Keeping Hope Afloat
Sue Patton Thoele

  

Hope is an inside job.  Although poet Alexander Pope said, "Hope springs eternal in the human breast," hope springs faster and more consistently when we consciously encourage and consistently practice keeping hope afloat in our hearts and souls.  In order to keep hope alive, it's extremely important that we monitor what we allow ourselves to see, hear and feel, especially in regards to the media.  Because our subconscious minds accept as real not only our personal experiences but also those we watch or imagine vividly, it's up to us to choose mindfully and wisely what we watch and read.

Because images imprint deeply, the disturbing pictures and commentary favored by the media can act as an emotional acid, etching the pain and suffering we witness into our own psyches.  Such images can pull the plug on our reserves of hope.  Limiting your exposure to sensationalism of all kinds is wise.  Allow yourself to be as informed as you feel the need but not to be deformed by overexposure and overstimulation.

Hope is so important because it's the proverbial light at the end of any dark tunnel encountered.  Hope is the ballast that keeps you moving forward and helps you to continue to believe in beauty, love, and survival, even when your personal waters are incredibly rough.

With hope, it's easier to keep your head above water while navigating stormy seas.  Hope makes normal, everyday life much brighter and more joyous.

My friend Anne provides a great example of how to nurture hope in hard times.  During the inevitable dark times of aggressive breast cancer treatments, she consciously courted hope.  Allowing people to help (not a familiar feat for her) and using Julian of Norwich's famous prayer "All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well" as her mantra were two of her most important hope boosters.  Anne also intentionally chose to be a student of cancer rather than its victim and, as such, kept asking herself invaluable questions, like "What lesson am I learning here?" and "What is cancer trying to tell me?"  After the completion of surgery and treatment, Anne stood in front of her church family and, with grace and gratitude, shared her journey with us.  Hers were the only dry eyes in the congregation.

Practice. . .

*  Promise yourself to keep hope afloat in your heart and soul.

*  If you find yourself in the dark, search out a speck, flash, or ray of light right here, right now.

*  Intentionally look on the bright side.

Throughout your day. . .

*  Three times a day, take a moment to find a spark of hope in nature, your own life, your home, or the life of a friend or loved one.
  

Sue Patton Thoele shows you how to incorporate mindfulness into your busy and dynamic life.  Her gentle and humorous approach makes it a practical and easily understood guide for those who are new to the practice of mindfulness as well as those who are already familiar with its gifts.  Thoele offers over sixty-five simple and effective practices to help you embrace mindfulness one moment at a time. Filled with personal stories about the joys and hurdles that come with embracing mindful living, The Mindful Woman is a friend whose hand you can hold on the path toward being present in the moment. Finding your way will lead naturally to a more open heart, inner peace, and greater zest for life--a path well worth pursuing.

  
   


 
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