I have hope on my mind a lot lately. I’ve been thinking about it, writing about, posting about it, and, when it’s a good day, even feeling it.
Pema Chödrön, who is one of my absolute favorite authors, once said, “Abandon hope”. This stirred me to the core. Abandon hope? If we do that, how will we believe in anything? It stirred me to the core, and it also forced me to think about hope in a new light. I had the old school version of hope in my pocket for a long time. I would lay in bed at night, wishing and hoping for things to be different this week. I would go through the week, wishing and hoping to make it through to the weekend. I was always living in the future, or the past, and wishing and hoping my way out of the present. That’s old school hope. New school hope is different, at least in the way that I conceptualize it, and the way that I try to bring it out in other people.
Hope doesn’t mean that you believe only in sunshine and rainbows and butterflies. Hope doesn’t mean that you won’t be sad or struggle to get through the day. To me, hope is this quiet voice inside our heads that say, “you will get through this. It will be OK”. Hope doesn’t wish for things, or pray for things. No, that’s something different. That’s us trying to control the way things will turn out. To me, hope is the ability to let outcomes go, to believe that the universe has a way of working things out. Hope is quiet. It’s personal. It’s peaceful. It’s sitting amongst chaos, and sadness, and grief, and feeling it all. Feeling it all, but also knowing that someway, somehow, we will move through it.
So, go ahead and abandon that old school hope as Pema tells us to. But maybe while you’re at it, go ahead and cultivate some new school hope, too. I think Pema would approve.
P.S. For more on Pema’s quote, read When Things Fall Apart.
Peace and Good Vibes,