A friend of mine recently posed some thought provoking questions to me: what were the best choices or decisions I had made in my life, and what were my regrets?
The first question was relatively easy to answer: I could name several good decisions I had made. Unquestionably one of the greatest was the decision to move to Tasmania and devote more time to practicing and teaching yoga. I have found it incredibly rewarding to share the benefits of yoga with my community.
It has also been a great way to build community, and I love to see students talking and interacting before and after class. It is through this yoga Kula (tribe, community) that I have also made wonderful connections. It has helped me feel part of a State that I am a newcomer to.
To be able to pursue both a passion and a particular lifestyle makes me feel incredibly blessed. Yes, there is privilege involved in being able to do so – I am very conscious of this in a world of marked inequality.
But there were also some brave choices. And this is the key point I want to make – life circumstances can deal you blows that you have no control over, but you do have choices you can make. You can choose how you respond, how you react. You can choose what to do next, in the face of those life circumstances. And you can choose your attitude.
This viewpoint is what a psychologist would describe as an internal locus of control:
“Locus of control describes the degree to which individuals perceive that outcomes result from their own behaviors, or from forces that are external to themselves”.
Locus of control is a continuum, and I tend to fall on the internal end. Whilst there are of course external factors that affect us, I strongly believe that our own thoughts, behaviours and attitudes have a greater influence over our lives than fate, luck or circumstance do.
As I have described in an earlier blog, Santosha Yoga Australia has three core values, which are my own personal values: contentment, acceptance and gratitude. I believe that practicing these three things help to let go of any regrets. It’s all about focusing on what is, rather than what should be or what could have been.
“Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely.”
― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart
So, when it came to reflecting on my regrets, nothing came to mind. Sure, there have been things in my life that I would prefer not to have happened, or that they went in a different direction. It hasn’t all been rosy! But those bad times or bad decisions have helped shape me into the person I am today. And they have helped me to get to where I am today, living out my dreams.