Hope is a four letter word that, depending on the reader, can be interpreted in a multitude of ways. Hope, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is a feeling of desire and expectation for a certain thing to happen in a certain way. This type of hope is a quick and easy setup for disappointment which can lead to resentment when things don't turn out as we *hoped* they would. This isn't really hope- this is projecting your wishes into the future, irregardless of the reality in which you exist and in spite of the truth around you. This hope is mistrusting, the assumption that the only way life will work is if you force your perception of how things should be upon it. This is exhausting, it's fighting the river because you don't trust where it's going. This hope is the opposite of mindful- it's not present, attentive or meeting the moment because you're focused on where you want to be and whatever you need to do to get there. It's a set up to be completely reliant on conditions- life will be good when a certain plan that you've concocted in your mind occurs, which ultimately means that until that plan happens life is not good. It is the desire to plan and design our lives that takes us the furthest from happiness and peace by chaining us to Father Time and what he may or may not bring. And what happens when you don't get what you hoped for? You are left shattered, resentful, betrayed and in general worse than when you started. It's that much harder to appreciate where you are because you are not where you had *hoped* you would be and so the cycle of self inflicted hardship continues.
But there is another type of hope, I've heard it called Mature Hope or Practical Hope. This is the hope that allows us to see the seedling growing out of scorched earth. Instead of fixating on the future, this hope is grounded in the moment and aware of the potential response that can come from within, the response that can meet the conditions of the moment to create a greater outcome. We cannot control anything that is not our own, thus waiting for ______ to come to us to make our lives greater is relinquishing our power and putting our wellbeing into the hands of someone or something else. It's putting our faith in someone or something else's hands and hoping that they/it cares more about our wellbeing than we do. Mature hope, however, is founded within ourselves and upholding our individual power as creators of our own life. It has the faith in ourselves that we will know what to do as long as we stay focused on the present moment, and that as long as we do this then the best possible outcome is sure to arise. Mature hope is founded on personal ideals, intentions and in general knowing thyself. Who you are, what matters to you, what you seek to bring forth and how these things combine to address the conditions of the moment in the best way possible. Mature hope also holds an element of letting go of how things could/should be (and maybe even recognizing that how things should be is a delusion of the mind), because this holding on is only distracting you from what is and thwarting the strength of your ideals and intentions. Really, hope is tied to uncertainty because regardless of what we wish, we never know how things are going to turn out. In The Five Invitations, Frank Ostaseski says, "the hope is in the potential for our awakened response, no in things turning out in a particular way. It is an orientation of the heart, grounded in value and trust in our basic human goodness, no in what we might achieve." When looking at it this way, hope is the greatest stance we can take as a human being in the face of life and its harshness.
Everything is a bit of a mess right now. It seems like the world as we know it, the systems that we live within, are crumbling before our eyes. It's easy to jump to finger pointing, blame and all that is wrong. It's equally easy to begin to *hope* that things will turn out a certain way. But let's sit for a moment and apply the above paragraph. Regardless of what got you here, what others are doing and of where you are going to be in six months or six years from now, none of which you can control, You are full of strength, wisdom, love, ingenuity, creativity and resilience- how can you put it to good use right now? What are you able to plant into this moment that you can put your trust and hope into? Can you see the seedlings of your skills coming in to create a brighter future? (Hint: don't look for what is happening around you, feel into what has been strengthening within you these past few weeks, this is what is going to create all that will happen)
Remember: the only way to support all of this (your best self, your ideals & intentions) is to support yourself, as you are, in this moment, which simply put means: to do something that feels good. What can you do today, right now, that feels good? And can you trust that, even just for today, that is enough?
Remember: it's not easy to not think about the past or the future. Really, it's impossible and unrealistic as a human being to give that up all together. So how do you find some balance and reduce these exhausting thoughts? Awareness. Every time you become aware of your thoughts jumping forward or backward, creating false hope, you weaken them. Through awareness of these thoughts you see them to be just that- thoughts- they are not reality and they are not even you, they are simply the thoughts that live within your mind. So don't fight them, because that requires more thinking and you're just feeding the monster, become aware of them and come back to the moment.
Chelsea M Latham
When I was a kid my mom would occasionally refer to me as a Reverend, because I had the need to speak so passionately about just about everything. Little did she know that some day I would build a business upon sharing the wisdom that I am so passionate about. So here you go, here are some bits and bobs of thoughts strung together for your enjoyment.