Let it Break Your Heart Wide Open

The more you open to the reality that you cannot rewrite your past and you cannot control or predict your future, the more your heart opens to the plight of being human. Inherently it’s a vulnerable undertaking and isn’t easy, especially if you’re trying to be kind, conscious and compassionate with yourself and everyone you encounter. Whatever has happened has shaped you, but it doesn’t have to define you or close you off to the possibility of joy. Whatever is coming is unknowable, but you can work on healing and knowing yourself, so the storms don’t knock you over when they come (some will no matter how much you prepare). You cannot know for certain what happens after this until you exhale for the final time. People will break your heart. Circumstances will break your heart. Let them. Hold all of that.

You can fight the groundlessness, but it will still be there. You can go down to the ocean and try to hold back the waves, too. You can allow this world, your life, your losses, your disappointments, frustrations, fear and despair to harden you. You can tell yourself other people have it easier (some do), and allow your heart to become encased in a bitter shell, but the more you toughen up against it (and aren’t we taught to do just that? Don’t cry, don’t be scared, don’t be angry), the more you also toughen yourself against joy, gratitude and the piercing yes of loving with your heart wide open. You can’t shut down the painful stuff without also closing yourself off to the incredible beauty in this world.

It actually feels good to embrace the truth of your smallness and your limitlessness. Your ability to love and to shine is what makes this life beautiful, and there’s no box, there are no circumstances that can hold you back in that regard unless you let them. It’s a relief to face both your vulnerability and your power. So many people feel alone in this thing, like they’re the only ones feeling this stuff, and everyone else is cruising along with their pithy updates and perfect glowy Instagram pictures. Everyone has grief, shame, confusion, fear and guilt. Doubt, anxiety and insecurity. Most people don’t talk about it because we’ve been taught these feelings are wrong, that they need to be dealt with and managed and hidden somewhere so as not to make other people uncomfortable. If you want to be known, seen and understood in this world, then you’re going to have to allow yourself to cry sometimes, to be scared, to be angry, to be whatever you are and to let those who are close to you see that stuff as well. If you edit out the painful parts, you’re going to feel very alone. It isn’t all going to be light.

If you want to heal yourself, and you want to support other people in their own healing process (which is how we heal the world around us, too), then you’re going to have to head toward compassion. The best way to give people permission to be fully themselves is to be fully yourself. To knock the walls down and to admit sometimes you have no f&cking idea what to do. That sometimes you fold laundry with tears streaming down your face, and your heart full of why. It’s okay, it really is. Let this world and your life break your heart wide open. It feels a lot better that way.

Sending you love,

Ally Hamilton

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


I know sometimes things can feel really hopeless, like you’ve screwed everything up, or you can’t get any traction going, or no matter what you do, you always end up feeling isolated. Sometimes there are really ingrained coping mechanisms that keep a person at a “safe distance” from everyone else. Maybe that’s how you got through your childhood. by detaching or dissociating. If you cut yourself off from what you were feeling as a kid, if you took yourself somewhere else, somewhere safer, that can be a difficult switch to flip. I know lots of people who moved into adolescence coming out of a difficult childhood and just numbed out. Turned to drugs. Shut the thing down, so to speak. So if you have a lifetime history of cutting yourself off from what you’re feeling, and struggling to really trust or open to anyone, it’s perfectly natural to feel alienated and alone and like there’s not much point to any of it.

I have a particular soft spot for children. Some people believe we pick our parents and the exact situations we need for the evolution of our souls and other people believe it’s all random and we end up as worm food. Whatever you believe, a child in an unsafe situation breaks my heart because the tools aren’t there yet to recognize pain is underneath whatever is happening with the adults around them. Pain, and an inability to handle it in a healthy way. A child can’t process that. A child who is abused or neglected or abandoned can’t understand it isn’t about them. All they can do is figure out how to maneuver. How to exist in an unsafe environment. How to disappear.

So many people coming out of backgrounds like these suffer from depression, anxiety, and addiction. But if you’re not in an unsafe environment anymore, there’s no reason you need to repress your feelings, or be ruled by panic attacks, or create a haze to get through the day. Your way of life may have become centered around this idea of, “I Can’t Handle the Pain.” Sometimes people don’t even try anymore, they just numb. Smoke pot every day or drink wine every night or shop every afternoon, or get hooked on relationships or sex or work or exercise. Schedule every minute of the day so there’s no time to feel anything, and run like hell when a feeling slips through the cracks. Life truly doesn’t have to be like that. There are so many healing modalities available. So much conversation about trauma, and ways to work with it, and through it, so it doesn’t rule your life: yoga, meditation, therapy, different ways to work with your nervous system. But it can be scary to even consider a new way of moving through the world, and all kinds of resistance can come up.

If you’re living in this kind of pain, I really recommend you reach out because too many years can go by in a haze and it’s such a shame, because when life is in focus, it’s so beautiful it takes your breath away. I’m not saying it isn’t painful sometimes, but I am saying even the pain can open you to more beauty. It doesn’t have to close you or shut you down or make you run. And if you did grow up in an abusive environment, there’s so much healing that comes from understanding there is nothing lacking in you. Nothing.

There’s also nothing lacking in you if you love a person coming out of a history like this who hasn’t done the work to heal and develop tools to manage and understand the effects of living through trauma. You just fell in love with someone who hasn’t figured out how to love well yet. They aren’t loving themselves, so they can’t really love you. You can’t save anyone, but you can love people and support them and encourage them to get help. Sometimes you have to do that from afar in order to love yourself well.

The thing is, I think we all tend to take these things on and internalize them. If someone can’t love us well, whether it’s a parent or a romantic partner, we walk away with the feeling that there’s something unlovable about us, instead of recognizing the pain that exists in the other person. We get angry and defensive and hurt, we point fingers and tell ourselves stories, and the cycle continues. Healing is a choice every day. There are always opportunities to move toward love or to move toward fear. Choose love. Seriously.

Sending you some right now,

Ally Hamilton

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