In the stillness of the quiet, if we listen, we can hear the whisper of the heart giving strength to weakness, courage to fear, hope to despair.Howard Thurman
Yesterday’s practice offered an invitation to look for places where hope is alive and well in the larger world – sources of big inspiration. Today’s practice brings us closer to home and is an invitation to tap into your own wisdom and lived experience. To fill our well of hope, we need to look at the world around us, yes, but there are also riches in learning from our own journeys and listening to our own hearts.
Day Two: Attuning to Our Own Wisdom
To begin, take a few minutes to reflect on one or all of the following questions — whichever question(s) most resonate with you:
- When you look at your own life’s journey, what are the times/occasions when you have felt [or do you feel] most hopeful?
- Who are the friends or family members who have inspired you with their hopefulness?
- What have you experienced in your own life — either currently or in the past — that has allowed you to nurture a sense of hope, to hear your heart “in the stillness of the quiet…whisper hope to despair”?
After you’ve completed your reflection, take a moment to consider what experience or activity you could carry forward that would contribute to cultivating a hopeful orientation to life. Perhaps it’s visiting a special place; spending time with a particular person; or re-igniting a habit of body, mind, or heart that you used to practice regularly. In other words, mine your own life experience for sources, guides, and inspiration for cultivating hope.
- What one story, insight, or habit do you want to carry forward as a touchstone of hope into your day or week?
- In a place where you’ll see it every day, create a visual reminder for yourself of this source of hope – a note or favorite quote on a post-it, a treasured object, a photograph.
Share Your Reflection: Help build a collection of ideas for cultivating hope by sharing your story or insight below.
Caring for Self and Others in Times of Trouble: Some Spiritual Tools and Tips, A Short Essay by Alexander Levering Kern
Enjoy these 13 simple but powerful tools and tips for staying clear and grounded – and able to remain hopeful.
Photo Credit: Johannes Plenio
Enjoy the full five-day Hope practice.
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When it seems like winter lasts forever. Suddenly, out of nowhere hope comes shining through. This is a pic of the first flower seen by me in the winter/spring of 2023. Well I tried to copy the picture and paste it here but I guess that is not an option here. Trust me the little yellow crocus were beautiful!
For me, the word “hope” is slippery. Too often hope is the flip side of fear: “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.”
I’d prefer to think about acceptance–and about cultivating a feeling that things are basically OK. There is a Buddhist text called “The Three Fierce Mantras of Tsangpa Gyare,” who was a teacher in Tibet in the 1100s:
“Whatever has to happen, let it happen.
“Whatever the situation is, it is fine.
“I really don’t need anything [to be happy].”
These statement remind me that there is a reality beyond my daily concerns, judgments, and preferences.
Jody- that is an excellent response!
as Hope is a difficult word to define!
Thank you for the three wise statements!
Thank you for this very practical, powerful list in the deepening resource. I am grateful. I feel most hopeful when I am cooking or planting something in the ground. My granddaughters give me a solid sense of hope because hopelessness is unimaginable to me when I experience their delightful spirits. This work is so helpful. Thank you all.
I feel most hopeful when I stay connected to friends and loved ones. During Covid I learned to isolate. Now, I need to feel the connection to those I care about. I was not meant to be alone. I feel so much better when I am with others.
I feel hopeful when I see my children, or any young person, being generous and kind. I also find gardening a practice in hope and reward! I also feel hopeful when I finish a project or create something and feel like I did a good job… it feels like I am conjuring something out of nothing… and knowing others can do this, too, and appreciating their talent… it makes me feel like the world is full of magic.
I am lucky to have nature close to me. I walk a river trail every day and am able to see, eagles, osprey, spawning salmon, trout, bear, deer beaver and cheeky little marmots. Creator is good to me.
“May I take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek no attention. May I experience each day as a sacred gift woven around the heart of wonder” John O” Donohue Benedictions
For years my touchstone for hope has been two small incidences from my childhood. Raised in a difficult environment with a violent and abusive father and a fearful mother, life for my sister and I felt unsafe and insecure. A few years ago while going through a difficult transition due to illness, two things came to mind through our beautiful mother Earth: I remember the comfort I felt in my bedroom listening to the wind pass through the screened windows – gentle and soft, it caressed my skin. And other times during a thunderstorm, the thunder speaking so loudly and reassuringly that I was being held and I was safe – as if God was talking. These two things, to this day, comfort me so often and give me hope. Because they still speak and I am safe to this day over 60 years hence.
beautiful. For so many thunder is a source of fear. How wonderful to have such a strong presence bring a sense of protection and safety instead of fear. I will try to remember that whenever I hear thunder.
I am so glad you are and feel safe, Christine.
Feeling hopeful when I see a ray of sunshine, a bird in a tree, a baby in my arms. Hopeful that the cross we carry is never too heavy, even if it feels immense and difficult when I connect with God and ask for help than I have more in me than I ever expected.
It gives me hope when I see courses like these and people caring for other people by creating and sharing them.💖💖💖
INDEED!!! And people participating in them.
The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope. BARACK OBAMA
I am hopeful when I am in my garden appreciating the wonder of its blooms, its pollinators, its resilience. I am hopeful when I’m running … feeling strong, moving my body outside in the world. I am hopeful when working in clay, getting lost in a project. I am hopeful when I’m teaching, seeing the spark of creativity and exploration in others. My reminder to myself is always to “lighten”… as I tend to get bogged down in the news of the world and my own sadnesses.
While this thought makes my heart so heavy for my dear friend and for myself it is a time that gave me so much hope. My very dear friend lost her son to a horrible vehicle accident. It was not his fault at all but lives were lost. He was just starting his life after graduating college. He just bought a new house and was making his way in his career of choice. They were able to be with him for a couple of days before his body succumbed to the injuries. She stayed with him every minute. When he passed she texted us to let us know. My heart just fell to the floor, how will she go on, how will she leave that hospital without him, how will she recover. I was so worried for her. When I knew they were coming back home, I grabbed another friend and we went grocery shopping. We didn’t want her to worry about anything at home just wanted her to be able to grieve in the way she needed to. But to my surprise when we got to her house her husband was there. He was by her side and their son’s side the entire time as well. He talked to us and told the whole story, what happened, how it happened, where they were emotionally at that moment, what they were going to do to get through the following days. Did he have tears, yes, was he sad, absolutely, but the amazing part was they had hope. They had a plan they initiated the plan and they continued to move forward every day. Their daughter was to be married two weeks after this loss. They celebrated her wedding surrounded by family and friends who loved them. Again they had a plan and knew this marriage was important. Starting a new life with someone you love gives everyone so much hope. I will always admire this friend who took a devastating moment to make it into a time of hope and love.
I have to look no further than my friend when I have a brief down day. Just look around, you can find it, there is hope and love around you. Still to this day, and it’s only been a little over a year since the accident, she has a positive attitude and enjoys life with a heart filled with hope and love.
amazing! Such strength and courage.
I work in the field of higher education and am inspired by the hope that curiosity and learning bring into the lives of students at our college, for the employers who hire these adult learners, and to the family and friends our students encounter every day. My father (who barely graduated high school and was a life long learner) told me many times, “Every class you take will change you and it will change everyone else you encounter. You can’t help it. Once you learn something new, it changes the way you think and act forever and influences the way you are with others in the world.” There is so much hope for me in the work I do in the world with people every day.
That is a beautiful quote. You are lucky to have had such an inspiring father. 🙂
As a public interest lawyer, my career was always a high wire act without a net. I had to blaze my own trail. Fortunately, I found the help I needed in prayer, Wilderness Vision Quests, Esalen workshops, gratitude practice, and individual therapy. In retirement, discovering writing poetry saved my life.
“Thanks to Impermanence, Anything is Possible” Thich Nhat Hahn🙏