One Small Thing

Do-not-let-what-youSometimes people send emails about how they’re yearning to make big changes but feeling stuck and frustrated. You’re not going to accomplish everything in a day. Just doing something that uplifts you or someone else is enough because when you turn your attention toward increasing someone else’s happiness quotient, the payoff for you is equally great.

When you’re looking to make big shifts but the way isn’t clear, the whole thing can feel overwhelming; it’s easy to feel defeated and hopeless before you try. Maybe you feel paralyzed in your personal life, or maybe your professional situation isn’t inspiring you. You may be grappling with those big questions, like what it is you’re doing here, or what the point of it all may be. If you pick one small, kind act, it’s enough. I mean, truly, let someone merge on the freeway, or hold open the door for a stranger, or ask your barista how he’s doing, and really care about his answer. Think of one thing you’re thankful for, one thing you do have, that is going well. If you want to make a shift in your life, you’re going to need energy. Depression creates many feelings, but one of the strongest is a total lack of hope.

Without the hope that things can be different, that you can live a life that feels good to you, there’s no way you’ll feel motivated to do things differently, but if you pick small things you can tackle, like making it your mission to make one person smile today, you’ll find you start to feed that little glimmer of maybe. Maybe life can feel good. Maybe I can have a positive impact on the world around me. Maybe is all you need, because maybe has some hope in it. If you start feeding that maybe, you’ll find your perspective shifts. It has to begin in your heart and in your mind. If you feed the maybe long enough, you’ll find it turns into a yes.

An inner yes is what you want, because along with that comes a lot of energy. Don’t underestimate the power of feeling your particular life has meaning. First of all, it does. There are seven billion people walking around on the planet, and only one you. That’s significant. You have gifts to share that no one else can, and it’s my belief that your work here is to uncover them. The joy in life comes through love and connection and the feeling that your life has purpose.

That all sounds great, but the how of it is not always obvious. Sometimes you need to do the work to heal very old, very deep wounds. Ancient history may be blocking your way, so that would need to come first, and how you do that is personal. There are so many beautiful, powerful healing modalities available, you just need to explore a little and see what moves you. Yoga, meditation, therapy, reading, journaling, hiking, body work, anything, really, that allows you to become immersed, to lose yourself so you can find yourself, to get quiet so you can hear the voice of your intuition which is not loud, but is full of what is true for you. If you think you have healing to do, pick one small thing you can do today. You could just sit quietly for five minutes and become aware of your breath, that would be something. Every time your mind wandered, you could pick it up and bring it back to your inhale, your exhale. That would be enough for today. You could go for a walk and leave your phone at home. You could do a short, approachable yoga practice, even if you’ve never done yoga before. Just something, some small amount of time you take for yourself to breathe and to feel, that would be enough, and then you do it again tomorrow. That’s how you start to feed that maybe.

Life is not something to be endured, it’s a gift. It’s devastatingly painful sometimes, but that’s because it hurts to break open. Breaking open is what you want to do so you can feel everything. Just make a tiny crack in the shell today, and keep chipping away.

Sending you love,

Ally Hamilton

When Your Heart Breaks, It Opens, Too.

Some things in this life will just break your heart. The beautiful and extraordinary thing about the heart, though, is that when it breaks, it opens more if you let it; it expands. There are things that can bring us to our knees. Losing a loved one too soon, that’s at the top of the list. Going through a divorce, a breakup, any kind of rejection from a person who was once a lover and/or a friend. Being fired from a job. Being abandoned, neglected, discarded or betrayed. Dealing with someone who won’t or can’t communicate so you’re left to grope for the answers yourself, and have to learn the painful lesson that some things will never be explained, that the only closure you’ll get is acceptance.

For so many of us when we’re hurt like this, when we’re grieving and there’s nothing but tears and despair, there can be such a desire to shield the heart; to build up walls so we can’t ever be hurt this way again, to decide we won’t be putting ourselves out there anymore, we won’t allow ourselves to be vulnerable. There’s no way to be a human being in this world without being vulnerable, though, it comes with the territory. We all have a finite amount of time, and we have no idea how much time we have. The thought of that can shut you down or open you up. When you’ve learned firsthand that those you love beyond words can be ripped from you with no warning and no chance to say goodbye, you know the truth of this all too well. If you board up your heart, you serve no one. No one who loved you would ever want you to do that, because it’s a half-life. It’s not even that; it’s an existence. If someone was taken from you, live for them. Honor them by celebrating every moment you have here, and by celebrating the fact that you loved so deeply. No one is ever gone from you. You can close your eyes and be with anyone you’ve ever been close to right now if you try. I realize it isn’t the same as being able to hold the people we long to hold. It isn’t the same as being able to hug them or hear their voices, or see their eyes light up, but they aren’t gone from you, they live in your heart.

If someone has left you of their own volition, allow yourself to feel all the pain around that. Rejection makes us feel like we aren’t worthy of love. It makes us doubt ourselves at the deepest level, but if someone couldn’t see you, or treasure you or understand you, if someone couldn’t receive the incredible gift you are, allow yourself to be released. Everyone deserves to be cherished. Every single one of us is a miracle. You aren’t likely to feel that way if you’ve just been left or betrayed, but you are, truly. Seven billion people, one you. Only one.

If you’ve been fired, that can reek havoc on your self esteem, especially if you identify strongly with the kind of work you do. It can make you feel like you’ve been cut off at the knees. It’s hard to imagine it when we’re in the midst of turmoil and stress, when we’re trying to keep a roof over our heads and food in the refrigerator, but sometimes it’s a gift when our plan gets turned on its head. Maybe eventually you’ll see that this was a catalyst for something beautiful and unexpected to emerge, but in the meantime, lick your wounds.

Whatever you’re going through, keeping your heart open is so key. Shut yourself down for awhile if you need to; if you’re going through the kind of loss that’s so knifing you’re struggling to breathe in and breathe out, then just surviving this period is enough. Just crack the door open so you can receive love and support, because you’ll need it. Some things will never be okay, but accepting that is often the thing that enables you to open your heart again. Life without love is cold and dark; it’s not natural to us, we thrive on connection and closeness. Everyone is in this thing together. Some people face pain that’s hard to endure, and others face the “normal” amount of suffering, but no one gets out with zero suffering, and no one lives forever. With the time that you’ve got, live all the way. Embrace it all and try to trust in your experience here, even if you don’t understand it all the time. Just being a human being is such a gift. Just getting to have this journey is something extraordinary. Even when you feel completely alone, you aren’t. Keep your heart open and you’ll feel that reality.

Sending you so much love (and a little yoga to support your healing process.)

Ally Hamilton

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