Nothing Stays the Same

In-life-you-need-eitherNothing stays the same. Not the house you grew up in, or your beloved dog, or your first crush. You aren’t the same you you were in high school, or even the same you you were last year. And neither is anyone else. Do you have family or friends with kids you only see a couple of times a year? Aren’t you always astounded at how big they’ve gotten? We tend to try to keep things the way they are in our heads. This person exists this way in my mind. That guy I dated who broke my heart is a person who lacks compassion and doesn’t think about the effect of his actions on other people. Is that still true twenty years later? Maybe it is, and maybe there’s been incredible growth. My parents were this way or that way when I was growing up, and so now I’m like this. Are they still that way? Do you still need to be like this?

My point is, the earth is spinning around, and we are spinning around on it, and yet somehow we want to peg things down. I go to this grocery store and I buy these items and I eat at this time, and on these days I go to yoga and I get upset if someone else is in my spot. I know my partner, s/he is this way, and my best friend is like X, and you get the picture, right? Even your dog, who will love you consistently and unconditionally with every breath for his or her whole life, is changing. But we resist that reality, and are usually shocked and dismayed when loved ones die, even if they’re 97 years old and we knew it had to happen eventually. It’s almost like we think death happens to everyone but us. People almost always say that the loss of a loved one puts everything in perspective. Does it take death to wake us up? Do you really give a sh&t about ninety percent of the stuff you obsess over?

There are two times people seem to take action–when they’re desperate and when they’re inspired. Otherwise, you see most people simply trying to maintain the status quo. The status quo is changing, too. If it’s living, if it’s made up of energy, then it changes. When we resist the natural process of change, we strangle ourselves and others. We prevent our own growth, we limit our own potential, and we cling to things as they are, even as they’re slipping through our fingers. Like we’re begging, “Please, I worked so hard to get here. Leave things alone, I’m all good.”

Things will keep shifting whether you want them to or not, so you might as well accept that. Resisting it is futile and exhausting. If you’ve been participating in a situation that’s causing you deep pain, and you’re feeling desperate for something to give, you need to examine your participation. The why of it is the key to your healing. And the “good news” is that desperate people get things done. Not that any of us would ask to get to that point, but chances are, if you haven’t been loving yourself well, that’s where you’re headed. Maybe it’s what you needed in order to start to move in a different direction. If you get to a point at work or at home where things are just intolerable, you will start to think of a way out. Your mind will begin with all its machinations to forge a new path. And as soon as your mind begins to do that, to even consider a new way, you will figure out how to make it happen. Even if you’ve been telling yourself for a long time that it’s impossible. That there is no way. There’s always a way.

And if you can allow the idea that everything is in a constant state of flux to inspire you instead of terrify you, you’ll probably start to live with a little fire under your a$$. Which is a good thing, I think. Too many people talk about wasting time or “killing time”, as if it’s limitless. And it is. The world was spinning before we got here, and it will go on spinning after we’re gone. The real question is, what will you do with the time you’ve got? That’s finite. My feeling at this point in my life, is the more you invest your time and energy toward spreading love, the more you uncover your gifts and share them, the more you treasure those moments that are so easy to take for granted and recognize that just breathing deeply is a gift, the more you notice the beauty that’s all around you, the more your time here will have incredible meaning. Because it does. Your particular spark is not an accident. Shine it. Sending you love, Ally Hamilton

Trust

The-best-way-to-find-outYesterday I received an email from a woman who told me she’s never been in a relationship for longer than three months, and it’s because, “all men lie and cheat, or they leave.” I asked her how she came to that conclusion, and she said, “Because it’s true.” It turns out her dad left her mom for another woman when she was six, and then had several girlfriends while he carried on this relationship with the woman who eventually became her stepmother. Her mom also remarried, and her stepfather had a roving eye as well. She remembers her mom putting her in the back of the car one night to follow her step-dad and see if he was really going to a card game. And she remembers her mom bawling as they watched her step-dad enter a house when a woman opened the door and let him in with an embrace. She said she can still locate that sick feeling in her stomach, just like she had as she held her crying mother in that car all those years ago. (I could write a whole post about the damage done to children when they’re forced to be in the parental role.)

She said that every guy she’s ever dated has cheated on her or left. The same thing happened in college, and continues to this day. She’ll meet someone she likes, and everything will seem okay in the beginning. She doesn’t have a problem letting herself fall, but once that happens she starts to panic. She said it never lasts once the hormones wear off, because no guy wants to deal with all the constant scrutiny and need for reassurance. She’ll get a vibe early on, this one likes a woman at work, this guy still talks to his ex, this one goes out with his buddies a few times a week, and she’ll start looking for clues. Asking questions. Checking their cellphones when they leave the room. Grilling them about their comings and goings. She said it’s not unusual for her to go through a guy’s closets or drawers given the opportunity. To check recent searches on his computer, or to go through his email account if it isn’t protected with a password. That she tries to make friends with his friends right away, not just in life, but on Facebook and Twitter and everywhere else so she can “keep tabs” more easily. She has “tests” that she doesn’t talk about, but they’re there. Is he calling once a day? Asking her out for Saturday nights? Talking about the future? She said some guys are up front about their commitment issues, and others aren’t, but she assumes they’re there, either way.

There’s no way a relationship can grow in an environment like that. If there isn’t any trust, there’s no foundation and it’s only a matter of time before it crumbles. No one likes to feel like they’re being tested or spied on or paying the tab for someone else’s transgressions. Your current boyfriend doesn’t deserve anger that’s really about your dad. And you can easily flip the genders around. People drag their past into their present all the time. That’s a great way to keep it alive, and keep yourself triggered, and end up creating the very circumstances you want to avoid. If you want someone to feel like they want to build something with you, violating their privacy is probably not a great way to go. Trust. If you need support with that, reach out. But trust unless or until there’s a reason not to trust. The worst that happens is that you’re disappointed and your heart is broken. That’s okay, it won’t kill you. You’ll learn more about yourself, you’ll grow and you’ll strengthen. The best that happens is you create something beautiful with someone that helps you go deeper and also learn about yourself so you can open up even more to love. If you’re looking for a committed relationship, don’t pick people who tell you they can’t commit, or that they have a history of being unfaithful. If someone shares that with you, believe them and move on. You’re not going to be the one to change them, because that’s something in them. It has nothing to do with you. Pick wisely, and then open up.

I told the woman who wrote in that all men do not lie and cheat. Just the ones she’s picking. We only know what we know. We can only have the frame of reference we have. The first step is to recognize your frame may be severely bent. The glass across your frame may be distorted. You might need to trash that frame altogether, and start building yourself a new one. Believe me, this goes for men and women. I’ve had guys write in who’ve said all women are liars and users. Remember the guy I met last year with the tattoo on his hand, “Trust No B!tch”? If you walk into a situation in defense mode, don’t expect anyone to be able to get to know you. And that is the point of trying to connect, is it not? To be seen and understood and cherished, with all your beauty and all your flaws? To be embraced, and held so you can relax? If you have the impetus to want to get close to people, that’s a natural, healthy feeling. Bringing distrust and fear into the equation right off the bat is like deciding you’re going to bake a cake, and blowing up the oven before you start. Sending you love. Ally