“Hope is an orientation of the spirit, an orientation of the heart.VACLAV HAVEL
It transcends the world that is immediately experienced
and is anchored somewhere beyond its horizons.”
Hope is the shaper of dreams, the tiller of possibility. It gives life to our most treasured longings — the aspirations we have for ourselves, as well as those we carry so tenderly for the people we love and for the world at large. If we’re fortunate, we can name times in our lives when hope seems an overflowing well — a life-giving source of both sustenance and possibility. We can dip our cup in over and over, and there is always enough to keep us going. Yet many of us also know the experience of the well seeming to dry up — of thirsting for hope in the face of loss or despair. It’s in these times that our very lifeforce begins to wilt.
What then? How do we refill our personal well of hope? How are we, in turn, able to be a source of hope for others? How does hope inform our actions in the world? And through practice, how might we cultivate hope as an orientation to life that transcends circumstance — that opens our hearts to the mystery of what is yet unknown to us?
We invite you to journey on this 5-day gratefulness practice that explores the ways that Grateful Living can inspire, nourish, and sustain hope in times of both ease and difficulty. Whether you are feeling full of hope at this moment in your life and want to tend and share your wellspring — or you’re struggling to maintain hope in the face of personal challenge or collective grief, this practice offers daily reflections and inspirational resources designed to cultivate hope, both within and around us.
“Faced with brokenness, gratitude has the power to heal. Faced with despair, gratitude has the power to bring hope.”ROBERT EMMONS
We recommend you bookmark this page and move through the practice days at your own pace. You might move through the practice alone or consider exploring it with others, as part of a group experience.
Day 1: 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 in today’s practice to begin building a practice of attuning to — and allowing for — hope.
Day 2: Attuning to Our Own Wisdom
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 3: Opening to Life’s Mystery
Today’s practice is an invitation to cultivate hope as an orientation to life by opening ourselves to surprise and wonder. When we’re able to get more comfortable with uncertainty — with not knowing — we allow for the possibility that life will offer something we’re not yet able to envision. Rather than hoping for a particular thing or outcome, we open ourselves to what we cannot yet know; we learn to befriend mystery.
Day 4: 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.
Here on this final day of the practice, we invite you to begin building an altar as a testament to hope. Whether simple or elaborate, an altar offers a meaningful and tangible focal point for a particular intention or honoring. In this case, the invitation is to create an altar that will support the ongoing cultivation of hope in your heart. We suggest starting simply so that your altar will be an immediate source of inspiration, meaning, and joy.
Feel moved to support future practices?
We warmly welcome contributions!
Photo by Carl Hunley
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