This weekend we hosted dear friends as our houseguests. While I was sad to see them leave yesterday morning, my daughter was inconsolable. No amount of promising that we’d see them again, no amount of pointing out all the fun things we did, no amount of hugs could make it better. She was mad: at the cab driver who whisked them away and the pilot who’d be flying them to another province. She was probably mad at me too, in that Mama = omnipotent-so-she-should-be-able-to-make-this-better kind of way.
I remember being seven and tender-hearted about partings. They were pure sorrow…never sweet. They meant endings. Finality. And they always felt like an injustice.
They also meant regret. All that we could have done and didn’t do.
Somewhere between that girl and this woman, I came to realize that regret, while an intoxicating cocktail of shadowy emotions, is a colossal waste of energy. And if you were an ancient Egyptian, it could cost you your pass to the afterlife. (Truth, so say the papyruses: at the time of your death, if your heart was filled with regret, and remorse and weighed more than a feather, you’d be denied access to eternal life. So, you know, THAT was kind of a big deal.)
I also realized that regret could be a super-powerful learning and intention-setting tool…if applied correctly.
As in: what will it mean for you to live a life of no regrets?
Can you FEEL how important that question is?
It’s a question I ask my coaching clients when we start our work. Their answers never cease to still me. Full disclosure: I have sometimes wondered if that question, albeit powerful, was coach-y marketing trickery…used to instill a quality of urgency in clients (or to stimulate – gag – “pain points”).
No. It’s not.
My work is about making sure people don’t hold these five regrets of the dying (curated by a palliative care nurse who does work that I simply cannot imagine doing. Bless her.):
- I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
- I wish I didn’t work so hard.
- I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
- I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
- I wish that I had let myself be happier.
Oh. Stilled again.
I said this in my first post here at Roots of She, and I’ll say it now:
How you want to feel informs EVERYTHING. E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. In your life, in your business, in your relationships and in your skin.
Knowing how you want to feel + acting with intent = the enemy of regret.
When our friends arrived on Saturday, I knew how I wanted to feel when they left. Like it was time well-savoured (it was).
When I wrote that first post here, I knew how I wanted to feel as I wrote this, my LAST post here.
Content, Complete. Ready. Immersed in love. Enriched. Inspired.
As I pack my bag and hail the cab, I reflect upon how I’ve tried to honour that intention, with every entry that I’ve written, every comment shared and every word crafted by my tribeswomen that I’ve devoured.
That’s how I’m leaving today, suitcase in hand. Content, complete, ready, immersed in love, enriched and inspired. Blowing you kisses from the cab.
My heart may be full but it’s lighter than a feather.