If you have a song in your heart (and you do), you have to sing it. It doesn’t matter if it’s off-key, if the melody needs work, or the lyrics are clunky. Whatever it is within you that sets your soul on fire is your purpose. It’s the key to finding a meaningful, fulfilling life. It might take a lot of time to figure out how best to express from within you what’s aching to come out; the thing is not to give up, and not to worry when your song isn’t received as the gift that it is. Sometimes you’re going to get thrown out of the game and have to sit on the bench and figure out what happened. And if you haven’t discovered what lights you up from the inside, don’t give up on that, either. Frequently we have to unlearn what we’ve learned. It’s totally possible you’ve been pursuing a path that doesn’t really suit you, because you feel like you should. We get inundated with so many messages about what we’re supposed to do, and how we should look and feel, it’s a wonder any of us knows anything about what we really want. But it’s in there, I guarantee it. Don’t give up on yourself, and don’t give up on life. And don’t blame the ref and get stuck in resentment and anger, you know? It’s a marathon, not a sprint, as they say.
Here’s a question for you: Do you know how many mistakes you’re going to make in your life? How many times you’re going to do something or say something you wish you hadn’t before you exhale for the last time? I don’t know either, but I bet it’s a lot. I gave up trying to be perfect a long time ago. I tried for years and finally decided I’d rather commit to being happy. I let go of the idea of perfection, because I was in a pretty constant state of disappointment. Perfection is too heavy a burden to carry. It’s such a relief to embrace the idea of being perfectly imperfect. All too human. However you want to think of it, it’s a total liberation. The thing is to find your joy, your passion, your yes, and put everything behind it. And that’s easy to do when you realize that your gifts, whatever they may be, are yours to share. There’s nothing better I know of in this life, than the feeling that comes when you realize you’ve uplifted someone else. I think that’s because it’s what we’re here to do, to spread as much love as possible with the time we’re given.
This business of being human is not easy. It’s messy and complicated, and sometimes it breaks your heart wide open, without warning, on a mild Tuesday night, or a rainy Saturday morning. The absolute best thing you can do is get right with yourself. Know yourself deeply, heal what needs to be healed, uncover those gifts, and share them with abandon and delight. If you get back to love, (and it might be buried under some rage or fear or doubt or shame or guilt), you can try and fail left and right, and it will still be okay, as long as you don’t give up.
There’s a Maori proverb, “Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you.” If you’re coming from love and doing everything you can to make the world within you and the world around you a more peaceful and loving place to be, your missed shots are meaningless. If love is at your center, you’ll never be careless with another person. You’ll never turn a blind eye when someone is suffering. You won’t hit below the belt, that just won’t be in your wheelhouse. You’ll consider the impact of your choices and your words and the way you’re moving through the world. And it will never be perfect, and there will always be circumstances that blindside you from time to time, moments when you don’t show up the way you’d like to, efforts and creative endeavors that sink, times when it feels like you’re not adding to the happiness quotient as much as you’d like. As Robert F. Kennedy said, “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” And achievement to me means living a life that brings you, and everyone around you, joy. Over-prepare, practice hard, pick yourself up again and again, and then go with the flow. Quitting isn’t an option, and sitting on the bench sucks!! Grab your jersey and get in the game! Sending you love, Ally Hamilton