Nothing Can Stop You

willingtolearnLast year I volunteered once a week in my son’s Kindergarten class. Sometimes I’d do yoga with the kids which was awesome, and other times I’d read them a story, which I also loved. One day when I showed up, I was handed a book to read, and about midway through I realized it was going to be some story about a prince saving a princess, and I just could not finish the book. I made up a different ending where the prince and princess worked together to solve their problems, and in the end, he went one way and she went the other, and they stayed great friends for life. Because, honestly, the stories we’ve been telling are just so lame. They’re set-ups. And we do it all day long. We are taught that we have to compete to survive. We are taught that we don’t look right or feel right. We are sold an idea that if we could just get it together and make enough money and diet enough, and live in the right house and drive the right car, and eat at the right places, and work out enough and get ourselves to make everything on the outside as perfect and shiny as possible, we’d meet the “right” person, and well, then, we’d be happy! And do you know what I want to say to you? Those are all fat lies. And this is the stuff we grow up on, and feed ourselves, and feed our children.

So unless you were home-schooled, or your parents kept you away from television and radio and fairy-tales with stupid endings, or you grew up in some nirvana where these things didn’t exist (let me know where that is if you did), at a certain point, you are just bound to come up against it. “It” being the lies at the heart of this thing. Because you can do all that stuff. You can live in a huge house and drive an expensive car, and meet an amazing person, but if you are not happy on the inside, and if you have not figured out that you are here to spread love and kindness, you will still be miserable. Because there’s a void when we are not living in a truthful way. The void can be filled temporarily with any of those highly-coveted items from the above list, but the feeling of satisfaction, elation, and “rightness” won’t last. You are the right person.

It’s much easier to think if you work hard enough and stop sucking so much, then you’ll be happy. Because it gives you something to do, some sense of control. That’s a lot easier to deal with than the reality that there are life’s big questions that you will have to wrestle with if you want to be at peace, that nothing is certain in this life, and that one day you will die. I think I’ll take, “working hard and not sucking behind door number one, please!” But you can’t because door number one is a closet full of illusions. At a certain point, if you open to your own sensitivity, your own intuition, you’re going to realize there’s another door. It’s at the end of a path that’s painful to navigate. It’s hard to see where you’re going because it’s dark, and you probably won’t have many tools at your disposal as you leave the land of Should. It’s likely that many of the people closest to you will tell you to wait, to come back and sit down and stop being crazy. The only way to buy the lies is to numb out. There are so many ways to do that. Alcohol, drugs, sex, over or under-eating, shopping, the internet…doesn’t it seem obvious that we’ve found a million and one ways to distract ourselves? What are we so scared of? Why are we afraid to sit still? To breathe? To open? To remember who and what we are?

There’s so much love within each of us. They say we use 10% of our brains, and I think most people use 10% of their hearts and their intuition, too. Any questions you have about yourself, your purpose, or what it is that’s going to feed your soul and set you on fire, are inside. If you’re willing to work, no one can stop you from healing. If you’re willing to see clearly, to keep your eyes open even when you’re confronted with your deepest pain, to lean into the darkest places you’ve got and open to them, receive them, embrace them, so that there is no longer any need for secrets, then no one can stop you. Door number one only seems easier. It’s sleep-walking through life, and people do it all the time. Behind the second door is your happiness, your peace, and your healing. I really hope you find the determination and courage to head toward that door. Because when you heal yourself and open up to all that love within you, you won’t be able to help but spread it. Sending you a big hug and a lot of love right now, Ally Hamilton

Please Do Not Feed the Fears!

Please-Do-Not-Feed-theUnless we’re talking about the good kind of fear that stops you from being reckless with yourself, or makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up because you’re in danger, fear is nothing more than a bully. I’m talking about the kind of fear that stops you from doing what you know in your heart you must. The kind of fear that tells you you’re not good enough, you don’t have what it takes, you can’t do it. That kind of fear can kiss my a$$, and it should kiss yours, too.

Fear puts the mind and the heart in a grip. It shuts down our vision so we can only see what isn’t going well, what could go wrong, all the reasons why we are stuck. Fear travels with doubt and resentment and envy, with a healthy side of criticism. Fear is not kind, and neither are people living in fear, because fear puts you on the defensive. Sometimes when we don’t get what we hope for, we become afraid. “I had a vision of how this thing was supposed to go, how I wanted it to go, and now what do I do?” And the mind starts racing with how awful everything is, how nothing is going right, how things are easier for other people (because fear feeds that comparing and contrasting mind). If you want to shut yourself down and close yourself up and do life in such a way that you’re always wearing blinders and feeding yourself can’t, then fear is the way to go. But, seriously, who wants to live like that? Shut down and numbed out and hopeless and frustrated? Alone and angry and confused, waiting for that magical time when “things will get better”?

Things are not going to get better unless you open to love. And you cannot do that if you are wrapped in a tight little ball with your fists clenched and your eyes scrunched up, and your head full of shouldn’t. Or stories about why you can’t. Why you’re incapable of change. Or so numb you really can’t feel anything. So addicted to distraction the weeks fly by, then the months, then the years, and oh crap, now it’s too late. Anyone who is not suffering from afflictions beyond their control can heal. I’m going to say that again. Everyone. Can. Heal. Love requires courage, participation, and ownership of your own experience.

Love is not for those who won’t be vulnerable, because when you open your heart, there is always the possibility you’re going to get hurt. But you know what? I’d rather have my heart broken fully, deeply, right through the center then live my life asleep and curled up in a ball in a corner wondering what, exactly, I’m doing here. I’d rather be awake with my heart open wide and my head full of Yes, than numbing myself out to avoid my pain. The pain is the path to healing. The pain is where you head. You walk straight into the center of it, and you do not come out until you have faced that sh&t down. Or it owns you. Those are your choices, there is no third, “Can it be a little easier because I don’t want to work that hard?” option.

I refuse to allow any person or any circumstance to rob me of my purpose here, and I hope you do, too. Because anything else is a pure waste of your time, and you aren’t given enough to waste. This is your beautiful, complicated, confusing, joyous, sometimes deeply lonely, other times amazingly incredible life, where sometimes you have your heart broken, and sometimes you feel it expand so much you think, it’s going to come right out of your chest. “This love is so much, so full, so deep it’s going to carry me up above the trees, and over the ocean, and oh, wait, it IS the ocean.” Why, why, why would you deny yourself love like that? Because of some fear? Totally not acceptable. I hope you got a taste of the love I’m sending your way. It has a side of a$$-kick, I know. But sometimes that’s the kind of love we need. If you just need a hug right now, I’m down for that, too.

Ally Hamilton

It’s Not You, It’s Me (for real)

Until-you-make-theSometimes the best way to figure out where there may be room for some deep inner healing is to examine patterns in your life. Patterns frequently show up in romantic relationships. If you have not experienced peace and steadiness in your personal life, maybe it’s the time to look back and see if there’s a theme threading through your history. Are you always trying to save people? Are you attracted to partners who are unavailable in some way? Do you go after people who don’t treat you well? Or, are you the one sabotaging your chances for love? Do you run? Do you “check out”? Do you keep finding yourself in the very situation you were trying to avoid?

If you’re getting a yes to any of these, or you recognize other patterns, chances are, you have found the thread that can lead you back to some very old, very deep pain. It seems to be a human tendency to try to “rewrite history”. Even in day to day life, the mind will get snagged on a conversation that has already happened and try to re-do it, to come up with the “perfect” thing to say. But, there’s no potential in the past, it is done, it cannot be rewritten. It’s good to examine it, though, particularly if you feel you might be dragging your past into your present.

If you can identify the “original why” of any patterns you detect, you can take the unconscious repetition out of your future. (Not that it’s easy, speaking from my own experience). Grooves that we repeat are known as “samskaras” in yoga. But your past does not have to determine your present or your future. If you can bring the source (or sources) of your pain into your consciousness, into your awareness, you take the power away from that inner wiring that may be attracting you to the very situations bound to result in more pain. You can “catch yourself”, identify that “old, familiar feeling” that can be mistaken for love (this feels so reminiscent, this must be it!! uh, no), and sit with yourself instead of acting out. Acknowledging and leaning into your pain takes the “heat” out of it, and that old fire that pulls you to act, even when you know you’re heading straight into a brick wall, will start to subside and cool.

Loving yourself is soothing for your soul, it’s a salve, and it’s a relief. The process of rewiring your system will probably be uncomfortable at best, and it’s very easy to slip back into that old groove as you try to head toward something different. Don’t beat yourself up if you feel like you “must” head into another brick wall. Your awareness alone is huge, and beating yourself up will just make the crash even worse. Eventually, the wall will lose it’s power over you. There are other paths to take that lead toward love. Sending you some right now, Ally Hamilton