Making Peace With Your Past

everybody has a chapter

Do you find yourself tormented by regrets from your past that keep coming back to haunt you? Perhaps someone has passed on that you would have liked to make peace with. Well, did you know, it’s never too late to make peace with your past, as you will discover in the story below.

Do any of these regrets sound familiar?

  • relationship regrets
  • physical mistakes
  • errors in judgment
  • words spoken in haste that you can’t get back
  • hurt feelings you can’t get over
  • lives torn apart, or destroyed
  • wrong turns taken on the road of life


  • 90% of people admit to having a major regret in their lives

    The Story of Jennie & Jack

    This is a true story that I encountered in my work as a counsellor.

    One day, Jennie, a blind woman in her mid-fifties disregarded her promise to her husband Jack, not to go down the steps to the basement by herself. For years she had followed through on that promise. But for some reason, the day came when Jennie didn’t wait for Jack to get home from work. On that fateful day, when Jack entered the house, he found the basement door open, and his beloved wife lying dead at the bottom of the stairs. His worst nightmare had become a reality.

    After the funeral, his friends and family noticed that Jack was becoming nervous. He went from having a solid, sure-footed gate to becoming quite unsteady on his feet. His hands started to tremble. His face took on a worried look, and he always seemed to be preoccupied with his own thoughts.

    His doctor could find nothing wrong physically with his health. It seemed like this was most likely connected to the grieving process. It was expected he would gradually recover. However, Jack’s condition never improved. After 7 years, and an early retirement, this nervous condition was clearly beginning to take over his whole life.

    I was asked to see him. As I sat in his kitchen talking with him, it felt to me like his wife’s spirit was still in the house, and I became aware that she had been desperately trying to reach out to Jack to beg his forgiveness, to let him know she was sorry for, as it came to me “disregarding” his warnings.

    I asked him if he had been able to forgive Jennie for what had happened. And he assured me he had come to terms with it, and had forgiven her long ago. When I told him, that I felt his wife had never left the house all these years, that she had been trying to communicate to him her sorrow and regret over what had happened, he was speechless, and started to weep. He said he had felt her presence too.

    I asked if he would just talk directly to her, “as if she is present now in this room and can hear every word you say”. He was able to tearfully reassure her that he definitely forgave her, that he would always love her with all his heart, no matter what had happened. Furthermore, he did not blame her for the accident. He was blaming himself for not keeping the door to the basement locked, so this would never have happened. He was also able to ask her forgiveness for what he saw as his poor judgement and carelessness. It was shortly after that exchange that Jennie left the house, and a remarkable peace settled over Jack.

    A few weeks went by, and his friends, family and even his neighbours began to notice welcome changes in Jack. No longer did walking, or working in his garden, cause him to become out of breath. The shaking in his hands stopped. He became steady on his feet. The nervousness he had exhibited for years disappeared. His face took on a blissful radiance, as he returned to his former self, smiling easily and greeting his neighbours as he used to.

    Since there was no other intervention, before or after my visit, it was clear that his wife was now at peace and had moved on. Jack regained his self-confidence and was able to stop blaming himself for what had happened.

    So even after someone has died, we can still make peace with the memories of things that may have gone wrong. It is never too late to reach out to loved ones to find closure, and mend the brokenness. All it takes is a willing heart.

    What part does the subconscious mind play in healing regrets?

    To the mind, everything is in the now, there is really no past, except the past that we imagine in our minds, which we call memories. There are many ways to satisfy the mind’s need for closure, to heal yourself of the suffering that comes from regretting the past.

    It's all in your mind
    If you accept that the Past is just a memory, a recollection of a previous moment in your life now, then there is nothing to stop you from stepping into that moment and resolving any regrets, no matter what they may be.

    Making Peace With Your Past
    The mind reminds us when something is unfinished in the subconscious. Does it do this to torture you?

    mistakes-stepping-stonesNo. Remember the mind is looking for closure. It wants to end the cycle, not continue it. The mind wants to reach completion. It sends us reminders whenever it sees an opportunity to come through with those things that were left undone.

    Sometimes it may show you pictures of the event and tell you: “You could have done this” or “Why didn’t you do that?” The mind is prompting you to choose an action that you can live with.

    For many, these reminders only bring pain in the form of mental and even physical suffering, because most people believe this is a false choice, that they really have no options.

    But in actuality, the subconscious mind can be satisfied, as you will find out below. So go easy on yourself, and remember mistakes are part of this journey we are all on. Use them as stepping stones to a better life.

    Healing Your Heart Through Your Mind

    To the mind, there is no time or place. It isn’t limited by physicality. It lives in the now. Next time your subconscious mind calls you back into a memory of regret, try this.

    Bring to mind the person or event that you can’t forget. Speak to him or her from your heart. Tell them what you always wanted to say. Be honest. Know that what you have said from your heart has been received. Now imagine the whole situation as you would have liked it to have played out. Let it reframe itself in your imagination.

    After doing this, take a deep breath, relax, and move on, by letting your life play out as if you had chosen the better way. If out of habit, it tries to return, show your mind the new scenario, until it accepts your decision.

    Why Would This Work?

    power of the subconscious mindIn many situations this is enough to make the break from the past, because with imagining you are speaking the language of the subconscious.

    You are working with the deepest part of the mind, that holds the images and memories, the symbols that we use in our dreams. It’s the part of the mind that we access in hypnosis.

    This is a very powerful “game” that you can play with the mind. It creates a coherent field between the heart and the brain, and it affords the mind the space to find the peace that it is looking for. Real change happens at this level, where the mind lives.

    There are many ways to calm a negative energy without suppressing or fighting it. You recognize it, you smile to it, and you invite something nicer to come up and replace it.

    ~Thich Nhat Hanh

    Finding Peace in Past Relationships

    It doesn’t matter if a person is dead or still alive somewhere on the planet. Ask yourself, what can I do/say now to let that person know I love them, forgive them? Choose your own words.

    Then talk to them from your heart. And acknowledge that on some level they will know that you have made peace with what happened, because we are all connected at the level of the mind/heart/spirit.

    They will either accept it or not. That is not your responsibility. You cannot make someone accept your desire to make peace with them. The important thing is that you have taken steps to resolve the matter in your own mind and heart.

    What you are doing is retelling the story, as you sincerely believe it would have played out, had you had another chance to do it over again, knowing what you know now.

    By following the feeling back in your imagination, to “the time” when the regret happened, and changing what happened, so it feels better to you, this signals subliminally to the mind that the mistake is being undone, and it no longer needs to be held onto, remembered or recalled.

    Abraham Hicks talks about a technique for feeling your way to a better life. It is called the “forking off process”. You can listen here.

    An Invitation to Journey into Your Subconscious

    In a few moments you will be invited to take a journey into your subconscious mind. During the peaceful moments of this Meditative Chant, you will have an opportunity to rearrange things in your imagination, so that you can then return to peace and tranquillity in your heart, mind and soul.

    Choose a time when you will not be disturbed and can close your eyes, sit back, and listen to the music of “The Great Bell Chant“, with the intention of releasing your regrets and replacing them with a new feeling of peace.

    Close your eyes and let your feelings take you back to the source of the problem, where you will look at it and decide on another course of action, a whole new life for that memory. When you are ready to return, open your eyes, and notice your new memory.

    A Meditation to Mend Past Regrets

    The sound of the bell will help to establish a bridge to your past. It’s a meditation in music spoken by Buddhist monk Thích Nhất Hạnh, that connects the heart across the divide, with those from your past who have moved on both in this life and maybe even into the next life. This practice can also help in releasing any feelings of regret over past wrongs you did or were done to you.

    Take a deep breath now, and as you listen to the meditation, reconnect in love with those feelings from the past that have haunted you. If you need to forgive others or ask others for forgiveness, take this time to do that. If you regret not having done something, take this moment to regroup and focus on a new goal that will bring you the satisfaction you can take from achieving it. Whatever your regret may be, replace it with a strong message, a new feeling, that will convey to your subconscious mind that it is now Ok to move past the past.

    When you know in your heart that it’s all settled, you will be able to let go of past regrets, because your mind has finally found closure.

    In Conclusion
    This method is suggested as a tool to apply to your own way of thinking. It works best with those who have no problem believing that we are able to access other timelines. Observe whether or not this makes a difference to your perceptions and thought processes.

    If you find it’s a bit of a stretch for you, other suggestions are available in these posts:

    Related Blog Posts
    How to Cope with Painful Memories
    Releasing Fear From Your Life
    Can Post Traumatic Stress Be Healed?
    Living With Soul Loss
    4 Strategies to Deflect Worry in Your Life
    Achieving Stillness and Peace in Your Mind and Heart
    How to Be Happy
    Going Back to the Beginning


    Sources:
    http://www.collective-evolution.com/2016/02/02/blackboard-stands-alone-in-nyc-asking-people-their-biggest-regrets-what-they-all-had-in-common-was-heartbreaking/
    https://www.quora.com/When-people-look-back-on-their-lives-what-are-common-regrets-they-have
    http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/news_articles/2012/no-regrets.aspx
    https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Nhat_Hanh