Life adventures, inspiration and insight; shared in articles, advice, personal chats and pictures.
When I was a child, my older sister asked me if I’d like to play “52 Pickup” with her. I was delighted to have a chance to be included, since by my estimation I wasn’t so very much younger in mind. She threw the deck of cards into the air and I watched as they scattered across the living room floor. For a moment after she instructed me to pick them up, I didn’t understand the point. Then I realized I was supposed to play the dupe. I like to think I walked away, but I probably did as I was told.
An archaic definition of “hope” is “a feeling of trust.” I’m not surprised that definition has become archaic. We live in increasingly cynical times. Although I enjoy people, I don’t trust them much. For me, trust involves the ability to predict what someone else will do, and I haven’t had a good track record of predicting. My solution was to stop expecting anything from anyone. With no expectations, you can’t be disappointed. However, realistically we can’t help forming expectations. It’s a coping mechanism.
This weekend, before the American midterm elections, avoiding expectations is especially difficult. My email is stuffed with dire predictions that always include a desperate plea for money I don’t have. Out of necessity, I gambled on buying a reconditioned laptop that isn’t functioning properly and I’ll be spending the afternoon at a funeral for a friend who died early for serving his country. I’m forcing my mind to go elsewhere—to happier situations. I know full well that despair encourages illness. I’m asking myself how to bolster my reservoir of hope.
PSYCHOLOGY TODAY suggests doing something you know you can do. “Overcoming the inertia of helplessness can help you build hope.” So, I’m writing this blog.
Laura Koniver, MD, recommends connecting with nature, focusing on spirit (prayer), listening to music, reaching out to your support system, moving to a fresh location, expressing gratitude and compassion, body work/exercise, and—perhaps most important of all—getting plenty of sleep. I’m good in the sleep department and I live in nature, but I’m willing to give the other ideas a try.
I just had a call from someone far away who wanted to help me with the problem I’m having with the laptop for which I just blew my bank account. I don’t know if his suggestions will solve the issues, but the mere fact that someone is thinking of me has increased both my trust and hope levels. Hope is a communal thing. We hope when we’re surrounded by people who inspire us. The sheer numbers of people voting in these midterms is impressive, and more so when you consider how many are voting out of personal conviction and not in response to group think. I’m inspired by the voters who take long hours and considerable risks to contribute their ballots—in spite of efforts to discard or alter their votes.
Hope is also that stubborn refusal to give up that waits to be summoned from within each of us. We insist on a better future—if not for us, then for those who come after. We are what we do.