Active Hope is waking up to the beauty of life on whose behalf we can act.
We belong to this world.

Joanna Macy

It could be said that every human era is a time of great uncertainty, a time that requires hope in order to keep going. It is also true that our era is distinct in being the most globally connected in the history of the world. In some ways, this means that hope is always at our fingertips. With a few clicks, we can witness courageous acts of love and compassion in real time, access stories of extraordinary human triumph, or livestream a beautiful concert or compelling talk from around the world.

But our global connection also leaves us with shared challenges and a profound, collective uncertainty about the future. Is there a real end to the pandemic? Will we ever find our way to ongoing peace and equity? Will we have the courage to unite in the face of climate change? The cumulative impact of truly caring for the world, particularly when layered on top of any losses and hardships we may be facing in our individual lives, would simply be impossible to navigate without hope. It’s in these times that cultivating hope as an orientation to life can let in some much-needed light, nourish our hearts, remind us of possibility, and inspire new action in our lives and the world.

Day One: Waking Up to Hope in the World

On this first day of the practice, we invite you to pause, look around, and identify specific ways that hope is alive and thriving in the world. No matter how you might be feeling today, explore the steps below to begin building a practice of attuning to – and allowing for – hope.

  • Take a few minutes to savor the images of hope offered in one or both of the following annual collections by Alan Taylor in The Atlantic.* Because images impact each of us differently, one collection may resonate more than the other.
  • Notice the feelings that are awakened by focusing your attention on these moving photographs. Which of the images speaks to you most powerfully about hope? Which image(s) did you find most moving and hopeful?
  • What occurrence have you witnessed or heard about recently that, if photographed, could be added as an additional hopeful image in either series?
  • Beyond the Photos: As you make your way through the day, do so with the intention of identifying 3-5 sources of hope in the world. Begin to build a practice of attuning to those things that deliver a sense of hope, that remind you that hope is alive and well in the world.
  • At the end of the day, take time to complete the prompt below. Consider how it felt to orient toward hope throughout the day, how your perspective may have shifted, where a sense of possibility may have opened, etc.
    • By intentionally tuning in to sources of hope in the world, I….

Share Your Reflection: We invite you to share your story and/or reflection below. Allow your sources of hope to contribute to a rising well of hope for others engaged in this practice. Please note that you’re welcome to post a response to each day’s prompt at any point during the practice.

*You are able to access the photo series up to three times without a subscription to The Atlantic.

Deepening Resource

Training Our Trains of Thought: A Short Essay by Kristi Nelson

Kristi’s compelling piece offers us strategies and guidance for shifting “awful-izing” patterns of thought to habits of mind that help orient us toward gratefulness and hope.

Photo Credit: Elena Kloppenburg


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