One of the main reasons people stay too long in a relationship is that they unrealistically hope that, miraculously, their partner will change. This is the situation Marisa describes:
"I've been investing my entire heart in a narcissistic man over the past ten months. During this time, I've had the life sucked out of me - I've not been tending to myself and instead have abandoned myself to try to make him feel better in the hopes he'll change, care for and respect me right back. Deeply depressed of late he refuses to seek psychiatric or therapeutic help. I couldn't stand by watching him drown and finally two weeks ago said he should call me when he finds outside help and is feeling better. It's been so relaxing not to be insulted, criticized or bullied or be walking on eggs constantly. I miss him even so and am shocked and hurt that I've not heard from him to date. I accept that I was so busy rescuing him that I abandoned myself in doing so. If he contacts me, I'd like to try putting myself first. I’m probably kidding myself, but should I even contemplate giving him another chance? A narcissist is never wrong and is always right as you know. I'm miserable in the meantime."
“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without words
And never stops—at all”
A key component in any transformative life experience, personal or planetary, is hope. Not half-hearted or faint hope, but hope that is steadfast, sturdy, resilient, like that in Emily Dickinson’s poem. Hope within the human soul cannot be extinguished, no matter the hardship or loss. Despite the challenges of life, we humans endure because of that intangible something within us that holds us to life. Yet, there are times when hope seems shaky—as tenuous as a single candle flame wavering in a strong wind. Times such as now, when political discord, a deadly global pandemic, or personal crises erode our belief in a positive outcome. This is when hope is needed most.
"Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence." —Helen Keller
I love words. I love how certain words make me feel. I love how they can be strung together to create stories and images. I love how certain words remind me of special people in my life and how they make me feel.
My takeaway from Wednesday’s presidential inauguration was this: Words matter. Tone matters. Temperament matters. Excellence shines. Manners never go out of style. Hope is there even when you can’t see it. And, no matter how old you are, a beautiful rendition of “Amazing Grace” can bring you to tears.
It’s worth pausing to realize that history isn’t just stuffed in old books. It’s unfolding before our very eyes. It’s revealing itself in real time and in real ways. Thank God I’m alive because I’ve felt so lost the last few years and now I feel like I’m found. That’s how I felt Thursday morning after America began her new chapter.
The spirit of hope and expectancy is very much alive during this season; which is often called the most wonderful time of the year. This season is a time when many faith traditions and religions are celebrating the magic of high holy days. There is Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, just to name a few and so many more celebrations. Most, if not all have stories that are about the miracle of life and hope. These stories have unexplained or miraculous phenomenal occurrences articulated to help inspire people and give them a sense of hope.
Many of these stories are based on mystical or magical journeys. I personally believe these stories are not just for the time period beginning with Thanksgiving at the end of November through January 1st each year. If we are willing to commit ourselves to carrying the stories’ spirit of hope and expectancy, we can experience their meaning through every day of our lives. We can experience wonder, possibility, and hope as our new normal.
I’ve been struggling with what to say as of late because there is so much going on in the world. Often, I feel like I’m trapped in a giant hairball of my personal emotions and the swirling assaulting energy of the collective I tune into as an empath.
I wonder if it’s the same for you? Do you feel it? Does it help galvanize your desire to be part of the wave of change and social healing that is calling us awake?
Maybe it moved. Too much, too little, rapid relentless movement and frozen all at the same time, stuck in that hairball that is now rolling down a giant hill like a wild tumbleweed gathering the best and worst of everything in its path. Maybe mine might get caught in a hole so I can get centered.
Nope. Not gonna happen. The center has to be found on the fly, and on the roll. Dizzying to look at, but all of it is meaningful.
I have been zeroing in on one particular thread in the ball though…that one is hope. I hold on, albeit not too tightly, lest its fragile fraying slender form snaps in my grasp. I close my ego’s eyes and allow my soul to guide me into the heart of it, where it will never break, where it’s woken up like a string in a harp, already reverberating in the key of F — the sound that wakes the energy of the heart.
I find listening to the prompts of the heart reduces fear and anxiety swiftly. It also brings in a deep reminder of our humanity and our inherent connectivity to a Higher Power that ushers in a true sense of conscience. It’s the heart that knows the grace of stepping in and standing up.
So, I am going to share with you some tips on what has worked for me. What I am doing now so I can show up daily without getting lost, with the hopes that it might give you some of your own ideas of what might work for you.
I can’t believe that I have been around long enough to have now lived through two historic impeachment proceedings. I even covered one as a journalist!
I’ve also lived through the time when a career in politics was once considered the most noblest of callings. I grew up in a family that thought holding public office was the greatest thing you could do to honor your family and your country.
It was right up there with becoming a priest or a nun. How the world has changed, as has our view of those careers. (OK, well maybe not becoming a nun. Being a nun is still right up there in a class by itself, in my mind. That’s in large part because I was educated by the nuns and am still in awe of the work they do in our cities and neighborhoods. But I digress...)
What happened this week in front of our very eyes will now be studied, taught, and debated for weeks, months, and years to come. I’m not sure it will make any real difference to those who support this president, nor to those who oppose him, other than to maybe make both sides dig their heels in even further.
My kids asked me Wednesday night, “If he’s not thrown out of office, then what was the point of all this?”
I know many people are asking the same thing.
I told them the point is that our system worked and that the President was held accountable, regardless of what he thought.
I told them that when we make mistakes in life be it in our families, our jobs, or in our politics, we can each be held accountable in a myriad of ways. Sometimes we may get fired. Sometimes we may get a time out. Sometimes we apologize and all is forgiven. Every instance is unique, as is this national moment of reckoning.
I know many of you are waking up feeling enraged, angry, frustrated and disillusioned this morning. Meanwhile, others of you feel this process ended fairly and are probably just relieved that all this Supreme Court drama is over.
In fact, I heard some say yesterday, “I’m glad this is over. It’s time to move on.”
Yes, the news cycle will move on. It always does.
But, I believe the soul of our country is forever altered. So are the souls of all those people who shared their stories. Who confronted long, buried and painful memories. Who testified and spoke up. Even for those who stayed silent, I imagine their souls are also forever changed.
Every New Year I wake up with so much gratitude and awe, and think of that fateful night in 1985, when I finally hit bottom, took my last drink, my last drug, and surrendered to my Higher Power. After all you can’t pray for deliverance and not let go. At some point the bottom rises to meet you. Then there is one moment of choice. We choose our future in these kind of moments, where we stand at the turning point and leap into the unknown or go back to the painful familiar.
Today marks 32 years of continuous sobriety from drugs and alcohol and its true that a lifetime has passed one day at a time. Who I was then, is not who I am today.
What I learned by being sober was first to live one day at a time. Every 24 hours if I lived with humility and gratitude I would be choosing a new future. It was in following a spiritual program that I learned that these principles can be applied to any struggle, anything at all that harms or victimizes. Addiction is a symptom of a spiritual and mental malaise at its core. Gratitude is the abracadabra that swings the door to a new world wide open.
We are heading into my favorite week of the year.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it represents everything that is important to me: My family (I just spent a few days with two of my cousins. How deeply meaningful it was to share laughter and connection with them), my kids, my friends, my open table, food, and my faith in this country.
One of my first reference tools for the study of consciousness and manifestation was the book The Game of Life and How to Play It; by Florence Scovel Shinn. She did most of her metaphysical writing in the early 1900's.
In regards to the concept of hope, she felt that it carried too much of the element of uncertainty and doubt. She used the example of a hope chest. Back in her day women would get a hope chest and gather different items to prepare for her future marriage.
Shinn felt that if a person only had hope for a future event or desired reality that it may be lacking the conviction and determination one would need to actually create change.
Hope may hold to much wiggle-room for failure.
Sometimes hope is what you need.
If you’re human, you’re going to come across at least one period in your life when you’re down and out. A time when it feels like life is against you. A time when monetary funds are depleted, your friends are nonexistent or your direction is blurry.
During this period there will be times when the stars seem to align and out of the blue synchronicity happens. It seems like your prayers have been answered and the solution you were waiting for appears. Your outlook has brightened and you feel hopeful and inspired. You proceed accordingly; thinking there is no way that things can’t work out at this point, especially with the ideal solution right in front of you.