Get Back Up

failuregetupPain is part of life. We want the joy and the love, and all the stuff that feels good, but the pain will also come. In my experience, pain opens you like nothing else. When you get so uncomfortable you can’t go on, pain will force you to make changes and go deeper, and explore places that almost definitely need some healing.

Sometimes pain comes in the context of romantic relationships. Nothing is more likely to tap those deep wounds than the process of opening yourself up to someone else, to making yourself vulnerable. When you consider all your own tendencies, old wounds, stories and past experience, and then understand anyone you meet also brings all that stuff to the mix, it’s easy to see why so many people struggle. When we feel vulnerable and someone we’ve opened to gets angry or distant, or says or does something hurtful, it’s very hard to stay open. To keep breathing. To become more curious and less defensive. I really feel we need a course in love. Love has nothing to do with control or manipulation. It doesn’t keep score. Love is not focused on getting, it’s focused on giving. Being able to receive is also hugely important, but that’s not what I’m talking about. True love is unconditional. You love, with your heart open. That means sometimes you’ll have to remove yourself from a situation and love someone from afar. That’s loving yourself, and you truly need to do that first, to honor that first, because if you allow yourself to be abused or bullied, or to let someone treat you like you’re not the miraculous being you are, your light will start to fade and you will be lost. But there are many cases when people say, “I love you”, but what they mean is, “I love you when you do what I want you to do”. I bring all of this up because sometimes people start to get jaded and cynical. They start to give up on love. I don’t just mean romantically. I mean they just decide the world is a cruel place, and they shut down.

Life can also bring pain professionally. I know lots of people who struggle with frustration, doubt, and anxiety in that realm. We’ve put so much emphasis on material wealth in our culture, we’ve made “stuff” the goal, and there are people who are owned by that idea. Who are convinced if they could achieve more, get more, have more, they’d somehow be more. If you’re not happy on the inside, you could go live in a palace with all the stuff in the world. You could even have a person there who matches whatever picture you have in your head of your “dream person”. If you’re not happy before you walk into the royal hall, you’re not gonna be happy inside those walls, either. It happens inside. If you can fill your days doing something, anything that fulfills you, that gives you a sense of purpose, that makes you feel you’re contributing something positive to this world, you are going to be happy. It doesn’t need to be your job, although it’s a blessing if you can sync it up. It could be the way you care for the people in your life, and the way you carry yourself in the world. The way you hold a door open, or smile at a stranger. The way you buy someone a sandwich if they need it, or stop to talk because not a single person has actualIy seen them, taken them in, acknowledged their humanity for days. I know for sure if you want a shortcut to happiness, start figuring out ways you can help to uplift other people. Best feeling in the world.

Sometimes pain comes in the form of losing someone too soon. That’s the worst pain there is, that’s the kind of pain that breaks your heart wide open and brings you to your knees. It’s also the kind of pain that creates the most sensitive and compassionate people I know. My point in all of this is don’t give up. Lean into the pain when it comes and allow yourself to feel it. Pound the earth if you need to, shed your tears, shake your fists at the sky. Wail, rage, be with it. (Don’t dump it on anyone else, though). That’s the only way to release it. Pushing it down is exhausting and it will make you feel defeated. That’s when people give up. Every day is a gift and a chance to spread some love and some light, or to move toward your own healing. You have a gorgeous, insane amount of love within you. It may be covered over by your pain at the moment, like the sun when the sky is black and a storm is raging. The sun is still there even if you can’t see it. Don’t give up on the love. Otherwise life will be a deeply sad and lonely experience. And it could be incredibly beautiful. Dig deep, stand up, and turn toward the sun. It’ll shine for you. Sending you so much love, Ally

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