Don’t Force It

pemaWhenever you find yourself forcing anything—a yoga pose, a relationship, a way of being—it’s really an invitation to perk up and pay attention. When we force a pose in yoga, for example, going for a “full bind” at the expense of a long spine and/or our ability to breathe deeply and easily, we’ve also started to practice aggression on our yoga mats. When we force in life, it’s also aggressive, because it almost always involves the betrayal of self.

There’s a huge difference between working your a$$ off in pursuit of your dreams, and clinging to a picture in your head, even when nothing is flowing toward that picture. Sometimes we fall in love with someone, or we fall in love with an idea of who someone could be, and we chase, cajole, or manipulate so we don’t have to face the pain of unrequited love, or so we don’t have to open our hands, our hearts and our minds, and let them go. That’s a betrayal of self. That’s forcing.

Sometimes we’ve chosen a path that felt right at one time, but doesn’t anymore, like the guy who completed eight years of med school, only to come to the realization that somewhere along the way, he lost his zeal for the medical profession. It’s so hard to forge another path when we’ve invested time, energy and hard work, but we’re always shifting. Ultimately, you have this one life in the body you’re in, and I think your job is to live in alignment with what’s true for you; to uncover your gifts, your joy, your passion, and to spread them, to live life in a way that feels good to you. I’d be very surprised if that didn’t include connection; reaching out to people, offering your hand, your heart, you ear, whatever you’ve got.

It’s just that sometimes we get stuck. Maybe we want to make a change, but fear grips us and tells us why we can’t, at 3 o’clock in the morning, when we’re longing for sleep. The mind can be loud with shoulds and can’ts. It can shame us or berate us until we feel paralyzed. If a job doesn’t feel right, it’s time to look for something that’s going to inspire you. If a relationship doesn’t feel right, it’s time for honest communication, so you can see if it’s salvageable. If you’ve been playing certain roles for so long, you don’t know how to break the mold, now is the time to get some support.

If you get to the place in life where it’s hard to breathe, where you feel constricted and desperate, you’ve just stepped off your path. You’ve taken a wrong turn or two along the way, and you’ll have to tune into your GPS, your intuition, and circle back and try something else. You are not here to shrink yourself to make other people feel better. You are not here to fulfill anyone’s unrealistic expectations of you. You are not here to repress your truth because you’re afraid of hurting other people. You really have to be you. It’s the only way life feels good.

Sending you love,

Ally Hamilton

2 thoughts on “Don’t Force It”

  1. Probably the most profound thing that I’ve gotten from my therapist this past year is “you have to be true to yourself”! I hadn’t been for years, in my relationship. Something had been weighing on me….for years. Most of it stems from not having been true to myself. Now….I will never go back to pretending! As always thanks for yet another great post! 🙂

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