Courage–Take Heart

couragewayneFear can hold us back in so many ways. It’s a completely natural feeling that we’ll all experience, but as with everything, it’s what you do with your fear (or don’t do), that matters. The root of the word “courage” is “cor”—the Latin word for heart, and when we fail to grapple with our fear, this is really what happens—we end up betraying our own hearts.

If you tell yourself that you’re irrevocably broken at some root level, if you worry that you may not be good enough, or “something” enough, you set yourself up to reject love, to doubt the sanity or judgment of the people who offer it to you. If you ask yourself who you are to follow your dreams, if you tell yourself you’re better off toeing the line because you probably aren’t special enough to do anything else, you’ve let fear stop you from exploring how life would look and feel if you were living in alignment with your intuition.

The best definition of courage or bravery I’ve ever heard is, “feeling the fear, and doing it, anyway”, whatever “it” may be. It could be that you long to ask someone on a date, or you want to ask for a raise, or quit your job, or have an uncomfortable conversation with someone. There are all kinds of situations that are challenging, that might elicit fear, and the only thing worse than someone telling you you can’t do something because you don’t have the right stuff, is telling that to yourself. Self-limiting beliefs are like the bars of a prison cell you set for yourself. If you believe in them, you’ll be stuck. If you take a chance and gather yourself up, you’ll find there’s no “there” there.

Maybe you’ve been carrying around doubt for years. Perhaps you grew up hearing that you didn’t measure up, or would never amount to anything. Maybe you’ve been hurt, betrayed, abandoned or abused, emotionally, or otherwise. So many things can damage our confidence in our ability to see things through, but feeling the fear and doing it, anyway, is such a great way to rebuild that belief in yourself.

A painful conversation might seem daunting, but it’s better than living in quiet desperation, and you’ll probably find it’s the first sentence that’s the hardest. If it’s a personal situation, you might try, “I’m in pain, and I need to talk to you.” If it’s a business associate, your boss, your colleague, or anyone else who might hold some power over you (the power to keep a roof over your head, for example), practice with someone you trust, first. You might start with, “I’m glad we have the chance to talk about something that’s been on my mind for awhile.” The same goes for asking someone on a date; practice, and remember that it’s not even the outcome that matters. What matters is that you’re feeling good enough about yourself to ask for what you want.

Few things feel worse than wanting something and being unable to act on your own behalf. Usually the fear of stepping up has to do with a lack of self-esteem, and the paradox is, if you can make yourself rise to the occasion, you’ll automatically feel better about yourself. You don’t have to repress your fear, deny it or run from it. Go ahead and feel it, but then do it, anyway. You can be scared and brave at the same time, they aren’t mutually exclusive feelings. Life is too short to leave your deepest desires unmet.

Sending you love,

Ally Hamilton

If you enjoy the posts, you can find the books here.

Take It

Life is a contact sport, there’s really no way to get through it without injury, and it isn’t something to “get through”, anyway. If you can embrace the experience of learning and growing, life can be piercingly beautiful even when it hurts. We all make mistakes, take a wrong turn here or there, fail to show up the way we’d like to sometimes. Wrong turns aren’t even wrong, unless we’re knowingly hurting someone else, in which case we have to look at when and how we’ve lost respect for ourselves. Short of that, as long as there’s growth, we’re doing it “right”. It’s going to be a total mess sometimes. Did you ever clean out a house or a garage, or even your closet? Sometimes you have to pull everything out so you can see what you’re dealing with; you have to make an even bigger mess so you can start to clean things up. Of course we all have choices we’d love to make over again, and differently; a few things we regret, even if we learned a painful but necessary lesson. This is called being human.

“Paralysis through analysis” is particularly debilitating. Sometimes we come to a fork in the road and we just stop and stare and agonize. Whichever way we look, the paths are painful and full of their own particular thorns; that’s how life can be. This can be the result of making choices and decisions based on what we thought we should do, even if it went against what was in our hearts. It can happen when we’ve been lying to ourselves, denying the reality of a thing, running from it, or numbing it out so the edges blurred enough to make things look okay, when really, they were not. When our actions affect other people, there can be immense temptation to sit with our heads in our hands, and hope something will happen to make the choice clear to us. Maybe someone else will make a move, and then there won’t be a choice anymore, there will just be the one thorny path, and we’ll lament our inaction, because maybe the other road would have been less painful. There’s that saying, “when you don’t know what to do, don’t do anything”, and I can get behind that for awhile, but there’s a difference between taking the time to mindfully consider where you’re at and what next steps make the most sense, and giving up on yourself and your ability to have an impact on the way your life feels and unfolds.

The burden of responsibility can be crushing when a particular course of action may cause pain or anguish for those you love. The thing is, sometimes we just can’t know, and it’s not our job to manage anyone else’s journey. Obviously, you do the very best you can not to hurt other people and to consider the way your actions will impact those you love beyond words, but you can’t serve anyone if you’re allowing your own light to extinguish. What is certain is that we can’t nurture ourselves or anyone else when we feel stuck, trapped, suffocated, or paralyzed by fear or anxiety. All we can do is our very best to move from, and toward love; to take the knowledge we have about ourselves, whatever we’ve learned from past experiences, and information we have about how we’ve landed where we are now, and just put one foot in front of the other, trying to have some faith that we’ll be able to evolve as things around us will also evolve, reminding ourselves that how we feel now is not how we will always feel. Better than letting your choices dwindle, and your faith in yourself diminish. We learn so much about ourselves when we’ve blown it, when we look around and life looks nothing like we wanted it to, or hoped it would. It’s incredibly painful, but it’s also the springboard for change. If what you’ve been doing hasn’t worked out too well, ending up in a ditch might be the thing you need in order to start doing things differently.

You have a finite amount of time. No matter how much you may have blown things so far, until your final exhale it’s never too late to turn it around. Today, you could start searching for those moments of beauty. They exist. You could direct your attention and your energy to every good thing that crosses your path. You could take your good health if you have it, and remember that’s a tremendous gift. You could remember the amazing and beautiful people in your life who love you, and whom you love so much it makes your heart expand just thinking of them. You could remember yourself as a kid with an open heart and recognize that kid still exists. That heart still exists, and you could just begin to show up for yourself and for the people in your life in the best way you know how at this point. That would be huge. You could gather your courage, and start putting one foot in front of the other, and if you step on a thorn, or one is pressed into your side, you could treat yourself with love and compassion.

No one has a crystal ball. There’s no way to make both choices and see which one works out for the best. There are times in life we’re simply flying blind and hoping, but I truly believe if you’re doing your best, you won’t go too far off course. Maybe something totally unexpected will happen, and the direction of your life will shift in ways you can’t imagine. Maybe you’ll look back on this very time in your life with gratitude, even if that seems incomprehensible right now, and maybe you won’t. There are some things that never go in the, “thank you for that experience” file. You are not here to circle around that fork in the road; life is not a relentless traffic circle. Wishing you the strength to choose a road and step onto it with your heart wide open,

Ally Hamilton

If the posts are helpful, you can find my books here <3

Want to Have a Happy New Year?

What-the-New-Year-bringsThere are four main tools I think you need in order to be happy. You can cultivate all of them on your yoga mat. Just four, not so bad, right?

The first is a kind and compassionate internal dialogue. I really can’t emphasize what a life-changer this is, especially if you’ve been sharing your inner world with a harsh critic. Sometimes people tell me they believe they need that nasty voice in order to get things done. Without a relentless battering, they feel they’d just be sitting on the couch, letting life pass them by. But I respectfully and passionately disagree with that view. I used to have an incredibly unforgiving inner voice. If I screwed up, even in a small way, I’d berate myself for hours, days, sometimes longer. That, to me, is the definition of prison. It’s so debilitating and painful, it’s a wonder anyone can do anything that way. Full of bitter disappointment with themselves, disgust, frustration, contempt. You really want to feed and nurture a kind and compassionate inner voice. One that roots you on, not one that tears you down. None of us is perfect. We will all blow it sometimes– say or do something we wish we hadn’t, betray ourselves to avoid hurting someone else, lie to avoid confrontation, run, deny, or numb out so we don’t have to look our pain in the face. This is called being human. The idea is to learn and grow and develop tools to make the best choices you can, so you can show up the way you want to for yourself, and for everyone in your life. You’re not going to get it right every minute. Let go of perfectionism, starve a shaming inner voice, and grow a loving one.

The second tool is related to the first. Choose one thought over another. There’s so much power in this. Much of our suffering in this life comes from our own thoughts. Not all of it, and I think that’s really important to acknowledge. There are truly some things that will never fall into the category of, “thank you for this experience.” But short of those devastating losses, we can go a long way toward inner peace by choosing thoughts that strengthen us over the ones that weaken us. There’s no benefit to letting yourself spiral and agonize over something behind you that can’t be changed. And nothing fruitful is gained by obsessing over what could go wrong in the future. Training yourself to pick up your mind and bring it back to right now is like a superpower too few people are using. You don’t have to lose a day, an afternoon, an hour making yourself sick over something you can’t undo or control. In yoga, we use the breath as an anchor point. It’s always occurring in the now. You could pause, close your eyes, and become aware of your inhale and your exhale. Just like that, you’d be present. Awake. Engaged with the moment.

The third is the ability to sit with intense sensation, calmly. What are intense sensations, and what do I mean by “sitting with them”? Loneliness, rage, grief, jealousy, insecurity, shame, doubt, fear, feelings around being betrayed, abused, neglected, abandoned, rejected, or ignored. Those are all intense sensations. On your mat, you can practice breathing through intense physical sensation. Your quad may be on fire from holding Warrior II for twelve breaths, but if you train your mind and your nervous system to stay with it, you’ll find you can face those other emotional intense sensations off of your mat. I’m really talking about non-reactivity. So many people go through life feeling like victims of circumstance, happy when things are going according to their plans, and suffering when they are not. There’s no power in that. You can’t control what life will put on your path. You can’t make someone be something they aren’t, or want something they do not want. But you can work on the way you respond to what you’re given. On the ability to stay centered no matter what is coming at you.

The fourth tool is facing reality as it is. It’s not always going to be the way we want it to be. Sometimes we’ll be lost, heartbroken, confused. A lot of people run when they feel those feelings. Of course we all want the good stuff. We want to feel happy, in love, joyful, inspired, understood. We crave those feelings, and want to avoid the painful stuff. Life is full of both. You’re going to get all of it. You cannot outrun that reality, or deny it, or numb it out, but you can die trying. People tend to think facing those feelings will kill them. It’s the not facing them that does it. Yoga by its very nature is confrontational. Sometimes you’ll show up on your mat full of energy and feeling open and strong. Other days you’ll feel tight and tired. There will be certain poses you love, that feel great in your body, and certain poses you don’t like. The ones you don’t like are usually the ones you need. They’re reflecting back a place where you might be holding tension, physical or emotional. Practicing how we face confrontation is good, since life is full of them. Learning to listen, to respond with honesty, awareness, patience, breath, kindness–these are tools that will serve you well. If you learn to listen to your body that way, if you can give yourself the gifts of respect, understanding, nurturing and acceptance, you’ll be able to do that for other people, too.

Four tools. If you want a happiness guide from me, there you have it. Wishing you the healthiest, most loving, joyful, inspired, HAPPY New Year, yet. If you want to cultivate these tools with me online, just shoot me a comment below and I’ll give you a coupon code. Lots and lots of love, Ally

The Gift of You

Dont-give-in-to-yourThere are many things that can scare us in this life, but sometimes the biggest fears we have are created in our own minds. Have you ever geared up to have a conversation with someone for weeks or months, or even years? And every time you turn it over in your head, you think you can’t. You can’t get the words out because the pain will be too much; too much for you, or the other person. Maybe you play it out in your mind, looking for some way to become clear. What you’ll say, how you’ll say it, and what you hope they’ll say in response. Maybe you imagine the worst case scenarios, too. Meanwhile, you’re in a prison, time is going by, and your whole being is in agony. Pushing down the truth, whatever it is for you, is absolutely exhausting. Any painful conversation would be easier than the suffering we inflict upon ourselves when we just won’t face what we know in our hearts.

Shame is a strangler. There is no way you’re “supposed to be”; you can only be you, fully, the most beautiful, authentic version of yourself. Other people may have expectations and ways they like to think of you. If those expectations and ways go against the very grain of who you are, if it just isn’t working for you anymore, then the people closest to you will have to change their expectations, or not. But you can’t deny the deepest longing of your soul. You can’t fight your truth and expect to win. You can make yourself sick trying, though. Sometimes we long to make changes but tell ourselves we can’t or shouldn’t. We run down the list of all the things that might go wrong, instead of all the things that might go right. We ask ourselves who we are to consider shining. The real question is, who are we to consider not shining?

Fear can be debilitating, but we’ll all feel it, it’s perfectly natural. The more you open to it, the less hold it has over you. If you can acknowledge you’re afraid, you’ll find that releases the grip and you can breathe again, there’s space again. This is not an easy gig, this business of being human. We’re vulnerable and underneath the surface of our lives exist questions we’ll never be able to answer with absolute certainty until we exhale for the final time. It’s understandable that we want to cling to our plans and visions of how things should be. Presumably that, at least, is something we can control, but it isn’t, and we can’t. We are all evolving all the time, circumstances are shifting and changing all around us, and the reality of that groundlessness can be difficult to absorb. So we make our plans, and we feel afraid when they aren’t panning out the way we’d hoped. Now we have nothing to hold onto.

There are people who cling to their pain because that’s all they’ve got. Without it, they have no clear sense of who they’d be, or how life might feel. Something we know is often more appealing than something we don’t, even if what we know, hurts. But life isn’t something to get through with our fists clenched and our eyes shut tightly. It isn’t something to be endured in quiet despair. It can be both of those things when we don’t face ourselves and embrace what’s true for us, though. It’s isolating and suffocating. The only person who can let you out of a prison you’ve created in your mind, is you.

You may have fear of disappointing people, of not being what someone else wants you to be. The worst betrayal, though, is the betrayal of yourself. Too many people spend too much time and energy trying to be something other than who they are, as if what they are isn’t miraculous. When was the last time you ran into yourself at the grocery store, or on line at the movies, or at the park, or when you were traveling on the other side of the globe? You’ve never run into yourself anywhere, because you’ve never existed before, and you’ll never exist, exactly as you are, again. You have one shot in this life, in the body that you’re in, with the experiences you’ve had and the way you look at the world. One chance to sing your song and accept yourself and shine it out. It would be a shame if you let fear stop you. Feel it, and go there, anyway. Otherwise you rob the world of a gift it can never have any other way. You rob the world of the gift of you.

Sending you love,

Ally Hamilton

Swing That Bat

Youve-got-to-get-to-theI think the main thing at the end of the day (and the beginning and middle…and during the night, too), is to feel good about yourself, to feel comfortable in your own skin, to know and accept yourself, to recognize what’s true for you and what you need to be at peace. To discover what lights you up, to uncover your gifts so you can share them, and to feel like you aren’t leaving anything in the tank.

So many times people get caught up in what is or isn’t happening. The result, the goal, the objective, the deadline, the five-year plan. But I think the truth is, sometimes you’ll go for it and land smack on your face, and sometimes you’ll hit it out of the park. Landing on your face doesn’t feel good, but you know what feels worse? Letting the idea of “can’t” or “shouldn’t” stop you from trying. Telling yourself you probably won’t score, so why swing the bat? I’d rather fall on my face a million times than sit on the bench with fear.

Not everything will work out. You may strike out nine hundred times. But at least you can look at yourself at the end of the day and say, “I gave it everything I had today. I’ll try again tomorrow.” I really believe if you have that attitude and you also remember to focus on what you do have, if you don’t give up on yourself or on life, you’re going to win something no one can take from you. Your fire. In life, it’s the Sportsmanship Award that counts the most. Go get it.

Ally Hamilton

Live Out of Your Imagination

A few months ago I received an email from a guy who was ending a relationship with the woman he’d been hoping to meet his entire life. They had a great thing going, looked at the world in a similar way, had no shortage of laughter, great times, passion, real conversations and the ability to relax with each other. They’d taken trips and met each other’s families (he met her entire family, she met his mom and sister, but he doesn’t speak to his dad), and everyone felt they were a great match.

However, this man had grown up watching his dad abuse his mom verbally, emotionally and physically, and he couldn’t get past the fear that eventually this great thing he had would turn into that painful thing he knew; that one day he’d find himself throwing a pan at the head of this woman he adored as their kid stood there watching, or saying things to her that he wouldn’t be able to live with, or doing things that would make him feel terrible about himself. He remembered feeling helpless and enraged as a child, and throwing himself between his mom and his dad as he got bigger. He said he did have a temper, and had managed to keep it in check for the two years he’d been with his girlfriend, but he didn’t think he’d be able to do that for 60 years. So he was going to say goodbye to her to save her from a life of pain. (I could say a lot about how we get ourselves into trouble when we try to manage other people’s paths, but that can wait for now).

The other day someone asked me to address the difference between sitting with your pain (non-reactivity), and processing it (liberation). I think this is a huge and important distinction. Sitting with your pain means you don’t run or numb out  when uncomfortable and intense feelings arise, such as rage, grief, fear, shame, loneliness or despair. You don’t race out the door, pop a pill, have a drink, play a video game, go shopping, take a hit, open the refrigerator, pick up the phone in anger, or shoot off a fiery email. You just allow the feelings to arise and you observe them. You notice sensations in your body, like maybe shallow breathing, or that your shoulders are up around your ears, or there’s tension between your eyebrows, or a literal ache around your heart or deep in your belly. You let the feelings wash over you without acting, and with the understanding that they aren’t permanent and they aren’t facts. They won’t kill you, and you don’t have to act on them. They’re just feelings, and they will arise, peak and subside. By sitting with them you open to the possibility of learning something essential about yourself — the why of your rage, fear or shame — and by facing those feelings you own them, they don’t own you; they don’t run your show, you run it. You choose how you respond, you don’t allow yourself to lash out in a state of reactivity and end up with a mess you have to clean up. Working on becoming less reactive and more responsive is huge, it’s a life-changer.

If you want to process your feelings — if, for example, you find rage is coming up for you all the time, then I would recommend that you find yourself a great therapist or coach, someone you trust and feel safe with, so you can dive into the source of what’s causing you so much pain. That’s as subjective an undertaking as finding a great yoga teacher, someone who resonates with you, and with whom you feel comfortable. I know so many people who say they tried therapy once (or yoga) and it “wasn’t for them.” You may have to call a number of people to figure out the right person to work with. Having someone who can kindly hold up a mirror for you so you can see your pain clearly, but also your light, also your power, can be so helpful. Combining that with a consistent yoga practice so you can work on feeding a loving voice while you’re on your mat is really powerful. The other thing I’d highly recommend is seated meditation. When you sit, and there’s nothing coming in, and nothing going out, you start processing what’s inside you. It’s kind of like emotional fasting, not that there’s an absence of emotion, just that the emotion is arising from deep within you. Eventually, if you stick with a seated meditation practice, you become more interested in the fact that you’re thinking, and not in the thoughts themselves. Eventually you find some peace in the space between your thoughts, which will increase if you stick with it. I’ve been practicing Vipassana (insight) meditation for almost two decades, you can check it out at if you’re interested.

The thing is, there’s no easy way around this stuff. Whatever your pain, you’ll have to go through it, but there are so many tools and healing modalities that help. You just have to explore and figure out what’s going to be helpful to you on your path toward healing. For me, yoga, seated meditation and therapy are a great mix, along with reading and writing. For you, it may something else, but there’s no reason your particular frame of reference has to rule your life. You can only know what you know, right? Whatever you’ve been through makes up your frame — the lens through which you look at the world and process data. Sometimes that lens is bent, or cracked, or covered over with a thick layer of despair. You work with your lens so you can see clearly. That’s the liberation I mentioned above. It’s not the that pain goes away, it’s simply that you recognize it when it comes up, and the force of it has been so diminished by your work, it doesn’t rule your life anymore. You don’t assume that what you’ve known is all there is. You have the freedom to imagine something else for yourself, to create something that maybe you’ve never known or seen, but you know in your heart is possible. You have the power to forge a different path.

Wishing that for you, and sending you love, as always,

Ally Hamilton

If the posts are helpful, you can find my books here, and my yoga classes and courses here. If you’d like to sign up for one-on-one online coaching with me, please email me at for more information.

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