Regret, guilt, and shame are difficult feelings to contend with and at times completely debilitating. All three rooted in the past tense and can grow into the present like invasive weeds in a garden. These weeds typically emerge with distorted memories tainting our current perception. The memories commonly contain themes of being victimized, abuse of power, making mistakes, doing something wrong, hurting someone’s feelings, causing someone pain, not doing enough, not being enough, and more. The vines of these themes, often grow distorted, self-limiting, and self-defeating thoughts/beliefs creating the feelings of regret, guilt, and shame. These feelings in themselves are not harmful or debilitating. In fact, they are quite useful as they function as a signal of a possible imbalance with one’s internal and external worlds needing to be addressed, acknowledged, healed, and released. They are signaling an opportunity for change. They only become the invasive weeds in the soul’s garden when they are continually being watered and fertilized from a self-sabotaging, self-punishing source.
The past serves a powerful purpose (if used with compassion). The past contains pathways to help us learn vital lessons so we may grow and expand. The past offers opportunities to reduce the frequency of distorted thoughts/beliefs and maladaptive behaviors, thus suffering in the present and opportunities to transmute and transcend them. Obviously there is truth to the memories we hold. We may have indeed caused harm to ourselves and others or someone has caused harm to us; taking responsibility for such pain is critical for overall healing and growth. It is also important to bring awareness of a tendency to over-exaggerate past mistakes, weaknesses, and failures. It’s helpful to remember, most likely at the time of the memory we behaved from a space of limited awareness or a clouded, confused perspective. We participated or reacted from what we knew at the time.
We also tend to discount positive aspects of our memories and mainly focus on the negative. Even in the most traumatic events there is some positive such as the lessons learned from the event. Although these positive aspects are not as apparent at first, they do become more visible through healing. Traumatic events can offer opportunities to grow spiritually, mentally, and emotionally, to learn responsibility for our energetic presence, to learn appropriate and healthy boundaries, to learn what we don’t deserve hence to learn our worth, and/or to learn how to unconditionally love ourselves.
When we have a laser focus on the negative aspects of the memory, the past becomes binding like dragging our own personal shackle and chains. The burden becomes so great we disregard or bypass the lesson and punish ourselves endlessly with the motley crew: regret, guilt, and shame. This excessive self-deprecating reaction to our memories keeps us bound to the past and distorts the present. We tend to operate from this distorted space of pain and suffering, even when we aren’t conscious of it, until something in the present triggers the memory.
How do we liberate ourselves from this bondage?
When you feel the harsh jerk of the shackles and chains from the past pulling you backwards, holding you back from any happiness, just know it is an opportunity for healing, growth, and expansion.
SOUL HEALING PRACTICE
The soul healing practice is a way to free yourself from this oppression and involves transmuting and transcending the memory. You energetically change the memory to how you would want it to unfold with the wisdom you have in the present, which includes the knowledge gained from the lesson you learned from the past event.
If the idea of changing a memory brings resistance, then in my opinion it is even more of a reason to try this intervention. The resistance is just the shackles and chains wanting to keep you captive in a cycle of suffering.
The resistance may also be due to the memory involving someone or a situation that caused you significant harm and pain. It may feel as though changing, transmuting, and transcending the memory takes away any justice for the other’s wrong doing, especially if amends haven’t been made or consequences haven’t been received. On the flip side, it is much greater injustice in my opinion for you to be carrying the burden of these restricting and oppressive feelings causing you to be punished endlessly, every day of your present life. Why are you being punished for another’s wrong doing? Their wrong doing certainly may have caused you to feel unsafe and disempowered, but you still have the ability to regain your empowerment. The soul healing practice is not denying that a wrong doing was done, it’s about releasing you from it. By transmuting and transcending the memory, you are dissolving their energetic power over you, the memory’s power over you, and releasing the negative energetic cord/attachment you have with the person or situation who harmed you. This frees you from being held captive to the memory allowing you to implement healthy boundaries and/or pursue appropriate consequences for the injustice from a space of clarity rather than confusion. This is forgiveness and empowerment.
If changing, transmuting, and transcending the memory releases your captivity to the past, then why not be free so you can be the person you desire in the present moment? By releasing and transforming these chains you can offer an authentic amends for any harm you may have caused or be released from the disempowering energetic trap of being a victim. Memories are meant to teach us, not to imprison us. Let the memory do its job of teaching so it may be transmuted, transcended into light, and so you can get back to the present without the burden of the past.
The soul healing practice involves visualization and meditation. The practice will be most effective after you reduce any anxiety or distress that may have emerged from a memory being recalled or triggered in the present. Effective means to reducing distress may include: grounding/mindfulness, diaphragmatic breathing, objective/rational thinking, empowered self-talk, meditation, or whatever is your personal practice or technique that resonates with you most to help you feel centered and calm. Practicing from a space of feeling calm, centered, and clear will help to increase openness and to decrease any resistance to healing and expanding. Also, take the liberty to experiment with this soul healing practice, change it, refine it in order to make this practice YOUR practice and for the practice to truly resonate with your soul.
Begin the meditation by imagining yourself encased in a white column of light extending from above you (connecting to source energy, the divine, God, or whatever resonates with you) and down into the earth. This column of light that is surrounding you, offers protection and support during your healing. Recall the memory as if you are seeing it on a movie screen. Flood the memory with white and golden light so the light fills the entire space of your observation. Imagine the light to be a bright light turned on in a very dark room. The light has extreme purifying power and can soften, transmute, and even transcend any darkness.
Imagine rays of white and golden light extending from your heart to the memory scene. The light and heart connection to the memory helps to transmute and transcend any heavy, restricting energies attached to the original memory such as guilt, shame, regret, anger, resentment, sadness, fear, etc. If just flooding the memory with this purifying light brings some relief, less pain, or a sense of empowerment, then you can close the memory as described below or you can replay the memory in this space of healing light. Replay the memory as the elevated person you are now or desire to be, who learned the lessons from the past, the wiser person, the more empowered person, and the person who desires to respond to the memory’s events from an elevated, compassionate, and loving perspective. Continually flood the memory with the healing, purifying white and golden light while you replay it. The memory scenes may change or the continual projection of light may soften its sharp edges. Hopefully, the pain lessens and a sense of empowerment is restored.
Once the memory is complete, offer gratitude for the opportunity to heal the memory, which subsequently heals the present moment because energy doesn’t know the concept of time or space. Close the memory with another burst of white light and see the memory dissipate into the expansive space around you, and eventually disappear. Imagine the column of light from the beginning of the meditation seals off to form a white, golden sphere of light surrounding you. This sphere of light is a shield protecting and repelling any negative, denser energies desiring to shackle you and to hold you back from your highest potential. The shield compassionately reflects back any denser energies back to its source for them to heal. The shield is fluid and allows you to receive and to give unconditional love.
The soul healing practice may need to be implemented several times if the memory continues to have its clutches in your soul and you find you are still carrying the burden. Its grip should lessen with each use of the practice. You may also utilize this practice in written form. You may literally rewrite the memory using similar aspects of the meditation/visualization. It will be more effective to handwrite than to type.
MY EXPERIENCE WITH THE SOUL HEALING PRACTICE
My beloved dog of 13.5 years passed in February. Guinness was a chocolate labrador full of anxiety, but a most beautiful soul that was completely devoted to us and yearned to always take care of us. Initially, when we first adopted her which was a few years after the death of my husband, I disliked her, in fact I thought I hated her. She was needy and constantly intruding into my space. It took me a bit of time and patience to begin to like her and eventually to love her, before I could understand her purpose in our lives. She taught me so many valuable lessons, mainly unconditional love even for the anger and rage I suppressed following the death of my husband.
Five months after Guinness’s passing, we were ready to bring a new dog into our home. We adopted a handsome, young golden mix male from the shelter. My daughter named him, Apollo, because he’s a golden color and has the energy of the sun, as well as, a healer. The picture included in this blog is Apollo.
As I began to care for him, such as buying his food and accessories, feelings of regret and guilt were seeping from my subconscious into my conscious awareness. My mind was being plagued with negative thoughts such as: I didn’t buy Guinness the top brand dog food at a specialty pet store like I’m doing for Apollo; I didn’t give Guinness filtered tap water; and I definitely wasn’t as tolerate with Guinness’ puppyish behaviors, her shedding, and her misbehavior, like I am with Apollo.
I could feel the pull of regret and guilt wanting to anchor me into a cycle of suffering and self-punishing thoughts, but I resisted. I was certainly being tempted to only focus on the negative times, but I persisted with an objective and more compassionate recalling of the past. I began reminding myself, I did my best caring for Guinness at the time. I was in a dark time in my grief when we first brought Guinness into our home and I was tired, angry, devastated. I reminded myself I loved her deeply through the years and became a better pet owner over time. I recalled how she helped me heal my anger, helped to make the house feel safe, and with this realization I offered her so much gratitude and unconditional love.
After I felt more elevated by recalling the memories with compassion and objectivity, it opened a space for me to accept and to not resist this opportunity for healing and expansion. I settled into the healing meditation and imagined a column of white light surrounding me. I flooded ALL memories of Guinness (good and bad) with purifying white and golden light. I opened my heart, extending rays of light and unconditional love to her spirit and to the memories. Any feelings of irritation, anger, or annoyance were dissolved, transmuted, and transcended into light. I replayed all the memories of caring for Guinness with my current knowledge and wisdom, as well as, my desire to be a better pet owner, and noticed the memories began to change: I saw myself providing her with the best food, filtered water, and tolerating her jumpiness in her youth, her shedding, and all the other irritations/annoyances while continuously flooding the memories with light. I was consumed with extreme happiness, peace, and love with a deep inner knowing I healed and resolved the past. I can now bring this elevated energy into the present for myself and Apollo.
I closed the memory, released it with a burst of white light and unconditional love, and saw it dissipate and then disappear. I sealed myself in a sphere of white, golden light. I felt it was complete. I also had a solid confirmation that Guinness’s spirit always knew and loved the true essence of my spirit and paid no mind to my human mistakes and blunders. With this new knowledge, I was filled with absolute gratitude once again for my beautiful earth angel.
In addition to the example above, this soul healing practice has also been quite effective in resolving, transmuting, and transcending memories of childhood trauma. I used the practice several times as these memories tended to surface from time to time, especially as I focused on my internal work. Primarily, I used the practice of flooding the memory with the purifying light to help soften the pain, confusion, and disgust of the memories. I replayed it only to provide my child self an abundance of love, reassuring her that none of what was occurring was her fault, and she is now safe. Each time I used the practice the pain from the memory lessened, self-punishment lessened, guilt and shame lessened, and I began to feel more empowered in the present, worthy of happiness and abundance.
Thank you for another opportunity for healing, expansion, and soul elevation.
The purpose of this blog is to share with you how I integrate my professional mental health experience, personal experience, and spiritual awareness in the form of soul healing practices. By sharing my experience, it is my hope it will provide a practical example of how to interrupt and eventually resolve the cyclic energy of suffering and to elevate your soul.
These practices work best when you are ready to heal and expand. It is OK if you are not quite ready. Please be gentle and patient with yourself. You will heal and expand when you are ready. Sending you so much love, warmth, and compassion.
Visit my website if you want to learn more about me and to check out my poetry.
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Thanks again for visiting my blog and for your support. Stacy 💚
PLEASE BE ADVISED
The soul healing practices provided in this blog are meant as a tool to aid in healing and not for psychotherapy or social work practice requiring a contractual, professional relationship. If you need consistent therapeutic care and/or crisis intervention due to being at risk of harming yourself or others, then seek professional and/or emergency services immediately.
© Stacy L. Pintor 2017. All Rights Reserved.
Updated in 2022 by Stacy L. Pintor
(No part of this blog may be reproduced without written permission from the author.)
2 thoughts on “REGRET, GUILT, SHAME: THE MOTLEY CREW”
Great post! Very helpful and insightful. Wish you the best – speak766
Thank you for the support!! Wishing you many blessings 🙂
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