As we continue to be in a transitional stage of upheaval and disruption in the world, how can you nurture hope and inner strength in your life?
It could be easy to feel despair and hopelessness
An active state of hope holds the field of potential for the highest possibilities for beautiful positive change. It is a shift from resignation to active hope.
It’s what Etty Hillesum experienced when she was at Westerbork, the Transit Camp in the Netherlands in 1943.
Her diaries and letters show how she maintained this hope and inner strength all the way through, and died in that same year.
Though there are ghastly differences, perhaps you can find parallels between what she writes for your own current circumstances. And how she writes with such inspiration for good things to come from the bad.
I sometimes think that every new situation, good or bad, can enrich us with new insights… if we fail to draw meaning from the deep wells of our distress and despair, then it will not be enough….
… The misery here is quite terrible, and yet, late at night when the day has slunk away into the depths behind me, I often walk with a spring in my step along the barbed wire. And then time and again, it soars straight from my heart – I can’t help it, that’s just the way it is, like some elementary force – the feeling that life is glorious and magnificent, and that one day we shall be building a whole new world.
… Everywhere things are both very good and very bad at the same time. The two are in balance, everywhere and always… everything is fine just as it is. Every situation, however miserable, is complete in itself and contains the good as well as the bad.
…You know, if you don’t have the inner strength while you’re here to understand that all outer appearances are a passing show, as nothing beside the great splendour (I can’t think of a better word right now) inside us – then things can look very black here indeed.
Not only does Hetty make her circumstances meaningful but she looks to a future, which sadly didn’t happen for her. The hope she nurtured wasn’t just for herself but for all her fellow sufferers. Her heart continued to be ablaze with ideas, praise and hope.
Courage alongside hope and inner strength
In amongst the hope is another quality which John O’Donohue pinpoints as courage.
It is courage that restores hope to the heart. In our day to day lives, we often show courage without realizing it… Courage is amazing because it can tap in to the heart of fear, taking that frightened energy and turning it towards initiative, creativity, action and hope….There are secret sources of courage inside every human heart… Courage is a spark that can become the flame of hope, lighting new and exciting pathways in what seemed to be dead, dark landscapes.
Courage is the quality we see and experience when people come together to speak up for change. It is intrinsically mixed in with hope. That there can be new ways of being for everyone.
It may take courage to step out of the tired old structures and forge ahead despite uncertainty and sometimes fear. But it’s the only way in which we can move forward and create change.
Current global experiences have naturally arisen with huge opportunities to make changes for ourselves and the planet.
It is time for the shallow life filled with unexamined diversity to make way for deep, meaningful living. If we shed those things in life that cannot make our hearts sing, they can be gracefully replaced by what does… we find our joy in the moment, gracefully surrendering to change – our hearts leading the way.
… Hope is a state of mind that lives with eyes and heart firmly fixed on the most beneficial outcome.
Open your Heart
Your heart meridian becomes blocked when you shut down and live in despair or negativity. You become joyless and lose hope. You may find you spend time being cynical, critical and impatient. Can you shift this round by opening your heart, through cultivating presence and an attitude of joy, hope and inner strength?
You can do this through your awareness every day. What can you choose to focus on? And which qualities do you want to nurture within yourself? Surrender to your own inner guidance with moments of mindful stillness. This allows you to listen to the inspiration within.
And finally, Anthony William reminds us of the role of compassion:
Without compassion, there is no hope…Hope is the future, compassion is the present… Hope is the door, compassion is the key – and hope cannot be unlocked without compassion in hand.
So let’s nurture hope, inner strength, courage and compassion. With these tools we can make the best of any circumstances and create a life all of us can love.
Yvette Jane – Mindfulness & Meditation Guide