Embrace the Mess

When it comes to life, the best you can do is try to keep your side of the street clean; that’s plenty of work for any of us. The first step in that process is just to know yourself, that’s a huge and necessary thing if you want to be at peace. When I say know yourself, I mean don’t be afraid to embrace and examine all aspects of who you are and what makes you tick. Don’t reject anything or look away because it’s too painful or you think some facet of yourself is ugly or unacceptable. Look at it all, hold it up to the light, take a deep breath, and understand we all have our pain. Anything you reject causes a war within you and gives power to that voice of “Not good enough. Not worthy of love.” You become the architect of your own heartache and your own suffering. Shame is a strangler.

You are not your thoughts and you are not your feelings. Your actions are the thing and even then, every single one of us has made mistakes. Maybe you’re in the process of making one right now, and you know it but you’re doing it anyway because you feel powerless to stop yourself. It’s okay, it’s called being human. Mistakes are there to help us learn and grow. Obviously you do your best not to hurt other people. You won’t always succeed with that because we are all changing all the time, and sometimes people grow apart or recognize they never really grew together. Or they come together for all the wrong reasons and at the wrong time because they’re both in pain. Knowing yourself is step one because without that, you’re working without a compass or a sense of where you need to watch your step, have extra compassion for yourself, or recognize when you’re about to repeat a pattern that causes you pain.

Feelings are not facts, and not every feeling deserves or demands our action. In fact, there are many feelings we’ll all have that we’d do best to sit with and breathe through. Sometimes someone will tell me they had to honor their truth in a particular moment. You don’t have to do anything. A lot of crappy behavior can be excused under that umbrella. Better to sit in the rain instead, because it won’t last forever, and if the feeling you’re having will cause pain to someone else you’re really better off letting it wash over you. You’ll be grateful you did. Those are the moments we build character, integrity and self-esteem. When you act instead, look at it and grow from it. Apologize when appropriate, and hope for forgiveness. Eventually, you have to forgive yourself. Guilt travels with shame, and if you host them for too long, you won’t get very far. Forgive other people their humanness, too when you can, and at a certain point you’ll look around and realize you have a group of amazing friends who really see you and truly love you.

You can do your best to be accountable for the energy you’re spreading. After doing the work to heal what needs to be healed so that your pain isn’t ruling your life (because it really doesn’t need to be that way), then you can speak and act in alignment with what’s in your heart. Keeping your word becomes easy because you won’t need to lie. You won’t be covering anything up, and you also won’t be willing to betray yourself. Once you get ahold of that one, trusting yourself, taking care of yourself, and being kind to other people is a lot easier.

Having said all of that, realize you can do all that work, heal yourself and create a loving world within you and life will still be messy because we are all complex and life brings its everything at every one of us, some more than others. Not everyone will be thinking about how to keep their side of the street clean and even if you think about it quite a lot, sometimes you’ll blow it. We will all create situations we’d never have dreamed of, because life keeps unfolding, and one choice leads to another, and suddenly you realize this is your life.

It’s full of every color and every feeling and every sorrow and joy and laughter and heartache and beauty and devastation and full moons and tornados and teenage boys who slipped through the cracks, and teenage boys who thought of something no one else ever saw and grew up to be Albert Einstein, or Jaques Cousteau and millipedes and rain forests and skyscrapers and the chair you’re sitting on. Your first love and your first broken heart and your first really bad scrape and the first time you felt ashamed and the first time you felt understood, and the last time you saw that person. Your mother, who gave birth to you, and that girl in the first grade who had a smile like the sun. Maybe she grew up and lost someone so close to her the world collapsed on that smile for a time, or maybe she’s somewhere, right now, saving the world in her own particular way like Marie Curie or Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Life is full of everything. It’s incredibly gorgeous sometimes, and other times it will break your heart in ways you never thought possible. It’s amazing, but it is not clean and you can’t tie it up in a neat little box with a ribbon on top, and aren’t you really grateful for that? I am.

Sending you love,

Ally Hamilton

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

Love Does Not Insult Your Heart

I’ve had emails from half a dozen people over the last few days who are struggling to end relationships they know are not healthy. Knowing what you need to do and doing what you need to do are two different things. One requires awareness, the other demands action and we’re not always ready or able to act on our own behalf.

I have a guy I’m talking to* who’s suffering because his wife wants an open marriage and he does not, and she’s not willing to try therapy or talk to him about it any further, she’s already dating other men. He’s sick to his stomach but they have two almost-teenage daughters and he feels paralyzed. He says he’s still in love with her, and even though he’s physically ill when she’s out late he can’t imagine a life without her. He thinks she knows him like no one else, and he’ll never find that again. He doesn’t want to leave his kids. One of the girls is old enough to know something is off, and she’s asking questions. Last week she and her mother had an argument, and she slapped her mother in the face and her mom slapped back. They both retreated to their rooms and cried. The younger daughter is having problems at school for the first time and has dropped several pounds. There’s a lot of pain in the house, and everyone is feeling it, and everyone is suffering.

At the same time I’ve been exchanging emails with a woman whose boyfriend is very unkind to her. He belittles her privately and publicly, and has told her he can’t bring her home to meet his family because she’s not “of their ilk.” He tells her she doesn’t dress well and she needs to lose weight, and he corrects her pronunciation of certain words, even though English is her second language and she speaks three others. He sneers if she orders at a restaurant and the person taking the order asks her to repeat herself, and when she tried to surprise him at work one night with dinner because he was on a deadline, he pretended not to know her in front of a group of his colleagues.

Sometimes we get hooked on a person’s potential, or the way they may have been at one time but aren’t any longer. Abuse of any kind is never okay, and it isn’t love. Usually this stuff is insidious. A relationship begins, and the hormones are raging and you’re positive this is the person you’ve been waiting for your whole life. Maybe it is, or maybe it’s smoke and mirrors; the truth is, it will take time to tell and sometimes more than you think. But at no time and under no circumstances do you want to allow another person to make you feel less than. Not enough. Who wants to be vulnerable with a person who’s hurting them? If someone else can make you feel you aren’t measuring up, it’s only because something in you agrees with that, believes it to be true. That’s the thing you need to solve. Our guy in the open marriage he’d like to close again is struggling because he loves his wife. Or maybe he loves the way she used to be. He wants to excuse it because he was her first and she now feels she missed out on a whole chapter of her life. They have years of history and beautiful memories, good times and tough times, and two amazing daughters. But this chapter they’re in is a mess. It’s a mess of clinging and longing and desire and pain. You cannot nurture yourself or anyone else when your heart is being crushed and you’re participating in the crushing. That’s simply not good for anyone.

Figuring out how to remove yourself from a heartbreaking and/or abusive situation is not always easy. If you’re hooked on the dynamic because you’re trying to heal some very old pain, it’s essential that you figure out what that original wound is about. That’s the key to your freedom — knowing yourself, opening to what’s real for you, sitting with your pain when you need to, and releasing the heat of it so it doesn’t rule your life, so it doesn’t spill all over your present and your future. Sometimes we all need help with this stuff. Finding the strength to act when you barely have the energy to get out of bed is not easy. When we push feelings down, it’s exhausting. Better to let it all up and out, and get help grounding yourself if you need it. Find someone who can help you remember your power and your beauty, and before long you’ll put one foot in front of the other and find a way out of where you are and into something that doesn’t insult your heart.

Sending you love and strength,

Ally Hamilton

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

*All identifying characteristics have been changed, and everything written here is done so with permission.

Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are

You often hear people explain their experience as being “on the outside looking in,” but really, I think we’re on the inside looking out. There’s no other way for us to participate in the world around us, or process what’s happening except through our own particular lenses, frame of reference and past experience. That’s beautiful if your interior world is full of love, because in that case the space between you and anyone else disappears. It fades because you’re part of what’s happening, you’re co-creating the moment, you’re not in your head. You’re not busy categorizing or judging what you’re moving through, deciding if it’s good or bad or desirable or what you expected, you’re just in it. Love allows for that kind of liberation and immersion. There’s no fear of getting it wrong, no nagging, stifling voice of “what if” stopping you or making you question if you’re worthy of the joy or the acceptance. When we’re full of love life seems doable and everything is an adventure or a discovery or an opportunity to get lost and find ourselves all at once. To give whatever we’ve got, all the way, and with our hearts wide open. We can do that with other people, or on our own as we hike, windsurf, or get on a yoga mat. We become part of everything. No one is going to be in that state in every moment. We all have fears, insecurities and doubts, and life is always there to present us with opportunities to examine that stuff. Sometimes heartbreaking things happen out of nowhere and take our breath away and send us reeling. But short of that, if you do that inner work of healing, you can be in that state of love quite a lot of the time, and you can catch yourself more quickly when you start spiraling down the well of fear. Your inner voice is the thing that stops you from buying into that “not good enough” frame of mind when you’re loving yourself, not the voice that makes you want to run and curl up and fade away to nothing.

When we’re in fear, it’s easy to feel a separation, a huge distance between ourselves and other people, between our experiences and someone else’s. I think when we feel lonely, misunderstood, discarded or shamed, when we’re grieving or more confused by life than we’ve ever been, it’s not that we’re trying to get into a place where others are so we can feel better or accepted or acknowledged or loved, it’s that we’re trying to get out of this well we’re drowning in. This dark, cold place that echoes with the cries of “What’s wrong with me? Why do I suck so much? Will I ever get it together? Why has this happened?” Sometimes people internalize the things they were told growing up. I saw a quote awhile back that said, “The way you speak to your children becomes their inner voice.” If you grew up hearing you were stupid, worthless, unwanted or an accident, or that you didn’t measure up or always made mistakes, or that you were a disappointment, or any number of other hurtful ideas that reflected your parents inability to express love and not your worthiness to receive it, you may have an incredibly harsh inner dialogue you’re living with. Life does not have to be like that, but you’re going to have to work hard to stop feeding that fearful, unkind voice, and start feeding a loving one. You’re probably going to need some help with that. The lens you’re looking through and the inner voice that speaks out about what’s happening are either wildly distorted, or fairly clear. If you’re in pain, if you’re feeling isolated, and very deep within yourself, don’t believe everything you think, as the saying goes.

There have been times in my life when I’ve felt so far from the surface of things, it was like a slow dark drowning. I used to have an incredibly harsh inner voice. Of course you want to run when the voice you live with is unforgiving and relentless. You want to deny or numb out or keep yourself so busy you can’t hear it, but you can’t escape yourself, and you can’t escape your pain –not in any good or sustainable way. At some point, if you want to be at peace, and you want to be able to connect and share and feel part of everyone and everything else, you’re going to have to turn and face that voice. Not everything you think is true. No matter what has happened to you, what kind of pain you’ve been through, what kind of anger you may be holding, there’s something stronger than all of that. It’s your heart. It’s been there, pumping for you from the moment you began forming as the you you are right now. You are as worthy of love as anyone else, and your heart has a song to sing that is all its own. You don’t want to be stuck in your head, forever analyzing and categorizing and judging your experience. You just want to be in it. You want to open your mouth and let the song of your heart spill out. So get busy if you need to, because as Mark Strand says, “Each moment is a place you’ve never been.” You don’t want to miss too many places. Come out, come out, wherever you are!

Sending you love,

Ally Hamilton

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

Love (Yourself)

artoflovingsolitaryYou’ve probably heard again and again that if you don’t love yourself, you won’t be able to love anyone else. It’s really the truth. So often, people dive into a relationship because they’re waiting to meet that “right person”, who’s going to complete them. A relationship becomes an escape from the reality of not being happy, of not feeling fulfilled, of not being at peace or having the sense that life has purpose and meaning. The Dalai Lama has a beautiful quote about this, “Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.”

Which is not to say that we don’t need each other, because we certainly do. We are built for connection, and the joy in life comes through sharing. We need touch, and nurturing. And if we have at least one person who knows us deeply and loves us for who we are, that’s a blessing. Everyone can have at least one person like that; themselves. If you can’t do that for yourself, heading into a relationship is going to churn up all kinds of insecurities and fears, defense mechanisms and editing. If you don’t feel you’re worthy of your own love, how can you openly receive it from someone else? If you aren’t accepting yourself, you’ll have no way to process the acceptance of someone else except to think there must be something wrong with them. They must not be seeing you clearly. If they really knew you, they’d ditch you and never look back. And if you’re coming from fear that way, you’ll hide those parts of yourself that you haven’t embraced, and you won’t allow yourself the true intimacy of being seen. It’s a vulnerable undertaking, and it requires bravery. And I don’t believe you can be brave and strong like that unless you’ve done a lot of that inner healing and found some compassion for yourself. Some forgiveness of those times when you weren’t operating from your highest self.

We all have stuff. Anything you’ve pushed down isn’t going to disappear. It’s going to come back four times harder. The truth will out as they say. And it’s exhausting to repress stuff, and to deny yourself love and peace because deep down you believe you aren’t lovable. There isn’t a person you’ll encounter who hasn’t made mistakes in life. Mistakes are how we grow and learn. Sometimes we make horrendous, totally ill-advised decisions. But truly, the times in life when we really screw it all up are also the doorways to growth. To understanding ourselves. Sitting there with everything blown apart, tears streaming down your face, wondering, “How did I blow things so badly? How did I end up here?” Those are such important questions to answer. When we “act out”, it’s because something in our past that isn’t resolved and isn’t healed is screaming for our attention. If it’s a pattern, you actually hit pay-dirt. It’s like a giant, burning flag saying “This is the thing! Explore this so you can be free of it.” In yoga, we call those samskaras. It’s like a groove we’re in that is echoing some old pain. Einstein said the definition of Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Freud called it the “repetition compulsion”. Jung said, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” Call it what you like, if you don’t heal it, you’re going to continue to suffer. Life does not have to be like that. You might need some help along the way, that’s another example of the importance of connection. But if you want to feel love in this life, start with yourself. Sending you some right now. Ally

What’s Up, Tiger?

negativecommitteePeople-pleasers and those with a “savior” mentality, please listen up. You cannot save other people, you can only love them. You cannot manage another person’s path, nor is it advisable to try. We all have plenty of work managing our own paths. There is nothing you can do to “make” another person happy. People are happy, or they are not. If you connect with a happy person, and you are also happy, that rocks, but you can’t do it for someone else for more than three months. When the hormones start to wear off a little, so will the magic happy potion.

The problem with trying to save anyone else is that you’re going to fail. If this is a part of your personality, a trait, a learned behavior, a dynamic that’s familiar, a way that helps you to feel safe because you’re needed, then you’re really going to need to hold it up to the light so it doesn’t own you. If you keep picking people who are in serious pain, and you keep failing to save them, you are going to start to feel like it’s you, like you’re not enough. Like you need to work harder or be different or bend over backwards a little more. Also, all your energy will be going toward other people, which conveniently lets you neglect your own well-being and it’s only a matter of time before you start to feel pretty badly about yourself.

When the constant voice inside your head is telling you you’re not enough, or you blew it again, or you said something stupid, or you have no idea what you’re doing, or you’re an idiot, you, my friend, are in a world of pain. If that voice is telling you no one likes you or you don’t ever say or do the right things, or you’re going to end up alone because you don’t know how to behave the way other people behave, it’s just a prison. You’re torturing yourself in a cell of your own making. If you’d reach out and touch the bars, you’d realize they’re made of your own pain. Of all those times in your life when you didn’t receive love. Not because you didn’t deserve it, but because the people around you didn’t understand how to give it. Those bars would crumble to the ground if you just faced that and acknowledged it. If you forgave them and forgave yourself for being confused for so long, and got on with the business of embracing yourself.

In general, people-pleasers come out of a war zone. Where else would you learn the skills? How can you know yourself, if all your energy is directed toward making other people happy? When is the right time to figure out what makes you happy? Is there ever a right time? Does it get to be your turn? I’ll tell you something. If it doesn’t get to be your turn, you’re not going to have much to offer anyone, because if you don’t know yourself and love yourself, there’s no way you’re going to uncover your gifts. If you don’t discover them, you’ll never share them. That’s the only real way you can help anyone. You figure out how to love yourself, and then you understand how to do it for someone else. It’s not about dancing like a monkey, I’ll tell you that. It’s not about bending over backwards or being perfect or living up to someone else’s idea of how you should be. It’s not about following in anybody’s footsteps, unless they absolutely feel like the footsteps you’d have taken on your own. Unless they lead you down a path that sets your heart on fire. You love people by radically accepting them. If you can’t do that because they’re in self-destruct mode, then you still accept them, but not their behavior, and you love them from afar. You love people in a way that makes them feel absolutely free to be who they are, or you let them go. But you don’t try to fix them or save them. Support them, root for them, try to get them help if they need it, of course. But manage or control or think you’re going to solve someone else’s suffering? That’s not love. You listen, deeply. You offer a hand in the dark. You show up. You honor and you cherish and you celebrate, but you have to do all those things for yourself, first.

If you don’t know how, I can offer you what worked for me. There are probably other ways, I just don’t have first-hand experience with them. You get on your yoga mat and you learn how to breathe consciously if you don’t know how to do that already. You get so involved in breathing, in each inhale and exhale, you don’t have time to think about what happened earlier, or what’s happening later. You just are. And you move. And when something challenges you, you see what comes up for you. What the committee in your head has to say. If it isn’t kind, loving or compassionate, you don’t feed it any energy. You just observe your thoughts and turn your attention back to your breath.

If you notice over and over again the voice in your head is harsh or shaming, you tell it to f&ck off, but you tell it calmly, with a little smile on your face. You could even say please, and then you feed a loving voice. Maybe you come up with a nickname for yourself. Something that you find funny, that helps you take yourself less seriously, like “Okay, Tiger, it’s not a big deal. You fell out of a pose. Keep breathing.” If you don’t like Tiger, pick something else. You do that six days a week for a very long time, and suddenly you’re doing it in your car. “Okay, Chief. You took a left when you needed to take a right. No big deal.” Then you do it when you screw up at work or at home, “Okay, Sport, you blew that one. You didn’t show up they way you wanted to. Let’s apologize and hope for forgiveness. If not, let’s practice some acceptance.” And so it goes. You stop stewing for days at a time when you make a mistake. Instead you stew for a day, then an afternoon, then an hour. You examine what went wrong, and you learn and you grow so you can do it differently next time.

You also find yourself a good therapist. Someone who will kindly hold up a mirror for you so you can take a look at yourself without shame or fear or judgment, so you can know yourself, and continue to heal, with someone in your corner. Someone who also helps you feed a loving voice, by sometimes reminding you that you “don’t have to believe everything you think”, as the saying goes. That your feelings aren’t facts. That actually, you are not an idiot. If you want to go really deeply into the land of knowing yourself, you sit your asana down and meditate. Then you’ll really get to look at your thoughts and become more interested in the quality of your thinking than the thoughts themselves. You keep a journal so you can look at where you’re at and how things are with you in black and white and you realize there’s also every color in between. And you mostly heal and suddenly, (twenty years later) the voice inside your head is pretty sweet. It’s kind and forgiving and compassionate, and it doesn’t expect you to be perfect or to be able to save anyone. It’s just full of love for you, and every other perfectly imperfect person you encounter. It’s not a magic bullet. I don’t believe there is one. It’s a daily practice. But you know what? It’s actually pretty fun. And the pay-off is on most days and in most moments, you get to spread love. There are still times I need to call myself Tiger, but they’re few and far-between.

Sending you love and a hug.

Ally Hamilton

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

Reappear

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.

Don’t Give Up.

A few weeks ago, someone messaged me on the fan page and said he was going to end his life. I can’t really explain the panic I felt, especially because his message was a few hours old by the time I saw it. He shared some details of his life over the last few years and why he’d come to the conclusion that it just wasn’t worth it. He’d suffered some devastating losses, enough that it was understandable he felt hopeless and defeated. I wrote back immediately and gave him the Suicide Prevention Hotline number (800-273-8255), my number, and also contact information for three therapists I know and trust. I begged him to write back and let me know he’d received my message and also told him there have been times in my life when I’ve felt like giving up, too. Not for many, many years, but I certainly entertained those thoughts at one time in my life. When things feel so dark you really can’t think of a reason to lift your head off your pillow, the thought, “What’s the point of it all?” is natural and understandable.

Yesterday, someone wrote in a thread, “Why can’t we talk about the miraculous sometimes, too?” and then she wrote back and rescinded her question, saying that it “all leads back to joy.” But it’s a legitimate question and there are days when I just write from my heart and send out a hit of love. Or I hope I do. I write about the shadow emotions a lot because I feel in the spiritual community there’s so much focus on being positive and spreading the light. I think it’s alienating for many people. There is so much light. There’s a limitless well of love within each of us, but to uncover that well there’s usually some digging required. A lot of people feel alone in that digging, like there must be something wrong with them and sometimes they give up. Numb out. Run, deny, try to push it all down. Or they become bitter and think other people must have it easier. The truth is some people do have it easier. We don’t all go through the same experiences. There are some people who will suffer losses that are so knifing, so brutally painful you have to hope they’re going to be able to put one foot in front of the other, and that’s usually when some well-meaning positive person will come along and smugly assert that, “everything happens for a reason,” and forget that the foundation of a true spiritual practice is compassion. There’s nothing comforting in telling a person who is trying to remember how to breathe in and breathe out that their loss has happened for a reason, or that they should focus on all the good things in their life, or that one day they’ll understand why. Some things will never, ever be okay. Some things will never make sense. There are some lessons that will never elicit gratitude. Growth, yes. If you get through it. Deeper understanding, insight and compassion? Yes. Gratitude? No. Not for some things.

It’s my belief a spiritual practice ought to be there for you whether you’re moving through beautiful, joyful, miraculous times in your life, or you’re going through blinding pain that makes you want to give up. I don’t worry about those of you feeling gratitude. I love you, but I’m not worried. I do want to reach out to those people in darkness and say you’re not alone and offer a hand. A blog post. A yoga class, a hug. An email. Whatever I’ve got. Because I really think that’s what we’re here to do. We’re here to love each other, support each other, and share and grow together and I think that is pretty miraculous. When I look at my life today, it’s hard to imagine I ever wondered what “the point of it all” was, because it’s very clear to me now. The point of it is to love your heart out. To connect. There’s an insane amount of joy in all that. I’ve been emailing with the man who was feeling desperate a few weeks ago. He’s talking to someone and getting support in many areas. Sometimes we need help. It’s not easy, this business of being human. But it is pretty amazing.

Sending you a ton of love,

Ally Hamilton

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