Start Where You Are

IDIOT-MANIACUnderneath most pain is the desire for connection. We all want to be seen and understood, cherished and explored and known, by at least one other person. Sometimes our “self” was beaten out of us, or scared out of us, or made to burrow down deep because other things were more immediate, like survival. You may have become so accustomed to swallowing your feelings, you don’t even know you’re doing it anymore. You might not know how you feel, or what you want. You may be clueless as to what makes you happy.

Sometimes we have ingrained ideas about ourselves. Maybe people told us we were smart or strong or dependable, and so that’s what we are, even though inside, we’re crumbling from the weight of it. Maybe you were made to feel your value as a person was determined by your looks or your intelligence or your ability to make people laugh, so that’s the stuff you focus on even though it feels empty and makes you a little sick inside. Do you ever feel like you landed on the wrong planet, or you’re living the wrong life? Like you took a wrong turn somewhere, and everything shifted, and now you can’t find your way back to that fork in the road so you can turn things around, so you can find your footing and a path that feels right to you?

The thing is, it’s never too late for that, and that place behind you where you took that turn that you don’t even remember really isn’t the thing. The thing is right now. How are you right now, and what do you need to be okay if you aren’t okay? Is it connection you’re longing for, and are you a stranger in your own home, in your own body? I’d really start there. You are not your body and you are not your thoughts, but you have this body, and it’s been with you from moment one, and it will be with you until your final exhale, and it’s full of wisdom about you, and how you feel and what you need. If there’s trauma in your past, your body is storing that somewhere, and tuning into that might help you discover that fork in the road. You probably weren’t even driving at the time, chances are you were a passenger. Your body is like a road-map of everything, and there’s an incredible potential to know yourself and to understand yourself. That’s the most important connection there is. If you’re detached from your own heart, or spirit, or soul or essence, or whatever you want to call it, it’s going to be very hard for you to find nurturing, lasting connection to anything else. You need a foundation. You need to be able to breathe.

A lot of people don’t breathe. I mean, they breathe enough to get by, but they never tune into the incredible feeling of really breathing. Maybe if they take a deep breath and let it out, a ton of heartache will ride out on that exhale, too. Tears and sobs that break your heart and feel like they’ll never end, like they’ll overwhelm you and do you in, but it’s the not letting them out that does that. So many people live in agony, holding on for dear life, pushing that stuff down, denying its existence, but feeling the need to numb out. Imagine living on top of an active volcano, pretending all is well and wondering why you aren’t happy. Why you feel enraged all the time, or scared, or like a giant fraud. There’s a f&cking volcano underneath you, but you put on your jeans and pop a pill or have a drink or take a hit, and go smiling out the door, even though the smile hurts and the jeans are cutting into your hopes and this dream you had about your life when you were a kid.

This is why I teach, practice, and love yoga and seated meditation. I don’t know of many things that bring you so profoundly into your body and into the now with the foundation of compassion and healing. There’s potential in the now; there isn’t any in the past. It’s over and cannot be rewritten no matter how many dysfunctional relationships you have, or how many people you try to save that way, yourself especially. When I started doing yoga, I had this feeling of finally, finally having come home. Home, and that was huge for me, because I grew up going back and forth between my mom’s and my dad’s from the time I was four. I’d been searching for that feeling of home my whole life, and it was a revelation to me to discover home inside myself. That’s connection. To be at home inside yourself. Then you can feel at home anywhere.

Sending you love,

Ally Hamilton

5 thoughts on “Start Where You Are”

  1. Your blog is very healing for trauma survivors who have experienced intimate partner violence. Thank you for sharing your insight and wisdom.

  2. Hi Ally HAPPY NEW YEAR! miss you and your terrific classes,I’m still at Exhale but when I can would love to take your class,thanks for all your wisdom! all the best Health&happiness to you and your family!

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