The Picture in Your Head

What-screws-us-up-theDo you know people who get married because they’re thirty and the clock is ticking, and that’s where they thought they’d be by thirty, and so this guy or girl will have to be the one? Or talk to people with rigid ideas about things, like, if they’re dating someone for a year and there’s no ring, it’s over? How about people who go to medical school because that’s what their dad did and their grandfather, too, and that’s just what people in their family do? When you have a picture in your head about how something should look or feel, you are rejecting things (or people) as they are. Sometimes the person you reject is you, your authentic self.

Life rarely looks like the picture we have in our heads. Sometimes it’s so much more incredible than what we had imagined, and other times it’s way more painful than we had hoped. But there are always opportunities to grow and to open, to dig more deeply and see more clearly. I don’t know why things unfold the way they do. I have theories and ideas like we all do, but who knows if they’re right? Some things are so incomprehensibly painful you just have to let your heart be broken open.

Whatever your feelings, the ability to be with things as they are makes the journey so much easier. To look at your life as it is, with curiosity and compassion for yourself and everyone you encounter, because it’s not an easy thing, this business of being human. To be awake and aware and engaged with what is, not with a daydream or a fantasy or a memory or a picture in your head. I’m not saying thoughts aren’t powerful. The chair you’re sitting on started as a thought in someone’s head. I’m just saying, don’t think your way into a box, where nothing but the picture you’ve imagined will do. Because it might not go like that.

I had a beautiful birth plan with my first, for example. Low lights, no drugs, just a few people to support me. I ended up with a respiratory team in the room, monitors blaring, fear like I’ve never known before or since, panic everywhere. But you know what? I have the most amazing son. Like, insanely amazing. Kind and sweet and smart and funny with a smile that could light up any room. He has incredible enthusiasm for life, hunger for information, a contagious laugh. There’s more love than my heart can hold. So much laughter, so many hugs, such an adventure. And we are both okay. And there has been more joy than I ever pictured or imagined or planned for. Open to what is. Be with it. Explore it. Maybe you’ll be surprised, amazed, heartbroken, head over heels in love. I don’t know. But I do know that whatever you take in as it is, is real, is full of truth, and its own particular beauty, even if it’s the truth and beauty of having your heart broken. This is the ride, this is the best mode of transportation I know. The rest of it is numbed out illusion, a dream, a sleepwalk, an attempt to control something that is really no different than if you woke up today and decided you were going to try to manipulate the tides of the ocean. Just get in and swim. So much love to you, Ally Hamilton

6 thoughts on “The Picture in Your Head”

  1. Hi Ally, thanks for this, it couldn’t have come a more timely point – as someone went an led tore up my ‘picture’ yesterday and reading this as started (just about for now) to help me adjust to the situation and I hope more importantly to start to think how I can make the pictures more of a full on film rather than a static image, if you get what I mean.

    Anyways, thank you – Namaste.

    1. I do get what you mean, and I think that’s beautiful. The picture is always changing, so film makes more sense than say, a framed piece of art 😉 Much love to you, I know it is not easy. Wishing you beautiful art in your future <3

  2. Mahalo for this powerful reminder Ally. My daughter is getting married next week and I just found out my ex is bringing his gf to this small family wedding. So the day won’t be as I imagined it and as much as I’ve talked to my therapist, meditated, sound healed, yoga nidra-ed, read “Broken Open” and “The Untethered Soul” and swam, to name a few of the tools I’ve used daily, my heart is constricted. I want so much to be open to the joy of this important day! Still swimming in that direction

    1. I’m sorry, I know the whole divorced family thing is just tough, sometimes more than others. But you know what? You are the mom, the one who put the bandaids on the knees, held your daughter when she was sick, listened when the heartbreaks came, and so on. Nothing can ever diminish the place you hold in your daughter’s heart. Mom is mom. I would not let anyone or anything rob you of the joy of this day, not for you, and not for your daughter. It’s hard when families don’t end up looking the way we thought they would. I really get it. But I think this day should be a huge celebration for your daughter, and if your ex needs to bring his GF, so be it. I’m sorry it’s painful for you, but I hope you can still enjoy the day and try to stay focused on your beautiful daughter and her happiness. Maybe it won’t be the way you fear. Have you met the GF before? Maybe the way you imagine feeling and the way it will end up being are far apart from each other. Hang in there, mama. Just show up for your little girl, the way you always have. Try to let the rest of it fade out, and show everyone the meaning of “grace”, I know you can do it 🙂 <3

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