Ride the Waves

You-cant-stop-the-wavesFew things are more difficult than watching someone we love grapple with pain we cannot fix. Of course we want the people we hold dearest to be happy and at peace, just as we want those things for ourselves; that’s natural. But loss, grief and pain are built into the experience of being human. We’re all on loan, here, and we’re always changing. Sometimes we’ll be in the throes of our own confusion and anguish, and sometimes we’ll feel powerless as we watch someone else struggle with the reality of being human.

The most loving, well-intentioned parents will say things like, “Don’t be sad,” or, “Don’t be angry,” but sadness and anger are normal, healthy, human emotions, and they don’t need to be pushed away. In fact, the more we try to deny the challenging feelings, the longer they persist, because we can’t fight a truth that is living inside our own bodies. If your heart is broken, there’s no use pretending otherwise. I know a woman who lost her mother a few years ago, and the pain is still acute, every day. Some of her friends have suggested she should be moving on by now, and many have distanced themselves from her. This is not an uncommon story; often, people feel uncomfortable around another person’s grief because it reminds them of their own mortality, and the fragility of this life.

The more we long to be somewhere other than where we are, the more we strain to feel differently than we do, the more we suffer and create dis-ease for ourselves. You feel how you feel, and it won’t all be pretty. In order to deny your vulnerability, you also have to deny your joy; an armored heart can’t pick and choose. You are not obligated to do things in a neat and orderly way, and you are not on anyone else’s timetable. If someone in your life requires that you show up smiling and happy, then the potential for true intimacy and genuine friendship is not there.

Sometimes, pressure to be “over” something, whether it’s the loss of a person, a relationship, a time in your life, or an event that’s transpired, is not coming from the outside, it’s coming from within us. Happiness is not a spot on a map where you land and plant your flag, it’s a process and it requires patience and a willingness to embrace all of your feelings as they arise. No one is ecstatic all the time. A great day will also include some challenging moments, just as a great life will include painful chapters. We all get frustrated with ourselves from time to time, but an aggressive or unforgiving inner atmosphere will not help your grieving process. Cultivating compassion for yourself and others is essential if you want to walk peacefully through this world. Granting patience to yourself, other people, and the situations in your life creates an expansive environment where healing is likely to occur. No one can heal in a vise grip. None of us relax because someone yells at us to relax, just as none of us heal because we’re pressured to do so. Allow yourself to be where you are, and avail yourself of the tools that exist that make it easier to ride the waves of grief when they arise. Sending you love, Ally Hamilton

The Danger of Shiny Packages

be-easy-take-your-timeRecently, I was at the grocery store with my kids, and my son asked if he could have a green juice he saw on the shelf. It was made by a company with shiny packaging, that purports to be all about good health, and natural ingredients. I pulled it down and looked at the back of the bottle, and my eyes popped out of my head: 53 grams of sugar. Even my son, who’s eight, did not need an explanation about why we weren’t going to buy it. Instead, we talked about critical thinking and not taking things at face value. And then we went home and made our own green juice.

The juice got me to thinking about a friend of mine who’s going through some heartbreak. She was dating a man for the last eight months. Kind of a whirlwind thing, and also a case of good packaging. They moved in together after eight weeks of heated dating, and she was sure he was “the one.” He was charming and kind and attentive and great-looking, and it seemed they had a good thing going. Until one of our mutual friends called to tell her he was active on Tinder, and had tried to make a date with her. So now my friend is crashing at her parents’ house and looking for a place to live, and beating herself up.

The thing is, most of us have done this, romantically or otherwise. We make quick decisions based on how things look or seem, but when it comes to people, or situations, or even juice, you really have to take your time. Not everything is as it appears to be.

Some of the things that cloud our vision the most are our own wants, projections and assumptions. If you’re longing for connection, for example, and you meet someone who’s attractive to you, you may find yourself diving in and projecting all these wonderful traits on a person you really don’t know. You don’t know someone after a week, or two, or even six. If we’re talking about romance, you REALLY don’t know, because nothing blinds us like hormones. You have to wait for the lust/dust to clear a little before you have any sense of who you’re dealing with, and even then, it takes time. Also, most people can do the beginning of relationships well. I mean, it’s not hard, right? Spending time with someone you’re nuts about, getting naked, and having lots of great sex? Not too many people are going to feel burdened or challenged by that! And those long conversations deep into the night, when neither of you cares about having to get up early in the morning. The touch of his hand, the look in her eye, the flirty texts. Even people who have a deep fear of intimacy can usually do the beginning pretty well. You know why, right? It’s not really intimate yet. You can get physically naked with someone and not really know who they are. You can confide your past disappointments, your struggles, your fears, your hopes and your dreams, and still not know someone, not deeply. Most people lead with their best foot. Most people are not going to tell you about their darkest issues in the beginning, because they are digging the high off your adoration, just like you’re digging the high off theirs. No one wants to burst that bubble. We all like to have a clean slate, a chance to begin again, an opportunity to see ourselves the way this new person is seeing us.

You get to know people slowly, whether we’re talking about new friends, or romantic partners. Of course we love to pin things down and make our plans and think about the future, and that’s okay, that’s human. But the truth is, we never know what’s coming next, and the best thing any of us can do is know ourselves, and stay centered. You don’t have to decide how you feel about everything right off the bat. You can give yourself a little breathing room, and allow things, people, and situations to unfold. You don’t have to decide “this is it!”, and you don’t have to decide “this isn’t it.” You can just enjoy and pay attention and see.

“Viveka”, or discernment, is a huge part of the yoga practice. Recognizing what is real from what is not real, what is permanent versus what is impermanent. Solitude is part of being human. You’ll spend more time with your internal dialogue, occupying the vast world of your innermost space, than you will with anyone else. People will only have access to that interior world to the extent that you allow, and the same holds true for others. You will only know anyone to the extent that they give you access. Some people guard the deepest sanctuary of their inner world out of fear. It might be fear of rejection, it might be fear of intimacy, it might be the fear of losing one’s freedom. The point is, people are complicated, therefore situations involving people are doubly complicated. We all bring so much to the mix, and most of it is not on the surface. There are mysteries everywhere. To think you can figure it all out by skimming the top is a sure way to get bitten in the ass, and probably hard. Take your time with people. And take your time with juice, too. Sending you love, Ally Hamilton

See the Pain Beneath the Words

stephencoveyHave you ever gone to see a film with a friend, and come out to discover you have two completely different viewpoints about what you’ve just seen? Obviously, it’s not that you’ve seen two different movies, it’s that you and your friend are bringing two different perspectives to a shared experience. I think that’s clear when we’re in that context, but we seem to forget it’s the same with life.

We’re always bringing so much to the table. We have our life experiences, our histories, our opinions and feelings and things we’ve been taught, in addition to our current mood and circumstances. This is really helpful to remember when we find ourselves totally thrown by someone else’s behavior or different take on a situation. It’s also good to remember when we move through conflict with those we love.

So much of the time, we get caught up in the story, or our need to be right. If we’re not seeing eye to eye with a loved one, we might expend a lot of energy trying to convince them to see things our way. We might dig our heels in, or shake our head, or throw our hands in the air in our attempts to “win” a fight, but when we separate ourselves form those we love because being right is more important than being close, no one wins.

If, for example, your partner feels jealous, and you know in your heart there’s no need for that fear, you might become impatient or angry or indignant. Maybe you go for reassurance once or twice, but then you feel frustrated that you have to spend time and energy putting them at ease when you aren’t doing anything wrong. You could take that tack, but you could also stop and breathe and consider your partner’s life experiences. Maybe they’ve been betrayed in the past, more than once. Don’t get me wrong, here. I’m not talking about pathological jealousy, or controlling or violating behavior. I’m not suggesting it’s ever okay if the person you’re with is checking your email or your text messages, or showing up unannounced. That kind of behavior chokes the life, trust and health out of any relationship.

What I’m talking about is clear communication and compassion. When we love people, we love the whole person, with all their beauty and all their flaws and occasional absurdities, just as we hope they’ll also love us. We don’t reject the challenging parts. We don’t walk away when a person we love is in pain. One of the most loving things you can do for anyone is to try to understand their perspective, because underneath words and stories, there are always feelings. Sometimes in the middle of a charged exchange, it’s incredibly revealing to stop listening to the words, and just look at your loved one’s face. Maybe you’re going to see fear or anger, because when we love, we make ourselves vulnerable, and when we feel threatened, it’s human for us to want to protect what we love. Generally, if you can see the pain or fear beneath the words, it makes it so much easier to be kind and understanding. That’s what we all want, right? To be seen and understood, to feel that if we’ve given someone our heart, we can trust that they’ll take care of it, and that they won’t shame us or reject us for our insecurities. We all have some, after all.

The other thing that’s such a relief, and often comes with time and distance, is just the realization that so little is personal. People can only be where they are, and they can only use the tools they’ve got. We’ve all had our experiences and our life lessons, and most of us have learned at least a few things along the way that we’re going to have to unlearn. Like, maybe you learned that “everyone cheats”, or “everyone leaves”, because that’s what you saw growing up, and that’s what you’ve unconsciously sought out as an adult, in an effort to rewrite your story. Maybe it just hasn’t occurred to you yet, it isn’t that everyone cheats, it’s that all the people you’ve picked, cheat. Ugh. Not a very fun realization, but key for your healing and happiness. Anyway, my point is, if you love someone, and I don’t just mean romantically, part of your job is to help them unlearn anything that’s blocking their happiness. I mean, you don’t have to take that on, that’s advanced love, but the option is there for you to be that person.

If you can really make those closest to you feel safe to be fully themselves, and to know that you won’t walk away, you set the stage to be received in the same way. Not everyone is going to accept that invitation, but you don’t need everyone, just a handful of people is a blessing. You can always have at least one person who accepts you entirely, because you always have the power to do that for yourself, and it’s a relief, really. We all have our struggles, fears and pain. That doesn’t make us less lovable.

Sending you a huge hug, and a lot of love,

Ally Hamilton

For People Who Suffer from “Needing to Be Right Disease”, and Those Who Love Them

nietzscheSometimes it’s easier to be forgiving with other people than it is with ourselves. This has a lot to do with your personality, and your history with making mistakes. If, for example, you were badly punished when you made mistakes growing up, whether they were big or small, you might have a lot of fear around screwing up. If you felt that love and affection and approval were withdrawn when you blew it, the stakes become even higher. If that resonates with you, you might also find that you’re invested in being “right”, because if you aren’t right, you’re wrong, and if you’re wrong, you’ve made a mistake and there will be painful consequences. Fear usually drives the need to be right, and people who suffer from “Needing to Be Right Disease” often have a very hard time saying, “I’m sorry.” Which is, of course, the antidote.

If you’re dealing with someone who has to win every argument, or can’t ever say they’re sorry or see their part in a misunderstanding, you might be dealing with narcissistic pride, but you might also be dealing with fear. If this is someone you love, or someone you’re still getting to know, it might be worth your time to investigate the source of their need. Obviously, no one is always right, and most of the time, if there’s a miscommunication, it’s a two-party deal. Not always, so don’t freak on me, here. Sometimes you’re dealing with personality disorders and it doesn’t matter what you do or say; logic has no bearing, but I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about people who are normally kind and considerate, thoughtful and reasonable, until they feel they might have screwed up. Then this other entity comes out, this person who digs his heels in, or who can’t hear you because she’s raising her voice, or storming out the door. Clearly, that’s not a sustainable way to communicate, or try to work out problems. I’m just offering a possible explanation. Sometimes if we can understand that underneath anger and defensiveness, what we’re really dealing with is fear and pain, it inspires us to be kind, compassionate, and patient.

You will never get through to someone if they’re in the middle of a fight or flight reaction. That isn’t the time to offer your insights about what might be driving their need to be right. In fact, if you bring it up then, good luck to you! But if you care enough to understand, when things are calm and your friend is not feeling threatened or attacked or backed into a corner, you might ask how it was handled when they made mistakes as a kid. What did discipline look like in their house? How were they punished, and over what? This is the kind of conversation that might bring you a lot closer to someone you love, and it also might enable you to help them grow, to create a safe space to make mistakes, and to show them that you aren’t going to run out the door, or stop loving them, or “make them pay.”

People who fear being wrong berate themselves more than you ever could when they blow it, they obsess over it. And let me be clear, it’s not always the way someone was raised. Sometimes a person is a perfectionist. Maybe they had a parent who was very hard on her or himself, and they ingrained that behavior, so anything less than perfection is intolerable. Type A personalities suffer from this. Anyway, I know a lot about beating the crap out of yourself when you blow it, because I did that for years and years. I often say that after twenty or so years of yoga, pretty much six days a week, I am a mostly recovered Type A personality. 93% recovered on a good day, but it’s a hard way to live, if you’re expecting to never make a mistake, because obviously, you will, and probably you will a lot. It’s kind of an intrinsic part of being human. So if you feel disappointed in yourself, or disgusted with yourself, or like you want to jump out of your own intolerable skin, life is going to be pretty rough. You can lose days, weeks, months, even, over mistakes you’ve made. You can keep “boiling yourself”, traveling into the past, replaying what you’ve done, rewriting the scene so you don’t blow it, and lose all kinds of precious time you could have been enjoying the present.

Learning to expect that you’ll make mistakes is essential, and learning to own your mistakes and be accountable for your actions and choices is also imperative if you want to have healthy, lasting relationships of any kind in your life. Saying, “I’m so sorry”, and meaning it, is so freeing. It frees you, and usually, it’s all the other person needs or wants to hear. We all just long to be seen and understood by the people we love. We want to be known. It’s not about winning or being right. It’s about being seen and cherished and safe. Give yourself the gift of an inner voice that roots you on, don’t keep living with one that tears you down. There’s no need for that. A loud inner critic is a roommate who needs an eviction notice. That’s a voice that needs to be starved so you can have some peace. For me, I did most of that work on my yoga mat. If that shaming, critical voice spoke up, I didn’t give it any credence. I came back to my breath, reminded myself to be kind, and got back to the business of healing. It’s not a magic bullet, but I don’t know of anything that is when it comes to healing. Forgive yourself. Be reasonable with yourself. Let the love in.

Sending you some right now,

Ally Hamilton

Grief, Healing & Connection

fallapartSometimes we grip and cling and refuse to accept reality as it is. We reject the truth. The more we contract against our experience, the more we suffer. It’s just that sometimes, reality really hurts, and our mind isn’t ready to integrate and accept it. Or maybe it would be more accurate to say our minds and our hearts aren’t ready.

We can do this in big ways and small. Maybe we’re dealing with the pain of rejection, and keep writing a script in our heads about what’s really happening, and how we’re going to get our happy ending down the line. Or maybe we’ve lost someone we don’t know how to live without, and it’s happened so suddenly, we’re in a state of shock. The limbs work, we can put one foot in front of the other, we seem okay to those around us, but inside we’re bargaining with the universe. We’re coming up with some way we might get back the person we’ve lost, as if that might be possible.

Some things are so painful, we look for another way, a different route, a formula that creates a livable outcome. We might do this by retracing our steps. If only we’d done or said “this”, maybe these other events wouldn’t have transpired, and life would still make sense. If only we could go back in time and redo one decision, perhaps that would have all kinds of implications that would save us from the current pain, and here’s the thing. When you’re dealing with those big losses, the loss of an entire person, for example, it’s a process, like anything else. It’s not something you can rush, and there isn’t any “how-to” book. You just have to move through your pain in whatever way you can, and hope that the people in your life show up for you, feed you, make sure you get a little sun on your face. Sometimes we go through experiences that make us feel we’re in a bubble, like there’s an impenetrable film between us, and everyone in the “living world”. Regina Brett has a quote, “You have to give time, time.” Time doesn’t heal every wound, but it helps lessen the crushing, incomprehensible nature of sudden grief. That waking up, and having to “re-remember” what’s happened goes away over time, because eventually you will integrate it, you will know it in your bones. You won’t wake up in the middle of the night, disoriented, panicked, feeling as though you’ve forgotten something urgent.

We deal with all kinds of losses in life. The loss of our innocence, whenever that comes. The loss of our trust when someone betrays us for the first time. The loss of the idea that we’re invincible. Sometimes we deal with the loss of our faith in ourselves, or the world at large. Losing your keys is just a moment you get to practice not panicking. Dealing with a car that won’t start is a chance to realize the things you take for granted won’t always work the way you want them to, or think they should. The more we accept that life is really another word for energy, and that energy is always in motion, the less we’ll expect things to be stable and predictable and safe. We all know we’re going to die, but that isn’t a comfortable thought, so we don’t always live like we know that. It’s as if we know, but we somehow don’t really believe it. That won’t really happen to us, or to those we love. Sometimes we live as though we have all the time in the world. We “waste” time, or “kill” time as if it isn’t precious. Death puts things in perspective. It shocks us into awareness, but grief is so overwhelming, and we don’t create a safe space for people to move through it. We’ve become so attached to positivity and light, it’s as if we’re supposed to feel ashamed when we feel dark and hopeless, like we should stay home until we’re ready to smile again. People who are grieving and need support more than ever, are often left to manage on their own, because grief reminds people of their own mortality.

None of us is going to live forever in the bodies we have right now, that much we know for sure, and we can allow ourselves to be crushed and devastated and paralyzed by that, or we can allow that to inspire us to really be living and loving and giving and seeing and listening and tasting and hugging and crying and laughing and grieving and cherishing the whole experience, every facet of it. If we’re grieving, it’s because we loved deeply, and there’s beauty in that. Some people will never allow themselves to be vulnerable that way, they’ll never really open, or let themselves be seen and understood. I don’t believe you have to feel grateful about everything that’s ever happened to you, but I do think every experience is a chance to grow and learn and soften. I think we can become more empathetic, understanding and compassionate. If we’re going to suffer from time to time, let’s at least put that suffering to good use. Let’s help each other. We don’t do that by rejecting the uncomfortable feelings. We don’t do it when we reject them internally, and we don’t do it when we refuse to meet people where they are. Most of the time, a person dealing with loss will appreciate your kindness, your presence, your thoughtfulness. These aren’t huge things to give, and at some point, we’ll all need to lean on each other.

Sending you love,

Ally Hamilton

Speak Out

kuhnClear communication is so important when we’re looking for understanding, but it’s not always easy. Sometimes people don’t say what they feel out of fear that the truth will hurt, that there will be repercussions for themselves or others, or because they know if they say this particular thing, the ground underneath them is sure to shift. We resist change, but it’s the only thing we can count on, and it’s the only chance we have for connection when we’re feeling misunderstood, disrespected, or unheard. Of course, when you’re sharing something with someone, you want to express yourself with as much compassion as you can muster. Hopefully, when you go to share something with someone you love, you do that because you’re hoping to be closer, you’re hoping to be seen. 

In-person communication is always the best bet when you’re expressing something that’s emotional, sensitive in nature, or has a “charge” to it. So much can get lost in translation with emails and texts. If you can’t meet face-to-face, a phone call is your next best bet; at least you can hear the person’s voice, you can hear the tone, or their voice cracking, you can hear the frustration, and the pain underneath it. Words on a screen are impersonal, people get reckless with their fingertips; they write things they’d never say. A text is not a place to break up with someone, or to express rage or despair about anything, and neither is an email. If you’re frustrated or angry, go ahead and write it down if you need to get clear about the storm that’s raging in your mind, but don’t hit “send” until you’re in a calm state of mind. Words are powerful. Once you put them out there, you can’t take them back, and some things are so hurtful, they may be forgiven, but it’s unlikely they’ll be forgotten. This is true personally and globally–part of the pain so many people are in right now is a result of words that have been spoken and cannot be forgotten.

Manipulation is no way to go about getting what you want. If you want something, or you need something, ask for it. You may not get it, but take the mystery and agony out of things for yourself, and the people in your life. No one can read your mind, or mine. Being passive aggressive is also not a fabulous communication style. Expecting people to try to figure out what’s wrong or what you need makes it harder on everyone. If you’re angry, disappointed, scared, sad, hurt or confused, try saying that out loud.

When we’re angry, it’s almost always just a cover for our pain, or intense feeling of vulnerability. If we’re defensive, it’s because we feel attacked, even if that’s just our perception. Many people cannot receive anything but positive feedback. If you offer any kind of constructive input, that, too, might be received as an attack. Sometimes this happens with personality disorders like narcissism. Sometimes it happens because a person grew up in an abusive household, and an admission of error was met with incredible pain and punishment. You really don’t know what someone is dealing with unless they tell you, but you can work on the way you express yourself. You can work toward clear, truthful, compassionate communication. That’s really all you can do. As with everything, you can never control what someone else does.

There’s no hope for our personal relationships if we can’t speak clearly, and there’s no hope for healing rifts and divides with people we may not know, unless we can call it out when we see things that are not okay. Sometimes we have to speak up on behalf of someone else, and sometimes we need to act on our own behalf, but having no voice for either is no way to go through life.

Sometimes we keep quiet because we don’t want to have uncomfortable conversations, or we think we already know what the other person will say. Let me say this: If you have a long history with someone, and you know that sane, satisfying communication isn’t possible, then don’t bark up that tree. A lot of people are struggling with family members and close friends right now, who may have wildly different ideas about what we need in this world at the moment. It’s very painful when your entire ideology or life philosophy is rejected or ridiculed by those closest to you. Having said that, anyone who refuses to make an effort to understand your point of view is a person who is also struggling to understand what it means to love. Ridicule and disrespect have no place in that arena. You don’t have to agree with the people close to you all the time, but there needs to be some effort to grasp, to understand. Accept people where they are and how they are, or don’t have them in your life, or have them in your life, but create boundaries. In general, though, if you struggle with being assertive, work on it. Most people will really appreciate your honesty, if you’re kind; being truthful and mean is crappy, it’s not funny or brave or strong or tough. It’s crappy. So there’s that.

Maybe you grew up and no one ever asked you how you felt, or what you needed or wanted. Perhaps you’re still trying to figure that out. Maybe it doesn’t occur to you that how you feel is important and worth sharing. Maybe you feel invisible, or believe your worth lies in what you can do for other people. Those are all lies. Maybe you think it’s better for you to be in pain, and silent, than it is for you to express yourself, and disappoint someone else. What kind of relationship can possibly result? There’s no intimacy without honesty. Find your truth, and then find your voice. It really matters. If you struggle to say what’s real for you, get some help with it.

Sending you love,

Ally Hamilton

Loosen Your Grip

Peace-cannot-be-achievedSometimes we’re convinced our way is the only way. Life presents big questions, and most of us will have to grapple with them at some time or another if we want to be at peace. Some people are born into families where beliefs are passed down, but even in those cases, most people approach near adulthood, and want to examine their own feelings and ideas about things.

Of course, none of us will have concrete answers about most of this stuff until we exhale for the final time. But the need to organize this world so that it makes sense, so that there’s some stability and some order, can be profound. So many people want a formula. If I’m a good person, only good things will happen to me. If someone does something hurtful, they’ll pay. But life doesn’t tend to unfold in this linear, logical way.

The thing is, when we grasp our ideas and opinions, we also close ourselves off to other ways of thinking about things, and we can draw proverbial lines in the sand between ourselves and other people. At the foundation of every religion, for example, there’s love. There’s a moral code of conduct. Don’t kill. Don’t Lie. Don’t cheat. Don’t gossip. Be responsible with your sexual energy. Know yourself. Most of us wouldn’t argue with any of that. Fighting happens when we cling and insist we know what the answers are, and anyone who disagrees with us, anyone who’s come up with different answers, is wrong. Fear is at the heart of “us versus them”. Fear motivates a need to be right. And many people experience someone else’s different idea as a rejection of their own.

For me, I accept help and love from any source. If it’s comforting and it makes sense to me, I could not care less about labels. Is it Jewish love? Christian love? Muslim love? Buddhist love? If it’s love, it’s good by me. We get so crazy with our labels. Labels cause friction, and friction leads to combustion. Is there female air and male air? Black air and white air? How ‘bout we all just breathe together?

Yes, sometimes hatred is taught, and that’s very very sad. Racism begins at home, as does compassion. Of course we can always un-learn and relearn if we were taught that all people were not created equal. But obviously you’re starting off with an advantage if you understand that beautiful people and damaged people alike, come in all colors, shapes and sizes. The reality is, we’re one family on one planet. We’d get a lot further with love and respect than we do with insistence and violence.

Why do people feel threatened if someone makes a choice that’s different than their own? Maybe it creates doubt within them about what they’re doing, and what the point of it all is. Existential pain hits most of us at some time or another. What if we’re blowing it? What if we missed the memo about what we’re doing here? What if we die without having lived from our hearts? So, yes, people can get pretty frightened when they perceive a different idea as an attack upon what they think. A person who’s worked hard to organize the world in a way that makes sense to her or himself might very well feel the need to cling to those answers.

But the more we realize we’re with each other and not against each other, the more everything flows. If we understand we have these finite resources to share, we might be more mindful about our choices and habits. Peace is a choice. Walking a peaceful path takes guts and bravery. Loosening your grip on your own ideas can be scary, but if you have faith in yourself, there’s no need to grasp so tightly. if you have faith in the answers you’ve worked out, you can loosen your grip, and hear the hearts and minds of other people. This is how we open to each other, and it crosses every area of our lives.

When you have the choice between being right and being kind, always choose kindness. Think about your gravestone if it helps: “Here lies a person who was always right.” or, “Here lies a person who loved and listened and opened and learned. Who embraced and explored and examined.”

Sending you love, and wishing you peace. Ally Hamilton