GNL number 113

a report of doings at meeting #113, Sunday, December 11, 2016

including liturgical notes, major themes, and other odds and ends



Regret is an appalling waste of energy; you can’t build on it; it’s only good for wallowing in. ~~~Katherine Mansfield

To regret deeply is to live afresh. ~~~Henry David Thoreau


Sue started today’s conversation about REGRETS with a report on the origins of the word, and several good quotes. She spoke of noticing regrets can help us learn, and how her readings and observance of Jewish rituals have helped her see regrets, and how the many small regrets in her daily life seem to stem from her growing needs to do more, eg., twice as much reading/study,and justice work, in this time in history, and in her life. And she was one of several who sensed that males tend to regret things done, and females, what not done. See AFTERWORDS for her notes and quotes.

Marge said she had few regrets, recalling only one as a new teacher when she wished she’d spoken up; but among quotes she brought was Mark Twain’s advice to explore, which is something she’s made a point to tell young people: try new things, and you won’t have those so common “wish I had done” regrets. And she sang a line or two from Sinatra’s My Way—Regrets, I’ve had a few, too few to mention— She also brought a wonderful newspaper cartoon on “The Little Engine That Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda…” . See AW for her quotes.

Ann, whose comments last time had set up this topic, brought some great 6-wordies and quotes too, including one from Anne LaMott that delighted all of us. Also well-appreciated: Ann’s response to having regrets: “So What ?” (We’ve all got ’em!) And she told about an incident with a friend, who’d told her about explaining to a young child that we’re all born sinners, which was horrifying to A, and she wished she’d been able to somehow express her objection. See AW for her N and Q.

Louise recalled asking her father in his later years what did he wish he’d done, and getting a surprising, hurtful ‘not your business’ answer, that also hinted of some regrets. And she remembered further back into her early Catholic childhood, having to go to confession regularly and having to find sins to regret. Which, when we imagined confessing the regret-lies of the previous week ad infinitum, broke us all up. L was also glad that her daughter had a different growing-up.

Cynthia first said Gail regrets missing the meeting (but would regret even more if she missed the day with Virginia!) Then Cyn spoke of having felt some regret for her early plunge into adult life—marriage and parenthood in her teens, before having the chance to find herself. And the parenting was challenging, as her son, born with a club foot, needed lots of medical attention. But she said she doesn’t have deep regrets, that mostly she has learned, adapted, tried new things that reflect the person she deeply is.

NancyS agreed regrets are part of the human deal, but guilt doesn’t have to be a permanent part of it, and we can learn from facing them. Her examples, like many of us, were of things not done, first, as mother and wife; she wished to have communicated better and expressed feelings, especially affection, more freely, and felt she had learned over the years and become more forthcoming. N’s other regret was her talents for music and art are largely undeveloped, though enjoyed nonetheless by her singing-dancing-doodling self.

We decided to direct today’s offering to the efforts of Doctors Without Borders, one of the organizations doing such courageous work in Syria and elsewhere in this suffering world.


I don’t think I could love you so much if you had nothing to complain of and nothing to regret. I don’t like people who have never fallen or stumbled. Their virtue is lifeless and of little value. Life hasn’t revealed its beauty to them. ~~~Boris Pasternak, Dr. Zhivago


Sunday, January 8, 2017 (1030), at Cynthia’s house on North Street, Cobleskill.

The topic is STRANGE(RS).


from Sue

regret (v.)     “to look back with distress or sorrowful longing; to grieve for on remembering,” late 14c., from Old French regreter “long after, bewail, lament someone’s death; ask the help of”… (compare Old English grætan “to weep;” Old Norse grata “to weep, groan”), from Proto-Germanic *gretan “weep.”

  • “If you aren’t in the moment, you are either looking forward to uncertainty, or back to pain and regret.” ~Jim Carrey
  • “I would rather regret the things that I have done than the things that I have not.” ~Lucille Ball
  • “Maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets.” ~Arthur Miller
  • A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams.” ~John Barrymore
  • “My one regret in life is that I am not someone else.” Woody Allen

one I did not read:
“To dwell in the here and now does not mean you never think about the past or responsibly plan for the future. The idea is simply not to allow yourself to get lost in regrets about the past or worries about the future. If you are firmly grounded in the present moment, the past can be an object of inquiry, the object of your mindfulness and concentration.”  ~Thich Nhat Hanh, The Art of Power

Advice I read somewhere– Never spend more than 2 minutes on any regret—then move on.
And talking to daughter Sarah after our meeting–about our topic, she emailed me this:  This American Life on Regrets


from Marge

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. ~~~Mark Twain Youth is a blunder

manhood a struggle; old age a regret. ~~~Coningsby, 1844

I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country. ~~~Nathan Hale, 1776

“Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are, “It might have been.”~~~Kurt Vonnegut

“We all make mistakes, have struggles, and even regret things in our past. But you are not your mistakes, you are not your struggles, and you are here NOW with the power to shape your day and your future.” ~~~Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience

“I see it all perfectly; there are two possible situations — one can either do this or that. My honest opinion and my friendly advice is this: do it or do not do it — you will regret both.” ~~~Søren Kierkegaard, Either/Or: A Fragment of Life

“If only. Those must be the two saddest words in the world.” ~~~Mercedes Lackey


If you let go a little

You will have a little happiness.

If you let go a lot

You will have a lot of happiness.

If you let go completely

You will be free.

~~~Ajahn Chah – was an influential teacher and a founder of two major monasteries in the  Buddhist Thai Forest Tradition.   Quoted in Jack Kornfield, to prepare for a meditation on Letting Go

The knowledge of the past stays with us.  To let go is to release the images and emotions, the grudges and fears, the clingings and disappointments of the past that bind our spirit.  Like emptying a cup, letting go leaves us free to receive, refreshed, sensitive, and awake.~~~Jack Kornfield from The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness and Peace

Would you rather she had been less dear so that you might grieve less?  ~~~Unknown

“Oh my God, what if you wake up some day, and you’re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written, or you didn’t go swimming in those warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen.” ~~~Anne Lamott

“One can’t reason away regret-it’s a bit like falling in love, falling into regret.”~~~Graham Greene, The Human Factor

“Men didn’t have any idea about regret before God felt so after creating us.” ~~~Toba Beta, My Ancestor Was an Ancient Astronaut 

“There’s a quote of hers [Lucille Ball] that I’ve always loved: ‘I guess I would rather regret the things I’ve done than to regret the things I’ve never done.” ~~~Carol Burnett, In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem, and Fun in the Sandbox

“Let’s not worry. It’s too late now. It will always be too late, fortunately!”~~~ Albert Camus, The Fall


Across the fields of yesterday,

He sometimes comes to me

A little lad just back from play—

The boy I used to be.

He looks at me so wistfully

When once he’s crept within;

It is as if he hoped to see

The man I might have been.”

~~~ James C. Dobson, Life on the Edge: The Next Generation’s Guide to a Meaningful Future

“A life premised upon honest effort and questing for love is bound to generate regret and remorse.”~~~ Kilroy J. Oldster, Dead Toad Scrolls

“Wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then.” ~~~ Bob Seger

“Starting right now, attempt to live as if you have no regrets.” ~~~John O’Callaghan

“In between yesterday’s regret and tomorrow’s dream is today’s opportunity. Seize the chance!” ~~~Ifeanyi Enoch Onuoha, Overcoming the Challenges of Life

“Happiness is pleasure without regret” ~~~ Leo Tolstoy

Six wordies

  • I wish I had… oh well.
  • I wish I hadn’t …oh hell!
  • Having only regrets is not living.
  • No regrets for losing that one.
  • Possibly it could have been better.
  • The road not taken, it’s done.
  • Too late… there goes our planet.
  • Look more closely, see more clearly?




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