In her book, “Visions from the Heart,” Jennifer James, Ph.D., notes the following thought: “Regrets, we all have a few. There is a little pang of grief at what might have been. But each regret is only a tender reminder of the wonder that is the present. The event that begat the regret was somehow necessary. Welcome those vulnerable messengers from the past as reminders of all the roads that led you here.”
• Many of our regrets were educational life lessons. The Cherokees believe that we learn the most from negative experiences.
• If we are smart enough to learn from negative experiences and negative people, we do not repeat the regret action again … ever.
• Living in the past means you detract from the present. The “good old days” become a dream that prevents you from doing something positive for your present life. You really have no control whatsoever of the past. The past is done, over and finished. People must learn to let go of the past and zero in on their current life. How can you enjoy the present if you are obsessed with the past?
• Couples who argue a lot are obsessed with the past. They constantly dig up old affairs, old mistakes, and old hurts. They can’t let go of the negative past, and their present is doomed if they can’t let go of and forgive past mistakes and past insults.
• Being happy in the “right now,” the present, requires a lot of positive energy and love. You must accent the positive and bury the past negatives.
• In a relationship, the negative past could be two minutes ago, two hours ago, or 20 years ago, if you allow the negative past to control your relationship.
• Forgiveness and forgetting are acts of love that enhance the present. Forgiving and making up are a lot more fun than playing “Isn’t it awful?” or “What about the time you… ”
• Those who learn to capture the present and live each moment experience inner peace and immediate gratification.
• Old news and old mistakes are always boring. Those who live in the past rarely create anything, and they have no hope for the present or the future.
• Being obsessed with the “good old days” means you have no energy or ideas for the present. We can’t count on you to change anything because you have no interest in today or tomorrow. It’s time to say adios to the past and get on with life.
• There is an awful lot of fun and passion waiting for you today … right now.
• The past does offer us knowledge and education, which we can apply to solving current situations. However, I agree with Albert Einstein who said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” It takes imagination and positive energy to enjoy the right now. Inner peace and harmony are always within us, but it takes meditation and creative thinking to find the inner peace and to enjoy it.
• My definition of intelligence would read like this: An intelligent person knows how to live a happy life, each day, and understands that he must address his spiritual and physical needs daily.
• Tell me how you care for your spiritual and physical needs, and then I can determine if you are intelligent or not. It is really smart to take care of these needs … daily.
• Once you figure out that love begins when you get outside yourself, life becomes a piece of cake and lots of fun, too.
Bob Billingsley is an El Dorado Hills resident and a columnist at the Mountain Democrat.