Nurture Your Courage to Hope
December 21, 2022
Nurture Your Courage to Hope
Hello everyone, and happy holidays! Long time no write! In full transparency, I have not been moved to write much this year. I have experienced a bit of a creative drought. It’s not that 2022 has been so challenging. It’s that life and our world has been rather heavy—not just this year but for a few years. Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not depressed. I am in good health. My family is in good health. While being human has never been a cake walk, it has felt more onerous for me as of late. I don’t think I am alone in that thought. One only needs to look at the hate we see online every day or the war in Ukraine or the climate disasters that have occurred around the world to feel a bit discouraged. However, I believe in hope and the positive possibilities that are yet to be created. I believe that all human beings and therefore communities and the world are capable of transformation. If I didn’t believe in the innate goodness of humankind and the power of transformation, I wouldn’t have spent over 32 years supporting people to create more meaningful lives for themselves. I think one of my biggest lessons from this year is that hope and the courage to hope must be nurtured in each of us.
How do we define hope?
Merriam-Webster defines hope as “desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment.” Maya Angelou once said, “Hope and fear cannot occupy the same space. Invite one to stay.” Maya Angelou was a brilliant poet, writer, and civil rights activist who exemplified the resilience of the human spirit. Perhaps we could all benefit from the wisdom of the people who have taught us so much about hope in the face of adversity.
There are plenty of examples of negative energy in the world. No one needs to look very far. Heck, many of us don’t have to look beyond our own small circles. However, I choose to mindfully look at the potential of every single human. Don’t get me wrong, I can fall victim to negative thinking rather quickly. It’s very easy to fall into the spiral of thinking negatively about one’s circumstances, about our communities, or about the world around us. That’s why I practice meditation and self-compassion every day. I nurture my ability to meet each day from a grounded, open-hearted place. I have learned over the years that if I am not practicing being present in my own life, then I meet the world in a way that is lacking compassion, patience, and kindness. I choose not to enter the world that way. I choose not to live my life that way. Every moment of every day, we decide how we want to interact with the world around us. I choose to love the world and everyone who inhabits it.
Choose Hope Every Moment of Every Day
It’s easy to become hopeless. It’s easy to go down a negative thinking spiral. It’s easy to criticize and see the difficulties that are all around us. It’s easy to blame others for everything, including our lot in life. It takes courage to acknowledge the kindness of others. It takes courage to defend the rights of others. It takes courage to reflect on one’s own behavior and to take responsibility for one’s interactions in the world. It takes courage to practice forgiveness.
Forgiveness is key to living a life of hope. Timothy Keller recently wrote in the New York Times that “forgiveness is granted before it is felt.” Keller continues, “It is a commitment not to constantly bring up the wrongs to the wrongdoers to punish them or to others to ruin their reputations or to yourself, constantly reliving the incident in order to keep the anger going.” Many sages over the years have said that you don’t practice forgiveness for others; you practice forgiveness for your own peace of mind so that you can move on.
So, as we enter the full throttle of this holiday season and begin a new year, I wish you all health, the mindfulness to capture all the small moments and blessings of life, and the courage to nurture the hope within you.
There are so many things that I have experienced this year that are worth sharing. I ran across this commercial on Facebook recently and it absolutely blew my heart wide open. This beautiful Christmas ad from J&B Whiskey shows very clearly what it means to love another person who is different from yourself. It is quite simply beautiful, and if we are open this ad could teach us a lot about acceptance and love!
I would also like to share with you one of my favorites and most delightful books that I read this year. The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak. The book is precious and poignant, rich and magical. The novel deals with love, belonging, identity, trauma, nature, and renewal. Shafak is a master and just a pleasure to read. Plus, I must say that I loved the fig tree that is the narrator of the story—so refreshing and absolutely hopeful.
Despite all the heaviness in the world today, there are inspirational things happening around the globe. One must only make the conscious choice to seek them out. Here are two things that have recently caught my attention and have drawn me in. One is the new limited series on Disney+ called Limitless. This is well worth watching if anyone has the desire and hope to live a longer and more meaningful life!
Secondly, I encourage everyone to watch this new PINK video, “Never Gonna Not Dance Again!” It is joyful and an excellent reminder that no matter what life throws at us, there is always time to keep dancing!!! Thanks PINK!