A key contrast is focusing on what one values for the future instead of just reviewing ideals about “what should have been” (and restimulating conflicted feelings). There may be a time for that, but only when it is actually helpful….
First, focus on the priorities for the future (including the immediate future). Focus also on what actually is happening and exploring what could happen and then how it would.
That establishes direction (aim). When the stated priority is “in focus” and “single-minded,” then exploration and experimentation naturally result.
If no action results, then perhaps there is some other priority active (or almost active). Also, when a particular type of action is working, then momentum naturally builds.
However, if someone simply wishes for isolation or rest as a priority, then initiative in that direction actually manifests. Except for that case, then action results which can generally be easily recognized by others. The actions may include conversations or not.
Once the focus in established and initial explorations are underway with some growing momentum, then, if relevant, that past can be useful. If commitment or focus fades briefly (after an initial surge of new momentum), then the past can be used as a resource to motivate the next actions that will produce new waves of momentum.
Even ideals about “what should have been” can be used to restimulate old repulsions. How is repulsion useful? Once a new future destination that is powerfully attractive has been identified, then repulsion from the past produces propulsion toward the new goal: a new launch. Once the exploration has momentum, then even intense repulsion (such as reminders of past frustration) will simply add motivation and energy.
Triggering the most intense repulsions may work best when momentum is actually surging… not when momentum is lagging. It is important to maintain focus, so if the past becomes a distraction from the focus and taking new actions, then attention to the past can be paused (stopped).
A clear future priority is essential to consistent innovation. The most sudden innovations often arise during relaxed exploration.
As for how big and how distant a priority to select, whatever actually works is what actually works. Action is the measure of a stated priority. If action stalls, then shift the focus, make it a bigger goal that is more attractive. Or, make it a smaller more immediate goal that produces consistent action.
In fact, when an initial goal has been targeted and achieved, that may be a good time to recultivate an old repulsion. While momentum is present but no new destination has been identified, the old repulsions can help to bring preferences and priorities in to focus.