Ride the Waves

You-cant-stop-the-wavesFew things are more difficult than watching someone we love grapple with pain we cannot fix. Of course we want the people we hold dearest to be happy and at peace, just as we want those things for ourselves; that’s natural. But loss, grief and pain are built into the experience of being human. We’re all on loan, here, and we’re always changing. Sometimes we’ll be in the throes of our own confusion and anguish, and sometimes we’ll feel powerless as we watch someone else struggle with the reality of being human.

The most loving, well-intentioned parents will say things like, “Don’t be sad,” or, “Don’t be angry,” but sadness and anger are normal, healthy, human emotions, and they don’t need to be pushed away. In fact, the more we try to deny the challenging feelings, the longer they persist, because we can’t fight a truth that is living inside our own bodies. If your heart is broken, there’s no use pretending otherwise. I know a woman who lost her mother a few years ago, and the pain is still acute, every day. Some of her friends have suggested she should be moving on by now, and many have distanced themselves from her. This is not an uncommon story; often, people feel uncomfortable around another person’s grief because it reminds them of their own mortality, and the fragility of this life.

The more we long to be somewhere other than where we are, the more we strain to feel differently than we do, the more we suffer and create dis-ease for ourselves. You feel how you feel, and it won’t all be pretty. In order to deny your vulnerability, you also have to deny your joy; an armored heart can’t pick and choose. You are not obligated to do things in a neat and orderly way, and you are not on anyone else’s timetable. If someone in your life requires that you show up smiling and happy, then the potential for true intimacy and genuine friendship is not there.

Sometimes, pressure to be “over” something, whether it’s the loss of a person, a relationship, a time in your life, or an event that’s transpired, is not coming from the outside, it’s coming from within us. Happiness is not a spot on a map where you land and plant your flag, it’s a process and it requires patience and a willingness to embrace all of your feelings as they arise. No one is ecstatic all the time. A great day will also include some challenging moments, just as a great life will include painful chapters. We all get frustrated with ourselves from time to time, but an aggressive or unforgiving inner atmosphere will not help your grieving process. Cultivating compassion for yourself and others is essential if you want to walk peacefully through this world. Granting patience to yourself, other people, and the situations in your life creates an expansive environment where healing is likely to occur. No one can heal in a vise grip. None of us relax because someone yells at us to relax, just as none of us heal because we’re pressured to do so. Allow yourself to be where you are, and avail yourself of the tools that exist that make it easier to ride the waves of grief when they arise. Sending you love, Ally Hamilton

7 thoughts on “Ride the Waves”

  1. What you wrote about today is so important. My dad would always say about the kind of people that don´t “get it”: The hell with them. Common courtesy begins with oneself, after all! Love you Ally!

  2. my mom, who died when i was 25, used to always say, don’t cry, it’s not going to help. well, she loved me, but she was so so wrong about that. all these years later, i always had a hard time crying. then for the past few years i’ve cried every day, pain from years ago welling up. you wrote about this so perfectly, thank you

    1. I think parents really mean well when they tell us these things; it’s hard to watch your children suffer or struggle. I don’t think anyone would knowingly make things more difficult for their child, certainly not loving parents, anyway. But it really does make it harder when we grow up trying to force things down or edit them out. Glad you’re letting it flow these days, and sorry you lost your mom so early. Huge love to you, Jenna <3

  3. Ally. I am SO grateful to know you too. Your parents too raised a precious person. Thank you for existing! Everything you write I adore! Really. And Yoga is the answer. My parents would always take us to Yoga class, my sisters and me, since childhood. And we would all practice Yoga together in Mexico City! I have to share some Yoga Stories that will “amaze and astound” you, as they say in the circus! And about your stepmom and my stepdaughters? Well. I raised them, you know. Right along with my own daughter. The oldest is 8 years older than my daughter, and the youngest is only a year and a half older than my daughter. But they have “divided loyalties”. They couldn´t deal with their mother´s guilt trips. So they cut us off. 17 years ago. Just like your stepmom with you. Yes I imagine you walking In New York City near her house with your children and wondering…..what if we run into her! Oy! I will be your stepmom, and you be my stepdaughter! Ha! That will fix things, no? Ha! And we can get your 2 children together with my 8 and 10 year old girlies! Oh what fun! Come to Mexico! Really! Please come to Mexico to teach a Yoga Workshop!

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