Sweat Equity

The-human-heart-has-aI started practicing yoga during a very dark time in my life. I was recovering from the ending of a relationship that poured salt into every deep wound I had (abandonment issues, doubt about whether I was lovable at my core, the trigger of being cheated on over and over again, feeling I had to be perfect to earn love, I could go on). I didn’t wander into a class with the intent to heal, I simply wanted something that would challenge me physically, the way ballet had for twelve years of my life. In fact, I walked into my first class feeling pretty certain yoga wasn’t going to be “hard enough” for me; I thought it was stretching on the floor, and going to a forest with your guitar after class. I “accidentally on purpose” walked into an advanced class with my youth and my confidence. I’d been doing ballet for so long, flexibility wasn’t an issue, so I figured it was in the bag, and I promptly had my a$$ handed to me. I was humbled in every way imaginable. Yoga was nothing like what I’d envisioned.

What hooked me at first was the absolute physical challenge. I had all this flexibility, but no strength. I’d been carrying tension in my shoulders my whole life. Down dog? Agony. Chaturanga? Impossible. How the f%ck were these people doing this stuff? So I kept going back, and I noticed all the people who were doing all these things were also breathing in a very conscious way. They were focused. They seemed to be in a deep state of listening and responding, and not to the teacher, to themselves. It took me awhile to put all this together, of course, but over time, I realized it had nothing to do with flexibility in your body. I thought that was gonna get me a free ticket to the front of the line. I began to understand that yoga has to do with flexibility in your mind.

I started having the experience of breathing and feeling, and not thinking and judging, just for moments at a time, at first, but even that was amazing. Awe-inspiring. Liberating. As in, “I get a break from the relentless critic living in my head? This freaking rocks.” I started to observe my internal dialogue which was loud and shaming. If I fell out of a pose, I’d feel my whole body flush, and worry that other people might be laughing at me or judging me harshly. I experienced the world as an unsafe place, so why would it be different here? It didn’t occur to me that people were focused on their own practice and couldn’t care less, or that the environment might be safe and full of compassion.

Awareness is the first step toward change. You live with that inner voice all day, every day. It’s the most familiar thing in the world to you, so if that voice beats the crap out of you, berates you when you make mistakes, torments you when things aren’t going the way you’d hoped, tears you down when you’re already on your knees to begin with, you probably just accept that as, “the way things are.” I did. It never occurred to me to question whether that voice knew what it was talking about, or that there was any alternative, but little by little, the deeper aspects of the practice seeped in. I started to think about what it would be like to have some compassion for myself, and I decided my yoga mat would be a place where I was kind to myself, where I fed a loving voice. The truth is, whatever you feed will grow and strengthen, but without awareness, you may be feeding all kinds of things that weaken you, like ideas you have about yourself that simply aren’t true, or tendencies that aren’t serving you, or a way of being that brings you no peace or joy. You can only make a choice if you realize there’s a choice to make.

Underneath all the white noise and “shoulds”, I started to hear this small but powerful voice that was full of truth. I don’t mean “the” truth, I mean, what was true for me, because I’d reached adulthood with no clear idea of what made me happy or what lit me up, or what I was doing here. Prior to that, I’d made decisions based on what I thought I should want, or on what other people wanted me to want, and it had landed me in a world of pain. Suddenly I felt like the lights went on in an abandoned house, and someone stoked a fire and swept the floors, and flung the curtains and the windows open for the first time in a long time, so the light could get in, and that voice went running through the house yelling, “Yes!! Finally!”

Now I’m not going to tell you it was all awesome and light and shiny from there, because that was just the beginning, just the glimpse of how life could be. That kind, loving voice grew stronger, and it was also synced up with my intuition, but this was a whole new way to consider life. There was resistance. There was depression. There was the realization that a lot of the “old way” wasn’t going to work, and the “new way” wasn’t entirely clear to me yet. It took me a few years and all the courage, will, determination and dedication I could muster to keep following that yes. There were times I wanted to close the windows and the curtains and crawl under the covers and give up and go back to being numb, but I think once that yes grabs you, it’s got you.

Rebellion is normal. It’s counter-intuitive and scary to intentionally crash your own hard-drive. People you’ve known forever may look at you like you’re absolutely nuts. You may lose some friendships along the way, but I have to say, I don’t think there’s much point in doing life any other way. I’m pretty positive we’re here to love. I believe we’re made of energy, and the energy we’re made of is love, and the more we open to that, the more we embrace what we are, the more life flows. Everything I write about every single day comes out of twenty-plus years of yoga practice. It’s a tool, a science, an art, a philosophy of traveling inward so you can connect to your true nature and everyone and everything around you in an authentic and beautiful way. I teach because this practice transformed my life. There is nothing that feels better to me than sharing those tools. I think the combination of contemplation and physical practice, where you flood your system with new information and resources, is incredibly powerful.

Sending you love,

Ally Hamilton

What’s Driving You?

Awareness can be incredibly liberating; if you’ve found yourself participating in an unhealthy relationship with someone — your partner, your close friend, your boss, your landlord — and you feel “hooked”, try to figure out what’s happening. Chances are, something deep is being tapped, some very old wound, something from your early history. Don’t think in terms of gender, think in terms of the quality of the interaction, especially if you notice a pattern of interactions that cause you pain when you look back on your life.

Anything within you that is unhealed wants your attention. Anything that is unresolved in your heart is looking for relief. People write to me frequently about toxic relationships they feel unable or unwilling to end, and sometimes it’s so far underneath the surface, they just can’t figure out what it is that has them so imprisoned. It could be that your boyfriend’s inability to commit is echoing your mother’s elusiveness, or that your colleague taps an insecurity within you about your ability to succeed that reminds you of your inability to gain approval from your dad. We’re so close to this stuff, sometimes we really can’t see it, so we just spin; we obsess and feel desperate, and think it really is this other person or situation that’s got us so turned around. Anyone who elicits a strong reaction from you, pleasant or unpleasant, is someone to consider. These interactions are like markers on the path that offer us an opportunity to sit up and take notice. There aren’t too many things in life that make us feel disgusted with ourselves more than the feeling of being out of control, unable to stand up for ourselves, unable to act on our own behalf. Self-loathing is debilitating at best.

When you’re hooked in and you go back for more even though you know it won’t end well, that part of you that’s aching to be healed cries out all over again. You might mistakenly think if you could just resolve the current situation, you’d satisfy that old longing, but it isn’t the case. First of all, you’re probably caught up with someone who is incapable of giving you anything other than what they’ve been giving you; all you’ll do is compound your pain. When I look back on the big heartbreaks of my life, they always resulted from an attempt on my part to rewrite history. Freud called this the “repetition compulsion”. Jung said, “Whatever is rejected from the self, appears in the world as an event.” Einstein on this, “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

The thing is, if we don’t know what it is we’re doing, what it is we’re trying to solve, we’ll just be acting out, we’ll be following this ancient map that keeps leading us back to pain. Sometimes people tell me they don’t want to sit with their pain all the time. Who would? Why would anyone choose to do that? You don’t have to do it “all the time.” You just have to do it once, but that “once” might take awhile. You need to be able to sit with it long enough to truly understand yourself, to find compassion for yourself, and to grieve or mourn, or be enraged if that’s what you need to do to release the heat of those old wounds. Then your pain doesn’t own you anymore. When it shows up in your life in the form of another person, or situation or opportunity, you recognize it, and since you know all too well where it leads, you take a pass. This unhealthy stuff loses its pull over you. You may go through times when you’re feeling vulnerable or tested, and those old unhealthy desires might resurface for a minute, but they’ll just tug on you, they won’t pull you off your feet anymore. If you do the work to heal (that “work” is personal, but I highly recommend the combination of yoga and therapy, so you flood your system with new information from both the “top-down” and the “bottom-up”), you just won’t want to go down that road anymore. You won’t choose to participate in interactions that cause you pain or drag you back down, because you will have worked too hard to lift yourself up.

Aristotle  gets the credit for this last quote: “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”

Sending you love,

Ally Hamilton

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

A Wall is a Wall

BEATING-ON-A-WALLIf you’re involved in a relationship that’s crushing you, you already know it isn’t sustainable. If someone is treating you badly, you have to get out, or you’re going to die. I don’t mean literally, although there are sadly too many cases where physical violence is a real issue, but your light will go out. Without that light, that love, that intuition, life becomes very dark indeed, and it’s nearly impossible to know which way to turn.

Sometimes the biggest problem is that relationships of this kind become addictive. If you think you’re physically attracted to someone who’s tormenting you, I’d challenge you to go a little deeper. You may be attracted to the way a person looks or smells or touches you, but if that same person demeans and abuses you, you’re hooked on something a lot more menacing than their looks. It’s the dynamic. There’s something in the interaction between you and the other person that’s familiar, and probably harkens back to something very old for you. If you don’t figure out what that original wound is, you’re going to keep playing it out in your present, looking for a happy ending, a resolution, and release from your suffering, but you’ll never find it like that, you’ll just have your heart broken again. You’ll participate in the crushing of your own spirit, your own resounding yes. If you want to be liberated from your pain so it doesn’t own you anymore, you have to turn inward. You’re the only one with the key, but before you can do that, you have to create an environment where you feel safe.

You’ll never feel safe when you allow yourself to be vulnerable with someone who has a history of hurting you, and if you’re loving yourself, you’ll never be attracted to a person who belittles you. I really do understand the pull of something like this, because I’ve been there. When I was seventeen I dated a man who was thirty-seven, who came after me with everything he had, but once he had me, he was incredibly mean to me. He said very hurtful things on a regular basis, and he made choices that brought me to tears on more occasions than I can count. He was cruel, and yet, I was so thankful when he was kind and loving; I craved those times. I waited for them, and then I’d tell myself, “See? He can do it. I just need to help him be more loving more of the time.” I can look back and say with absolute certainty he was in a lot of pain himself. That’s obvious to me now, but at the time I took it to heart, I believed there must be something lacking in me, I allowed his words to get inside my head and play on my deepest insecurities until they were so large I really couldn’t see anything else anymore, and I got hooked on his validation. Tell me I’m lovable. Love me so I know I’m okay and I exist, and you can see me. When you’re feeling awful about yourself, it’s very difficult to act on your own behalf, to think, “I don’t deserve this, and I’m going to pick myself up and get the f&ck out of here.”

So people get stuck, until they’re in so much pain the survival instinct kicks in, and then, with barely anything left in the tank, they drag themselves out the door and collapse somewhere, and wonder how things got so bad. That’s the beginning, that’s the entryway. As Rumi says, “The wound is the place where the light enters you.” That’s the ideal time to start to figure out why you’re feeling so badly about yourself that you’d put yourself in a relationship like that and then stay there.

If you’re stuck in a situation like this, even if it isn’t this extreme, get yourself some support. I get so many emails from people who tell me about relationships where they’re waiting for their partner to grow or change, to show up differently. They keep participating in the interaction, expecting or hoping for a different outcome, even though no one is showing up with different tools. Some people will never get unstuck. Maybe because they can’t, or because they think they can’t, or they don’t want to enough. It could be any or all of those things. If you cannot accept a person as they are, then you have to let them go. If they’re in pain, and that pain has been spilling all over you, you can love them and accept them and recognize their pain, but you have to get out of Dodge. Because if you allow your light to dim to nothing, you may as well be dead. You are not here to be the walking dead. You, who could shine so brightly. You, who have everything you need to heal and forge a new path and begin again. Don’t succumb to the pull of what slices right into the most tender part of you. Protect that. That’s your gift. Don’t participate in its destruction. Don’t break your own heart. Don’t sleep with a person who would cut you down to nothing as the sun rises. You’re a gift to this world. Don’t throw yourself away.

Sending you love,

Ally Hamilton

Free Yourself

Most of us struggle with control and attachment to some degree, thinking if we just try hard enough, we can get life to bend to our will. We start dating someone and want this to be “it” before we even know the other person, before they know us. We’re ready to have a baby, and expect to get pregnant on the first try, or the second. If it hasn’t happened by the third month, we start to get upset. We have our plan, and life needs to get with it, right? Or we want our kids to do well, but maybe our idea of well, and theirs, is different. We want to be promoted, we deserve it, but our boss is a fill-in-the-blank.

I’ve given this a lot of thought. When it comes to human beings and to life, force is a sure recipe for suffering. It’s fine when you want to open jars of almond butter, or remove a tiny Lego piece for your kid, but you can’t force another person to love you or do what you want them to do, or to want what you want them to want, or feel what you want them to feel. Setting intentions is great. It clarifies what it is you’d like, and can inspire your actions every day. That’s a lot different than gripping to an outcome. Things have to go this way or I’ll be miserable. Nothing clouds the vision like attachment. You’re going to be attached to people, that’s part of the human condition; one of the more beautiful parts, actually. Anyone who says differently is fooling themselves or you. We want to be able to hear the voices or the laughs of the people we love most in this world. We want to be able to hug them and kiss them, and if they’re taken from us, we are going to suffer. If you have children, you will be attached to wanting the best for them, wanting them to be healthy and happy and strong. If they are not any of these things, you will suffer.

So some attachment is just part of the gig, unless you want to move to a cave, but as much as possible, open hands, open heart, open mind. Attachment to people comes after love, not before. Loving an idea of a person is not the same as loving a person. Sometimes we meet someone and want them to be this magical person we’ve been waiting for because we’re thirty and the plan was to be married sometime around now, with kids on the way by 32. That’s the kind of attachment that you want to nip in the bud: attachment to our idea of “How Things Should Be,” to that picture in our heads. Life is how it is. It’s not obligated to go along with your plans, and it probably won’t. Maybe something more amazing than anything you’ve planned will unfold.

Sometimes we’re attached to how things were, to a relationship that’s come to an end, for example. We long for the way we felt. We think maybe there’s some way we can get back there, but if a person doesn’t love you for who you are, if they can’t see you anymore, if everything has become dark and no one is shining, allow yourself to be released, even though it hurts like hell. There are some things you’ll never understand. The more you can face reality as it is and work with that, the less you’ll suffer. Be attached to your own discernment. Be attached to working with the truth of a thing even if it breaks your heart. Be attached to the people in your life whom you love beyond words, and understand it makes you vulnerable, and do it anyway. Try to let go of the rest. Life is an adventure. Sometimes it breaks your heart, and sometimes it hits you in the face with so much love it knocks you off your feet and fills your heart with yes. You can’t force that stuff.

You can treat yourself well, though. You can be kind and patient with yourself, and you can do that for other people, too. You can explore what it means to really love someone. Practice on your parents or your friends or your nieces and nephews or a person you’re just getting to know. Practice on yourself. Be curious about acceptance, about looking clearly at someone and listening without allowing your own opinions to block you from hearing them, without allowing your own defenses or wants or needs to prevent you from seeing theirs. Most of the stuff we become fixated on is so meaningless. I think we just lose the thread. Life is to be experienced and examined and explored. Trying to control it is like trying to control the weather.

Sending you love and a giant hug,

Ally Hamilton

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

Start Where You Are

IDIOT-MANIACUnderneath most pain is the desire for connection. We all want to be seen and understood, cherished and explored and known, by at least one other person. Sometimes our “self” was beaten out of us, or scared out of us, or made to burrow down deep because other things were more immediate, like survival. You may have become so accustomed to swallowing your feelings, you don’t even know you’re doing it anymore. You might not know how you feel, or what you want. You may be clueless as to what makes you happy.

Sometimes we have ingrained ideas about ourselves. Maybe people told us we were smart or strong or dependable, and so that’s what we are, even though inside, we’re crumbling from the weight of it. Maybe you were made to feel your value as a person was determined by your looks or your intelligence or your ability to make people laugh, so that’s the stuff you focus on even though it feels empty and makes you a little sick inside. Do you ever feel like you landed on the wrong planet, or you’re living the wrong life? Like you took a wrong turn somewhere, and everything shifted, and now you can’t find your way back to that fork in the road so you can turn things around, so you can find your footing and a path that feels right to you?

The thing is, it’s never too late for that, and that place behind you where you took that turn that you don’t even remember really isn’t the thing. The thing is right now. How are you right now, and what do you need to be okay if you aren’t okay? Is it connection you’re longing for, and are you a stranger in your own home, in your own body? I’d really start there. You are not your body and you are not your thoughts, but you have this body, and it’s been with you from moment one, and it will be with you until your final exhale, and it’s full of wisdom about you, and how you feel and what you need. If there’s trauma in your past, your body is storing that somewhere, and tuning into that might help you discover that fork in the road. You probably weren’t even driving at the time, chances are you were a passenger. Your body is like a road-map of everything, and there’s an incredible potential to know yourself and to understand yourself. That’s the most important connection there is. If you’re detached from your own heart, or spirit, or soul or essence, or whatever you want to call it, it’s going to be very hard for you to find nurturing, lasting connection to anything else. You need a foundation. You need to be able to breathe.

A lot of people don’t breathe. I mean, they breathe enough to get by, but they never tune into the incredible feeling of really breathing. Maybe if they take a deep breath and let it out, a ton of heartache will ride out on that exhale, too. Tears and sobs that break your heart and feel like they’ll never end, like they’ll overwhelm you and do you in, but it’s the not letting them out that does that. So many people live in agony, holding on for dear life, pushing that stuff down, denying its existence, but feeling the need to numb out. Imagine living on top of an active volcano, pretending all is well and wondering why you aren’t happy. Why you feel enraged all the time, or scared, or like a giant fraud. There’s a f&cking volcano underneath you, but you put on your jeans and pop a pill or have a drink or take a hit, and go smiling out the door, even though the smile hurts and the jeans are cutting into your hopes and this dream you had about your life when you were a kid.

This is why I teach, practice, and love yoga and seated meditation. I don’t know of many things that bring you so profoundly into your body and into the now with the foundation of compassion and healing. There’s potential in the now; there isn’t any in the past. It’s over and cannot be rewritten no matter how many dysfunctional relationships you have, or how many people you try to save that way, yourself especially. When I started doing yoga, I had this feeling of finally, finally having come home. Home, and that was huge for me, because I grew up going back and forth between my mom’s and my dad’s from the time I was four. I’d been searching for that feeling of home my whole life, and it was a revelation to me to discover home inside myself. That’s connection. To be at home inside yourself. Then you can feel at home anywhere.

Sending you love,

Ally Hamilton

Stop It!!

Sometimes our expectations of ourselves are completely unrealistic. If you tend to be a perfectionist, if you fall into the Type A category, I really feel for you. I often joke that after twenty-plus years of yoga practice six days a week, I’m a 93% recovered Type A personality, 97% on a good day. I spent years beating myself up, and I can still fall prey to that tendency if I’m feeling tired, tested, or vulnerable.

There are good things about doing your very best all the time. That’s a great way to move through the world, and it really helps when it comes to putting action behind your intentions, but if you set the bar at perfection, you’re in for trouble, because no one is perfect, and you really don’t want to walk around feeling disappointed in yourself all the time. Shaking your head because you said or did something you wish you hadn’t, because you didn’t show up the way you wanted to, because you let someone down, or blew a chance to have compassion for someone. No one operates from their highest selves in every moment, we all blow it sometimes. When you’re used to driving yourself, it can be really hard to find that forgiving voice when you need it.

Berating yourself for hours or days because you’re fallible is a precious waste of energy. The voice inside your head that says, “You suck! I can’t believe you could be so stupid or careless or lame, or fill-in-the-blank”, is so debilitating. Whatever has happened is done, and dwelling on one moment or one interaction you’d love to have back so you could do it over again serves no one. Figuring out what went wrong so you can make a better choice the next time is productive, but relentlessly thrashing yourself around is not. If you’re consistently kind, patient, loyal, trustworthy, sensitive and thoughtful, most people will find it in their hearts to forgive you when you blow it once in awhile, especially if you acknowledge it and apologize. Most people just want to be understood; they want to know that you realize why this thing that happened was painful or disappointing or upsetting. If a person feels heard and understood, most of the time forgiveness follows, unless you’re dealing with another perfectionist, and there’s the rub. If you can’t be reasonable about expectations for yourself, it’s not going to be easy to cut other people a little slack, either. Sometimes we rake ourselves over the coals to such an unhealthy degree, the result is self-loathing and depression, and if we hold other people to the same standard, we alienate them. No one can live up to that. Can you imagine living with someone who never gave you a break, who never extended understanding or affection when you needed it most?

Many people live with an inner dialogue that is so harsh and unkind, it’s a wonder they get anything done. Your internal dialogue is your constant companion; it can be your best friend, or your worst nightmare. I remember reading a piece in the New York Times many years ago, about not making your children feel their mistakes are sins. If there’s no difference between forgetting to clean your room, for example, and cheating on a test, or lying, or stealing something, how are you to figure out what’s a bummer, and what is really not okay? If you’re punished equally for everything, and if that punishment is painful and scary, the message is that any mistake is a problem. Any moment you failed to be perfect renders you unworthy of love and unsafe. Who wouldn’t want to give up?

The other thing that’s important to get is that the longer you replay old events, the more you rob yourself of what’s happening right now. You take the potential for joy, peace or love right out of the current moment. You’re not here, you’re back there, but there’s no potential back there, and that’s the root of stress and anxiety. We find ourselves in one place, but we want to be in another. We rewrite the conversation, changing the way we responded, or coming up with the perfect retort, but it’s already over, so we’re living in a fantasy, we’re time traveling. Sometimes we do it the other way, too. We “future trip”, and make ourselves anxious over mistakes we’re afraid we could make, ways we could blow it.

If this is all familiar to you, I really suggest you get yourself a six-foot piece of rubber. I’m talking about a yoga mat. I can’t swear that it will work for you, but I can say I was able to accomplish two huge, life-changing shifts through steady practice. The first is that I learned to use my breath and sensations in my body to stay rooted in the now. I’d spent so many years “up in my head”, this was a revelation to me. Being in my body, being aware of my breath, being engaged with and curious about the present moment, without all that chatter drowning out the peace? Amazing. The second is that when I got quiet like that, I realized the relationship I was having with myself was incredibly unkind, and I simply refused to continue to feed that harsh inner critic. When it would arise, I’d come back to my breath and back to compassion for myself. I tend to believe if I could do that, anyone can — it’s why I teach. If you’re tormented by your thoughts all day, there’s simply no way you can spread love as you move through the world. I’ve come to believe that’s really what we’re here to do. In order to spread it, you have to be brimming with it, and the funny thing is, if you get quiet and strip away enough layers of rage, shame, blame, regret and fear, you will find love. If you feed it, it will grow and blossom within you, and then it will blossom around you. You might think you get stuff done because you have an inner voice that’s demanding and dissatisfied all the time, but I promise you when your inner voice is rooting you on, you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.

Sending you love, and wishing you the gift of a kind inner voice,

Ally Hamilton

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

Don’t Drown in the Ripples

Sometimes the pain we inflict upon ourselves is worse than any other pain we face. I know so many people who grapple with self-loathing, who feel shame, guilt, despair and rage because they’ve made mistakes and don’t know how to make things right. An unforgiving internal dialogue is a painful and relentless prison, and sometimes it seems the key is somewhere far, far away.

Everyone makes mistakes. Sometimes we make huge ones, with lasting ripples that follow us way into our futures. The worse you feel about yourself, the harder it is to pull yourself out. You can drown in those ripples; people can drown in two inches of water. We all have pain, and some people have more than others; it is in no way a level playing field. Some people are more resilient than others, human beings are not robots, and life doesn’t follow a formula. Judgement about another person’s mistakes is nothing more than self-loathing turned outward. We never know what it is to walk in someone else’s shoes, and we don’t have the skinny on what other people need in order to learn and grow. Each of us has plenty of work to do keeping our own paths clean.

I know people who feel undeserving of love; unlovable. I want to be clear. There are people who don’t make it easy, who are cruel or cold or uncaring. Do you know what it takes to get a human being to that place? I’m not talking about personality disorders, that’s another topic. I’m talking about people who’ve given up on love, and have decided you can’t trust anyone, and no one cares, and life is brutal, and they will be, too. Usually the people who hurt us the most are the ones in the greatest pain. That doesn’t make it okay when you’re on the receiving end, but it helps to understand what’s motivating a person who has let you down, broken your heart, or left you without any sense of closure or understanding.

The people I’m talking about feel unworthy of love because they can’t forgive themselves. If you’re coming out of pain, if you’re filled with despair, you’re going to spread it, that’s just how it works. When we aren’t loving ourselves, we tend not to take good care. Sometimes the pain is so great, the desire to numb out and make it go away is intense. When we’re in a fog we don’t think clearly, we can’t see straight. Fog might be a relief for awhile, but eventually that’s a prison, too. Life isn’t meant to be endured in a haze, it’s meant to be lived with an open heart and mind. How else to see the beauty? To receive the love? To have your breath taken away? To be overcome with gratitude just for the experience of being alive? A fog robs you of that. A haze blurs those edges, too.

At a certain point you have to forgive yourself. It’s never too late to start again. We all do it, every day, every moment. The whole thing is shifting all the time, nothing stays the same. If you were in pain and you caused pain as a result, you do your best to make it right. That’s all you can do. You show up, the best you can and you say you’re sorry, but if you aren’t forgiven, eventually you have to forgive yourself. Otherwise it’s a vicious cycle of hating yourself and needing the haze to blur the awful feeling of hating yourself. That’s prison.

You’re a human being on planet earth. Whatever time you have ahead of you, make it count. Turn things around. Remember your kind and beautiful heart. Did you mean to hurt anyone? Were you just lost? Turn your attention to any and every gift you’ve got. Your health if you have it. People in your life who love you and believe in you. People you love beyond words. A place to sleep at night and food to eat. The sunrise, or sunset, or rain on your face. The way the wind moves the leaves of the trees. You are not the same you you were ten years ago, ten days ago, ten minutes ago, and neither is anyone else. Everything is in a constant state of flux, including you. Move toward beauty. Open to love. Forgive yourself, forgive yourself, forgive yourself. Then start again.

Sending you love,

Ally Hamilton

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