This Is Everything

I had a really hard time getting pregnant with my son and tried everything. Literally. Acupuncture, peeing on sticks, boiling “tea” that stunk up the house and even allowing a giant Maori healer to “rolf” my uterus (from the outside, haha. Even at the height of my insanity I wasn’t that crazy :)). I couldn’t figure out a way to practice non-attachment at the time, I just found myself intensely missing a person I hadn’t even met, a person who existed only in my mind and in my heart. Eventually (after a year of needles, tea, sticks, tears and said rolfing session, I went to a fertility doctor who discovered my estrogen levels were a little low, and presto, the bigger kid in this picture started materializing. If you had told me during that year to try to relax and trust that the exact right human was going to show up at the exact right time, I wouldn’t have believed you or been able to do that. I really thought I had to keep “doing things” to “make it happen”, and maybe I did. Maybe he would not have shown up if I hadn’t tried everything known to woman to get there, or maybe he would have, or maybe everything was required. I don’t have any regrets because that kid seems to me to be the only kid who could ever have been my son (my sun), and that girl with him? She showed up with no help from tea or needles or giant Maori.

When I got divorced I was devastated and heartbroken. When there are children in the picture I don’t think it can be any other way. It was not the vision I’d had or wanted, but it became clear to me that it was the only path forward where there could be love and nurturing for everyone involved. It was not easy and it has not been easy. Letting go of the picture of How Things Should Be or how you want things to be for yourself and your children is so hard, and trying to trust that a new path will emerge is also really hard. I credit my yoga practice for any strength and grace I was able to muster through all of that heartache, and I know for sure that’s the thing that kept me sane and strong and able to be a good mama to these small people who have little protection in the world unless we, as parents, figure out how to move through our grief, rage, disappointment, bitterness and all the other feelings that come up (especially when they involve the other most important person in our children’s lives, namely, their other parent), without allowing it to spill over onto them. That is also hard, and for me, again, I credit having been a child of divorce and knowing what that’s like, my yoga practice, therapy (highly recommend) and great, supportive, strong and understanding friends to help me through.

I’ve been a single mom for eight years. A few years ago after I’d been trying to navigate the post-divorce, how-do-you-date-when-you-have-children jungle, I thought, “Well, maybe giant romantic love is just not going to happen for me.” It was sort of surprising and disappointing because I’ve always been a huge romantic, but I thought, “Well, that might just not be in the cards for me, and that’s okay. I have these amazing children and work I love and my life is beautiful and fulfilling and full of all kinds of love. I can be okay this way.” And I did my best to let go of that picture of romantic love, too.

Two-and-a-half years ago I met a man at a bar (feel free to laugh) and he said all of these interesting and funny things and four hours went by in a snap and we didn’t even eat. Last Friday night he proposed to me and I said yes because I am not dumb. We had talked about the idea of getting married a couple of months ago, and even that was a shock to both of us. Neither of us thought we’d get married again. I thought living with someone was as far as I’d go. When you fall in love hard, though, this is what can happen. Your vision changes again. We checked in with our kids about the idea, I talked to my two, he talked to his three. We didn’t want to go forward unless there were thumbs up all around. If someone had said to me years ago, “try to trust that there’s a 6’3″ Englishman out there who’s going to show up in your life with his giant heart and huge brain, his kindness, loyalty, affection and wicked sense of humor and turn all of your ideas about what’s going to happen in your life right on their head,” I would have laughed. If someone had said, “There couldn’t have been anyone else for you but him,” I would have laughed again. I might have even rolled my eyes. I’m sharing this because I know how hard it is to trust. To take your sticky hands off the steering wheel and let things unfold and emerge and allow people to show up and show you who they are, and to allow yourself to be heartbroken when the path takes a turn you didn’t want or expect, but also to allow yourself a tiny sliver of awareness and hope that maybe life has something in store for you you cannot even imagine.

I’ve had an insane week. An amazing Valentine’s Day, an incredible birthday. My heart is so full. Have you seen baby goats dancing around? Google that if not, that’s how I feel. Take care of your precious heart. Let it break when it breaks, but let the breaking open you. Sending you so much love and some trust if you can muster it!


Ally Hamilton

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

Things That Aren’t Meant for You

I just posted a new class on the site called Open Heart/Quiet Mind and it occurred to me that’s the way I try to live most of my days. That hasn’t always been easy for me, it took me years to learn how to quiet the racket in my head and trust in my ability to rise up and face life head-on.

I talked about letting go of the picture in our heads of How Things Should Be (sub-categories include: How People Should Be, What People Should Want, Say, Do or Need, How People Should Behave, Why I’m Amazing and Other People Are Getting It Wrong, Why I Suck and Other People Are Getting It Right, Why I Never Get the Breaks and Other People Do, Why It Isn’t My Fault — many sub, sub-categories in this one depending on what “It” may be — Why I’m Stuck, Why I’m Like This, Why I’m Broken, Why Everything Is Someone Else’s Fault…anyway, you get the point. The pictures in our heads or stories we tell ourselves that block any possibility for flow, inspiration, joy, love or trust) so we can open to how things are and start from there.

Sometimes we’re gripping so hard to a situation, particular outcome or person, we just aren’t living anymore. We’re in fear or delusion thinking we’re in control of life or other people or imagining we might control the weather if only we manifest a sunny day with enough intention.

What I’ve learned (the hard, painful way) is that if you’re gripping the wheel you’re suffering and you’re probably also trying to hold onto something that just isn’t meant for you. What could be more arrogant than imagining we have all the answers? If it’s that much of a struggle, if it’s constantly painful or draining, it probably isn’t for you. The sooner you release your grip and shed your tears and try to trust, the sooner you stop suffering and allow a new vision, adventure or way forward to emerge. The things, people and situations that are right for you can’t open to you when your sticky fingers are white-knuckling the wheel, your jaw is clenched and your blinders are on.

If I could go back and tell myself anything along the way during any of the many chapters I was suffering, it would be something like: Stop gripping. Stop fearing. Stop fighting and bending over backwards and pushing boulders up hills. Put the boulders down, you are not Atlas. Let life surprise you. Move toward people and situations that feel like a yes. Believe in your own resilience.

Since I can’t go back and say that to myself, I offer it to you in case you’re suffering now. Life will break your heart in a million ways, that’s the truth, but it can break your heart wide open if you let it, and then you’ll be ready to receive the flip side of suffering — all the surprises and love and chapters that make your heart sing with relief and gratitude. The people who show up and turn all your ideas about how people can be right on their head. The relationships that develop and teach you love is so much more than you understood or expected. The situations that don’t follow your map, but take their own and teach you a million things you need to know along the way, even if the path is full of thorns and and you end up bleeding. The choice is always there to open more, to trust more, to strengthen and love in a way that’s boundless. Trust that.

If you need some help opening your heart and quieting your mind, yoga is great for that. People tell me all the time that they can’t do yoga because they can’t touch their toes. If I had a dime for every time someone said that, my kids’ college fund would be brimming over, but yoga isn’t about that. I’d love to gift you a free month of yoga to the site if you haven’t subscribed before. Just go to, hit Sign Up, Create Account and Get Access and where it asks Do You Have a Coupon? You do! It’s: GiftFromAlly and you have until January 1st, 2019 to activate. Life can feel good. It’s short, though, there’s no time to waste.


Sending you love and wishing you peace,


Ally Hamilton

If the posts are helpful you can find my books here.

The Veil of Silence is Now on Fire

I posted something on one of my Facebook pages the other day about why it is young women and girls who are sexually assaulted often do not tell their parents, file a police report, or go to the doctor. I don’t feel like re-posting here, but I’m speaking from my own personal experience. A woman commented with “Mothers, teach your daughters well,” and I believe she meant well, but this is a HUGE part of the problem. The onus should not be on women and girls to do whatever they can to keep themselves safe at all times; are we really consenting to living life on the defensive, in a constant state of hyper-alertness?! It is not just about mothers teaching their daughters well. Fathers need to model respectful behavior and think carefully about the things they say and do, and the way they treat the women in their lives, because children watch and absorb EVERYTHING. Both parents of both genders need to teach their daughters and their sons well.
I have a son and a daughter. My son is almost 12, and although he is not yet at the age and stage where this is a current issue, he already understands a girl’s body is her own and we have had frank conversations about consent. I’m talking to him about this (and have for some time) not just because I want him to be a good man, but also for his own protection. He knows when he goes out in the world he is to treat the girls and women he encounters the same way he’d want his little sister and his mother to be treated. We need to be raising better men. “Boys will be boys” is an outdated mantra that does a disservice to boys and men everywhere, and perpetuates an awful cycle for women and girls. If you are a good man (and thankfully, I know many good men), please think carefully about ideas you may have absorbed from our culture and consider whether you may be contributing to these problems in any way, without feeling ashamed about it. Our society has taught us all kinds of things that are not true, and we are all influenced by our environment. Some things just need to be unlearned.
If you’re looking for concrete ways to help, here are just a few ideas:
– Don’t participate in “locker room talk”, and if you are present when someone else is speaking disrespectfully about women, call it out. Real men don’t talk about women like they’re objects.
– Don’t tell sexist “jokes” and don’t laugh at them, either. It’s okay to say, “Hey man, I just don’t find that funny.”
– If you don’t want the government to tell you what you can and can’t do with your body, don’t vote for people who want to tell women what they can and can’t do with theirs. This isn’t about being pro-choice or pro-life, it’s about the government making laws about what individual women can do with their bodies. Try to separate those issues.
– Ask the particular women in your life if or how you can help.
Not long ago, both of my kids ate up the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series by Jeff Kinney. They were so into those books, I took them to a book signing when Mr. Kinney came to town. When the movies started coming out, my kids were thrilled. I remember sitting and watching the first one with them, and how disappointed I was when the main character mentioned to a friend that one of the girls in class looked “hot.” I had to pause the film and talk to both my son and daughter about how comments like that reinforce the idea that a girl’s value is based on her appearance, and how wrong that is. Jeff Kinney seems like a really great guy. I don’t know him personally, of course, but his talk was great and he seemed truly thrilled to be there with tons of kids, talking and signing books. I was so disturbed by this line in the movie, that I went to see if he had written the screenplay, but he didn’t. He did, however, have a lot of power: “I worked with both sets of writers and the producers and attended all of the writers’ meetings and provided notes on all of the scripts,” he said. “I also contributed some jokes and dialogue. I didn’t have approval over the final script but I did approve the basic story that was told.” I have to believe if Mr. Kinney had stated clearly in his contract that he did not want any girls or women objectified in these films, he could have flexed his power and gotten that clause approved. After all, it’s his property. This is what I’m talking about — if you are a good man and you are targeting children as your main audience, then use your power and do some good.
Women are not fragile, we are strong but we are tired. You would be, too. We don’t need your protection, we don’t need a knight in shining armor to rescue us or save the day, we just need respect and understanding, and we need you in this fight with us, this is no time to sit on the sidelines.
Sending love to everyone,
Ally Hamilton

You Save the Day

There’s no running from yourself. If you have pain, it’s going to surface and if you try to stop it, deny it, numb it out or run from it you’re just going to make yourself sick. People do it every day, all day long. They keep themselves so busy, so scheduled down to the minute, there isn’t any time to feel anything. Others try to feed the beast of their pain with stuff. I’ll just keep consuming until that horrible emptiness goes away. Some people numb it with drugs, alcohol, food, dieting, sex, relationships, shopping, television or video games. And weeks go by, and those weeks turn into years, and a whole life can go by that way.

If you’re on the run, you’re not going to be able to stop and take in the scenery. If you’re in a fog, you’re going to miss some exquisitely gorgeous moments. If you’re in denial, you’re also denying yourself the opportunity to figure out who you are and what you need to be at peace. You can’t reject a huge reality about where you’re at and how you feel, and simultaneously know yourself well. Chances are, eventually you’ll wonder if this is all there is. Your pain does not have to own you, but it will if you don’t face it. We all have our stuff, our histories, those places where we’re raw or jagged, where those deep wounds have left their scars. Your pain might shape you, but it can shape you in a beautiful way so that you open and become more compassionate, more able to understand the suffering of others, and more equipped to lend a hand.

Knowing yourself is some of your most important work, otherwise how can you be accountable for the energy you’re spreading? For the ways you’re contributing to the world around you, and showing up for yourself, and all the people in your life? If you refuse to face down your dragons, they’re going to run your show, and they’re going to throw flames at anyone who gets close to you. You won’t mean for that to happen, you’ll probably feel terrible about it, and yourself, which simply compounds your pain. Now you have the old stuff, and the new stuff that springs up around you in your current life. Won’t it ever release its grip on you? You can keep playing it out, hoping for that happy ending, but you’re not going to get it until you become the hero of your own story. No one is coming to save the day. That’s your job.

The thing is, saving the day is not easy, but it’s a lot better than being on the run or being in a haze or feeling desperate for someone or something to make it better. You get to do that and you’re totally capable, no matter what you’ve been through. I say that with the full understanding that you may have suffered through intense grief, neglect or abuse. Being the hero might simply mean you find your way out of bed today and make an appointment with a good therapist. That would be heroic. Just acting on your own behalf would be something huge, because you may need someone to kindly hold up a mirror and say, “Of course you can.” (You’ll still have to do it yourself.) You might need someone to acknowledge that the old pain is real, and that it’s natural you’ve been carrying it with you for so long, but that maybe you can put it down now. Maybe you can unpack it and lay it all out and hold it up to the light so that you really absorb, as you are now, the full spectrum of your feelings. So that this stuff isn’t buried in your unconscious, outside of your awareness anymore, causing you to do things or say things you wish you hadn’t. Causing you to harm yourself, or hurt other people, or make choices that are inexplicable, even to you. Maybe you’re very aware of your pain, but it’s still overtaking your life. If you feel hopeless, that’s another indication that you might want to reach out and get some back-up. You examine your pain so you can integrate it and recognize it when it shows up. So you can be kind to yourself, and take care of yourself, and empower yourself.

There’s no reason your past has to dictate your future. Rage and blame won’t liberate you, but heading into the dead center of your darkest most painful places will. You don’t have to stay there forever, just long enough to know yourself. Then you can start a new chapter where you, the hero, lay the sh&t down. Where you decide where you’re going and what you’re doing and how you’re going to spend your time and energy. How you’re going to show up. Not the dragons. The dragons are small yappy dogs now. They bark sometimes, but all it takes is one look from you, and those dogs roll over and play dead. Directing your energy and strengthening your ability to choose one thought over another are two things you can work on through a consistent yoga practice. You can learn how to feed a loving voice if you’re in prison with an unforgiving internal dialogue. There are so many healing modalities available to help you find your power again. Better get busy if you need to, and if you need help with that, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Sending you love,

Ally Hamilton

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

The Amazing Absence of Pain

Hey there! If you zoom in you can see I’ve had this really awesome stye on my right eye for the last few days. Pretty, huh? I got sick last week and I guess this was the parting gift! A stye is not a big deal, but I’ll tell you, this one was painful and tender, and at its worst I looked like I’d been on the wrong end of a prizefight. It’s on its way out now, and I’ve been thinking about the gratitude you feel when pain starts to subside. I know a lot of you will relate.

I go through this with migraines when I get them, that relief and incredible gratitude I feel when the pain starts to lessen — the amazing absence of pain. So I was thinking about that over the last day and it occurred to me that painful relationships are like that, too. Sometimes we get caught up in an interaction and it’s insidious; maybe things start out sweetly enough and then little by little the dynamic starts to change and we just sort of keep accepting the changes until we’re part of an interaction that is so painful and unhealthy, we’re almost unrecognizable to ourselves. Ever dealt with that? That sums up most of my relationships as a young adult.

You know the parable about the frog? If you throw a frog in a pot of boiling water it will jump right out, but if you put it in a cool pot and slowly heat the water, it won’t realize it’s boiling until it’s too late. Ever been a burnt frog and somehow managed to claw your way out of that boiling pot even though frogs don’t have claws? Remember the relief when you woke up one morning and realized life was starting to feel good again and you were maybe catching a glimpse of someone you used to know, as in yourself? The gratitude and relief when the pain starts to subside.

Anyway, I’ve been in so many interactions like that with people over the years, and I’m about to launch an online course that’s all about how we stay centered and learn to care for our froggy selves without getting boiled! It’s a month-long course that begins March 12 and includes an unlimited 30-day subscription to the website if you don’t have one already, three live talks and one guided meditation per week, and journaling prompts Monday-Friday. I’ll be suggesting classes for each week that relate to the topic we’re diving into, and also meet your varying needs based on level and how much time you have. It’s $199 for the course, you can check here for more info and to register! Love you frogs.

Ribbit, ribbit!

Ally Hamilton

Me Too

The first time I saw a man masturbating, I was eight years old. I was in Central Park with my third grade class, and we were there to sketch. I’d wandered a little away from the group and found a perfect tree and I was busily trying to sketch onto my pad what I was seeing in front of me. I’d study the tree, then draw on my pad. The third or fourth time I looked up, there was a man under the tree with his pants down, furiously moving his hand up and down his penis while staring at me. I had no idea why he was doing this, but I felt scared and knew immediately it wasn’t something I should be seeing. I looked up at him and we made eye contact for a second, and I went running to my teacher, crying. By the time she came back to where I’d been sitting, he was gone. I have no idea if she told anyone at school, if my parents were informed, or if anything else came of it, I only remember the man, the tree, and the sketch I never finished.

When I was twelve, my best friend and I took my little brother and his friend sledding in Riverside Park. When we got back to my building, we were flushed both from the cold, and the exertion of pulling two little boys along on sleds. I picked up my brother and my friend picked up his little friend, and we hoisted them and the sleds into the exterior lobby of my building. As it happened, a man was just arriving, and he held the door open for us and then went to the building directory. I pulled out my keys and opened the door to the inner lobby, and although I noticed no one had buzzed him in, the man again held the door for us, and I thought it would be impolite to ask him who he was going to see. (Note: we teach our girls to be polite.) The same thing happened as he held the elevator door open and stepped in after us. I pushed the button for the second floor, he pushed the button for the third. No sooner had the doors closed, than he pulled down his pants and started masturbating in front of us. I shielded my brother’s little face by burying it in my shoulder, and my friend and I started screaming and crying. When the doors opened on the second floor, we tumbled out, sleds, toddlers and hysteria, and pounded on the front door of my mom’s house. The guy flew out of the elevator behind us and ran down the back stairs. My mother came running to the door in her socks and raced after him, and though she saw him leaving the lobby and running down the street, there was no way she could catch him without shoes.

The next year, as I was heading into my ballet class on Broadway and 83rd, a man entered ahead of me. I had a bad feeling, so I started running up the steep staircase to get ahead of him, but he grabbed me from behind, one hand between my legs, and the other over my mouth. “Just don’’t move, okay?” he asked me, and started unzipping his pants. I became all animal. I bit his hand and flailed my elbow into his side and managed to break free and turn myself around, so I was crawling backwards up the stairs facing him, once again screaming and crying. I do remember that he looked as terrified as I felt, his eyes wild before he turned and raced down the stairs and back into the city. By the time I got into the dance studio office and managed to blurt out what had happened between sobs, he was long gone.

It didn’t even occur to me to scream or cry or do anything a year later when a man went by in his car as I was crossing the street, cutting me off and driving slowly while masturbating. When I went to the park to sunbathe with my friends and a guy started playing with himself under a tree nearby, we just got up and moved. I’d learned that these things happened and no one did anything. I’d learned that a man can show you his penis if he feels like it, whether you want to see it or not. A man can use you as part of his sexual fantasy, whether you want to participate or not. When I was fifteen, my mother chastised me on the street one day for not wearing a bra. She said if my breasts bounced, men would get hard. She spat that at me like it was my fault and my responsibility, and I didn’t realize for years that her disgust was aimed at them and not me.

I won’t talk here about my worst and most confusing experience, that’s going in the memoir I’m currently writing, but I will share one last story. When I was about twenty, I went on a casting call for a spin-off of the Victoria’s Secret Catalog. This was supposed to be a line for athletic bodies, and although I wasn’t thrilled at the idea of being photographed in underwear, I was in a disastrous relationship with a man twenty years my senior, I had no money of my own, and this job meant six weeks in Italy and a $30,000 paycheck. I arrived at the call which was at an incredible duplex in Gramercy Park. There were about sixty women there, along with a female casting director, the guy who was one of the partners in the catalog spinoff, and a young guy who was running around making sure everyone had signed in properly. It was like a thousand other casting calls I’d been on. Later that day my agent called and said they wanted to see me the next day, and that it was down to ten of us. I was excited, mostly about the prospect of having a way to get myself out of an abusive relationship, and also, Italy. When I went back the second time, the partner in this catalog endeavor asked if I could lose ten pounds in a week. I didn’t have ten pounds to lose, but I said yes. The female casting director looked pained, but said nothing as she brought me into the next room where there was a scale waiting. She marked down my weight, and said they’d see me in a week. My agent called later that day to say that she really did not want me to starve myself, but it was down to six of us and they were picking four to go to Italy. I barely ate that week, and when the casting director called me the day before my scheduled call-back and asked me to come a couple hours earlier, I thought nothing of it.

When I arrived for my weigh-in, I found the partner alone at his Gramercy Park home. I wasn’t expecting that and found it uncomfortable, but he was officious and mentioned the casting agent had just run out for coffee. He said the weigh-in was a formality, anyway, and that I looked great. He asked me if I was excited about the job, if it was something I wanted to do, and being young, I shared that I was not only excited but relieved at the prospect, because I was in a bad relationship and needed a way out. He said the other girls were great, and we were going to share two hotel rooms and have a wonderful time, and that he was excited for us. Then he said he had a call he had to make, and we’d have to get this weigh-in going, he couldn’t wait anymore. He said he’d forgotten to bring the scale downstairs, and I should follow him. Up the stairs I went, feeling nervous but talking myself out of that feeling. He motioned to a room to the left, said the scale was through the room and in the bathroom, and that he was going to go postpone that call. He went hustling down the hallway and closed a door behind him, and I went into the room where he’d directed me, to discover that it was a bedroom.

I went into the bathroom and found the scale, and had this odd moment of wondering how this was going to work. Was it the honor system? Was I supposed to get on the scale and tell him what I weighed, or was he coming into the bathroom, or what, exactly, was I supposed to do? I didn’t have to wonder long, because there was a short knock on the door, and then he opened it, standing in an open robe and nothing else. I stared at him for what felt like days but might have been only a second, and he put his hands in the air and said, “This is what it is. Give me the best blow job of my life, and the gig is yours.” He said this unapologetically, with a glint in his eye. I felt a mixture of many things at once — revulsion, shock, shame, rage, and an intense desire to strangle him. I’d starved myself for a week. This man had the gall to stand there and tell me I could have the job and the money and the way out of a bad situation if I’d turn myself into a prostitute. I shoved past him, crying and cursing and went flying down the stairs. He called after me and said this is what it took, and they wouldn’t be calling me again. My last words to him were, “Go f&ck yourself.”

I haven’t thought about any of this for quite a long time. Every woman I know who’s been harassed, assaulted, and demeaned just puts those experiences in a file because up until now, no one has cared. No one has said or done a thing that makes any kind of difference. I hope the story is shifting. I hope like hell my daughter is inheriting a world where things like this just don’t happen anymore, because I can’t be in every park, on every field trip, on every corner she crosses, in every professor’s office, or yoga class where an “adjustment” goes wrong (yes, this happens in the yoga world, too, it happens everywhere). I can’t be there to block the catcalls, the idiots telling her to smile like she’s an object that exists on this earth for their gratification, even though in reality, she is a universe unto herself. I can’t be everywhere, all the time. It enrages me when there are films and television shows directed at children, and girls and women are described as “hot”, I want to scream at the writers. If you think it isn’t insidious, this objectification of girls and women, you aren’t paying attention. Waiters comment when my daughter cleans her plate, but not my son. People comment on her looks and his achievements. All I can do is teach them myself that a woman’s worth is not based on how she looks, but who she is. I talk to both of my children about this, because I want my daughter to grow into a woman who stands up for herself, and feels safe in this world, but I want her not just to feel safe, but to be safe. I want my son to be the kind of man who would never, in any way demean or objectify a woman, I want him to be the guy who celebrates, respects and sees a woman as a human being with a history all her own and gorgeous gifts to share. The thing is, I’m just one person. That’s how all women feel, we are just in this thing alone unless everyone starts to think about his or her own contribution.

I googled the catalog guy the other night. He goes by a few variations of his last name. He’s living in Boca Raton now. He’s a millionaire. He sold that apartment in Gramercy Park. There are other public complaints against him, he’s been doing that same scam for twenty years. I’m tired of keeping it in the file. For all the girls and women who have their own stories and haven’t known what to do with them, maybe now’s the time to let them out. There are so many great men in the world, and most of them have no idea how rampant this is. When you hear your idiot buddies making stupid f&cking jokes at the bar, shut it down. When you hear locker room talk, shut it down. When the guy running for the highest office in the land talks about “grabbing pussies” don’t f&cking vote for him.  Don’t teach your sons to categorize women by numbers, like 10, or 8 or 4. It affects your mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, friends. It isn’t something anyone should have to accept or tolerate. It’s not just Hollywood, it’s everywhere. Feels good to open the file and light it on fire. None of us need your sympathy, we’ve all learned how to be tough. What we need is your support in changing things.

Much love to all the girls and women out there who have their own stories, and much gratitude to all the wonderful, kind, insightful men,

Ally Hamilton

If the posts are helpful, you can find my books here.

Choose Tigger!

Last week in a class I was teaching, I was talking about how the focal points or “drishtis” in the yoga practice are really the difference between having some power over how you respond to what’s happening around you, or not so much. If you have a physical yoga practice, then you already know that there’s a place where you direct your gaze in each pose. It might be over your front fingertips and toward the horizon, as you would in Warrior 2. It might be toward your extended fingertips in side angle pose. The idea is that you’re taking in a little less information from the world around you, so you can spend some time focusing on the world that exists within you, and hopefully practice in a way that creates more peace, steadiness, compassion, patience and awareness, so that when you leave your mat, that’s what you have to offer up.

When you train your mind the way you’d train any muscle, it strengthens. The ability to direct your gaze and thereby your energy and attention is the same skill you use when you have a meal with a close friend in a chaotic restaurant, but manage to focus on your friend, and not all the business happening around you. It’s the same ability you need when you sit down to work on your passion project, and are able to focus on that for a few hours instead of getting on social media. It’s also the tool you use when you actively choose one thought over another, which is like a superpower when it comes to living this life. We all know that change is the only thing we can count on, and yet we tend to resist it to varying degrees. The more we contract against the reality of constant flux, the more we suffer.

Sometimes the voice inside our heads sounds like Eeyore. Things are happening that we don’t like or didn’t want, and there he goes: “Life is hard and no one loves me, and other people get the breaks, but I don’t.” Tigger on the other hand, is full of enthusiasm, and he would say, “Sometimes life is hard, and sometimes people are confusing, but that’s okay! It’s just a tough moment, it isn’t a tough life, and I’ll bounce back from this! What’s for lunch?” In the class I was teaching, I was saying that having an inner Tigger is a lot easier than having an inner Eeyore, and part of shifting and creating a positive inner dialogue has to do with working the focal points on your mat (or during seated meditation). That way, when when your Eeyore pipes up, you notice, and you can say, “Simmer down Eeyore” before he sends you spiraling down an abyss that isn’t going to help you deal with whatever is at hand. The “noticing” is also a key element, because sometimes Eeyore is our default setting, and we don’t even realize we have the power to shift it. Outlook isn’t everything in life; certainly there are devastating and heartbreaking experiences we have, loss that feels incomprehensible, circumstances that would challenge the most optimistic among us, but there is no doubt that working on your general viewpoint so it’s more open and responsive, and less reactive and resistant, is a game-changer.

One of the people in that Eeyore/Tigger class showed up a few days later with a little gift bag, and one of the best cards I’ve ever received. When I opened the bag, this is the shirt I found, which she made for me. If you have a loud inner Eeyore, please allow me to tell you that you can change that (I had one for years!), and that life feels much better that way. If you want to work on it with me, I’m about to teach an online course that’s all about embracing change, you can find out more here:

Sending you love, and a shot of Tigger,

Ally Hamilton