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Posts from the ‘Hope’ Category

Hope, Sweet Hope

“‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all” – Emily Dickinson

Hope carries, sustains, pushes, pulls, perches, flies, anchors, propels, promises.
It invites and feeds optimism, trust, light, perspective, perseverance and gratitude.
Rooted, instinctual, a resting place.
Never underestimate the power.
Hope, sweet hope.

The Instinct of Hope
by John Clare

“Is there another world for this frail dust
To warm with life and be itself again?
Something about me daily speaks there must,
And why should instinct nourish hopes in vain?
’Tis nature’s prophesy that such will be,
And everything seems struggling to explain
The close sealed volume of its mystery.
Time wandering onward keeps its usual pace
As seeming anxious of eternity,
To meet that calm and find a resting place.
E’en the small violet feels a future power
And waits each year renewing blooms to bring,
And surely man is no inferior flower
To die unworthy of a second spring?”

Steadfast

“The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“We shake with joy, we shake with grief. What a time they have, these two housed as they are in the same body.” – Mary Oliver, Endure

Listen to your thoughts and words, where they lead you. Consternation and complaint are pit of quicksand. Hope and light are the path to contentment, peace and joy amidst the struggles. Stop holding your head under water, claiming others are drowning you. Make the daily decision to rest in gratitude, see the good yourself and others, release worry that only steals our days and never affects the outcome or eases pain that comes and goes with loss and change.

Steadfast, continue the journey anchored in hope, looking for light and ready to shake with joy.

The Gift, Mary Oliver, Felicity

“Be still, my soul, and steadfast
Earth and heaven both are still watching
Though time is draining from the clock
And your walk, that was confident and quick,
has become slow.
So, be slow if you must, but let
the heart still play its true part.
Love still as once you loved, deeply
and without patience. Let God and the world
Know you are grateful.
That the gift has been given.”

Palpable Hope

“No doubt about it: this is the day of the going down into the tomb—our own as well as Jesus’. It is now the time for us to die to false hope. But it is also time for us to die to faithless despair.- Joan Chittister

This week in posts, I am focusing on Holy Week, the road to the cross. I realize that this will not sit well with many and that is alright. This journey is uncomfortable. It is heavier. It is deep. I am wandering through it and searching for its meaning in my own life.

It makes us stop our flurry of activities. It holds up a mirror to show us how we define our life, our being and how we can redefine our life, to be changed and transformed.

It is not about religion. It is about relationship. It is expansive, filled with mystery, unknowing, joy and light. It pulls us out of our own story to see how it fits into the story of humanity.

In struggles and victories, you are not alone, you are worthy and enough. Lighten your load and open up to seeing the hand of God in this moment and all moments. Life changing, hope-filled, luminous.

“Hope, you see is a slippery thing, often confused with certainty, seldom understood as the spiritual discipline that makes us certain of only one thing: in the end, whatever happens will be resolved only by the doing of the will of God, however much we attempt to wrench it to our own ends.

There is the hope that we can begin, finally, to see the world as God sees it and so trust that God is indeed everywhere and in everything at all times—in abstruse as well as the luminous, whether we ourselves can see the hand of God in this moment or not.” — The Liturgical Year by Joan Chittister

Not More of the Same

“Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone’s face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions. I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and the life to come.” – Henri Nouwen

“Forgiveness is the economy of the heart… forgiveness saves the expense of anger, the cost of hatred, the waste of spirits.” – Hannah More

The past year, the past few weeks and yesterday in particular, being positive, hopeful and optimistic feels like a futile pursuit. If we believe that all of humanity is what’s represented on the news and Facebook, it does seem hopeless. The world is disappointing because it’s made up of flawed, broken and imperfect humans. Humans are fundamentally good. Our circumstances, other people and our own thoughts inflict pain that’s carried forward from one generation to the next, continuing the cycle of hatred, self-loathing and scarcity.

We are put here to bear fruit, to be salt and light, to walk peacefully with others not on them. Real, meaningful answers come through difficult conversations, hard work and resilience in the face of obstacles and complexities. If we focus on the destination and accept that the solution doesn’t fit on a bumper sticker, we can get to the hard work that requires authenticity, strength and resilience to stick to it and keep going. Cynicism, hatred, judgment drain our capacity and energy to do the necessary, difficult work grounded in love.

Stop the rhetoric, stop the “they” accusations, stop pouring gasoline on open fires. Start with yourself first before casting stones. Self-awareness leads to empathy, kindness, conversation, forgiveness, compassion, honesty, generosity, accountability, grace, mercy, optimism, hope, understanding and love. Hatred never has and never will be the answer to anything.

The pain in this world is very real. Healing is optional. Choose to be an outlier, a rebel. Dare to be optimistic, hopeful and be light. Enter the world with enthusiasm and resolve to be part of the solution, not the problem. We don’t need more of the same of either side. We need different and more of it. Sow seeds today, cast light.

“Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love.” – Francis of Assisi

The Light of Spirit

“Solitude sharpens awareness of small pleasures otherwise lost.” – Kevin Patterson

“Once we’re awake, the struggle is often whether we live in the world of things while glimpsing the light of Spirit or in the light of Spirit while moving through the world of things. It is a practice just to be aware of which is driving us.” – Mark Nepo, Finding Inner Courage

In Minnesota, we take winter seriously. After we accept its inevitable return with a few complaints on the temperature adjustment and icy roads, we proceed to make the most of it by going out into it. I started snowshoeing this year and back at cross country skiing as well. Out in nature, in movement, breathing crisp fresh air. At the local golf course, they groom the trails as well as make snow for a small hill for snowboarding, skiing and sledding. They keep making snow all season to keep the hill in good shape.

When we accept that the only way to the other side of winter or other challenges is straight through it, we can embrace a lightness of Spirit, an ease in being. Each season offers unique gifts. There’s a quietude and solace in winter, preparation time, reflection.

Choose to move through the world awake, aware and grateful. The Spirit is all around and within each one of us ready to be held and to hold.

“Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.” – Saint Francis de Sales

Always Earned

This afternoon, I received the Marine Corp Marathon shirt and medal for finishing. This year was different, which is an understatement to describe 2020. I registered in March, trained all spring and summer and it was canceled in August.

I trained for months, so I decided to keep going through fall and run it in the Twin Cities in October. I ran it a week early to beat a possible October snow. Sure enough, it snowed the week after I ran it. I was grateful to run in 30 degree sunny weather rather than snow. I’ve taken the past week and a half off to rest up from over six months of training five days a week. I’m getting restless and thinking about the next goal line, the next long run.

I’m not one for medals, but this one is a special one to be sure. It marks an earned effort over months to run 26.2 miles and finish, even if I was not able to run it in Washington DC with the Marines.

This year has been marked by a tremendous amount of uncertainty and angst. And also along side of it, plenty of blessings and self-awareness, even joy if we chose to succumb.

No matter what happens after the election or where this pandemic will lead next, we are bigger, stronger and deeper than our circumstances. Keep rising while also allowing yourself to indulge in generous self-care.

No one knows what will happen next, but we do know the strength and resilience of the human spirit when set free.

Meaningful progress and outcomes – always earned. Hope and grace – always given.

Snow or Snowman

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” – Henry David Thoreau

It snowed this week, and the lamenting began. Snow in October? It’s too early. Winter is going to be too long. One more thing in a year of constant change, fear and uncertainty. What’s next? (I have my money on the locusts.) No doubt if there ever was a year in recent history to complain, worry and be cynical about, 2020 is the winner.

We believe that things happen “to” us rather than “for” us. A simple yet profound shift from “to” to “for.” Just because we don’t understand “why” doesn’t mean there’s not a reason, one that will be revealed in time with the requirement of perspective, distance and reflection.

We forgo today’s opportunity for joy and meaning in pursuit of the illusive and perfect “someday” which does not exist or the “past” where we remember only but a slice that serves our narrative of the “good old days.”

In addition to the snow this week, it was a week filled with non-stop technology problems at work. Like the weather, also out of our control. My nephew Liam came over Thursday for a few hours. He immediately asked me to go out to build a snowman and make snow angels.

Kids, in their infinite wisdom until we screw them up with “adulting,” see the snowman and the angels in an October snow. They run into it rather than away from it. They see the “for” rather than the “to.” The early snow happened for them so they could build a snowman and lay staring up at the sky moving their legs and arms in delight to bring angels to earth.

The choice each of us needs to make daily is whether we see the snow or the snowman. It determines whether we will live present in each moment grateful for the gifts and blessings that we are swimming in, even in a pandemic. “to” or “for”? I’m going for the “for” rather than “to” as much as I can. And when I forget, I have a snowman and snow angel from my 4 year old life coach Liam to remind me of the best choice of “for.”

Blossoms of Hope

“Lord save us all from old age and broken health and a hope tree that has lost the faculty of putting out blossoms.” – Mark Twain

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” – Albert Einstein

Beyond circumstances and this time, hope remains, rooted deep in our soul. Waiting patiently to be invited, embraced and held tight to carry us through and beyond. When we look through a lens of gratitude, we discover so much more than a thread of hope, we find a rope of hope. Thick, resilient and strong, a net holding us softly and firmly.

Be open to the possibility to see now differently. Invite awe and enter each moment knowing that you are co-creating your experience. Choose your thoughts, words and actions carefully for they shape your reality.

Blossoms of hope are blooming all around. Look for them and they will appear everywhere.

“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul – and sings the tunes without the words – and never stops at all.” – Emily Dickinson

Angel of Hope

“God’s mercy and grace give me hope – for myself, and for our world.” – Billy Graham

“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul – and sings the tunes without the words – and never stops at all.” – Emily Dickinson

When in the heat of the moment, in the desire to react quickly rather than thoughtfully, at the very tip of weariness, hope wins when we choose it. Hope and joy are daily decisions that we need to consciously make again and again. Never let your guard down and let your joy be stolen by circumstances, stray thoughts or other people.

As Monday lived up to its reputation today, I thought of the Angel of Hope statute in Duluth that we walked by a few weeks ago. I was reminded to let it all go and enter grace, gratitude and ease. When your earthly journey becomes heavy, let go of the unnecessary and take flight.

Be kind, generous, grateful and filled with optimism especially when you don’t feel like it. Get your hope wings on. Look up and cast light.

Joy Economy

“Lord save us all from old age and broken health and a hope tree that has lost the faculty of putting out blossoms.” – Mark Twain

“You can make positive deposits in your own economy every day by reading and listening to powerful, positive, life-changing content and by associating with encouraging and hope-building people.” – Zig Ziglar

Nothing like a trip to the Farmer’s Market with friends for fresh veggies and flowers to seize one of the many joys of summer. Joy is found in simple things we weave through each day.

Never underestimate the need to make daily deposits into your own economy to cash in on the riches of a life lived well in the depth of daily joy.

“Pessimism leads to weakness, optimism to power.” – William James

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