To Live in This World

The joy in life lies in connection — in sharing and laughing and loving, in seeing people clearly, as they are and where they are, and loving them with abandon. In being seen, and understood, and forgiven when necessary.

We are taught again and again that everything is in flux. The earth is spinning underneath us but we are spared from feeling that reality; maybe it would be better if we did. If we felt with every rising of the sun and every setting that we were different, just in a day,  and that everything was different. Our cars depreciate the moment we drive them off the lot; we know this, we accept is as fact. The trees bloom in front of us every spring and blossom all summer, but every fall the leaves start to fall off and every winter when we look up, if we look up, we see the branches are bare.

People change. People we love without measure grow away from us sometimes, or stop seeing us or loving us, or maybe they never did in the first place. We have another birthday. We sing Auld Lang Syne again and say cheers, and Happy New Year, and this one will be the best one yet. We sign congratulations cards when people graduate, or get married or have babies and we also sign condolence cards when necessary, but we are still shocked when those we love die. As if we didn’t consider the possibility. As if, perhaps, we thought they might be spared. As if we had all the time in the world.

Our houses need work, our hair needs to be cut, our lawn needs to be mowed. It’s a constant lesson — everything is changing, don’t miss this moment, but somehow we don’t want to include ourselves or those we love in the mix. It’s painful to acknowledge, but it can also be so inspiring. If you can’t bear the thought of people you love with your entire heart heading off for parts unknown, I have two things to say to you. Love grants a person the freedom to be fully themselves. If someone you love wants to travel, or to leave you, or to forge a whole new path, your hands are open, your arms are open, and the door is open. Not because it won’t pain you to your very core to watch the back of them disappear, but simply because love is not a prison. And two, if you love the people in your life, give them reasons to stay. I don’t mean in a clingy, don’t leave me and don’t pursue your dreams because I can’t live without you, way. I mean, make sure you aren’t taking your loved ones for granted. People do it all the time. They don’t realize how much they love until the object of that love is done — is packing, and crying, and driving away.

The best thing in life that I know of is love. I don’t just mean romantic love, here. I mean Love. Loving people feels really good. Giving of yourself, and supporting someone else’s growth, or healing, or feeling that life is good, and the world is a beautiful place filled with people who care. Loving people you don’t know, and wanting the best for them is advanced love, but it’s the most natural thing in the world to us if we open to it, if we recognize that we do care. Love people with your whole heart. Your family, your friends, the people you share a bed with and a laugh with, the people who hold you up when things are crumbling. Hold them against your bones and take them in because we all need that, we really do. We want to be seen and understood, we want to be loved. Giving that kind of love expands your heart and quiets your mind and fills you with the feeling of yes.

We all have an expiration date. The more attached you are to people, the more you’ll suffer when they die. Be attached, anyway. Unless you want to move to a cave, you’re going to have people in your life and if you have people in your life, they deserve to be celebrated, as do you. Celebrate them so much that when their time is up, or yours is, you can look at each other and say yes. Yes, we saw each other. We saw it all. The beauty and the pain and the fear and the doubt and the courage. We took our time here and we had out hearts broken so we could let in all the light. That way you’ll be ready to go. Not filled with regret or longing or anger or what if. You will have lived those what ifs. Wishing that for you and sending you so much love,

Ally Hamilton

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

3 thoughts on “To Live in This World”

  1. Your messages have become a source of anticipated pleasure. Seriously, I see “Dear Ally” in my inbox, and mentally exclaim “Yay”! Or, “oh goodie”!! Your wisdom doesn’t ever come sugar coated. You tell it like it is with gentle sincerity yet no BS, and I ALWAYS finish your musings feeling uplifted and grateful. I say, Yes to you Ally. Sending love right back at you and thanking you for continuously inspiring AND consoling us in the fabulously, messy experience of opening to life. Keep writing……you must.!

  2. Hi Ally, you’d liked my poem Breathless and I’ve visited since. Love your spirit. A clip from one of my earlier posts, in sync with your thoughts on change:

    Our very body proclaims that life is change. We live in constant flux, each of us a sentient network of innumerous biochemical activity, electromagnetic charges, neurotransmission – all in collaboration even to help you with the simple and sophisticated task of reading this thought. About every four months, a red blood cell expires and is displaced by a new one. A cease in modulation in a major part of our structure or the whole would mean paralysis or death. There is a coherence to the changes. The bodily vicissitudes are not random but often follow cycles. Of time, weather, season. For the person is a microcosmic embodiment of the universe. There is the planetary orbit. The revolutions. And we are governed by a circadian rhythm. Whether or not we choose to rise and set with the sun, our organ systems each heed their own clock of peak functioning in keeping with the tide of day and night. The woman’s body is a candid avatar of the Cycle.

    When change propels us forward, it is one for the better – to higher consciousness and goals, a broader base of knowledge and achievement. I think of my husband who is ever pushing the frontiers of his own learning, creating the next place to get to. The next instrument to craft, the new Samba beat to teach. While setting fresh goals for his son. Were we instead to devolve, we wouldn’t be living our human potential. One of the most tragic sights is the rich, talented, and beautiful executing their own ruin, squandering faculty and resources on addictions. When, on perfectly good legs, they turn and walk away from the horizon of promise. It is pitiful because this forward movement is a capacity especial to man, as the sweep of history shows…Human energy can carry a powerfully constructive, creative momentum.

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