Let it Break Your Heart Wide Open

The more you open to the reality that you cannot rewrite your past and you cannot control or predict your future, the more your heart opens to the plight of being human. Inherently it’s a vulnerable undertaking and isn’t easy, especially if you’re trying to be kind, conscious and compassionate with yourself and everyone you encounter. Whatever has happened has shaped you, but it doesn’t have to define you or close you off to the possibility of joy. Whatever is coming is unknowable, but you can work on healing and knowing yourself, so the storms don’t knock you over when they come (some will no matter how much you prepare). You cannot know for certain what happens after this until you exhale for the final time. People will break your heart. Circumstances will break your heart. Let them. Hold all of that.

You can fight the groundlessness, but it will still be there. You can go down to the ocean and try to hold back the waves, too. You can allow this world, your life, your losses, your disappointments, frustrations, fear and despair to harden you. You can tell yourself other people have it easier (some do), and allow your heart to become encased in a bitter shell, but the more you toughen up against it (and aren’t we taught to do just that? Don’t cry, don’t be scared, don’t be angry), the more you also toughen yourself against joy, gratitude and the piercing yes of loving with your heart wide open. You can’t shut down the painful stuff without also closing yourself off to the incredible beauty in this world.

It actually feels good to embrace the truth of your smallness and your limitlessness. Your ability to love and to shine is what makes this life beautiful, and there’s no box, there are no circumstances that can hold you back in that regard unless you let them. It’s a relief to face both your vulnerability and your power. So many people feel alone in this thing, like they’re the only ones feeling this stuff, and everyone else is cruising along with their pithy updates and perfect glowy Instagram pictures. Everyone has grief, shame, confusion, fear and guilt. Doubt, anxiety and insecurity. Most people don’t talk about it because we’ve been taught these feelings are wrong, that they need to be dealt with and managed and hidden somewhere so as not to make other people uncomfortable. If you want to be known, seen and understood in this world, then you’re going to have to allow yourself to cry sometimes, to be scared, to be angry, to be whatever you are and to let those who are close to you see that stuff as well. If you edit out the painful parts, you’re going to feel very alone. It isn’t all going to be light.

If you want to heal yourself, and you want to support other people in their own healing process (which is how we heal the world around us, too), then you’re going to have to head toward compassion. The best way to give people permission to be fully themselves is to be fully yourself. To knock the walls down and to admit sometimes you have no f&cking idea what to do. That sometimes you fold laundry with tears streaming down your face, and your heart full of why. It’s okay, it really is. Let this world and your life break your heart wide open. It feels a lot better that way.

Sending you love,

Ally Hamilton

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

Don’t Let the “No’s” Stop You

I think many people experience rejection as if it’s a “no” everywhere. As if every door is closing to them, every doubt is being confirmed, every fear is being verified. It’s never easy to put your heart out there in any context–romantically, professionally, socially or creatively–and find that you’re being turned down, but not everyone is going to see you, hear you or understand you. Not everyone is going to embrace you or celebrate you or cherish you, and you know what? You don’t need everyone to do those things. A few people who truly get you would be great, but even if you only have one person in your life who can do that, you’re blessed…and you do, because you can do those things for yourself. Believing in yourself is essential if you want to be at peace.

The problem is, if you have unexamined, deep-seeded doubts about your value as a human being, you’re going to seek out people who reflect those doubts back to you. You won’t do that intentionally, it’s simply that we all want to heal. We’re driven to heal. Trying to convince other people that you’re worthy of love won’t help to heal you, though. Running and chasing and obsessing and selling yourself will make you sick, and by the way, miracles don’t need to sell themselves. If you’ve forgotten how innately special you are, that would be the place to start.

When you make a habit of picking people who are unavailable or emotionally distant for any reason, you set yourself up for heartbreak. There’s only so much your heart can take before it starts to harden. Rejection can be a huge gift when it spares us from a reality which would have been much harder to bear than the “no,” but if you set yourself up for that experience over and over again, it starts to wear at you. You start to doubt yourself, your worth, your unique beauty; you give your power away because you’re defining yourself by someone else’s opinion instead of your own.

This world is challenging enough without feeling that you’re powerless on top of it. You aren’t. You are in charge of your inner world. You get to decide how much importance you give to your own thoughts, to other people’s opinions, to the way you’re going to respond to whatever life puts in your path, even those “no’s.” You can make the world within you a loving place to be, where you honor what’s true for you, and feed your strengths, where there’s kindness and patience and compassion, and the great beauty in that is if you’re able to make your inner world a loving place to be, you’ll naturally spread love wherever you go. Don’t let the “no’s’ stop you or make you bitter. Just keep going.

Sending you love,

Ally Hamilton

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

Saddle Up!

Fear is a perfectly natural feeling none of us will escape. There’s that fear that makes the tiny hairs on the back of your neck stand up because you know you’re in danger. Then there are the very human fears we all face to some degree or another. Fear of losing those we love. Fear of saying or doing something we’ll regret because it makes us look stupid or feel ashamed. Fear of being hurt, betrayed or left. Fear of rejection. Fear that you’ll take a chance with all your heart and fail. Fear of being alone. Fear of committing. Fear of success. Fear that our past can’t be overcome, and our future will be more of the same. Fear of screwing it all up. Fear of never being seen, known or loved. Fear of death. Fear of really living. Not everyone will experience all those fears, but most people will face at least some of them.

Fear isn’t a problem, but repressing it is. “Don’t be scared” is a common mantra we’re taught in childhood, but you can’t be other than what you are, ever. You feel how you feel and denying your experience is the issue. Thinking that a feeling we’re having is wrong or that it’s socially unacceptable is where we get into trouble. It would be better if we were taught, “Feel scared, but do it anyway.” There’s an elation that comes when we head into the center of our fear, flip it the bird, and dive in. A confidence in ourselves that can’t be gained any other way. There are few things as disappointing in life as when we let apprehension, the loud voice of “I can’t” or “I shouldn’t” stop us from doing something our hearts are crying out to do. When we feel paralyzed that way, our hearts get crushed because it’s a missed opportunity to grow, learn and strengthen. To know ourselves more deeply, and to be able to move in the direction of that inner yes.

People write in with all kinds of fears. This guy is afraid to ask this woman out. This girl likes this guy but doesn’t want to tell him because maybe he just wants to be friends. This woman has a dream, but it isn’t realistic and everyone would think she was nuts for pursuing it. This mother lost her first baby and is terrified it will happen again with her second, so she isn’t loving her baby the way she could. This man wants to reach out to his dad, but they haven’t spoken for thirty years, and what if he doesn’t want to talk? What if he’s dead? This woman lost her husband and her children and is afraid to move forward because who wants to risk that kind of loss again? This guy doesn’t go to parties, ever, because he’s convinced he’s so utterly unattractive no one would want to speak with him. This man is in a marriage without any love, but is afraid to tell his wife how he feels because what then?

There are some situations in life that are so complex, you really do have to move slowly and think clearly before you head off and make decisions that will affect other people in your life, but living in fear feels terrible. It shuts us down and makes us feel there isn’t any hope, there aren’t any options, there isn’t a path that could lead us to something different. I do not believe anyone can flourish from a foundation of fear, and if you’re withering, you really can’t nurture anyone else, including yourself. If you feel stuck in fear, reach out. Get yourself some help and some support if you need it, so you can start to face it down, which is totally different than pushing it down. The very funny thing about fear is that when you have your back to it, it feels like this raging, huge, fiery dragon that could take you down with one big exhaled flame. But if you’d turn around, you’d see it’s just a huge pile of blocks you’ve erected in your mind. The kind you used to play with when you were a kid. The blocks are mostly made of pain, and the tower is teetering. You could, if you found the courage, reach out and knock the whole thing down. Then you could look at the pieces, and start to build something new. Maybe a bridge. I’m not saying the fear isn’t real. I’m just saying it’s not going to kill you.

Sending you love, and the hope that you’ll saddle up if you need to,

Ally Hamilton

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