Stand Up Eight

Fall-down-seven-timesThe key thing in life is not to give up. If finding inner peace was easy, the world would be full of happy, loving people, and we’d have a much different set of global circumstances, too. How it is outside is a reflection of how it is inside, and we simply have too many people at war within themselves at this moment in time.

In our culture, we’re taught to be against ourselves, we’re trained to have an adversarial relationship with our own bodies. In other words, we are taught to go to war at home. You’re going to live in your body for your whole life, so in a very real sense, it IS your home, and you’re going to keep the company of your internal dialogue. How sad that we’re taught that almost nothing about us is okay, and how obvious it is that we’d need some healing. This business of being human is not easy, and you may feel lost, alone and in darkness for quite some time. Yesterday in one of the threads, someone said she wished she had a set of tools for healing. The best tool for getting unstuck is knowing yourself. Figuring out what makes you tick, what lights you up, what feeds your soul. And then finding the courage to make choices that are in alignment with your big, resounding inner YES. Acknowledging and embracing your pain so it doesn’t rule your life. Accepting all parts of yourself not with shame or fear, but with grace, with compassion. Understanding that your work is not to be perfect, but to be real, to be perfectly you, perfectly human.

How do you know yourself? There are so many tools. I teach yoga because that’s the set of tools that worked, and continues to work for me, six days a week, and more than twenty years (and counting) later. Talking to at least one someone you trust is also essential. Someone who will mourn with you, but will also kindly hold up a mirror for you when you are not showing up as your highest self, or when you are acting in a way that is harmful to your own well-being. A great therapist will do those things for you. Treating yourself well, feeding yourself well, and examining relationships with people that may not be healthy. Getting out in nature, feeling the sun on your skin, the breeze on your face. Reading books that open you, that shed a little light into your darkness (anything by Pema Chodron, Sylvia Boorstein’s, “Happiness is an Inside Job”,”The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz, “The Hero’s Journey” by Joseph Campbell, “Devotion” by Dani Shapiro, and “Being Peace” by Thich Nhat Hanh are all favorites of mine, along with the poems of Mary Oliver, David Whyte, Rumi, Rainer Maria Rilke…I could go on and on, but that’s a good start if you need some inspiration), and a seated meditation practice (check out if you’re interested). These are the tools in my particular shed, but knowing yourself means figuring out what you need in yours.

Falling down and staying down is a commitment to misery and darkness and rage and bitterness. It’s going to be a long, unhappy life like that. Yesterday someone else said they’d given up, but I don’t believe that, because then, what are you doing on this page? You know I’m gonna come out swinging every day about the beauty in life and the beauty in you, and that I’m going to keep talking about healing yourself and doing the work and being accountable and taking a hold of this one, amazing, gorgeous, painful, unpredictable life, and riding it all the way. Please don’t give up on yourself, or on life. That would be such a shame. Because no one else can be you. You are the only you we’ve got, and you have your own particular gifts to uncover and share. Robbing yourself of that opportunity is also robbing yourself of the joy of life, the sweetness of your purpose, the great, true laughter of your heart. It’s also robbing the world of gifts only you can offer. You may have grown up, you may shave your face every morning, or your legs, but there is still a little kid inside you who is hoping beyond hope that you will do it. That you will face the dragons and slay the sh&t out of them. That you will charge the fence with everything you’ve got and break yourself out of the illusion that you are not good enough, or that the world isn’t beautiful even with all its pain. Fall down seven times, stand up eight. Don’t let yourself down, don’t let yourself get counted out. I hope you stand up right now. Sending you love, and a very hot cattle-prod if you need one, Ally Hamilton

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