Free Yourself

lifecareerSometimes we’re held hostage. Maybe we have an idea in our heads of how things “should” be, and we just can’t open to other possibilities; we’re chained to our vision. Or we might feel oppressed by fear about something we’re feeling that threatens the “way things are.” Sometimes we’ve become prisoner to someone else’s instability. It’s a terrible feeling when we aren’t free to do and say what feels right in our hearts. There are certain practicalities in life; we need a place to sleep that’s warm and safe, and we need food, and we also need connection, and sometimes we sacrifice a lot in service to those realities.

The thing is, it’s incredibly draining to engage with people who make us worry that they can’t handle the truth, whatever the truth may be for us. Having to sit on your hands or shove a metaphorical sock in your mouth so you don’t rock the boat, is not a sustainable way to go. At a certain point, you’re going to burst, and anyone in the near vicinity is going to get hit in the face with the shackles that were binding you.

We can allow ourselves to be held at bay by someone’s manipulation. Maybe we’re allowing ourselves to get sweet-talked, or we’re feeling guilty even though we haven’t done anything wrong, or we’re feeling guilty because we’re afraid we have. We may be stifled by our own self-limiting beliefs. We may be hostage to self-loathing or shame that was planted within us long ago. Whatever the case, and whatever the cause, you’re here to be free. You can’t utilize all of your energy if you have to divert a lot of it to dealing with what someone else insists you be for them, or what you insist on being for other people. You really have to be true to yourself to be free.

That means you have to heal old wounds, or they’ll own you. You have to reckon with your pain to liberate yourself. Free people aren’t on the run, and they aren’t numbed out, either. Living in alignment with what’s true for you is necessary if you want to be at peace. Sometimes you have to fight for your freedom, and then you have to guard it with boundaries. You have to get to a place where you can speak up and say, “No, that is not okay for me.” Living in fear isn’t really living, it’s like trying to breathe with an elephant sitting on your chest. You can’t manage other people’s pain, you can only keep your own side of the street clean.

Also, if you have some expectation of yourself that you aren’t supposed to make mistakes, you’re going to be disappointed a lot. If you feel the need to apologize to someone, and you don’t think doing so will be painful to them, or disruptive to their own healing process, by all means, go for it. Maybe you’ll be forgiven, and maybe not. Sometimes people have a story they’re holding onto to avoid doing their own work (sometimes we are all those people), but usually, eventually, we get bored of telling ourselves stories that keep us stuck, or make us powerless. Whatever the case, eventually you have to forgive yourself. Guilt doesn’t serve anyone. It doesn’t make things better for those we’ve disappointed, and it doesn’t help us do better moving forward. Shame rides with guilt, same scenario.

Life is too short to spend a lot of time living a life that isn’t everything it could be if you listened to your heart. That doesn’t mean you don’t try to do whatever you have to do with compassion and care for those who might be affected, but it does mean that the best thing you can give to yourself, to this world, and to the people you love is your heart, on fire.


Sending you love,

Ally Hamilton


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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

You can find my books here <3

How to Rise Up in the Face of Our Own Fragility

lovefragilityYesterday morning I woke up from a nightmare that I was on a plane with one of my best friends, and the plane suddenly started plummeting toward the ocean. Alarms were going off, things were falling from the overhead compartments, oxygen masks dangled in front of us, and people were screaming. My friend grabbed my arm, and I said, “We’re going to have a water landing.” Which is hilarious in retrospect, because if that isn’t a euphemism we’ve been taught, what is? All I could think of was my children. I woke up as the nose of the plane hit the water. Needless to say, it was not a great way to start the day.

There are all kinds of dream interpretations we could talk about with a scene like that, but honestly, I was just so happy to wake up and realize it wasn’t real, and that my kids were sleeping soundly, and that I wasn’t dead. The thing is, we get reminders all the time that we’re vulnerable. We have the seasons which teach us about birth and blossoming and withering and death, and birth again. Sometimes we’re reminded when we lose someone we don’t know how to live without, and sometimes we get smaller nudges when someone exits our life by choice or through necessity. If we pay attention, we realize the impermanence and ever-changing nature of our feelings. We see that everything is in flux, all the time.

We’re vulnerable because we don’t know day-to-day what will happen, even though we try to pin things down and make our plans. We simply have no idea what’s in store for us, or for our loved ones. Of course I hope we all live to be a sprightly 103 like my Great Aunt Tess, but we just don’t know, and that’s not an easy gig. In fact, it’s so uncomfortable, many people try not to think about it at all. A lot of us seem to accept that death is a reality, but not when it applies to us, or to those we treasure. That’s why there’s always such a shock, such a stopping of the spinning of the earth when we lose someone, even if we knew it was coming. It seems impossible that a whole life, a whole person, a whole world is just…gone. I think because of this, because being human is such a vulnerable gig, we ought to have some compassion for ourselves. We’re in huge mystery together, and we won’t really know what’s going on until our final exhale, and maybe that will be that, and maybe not. I believe in the continuation of consciousness myself, but you may believe we become worm food, and we just won’t know until we know. Or we don’t. I could go on like this for hours.

In light of this, we could be more forgiving with each other, too. Life is too short for grudges and lists of ways we’ve been wronged. It’s too short for score-keeping. It’s too short to cling to your rage like a shield. It’s too short to blame other people if you’re unhappy. It’s too short to leave important things unsaid or undone. And it’s too short to do anything but follow your intuition and your heart. Since we only have 103 years, let’s blaze through the world and give it everything we’ve got. Let’s sing those songs that are in our hearts. Let’s let people merge on the freeway. Let’s celebrate when something wonderful happens, and let’s be there for each other when we’re in pain.

Let’s not ever “waste” time, or “kill time,” because it’s so precious. Let’s look the vulnerability of this thing in the face, and throw our arms in the air, and let’s enjoy the ride. Let the not knowing inspire you to live every single day as if it were the last one, and hug your children too hard. If there’s someone in your life you love, tell them right now. Text them, call them, post it in your update, or tag them in this thread and tell them why you love them. Let’s make a little magic happen, shall we?

Wishing and sending you love.

~Ally Hamilton

Let Go or Wear Bananas

When my son was about two years old, I began going to the Mommy and Me parenting group at his preschool. We met once a week to talk about child-rearing issues, but in actuality they turned out to be mostly mom issues. One woman was having a very tough time with her son in the mornings. He wanted to pick out his own clothes, and when she resisted he’d throw himself on the floor and scream until he was blue. It had been going on for months, and by the time she basically sat on him and got him dressed in the clothes she’d picked out he was exhausted and angry and wouldn’t eat breakfast, he’d throw it at the walls. Then she’d have to wrestle him into his car-seat, and once they were at school, he’d beg her not to leave. So she was pretty beaten down and most of the time she’d arrive with some kind of food in her hair. Banana, or eggs.

I’d experienced the power-struggle over getting dressed with my kid, too, and had finally just gotten him a stool so he could open his dresser drawers. I figured he was becoming autonomous, and dressing himself was part of the process. Plus, he was making it pretty clear with his exclamations of “MY do it!” I don’t mind telling you he picked out some pretty interesting outfits for awhile. There was also a period of almost a year when he wanted to be called “Kobe” even though that’s not his name. (Yes, the Lakers games were on in the house at the time.) So there he was dressing himself outlandishly, and everywhere we went, my friends good-naturedly called him Kobe. Once at a supermarket, a woman began talking to him as he sat in the cart at the checkout line. He was wearing one of his hand-picked outfits, a green and white striped shirt, some kind of plaid shorts, and black socks pulled up to his knees. The woman told him he was adorable and asked him his name and he said, “Kobe”, and I didn’t correct him because, really, what difference does it make? I’ve been enjoying my kid from moment one, and I love watching him unfold. But this woman looked at me like I had three heads and said, “Unbelievable. Good luck with your kid,” and huffed off to another line shaking her head. I started laughing, mostly from the surprise of it, and Dylan started laughing, too. I leaned down and told him my name was Derek Fisher, and we went about our day. But the mom at school wasn’t okay with letting her kid dress himself which is fine. We all have our non-starters and not everyone wants to walk around with a kid who looks like a color-blind/pattern-blind very short golfer.

However you do it, and wherever the lines are for you, you have to pick your battles and I don’t just mean with parenting, but in life. It’s important to know yourself, and to figure out what is and isn’t okay for you. If you think you can control what life is going to send in your direction, or what other people will say, do or want, you’re setting yourself up for a lot of pain. I understand that accepting the uncertainty in life is not easy. We all want to feel some sense of order in the chaos. In the, what am I doing here, and how did this come to be, and how long do I have, and when will it end, and what happens when it ends, unknowing, unknowableness of life. So we make our plans and we have our schedules and our routines. We go to yoga on these days and we put our mats in this spot, and on this day we go grocery shopping. We have our kids’ soccer practice Tuesdays, baseball Thursdays. We plan our vacation for these two weeks. We go to work and we go here for lunch and order this, or we go there, where we order that. If the person who takes our order knows our name and what we like to eat, even better.

The truth is everything can change on a dime. Your careful planning and reassuring routines can’t save you from that reality. Not everything will go the way we want it to, and sometimes our plans will get turned upside down and inside out. A few years ago I went to a meeting and this person asked me what my five year plan was. I started laughing, I think I might have snorted; I didn’t mean to, it just struck me as absurd. It’s not that I don’t have intentions, or that there’s anything wrong with a five-year plan. It’s just that she happened to ask me this not long after the birth of my son, and nothing at all went according to my carefully written birth plan. So I think it’s good to have a vision, but also important not to grasp it, to allow some room for a different plan to emerge.

Everything is in a state of flux, and we really don’t know how things will be next week, next month, next year. We don’t know how we will be, either. There are things I’d like to do, but I try to take it one moment at a time because I don’t want to get so caught up in a plan that I miss the pure joy that can happen in any moment, or the absolute heartache. I don’t want to be so focused on working my plan that I forget to live my life, or leave some room for life to surprise me. It’s not happening five years from now. It’s happening now and I can’t control whether I’ll get to accomplish every single thing I’d like to, I can only do whatever I can possibly do today. I can use every moment I’ve got wisely, and I can try to pack as much love into each moment as I have within me and as I’m ready to receive. That’s the only power I have.

I can’t control my son’s path or my daughter’s, nor do I want to. Of course I want to keep them safe, I want to nurture them and teach them to be strong and to love themselves, and to go for it in life all the way. To figure out what lights them up, and to move in that direction with everything they’ve got, but I don’t care if they wear orange and green and decide they want to be called names that never would have occurred to me.

An attempt to exert control over other people is really something to examine if you experience that pull. Love doesn’t manipulate, force or reject. It’s not conditional. This is why it’s essential to choose wisely. To know yourself, to understand what’s important to you and what you need, so that you can recognize a person you’ll find easy to love. When we love well, we liberate the objects of our love so they can be their best selves. So they can follow the pull of that inner yes and fly. When you’re loving someone, you’re wanting their happiness the way you want your own. You’re wanting them to discover what ignites them if they haven’t already, and then you want to get busy helping them stoke that flame. Loving someone well helps them become more of who they are, not less.

If you love someone and you’re afraid, then there’s a good chance you’re not loving yourself well, or you may not have chosen wisely. Perhaps you’re being reckless with your heart. Or maybe you’ve been hurt before and you’re scared you’ll be hurt again. If you keep picking people who hurt you, you have some healing to do. It’s also possible you’ve picked someone in a lot of pain themselves. Loving people bent on harming themselves is heartbreaking, and sometimes the only thing you can do is love them from a distance. Of course you try to support them and get them help if they need it, but you can’t control anyone, or manage another person’s path. You can’t save anyone, you can just love people. If you’ve picked a keeper, don’t allow fear to dismantle it and crush that liberation that could happen for both of you. Yes, love involves risk. People grow apart sometimes. Life brings pain that can change a person. We never know what’s going to reveal itself down the path a stretch. If you’re not willing to be vulnerable, you’re not going to be able to love because it requires your willingness to release control. That means you’re going to expose your jugular, the soft underbelly of your heart, but it also makes you human. If you look down and you see opposable thumbs without fur, then you know you’re human already. So you might as well get in the game.

Sending you love,

Ally Hamilton

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

Anchors Aweigh

guilttripI grew up with a guy whose mom used to tuck him in at night and say, “Goodnight, honey. I hope I see you in the morning.” This was especially difficult because his dad overdosed and died when my friend, (I’ll call him Rick), was eight years old, so he had a real and understandable fear that he could lose his mother, too. As he hit his teenage years and wanted to hang out with his friends instead of staying home with his mom, she’d say, “Okay, let’s hope this isn’t my last day on God’s green earth!” as he walked out the door. My friend started doing drugs at thirteen, I think mostly to numb out the guilt and underneath that, the rage. Sometimes he’d get drunk and end up crying about all of it. Other times he’d stay home, locked in his room, headphones blaring, because it feels awful when another person tries to make us feel responsible for their happiness or their ability to be okay. It’s too heavy a burden to bear.

Rick went to college in the city, and although he moved out of the house and lived on campus, he went to visit his mom every week and often stayed home on the weekends. He rarely brought a girl home to meet her because no one was ever good enough for him in her eyes, and because she wasn’t especially kind to the girls she did meet. Eventually he met a really lovely woman and they fell in love and decided to get married. At the wedding, his mother stood up and gave a toast, wishing Rick and her daughter-in-law well, even though she and her son’s wife had, “had their struggles”, and she also reminded everyone that she loved her Rick, “first, and best.” It was uncomfortable, to say the least.

One day not too long ago, I got a call from Rick telling me he was losing it. He and his wife have two children, eight and four. Rick’s mom and his wife have had a rough time over the years, but I have to say his wife has been incredibly patient and kind with his mom, and tried every way humanly possible to reassure her that she isn’t “taking Rick away.” They live nearby and see her every weekend, and she comes over at least once a week for dinner. But it seems it’s never enough. Rick called because his mother started saying things to the kids like, “I hope I see you tomorrow”, and both his kids have cried themselves breathless after grandma leaves, asking why she can’t just move in with them so they can keep her safe. So the cycle continues.

Guilt attacks us in two ways. Either we engage with someone who wishes to manipulate us through guilt and we allow that to happen, or we take it on ourselves. Either way, it can be crushing. Rationally speaking, it’s normal to feel guilt if you’ve done something you really wish you hadn’t that ended up hurting someone else. But we all have choices we’d love to make over again, and times when we didn’t act from our highest selves. Just like worry (another very human emotion), guilt won’t get you anywhere, and it won’t help the injured party, either. It’s not a feeling that leads to growth, it’s a feeling that keeps us stuck. It’s draining. Where joy lightens us and makes us feel we could fly, guilt is heavy and it weighs us down like an anchor. Here’s Rick, going home every weekend for years, spending tons of energy trying to be enough for his mom. Trying to hold up the load. You can’t save other people and it’s not reasonable to demand that other people try to save us.

When you experience feelings of guilt, it’s really good to examine what’s happened. Have you actually done something wrong, or are you allowing yourself to be manipulated? If you’ve hurt someone, intentionally or thoughtlessly, own it and apologize with honesty and kindness. That’s all you can do. You’ll be forgiven or you won’t. But you do have to forgive yourself. If you’re participating in a manipulative and controlling relationship, it’s probably time for some healthy boundaries and compassionate conversation. Otherwise the rage builds, and if you push it down, you’ll end up feeling depressed. It’s exhausting to repress those heavy feelings; you won’t have much energy for anything else. Somewhere inside you know you can’t make another person happy. They are or they aren’t, and if they aren’t, they need to get busy. You can be supportive, but you can’t solve it for anyone else.

Vacations are fun, but guilt trips are a waste of time, and even if you pack a bag, you won’t be going anywhere. Anchors aweigh!

Wishing you love, joy, and liberation,

Ally Hamilton

Get Up!

Even-if-youre-on-theAwareness is the first step, but action is what’s needed if you want to see a shift happen. People often get stuck at the level of identification, meaning they can tell you in great detail why they are the way they are, but that’s as far as they’ll go. The past experiences explain and justify the current behavior. Except they don’t, because there’s always space for growth, and for free will.

Healing requires openness and honesty and a willingness to not look away, even when you must stare at the center of your deepest pain. It also demands vigilance, especially when you detect unhealthy patterns in your life. It means re-training yourself to feed a loving voice, and to starve any tendencies that make you feel less than, or unworthy of love. We are always in process. Knowing yourself well is a gift that makes it possible to “catch yourself” sooner, so you can make healthy decisions based on how things are, and not how they once were. To move forward with love and trust, even when the road is dark and slick and we’re traveling with no map. In order to proceed in a direction that’s going to lead to happiness and peace, you’ll have to avail yourself of some tools that give you the power to pause and breathe when you feel triggered. Yoga practice is excellent for that.

Healing also requires your creativity, and a willingness to let go of the chains that are holding you back. Sometimes we’ve been attached to a sad story for so long, we can’t imagine what would happen if we just released it. If we weren’t blaming other people or circumstances for our unhappiness, what would we do with our time, and how would we explain our lack of joy or purpose? These are tough questions to face, and getting support is a really good move if you’re in this position. The combination of yoga, seated meditation and therapy worked for me, but you may need other tools. That part is personal, and you’ll have to figure out what you need by trying different things, and staying with it until you find something that resonates with you. But that’s a much better use of your time than explaining that your current abandonment issues are based on a time, twenty years ago, when your dad left you and your mom. Identification is great, but you have to add excavation on top of that. Is it your mom’s and dad’s story, or is it your story now?

Giving up on yourself is a serious shame and an act of ingratitude. As heartbreaking as it can be sometimes, this life is a gift, and this experience of being human, vulnerable, awake, and changing is an opportunity to heal more than just ourselves. We come into this world with an insane amount of love inside of us, and I believe we are meant to uncover it, and spread it all over the place. The story of your life will keep unfolding, every day. There are the circumstances, and there’s the way you respond to them. In that way, you co-create the story. The pieces are always moving, the ground below us is always shifting, there are no promises or guarantees, and you don’t have forever. There are big questions that need to be lived, that you can never truly answer, but that you’ll have to grapple with if you want to be at peace. The key is to keep moving, keep growing, keep seeing and listening and exploring. To be willing to allow life, and your very own self, to surprise you. To recognize you’ll never have all the answers, in fact, you’ll have very few. Only a couple truly matter, anyway. How much are you going to love, and how much are you going to do what you can to heal yourself, and in so doing, the world around you? Sending you so much love, Ally Hamilton

The Full Range of Motion of Your Heart

Just-living-is-notWhen my son was six, he fell off the jungle gym at school on Halloween morning and broke his elbow. He was in a cast for a month, and when you’re an active, six-year old kid, that feels like an eternity. On the afternoon I took my kids to the orthopedist to have the cast removed, it was like Christmas morning. We were all really excited that he was “getting his arm back.” When the cast came off, he looked at his arm. The skin was very dry and peeling in places. It hadn’t seen the light of day in a month, after all. When the nurse left the room, my son looked at me with his brow furrowed and very quietly said, “I thought it was going to look normal.” I could tell he was trying not to cry. I explained that we are all shedding skin all the time, and that the skin on his arm would be back to normal in no time. I also told him it was fine to cry, but that he didn’t need to worry. He also discovered that he couldn’t make a fist yet, or fully bend or straighten his arm. For the rest of that day, he carried his arm as if the cast was still on it. He did his homework with his right hand for the first time in a month, but other than that, he continued to use his left arm.

Anyway, all of this got me thinking about expectations, and also about times we feel compressed or restricted, and what happens when we’re finally free. There are few things more likely to land us in a world of trouble than our own expectations of how things should be, or how other people should feel or behave, or how life should look (expectations tend to keep the company of the word “should”, and whenever I find myself using that word I stop and check in. Because there are only a few places the word “should” isn’t dangerous. Like, everyone should floss. Or, people should pick up after their dogs).

When walking into a situation, whether it be a new job, a party at a friend’s house, or new a relationship, I really believe the two best things to be are curious, and breathing consciously. The minute we unpack a bunch of our expectations all over a circumstance, we deny ourselves and anyone else involved the possibility of just being present, open and aware. We lose the chance to explore and figure out, with open eyes, whether this is the kind of situation that is going to bring us love, growth, and fulfillment, or whether it really doesn’t feel right. Sometimes we get attached to an outcome and breeze right by the fact that our heart is saying, “No, this is not the way.” I think a lot of this comes from our desire to control things. If we can predict the future based on the past, it becomes less uncertain. And most humans suffer from fear of the unknown to some degree or another.

The thing is, the whole future is unknown. We really don’t know what will happen in our lives in the next ten minutes, hours, days, weeks, years. We can’t predict that or control it. Having intentions is great. Knowing yourself, and uncovering what it is that lights you up, and committing to spreading your gifts wherever you go is beautiful. But expecting life to unfold in a particular way is a set-up. You set yourself up to feel disappointed if it doesn’t look like the picture in your head. And life rarely does. Sometimes it brings more beauty and joy than you ever could have imagined, and other times it breaks your heart wide open and hands you the kind of devastation that leaves you working to just breathe. We may as well open to what is, and face the reality that everything is always changing, and that one day we will all exhale for the last time, so there’s nothing to do but get busy living. Growing. Accepting, Surrendering to the beauty and the pain.

The other thing is that cast. It reminded me of times in my life when I’ve felt restricted or compressed. When I’ve allowed my light to be dimmed for any number of reasons. You can get used to compression; it can become your “new normal.” It got me thinking about the pain of that, because it requires complicity. Nothing and no one can dim your light unless you allow that to happen, unless you participate in that dimming. You won’t do that when you’re loving yourself, but when you’re in pain, you might. Digging your way out of that kind of darkness is not easy, because it requires that you look at your participation. You examine why you took part in the crushing of your own soul. Those are important questions, and you need the answers in order to heal, and move forward, and carry the light in your heart as the miraculous gift that it is. Your offering is precious because no one can offer it but you.

The funny thing is, once you step outside into the light, you might not know exactly what to do with yourself at first. Your soul may need a minute to realize the cast has come off. A moment to expand, to reach out, to flex its muscle and start shining again. The full range of motion of your heart is mind-blowing. Your soul on fire is a feeling you don’t want to miss. See if you can drop your expectations and expand fully in every direction, but give yourself time, and have compassion. This business of being human is not easy, and the path to opening is similar to that very first path to opening we all endure–it’s dark and the way is not always clear, and as we struggle toward the light we get squeezed and eventually we come out and take that huge inhale. And then we wail. And then with love and a lot of help we figure it out. Life is a constant opportunity for rebirth, for breathing, and for helping each other along the way. Lots and lots of love to you, Ally Hamilton