This Is Everything

I had a really hard time getting pregnant with my son and tried everything. Literally. Acupuncture, peeing on sticks, boiling “tea” that stunk up the house and even allowing a giant Maori healer to “rolf” my uterus (from the outside, haha. Even at the height of my insanity I wasn’t that crazy :)). I couldn’t figure out a way to practice non-attachment at the time, I just found myself intensely missing a person I hadn’t even met, a person who existed only in my mind and in my heart. Eventually (after a year of needles, tea, sticks, tears and said rolfing session, I went to a fertility doctor who discovered my estrogen levels were a little low, and presto, the bigger kid in this picture started materializing. If you had told me during that year to try to relax and trust that the exact right human was going to show up at the exact right time, I wouldn’t have believed you or been able to do that. I really thought I had to keep “doing things” to “make it happen”, and maybe I did. Maybe he would not have shown up if I hadn’t tried everything known to woman to get there, or maybe he would have, or maybe everything was required. I don’t have any regrets because that kid seems to me to be the only kid who could ever have been my son (my sun), and that girl with him? She showed up with no help from tea or needles or giant Maori.

When I got divorced I was devastated and heartbroken. When there are children in the picture I don’t think it can be any other way. It was not the vision I’d had or wanted, but it became clear to me that it was the only path forward where there could be love and nurturing for everyone involved. It was not easy and it has not been easy. Letting go of the picture of How Things Should Be or how you want things to be for yourself and your children is so hard, and trying to trust that a new path will emerge is also really hard. I credit my yoga practice for any strength and grace I was able to muster through all of that heartache, and I know for sure that’s the thing that kept me sane and strong and able to be a good mama to these small people who have little protection in the world unless we, as parents, figure out how to move through our grief, rage, disappointment, bitterness and all the other feelings that come up (especially when they involve the other most important person in our children’s lives, namely, their other parent), without allowing it to spill over onto them. That is also hard, and for me, again, I credit having been a child of divorce and knowing what that’s like, my yoga practice, therapy (highly recommend) and great, supportive, strong and understanding friends to help me through.

I’ve been a single mom for eight years. A few years ago after I’d been trying to navigate the post-divorce, how-do-you-date-when-you-have-children jungle, I thought, “Well, maybe giant romantic love is just not going to happen for me.” It was sort of surprising and disappointing because I’ve always been a huge romantic, but I thought, “Well, that might just not be in the cards for me, and that’s okay. I have these amazing children and work I love and my life is beautiful and fulfilling and full of all kinds of love. I can be okay this way.” And I did my best to let go of that picture of romantic love, too.

Two-and-a-half years ago I met a man at a bar (feel free to laugh) and he said all of these interesting and funny things and four hours went by in a snap and we didn’t even eat. Last Friday night he proposed to me and I said yes because I am not dumb. We had talked about the idea of getting married a couple of months ago, and even that was a shock to both of us. Neither of us thought we’d get married again. I thought living with someone was as far as I’d go. When you fall in love hard, though, this is what can happen. Your vision changes again. We checked in with our kids about the idea, I talked to my two, he talked to his three. We didn’t want to go forward unless there were thumbs up all around. If someone had said to me years ago, “try to trust that there’s a 6’3″ Englishman out there who’s going to show up in your life with his giant heart and huge brain, his kindness, loyalty, affection and wicked sense of humor and turn all of your ideas about what’s going to happen in your life right on their head,” I would have laughed. If someone had said, “There couldn’t have been anyone else for you but him,” I would have laughed again. I might have even rolled my eyes. I’m sharing this because I know how hard it is to trust. To take your sticky hands off the steering wheel and let things unfold and emerge and allow people to show up and show you who they are, and to allow yourself to be heartbroken when the path takes a turn you didn’t want or expect, but also to allow yourself a tiny sliver of awareness and hope that maybe life has something in store for you you cannot even imagine.

I’ve had an insane week. An amazing Valentine’s Day, an incredible birthday. My heart is so full. Have you seen baby goats dancing around? Google that if not, that’s how I feel. Take care of your precious heart. Let it break when it breaks, but let the breaking open you. Sending you so much love and some trust if you can muster it!


Ally Hamilton

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

You Are Free

letgoweightsSometimes the best thing you can do is give yourself the permission and the space to mourn those relationships that have ended, or the ones that never existed in the way you’d needed and wanted them to. If you arrived in your parents’ world at a time when one or both of them did not possess the tools to love you well and put you first, for example, I think you’ll have to grieve the childhood you never had, the loss of your innocence, or your ability to feel safe, nurtured or protected. The loss of your belief that your feelings mattered, or even registered anywhere. Once you’ve grieved, you can put it to rest and begin to build a life where you honor what you feel, and you do feel safe.

The thing is, life is full of beauty and pain, joy and heartbreak, love and fear. We all face losses, some people’s worse than others, and we have different levels of resiliency. What tears one person down in a household, may not affect their siblings in the same way. Sometimes we look at a person’s actions or inaction, and find the situation incomprehensible. How could someone do that, or say that, or feel that way? How could they reconcile a choice like that? How can they be okay when they face their reflection in the mirror, or put their heads on their pillows at night?

It isn’t your job or mine, to figure out what someone else is doing or not doing. I know that’s a tough pill to swallow, but it’s the truth. Our job is to figure out how we’re going to respond to what we’re given. Our job is to keep our own side of the street clean, to work on how we show up for ourselves, and for the people in our lives, which is plenty of work for any of us. We really don’t get to know where someone else is coming from, unless they decide to tell us. You can’t force closure, you can’t look at a chaotic or self-destructive environment and think you can fix it or solve it with your love or your logic. You can’t save people from themselves (although I think you ought to try to help in any way you can without making yourself unsafe).

If someone is horrible to you, understand it’s a reflection of where they are on their own journey, and not a result of anything lacking in you. When people treat us with no respect, decency, kindness, consideration or compassion, it’s because they don’t have these feelings for themselves, on a very deep level. You can wrap your head around that and try to wish them well, or get them support if appropriate. You can do your best to communicate honestly and openly, but you can also decide this is not a person you wish to have in your life. Sometimes we compound a painful feeling by denying ourselves permission to feel what any reasonable person would feel. We get bogged down and pierced through by our “shoulds”, when really, we ought to keep our eyes trained on what is.

Whatever has happened, has happened. These things may have shaped you, and they may have left you with scars, but your past does not have to define your future. You are free to create a life that feels good to you. You are free to create boundaries. You are free to understand if a person is horrible to you, you can walk away, and you do not have to feel badly about that, or miss them or want to try to fix it. You could simply let it go so it doesn’t weigh you down. You are free.

Sending you love,

Ally Hamilton

If the posts are helpful, you can find the books here <3