A River Runs Through It

riverthrurockA river cuts through rock because of its persistence, its constant motion, and its fluidity. We live in a culture that is more likely to think about overcoming by picking up an ax and hacking away at a thing until it’s shattered in pieces. But much of the time we’d accomplish more with open hands, open hearts and open minds, than we do with a giant hammer. Sometimes that hammer shows up in the form of words. I see people using anger and judgment to get their points across, seemingly without realizing this causes nothing but polarization and alienation. You’ll never win an argument by belittling someone who feels differently than you do, whether you’re talking about something personal, or philosophical.

If you feel the world could be a more peaceful and loving place, you have to start with your own inner world. Because if you’re not full of love and patience and compassion, you can’t spread any. Doing the work to heal yourself is painful and lonely and very uncomfortable. Looking at yourself honestly, with kindness, acknowledging those places where you have some work to do, and also recognizing your strengths are all part of knowing yourself. Things that can get in the way of seeing clearly are rationalizations, justifications, blame, rage, bitterness, and stories we cling to in order to excuse unhealthy choices or behavior that causes pain to ourselves, or to those around us.

Being human is a messy, complex business. No one is going to show up as their highest self in every moment. Forgiving yourself but examining those moments when you’ve done something that hurts someone, is when growth occurs. Not doing that is a recipe for more behavior that will ultimately cause you, and those around you, more pain. Loving yourself is as challenging as truly loving anyone else. It requires acceptance and honesty and a willingness to open to what is true for you, or for those you love. Those truths may not coincide. Ultimately, loving everyone is the thing. That doesn’t mean agreeing with everyone. That doesn’t mean abandoning your feelings and beliefs about all kinds of things. It simply means at your center, there is love. And everything that comes out of you, whether it’s your opinion about something, or your desire to express concern, or your overwhelming feeling of gratitude or fear or anger or confusion or delight about a thing, is still coming from love. Sending you a ton of it! Ally Hamilton

Leave a Reply