Today concludes our Rekindling Hope: Making Hope a Priority blog series, and during our 21 days of hope we have explored questions about hope that have run the gamut. Some have been “lighter” in topic while others a bit “heavier” and along the way we have vowed to stick with it, and we have been MORE than pleasantly surprised that you have as well! To stick with hope in our interactions, in our lives, to keep hope for someone else when they aren’t in a place to do it for themselves. Sometimes it isn’t so easy to stick with hope – to hold hope when we don’t feel particularly hopeful. And that is why we need to create steps for ourselves to learn ways of MAKING THIS HAPPEN. Something that we have been discussing lately, that we felt would round out our 21 days of hope, and has potential to help transform our relationships, our work, our days… our lives… is our last question of the series: What steps can you take to trade cynicism and paralysis, for hope and real change?
Whether it is that you make a vow to schedule time each day to restore and renew yourself, so you have the energy and focus to value hope…
Or you vow to take more chances, play a more active – rather than reactive – role in your lifeâ¦
Or you vow to dream biggerâ¦
What can you do, what will you do to hold more hope and create real change?
What steps will you take?
Let’s break some of the silence today and get talking! Let’s share, let’s listen, let’s disagree and let’s learn from each other!
Given the complexities of the current systemic challenges we face, a sustainable fix for health care reform isn’t seeming likely anytime soon.
And partly because of this, and because in many ways it feels as though we are increasingly facing complicated, seemingly insurmountable crises and challenges these days, people often find themselves abandoning what matters most and escaping in to what doesn’t.
âItâs not that Iâm so smart, itâs just that I stay with problems longer.â
— Albert Einstein
Sometimes the day to day drudgery of putting one foot in front of the other, and working hard in the direction of our dreams can seem both exhausting and unrewarding and ultimately, unachievable. But that is really one of the core issues with real health care reform. We need to take the long view to achieve real transformational health care reform.
âThe very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope.â
Healing, like so much in life, is a non-linear process. Often that is because of the complexity of the healing process, but it can also be due to the simple fact that very little is only forward-moving! Below is an excerpt (paraphrased) from pages 12 & 13 from The Power of Procovery in Healing related to “backsliding.”
Signs of “healing” are not always recognized as such, unfortunately. The “system” often does not recognize, support or sustain healing. Sometimes when people are working hard to heal, the “system” sees their actions as “trying to kick their illness under the rug”, denial or delusions of grandeur. All along the way, healthy, positive actions can be seen as all kinds of things other than healing. But this is where listening to your heart, getting in touch with what YOU think and feel, talking with others who you trust will be honest with you, who see your potential and whose opinion you value, can pay off.
âGive fools their gold, and knaves their power; let fortune’s bubbles rise and fall; who sows a field, or trains a flower, or plants a tree, is more than all.â
–John Greenleaf Whittier
So many of us find, or make sure we take, the time to do things for others, but we so often neglect ourselves. We “say” things to ourselves we would never say to others. We push ourselves in ways we wouldn’t push others and we take ourselves for granted.
But you have the power to STOP right now and begin to do things differently. Even just five minutes a day can get the ball rolling!
What will you do to celebrate the wonder of you this weekend?
What do you do to positively impact your feelings?
Sometimes feelings have a bad reputation, like change. People sometimes feel a victim of their feelings and view them as they do the weather. They come, they go, sometimes they are bright, sometimes not. But feelings can be powerful fuel!
You can actively create feelings rather than only responding to them! The Procovery Noteâ¢ below, from page 158 of The Power of Procovery in Healing, talks about this:
Create moods. Start your own running list of mood enhancers – specific books, movies, music, people, places, hobbies or specific actions, such as exercising, straightening up your place, wearing your favorite hat or scarf or helping someone else.
âWhat is changed by my feelings is not what is out there but what I think I and others may be able to do about them.â
What will you do today to create feelings rather than only respond to them?
Where do the light and energy go sometimes? On the hard days, during the difficult times?
The light and energy are still here. They are always here, but so is the darkness. Some days we are more in tune with energy and life and possibilities than other days and we have or find or make more time to view and appreciate what is right with the world. Other days we may be drowning in day to day responsibilities and realities and be in more of a gray or dark place.
Even if you don’t feel physically as though you can do something – maybe you can do something in your thoughts or in your dreams. Can you THINK of a time when things will be better and take a moment to visualize and feel and appreciate what that will feel like?
The secret is not to feel guilty that you are down or guilty that you are joyful. The secret is to understand where you are, and in what direction you want to move, and then do something – anything – to move in that direction.
“Change your thoughts and you change your world.” –Norman Vincent Peale
What would look different in your life if you had more hope?
How would you feel if you had more hope?
How would today feel different?
What would you do differently?
Would you go about the day, doing all of the same things but with more spring in your step? Or would you laugh more and feel more joy?
Would you go to bed earlier (to refuel for another promising day), would you accomplish more, spend more time doing what matters, spend more time with people you love, spend less time attempting to escape negative moods and feelings, take more chances, try harder, dream bigger?
If you can really get in touch with what would be different, you might take action to make it all happen.
âHe who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how.â
– Friedrich Nietzsche
We are reminded with the above quote that once we can identify our why for the day, that hope can spring forth instantly… If we have a project weâre working on that is building momentum, or we know we may get to connect with a friend or maybe weâre halfway through a book weâre reading that is intriguing or inspiring to us… these things can unbound the energy within to get through all the things we MUST do, to get to the things we want to do with a hopeful attitude propelling us forward.
Hope is always present even if we are not currently aware of it, can’t seem to see it or even feel it. It doesnât need to be packaged in a particular way or even be constant, necessarily, for it to make an impact. It can be just a moment, a feeling of hope, and that feeling of hope can be brought forward into our lives to draw upon and use at our disposal. We can think of hope as money in the bank – store up on hope and use as necessary! When you are feeling down, do what you need to do to remind yourself that the “down” is just one of many feelings inside of you and that hope is also still inside of you. It is the same bright, beautiful world you felt it was the last time you were feeling hopeful.
âThe voyage of discovery lies not in finding new landscapes but in having new eyes.â
What is one thing you can often do, when it seems you really canât do anything?
So often people feel they are not in a position to do anything for someone they love. And generally there is much they can do. One thing is to listen. If the person is verbal and wants to talk, there is real value here. It can be amazing what just talking about something can do, even talking about something that it does not seem there is anything that can be done about. We are talking about the kind of listening where you are not just waiting for the other person to stop talking so that you can say what you want to say. We are talking about real, active listening, where you are jot judging or waiting to tell the person what to do and when, but just listening.
Below is a Procovery Note from pages 161 & 162 of The Power of Procovery in Healing:
Listen. Particularly with the lessening availability of therapy, being a gentle listener can be of enormous benefit. Recognize that what may seem like an emotional overreaction may instead be a rational reaction to an overwhelming set of circumstances and resulting emotions. Productive venting of what seems like irrational feelings can lead to rational action.
âWhen we honestly ask ourselves which persons in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving much advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain, and touch our wounds with a gentle and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not-knowing, not-curing, not-healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is the friend who cares.â
âHenri J. M. Nouwen
Do you have a story that you would like to share, about the power of having had someone listen to you, or you listening to someone? Weâd love to have you join the discussion!