The Signature of Hope
Hope makes all the difference in regard to the lens with which we view the world.
The jungle is cloudy with unshed rain as I write these words. The roosters are strumming and humming outside my window, and lavender tea cools in my favorite blue mug while I meditate upon my own history with hope.
I’m not quite sure when or why it happened, but I found myself penning the words, “In hope,” on my writer’s Instagram page sometime in the new year. The words stuck and have become my signature sign off. I used to sign “in love” or “in peace,” both very good things as well, but there is something about the essence of hope, which speaks towards reaching and growing in a direction of optimism and wellness.
When I was younger, hope was something connected to the desire for a specific outcome. Hope came with a large dose of expectations, which inevitably created a roller coaster relationship. Life hopefully swung up when my expectations were met and hopelessly dropped down when they weren’t.
It was during the time period of 2011-2014 that my relationship with hope got its most significant overhaul. That was the post-divorce window in my life, and I was finding my real self for the first time. As a byproduct I did a lot of deep soul searching and internal work.
At the time, life came with some serrated edges, which scraped against my vulnerable heart. It was an extremely human space of learning and becoming.
I learned how to cultivate inner peace, even if life isn’t peaceful. I learned to find joy for the little things, so my happiness is less contingent on circumstances and more contingent on paying attention to beauty. Many painful experiences happened in that time, but I found that the silver lining of pain is the opportunity to grow, gain higher perspective, and find transformative ways of being: I did.
I often refer to those years as “the growing years,” where I crammed a lot of wisdom and knowledge into a condensed space. My mentor once told me it was like I had lived 10 years in a few, and as the one who experienced those years and had witnessed my own change, I had to agree.
I learned in that time that having a steady sense of hope isn’t found in the specific outcome of a situation, but hope is always found when we let our mind’s eye take in the whole and believe that the creative mysteries are taking us in a direction of growth.
When we lost Brent in 2016, hope was once again challenged. There is nothing like death to take you to the core of who you are and put under a microscope what you believe about life, love, and the workings of the universe.
The nature of grief is disarray, and as I wandered through the chaos, I had to learn how to reassemble myself into something more than I was before. Grief can be a hopeless place and when the very worst of it had passed and I was able to stand up, I had to fight to reclaim the good.
I fought for joy. I fought for gratitude. I fought for hope. I fought for bigger perspective of the whole, and I learned the lessons of my growing years all over again in bigger, more integrated ways.
I learned to find beauty, even when the mudslides of life pool in messy masses around your feet and threaten to take you under. I learned to dig down and in, instead of wallow in the why, and find the diamonds that form under duress. I learned to reach high and wide and bring starlight into deep midnight, so I always had something to set my compass by.
Hope became the signature penned upon my heart, which held me steady and reminded me that even when life tips over, the innate intelligence and love of the universe will be there to help us absorb the tip and find the gifts in falling sideways.
I think it is human nature to hope for better things, but the shift between my younger-self and my now-self is an openness to what those better things are.
Maybe better things don’t have to look a certain way but are found on a simple Sunday as you sip your coffee and stare out at the jungle in wonder and gratitude, noticing the way the emerald greens brushes against pewter sky.
Maybe better things are found every time we choose resilience over despair, stepping more fully into our infinite selves by believing in the invisible and inexorable heartbeat of love that surrounds and infuses this place.
Maybe better things are a refusal to give up hope, even when the world feels hopeless, because you know the stars are still guiding and the sun will still rise, and as long as there’s a rise there is hope.
Maybe better things are found in unnoticed places, but the moment you take the time to notice them you realize how rich life is with betterment.
I made it through this January like a marathon and a sprint: slow and steady mixed with short bursts and gasps. It’s not the easiest month for me. Brent’s been gone 3 years now.
Perhaps 3 years is the beginning of a bigger bird’s eye view that will keep growing in time, as I keep gaining deeper insight and awareness over who I’ve become in my loss and how grief has changed me. Grief threw me into a stormy sea of dissolution and disarray, and as my former self dissolved, I learned to swim through the tempest and float. In that place, I searched for hope and found, though invisible, if you insist on believing in its existence-
Hope is only a signature away.