Reflections

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  1. Robin Ann

    I managed to have hope and positive change with helping my daughter achieve sobriety now for 3 mos. My son is now struggling with not being happy with his job and his relationship with his ex finance. She is still in the picture and they have been going to therapy but the therapist had a family emergency. I know I can only help and hope so much. Lending an ear and helping my son organize his finances since with one person out of the house we all struggle with the bills!

    5 months ago
    1. Joseph McCann

      Loving kindness your way Robin Ann. Your strength for your son and daughter is well needed,

      5 months ago
  2. Journey

    The area of my life where I’m having trouble moving forward is eating healthy and making good food choices. I read somewhere ‘start your day determined and end your day satisfied’. Well, I start each day determined to eat healthy and do my best and I do kick off my day to a great start by prayer, this website, my workout. I eat a healthy lunch as well and then somehow after work, mid afternoon and evening on, I get unglued and reach for junk food or eat until I’m too stuffed to move. I cannot seem to break out of this pattern. I keep telling myself that 75% of the day is done, only a 1/4 more to go, surely you can go to be satisfied that you ate healthy and stuck to your morning determination, but evening after evening, I fail.

    5 months ago
    1. Yram

      A successful person suggested to have something scheduled during those times. She would take a walk, sew, call a friend, etc. I thought I would pass that on. A day at a time!

      5 months ago
  3. A
    ActiveD5

    I am struggling moving forward from a career perspective. Do I go back in the workforce or not? I think I should and I am very hopeful I can find what I am looking for.

    5 months ago
  4. Barb C

    I may have shared this quotation before, from The Book of Hope by Jane Goodall in conversation with Douglas Abrams (who also co-wrote The Book of Joy with Bishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama).

    “Hope is often misunderstood. People tend to think that it is simply passive wishful thinking: I hope something will happen but I’m not going to do anything about it. This is indeed the opposite of real hope, which requires action and engagement.”
    — Jane Goodall, The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times

    To me this means I don’t “cultivate hope”. I cultivate the recognition that I can’t do everything, but I must do something.

    5 months ago
    1. Journey

      As always well said Barb

      5 months ago
  5. Charlie T

    Yes, moving forward is always difficult
    for me. But, I do think it’s getting easier,
    over time.
    “Cultivating hope”? I think that’s why I’m
    practicing gratitude. Being less depressed
    and cynical and more positive and hopeful,
    seems to allow me to see more alternatives.

    5 months ago
  6. Nannette

    I always have had hope…but my behavior has not always moved forward…or should I say is not moving forward now..However; hope is not magical- with hope comes responsibility and one (me) must accept that in order for change I must lead…and hope will always be there in my heart pushing me along. What a wonderful and thought provoking question to start this week with!!

    5 months ago
  7. sunnypatti

    The area is work, and my husband and I are HOPING that changing our business model will help us gain more business and be able to stay open. We often say that we should have stuck with just catering, and we very well may go back to just that. But the restaurant has brought us catering that we wouldn’t have had without it, even if our restaurant is not busy at all. It’s like a catch 22, but I have said the whole time that I have faith in what we’re doing, so here’s hoping the addition of services works out!

    5 months ago
    1. Journey

      Praying you are successful in this venture that you bring your passion, your hard work and your hope to.

      5 months ago
    2. Nannette

      SunnyPatti, Wishing you success…I know that you and your husband have worked very hard on this business venture! Don’t give up!! It may just take some more time…and it seems that you and your husband have great ideas! Prayers for the best!!

      5 months ago
  8. Carol

    Joseph said it so well: “cultivating acceptance and capabilities rather than circumstances.” Thank you, Joseph. Acceptance allows me to be open to what life is offering me in this moment. It reminds me of the difference between hope and hopes.

    I did a search of my journals using the term, “cultivating hope” and found an article by Kristi Nelson that was very helpful to me back in 2019 when I had just sold my home in Louisiana due to health issues and moved to NE Kansas to be closer to my son. It blessed me again today as I re-read Kristi’s wisdom.

    Morning Meds, May 13 2019 We are Life
    There is a short essay below. It is a beautifully written reminder filled with the wisdom of “going with the flow,” of “expecting what you need” not what you think you need; It is a reminder that life is trustworthy. I’ve been in my new home for about two weeks and am learning so much about myself from this experience. As Br. David says in this essay, “Deep trust in life is not a feeling but a stance that you deliberately take. It is the attitude we call courage.” Yes, it’s the attitude of gratitude. As Matthew Fox says in his book “Meditation with Meister Eckhart”

    “The Word of God
    Is always “In the beginning.”
    And this means it is always in the process of being born
    And is always already born”

    Life is process not product and we are LIFE!

    Deepening Our Comfort with Uncertainty By Kristi Nelson, Executive Director Gratefulness.org
    You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith, and hope.
    ~ Thomas Merton
    I used to put myself to sleep by repeatedly reciting a little mantra that helped me transition from active days to hopes for a calm mind at night: “There is nothing to do, nowhere to go, nothing to know.” Guiding myself into greater comfort with not knowing was always helpful in reassuring my mind that it could truly rest and take a break from trying to plan and figure everything out. It seemed that where my mind could lead, my body would follow, and so I could slip into the sweet embrace of sleep.
    There is much to discover that can surprise us, so much to which we can gratefully yield, so much permission to let go of our need to know or control what will happen.
    In our daily lives, there are endless forms of uncertainty — far more things we cannot know than know. Objectively, this could be cause for great delight, wonder, and surrender. We could be relieved and appreciative that we do not have to perpetually hold onto the steering wheel, captain the ship, drive our lives. There is much to discover that can surprise us, so much to which we can gratefully yield, so much permission to let go of our need to know or control what will happen. And yet when we experience the presence of true uncertainty in our lives, it can be rattling. It goes against the conditioning most of us have internalized that not knowing is threatening — that it must be hidden or overridden, solved or resolved, as quickly as possible.
    For everyone alive now, and for everyone who has ever lived, we are united in the fact that life invites us to show up again and again into mystery. There are no guarantees — only exquisite unknowns. We do not know exactly how or when we will die, and there is no single formula for how best to live. We do not know how life is going to unfold — in the grand scheme and also in its minutiae — and we cannot be in charge of most all of it. This freedom from control can either shrink our perspective to the size of a clinging fist or deliver us readily into the gaze of the cosmos, depending on how we approach life in the moment. Much of our freedom depends on cultivating greater perspective about being with uncertainty, however and whenever we can.
    As we meet the uncertain world with grateful and wholehearted presence, our inner life and spiritual life are unfathomably enriched.
    When we practice grateful living, we create a welcoming space for the surprise of uncertainty, knowing that it arrives naturally in each of those moments when we truly take nothing for granted. Without expectations, life is one surprising unfolding after another. The exact nature of the surprises that arrive in our lives is not up to us, but the nature of our response to surprise is ours and ours alone. Each time we let go and welcome life instead of holding onto our ideas about it, we receive reinforcement for our willingness to surrender to vastness rather than trying to resist it. The rewards of this shift are ever-available to us and make the risks ever-worthwhile, as they deliver the gifts of greater ease, resilience, and joy. As we meet the uncertain world with a more grateful, trusting presence, our inner life and spiritual life are unfathomably enriched. As Br. David Steindl-Rast says, “Deep trust in life is not a feeling but a stance that you deliberately take. It is the attitude we call courage.”
    It seems we could benefit from learning to bring more of the intentions and prayers we use to guide ourselves to sleep at night to help guide us in how to be truly awake to our days. At night, we soften into the impending unknown of sleep by encouraging our minds to be fully in the moment, to let go, to trust, to surrender. Perhaps if we allowed ourselves to remember this practice of release — and that there truly, often is nothing to know — in the fullness of how we live out our days, we might find ourselves more available to life, and life infinitely more available to us.

    5 months ago
    1. Charlie T

      Yes, yes, and yes. Thank you Carol,
      for this meditation.
      I know that when I finally surrendered,
      is when I was able to start to change.
      Thinking back, it was a series of
      surrenders. Thinking about it now,
      I’m realizing that I need to tap into
      that feeling of surrender every day.

      I wrote this four years ago, while in
      psychiatric hospital. At the beginning
      of my journey.

      Losing control

      I’ve lost control.
      It started out in my head, and it spread.
      Slowly spreading to my stomach.
      And eventually to my freshly broken heart.
      I couldn’t stop thinking about dying.
      I couldn’t stop thinking about how my
      life was about to change. I couldn’t
      stop thinking about the sad situation
      I’ve found myself in.
      My thumb is still numb where the
      handcuffs were clamped unnecessarily
      too tight on my wrist.
      I’ve spent most of my life in control.
      Surviving.
      Try not to think about the fact that
      I’m locked in and can’t get out. for
      the first time in my life, I have no
      control.
      I like to be in control.
      Try not to panic. Give in.
      Please tell me what to do.
      I’m tired of making decisions.
      Tell me where I can go, what I can
      eat, when to sleep, when to relax,
      when to pay attention. I’m tired of
      being in charge.

      5 months ago
      1. Nannette

        Thank you, Charlie T. for this very soul and heart wrenching poem…..You lived it and YOU are a survivor. God Bless you. Thank you so very much for sharing.

        5 months ago
      2. Joseph McCann

        A heart felt thank you. Charlie T.

        5 months ago
      3. Carol

        Charlie, Yours is definitely a poem of surrender and reflects a tremendous amount of your growth in self awareness. And I agree that we all need to tap into that willingness to surrender over and over again. Daily surrender is a good way to go because our need to control is never completely quelled. The title of your powerful poem–Losing Control–is right on. It earmarks the difference between being “out of control” from “losing control.” I think it explains that giving in is not giving up. Thank you for your willingness to share your poem with us.

        5 months ago
      4. S
        Ana Maria

        How very ppowerful Charlie, I thank you for sharing this powerful post. Surrender, yes! A very powerful action. I must try it. It has been my chosen word for many years. I must keep reminding my self that I need to do it. It might help with my constant worrying. I thank you and Carol for these answers.

        5 months ago
  9. Yram

    My thoughts are too jumbled at the present moment. I need to ponder more. I am stuck with what hope means to me. My definition varies as to the severity of the situation. I will look forward to reading more replies.

    5 months ago
  10. Sonja

    We had a beautiful Thanksgiving with family. A house full of laughter, good food and young children. I historically struggle with pausing to rest when our house is full. There is always something to clean, cook, attend to. My hope is to continue to cultivate pausing to notice the beauty all around and take in the love surrounding each moment vs getting wrapped up in all the tasks in front of me. This has been a journey for me. I am grateful for the growth and anchor myself in the hope of continued present moment awareness.

    5 months ago
  11. Sheila

    This question made me think of Br. David’s quote, “The hope that is left after all your hopes are gone, that is pure hope, rooted in the heart “. May everyone’s day be graced with peace and joy. 🙏💞🌈

    5 months ago
  12. Mary Mantei

    This is a question I need to sit with awhile. So many thoughtful reflections here already, thank you.

    5 months ago
  13. Michele

    I seem to have trouble moving forward with making better food choices and exercising more. Hopefully I can get in the groove and makes these healthier choices for myself.

    5 months ago
    1. Journey

      Me too Michelle

      5 months ago
    2. Emmaleah

      I am struggling with the same thing, Michelle. I read this article yesterday which gave me some hope as well as motivation. I thought I’d share with you.
      https://www.sciencealert.com/you-can-add-10-years-to-your-life-simply-by-changing-your-diet-massive-study-finds

      5 months ago
  14. Joseph McCann

    Cultivating acceptance and capabilities rather than cultivating circumstances with hope seems to be working much better for me when I am stuck either moving forward or backward. With a grateful outlook, looking for good in any situation no matter how dire things are at first glance, I am better able to maneuver one way or another.

    5 months ago
    1. Laura

      I love the distinction you made here, Joseph, between the ability to respond vs. circumstances.

      5 months ago
  15. EJP

    Hope keeps the candle burning during this challenging time in my life. Hope shines a light in all the dark places.

    5 months ago
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