On Regret

Do you ever regret the choices you’ve made, or the choices you didn’t make? (Who doesn’t?!)

Recently I found myself indulging in some fantasies about what I might have done if I’d been different in some fundamental ways, or were 25 years younger.  I think it’s part of a process of reckoning I’m in (again!), determining what I most want to give, teach, offer, engage in, at this time in my life.  But my flirtation with regret provided a great opportunity for my guides to offer me a teaching on the subject.  Since I figure I might not be the only one who needs it 🙂 I’ll share it with you below!

As always, I am so grateful to the guides who speak to me and through me, and offer wisdom so much greater than my own.

On Regret

One human lifetime is such a very short time in which to live out the many and varied longings and possibilities present in each spirit. Of course, it is impossible to do so. Yet there is something in you that chafes against that impossibility, and believes that somehow, if you had only made difference choices, every potential could have been fulfilled – or perhaps that the potentials which now, from your present vantage point, appear most important, could have been more completely fulfilled.

The error in this thinking is that the present perspective emerges from the learning which came about from those potentials you did fulfill! Had you fulfilled others, the learning would have been different, and so too the awareness of those other possibilities not realized.

So it is that the woman who turned right may regret the left-hand paths not taken, while her counterpart who turned left may regret what she missed from the right. She who never had children but has had a rich life in other respects may regret her childlessness, while her counterpart who spent much of her creative energy raising children may regret the other things undone. If these two could swap lives for a moment, they would also swap regrets! So too with the one who built a successful career and the one who devoted more energy to romance, and all of the many other configurations.

This remains true even when much of your time has gone to dealing with circumstances you did not consciously choose, such as disability or illness. It is easy to regret all that you were rendered unable to do, and to long to have had the capacity to do more, or to do differently. Yet it still remains true that had you not been disabled or ill, and had you done those things you wish to have done, you could easily find something else to regret or pine after.

The answer, therefore, to the “problem” of regret – which is a problem only in how it separates you from yourself,  and from the beauty and fulfillment available in your present life, whatever its particulars – is, of course, love. No matter the nature of your regret or grief, you can choose to love it – by which I mean, choose to direct streams of love, acceptance, gratitude and forgiveness toward and around, over and under and through it. In this way regret and grief become translucent, so that light can pass through them. And in the presence of that light, all is changed – even though nothing has changed on the level of form.

You see, while the level of form is terribly important to the human personality, it is not important at all – is essentially irrelevant – to the soul, that part of you which glows at your very core. The soul yearns to experience the interface between itself and life, between itself and the conditions of life in a human body on earth – and that you have no doubt done.

And when your regret and grief become translucent – when your life becomes translucent, and can let light through – then the light held within it becomes visible, and the light from without becomes able to join with it. Then you may see your life’s true beauty, a beauty that comes not from the specific forms that were created, but from the very (f)act of creation itself.

The opportunity to be, or to perceive oneself as, an individual self, is so astonishingly rich with creative possibility. Yet most of you do not realize how much potential rests in your own hands until you are quite advanced in years. At that point it becomes easy to regret all the years in which you did not know what you now know – even though those were the very years which unfolded in such a way as to allow you to know it! Although you may have lived your life like a painting student imitating the other students’ canvases, or putting paint on your canvas at random rather than by chosen design, this too is beautiful; this too is a life.

And whatever life you have lived – whether or not your choices were consciously made; whether or not they were in concert with your conscious desires; whether or not your past choices match your present desires – in the end nothing matters but your ability to experience each moment. You raised children; they have done well, or they have not; but can you look outside your window and feel pleasure at the sight of leaves moving against the sky? You had no children, but you wrote books, or grew gardens, or balanced accounts, or had lovers, or danced; you lived in a city and dressed in high style, or lived in the country and wore drab clothes; but can you listen to the sound of the creek as it moves over the stones, and let it fill you?

If not, do not despair; the leaves will move against the sky, the water will move over the stones for a very, very long time. If you cannot let them fill you now, there is another moment coming, and many more after that, in which you may become permeable to light and to life.  And even now, within you, the intermingling spaces of regret and acceptance, love and not-love, light and not-light, make a kind of filigree which is yours, which is your beautiful life.


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