"In daily life we must see
that it is not happiness
that makes us grateful,
that makes us happy."
-- David Steindl-Rast
This is the third post on the subject of thankfulness and gratitude in a string of posts.
I was having lunch with a friend today and something came out of my mouth aloud and caught my attention. It sounds weird, but much of the value of speaking aloud, in my opinion, is to clarify our own thoughts. It isn't until it is spoken aloud that we think we have it solved. There might have been years of thinking ahead of this too.
What I said was that I had no more regrets. I knew I was headed in this direction, I just didn't know I had arrived until it exited my lips. When it came out, it was so distinct and matter of fact. My friend was surprised and questioned my conclusion. How could it be that you have no regrets. Everyone has regrets.
I used to carry quite a load of regrets and have carried and added to the burden for many years--even most all of my life. I could have been more this and less that. I should have made this decision instead of that. I didn't finish that. I could have been a contender. . . If I had a do-over, I would do it differently. That's another form of regret.
I explained that I have become a very grateful man. In this transition, I have accepted and became grateful for every decision I've made, every choice I've made, every circumstance I found myself in and more. If one becomes grateful for every step of the way to where we are now, there can be no regret.
Regret is like an anchor tied to our leg. Every regret adds another anchor. Over time, we gather quite a collection of these anchors. Or we could think of it as baggage or luggage. The more we add, the greater the load we must carry around all day long. But, what is more important a perspective, I think, is that a regret is a negative link to the past and as we hold on to these negative links in the past, we take away opportunities to live in the present.
Some people might say, "put your regrets behind you." But, really, regrets are things of the past so they are always behind you. It doesn't work to try to put them behind you or overcome them. You dissolve them with gratitude and they are gone.
My favorite way to describe this is the tug-o-war rope. We hold on tight to the rope and pull against a force that will not allow us to win. It will sometimes let us make movement, but it is only playing with us. The only way to stop the regret is to "let go of the rope." It is precisely that simple. Just let go. Once we have let go, we can find the gratitude in the event rather than the ill that fostered regret.
The Key Is Always Gratitude And Appreciation. It Is Love In Action.
Spread Some Joy Today--by letting go of a rope a day. That's good. Just let go. If that's too much right now, let go of one rope a week. It isn't a race.