THOUGHTS ABOUT REGRET
Regret can be responsible for so much of our unhappiness, because it’s so often wrapped up in guilt, blame, sadness and anger. What I know for sure is that letting go of a little regret can open so much space in our heart for a whole lot of peace.
The part of ourselves that experiences regret often feels cheated out of that better ending. It’s the voice that blames us for the choice that left us feeling hurt or guilty, that reminds us of what we let slip away; the child we lost, the future that didn’t happen.
It’s hard to make room for our future when we’re too busy regretting the past. Thoughts like, if we could turn back time, shut down the present moment and make it more difficult to move forward, to feel confident about our ability to make good decisions.
Regret comes in pairs. What we chose and what we did not. When what we chose leaves us feeling sad or disappointed, we are tempted to romanticize the choice that got away.
If that plan or partner, we’ll call A lets us down, we can spend our whole life thinking that if only we had chosen B, we would have been happier and more fulfilled. Regrets make our choices so blatantly wrong, and what we didn’t choose so obviously right, but the truth is we can never know for sure.
What we regret today could turn out to be tomorrow’s great decision because in the end, what your mind judges today as stupid, it may well consider smart, or for the best, 20 years from now.
Many older people, in their final days, claim they have no regrets. The, if onlys, of adolescence, middle age and later years disappear as they choose to remember only the wisdom and experience all their choices brought them. However, I would encourage you not to wait until you are old to realize that all your decisions, words and deeds, the good and the not so good, all serve a purpose if they help you grow into a better, wiser person. But until you choose to let go of regret, that wisdom and learning may escape you.
It's not enough to survive all the choices you regret; you can mindfully decide to thrive, despite them and maybe, because of them, because of what they taught you. Regret can hurt, but if we use that hurt to learn, to forgive ourselves and others, to let go of disappointment, guilt, anger, and blame, that hurt, that sadness heals.
Regret like everything else, is a choice. And it is a choice that can keep you stuck in could have done or should have done thinking.
If you are not mindful, regret can keep you stuck in those if onlys. So, the next time, you find yourself thinking if only I… turn these words around so that they sound more positive to you. Here are some examples below…
If only I hadn’t said that…Only if I decide to let go of the blame and guilt in my heart can I stop them from continuing to punish me and instead, allow them to remind me to do better next time, to be more mindful of my words.
If only I had not done what I did…Only if I learn to stop punishing myself with regret can I learn to view all my decisions not as right or wrong, but as lessons in disguise.
If only I had not decided to… Only if I choose to live without fearing my own self condemnation, criticism and blame can I experience true freedom and feel safe enough to love myself no matter what I choose.
If only I had been a better parent…Only if I become compassionate and forgiving of my flaws and failures as a parent can I begin to realize that my mistakes can help my kids become better parents and teach them to forgive themselves when they fail their own children.
If only I had had better parents…Only if I understand that I can benefit and learn just as much from a poor example as I can from a good one, can I one day, be thankful for their mistakes.
When you choose to make peace with every unwise word, behaviour and thought you regret, you feed a resolve to let go and move forward, wiser than ever.
9/21 THOUGHTS ABOUT GRIEF ...
There are millions of people who are experiencing the grief and longing of losing a loved one to Covid-19, other serious illness, or unexpected tragedy. Whatever, the reason, you are all experiencing the same lesson:
Learning to miss a loved one who is no longer with us, is an Art. I call it the Art of Missing...I think missing is the privilege of the happy few who experienced a love so wonderful that they feel its loss. And if you asked yourself this question...Is that sense of longing worth the price of that privilege and blessing? I think many of you would say yes.
Mindful grieving is about observing our sorrow, observing that missing sensation when we look inside us and feel the emptiness and longing there.The part of us that observes is the part that fills us with compassion and respects that moment. The gentle, loving, compassionate and wise observer in us allows us to honor the sorrow, the emptiness, the loss, the missing so that we don't drown in our unhappiness and grief.
I hope you stay mindful so that grief does not make you lose sight of everything that is not loss and closes your heart to other experiences, to the lightness and pleasure of other emotions, even in moments when the longing is there...so that grief and loss do not monopolize your life.
Keep your mind, body and heart open to the potential for happiness, so happiness knows where to find you....So that grief forgets to define you or govern your life or impede you from feeling the potential and possibility that is always present in every moment to feel grateful, appreciative, blessed, peaceful, content... to cry from laughter not sadness...
1/2021 THOUGHTS ABOUT FEAR…
Fear is the body’s weapon of choice because it is what our primitive brain uses to keep us alive and help us survive. The Worrier in you lives in the fight or flight control center of your brain, the Amygdala. The Worrier is the Warrior in you, fighting to keep you safe from the tigers in your life…
…Your brain, your nervous system cannot tell the difference between a negative memory, a terrible boss, lots of unpaid bills, punishing self-talk, cranky, critical, unruly loved ones, a failing business, a health challenge…(you get the picture) and a TIGER. And sometimes the tiger roaming around in your head can make no sense at all because fear is not about logic, it is about perception, and perception can make the irrational seem very real in our body.
The Work involves teaching the Warrior Worrier within that unless there is an immediate emergency like an actual tiger chasing you, a more relaxed state is more apt to provide solutions and protect you than panicking. There may be times when fleeing is the appropriate thing to do, but in practical terms, in our day to day life the kind of threats our brain perceives as such are dealt with far more effectively with weapons other than with fear and worry…because the truth is, in most cases calm protects far more than fear.
Even in emergencies, you are often advised to exit in a rapid but orderly fashion…exiting in fearful chaos is never a good plan. During the Age of Covid I think it’s about doing our due diligence (following the recommended guidelines), while remaining mindful and observant when our Warrior Worrier wants us to go into hypervigilant mode. Taking the fear out of the caution is easier said than done, but with the right tools and practice, the subconscious mind starts doing just that…
Chronic fearfulness, whether its second-hand fears (those you feel on behalf of others) or your own may become too much to handle in the long run for any Warrior…because as threatening and large as the tigers in your own backyard may be, those you believe are threatening your loved ones can be twice their size.
So it’s no wonder your Warrior Worrier may be feeling exhausted…so thank her for all she does…
As humans we tend to overestimate the strength and size of our tigers and underestimate the strength and size of our resilience and ability to handle them, perhaps because we are wired to nurture doubt rather than faith. But also, because I think our own Warrior Worrier is usually too stressed out and overwhelmed to convince us she can effectively deal with it all, and because when we are tired even a mouse can seem unduly threatening.
The Work is about repeating and reinforcing the change you are creating with more powerful weapons intended to keep you safe…among them, self-hypnosis, mindfulness, mindful relaxation, tapping, and new, more empowering beliefs. It is about learning tools that turn our perception around so that those illogical tigers can change into harmless cats. These weapons protect far more than fear because they keep you safe from the negative consequences that chronic fear can have on your mind-body and help you deal far more productively and powerfully with any tiger.
You can show your Warrior Worrier how effective these weapons can be by wielding them in your imagination where real change is created and in real life so she can observe you and learn…your Warrior Worrier may operate beneath the level of conscious awareness, but she is always observing you…
Now, the Warrior Worrier may need a little convincing at first because she has had a strategy firmly in place, after all, she is wired for fear, not relaxation and mindfulness so getting her to accept and use all these new weapons may take a little time. Then again, she may surprise you and embrace them more readily than you think…that’s where doing self-hypnosis and listening to the hypnosis recordings come in… and something else…
There is an all knowing, infinitely wise, limitless power in you…Connecting with it every-day is essential because your Warrior Worrier needs a Powerful Assist to keep those tigers relaxed and comfortable. The human experience is not about getting rid of all your tigers completely; it’s about learning to deal with those tigers, make them smaller so they don’t overtake your life with overwhelm. It’s about realizing that just because they are present doesn’t mean you can’t make room for happiness, security and as many empowering emotions as you can create.
Mindful awareness is a powerful thing as you will learn; it allows you to stay mindful of their presence, while allowing you to feel free and relaxed enough to experience all the wonderful things that come your way, because fear often blinds us to the joys that are in plain sight and keeps us from creating the reality we want. It allows you to drop beneath life situations and experience what lies beneath, a powerful awareness that is separate from them.
The Work involves learning to give ourselves the emotional resources we need, in real life and in our imagination where real life is also created. Emotional resources such as strength, courage, resilience, and faith are especially important because the Warrior Worrier must be supported and cheered on, especially when she stumbles and falls. This is why connecting with your higher self, your goddess, God, wise advocate, the Universe (however you choose to perceive the power that is you and yet so much grander than you) is crucial. Because that’s the purest, highest source of powerful resilient strength…
It’s unfair to expect your Warrior to slay tigers and threats almost non-stop without paying a price. It’s unreasonable to expect Warrior Worrier to go at it alone with only fear to sustain her, BECAUSE FEAR AS AN UNCONSCIOUS STRATEGY IS NOT SUSTAINABLE; OUR BODIES WERE NOT CREATED TO BE FEARFUL 24/7. Fear is not a weapon she should rely on exclusively, so you need to give her other weapons…other ways to deal with all those tigers.
My intention for all my clients is the following…
I want to help you teach your Warrior Worrier how she can protect herself in ways that empower her, not deplete her and find more joy in the present moment.
Riding out our life situations perfectly and without floundering is not always realistic because we were created perfectly imperfect.
I believe we cannot experience ourselves as powerful beings if we start out as perfect. The whole point of life is to experience the floundering, the doubt, fear, uncertainty and yet still find the resilience to dig deep and help Warrior Worrier experience her power when she forgoes fear and chooses strength and courage in its many forms…as compassionate understanding, mindfulness, non-judgement, wisdom, forgiveness, and a resolve to move on.…
As you do The Work you teach Warrior Worrier that fear depletes and there are better strategies to conserve her strength, protect and keep you both safe. You empower her and help her find more happiness in the present moment.
She may not be able to save the world, but she can save you one moment at a time…
During this challenging situation virtually everyone of us is experiencing uncertainty and fear. Our sympathetic nervous system is switched to the ON position and none of us really know when it will be safe to switch it off. Stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline are preparing us to fight the enemy. Our enemy? The Covid-19 virus, of course. It’s the tiger in our front yard that will not leave so long as our livelihoods, our way of life and our health continue to feel threatened. And if you listen to the news daily there is plenty to make us feel scared.
What many do not realize is that when you imagine all the worst-case scenarios in your head, your body does not realize that these are not happening for real. As far as it is concerned, the tiger is now in your home and is ready to pounce.
The problem with being in survival mode is that our body is channelling precious resources that can be used to keep us healthy into keeping us alive. All the extra energy that goes into making more cortisol that can help us outsmart the tiger means that there is less available for making DHEA for cellular repair, or for optimal digestion, creativity etc..
If the worst should happen and we catch the virus all the stress and worry beforehand about the possible physical and economic impact will already have done plenty to weaken our immune system. The irony is that when we become too fearful about catching the virus, we weaken the very thing we need most, our immune system. This is why during times like this, it becomes so important to learn how to activate the body's relaxation response through breathing techniques, meditation, EFT, visualization and self-hypnosis.
Obsessing about the terrible things that are happening now and could happen to us or our loved ones in the future is not the most productive way to face our worst fears, but neither is suppressing them or distracting ourselves by overeating, getting panicky or restarting bad habits. But how do we confront our worst fears without becoming them? Below are things that can help us navigate this situation and manage uncertainty a little bit better.
Self -hypnosis is a great tool; we can use it to feed positive, constructive suggestions to our mind and body, more specifcally to our immune system. It's important to phrase these suggestions correctly. There are times when boosting our immune system may not be the best option if it is already overactive. An over eager immune system may not be the answer, on the other hand, a sluggish immune system may not do us any favors if we have an infection that needs it to work a bit harder. When it comes to our first line of defense, balance is key. So suggestions should be about encouraging it to work in an optimal, perfect way. Calmly and wisely. The body has its own innate intelligence which I believe can help guide the immune system in a flexible manner, adapting its' strategy in order to effectively deal with invaders.
HAPPY ENDING EXERCISE
In Quantum Physics there is a concept called the Observer Effect. Essentially it means that whatever outcome is most “observed” is the one that has the greatest probability of happening. But how do we observe something that hasn’t happened? In our imagination, of course.
One of the ways you can switch your body back to rest and repair mode, and do your part to collapse the outcome you want is this great exercise:
Every time you start thinking about all the bad things that may happen, catch yourself, close your eyes and for at least a minute, fantasize, really put all your senses into creating a scene about the outcome you want to manifest. For example, getting that financial aid package for your business, surviving the crisis in good health.
Charge this scene with really positive emotions like gratitude, relief, happiness, love. This is crucial because it’s higher emotions that provide lift off to your desires. Imagining without emotion is like plugging a phone into a socket that won’t work.
Every time your mind goes into worst-case scenario mode or you start feeling helpless instead of in control, hopeless instead of hopeful, fearful or angry at your particular situation, do this exercise. That may mean doing it countless times a day. Sometimes when we most need to focus on hope and envisioning a best-case scenario is when we least want to do it. Often because things can seem so hopeless and our worries about the future so real. But do it anyway, do it for the physical and emotional health of your body. This exercise will give it a much-needed reason to inwardly smile, relax and go off survival mode, even for just a few minutes a day.
Struggling with the “what is” of this global crisis and its financial impact only adds to our suffering. Accepting means coming to terms with it. We don’t have to like it; we just have to feed a determination to get through it as best we can, accepting that our best will vary from moment to moment. Are there going to be moments when we will be tempted to go into despair and panic? Probably, so instead of judging ourselves, let us watch ourselves doing it. As author, Eckhart Tolle, would say, Watch the Thinker. When we observe ourselves becoming scared it takes the edge off our fear. Mindfulness keeps us from becoming lost in uncertainty and fear.
Ordering our body to relax seldom works. The best way to do it is by using what we most take for granted, our breath. Yes, optimal breathing is key to staying mentally, physically and emotionally strong. There are lots of good breathing techniques that switch off the fight or flight response, help us release stored tension and turn on the relaxation response. You can google them, but here is my favorite:
Put a hand on your belly and imagine that inside it is a deflated party balloon. Take a nice slow and steady in breath and imagine that you are inflating this balloon. Wait a second or two and in a very measured way, very slowly exhale out through your mouth. The out breath should ideally be twice as long as the inhalation.
If you do this right, you will feel every joint and muscle relaxing and letting go of tension. To further enhance the effects, imagine for example, breathing in calm and exhaling fear. For example, as I exhale, I think the word, Safe.
You can also imagine that every out-breath is relaxing your body. For example, you can inwardly repeat, the better I breathe the more relaxed I feel and the more relaxed I feel the better I breathe. Breathwork acts like an internal massage. Pay attention to areas in your body that feel tense and send them deep healing breaths. Get creative. You can imagine breathing in calming healing light of any color and have it flow through your body like a gentle, cleansing river, helping you release whatever emotions you need to release out the soles of your feet (or any other exit point you wish) and into the earth.
Remind yourself daily that You are more than the sum of all your doubts and worries, stronger than the uncertainty surrounding you, more empowered than your external environment. Breathe in fortitude and exhale doubt.