Let the Heartbreaks Soften You


keatsSometimes people do things that are incomprehensible. I once knew a man who was married to one woman, while starting a family with another, two towns away. I mean, you have to know it’s only a matter of time before that explodes everywhere, right? I was once betrayed by someone I believed was a friend, someone I’d tried to help, in a way that left me in tears for weeks, trying to make sense of it. I had another friend years ago who screwed me over for a job. The thing is, it takes a really long time to know another person. Sometimes you believe you do, and then something happens and you realize you didn’t know the person at all, not really.

Sometimes this happens because we project and assume. We project our own ideas of what it means to be a friend onto the other party, without stopping to wonder whether they have the same definition. Or we project our ideas about who we think someone is, or want them to be, without allowing them the time and space to show us through their actions. Or we assume how things are for us, is how they are for other people. We imagine everyone is working with our frame of reference, and what’s obvious to us will be to them. There are all kinds of ways we can get burned.

Transitions are never easy. Even though we long for stability, we resist the one stable thing we can count on: everything is in a constant state of flux. Fear is usually at the root of our resistance to change. The devil we know is better than the one we don’t, or something like that. That very thinking keeps us stuck in situations that crush the light out of us. If everything is always changing, if people and feelings and circumstances are always in motion, it means we can never know what will happen next, and for many people that’s a scary thought, so they try to pin down the things they can. People don’t like to be pinned down, though, or taken for granted or expected to always be the same. That isn’t a fair, reasonable or rational expectation.

What we can hope for from our close family members, partners, and loved ones, is communication. Few things are worse than transition without conversation. I know a woman whose fiancé left her three months before their wedding and never looked back, never explained himself, never said a word. He just took off while she was on a business trip, and left a note that said “Sorry.” That’s it, one word, and she was left to piece together what had happened on her own. It’s cowardly to bail without explanation, and it’s also disrespectful to the tender heart of the person left in the dark. Life is hard enough when we do have answers. Maybe we’ve grown apart, or what we wanted five years ago doesn’t feel right today. You have to be where you are. You can’t force love and you can’t force life, and you cannot control what other people are going to do, or say or want or need, but you can handle yourself with integrity and have compassion for people, and think about the way you’d like to be treated. Y’know, just common human decency.

Even when we aren’t treated with respect, we’re still getting an answer, right? If someone won’t talk to you, they’re actually speaking volumes about their own limitations. Some of the most important conversations happen without words. Could words soften the blow? Undoubtedly, but you can’t manage another person’s path, and people can only have the tools they have. What you can do is recognize something very essential: if a person treats you poorly, that’s a reflection of where she is on her journey, it’s not a reflection of anything lacking within you, and then you can go about the business of healing. Your first task is going to be opening up your gorgeous heart once more. Try not to let the heartbreaks harden you. Recognize that people in pain spread pain, and that it can be no other way, and try to wish them well. In the meantime, let your own light shine.

Sending you love,

Ally Hamilton

With Strong Determination…

thichIn large part, our ability to be at peace requires our resolve and our discipline. I am not suggesting that’s all that’s required. There are things that happen in life that would bring anyone to his or her knees. I’m not a yogi who’s going to tell you that you can choose to be happy in every moment, because I believe that’s unrealistic and alienating for people who are suffering great loss. Grief is a healthy response to heartbreak, but short of tragedies that befall us in life, much of our suffering does, indeed, come from our thoughts.

A lot of the time, happiness is a choice. Of course we all want to be happy, we even addressed it as a given right in our Declaration of Independence, but often, in our pursuit, we get snagged on our attachment to a particular outcome, and we suffer if anything else should come to pass. Sometimes we spend a lot of energy worrying about things that never happen, and that’s time we won’t get back. Sometimes we boil ourselves replaying old situations as if we could rewrite them or turn back time. The trick is to catch yourself as fast as you can, and to be vigilant. The days are precious. The moments are precious. We really don’t want to lose too many of them traveling into our past and future, because life isn’t happening in either of those places.

Awareness is clearly part of the equation. If you know you have a tendency to “future-trip” and make yourself sick over all the things that “could” happen, or you recognize your predilection toward revisionist history, you want to be on the alert. That way if you’re driving somewhere, or folding your laundry, or washing the dishes, you can catch yourself if you start to spin, and bring yourself back to the present moment. In order to choose the thoughts and habits that strengthen you, you have to understand you have a choice. This is a huge gift of a consistent yoga and seated meditation practice. We train the mind to focus on what is happening right here, right now. We use the breath as an anchor point because it’s always happening in the present moment. If we pull out our meditation cushions, and sit up and become aware of our inhales and exhales, and somewhere along the way we notice the mind is drifting, we pick it up, and begin again. There’s always the potential to do that, on a cushion, or at your kitchen sink, or behind the wheel of your car.

There’s a Pali word, “Addithana”, and it means “resolve”, or, with “strong determination”. If you practice Vipassana (Insight) meditation, as I do, then you already know this word, because we use it to refer to those meditation sessions where we’ve decided we are not going to move. Maybe the back aches or the knees hurt after we’ve been sitting for a time, but we don’t move, we just observe sensation, and notice that it’s always changing. It might not be comfortable, but it’s interesting, and that practice truly mirrors life. Even if we do nothing, things are always in motion, things are always evolving and changing and shifting. Not all of those changes are wanted, but we don’t have control over that. We just have the opportunity to work on the way we respond. If we aren’t paying attention, we miss the shifts, and we lose the power to make a choice. We’re carried along, being pulled this way and that, up and down, victims of circumstance; that’s how the mind is wired, but you can rewire it.

The thing is, we can make all the plans in the world, and it’s fine to do that if it gives you a sense of direction. In fact, I would encourage anyone to live with intention. It’s a relief to uncover your particular gifts and set about the business of sharing them. That, in itself, is fulfilling, but I wouldn’t get too caught up in making longterm plans, because your plans are likely to change. This is true in big ways, and in small ways. When I go to teach a class, for example, I always have a plan. I think about what we’ve been working on, what we did in the prior class, what themes feel right, what parts of the body I’m targeting, potential peak poses, all of it. Then I walk into the room and look around and see who’s there, and whether or not my plan makes sense. Sometimes I know immediately I have to scrap it. Sometimes I modify as we go, based on the energy in the room, and a ton of other factors. Maybe there are three pregnant mamas in the room, and I’d planned a deep twisting class. I’m not going to follow that plan. Again, that’s just a tiny example, but it’s really true of everything in life. We set our course, we have our intentions, but we always have to factor in the unknown. The unexpected. The curve ball. The moment of inspiration. The shifting circumstances around us. The way everything can change in a split second. We always have to deal with what’s in front of us, and leave room to be surprised and amazed and grateful. Life is not obligated to bend to our will, and it probably won’t. Our best bet is to stay present, to develop a practice that keeps us in tune with our intuition, that leaves room for curiosity and non-attachment, and that teaches us not to waste time.

In order to have a great year, for example, I’d really focus on having great days. What can you do to nurture and strengthen yourself today? What can you do to support the people in your life today? What would bring you joy, right now? Is there a chance you could make someone else’s day by picking up the phone to catch up? Is there anything you could do, even for twenty minutes, that would make your life easier? Anything you’re allowing to pile up, that’s going to be much harder to deal with than it would if you just marked a small amount of time each day to tackle it? Maybe you could start the day by thinking of one thing or one person or one quality you possess that brings a smile to your face, and maybe you could end the day like that, too. I’m just saying, there’s so much potential to cultivate some beauty and some love, and if we do that every day, if we string together a bunch of days in which we feel alive and engaged and present, then we don’t waste time, we celebrate it, and those days turn into weeks and months, and really, I believe that’s how we have a happy week, month, year, decade, and so on; that’s how we live our lives in a way that feels good. That’s how I try to do it, anyway.

Sending you love,

Ally Hamilton

Get Hungry for the Truth

gloriaSometimes we know something but we don’t want to accept what we know. Maybe we’re attached to a certain picture in our heads of how things should or could be. Maybe we’re in love with someone’s potential and think if we just hold on and wait, eventually this painful situation will grow into something else, something beautiful. There are all kinds of reasons we might reject the truth of how things are. The thing is, it always leads to suffering.

We are energetic creatures, and we all have instincts. That’s one of our main modes of survival. What you feel in your gut can be trusted, but our hearts and our minds are also in the mix, and this is where things get complicated. When we’re attached to people, or ideas about how things could be, it makes it so hard to walk away. It’s brutal. When the mind gets involved with all its shoulds and coulds and questions and rationalizations, it gets even harder to act on what we know. We can stay and suffer for days, weeks, months, years, all the while allowing our light to be dimmed. It feels terrible to ignore, repress or deny what you know to be true. It’s like trying to lift the ocean; it’s futile, but sometimes we’re just not strong enough yet. We’re not ready to let go, to accept, to surrender, to swim.

Those are the times when it’s the least comfortable to be human. When we just suffer and feel a little sick and tired all the time. When we spend our energy developing constructs that support the version of reality we pretend to be living in. The truth is a relief. It hurts like hell sometimes, but it’s so much easier. All the white noise drops away. We can breathe again. Maybe we’re heartbroken, but we can breathe. There is no one way. There is no one person, except yourself. There is no one path. Life is not obligated to give you what you want, and neither is anyone else. Sometimes the healthiest and scariest thing you can do is trust that something else is coming. Something that looks totally different than the picture you’re grasping, or the person you’re grasping, or the identity you’re holding onto like a cat sliding off a roof.

Most people will tell you that their lives did not unfold the way they thought they would. We all have our ideas and our longings, but sometimes our attachment to them really blocks our ability to let life flow. If someone doesn’t want to be with you all the way, release them and release yourself. If someone doesn’t know how to love you the way you long to be loved, accept the way they can love you, or don’t, but love yourself in the ways that are missing. Just don’t lie to yourself. Don’t kid yourself. Don’t numb out so your reality feels less harsh. Let the harshness push you up against the wall until you can’t take it anymore and you have to try something else, because life is short and time is precious, and so are you. You don’t have time to be in denial. I mean, you can do that if you want to, but there are so many better uses of your time and energy. Being with what is, leaning into all the beauty and all the pain, is incredibly liberating.

I understand the desire to be happy. Everyone wants that, but get hungry for the truth instead. Not everything is happy. It’s not realistic to expect we’re going to be joyful in every moment. Sometimes I see quotes that say things like, “We can choose happiness in every moment.” No, we can’t. Tell that to a grieving mother. Sometimes we compound our pain by feeling guilty about not being happy. I think we set ourselves up to fail and we alienate people who are suffering huge losses when we say things like that. It’s okay to be heartbroken or enraged or in despair. It’s okay to grieve until you think you can’t possibly have any tears left. In fact, I’d recommend that a lot more than trying to force yourself to choose happiness when everything in you is looking for a way to keep breathing. Just be where you are. Lean into it, breathe into it. It will change and it will pass, and it will do those things a lot sooner if you accept where you are rather than deny it.

I know sometimes it’s painful. That’s part of the path. Pain opens us and strengthens us and teaches us about ourselves. It shows us where we still have healing to do. It softens us so we understand empathy and compassion. It gives us a sharp taste of the opposite of joy, so that when joy comes, we get to appreciate and experience that fully, as well. Spirituality is not about being positive and light in every moment, it’s about being your authentic self. It’s about honoring what’s true for you. That’s a gift you give to yourself, and also to everyone you encounter. Don’t deny yourself that gift.

Sending you love,

Ally Hamilton

Love vs. Control

michaeljfoxOne of the key components to a lasting, healthy and happy relationship of any kind, is a foundation of trust and acceptance. This applies to our familial, romantic and personal relationships. The people with whom we feel closest are also the people with whom we feel we can be completely ourselves. This seems so obvious, and yet, we screw it up all the time. We start putting our shoulds on other people. For so many people there’s confusion between control and love, and if you’re dealing with someone who has a harsh inner critic, you can bet that voice is going to reach out and give you a lashing on a pretty frequent basis, too. What we have within us is what we spread around us.

Love requires our vulnerability. It’s a paradox. If you want to love, you have to be soft. You have to be willing to expose the parts of you that aren’t so pretty, that are still raw, and in order to be soft like that, you have to be really brave. Most controlling people did not become that way in a vacuum. A person who longs to control circumstances and other people has been hurt. It’s natural to want to protect your heart after you’ve been disappointed, but you can’t defend and open your heart simultaneously.

Most people believe in their own stories about themselves and other people, and controlling people do this to an even greater degree. In order to justify the need to tell you what you should or should not be doing, they have to build a construct that supports the idea that they know more about what you need to be happy than you do. For many people, “I love you” means, “I love you when you do what I want you to do”; it’s conditional. If love can be withdrawn that way, it isn’t love.

When we go and sit by the ocean, we don’t think, “Wow, the ocean would be so much more majestic if it were just a little bigger or bluer. If those waves were crashing just a little differently.” We don’t look up at the sun and think, “That’s great, but too bad the sun doesn’t shine with a little more pink or gold or orange.” We just take these miracles as they are. People are no different. We all long to be seen and heard and understood as we are. We long to be accepted and known. That doesn’t mean we don’t have work to do, or areas that might need a little more of our kind attention. It just means we long to be embraced with all our beauty and all our flaws. When someone who purports to love us can only seem to find our faults, it’s very defeating.

Fear and love do not play well together. When we’re trying to control someone else, even if we’re doing that because we think it’s in their best interest, we’ve really become confused. We humans are solitary creatures in many ways. We have interior worlds that other people can know only if we let them. I will never know what the right thing is for someone else. Obviously I can recognize if someone I love is putting himself or herself in harm’s way, and I can try to hold up a mirror with concern and compassion. If someone I care for is struggling, or feeding destructive habits, I can try to get them support and help, and offer my shoulder, my ear and my heart, but short of those situations, we each have to find our way.

Sometimes we need the struggle to break free of an old pattern, just like the butterfly needs to struggle to get out of the cocoon. The struggle strengthens the wings. Without that effort, it would never fly. When we try to jump in and tell someone we love that they’re crazy or they’re making a mistake, or they’re screwing up their lives, when we try to save someone from misery or pain, we may be robbing them of an experience they needed in order to grow and open. When we try to manage another person’s path, that’s a marker for us to step back on our own.

The same applies when we chase people down for their love, time, affection or reassurance. If a person is telling you they need space, you really have to respect that. If a person is telling you they are not where you want them to be, you really want to be able to take that in, for your sake and for theirs. It’s not loving or accepting to refuse to embrace the reality of someone we say we love. People are where they are. They want what they want. They have the tools they have. The more we open to reality as it is, the less we suffer and the less we cause those around us to suffer. Reality is not always going to meet your expectations or longings. Things are not always going to unfold like the picture in your head. In fact, most of the time they won’t.

Whenever possible, accept where you are on your journey, and accept where other people are on theirs. Work when you need to work. Give those raw places within you your kind attention. Learn to listen to yourself with an objective ear, instead of pushing away thoughts that frighten or disgust you. You are not your thoughts. You don’t have to believe everything you think, as the saying goes. You don’t have to act on every feeling you have, but you do wan’t to know yourself. You really can’t be at peace if you’re rejecting essential components of who you are, and you can’t love other people well if you’re unable to embrace them and meet them where they are.

Wishing you strength, bravery, clear-seeing, and a lot of love,

Ally Hamilton

Make Peace with the Shape of Things

woolfWe all have our plans and our ideas. We have a picture in our heads of “how things should be,” or “how things will be”, but most of us get the lesson early that life just doesn’t work that way. I know very few people who can say that everything has gone according to their plan. In fact, I don’t know one person who can say that.

Few things cause us to suffer more than our attachment to that picture in our minds or our hearts of how things should be or look or feel. Sometimes it’s so f&cking hard to let go of what you’d hoped for and wanted with your whole heart, but I really think a huge part of maturing, and of opening to things as they are has to do with this: at a certain point, you have to make peace with the shape of things. The shape of your world, the rhythm, the colors, the feel of it. Maybe things are more jagged or fractured than you’d hoped; maybe they’re spread out in a way you hadn’t envisioned and didn’t want. Life can be incredibly complicated sometimes. It’s not always obvious which way to turn, especially when your life and your choices and your feelings affect other people, and so you may look around at some point and wonder what exactly happened. How your life looks the way it does, when none of it was anywhere on your plan.

Sometimes the ship sails and the storms come and you do your best to go with your gut as you make decisions while you’re getting hit in the face with hail, and couldn’t find north from south even if you had a compass, because the compass wouldn’t be a crystal ball, would it? Maybe you end up in a country you’ve never traveled to before, with customs and a language you don’t understand, and you think, “I can’t do this,” but you can.

You start again, you come up with a new plan. Or maybe you’ve landed in the exact spot you were trying to avoid, and somehow, some insane way the GPS on your ship landed you right back where you began, because maybe, just maybe, your plan did not include healing yourself first, before you took off on your great adventure. Maybe the language and the customs are all too familiar, and you can’t believe you have to deal with this sh&t again, but it’s not the same, because you aren’t the same. Maybe you need to get the lesson that you can’t always change a situation, but you can change the way you deal with it.

Anyway, here’s the thing. We cling and we grip and we refuse to let go and we suffer. Or, we trust that we can forge a new way and work with a changing set of circumstances. We acknowledge that we were never in control of this thing, and our plans look funny to us, or we feel a little naked, or foolish or naive, like we got caught with our pants down because we just didn’t see the folly of it. Have your passions and pursue your dreams all the way with everything you’ve got. Set your intentions and work your a$$ off, and put some action behind what you want, because you’re here to share your gifts freely and with abandon. Just watch your attachment to things (or people) feeling the way you think they should feel, or the way you want them to feel, because people are going to feel however they need and want to feel and things are going to happen you never could have imagined, and all your fine plans could easily get turned upside down on any given morning. It could be that your plan goes flying out the window, and you watch it float, fly away, out of reach and maybe something more amazing than you ever could have imagined happens instead. It’s not all doom and gloom, life can be quite the adventure if you let it.

However things are right now, whether they look like that picture you’ve had in your head, or nothing at all like that, try to make peace with the shape of things. If you cling and grip, you will suffer. If you draw a huge heart around all of it, you’ll find your way with love. Maybe you can draw a heart so big, there’s space around things and life has the room to surprise you.

Start small if you need to—make peace with the shape of your body. We spend so much time obsessing over the external stuff. The body is a freaking miracle, but we get caught up in numbers. How many pounds is it? How many inches? Like we’re going to the butcher’s or the tailor. This is life, this is the party, it’s happening right now. It’s not the butcher. How’s your heart? Is it beating for you? Marvelous. Can you look outside and see the sun? The rain? The green of the trees? Can you walk outside because you have two working legs? Brilliant. Can you hug the people you love because you’re alive and they’re alive and you have two working arms? Oh my god, how fantastic. Make peace with the shape of things. Draw a big, huge heart around it all. See what you can grow that way.

Sending you love, as always,

Ally Hamilton

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Love-makes-your-soulYears ago, way before I had my kids, and before I moved to Los Angeles, I let my best friend’s mother set me up on Valentine’s Day. It’s already bad, right? Just right off the bat, it’s a bad idea, but she said he was funny and really smart and nice looking and she thought we’d hit it off. So I met my best friend and her then-husband for dinner, and after, we headed to this club where said guy was going to meet up with us.

So we’re dancing and having a good time when the dude shows up. I take my hat off to him (not that I’m wearing one), because that’s no easy gig, showing up on Valentine’s night to meet a girl for the first time, who’s flanked by her best friend, and her best friend’s then-husband. It’s loud, but we try to talk, or at least I’m trying to talk, but it’s kind of useless, so we hit the dance-floor. It’s like dancing with an octopus, his hands are everywhere, and he’s grinning at me, and I’m like, dude, back off. It’s not at the point where I want to knee him in the huevos rancheros, but it’s not cool, and he’s saying something to me, but I can’t hear it over the music, and he, apparently, can’t hear me telling him to “calm down”, while I remove his eight arms from my person. He’s determined to say this thing to me, whatever it is, so I lean in closer, and he yells in my ear, “You look hot! It must be hot in there! I think we should go somewhere so you can take off your dress!!!” At which point I told him to get lost in no uncertain terms.

I share this with you in case you’re depressed about Valentine’s Day, even though I hope you aren’t. Someday, maybe I’ll share my New Year’s Eve story with you, which is even worse. But my point is, you really can’t force these things. You fall in love when you’re good and ready, when the timing works out, when you cross paths with someone else who’s also ready. It could happen on a blind date on Valentine’s Day, but it could also happen on any random Tuesday for no reason. That’s probably more likely, because when we pressure ourselves to feel something we don’t, to force a situation to be “right” because we think we “should” be at a certain milestone by now, it doesn’t work.

I get emails from people who think they “should” be married by thirty because all their friends are doing it, and that’s a nice round number, right? I get emails from people who are in their fifties and sixties, still trying to find that thing that lights them up, and feeling like they’ve failed because they haven’t. It’s never too late; if you’re breathing, you still have a chance. It’s not easy to be patient, to allow yourself to open, to allow the future to unfold. We want what we want, and usually, we want it now. The yearning for connection, for someone to see us and understand us and cherish us can be so strong, and the lack of those things can be so disheartening, especially if you’ve been waiting and wanting for a long time. I’m not just talking about romantic love, I’m talking about real connection, of any nature, but everything can change in an instant. That’s really the truth, and in the meantime, you get to be you, figuring it out.

That’s a huge thing, getting to be you. Nobody else gets to do that. Maybe you want love, but you have healing to do, work to do. That’s something you can start right now; that’s something that doesn’t require waiting. You can start nurturing yourself today. You could sit and meditate for a few minutes. If you did that every day for awhile, I guarantee you’d start to feel love and peace and connection. That might sound incredible and improbable, and in that case I’d challenge you to give it a try. You could buy yourself some flowers and a little dark chocolate, and go home and watch, “Moonstruck” tonight, since it’s a full moon and a movie that has the guts to look at how complicated human beings and love can be. It’s not always pretty, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be beautiful.

Personally, if you are in a relationship, I hope every day is Valentine’s Day, every day is a day to celebrate the person you’re with, but whatever your situation, the key relationship in your life is the one you’re having with yourself. That’s a relationship that deserves your time, energy and attention, because if you aren’t being kind to yourself, I’d really start there. You have this gorgeous heart. Chances are, it’s been broken by now, at least once, and badly. Maybe you’ve been disappointed, betrayed, neglected, abandoned. Whatever it is, when your heart breaks you have a choice. You can allow that to harden you, or to soften you. I’ve tried both. I’ve never been good at being hard, but when I tried that, I can tell you it felt terrible–cold, lonely, depressing. In order to be hard, you have to close yourself off, you have to defend yourself against your own natural, inherent vulnerability. You might block out the chances of anyone breaking down your walls, but you also block the chances for joy, love, beauty, and all the other gifts this life has to offer. Softening feels so much better. It is what it is. It has been what it has been, but there’s no telling how it could be. Life has a way of surprising us again and again. Just when we give up and think, “I guess that’s it, then”, something happens to throw everything off course. Don’t lose faith in life’s ability to confound you, and maybe in incredible ways. Wishing you love and hugs and joy and laughter today and every day. Happy Valentine’s Day, sweet people. I love you. And by the way, I still love my best friend’s mother 😉

Ally Hamilton

Is This Love?

Nowhere is our stuff more likely to come up than in the context of an intimate relationship; anytime we’re really baring our souls to another person, trusting and opening and revealing and hoping that we’re safe, that we’re choosing wisely. You really do want to take your time when it comes to giving your heart to anyone, that’s a precious gift, and not something you want to do recklessly, or because your hormones are raging, or you’ve been waiting to connect deeply with someone, anyone, for a very long time. Longing to be seen, understood and held is understandable, but this isn’t stuff you can rush or force.

These are natural, beautiful, very human desires; we want at least one person to really see us in all our beauty, with all our flaws and uncertainty, to accept us in the face of all our past mistakes, poor choices, times we let ourselves or others down. It’s a beautiful thing to strip away the protection and stand there in all your vulnerability, but you are the safe-keeper of your tender heart, and I think part of loving yourself well involves your ability to discern what is real from what is not.

I get so many emails from people in confusion around this stuff. If your interaction with someone is making you feel “less than”, insecure, anxious, or extremely confused, there’s no way you’re going to feel safe, and it would be reckless to proceed to offer yourself up without getting some clarity about what’s happening. Honest communication is essential, games are for kids. If you can’t get clear about what’s going on no matter how much you articulate your experience, at a certain point you have to step away. You’re of no good to anyone, including yourself, if you allow your light to be dimmed for too long. Also, when you find yourself participating in a relationship that’s painful, you have an opportunity to do some healing. If someone rejects you or tells you that you don’t measure up, the only reason it hurts is if some part of you believes it to be true. At your core, do you doubt whether you’re worthy of being cherished and treated well? That would be a very good thing to look at, on your own. You can’t heal an old wound if you’re letting someone stick a knife in it all the time.

Sometimes it’s very very painful. We meet someone, and we’re attracted and maybe we’ve been lonely for a good long stretch, and we just dive in. I’d say, go ahead and enjoy yourself, be open and curious, but don’t start planning your wedding, or deciding this is “the one”, give it plenty of time. Let the drug of the beginning subside a little; you can’t really see anything well until the lust/dust clears. If you jump off the deep end and think, “This is it!” in the midst of all that intensity, there’s a decent chance you’re going to run into a brick wall in your not too distant future. Not always, of course there are times when it is, “it”, but if you’re attached to that outcome, you’re going to project all kinds of things onto this other person you really don’t know, instead of getting to know the person they are, which isn’t fair to either one of you. Much of the time, the beginning is so awesome, and then it dies down, and one party or the other is waiting for the person they hung out with in the beginning to show up again. People can wait for years.

Dealing with reality as it is, is always your best bet. It may not unfold the way you wanted it to, or thought it would. Life is full of surprises, twists, turns, disappointments, joy, heartache, loss, love that expands your heart beyond anything you could have imagined, and tears of all kinds. The more you open to the ride, the less you suffer, that’s the truth. The more you cling and try to convince or connive or manipulate or control or force or dance like a monkey to get the outcome you want, the more you rob yourself of the possibility for something authentically, organically amazing to unfold. Reality could be better than your dreams, but you have to trust in that idea, and also trust your gut. If it isn’t flowing, it’s probably not the right thing.

Relationships take nurturing and energy and effort on both sides, but the whole thing shouldn’t feel like one giant struggle, or a constant drama. Being triggered is not the same as being in love. Sometimes an interaction is so familiar, so charged because some of your deepest wounds are in play. People often mistake the intensity of that experience for true love; playing out ancient history and assuming this is it because it feels like home, even if home was nuts. Love feels good. Love is freeing and accepting and embracing. It doesn’t pull you close and push you away. People struggling to love do that. Use the tools you’ve got. Feel with your heart and your gut and see with your eyes and trust yourself. Take good care of that gorgeous heart.

Sending you love,

Ally Hamilton

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