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Neither regret the past nor fear the future

Ni Regret Du Passé Ni Peur De L’Avenir translated from French means, “Neither Regret the Past nor Fear the Future.” It serves as a reminder that happiness is available to us if we live in the present.

I carry this statement with me every day.

What does it mean to you?

Matthew 6:34 states, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Similarly, in Philippians 4:6 it is written, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

If we are not mindful of our current emotions, thoughts and actions, our entire lives can be spent wishing we had said something else, second guessing every choice and cringing at our impulsivity. Then we dread the bills arriving next week, sweat throughout tomorrow’s meetings and stress over change occurring months down the road.

Regret and worry produce stagnation in our lives. Rather than recognizing how we feel, sitting with the discomfort of it and proceeding to calmly accomplish our daily tasks, we are immobilized. Our thoughts loop on what we could have done differently or how what we end up doing will never be good enough.

What if we could simply be here now?

Mindfulness is the ability to be fully present and aware of our surroundings without becoming overwhelmed or overly reactive by external influences. This looks like focusing on the rhythm of your breathing during a stressful situation; people watching instead of scrolling through social media while enjoying your morning coffee; listening to the birds sing and leaving the earphones at home on an alpine hike; paying attention to the flavour of the food you are chewing on instead of the next bite on your fork; or providing your full attention to completing one task at a time rather than juggling multiple tasks with a fraction of your concentration.

Not worrying about tomorrow is not easy. As I write this, I am on the ferry to Vancouver Island where I will begin my new life studying in Victoria. It has taken my parents and I three full days to arrive here, and they continuously remind me to enjoy the process of the journey: don’t speed, make stops along the way, relax. And yet, all I can focus on is arriving at my new home and getting settled in, beginning classes, when I can see my boyfriend next.

How pleasurable would life be if I enjoyed each and every moment, knowing that tomorrow will arrive regardless of my thoughts about it?

Friends, may I encourage you to love the present? There is no better time. Forget the “one day when” mentality and allow yourself the freedom of living in the now.

You might just uncover the magic of life.