, when you honor and reshape your mornings to a ritual that serves you best, you can honor and reshape your early life experiences too! Like childhood, birth, or other powerful beginnings like giving birth, starting a new stage in life, starting a new relationship. Cool, eh?
In Tibetan Buddhism there is a four-step formula for making amends with a regret (also applicable to apologizing). It involves:
- recognize that either there was an experience you regret having had, or that perhaps you did something wrong – or let’s take the judgment out of it and change “wrong” to “something you weren’t so proud of”
- sit with the feeling of remorse and regret so that you don’t half-ass it and have it lingering sneakily behind you for months or years. Feel it fully, knowing you can release it.
- move into a place of compassion for yourself (and the person you’ve harmed if it is applicable). Notice the whole “compassion for yourself” part! Don’t skip over that! In fact, start with it.
- then, set the intention that you won’t do it again and take a positive action. So if you stole something, you could give something away when you saw someone in need. If you hurt someone with aggressive language, you can more openly and quickly forgive someone for the same infraction and send them loving kindness.
The new moments that resonate with the old are perfect opportunities for taking this new, positive action.
But get this: not only is every day a new day, but every MOMENT is fertile with opportunity to create something new. Whatcha think about that?
What about the rest of your day? Do you spend your free time perusing other people’s successes and feeling bad about where you are at? Do you go to bed checking your email and thinking about all the shizzle you have to get done tomorrow? Do you say “I’m sorry” just for speaking or taking up space or asking for advice or help? These are all energy suckers!
You can instead examine why you are apologizing. You can examine why you are obsessed about everything you have to do tomorrow (what’s the story you tell yourself about what happens, or who it means you are, if you don’t get everything done?). You can examine why you are jealous about someone else’s success and are focusing on that instead of creating your own. Often the motivator is some kind of regret, and we just need to stop that living-in-the-past shizzle if we are going to move forward with a life of freedom! Create a NEW way of approaching things when those feeling come up.
If you regret something and it is taking over your mind, choose RIGHT NOW to do something to offset it. And when you find a moment that resonates particularly powerfully with a regret, make a strong intention that how you handle it will help you release the old regret.
Do-overs kick ass. Share with me how you are going to do-over something soon – or a way in which you have already – by commenting below!