What to Do with What We’re Given

Whatever you feed will grow and strengthen. We all have pain to varying degrees, we’ve all suffered loss, despair, and disappointment. Some people have lived through abuse and neglect, and losses so knifing you have to wonder about the resiliency of the human heart, and how strong it is. It’s not a level playing field, and it is a sad reality that horrendous things happen to beautiful people all the time. Maybe you believe in karma, maybe you believe in chaos theory, maybe you don’t know what you believe. Regardless, I don’t know anyone who would argue that life is easy.

You can’t change what’s happened to you, and you can’t control what life will put on the path in front of you, but you can work on how you’re going to respond. Your past does not have to define you, or determine your future. You define yourself and you co-create your future with your choices and your actions. If you’re grieving, grieve. If you’re enraged, move into that heat so you can let it burn off to an ember, and eventually to ash so you don’t have to carry the burden of something huge and painful that you’ll never get your arms around anyway.  Rage is not a fabulous traveling companion, it demands everything of you, and blocks out any hope for joy or peace. Face reality as it is, even if everything in your being is crying out with the why of it. Denial is a traffic circle and so are resentment, blame and bitterness. Those are all natural feelings, but after you explore them, you really want to take the exit to acceptance or you’ll just drive in circles until you’re sick, and of no use to yourself or anyone else.

If you’ve lost someone and you don’t know how you’ll be able to live without them, see if you can open to the gift that it is to have loved that deeply; there are people who will never experience that. If you’ve lost the life you thought you were going to live, consider that eventually, you may find the strength to help other people who are looking in the face of a loss like that. If you don’t help, who will? Who else could ever understand? There’s beauty in that. Would you rather not have those skills? Would you gladly trade them in for a life where you never needed to understand what that feels like? Of course, but we don’t get to choose. We just get to figure out what we do with what we’re given.

You have this gorgeous heart. The more it breaks, the more it opens. I’ve had my heart broken in all kinds of ways. There are certain things I’d really love to give back, and to not understand. It took me years to see the potential for something beautiful to emerge in some instances, but your pain can strengthen you if you let it because the best things in life are giving, connecting, sharing, offering, loving. A person plunged in darkness will not accept a hand from someone who hasn’t been there, but if you can swim out into the center of someone’s despair because you know the way, and you also know the way out, that’s powerful. That’s when your pain turns into your light, and that’s a gorgeous thing you can share.

Some things will never be okay. I think it’s important to accept that. That does not mean that your future has to be devoid of beauty or joy or gratitude. You can hold both: the pain of your loss, and the softness and light in your heart, and you can let that light lead your way.

Sending you love,

Ally Hamilton

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

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