Transmuting Regret into Resolve

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Using the body and breath to mobilise deep-seated regrets

For many of us, regret can brew deep inside the unconscious body for years.

Maybe it’s something we’ve said, done or not done a long time ago that’s brewing – until we find the resources and skills to face it, we can feel stuck and heavy. In this article, you’ll gain a body-mind practice to work with deep seated regrets using a practice called Transmutation.


Think of transmutation as the process of turning a block of ice into water. By introducing warmth, the rigid becomes fluid.

Transmutation can be used for anything that is heavy that wants to be made lighter. For example,

  • An deep attachment towards someone lost could transmute into acknowledging what is important to you. This gives you the agency to reprioritise.
  • Regret about not having shown up for someone could transmute into your showing up for others. This gives you the power to relate differently.
  • A fear of trying new things could transmute into curiousity and adventure. This opens up possibility
  • Loneliness could transmute into fuel to reach out and create meaningful connections. This builds the foundation for a different, meaningful life and the skills to go with it.

Bear in mind, transmutation here isn’t a mental or cognitive process but rather an embodied process that works with emotions.

Stack Of Stones

“I was full of rage and couldn’t stop plotting and planning. When I saw this, I realized I was holding a sword and armour, so I didn’t have to feel my pain – regret”. Releasing regret takes time, honesty and courage – all of which emerges when you’re ready.

Body-Mind Approach

The common response for regret is to let it go. You may also have heard others encourage this, only to find the emotion re-emerging repeatedly.

While letting go is a helpful practice, deep-seated emotions hold emotional charges that continue to stay in the body untill we embark on the journey of mobilising it. Exploring a body-based approach allows for emotional energy to emerge and pass through, releasing the emotional charge in the process.

A body-mind approach works differently to a mental practice. This approach allows for the emotion to move through the body and leave a gentle imprint as it leaves. Think of a storm that passes through your garden – it leaves its imprints in a way that you place in measures so the future is a better one.

Do bear in mind if it’s a matter runs deep, you may want to do this with professional support so it doesn’t overwhelm you.


A common reason to holding on to regret is the subtle fear that if we release our regret, we may forget and repeat the pattern. While the intention not to repeat a pattern may be noble, holding on to regret that weighs you down and affects your choices, actions and health isn’t.

The past could not have been any different, because you did not know then what you know now.

Regret stems from outcome we think shouldn’t have happened. Transmutation is the process of recycling that to empower a better outcome in your future. Think of manure.

The Practice

On the surface we can experience regret as pulling and pushing, plotting, self-judgement, and blame.

Using the body and breath as your anchor (an anchor is something you return to throughout the process), cultivate a willingness to enquire into your internal landscape.

If at any point you find yourself caught in a smaller version of the feeling, gently expand your awareness once again so it is holding the feeling, versus thrown off by the feeling.

Here are some steps for this practice. Adjust it to your needs.

This process shouldn’t be done while you’re ‘on the go’ so I’d suggest setting aside some time.

  1. Build a container: Set some time aside, giving yourself the permission to take this time for yourself.

  2. Bring awareness to how you’re reacting in the world and who towards, as if you were watching this on a tv screen. Notice the nature of your thoughts and feelings. When you feel ready to go deeper, bring awareness into the sensations you feel in the body such as rumbling, tension, bracing, tightness, numbness, blocks. This offers clues to where the emotional charge is.

  3. Notice the tension or sensations in the forehead region, behind the eyes, the torso and abdominal areas – these are the ways in which the body tenses and closes to protect you. Allow them to play out for a few moments, acknowledging fully that your survival self is only trying to protect you, no matter how much fixing and wrestling you find it doing.

  4. When you feel a bit more spacious and it feels ok to immerse further, tune in to your body and inquire into what’s REALLY going on for you, allowing your feet and hips to contain the top half of your body steady, which may feel unstable as emotions pass through. Our feet and hips can offer a steady base to unstable emotional centres in the top half. Allow waves of longing or loss from deep inside to emerge up towards the surface. It may take time for the body to trust that it is safe to mobilise this.
  5. Enquire – Is there regret, shame, embarassment? Is there longing or sadness? All emotions are human and valid, so do your best to allow their presence. If you find your mind disconnecting or seeking distractions, it may be that you need more prep work.

  6. Breathe and continue breathing, staying with the feelings as they emerge, in trickles or in waves. Remember that you need not know any answers. In this process, you allow all that is there to pass through. You may find realizations emerging in layers, perhaps the first layer of truth comes through, then a more accurate layer beneath, and a more accurate one beneath that.

  7. Allow any tears, heat, sensations to come through that feels right to you, and remember you don’t have to allow everything through at once. Remember your anchors.

  8. Feel, breathe, bear in mind that your ground, feet and hips still hold you steady even if the upper body experiences emotional instability. Hold your emotions with steadfast wisdom, grace and love. Ask yourself the question – what do all of these emotions and sensations mean about what is important to me? What do they tell me about what/who I value? What were my deepest desires that I didn’t tend to? If this emotional charge had a message for me, what would it be?

  9. Go only as far as you feel ready to, knowing you can always return to this practice again. When you feel you’ve had enough, close the practice by expressing gratitude, acknowledging what you’ve learned and taking a few breaths. Remember your anchors and remember to respsectfully close the door to this practice.

  10. As you come out of the practice, make the fullest commitment to act on what is important to you and do 2 things this week to prioritise this.  Say thank you to your body for bringing up empowering messages that will propel you towards positive change for you and all around you

  11. Be kind to yourself, hydrate, be gentle with yourself having worked through something deep and intense.

Every emotion, thought, experience have the potential to enrich your precious life. 

I hope you found this useful. Take good care of yourself, sending you goodness, kindness and love.
Stay well, warm, loving, and true. 

One Response

  1. Anonymous
    | Reply

    Thank you

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