July 18, 2016

Practicing Hope

Even now, I have a hopeful view of the world. Heartbreaking violence and greed unfold every day, but still I see goodness in people. There are brave, generous, and compassionate acts that soar under the radar. These aren’t mentioned in the news, but I witness them daily. My hope isn’t based on denial. It’s based on direct experience with my best self and the best selves of others. 

I recently read wise words from Krista Tippett: “Hope is distinct, in my mind, from optimism or idealism. It has nothing to do with wishing. It references reality at every turn and reveres truth. It lives open eyed and wholehearted with the darkness that is woven ineluctably into the light of life. Hope, like every virtue, is a choice that becomes a practice that becomes spiritual muscle memory. It’s a renewable resource for moving through life as it is, not as we wish it to be.” 

Practicing hope is like practicing mindfulness: stay aware of everything; be honest and gentle; release expectation; cultivate love and acceptance. Hope applies in the larger world, yet it equally applies in our individual lives. Darkness and light are interwoven. Hope allows me to stay with difficulty and savor joy. Even as I experience grief, in deep and new ways, I have hope: I will heal. I don’t “wish” for this. I practice it every day.

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