Hope is one of the most powerful sources of change available. Particularly collective hope. Anything is possible when there is a deep commitment to holding on to hope, to never letting it go, no matter what we face. Hope to go on. Hope to continue believing.
I have witnessed hope in action. It is an awe inspiring experience, and a reminder to always have hope. To never lose it. Of the impossible and unbelievable things it can achieve. I have seen a community’s hope, will a young man to live. And he did. Some expressed their hope through prayers, and others simply held a desire so strong in their hearts, it could not be ignored. The sheer force of it too strong.
Yes, life can be cruel at times, and regardless of holding on to hope, we can lose the ones we love in life to illness, tragedy and time. And then the hope becomes about learning to continue, to find the joy in life, even without them physically present.
I was reminded last night about the importance of hope, and I am gripping hold of it tightly, with two hands. Without hope, there is simply despair. And nothing good can come of that.
And my inspiration came from a most unlikely place. My meditation course homework. As part of my meditation course, we have weekly homework tasks. Food for thought. Podcasts to listen to, articles to read and TedTalks to watch. Last week’s task was to watch the TedTalk by Eleanor Longden, about her journey to learn to live with the voices inside her head. A story of heartbreak. A story also filled with undying hope. Hers is a story of the ‘unshakeable belief in the power of the individual.’ The power to heal. I am grateful to have watched this, as it was an immediate reminder of the power of hope to heal.
After sharing with a friend, and then a doctor about the voice in her head, Eleanor’s life spiralled into one of being boxed and labelled into a category of condition. She faced the discrimination of someone perceived to be unwell, where even her normal actions were seen through the lens of her diagnosis, with ridiculous and harming results. And yet through all this, she and her family never gave up hope. Inspired by a specialist who reminded them, that even if the snow comes late, summer always appears. Summer always comes. And they held on to those words. They held on to the hope of summer, and melted their snow.
Eleanor began to see her voices no longer as a symptom of a condition, but as a ‘meaningful response to her past pain and trauma’. A meaningful response. And in doing so, she no longer felt the fear or hostility towards them, which had previously led to her having a kind of ‘civil war’ with her mind.
Her story is a reminder to have a conviction of hope. To tap into the innate desire within us, as she so beautifully expressed through the telling of her story and sharing the wise words of Peter Levine.
‘The human animal is a unique being, endowed with an instinctual capacity to heal, as well as the intellectual spirit to harness this innate capacity.’ Peter Levine (1997)
Hold onto this, while you wait for summer. I know I am.