Is it possible to live a life with no regrets? I’m not sure, but I am setting out to find out!
Oxford Dictionary defines Regret as, “Feeling sad, repentant, or disappointed over something that one has done or failed to do.”
Over the past 6-7 months I’ve had three experiences of which I’ve had no control that have brought me face to face with the issue of regret. The next three posts will cover each experience individually, and hopefully gently uncover some keys to living a life with no regrets.
“Grief and gratitude are kindred souls, each pointing to the beauty of what is transient and given to us by grace.
-Patricia Campbell Carson
On November 8th, 2017, one of my favorite people on the planet was killed in a tragic car accident. I have wanted to write about it for many months, but it has taken this long to be able to gather myself, my thoughts, and enough courage to actually do it.
Eric Lunde turned 47 years old in September of 2017, and 2 months later he was gone. This is so hard to write about. Partly because I want to do him justice, partly because it is so damn painful, and partly because I have no idea where this will take me. But isn’t it the truth that we really don’t know where anything will take us?
I keep thinking I’ve come to terms with it in my brain, and then a memory of him floats by, and my heart breaks all over again. Eric was a free spirit, a nO regrets adventurer, a lover of food, drink, and all things outdoors. I’d hiked with him in Sedona and Lake Tahoe, golfed with him in Minnesota, Arizona and California, traded stories of grand Hawaii adventures, and was there to support him when each of his immediate family members left the planet before him.
I thought I had more time with him. Isn’t that the catch – we always think we have more time. After having his dad, Dave, (my husband’s best friend) killed in a car accident in 1993, his sister, Lisa, dying of a freak brain bleed in 2006, and his mother (my dearest friend Sharon) dying of cancer in 2015, don’t you think Eric would get to die of old age on a beach in Hawaii 40 years from now? It just doesn’t seem right. Or fair. Or real.
I just wasn’t ready. It’s such a dumb thing to say, but I really wasn’t ready. I had plans for us. Deep talks, sharing nature hikes, golf and camping trips, fabulous dinners, and more sharing of wisdom and experiences. I regret not acting on every impulse I had to call him, invite him, and share with him. I feel so robbed. And I can’t quite shake how robbed their entire family was.
I remember sitting in intensive care with Sharon after Dave’s accident, when she looked at me and said, “I have no regrets.” I was floored. Really, No Regrets?? At that point in my life I had made some really bad decisions and couldn’t imagine having a marriage with no regrets. I never forgot her words, and have been slowly (I must be related to snails) gaining enough consciousness and courage to achieve what Sharon and Dave so beautifully created together.
Life is so precious, and so shockingly fleeting. I am forever changed by Eric’s life, and by his death. I plan to do Eric proud by choosing again and again to live with my heart wide open, no matter what life throws my way. Will this be “no regrets” living? I’m not sure, but I’m willing to try it and find out.
Eric and his family meant the world to me, and now that they’re all gone, I once again am left with so many unanswerable questions. I’ve returned again and again to my memories of them, and all the love we shared, in this lifetime, and in what feels like many other lifetimes, too. I keep remembering what my doctor said to me just weeks after the accident – “they are all once again together, galloping across the galaxies”. Whether or not it’s true, it sure helps me to picture it.
Since Eric’s death, I keep hearing: Don’t wait to wake up. Don’t wait to love. Don’t wait to swim in the ocean. Don’t wait to take that trip. Don’t wait to be with your favorite people. Don’t wait to celebrate. Don’t wait to live your life the way you want to. Don’t wait. I for one am heeding this advice, because this might just be the essence of nO regrets living.
This summer, my husband and I will carry the ashes of our most treasured Lunde family back to Minnesota with us. There we will give them a final resting place, so they can be “Together Forever”. The remains of their bodies will rest, while their amazing spirits will continue to spread their special brand of love and magic through the Universe.
Thank you for all the love, lessons, wisdom and adventures. Travel well dear ones. I will meet you among the stars.
I’m sitting in my comfy bed watching the TV show The Voice right now, and continue to be amazed, week after week, by the tremendously talented artists on this show. It is inspiring and heart-warming to watch the contestants consciously choose to become more and more of who they really are. As impressed as I am with the contestants, this season I am even more in awe of the judges. They are all extremely accomplished musicians and performers, and the reason is not only their talent, but their commitment to being true to themselves. They are teaching the artists, and those of us watching, that the real value and beauty of life is in living from and expressing our unique “voices” in the world.
Wouldn’t it be great if this was part of the curriculum in every school in the country? We could call it heART 💟 101. And as coach Pherrell says, “we need more different in the world”. Don’t you just love that❤️‼️
As much as I enjoy watching these miracles unfold on the screen in front of me, I’m very aware that a lot of the real life of the process has been edited to “fit the time slot”. In real life, there is no such editing available – not that I haven’t looked high and low for it! But the truth is, there are no shortcuts. There is no perfect. And taking the steps to become more of who we are is messy, frightening and courageous work indeed.
As I continue to prepare for the 3-day Fountain Hills Art Festival in mid-November, I’m having to consciously choose to be true to myself over and over again. Fear and doubt are such loud mouths, and though they believe they are keeping me safe, I’m having to challenge their every word! Most (if not all) of what they say is nOt true, but they are so damn persistent and loud that I start to believe them.
To bring some light to the darkness, I began writing down what my internal critics were saying to me. It is impossible to battle the demons if I don’t know who they are. Here is my Top Ten List of Mean Things To Say To Yourself To Stop Your Creativity In It’s Tracks:
1⃣ Everyone will know you are a beginner, and laugh. 2⃣ Everyone will know you really don’t belong here. 3⃣ You paid what for your booth?! You’ll never sell enough to make it worthwhile. 4⃣ Your art isn’t unique enough. 5⃣ Your art isn’t professional enough, or sophisticated enough. 6⃣ How can you think you will have enough energy to pull this off?? 7⃣ You will never be enough. 8⃣ La-dee-dah. So you’re an artist. So what. 9⃣ Don’t think you’re special – because you aren’t. 🔟 Nobody really cares what you think.
Ow. Ow. Ow. Hearing this is really painful, but I know that choosing not to hear it is deadly.
To help myself combat these untruths, I am pretending that I got a chance to pick The Voice judge, Pharrell Williams, as MY coach. I’m choosing him because he is consistently kind-hearted, honest, and humble. He is crazy talented and never seems to do or say anything without first consulting his heart. He could definitely be the professor of heART 💟 101!
Thank you, Pharrell, for honoring your gifts, and encouraging me to do the same. I will continue to open my heart, and consciously create my art, and my life.
“The process to create is simple when
your heart is completely open.”
“You no longer need to feel guilt. You can just sing for you.”
– just uttered by Pharrell (speaking directly to me!)
When I’m not being held hostage by my internal critics, I am actually really happy and excited about showing my artwork – and showing more of me. How sad would it be to die never having been courageous enough to let myself shine? If not now, when? I really do believe we are all meant to shine in our own unique way. Not based on what others think, but based on our own hearts, our own loves, and our own standards.
Here’s to living and loving life on our own terms.
It’s your life. Live it the way you want to.
Be gentle. Be brave. Be true.