As you live your life you might start to see a pattern unfold. You might look with enough self awareness at your path to see where you might have taken a different step, held your tongue, hurt a someone, made a error, had a regret.
Self reflection is a good thing, until you break out the cat of nine tails and begin to beat yourself up about the past. Loathing yourself, miring yourself in guilt and getting stuck in the ‘what ifs’ is more than just counter productive. It’s leathal to any hope of joy you could hoe out in the here and now.
And the truth is — we only have — the here and the now to function in.
You can not undo or unmake a single solitary thing that happened even a second ago, let alone hours/days/years/decades ago. You can only start from here. With what you have. Where you are.
Which is not to say we shouldn’t pay attention to our past, we are doomed to repeat lessons over and over if we don’t learn what we need to from the situations that enter our lives. But we don’t have to agonize over every missed step or wrong turn. And maybe further down the road — who knows? We’ll get a bigger view and see that ‘wrong’ turn landed us just where we were supposed be.
You can get caught up in agonizing about the future just as easily. Most of the stuff I’ve had panic attacks about — have never come to pass.
Living in the now is the hardest trick out there. It’s looking at your life and knowing you are ok. You are safe. It’s letting go of all the baggage and stuff you really want to hang onto and drag around even though it’s heavy as hell, doesn’t serve you, and you can’t undo or fix any of it anyway. It’s just sitting with your life, being content with what you know to be true. Finding the blessings where they live. And leaving the rest to The Universe.
It’s understanding there is no rewind or fast forward on the reel that is the video of Life.
So — live in your now. As completely as you can. Pause and breathe when you are tempted to do or say or make a decision you know will be hurtful and that you can’t take back. Be. Sure. As you as you can be.
Some unpopular decisions are necessary in our lives. To walk away from things that don’t serve us, to put boundaries around things that are important to us, to protect those we hold most dear. And just let go of the rest.
The joy is worth it.