Many years ago, I remember asking a mentor friend in Al Anon about regret. How do you get rid of it. She said something like "Just work on it." Now THAT was like beating my head against the wall. What has happened over the convening years was that I got a steady realization of the damage it was doing to my mind and body. It was not healthy. There was high blood pressure and anxiety.
Besides regret, there was dread. I dreaded the future. I was scared about the world my kids would face when they grew up. I was scared of being in pain, or losing everything, and not having what I need. Silly me. I couldn't do anything about the future. Each future thing I have faced (which is now the past) I have made it through. And I will continue to get through whatever is plopped in front of me. I'll face it as it comes.
An artist who I had just met was painting with me just a few years ago. I was in awe of how he took a brush with a nice tip on it, dipped it in black and flowed with painting after painting - no pencil or erasure. He whipped out this painting. It appeared to just come out ofhis mind. He gave it to me to take home and I started examining it. The expressions on the cats were scary. One cat looked extremely troubled. The other one was facing forward like he didn't want to leave the girl's arms. The girl? She looked a little tied down. In my mind I personified these cats to represent fear and dread. Not that cats have those thoughts, but it's just a picture that I made symbolic. The girl is standing there, seemingly stuck holding the cats, not knowing what to do with them. That is what happens with regret for the past and dread of the future. Paralysed, and oftentimes with a smile that is pasted on. This picture really illustrated the fix I am often is.
I'll be honest. I like animals but cats are not my favorites, because they hurt my birds. They keep them from flying and end up killing them. That is what regret and dread did to me. Now I fly free. It happened gradually through the understanding of what was happening and my hatred of it. It also came with letting go and letting God, trusting in his perfect plan, even though it can be harsh at times
I still deal with it at time, but actually. I feel like a different person than I was five years ago. Let's picture that painting with my arms free and dancing and with my skirt flying out as I twirl with joy.