finding hope

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Right about now, it’s hard to find hope.

And it’s difficult to feel hopeful.

But there must be as many ways to find what’s lost as there are ways to lose something in the first place. So, now that hope feels a little lost, I’ve been searching.

I found a kind of hope I’ll call awe.

The awe of standing so small alongside the towering magnificence of a mountain fills my heart with hope and exhilarates my imagination.  I felt awe several times this summer and each time, I was interacting with a view, a place, a piece of the world so much bigger than I. The mountains. The ocean. A big and bustling city.

Maybe being filled with awe is like in kind to feeling centered and prayerful.

Maybe as I stood top-side on a boat scanning an ocean as far and wide as my eye could see, maybe I somehow felt like the only silent and still entity for miles around. Maybe surrounded by the vastness of all that water, I felt more like an anchor and less adrift and at the whim of the waves.

Maybe climbing a mountain to its peak is some sort of symbol of life’s hike to the heavens. And maybe up there in all that open air of the summit, it’s easier to breathe. Easier to believe. Easier to understand I am but one person in a very big, very confusing world. Maybe it takes some of the pressure off.

I found a kind of hope I’ll call beauty.

I keep looking for the beauty all around me and find it with a bit of conscious effort. A few internal reminders help me understand the fact that the world’s ugliness must in some way, however large or small, be counteracted by its beauty. Its complexity opposed by its simplicity. Its violence, contrasted by moments – however brief – of peace.

Many times it’s nature offering up all that counterintelligence – the perfect, pink curl of a zinnia petal. The softest summer light at sunset on the river. The quiet call of a barred owl after midnight.

There’s beauty too in the smile of a friend, or my son, or the stranger behind me in line at the grocery store. There’s a simple kind of knowing we trade in a smile. There’s a peaceful ease and delight to be had in the sharing of music, a meal, or a book I think you simply must read. There’s happiness to be found in the hugs we exchange, the return of a long-gone someone special, and the hand I hold walking across a busy street.

I found a kind of hope I’ll call comfort.

Amidst all the daily confusion and unpredictability of the world, I find comfort in the regular and routine. The washing of dishes. My time at the gym.  Or the smell of the black ink from my favorite Bic pen.

There’s comfort in the rhythm of chopping vegetables for dinner. There’s routine in the patterns and schedules of a work day. There’s the regularity and a kind of grounding to be had in the habits of a day’s end … the brushing of teeth, the pages turned in a bedtime read, and one last I love you before turning out the light.

There’s more hope to be had, I’m sure of it. And while hope changes nothing about today’s worries, it does perhaps brighten tomorrow with anticipation and the power of possibility.

So I’ll keep looking for and finding hope … in the innocent eyes of a child, the happy wag of a dog’s tail, and in the gentle, morning breeze through my open kitchen window.

And as long as I keep looking …  I know hope will be found.

 

 

 

 

 

 

go gently

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Go gently into Monday.

Smile first.

Be the better start to someone’s week than they anticipated.

Look for soft spots to land.

Live this moment – and only this moment – one by one by one.

Aware. Grateful. Calm.

First things first and save the rest.

Find a moment in your day to lift your face to the sun,

Or close your eyes and breathe.

Or both.

Savor life.

Step lightly.

Be the peace you wish to see in the world.

 

 

 

life lessons: in spring

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Maybe the most difficult time for a flower is just before its bloom.

Still tight and taut, but ready and waiting. Endlessly waiting. Eternally waiting. Impatient. Tense. And probably cranky.

But bloom it does, finally and slowly. Unfurling and stretching, open face forward into the warming sun.

Free.

The release renders the wait all that more poignant and perfect.

Necessary, after all.

So many life lessons learned just out the back door.

Spring hope.

The Verbs of Kindness

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A verb:  an action or a state of being.

No grand gestures here.

To do. To act. To be.

Kind.

In no particular order:

  1. help
  2. respect
  3. include
  4. encourage
  5. care
  6. welcome
  7. listen
  8. smile
  9. praise
  10. notice
  11. offer
  12. share
  13. greet
  14. thank
  15. give
  16. invite
  17. compliment
  18. accept
  19. honor
  20. love

If you need a verb in your day … take one.

If you have a verb to add … leave one!

Thanks.

 

Only, and Just Barely

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It’s cold and dreary today. The temperature’s just north of freezing, and there’s drizzle.

In an unusual twist, however, I slept nine hours last night.

In a row.

(Look out world.)

I never know quite what to expect on the backside of a rough week. Saturday morning could arrive all kinds of grumpy and disheveled. Or maybe humbled and weary, but grateful.

This morning, I feel a little like the Cat in the Hat; I pick up all the things that are down … the cake, the rake, and the gown. A week’s worth of dishevelment awaits all around me. But I wander here and there throughout our home, setting things to rights, not in the least bit resentful – surprisingly – of the dishes once again left in the sink or the two-week high mounds of laundry in varying states of dirty, clean-but-not-folded, or folded-but-not-put-away.

Because in this Saturday’s clarity, I understand:  It’s all temporary.

The tough week. The busy. The shifting priorities. The dishes. Even the cold and drizzle.

Because like our ever-changing New England weather, what’s here today will likely be gone tomorrow. And who knows? Tomorrow may arrive sunny with scattered resentment. Or windy with a chance of anxiety.

But that’s for tomorrow to resolve. And it, too, will pass.

Today, I understand that eventually my laundered and folded shirts will nest again in my dresser. If not today, then tomorrow or the day after. Soon.

Today, I pleasure in the smoothing of sheets and the sorting of mail.

Today, my hope remains undaunted by tomorrow’s forecast.

Because this Saturday morning’s arrived hopeful and expectant.

There’s a whole new day out there just waiting to be lived, and it’s only, and just barely 8 a.m.

 

Making Peace

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It seems like I shouldn’t have to try so hard to feel peaceful.

Shouldn’t Zen just sorta flow or something?

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Honestly, sometimes  I turn the most mundane circumstance into Much Ado About Nothing.

So I’ve been working pretty hard to simplify. And again, that feels sort of oxymoronish – should simplicity feel so complicated?

I organize. Purge. Usher all the ducks to their respective rows. And wipe clean my surfaces. (Almost) every morning begins with a clear desk. So to speak.

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But sometimes finding peace … means making peace. With yourself.

I chucked the very-long-list the other day and went for a walk in the cold, bright blue with my camera.

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Peace made.

After a Fall

dsc_0414-2I don’t how it’s possible, but I can go from feeling life-satisfied and competent one minute … to a total failure the next.

It happens. It’s not reasonable or rational. But it happens.

It happened Monday morning.

All out of nowhere and despite my very best efforts to keep it all together. 

“It all” can mean one thing on a Monday and something entirely different on a Thursday … but mostly, “it all” is life and whatever living needs doing that day.

And as much as I can try to get and keep my own ducks in a row, my life intersects with other – important to me – lives … and one phone call can scatter all the ducks to the far corners of the lake.

And that’s exactly what happened Monday morning as I readied myself for the day.

A text. Followed by a Face-time phone call. And my day went left, not right.

Afterwards, all preoccupied with a thousand, thousand thoughts, I packed all my bags … the book bag, the lunch bag, the gym bag … and headed out the door, across the porch, and down the steps.

The icy steps.

After that very first step … I slipped … and my whole body, bags and all, seemed to fly up in the air … and back down again. Hard. On the granite steps.

And I sat there for a minute. Whimpering. Bruised. And feeling  a little bit defeated,  I think.

I looked around.

Whimpered a bit more.

And stood up.

Sometimes it takes a bit of encouragement to get back up after a fall. Here’s a link to a daily affirmation … Thought for Today … which can be sent right to your inbox. I’ve been receiving their daily emails for years now, and more often than not … the inspiration, motivation, or encouragement offered that day is exactly what I needed to hear.

#hopefortoday