Mindful with Irene (16)

Each Friday, Irene writes about how various Mindfulness lessons apply in her daily life. This week, she talks about regrets and how life is just like the surface of the ocean on a stormy day.

In one of her weekly blogs about decluttering, Astrid wrote about regrets—a topic that I would also like to address. Ever since the divorce seven years ago, I have experienced many moments of regret. Regret that I did not pay more attention to things when I was married, and so did not notice that our relationship was coming to an end. Regret that I spent too long with the first “rebound guy,” even when things no longer felt right with him. And, most of all, regret that I have wrestled with so many things over the past years. When I look back now, I think to myself, above all else: Why? Because all I had to really do was just let some time pass by, and float along on the waves of life. One of the most meaningful mindfulness lessons I have learnt to love is the idea that life is like the surface of the ocean on a stormy day. This ocean is full of waves: sometimes they will overwhelm you, sometimes they will drag you along, and sometimes they will throw you back onto the beach. Sometimes you will float on them, basking in the sun; other times you will gasp for breath as you get tossed about. But when you move with the waves, life is so much easier.

When I was in the thick of things, I thought that there was a point to all my grappling. But actually it’s more like being in a riptide. If you get pulled in, you just have to let yourself be carried away with it, and when the force weakens, you can swim to the side and then back to shore.

Moving along on the waves of life feels so natural now. Life seven years after the divorce is so much calmer: the sea softly laps against the shore, and that’s fine. New love brings peace, and that’s fine. The children are happy, and that’s fine. My life is back in order, and that’s fine. But sometimes – secretly deep down inside – I do miss those waves.

Irene Smit (46), together with Astrid van der Hulst, is the founder of Flow Magazine. Irene lives with her children (9 and 13, co-parenting) in Haarlem, the Netherlands.