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.

Uncertainty 2.0

So many times in life we search for answers, look for ways to predict the future, understand the past, or ask for signs about which way to turn now. It’s perfectly natural to want some stability, to want to know there’s a point to all this, to want to feel that your past had a purpose and that your future has one, too.

You can absolutely find your purpose while you’re here, and your life can be filled with meaning. If you allow yourself to open to the ever-changing nature of things, and to the vulnerability that’s required if you’re going to embrace reality as it is, then you also grant yourself the possibility of incredible love. It requires open hands, an open heart and an open mind, and the ability to say, “Yes, I embrace this, too. Even if it breaks my heart and I don’t understand why and every fiber of my being feels it’s unfair or senseless or tragic, I still embrace it because fighting it is pointless and I am here to open. To learn. To grow. To continue to begin again, even if right in this moment, I have no idea how to do that. I’ll start by reminding myself to breathe in, and breathe out.” If you do that, your time here, however much you have, will be beautiful. You can count on the people in your life who know how to love, to give it and receive it, for as long as you have each other. You can trust that there will be beauty and experiences that stun you into gratitude. But if you want everything wrapped up in neat little packages, and you want to understand every single thing that’s happened in your past and try to exert a lot of control over what happens in your future, you’re going to have a very tough time.

There’s a difference between having an idea of how you’d like to share your gifts, and an attachment to the idea that everything is going to unfold according to your five-year plan. You can absolutely move with intention and focus, but if you don’t also factor in the possibility that your plan could easily be turned on its head on a sunny Tuesday morning without any notice at all, or on a rainy Saturday when you planned on being at the beach, you set yourself up to be knocked over sideways by life. We never know and not everything is going to make sense. Sometimes the best you can get to is acceptance.

This is true on so many levels. I get emails from people who are trying to understand why someone hurt them or left them or betrayed them or neglected them or abused them or discarded them or were taken from them without any warning or any chance to say one last goodbye. One last, I love you so much I don’t understand how to make sense of a world without you in it. There are many times I sit at my laptop with tears streaming down my face. There are plenty of times I sit at my laptop laughing, too. But there’s never a lack of the unexplained in life.

I have close friends who were ditched suddenly and without explanation, by a couple they’d known and loved for years. Their families vacationed together, their kids grew up like brothers and sisters, they had a standing dinner Sunday nights. They were at graduations and weddings together, and one day it all ended. That’s as rough as any breakup and when my friends tried to ask what had happened, what was wrong, why they were being shunned, there was no real response. Their friends were just suddenly busy all the time. The kids are left to pick up the pieces, and thankfully they’re old enough to make their own plans, but everyone is hurt and confused, and no one understands. There is no resolution or closure. There are only so many times you can go to a person and ask to talk. Eventually you have to shed your tears and shrug your shoulders and take your ball and go home and remember other people will want to play catch with you down the road. If someone won’t communicate there is no hope of working it out. There’s just painful mystery and acceptance and the rest of your journey.

There are also people who get stuck in the past, and feed it and stoke that flame, even if the past was brutal, because it’s a familiar misery. If you work at it enough, you can feed that flame until it scorches everything, even your present. Your past may not ever make sense. Maybe there are questions you have that can never be answered. We all have some. Rilke has a beautiful quote about this, “Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” Embrace all of it. Even the mysteries and the tragedies and the lack of closure that happens sometimes. Let it open you so other travelers who are also seeking, and will also never find answers to all their questions will know yours is a safe hand to grab in the dark and a good one to hold onto when it gets sunny again. Wishing you love through all of life’s beauty and heartache and uncertainty, and through all of its joy as well.

May we all live the questions with our hearts open,

Ally Hamilton

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


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.

If This Isn’t Nice, I Don’t Know What Is!

We probably wouldn’t have survived as a species if we weren’t somewhat “wired for worry”, and though most of us no longer have to be concerned about sabertooth tigers eating us for lunch,  the mind still tends to get “snagged” on the negative. Someone says something or does something that makes us feel slighted, misunderstood or angry, and we go for a mental spin right into the abyss. Or we sit down to catch up with friends and end up focusing on what isn’t going well, and not on all the amazing things that are.

I think part of it is cultural, too. We’re constantly receiving messages that happiness lies in external stuff, that it’s a destination somewhere out ahead of us and if we just keep plugging away and trying harder and making ourselves “right” eventually we’ll be happy. The thing is, it’s not a destination. There’s no house that’s gorgeous enough, there’s no weight you could be, there’s no hairstyle or other person or car or job or amount of money in your bank account that will bring you to that place we call Happy. You can try if you want to, we have millions of people stuck on that track, but it doesn’t work. It doesn’t feel good, either. It’s the track of, “You’re not good enough, you don’t measure up.” How could that track ever lead to Happiness? The destination if you keep moving forward in that direction is Depressionville, Despair.

It doesn’t work, because happiness is something that happens inside yourself when you stop and realize how much you do have, when you make the choice to stay rooted in that awareness of what is going well, even if life isn’t easy right this minute. It happens when you’re living in alignment with what’s true for you, when you’re living with your heart wide open. It happens when you uncover your gifts and give them away freely. It happens when you lend an ear, or your hand or your shoulder or whatever else you’ve got to someone else. It happens when you’re patient with yourself and your own process, when you have compassion for yourself and other people, through connection, and a feeling that your life has meaning and purpose. You can’t buy that stuff at a store.

Of course, even if you do tap into that, you’ll still have pain in your life, and you have to lean into that, too. Heartbreaks. Confusion, doubt, fear, shame, guilt. Part of happiness is opening to all of it. Learning and growing and saying, “Yes, this too.” (There are some things that will never fall into the category of “Yes”, though. There are some things that will break your heart wide open and then the only question is if it hardens you or softens you. I recommend softening if at all possible). Life is going to keep coming, but when you’re living from your heart and you remember who you are, you have such a solid foundation to receive the everything that life brings. You also know how to give yourself permission to stay in your pajamas all day if that’s what you need to do. It doesn’t all have to be pretty and perfect every minute; in fact, part of being at peace is knowing that it won’t be.

That’s one of the main reasons it’s so important to figure out what you need in order to quiet your mind. Yoga, seated meditation, hiking, something. Because the habit-pattern of the mind is to head into the past or the future. We usually head into the past with longing or sadness. When we think about the future, it’s often with anxiety or fear. Peace is available in the present moment, but if your mind is screaming at you, it’s not easy to tap into it. Your breath is always happening in the now. That’s a powerful entry point to This Moment. Stress comes from being in one place, and wanting to be somewhere else. Wherever you are, you are home. You can breathe in and breathe out, right now, and bring yourself into the present. You live in your body. You live with your internal dialogue. So your inner world is peaceful and loving, or it’s violent and painful. If that voice is full of, “Not good enough!”, stop feeding it because it’s a liar. You are the only you, out of the roughly 7 billion people we have on this planet. That’s pretty amazing. I don’t believe you’re here to be a size 2 or to have huge biceps or to amass as much money as you can. You’re here to shine. When you notice a tree blowing in the wind, when you see the sunlight reflecting off the million different greens, and you feel the breeze on your skin, I hope you take it in. Because those are gifts, just like 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.

The Blame Game Has No Winners

I get emails from grown adults with children of their own who are still blaming their parents for who they are. I get emails from people who are entrenched in a battle with a family member and from those who cannot forgive a former partner. The more you dig your heels in and cling to your opinions, your version of events, your list of ways you’ve been wronged, the less chance there is to let some love in and to shine some light on your own participation and what it is you brought to the equation that led to a painful outcome. We always bring something to any situation, even if that something is our inability to stand up for ourselves, to value ourselves or to put an end to abusive treatment (assuming you weren’t a child at the time — in which case your work is simply to heal, not that it’s easy).

If you’re over 25, it’s time to stop blaming your parents no matter how bad it may have been. People do the best they can with what they’ve got. Sometimes the best they’ve got kind of sucks. This is not about you, and it does not reflect anything lacking in you. Not everyone is going to be lucky enough to have loving, mature parents who are ready or able to put their children first. We should also acknowledge timing, here. You may come into a person’s life at a time when their capacity to love, to extend themselves, to care, is just really limited. I say that in the context of parent-child relationships, friendships, and romantic partnerships. People can only be where they are. If you experienced neglect or abuse as a child, it’s hard not to feel enraged and I think you need to allow yourself that rage for awhile. I think you need to sit with whatever feelings you’ve got, whether they’re feelings of resentment, bitterness or blame and examine all of it. Mourn the childhood you didn’t have. Grieve. But if you get stuck there, if that’s as far as you take the journey, you just land yourself in a world of pain. I think very few people intend to hurt anyone, very few parents intentionally screw it up. Sometimes you just get caught in the storm of someone else’s journey through no fault of your own and you get hit in the face with a lot of hail and end up throwing up over the side of the ship, but you don’t have to stay in that storm for the rest of your life.

There are so many healing modalities available. Yoga, meditation, therapy, journaling, reading and anything else that works for you. Hiking, windsurfing, painting…whatever causes you to lose yourself for awhile, and tap into that larger feeling of being in the flow. Of course we all have different responses to trauma, not everyone handles it the same way. If you need some help, reach out. Don’t allow yourself to stay rooted in the dark, alone and shut down and in despair. There’s no need for that. There’s no reason that your past has to control your present or your future. Love can happen right now, in this moment if you let it. If you don’t believe that, put your hand on your heart and close your eyes, and when you breathe in, think, “I am whole, and I am lovable,” and exhale out some pain. You don’t have to hold onto it so tightly. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

In the context of romantic relationships, let me say this. It is never one person’s fault. If you think that’s possible, I guarantee you you’re missing a great chance to know yourself more deeply and to take some valuable information into your future partnerships. We all have stuff. We all have work to do, places where we could go deeper or show up in greater alignment with what’s true for us. The end of a relationship never tells the whole story. You can’t separate out the beginning and the middle, the alchemy between you and the other person which creates the third thing, the relationship between you. Timing, circumstances, where you were on your path, and where your partner was on theirs. Your participation. Your level of appreciation, patience, kindness, support and understanding. Your actions, things you said, did, didn’t do. What was motivating you. If you want to dig your heels in and point angry fingers that’s always a choice, but it’s not a choice that’s going to lead to growth or a deeper understanding of where you still have some healing to do.

With family members I recognize it can get complicated, but I think it’s so sad when siblings don’t speak to one another for years at a time. Over money, or someone’s spouse who said something hurtful when they were drunk at a family wedding. I know a guy who didn’t speak to his sister for ten years because they were arguing over the money their mom left behind. They both had children during this decade and countless beautiful experiences. These were siblings who grew up playing together, loving each other, sailing together over the summers, climbing trees when they were kids. And then the sister died. Horrendous. Un-dig your heels in life wherever possible so you can keep moving forward, which life asks of you every moment. So you can keep responding to what is, with your mind, heart and hands open. It’s not all going to go the way we want. People will let us down. We are all going to make choices we’d love to do over from time to time. Say things we’d love to take back. All of us. Forgive. Recognize that, and forgive. Or really, you’re in prison.

Sending you love,

Ally Hamilton

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