Hope locates itself in the premises that we don’t know what will happen and that in the spaciousness of uncertainty is room to act.Rebecca Solnit
Rebecca Solnit’s words build on yesterday’s practice by reminding us that it’s in the very spaciousness of uncertainty that there’s room for us to act. This is hope embodied — not knowing how things will turn out nor the clear path forward, but acting nonetheless.
We can all point to beloved heroes — the Gandhis and Nelson Mandelas of the world — who have acted on behalf of an ideal or possibility even when the way forward was not at all clear, even when they knew that they wouldn’t live to see the full fruits of their labors. In her most recent work, The Book of Hope, Dr. Jane Goodall reminds us that the world depends on each of us doing our part; acting from hope is not only for extraordinary leaders. She writes: “…there is hope for our future… But only if we all get together and join forces. And I hope, too, that you understand the urgency of taking action, of each of us doing our bit.”
Day Four: Embodying Hope in Action
Take a few minutes to reflect — writing, on a walk, sitting quietly, in conversation with a friend — on what “doing your bit” may be at this particular moment in your life. Much like love, compassion, or gratitude, hope longs to be enacted and expressed in the world. It remains, otherwise, only a feeling – powerful but incomplete and fleeting.
- Where are you most called to embody hope by taking action even if you can’t envision how you (or we) will ever achieve a needed change?
- Is it something personal and close to home that beckons you to act with hope, despite uncertainty? …and/or…
- Is it a larger community or global issue that leaves you asking yourself: What difference can I possibly make?
Once you’ve had some time to reflect, identify one hopeful action you can take this week, ideally today. Will you reach out to someone with encouragement or healing, give your time or resources to a cause you care about, create something, plant something, take a courageous step toward a goal?
Whatever you choose, do so with intentional hope, knowing that you may or may not witness the impact or ripple effect of your action — and trusting that it matters nonetheless. Act anyway, with gratitude for all those before us who did the same, whose hopeful actions and legacies have made our lives possible.
We invite you to share your reflections below: What action will you take, large or small, that embodies hope in your life, in the world?
Glory, with Musicians John Legend and Common, from the movie Selma
Set against a montage from the movie Selma, this performance of Glory is a powerful anthem of hope. The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. famously spoke these words: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice” — reminding us that the fruits of our love and labor may come into being far beyond our own horizon.
Photo Credit: Andrej Lisakov
Enjoy the full five-day Hope practice.
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Somehow I was not notified about Day 5! Can anyone help with this?
Edited to add: Never mind–I figured out how to get there. 🙂
After viewing the video Glory I feel energized to begin helping out in an art class in an elementary school with underprivileged (underserved) children. I have a longing to be involved with the children and would especially enjoy doing so when I don’t have to be responsible for everything. I just want to help and give my love and attention to the children.
I’m going to start with myself. Although I love to paint and make collages, creating art challenges me to quiet my inner critic and to let go of my fear of failure. My fear puts my inner critic on high alert. Some part of me thinks mistakes just are not okay. I subconsciously try to correct myself with my inner critic before others will notice what I perceive as my inadequacy. As I write this it feels so tiresome. I’ve dealt with this for as long as I can remember. If only I could believe in my heart of hearts that I am okay, that I am enough.
So I will act even though I feel fear. I will get back to my art table and begin again. And when my inner critic starts I will either ignore the criticism or respond with an affirmation. I can do this.
I wanted to say that you are not alone in how you feel.as I can identify very much with what you said. Poetry is my “art table” and I will nudge myself to use it. There is a song, “You can do hard things ” (not sure of exact words) that I someone passed on to me recently during the Stop, Look Go six week series that gratefulness.org did. I will try to locate it for you. You last sentence reminded me of it.
Thank you Edie! ♥️
I did find it: ” You Can Do Hard Things by Carrie Newcomer
Daily we begin again…some monastic said to encourage his tired monks.Perhaps it was St Benedict who modeled in his communities “Ora et Labora” which makes room for both prayer in quiet, sacred space and a place for action, ministry or using one’s gifts.
I relate t your post and remind myself: “God’s mercies are new every morning.” (Lam 3) I, too, ask often, “Lead me, push me, Lord along peaceful, holy paths.” or “Carry me, Good Shepherd, to pastures where I belong…undr your guiding love.”
You are okay, Mary, just as you are.
The irony is the inner critic will even criticize you for having an inner critic! Lol. That inner critic is a funny one, isn’t she? It kind of goes to prove the critic will say absolutely anything to try to hold you back, no matter how ridiculous the claim!
Love you lots, Mary.
Make your collages and have fun with it! I have seen a collage of yours once and still remember its amazing detail and beauty! It is but an outter reflection of your beautiful soul.
Holly, I am so touched!
Thank you so very much!
“in the very spaciousness of uncertainty that there’s room for us to act. This is hope embodied – not knowing how things will turn out nor the clear path forward, but acting nonetheless.”
This is an affirmation of what I’m doing right now in the arena of electoral politics. In my context (Vancouver, BC: Canada)! I’m choosing to share space with a disrupting candidate who dares to reframe priorities, to imagine equity and to confront the stats quo truthfully.
That sounds wonderful Elaine!
My action was in teaching a class on the power of each person’s Why-How-What and how they might use that power to create a better world for themselves and others.
Thanks for the Deepening Resource! It resonates with the best ‘Hope’ quote I found on the web yesterday: “out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope” from Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream’ speech. Hope as a stone! 😐
Wish me luck as I work up the energy to post my water-saving idea on the web: using a rubber band to slow the water flow when we turn on the faucet, if it’s one with 1 lever, we can loop a rubber band around the lever and the faucet so the water doesn’t come on with full force – Why do we want our precious water to come on at full force all the time, when we’re maybe just going to rise something off?? 🙁
This is a marvelous idea, Mica. I’m trying to picture it. Do you think you could post a photo of it in the Gratitude Lounge? thank you.
Will do, Holly – but I’ll let my lounge post for today be today’s post. But for sure I’ll be happy to share it soon. It doesn’t work on my bathroom sink, because the rubber band pulls the handle toward ‘hot’ and I don’t use hot water in that sink, because hot water takes a long time to reach my 4th floor condo, so I installed an under-sink hot water heater in the kitchen to give me speedy hot water and that’s where I get hot sink water in my condo 🙂- I don’t want the hot water to start working its way up to the bathroom sink… There are so many things to think about when figuring out how to save energy and help the environment. I have a pitcher for collecting bits of clean rinse water in my kitchen sink and I use the water to water plants on my balcony, but that’s just a fun ‘exercise’ – it doesn’t save enough water to be useful 🙂
You already gave me an idea of how to make a limiter for my kitchen sink, but it will have to be with string and not a rubber band, because it is a very different design! I will take a photo, too. It will come in handy for when I am washing dishes. 😊
Thanks, Holly – I wonder if I can use a string to limit the flow of Cold water in my bathroom! The only problem with string is that it might not be easy to get the water to flow at full speed when I want it to – but I’m not sure I need to do that in my bathroom – and I’ll see if I can make one for my kitchen sink that I can slide for when I want full speed water in the kitchen 🙂 – rubber bands have the problem of wearing out and stretching different amounts at different times 😐
How true these words from above: “This is hope embodied – not knowing how things will turn out nor the clear path forward, but acting nonetheless.”
Looking through smoky glass
I lack clear vision
Yet I press on toward the goal
eyes fixed on Christ
Whose path I follow
Step by step,
Breath by breath.”
Though cyberspace has its darkness where viewers will receive only negative vibes, I’ve found I can do “my bit” through the vast resouces of the Internet. Connecting across seas, encouraging family afar, rejoicing with online comunities like this one make a mosaic of multiude graces.
Acting though the path unclear, even at times muddy, resting on the promises God made is the only way for me to go forward!
It hasn’t been so long since I learned of the existence of a “Dark Web” online. Now, from your words, I can see that there is also a “Light Web.” Thank you for that. 🙂
Thanks for your reply. With so many modern inventions, one is able to use them for ill or wellness. Filtering what comes through computer feeds keeps one vigilant, avoiding the ugly. I am grateful for the “Block” feature on email, otherwise my inbox would explode! Surfing can lead one down a dark rabbit hole or into good spaces, even some that are sacred. Thin places as the Irish might say.
Yes, the thin places!
(Nodelyn, a lady wrote this line today down below) I intentionally look for the inherent beauty of each person I meet regardless of whoever they are. I love this line. I try to do this but she wrote she intentionally does it. I am going to take her approach and intentionally do this today. I love when you speak to someone who isn’t expecting it, and their face lights up and smile grows across their face. It give me such a warm feeling know I made someone smile.
I am not one to march in the streets and carry signs. My main action is donating to nonprofit charitable organizations, with emphasis on local needs. I know that animals in shelters need food every day, for instance. I know that many Buddhist groups are small and struggle to stay afloat. Another key area is preserving the environment.
In retirement, I write poetry and create blog articles for my website (see my profile for link). This is where I use my voice.
For so many, “their bit” for the planet would have great meaning. They want to do more, but often don’t know quite what they can do, or that little things matter, or that it can be easy and even save them money and benefit their lives in other ways. My bit began with making our own household more sustainable, which I will be continuing to do, with soon I hope, the addition of an electric car. But my bit has also evolved into answering questions and mentoring others in their journeys to do their bits… whatever form it takes. I answer questions online about growing vegetables, reducing household waste, finding appliances that save energy, water, and money, finding grants for house or home improvements that are more sustainable. I also visit new gardeners and farmers in my area and give them ideas for making it easier and more successful with less input, and how to sequester carbon in the soil. It is a small bit, my part, but I am so grateful for those who mentored me and gave of their time and knowledge. I feel the call to pass it on as generously as they did for me.
I intentionally look for the inherent beauty of each person I meet regardless of whoever they are. I say it with love and gentleness. I try to practice that for myself as well-self-compassion.
I work with infants and toddlers and their teachers that I mentor and supervisor. For me they are the concrete sign of hope, every single day.
Fred Rogers says, “Those who work with children are heroes.”
I absolutely love your first line. I am going to take that to heart and use it today!! Thank you for sharing that.
From some very tumultuous times, I have learned to reach inside and determine what speaks to me. I have found much satisfaction from a long career as a teacher and I have done some writing too. Now I’m painting and drumming. It works for me. Oh and the love of grandchildren.
I’m eighty. My race is run. My public interest law career – a high wire act without a net – stitched together one hopeful action after another. In retirement I’ve become a poet, where I can pass on what I have done and learned.
Bravo, Peter! I also write poetry now that I’m retired.
Beautiful! Poetry reaches right into my heart. I write and read it. Especially Mary Oliver. Thanks Peter. Always something we can do.