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Set Free the Past: an essay on regret






And Breath. An inhalation that tells us this moment, right now, is new.

Heraclitus said, “You can’t step in the same river twice.”

Time flows. Nature cycles and renews itself. And we are part of that. We cannot return to the scene of past crimes. We cannot unsay words. We cannot drag missed opportunities out of the flowing water.

What we can do is choose, now, who we shall be. We can choose our words, our actions, our colleagues, and our friends.

We can attempt to make amends if that feels possible or necessary.

We can move on.

What do you need to forgive yourself for?

What do you need to call your power, your life force, your memories from?

What do you need to give over, or let go?

What relationships do you need to bury with honor?

What parts of self do you want to strengthen or save?

We cannot do it all, nor should we try to. We cannot control the cosmos or our friends. We can only school our actions and our minds.

Is a river perfect? If yes, then that is the perfection we are striving for: to flow, to move, to calm ourselves in rest, and rush when life fills us. To shape the banks of our lives and to be shaped by them.

The best way to make up for a wounded or wounding past is to take responsibility for today.

Easier said than done, but it is possible.

Seriously: the world needs us to be as well as we can be. The more we are dragged down by the past, the less available we are for the present. We become hobbled, or drowned, and unable then, to build any future worth talking about.

To build a future worth talking about, dreaming about, writing, singing, dancing about? That requires as much of ourselves as we can muster.

The Experiment: Take a breath. Then exhale. Look at any past hurts or regrets. Inhale again. Call your power back from past situations. Exhale and consciously release what you can.

Repeat as often as necessary. Every day if needed.

Then take a drink of water, and look around at the river you are standing in today.

Set free the past, and choose.


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