Be Positively Real


Ally Hamilton | all things healing

There’s a lot of pressure in the yoga community and in many spiritual circles to “be positive!” and to “think positive thoughts and positive things will happen!”. And I’ll be the first person to say that I believe your thoughts have a lot of power in that they create a chemical reaction in your body, and that prolonged periods of stress will lead to dis-ease. But I think there’s an important distinction between not allowing yourself to fall into a negative cycle of thinking for an extended period of time (As in, “life sucks, people suck, I’m a loser, I hate my life”. If you’re in pain like that, my heart truly goes out to you, and I hope you can find the strength to start to make some different choices, take some action on your own behalf, embrace the voice of your intuition, and get support if you need it. You’re here for a reason and you’re the only you there is!), and completely denying your shadow emotions: fear, doubt, shame, rage, insecurity, jealousy, desperation. I would encourage anyone to make gratitude a regular practice. To continually pick up the mind, that loves to head into the past or the future, that loves to compare and contrast, that worries endlessly about things that may never come to pass, and bring it back to all the things you DO have, that are going well, that are gifts. I would not ask anyone to try to be positive in every moment, though, because that’s just not realistic. The people who cling to the light and deny the shadow stuff end up being owned by it. We see that again and again. Anything a person pushes down is going to come back twice as hard, Three times, four times, five times as hard until it’s acknowledged, embraced, and processed.

I think a better endeavor is just to be real. To be you. To respond to life as it unfolds from moment to moment with awareness and sensitivity. Sometimes things happen in this world that are so painful they take your breath away and make you feel your heart might collapse in on itself. Are you supposed to receive those experiences as gifts and force yourself to think positively? And is it your fault these things happened because you weren’t thinking positively enough? I don’t believe that. I believe in beauty and in chaos and in love. I don’t say things like, “everything happens for a reason” anymore, although I did ten years ago. If you ever heard me say that back then, I’m so sorry. Can you imagine going through something awful in your life, watching your child being slowly taken from you by an awful disease for example, and going to a yoga class where the teacher smugly tells you, “everything happens for a reason” as they take you through hip openers? Do you think that’s going to make a person feel comforted, embraced, supported…or judged, alienated and alone? It’s possible everything does happen for a reason, and it’s possible everything just happens, and it’s also possible the truth is somewhere between those two ideas. No one knows. I just know what I believe, what makes sense to me. You have to figure out what makes sense for you. And hopefully we can all respect and love each other even if we have different ideas.

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