Your life is not what happens to you, your life is what you do in the face of what happens to you. You cannot control what life is going to put on the path in front of you, what other people are going to do, say, want, or need. You can only do your best to walk with some grace and steadiness, guided by an inner resounding, undeniable yes; that’s what you get to work with. If you’re like most humans, you’ll spend a decent amount of time walking in circles trying to find that yes, or sitting on the side of the road not doing much of anything. You may fall into a ditch and stay there for awhile, feeling alone or hopeless, wondering what you’re doing here on this planet. You might point fingers, or walk backwards on your path trying to travel into your past and rewrite it, but if you do that you’ll find the scenery has changed, you have changed, and the people with whom you’re so furious don’t exist any longer, even if they’re still alive. You may see the road ahead of you and say no f&cking way, that path looks nothing like the one I asked for. Your path will cross a million other paths. You’ll find some people you want to travel with, some of whom you’ll know for your whole life, even when your paths take you in completely different directions.

Once in awhile, someone you’ve been traveling with will throw you for a loop, and you may find yourself in a Falling Rocks Zone getting bashed over the head. Such is life. You might bleed a little, and your heart might break a little or a lot. Sometimes people do completely inexplicable things, even they don’t fully understand. You might say, “Why me?” but a better question is, “Why not me?” because we are all going to suffer to some degree, it’s part of the human condition. Some people will suffer more than others, getting a lesson in grief that would just tear your heart out and make you shake your fists at the sky, or rake your nails through the dirt with the taste of despair in your mouth.

If people leave you or lie to you, or if someone you love is taken from you too soon, you’re going to suffer, but you’re also going to grow. You might say, “I’d rather not grow, thanks very much. I’ll take the door with no growth, and a situation that plays out the way I’d like it to, instead.” We don’t get to choose, though. You get what you get, and your only true power lies in what you do with what you get. How you decide to face it. When painful things happen in your life, there are two ways to go; you can let them harden you, or you can let them soften you and open you. When your heart breaks, it opens if you let it. Or it closes if you insist. Opening feels so much better. If you’ve lost in that way that changes everything, eventually you might comfort others in the same position. If you don’t, who will? Who else could ever understand?

When people make an utter mess of things, be enraged if you need to, scream and cry and go punch a bag for awhile if it helps you. Get it out of your body. Write it down, so it’s out of your head and onto a piece of paper. Get yourself some support. Allow yourself to feel whatever you need to feel, but at a certain point, pick yourself up, dry yourself off, and keep walking. You really don’t know what’s coming next. You have your experiences in this life, and they can inform and shape the kind of person you are, but let them shape you in a way that serves you. Let your wounds open you so that you can experience deep pain, but also deep love. You want to be ready to receive that. Embrace the vulnerability of this thing because there’s no point in denying it, and allow yourself to come back to curiosity and love. I truly believe that’s the natural state of human beings. People will hurt you sometimes. Most of them won’t mean to. Life will bring pain as well. I highly doubt it’s personal.

Having said that, there’s so much beauty in this world. So much light and kindness and caring and joy and laughter. True connection. It’s available all the time if you open to it. If you don’t believe me, go and be kind to a stranger today. Hold a door open, or ask someone how they are on an elevator, but ask like you care, like you really want to know. Better yet, just want to know. Put a bunch of moments like that in a row as often as you can, on as many days as you can. Create joy as much as you’re able. You can do that. Not everyone will be able to receive it, but give love anyway, and watch how it changes the way you feel and move through the day, because you have to face reality as it is. It may not, and probably will not, always be as you’d like it to be, but it can still be beautiful. Look for the moments.

Sending you love,

Ally Hamilton

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

The Power to Pause

listentounderstandIt’s not easy to drop your feelings, opinions and ideas so you can really hear what another person has to say, where they may be coming from, or how they’re seeing and experiencing things. This is never more true than in the context of an argument. When we feel attacked, it’s perfectly natural to go into defense mode, but most of the time, no one is attacking us and deep listening can’t happen if you’re in “fight or flight” mode. People may see things differently, but if you’re in a close relationship with someone, it’s unlikely they want to go for your jugular (and if they do, you’re probably with someone who needs help figuring out how to manage their anger).

We all want to be known, seen and understood. It’s beautiful when you allow yourself to open to another person, but the more you do that, the more you have to be willing to be vulnerable and that requires trust. When you have the feeling that someone is really seeing you, and suddenly that same person seems to be misunderstanding you, it can feel like a betrayal. Sometimes we have embarrassment or unease because some of our flaws slipped out and now this person who had this image of us may be seeing something we don’t want them to see, or something we’d rather not see ourselves. There are all kinds of reasons a person gets defensive, or shuts down, or runs for the door. Often it feels safer to dig our heels in and defend our position, to “win” the fight. If you’re trying to get close to someone, though, and if you want to be seen, it’s not a fight and this isn’t your opponent. A person is either going to love and accept you with all your flaws and absurdity, or they aren’t. You can only be known if you allow yourself to be known. Most people are not going to be able to read your mind and if you’re only willing to show the shiny, status update, perfect picture version of yourself, that instagram glow, the 140-character gem that you thought of while walking your dog, then you’ll never really be seen because we’re all complex and we all make mistakes, and we all have choices we wish we could make over again and differently.

People dig their heels in when they’re attempting to hide or to hold on. Or the level of reactivity is high. That’s one of the main things a consistent yoga practice addresses and encourages — the ability to sit with intense sensation, calmly. A burning feeling in your quadriceps is not all that different than a burning feeling in your heart, like rage. It’s a temporary sensation, and if you can open to it and examine it, it will open you and strengthen you, and teach you something about yourself. If you fly off the handle every time you feel something intense, you deny yourself those opportunities to become more aware, more accountable, and more able to trust yourself.

Of course there are legitimate times when you’ll disagree with someone, or see things in a completely different way, but if you really want to know the people in your life, it’s so useful if you can learn to listen deeply. Open to it even if it’s something you don’t want to hear or accept. Maybe this person is attempting to show you something essential about who they are, or where they are on their path. Maybe you’re going to discover a new way of thinking about something. It’s possible you’re going to realize there’s some fundamental philosophical difference that you’re not going to be able to get past, but there’s no point in denying someone else’s reality, even if you disagree with it. You might as well open your heart and your mind to their point of view. Maybe you’ll go back to your own, and maybe something will shift for you, but real listening is not the same as waiting for your turn to speak and being right is not nearly as satisfying as being seen.

Wishing you love, and the power to pause, breathe, and listen,

Ally Hamilton

Do You Need a New Rx?

Everything you perceive is being processed through your particular lenses. There’s no other way for you to receive data from outside yourself, except to filter it through your own eyes, ears, heart and mind. Sometimes our receptors have gotten really clogged. Emotionally, our ability to discern what’s real is determined by how much we’ve been hurt, and to what degree we’ve been able to work with our pain, process it, integrate it and move forward with the ability to trust again and open to joy. Your pain and your willingness to examine and understand it are your tickets to an empowered and authentic life, which to me includes an ability to face reality as it is.

Sometimes you have a history with someone, and there’s so much pain or disappointment around what’s happened, it clouds your ability to see the person clearly, even years later. We are all in process all the time, it never ends. The way you were three years ago is not the way you are today. There’s been growth, change and movement. And so it is with everyone else. People make mistakes, and no one is operating from her or his highest self in every moment. We’ve all made choices we’d love to go back and redo. Sometimes people have so much frustration and resentment between them, even something small has the potential to create a huge reaction, as if every single affront from the beginning of time is also in the mix. And maybe they just forgot to pick up their socks, but suddenly an apocalypse is happening in the living room.

Sometimes the inability to see a person clearly happens at the beginning. People write to me with their lists of qualities they’d like in a partner. I think it’s good to know what you’re looking for as far as your “non-negotiables” which might include things like loyalty or a good sense of humor, but I’m talking about lists that include eye color and hair color and six-pack abs and an interest in croquet and also salsa dancing. Then they meet a person with the “right” color eyes, and start projecting the entire list onto the unsuspecting person who maybe doesn’t like croquet. And they miss the chance to get to know someone as they are and then see if it’s a good fit. This can come out of a deep desire for intimacy and connection, which is totally understandable, but can create a tendency to sweep things under the rug. Hormones can also fog your lenses right up.

It’s not just romantically, either. Familial relationships are a classic context for this stuff. You may be a full-grown adult who functions well in the world, but find when you go back to your parents’ place it’s as if you regress to the you you were when you were fifteen. Or that your parents still treat you like that kid who should get a smaller portion at dinner. Siblings often interact the way they did growing up, either supporting each other, or blasting each other, or some combination of both.

If you’re feeling incredibly lonely, that can also gum up your receptors. Maybe you think every person who says hi to you might really want to sleep with you. Or you think everyone hates you. There are all kinds of ways we mis-perceive reality, and it’s important to recognize that, or at least factor it into your mix. To ask yourself when you’re feeling heated over something, or defeated, or confused or angry or rejected or mistreated, if there’s any possibility you’re not seeing things clearly. If maybe you have some part in what’s happening, because you do. It can’t be any other way. You have your experiences and your outlook, and it’s essential to understand how those things are part of the equation as you filter the data that’s coming at you, or not. If you think you suck or people suck, your lens is distorted. If you think another person is only ever going to be the way they were with you at some given point in time, your lens is also in need of a wiping. You also might want to throw into the equation your dynamic with someone. Sometimes two people bring out the worst in each other, or push buttons or bring up past pain unintentionally. Just because your relationship didn’t work doesn’t mean other relationships will face the same destiny for you, or for them. You can’t “peg’ people. I know we love to do that, but people are in flux just like everything else is in flux and it feels awful to be pegged, right? To be unforgiven, to have every mistake you’ve ever made reflected back at you every time you talk to someone with whom you were once so close.

There are many ways to wipe your lenses clean or get a new Rx if you need one. If you practice all eight limbs of yoga (the physical part is only one eighth of the equation), you’ll be well on your way. Finding the tools that work for you for your own healing and your own willingness to examine and work with your pain are also ways you upgrade your prescription. You really do want to get on that if you find yourself living in the past, or still enraged about things that happened years ago. If that’s happening for you, then you are actively feeding your rage and dragging your past into your present. You’ll make yourself sick, you’ll miss opportunities for joy and something new, and you will alienate everyone around you. Life is too short for that.

I won’t lie to you. The world is full of pain sometimes, but it’s also full of the kind of beauty that can take your breath away if you let it. That can knock you over with gratitude and joy. I used to think the thing we all wanted was to be happy, but really, I think the thing is to be awake. To be hungry for the truth, whatever it may be, and even if it’s painful. When I say “the truth”, I’m not suggesting there’s one truth. I’m saying your truth, what’s true for you personally. Being able to discern what you need to be at peace. What’s yours and what belongs to someone else when interactions go awry. What’s real for other people. Just being able to see clearly, and accept reality as it is. It’s not easy. Sometimes we want to fight it because things aren’t unfolding the way we want them to, but it’s not up to us. We don’t get to choose everything that comes at us. We don’t get to manage what other people do or want or say or need. We just get to manage ourselves, as best we can, and hopefully with a lot of love and compassion. There’s a lot of power and a lot of peace in that. Wishing you love, and sending you a little glass cleaner if you need it. We all need it sometimes.

Ally Hamilton

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

Believe in Yourself

believeinyourselfI was talking to a friend of mine I’ve known since we were kids. I’ve known him so long, I can vaguely recollect his dad, although I haven’t seen him since I was five and neither has my friend. I remember he was tall (although everyone is tall when you’re five), and he had a beard, and in my mind he’s wearing a plaid flannel shirt. I remember he came to our Kindergarten class once and helped us paint a huge mural on the wall and that he encouraged everyone to get messy, which I thought was very unusual and very cool. And then he was gone. I don’t know what happened, and neither does my friend (I’ll call him John), because John’s mom doesn’t talk about it much. She just says his dad wasn’t able to love well at the time. That he was one of “those tortured artists” and that he thought he was doing them both a favor by leaving. She’s alluded to drug use, and she’s also encouraged John to reach out to his father if he wants to. His dad moved to Mexico, and eventually he had two more kids with someone else, and as far as John knows he’s been a good dad to those kids. He has never pursued a relationship with John, never sent birthday cards or called to check in, he’s never contacted him in any way. So you can imagine John has lots of feelings about this.

Thankfully, John’s mother is a very loving, warm, affectionate person, and so is John. But there’s a pain in his heart and a sadness that creeps into his eyes from time to time that you can spot if you know him well and are looking carefully enough. He’s had a history of longterm, monogamous relationships, but inevitably they end because John is afraid to commit for the long haul. Or maybe he’s afraid he’ll commit, and one day he’ll wake up and get on a plane, and never look back. Or she will. So he’ll only go so deep with people, only let them in so much. Not enough to devastate him if they leave. Not enough to know him completely. He told me he can remember his dad calling him buddy and playing catch with him and carrying him on his shoulders to get ice cream. He pores over pictures from when he was a kid and his family was together. But he won’t reach out to his father, because he’s also enraged. He’s enraged because he’s been living with this idea that there’s something unlovable about him at his core. Something that makes it easy to leave him even though his mother has always been there, and his step-dad has been in his life from the time he was eight years old.

Our first experience of love comes from our parents. As William Makepeace Thackery says, “Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children.” And so is Dad. Let’s not get caught up in language and divisiveness here. I don’t care if you replace the word God with the word Love if you want to. Regardless, this is how we come to know and understand the world, and some things are part of our nature, the way we arrive here, the way we’re wired. If you don’t believe that, go hang out in the maternity ward of your nearest hospital. (I mean, don’t do that because it’s not going to be received well if you don’t have a reason to be there, but take my word for it if you need to, not all infants are the same.) Our nature will affect the way we respond to our experiences, but the way we’re nurtured is at least equally as important.

People tend to go two ways. They either repeat what they were taught, or they go in the opposite direction. If you were taught that you’re unlovable, that’s a lie, and anything you’ve learned can be unlearned. I don’t know what John’s father was taught about love. I don’t know anything about his childhood, his experiences as he grew up, the way he was treated by the people in his life. Maybe his dad or mom left him. I don’t know anything about his nature, except that hazy recollection I have of him flinging paint at the wall and throwing his head back to laugh when we all looked shocked that we were allowed to do that, too. I don’t know what drives a person to walk away from their child and never reach out, but I can recognize the perpetuation of pain, and the potential for healing. I’m not suggesting if John got on a plane for Mexico and talked to his dad everything would be rosy and they could hug and laugh and John could come home and marry the woman he loves and live happily ever after. This isn’t a movie. I know lots of people who were left by their parents and many of them never have a relationship again. Some people are wired in such a way that they can integrate that pain and move on and be at peace, anyway. They can forge a new path, and unlearn those untruths, and move in the direction of love, and give love to their children, and maybe even eventually find compassion for their own flawed parents.

If you think you aren’t flawed, have a kid, because they will hold up the clearest and most honest mirror for you. Some people run from what they see, like John’s dad. Other people get to work. Maybe John’s dad couldn’t do it then. Not because John wasn’t worth it, but simply because he didn’t have the tools yet, hadn’t healed himself enough at the time. Hadn’t grown up enough to be responsible for someone else’s heart. Maybe he was incredibly selfish at the time. It’s possible and likely that years later when he had his other kids, he was better prepared. We’re all in a state of flux all the time. Why he never tried to make things right with John is beyond me and strikes me as very sad for both of them. Maybe he’s afraid John doesn’t want to hear from him. Maybe he thinks John’s step-dad replaced him and John is fine. People screw up in all kinds of ways, they project, make assumptions, let fear rule them, live in avoidance or denial, and spill their pain all over the paths of anyone close to them. I don’t believe in “bad people,” I believe some people have been through some horrendous things and don’t heal well. They walk around angry or worse. Lonely, isolated, confused, unable to empathize. Some people have personality disorders. Different people respond to trauma differently. Some people are nurtured so well they can overcome, and some people are not nurtured well, but have incredible resilience.

What I know for sure is that there’s always the possibility to grow beauty from our pain. It’s not a level playing field, and some people will have to work harder to get there than others. You have your nature, and you have the way you were nurtured, and you don’t have to be ruled by either of those things. If you’re anxious by nature, there are so many ways you can work with your nervous system, so many healing modalities available to you. If you were taught that life is cruel and people leave or abuse you, that you can’t trust anyone and the world is an unsafe and dark place, that you aren’t worthy of love or happiness, you can unlearn all of that. You can work with with you’ve got, from where you are, and just go slowly and find a new way. Discover a new world that’s right under the surface of the world you’ve been living in. Or right over it. I know that might sound unreal if you’re in a dark place and if you’ve never known the world to be anything but disappointing, but I can assure you the world looks completely different when you’re coming from love. You might need some help to pull the curtain back. Maybe it’s not a curtain for you, maybe you’ve erected some thick walls. But you can knock them down and let the light in. You can surprise yourself, and you can allow yourself to be surprised. It takes courage, but it’s doable. Anything you’ve built to protect yourself from pain has also blocked you from receiving love. So you’re going to have to un-build that stuff. Grab your jackhammer if you need to, and let’s get working.

Sending you love,

Ally Hamilton

Sometimes Acceptance is All the Closure You’re Going to Get

No one ever asks life to knock them down. You’re not going to hear anyone say, “Things are pretty good. I hope life throws a huge monkey wrench into my world. Maybe my husband will suddenly announce he has a girlfriend and leave! Or I’ll lose my job. Or something I never could have seen coming will bring me to my knees and break my heart wide open.” We don’t ask for these things, but sometimes these are the kind of challenges we have to face. Or worse.

Not everything in life is positive, and there are some lessons no one will ever appreciate. You might grow, strengthen or reach new levels of compassion or insight, but there are some heartbreaks that are so knifing, no one would ever say, “Thank you for this.” As a result, you’ll never hear me say, “Everything happens for a reason.” I used to say things along those lines, and maybe everything does, or maybe it’s all random, but I think spiritual sound-bytes like that are an attempt to wrap life up into a neat little package, and I think they’re incredibly alienating to people who are devastated. When you cannot recognize your life, when everything falls apart and you have nothing but the shards of glass that used to be your home in a pile around you, and old photographs and a sweater that still smells like what was, you really don’t want to hear it’s happened for some reason that will make sense to you some day. Some things will never, ever make sense, and some things will never be okay. Recognizing that is the only way you can conceive of moving forward. Sometimes acceptance is all the closure you’re going to get.

When you find yourself in a state like this, move slowly and have compassion for yourself. If you know someone who’s been knocked down, show up and make them dinner, but don’t tell them how to grieve or that it’s time to snap out of it. People mourn in their own way, whether it’s over the loss of a person, a relationship, a job or a way of being. There’s a huge difference between being there for someone and enabling self-destruction, so please don’t misunderstand me here. I’m simply saying when a person is trying to put the pieces of their life back together, they need love, not a whip. Because although no one would ask for everything to fall apart around them, when that happens there is the potential for something strong, beautiful and powerful to emerge. A new way of being, of seeing, of understanding. It takes time to birth those things, and it’s a very painful process, but when I look back at the most devastating things that have happened in my own life, I can recognize that I grew from them. That I would not be where I am now if I had not been where I was then.

There are a couple of experiences I’d give back gladly. I’d say, “No thank you, not this. Not this.” But I can see how those moments opened me, and turned me into the kind of person who cares deeply when a stranger sends a message about a loss. A broken relationship. A dark time. And I can appreciate that. I can be grateful for that. Hopefully we can all care more about each other without having to personally suffer too much. Maybe I needed those times to open me. I wouldn’t want to be closed. I say this to you in case you’re going through one of those devastating times. I’d never ask you to be grateful, but I would say you have the choice to allow it to soften you and open you, or to close you and harden you. Opening feels a lot better.

Sending you love and a hug,

Ally Hamilton

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

You Deserve a Fence-Jumper

jumpfencesnotonthefenceAre you in, “The Friendship Zone”?? My friend Sue in NYC has been spending time with someone she really likes, but doesn’t want to ask him if he’s romantically interested in her because she isn’t ready to receive the information if he isn’t. She’s hoping if they spend enough time together, he’ll see how incredible she is (she is), and fall in love with her. Last week I got an email from a man who has a history of being the guy friend. For the third or fourth time in the last year, he’s become close to a woman he finds attractive, but somehow lands himself in the “friend” zone instead of the end zone. He told me he thinks women feel safe with him because he does his best to be a “stand-up guy,” but they shouldn’t because apparently he’s horny as hell. Totally joking, but not really. The thing is, he doesn’t want to be friends. He doesn’t want to hang out and be a placeholder until some other guy comes along that his “lady-friend” wants to date. He wants to be that guy. To compound his frustration, these women are happy to have him buy dinner when they go out on a Friday or Saturday night, or help them move heavy furniture, but that’s as far as it goes. They flirt and text frequently, sometimes late at night, but there’s not a lot of reciprocity even as far as the friendship goes. It doesn’t sound like they’d help him paint his living room if he asked. The day he wrote, he was set off by the fact that his latest woman friend said, “Thanks, buddy!” and punched him lightly in the arm when he bought her a movie ticket. He felt it added insult to injury. Also worth noting, he’s not rolling in dough right now.

I’m going to say a lot of things that may be painful to read if you are in the friend zone. First of all, if you’ve been hanging out with someone for awhile and you’re not sure how they feel, they probably aren’t, either, or it’s a straight-up “no.” If someone is interested, it’s not going to be a mystery and if someone isn’t sure, you really want to move on. I recognize sometimes people play games, or they don’t really know what they want, or they’re coming off another relationship. Other times a person is simply looking for friendship and truly doesn’t realize you may feel differently or struggles with how to let you know it’s a no. It’s never fun to be in that position, either. My guess is the, “Thanks, buddy!” was an attempt to set clear boundaries, but then, buy your own movie ticket! As painful as it can be, sometimes the kindest thing you can do is look someone in the eye and say, “I think you’re great and I’d love to be your friend, but I’m not feeling the romantic thing. Are you cool with that?” It’s clear to most people when someone is interested. If you know someone likes you, but you don’t like them “that way”, then accepting gifts in the form of dinners, favors, or using them as a “crutch” until you find someone you’d like to date is not the most energetically “clean” way to be moving through life. People aren’t crutches, and no one deserves to be used.

Of course we have to address self-esteem here. If this is a pattern, something is up. Buying dinners and movie tickets for people when you can’t afford to do that, or giving tons of your time and energy to a person who doesn’t feel about you the way you’d like them to isn’t a great way to go, either, especially if you’re trying to change their mind. It’s a form of manipulation. You’re the architect of your own suffering when you willingly participate in an interaction like that. Trying to “sell” someone on how great you are is damaging to your heart and your own well-being. I don’t mean that just in terms of buying things for people, but also simply spending time with someone without any indication from them that they’re interested in a relationship, and trying to show them how amazing you are. You are truly better off alone, taking the time to do some healing. If you’re loving yourself, you’ll never be selling yourself. You are unique and precious, and you have something to offer that no one else can. You don’t need or want to be selling that. Just be that. Believe me, I know it’s hard, but try to trust and be patient. When it’s right, it won’t be a struggle.

Sending you love and a hug,

Ally Hamilton

What’s Up, Monkey?

Sometimes life can be brutally painful. We lose someone we love beyond our ability to put it in words, way too soon. Loss like that is violent and shocking, even if it happens slowly. Or we have our hearts broken in a relationship, sometimes over and over again by the same person. If betrayal is in the mix, it’s even more painful. Or we lose a job we really loved or wanted. Or we simply can’t seem to get any traction going in any direction in life, with relationships or work, or even with how to be in this world. Maybe there’s an abusive background. A family of origin with addiction issues. A history of broken promises, emotional or physical violence. You get the picture.

Whatever you’re coming out of, you have a choice. You have the choice to ask for help if you need it. Healing is often confrontational and painful and lonely and confusing, and having someone there to hold your hand or offer an ear or a shoulder can really make all the difference. Someone who will kindly hold up a mirror for you, and make sure you’re examining your inner landscape clearly and thoroughly, because you can’t let go of those things that are blocking your ability to give and receive love without understanding them first and without allowing yourself to mourn and to grieve for what was, or what could have been. Your understanding is your path to liberation, your willingness to open to all of those emotions we’re taught to push down is the key. You actually want to pry the lid off and invite them all to come flooding in so you can swim in that stuff for awhile, and scream your heart out if you need to, and shed your tears, and exhaust yourself until there’s no denial and no fighting of reality left in you. There’s just facing it, as it is, and as it was, so you can open to how it could be. Your awareness and acceptance and compassion for yourself clear the path toward a new way of being.

Starting over is also lonely work. The old way doesn’t work, and the new way hasn’t become clear yet. Some of your closest family members and oldest friends may not like your new adventure. They may feel threatened and angry, like you’re rejecting them in an effort to take care of yourself, which really has to come first if you plan on being happy in this life. Socrates has a beautiful quote, “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”

Even if you’ve been hurt and disappointed, neglected or abused, abandoned or ignored, you have the choice to live in fear, hardened and bitter and full of rage and blame, or to do the brave thing. To let go of the old handlebar you’ve been hanging off for far too long. The one that burns your hands with its heat and its pain and its why and its unfairness, and to reach out for love. To make yourself vulnerable in that space between the one and the other. To use all the strength and hope and courage you’ve got to propel yourself forward and reach out with your open hand and your open heart for that bar in front of you that’s full of promise and something new. Something different. To open to the possibility that you might do all that and slip right off the bar and land on your face and have to get back up again and start over. But that if you keep reaching and you keep trying, eventually the way will become clear. And then my dear monkey, the bars become rather fun.

Wishing you the courage to let go and reach out, and sending love, as always,

Ally Hamilton

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