g a t h e r i n g s

Regret Is the Enemy of Change

How old are you? How long have you been doing what you are doing? Most people have been weighted down by their current entanglements since childhood even if they have only recognized it recently. The drag on the spirit takes myriad forms, has various personalities, and is the uninvited guest in love, at work, in friendship, and avocation.

Entanglement is first established at a time when we are learning voraciously. Oh my, to walk, to talk, to identify people and things — we are never again so accelerated in our learning. For many years we are moving forward, under that impression anyway — usually not realizing the places where we have already stopped. Traumatic events can imprison us, yes, but there is often a subtler sticky path. This path is paved with the messages from our caregivers. And we cannot discern qualities of good or bad, healthy or unhealthy, generous of spirit or self-absorbed; all of them are about our survival. Don’t cry. Stay quiet. Take care of Father. Support Mother. You are the last hope of the family. The scapegoat. The black sheep. A carbon copy of … These messages are their own unresolved inheritances.

Sometimes we are fortunate to have the vitality and suspicion that there might be other messages to access. Still, no matter when we decide to reach out for a different view — for help in locating and implementing a different way in the world — we have to remember that we will come face to face with the time we hadn’t counted. Days and years and decades have piled up, casting shadows on what’s left of the time that lies ahead.

And the response very often, the logical response in a way, is to let go of the hand we reached for, to withdraw from possibility. Our sense in the belly and heart is that there isn’t time for different, for better. Too late. What’s the point? I’m tired, anyway.

Here the drag on the spirit rises like a charcoal moth. Drawn to the light, it raises its wings so that we cannot see. Dark thoughts take form in the mind to replace what is actually there, right before our eyes, just beyond this flutter of fear.

Time is an image too. It is not that we will live forever and so can keep putting life off because there’s always going to be another day. No. That is childhood’s protective cloak. It is that today is our day. When we move closer to the moth, we can see that it's transparent.

The moth is regret. Let it be evermore fragile in the light.