What do you think of when I say the word hope?
Do you think into a future where things will be different? Better somehow than the present moment? Do you think fondly of your friends and family? What they have too look forward too? or looking forward to the next time you get to see them?
Maybe you think back to a simpler time knowing that these could arise again...
Hope is often defined as an expectation, feeling or desire that something should or could happen. A will or a yearning even.
If you did think back or forward in time you are not alone. It can seem difficult to hold on to any glimpse of hope when things are difficult and/or changeable. Maybe we try things on for size because it feels like we are searching for something... maybe we've been through times like this before and feel hope in the knowing that things will settle again.
Hope is an embrace of the unknown and the unknowable, an alternative to the certainty of both optimists and pessimists.
- Rebecca Solnit, Hope in the Dark
Many great thinkers have told tales of the joys of getting lost (even if it doesn't feel joyful at the time). That in fact we must lose our way on occasion. This unknown path in life or feeling of uncertainty gives rise to the (occasionally terrifying) unknown part of living that constitutes the gap between where we are now and where it is we wish to be in life.
So don't let your thoughts get in the way of doing. That might be doing something new or interrupting the type of doing you always do because its comfortable. What you do matters regardless of the outcome, regardless of whether you reap the benefits or not.
Some of the world's most influential people only gained infamy after they were gone. A lesson to let go of the outcome and learn to enjoy as much of the journey as you can. That's the real reward and that's where hope becomes a currency.
Here is a poem by Emily Dickinson, most of whom's work was only published by her sister after she died. Don't wait, reflect on what brings you hope and use it.
"Hope" is the thing with feathers
- BY EMILY DICKINSON
“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -
And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -
I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.