Your life is not what happens to you, your life is what you do in the face of what happens to you. You cannot control what life is going to put on the path in front of you, what other people are going to do, say, want, or need. You can only do your best to walk with some grace and steadiness, guided by an inner resounding, undeniable yes; that’s what you get to work with. If you’re like most humans, you’ll spend a decent amount of time walking in circles trying to find that yes, or sitting on the side of the road not doing much of anything. You may fall into a ditch and stay there for awhile, feeling alone or hopeless, wondering what you’re doing here on this planet. You might point fingers, or walk backwards on your path trying to travel into your past and rewrite it, but if you do that you’ll find the scenery has changed, you have changed, and the people with whom you’re so furious don’t exist any longer, even if they’re still alive. You may see the road ahead of you and say no f&cking way, that path looks nothing like the one I asked for. Your path will cross a million other paths. You’ll find some people you want to travel with, some of whom you’ll know for your whole life, even when your paths take you in completely different directions.

Once in awhile, someone you’ve been traveling with will throw you for a loop, and you may find yourself in a Falling Rocks Zone getting bashed over the head. Such is life. You might bleed a little, and your heart might break a little or a lot. Sometimes people do completely inexplicable things, even they don’t fully understand. You might say, “Why me?” but a better question is, “Why not me?” because we are all going to suffer to some degree, it’s part of the human condition. Some people will suffer more than others, getting a lesson in grief that would just tear your heart out and make you shake your fists at the sky, or rake your nails through the dirt with the taste of despair in your mouth.

If people leave you or lie to you, or if someone you love is taken from you too soon, you’re going to suffer, but you’re also going to grow. You might say, “I’d rather not grow, thanks very much. I’ll take the door with no growth, and a situation that plays out the way I’d like it to, instead.” We don’t get to choose, though. You get what you get, and your only true power lies in what you do with what you get. How you decide to face it. When painful things happen in your life, there are two ways to go; you can let them harden you, or you can let them soften you and open you. When your heart breaks, it opens if you let it. Or it closes if you insist. Opening feels so much better. If you’ve lost in that way that changes everything, eventually you might comfort others in the same position. If you don’t, who will? Who else could ever understand?

When people make an utter mess of things, be enraged if you need to, scream and cry and go punch a bag for awhile if it helps you. Get it out of your body. Write it down, so it’s out of your head and onto a piece of paper. Get yourself some support. Allow yourself to feel whatever you need to feel, but at a certain point, pick yourself up, dry yourself off, and keep walking. You really don’t know what’s coming next. You have your experiences in this life, and they can inform and shape the kind of person you are, but let them shape you in a way that serves you. Let your wounds open you so that you can experience deep pain, but also deep love. You want to be ready to receive that. Embrace the vulnerability of this thing because there’s no point in denying it, and allow yourself to come back to curiosity and love. I truly believe that’s the natural state of human beings. People will hurt you sometimes. Most of them won’t mean to. Life will bring pain as well. I highly doubt it’s personal.

Having said that, there’s so much beauty in this world. So much light and kindness and caring and joy and laughter. True connection. It’s available all the time if you open to it. If you don’t believe me, go and be kind to a stranger today. Hold a door open, or ask someone how they are on an elevator, but ask like you care, like you really want to know. Better yet, just want to know. Put a bunch of moments like that in a row as often as you can, on as many days as you can. Create joy as much as you’re able. You can do that. Not everyone will be able to receive it, but give love anyway, and watch how it changes the way you feel and move through the day, because you have to face reality as it is. It may not, and probably will not, always be as you’d like it to be, but it can still be beautiful. Look for the moments.

Sending you love,

Ally Hamilton

If the posts are helpful you can find my books here, and my yoga classes and courses here.

4 thoughts on “Reality”

  1. Ally, after arranging hospice care for my grandmother this morning, your post arrived in my inbox at the most perfect time. Thank you always for sharing your wisdom. I feel like I can handle this now.

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