The last several weeks have been heavy for many reasons. Some of the reasons need no introduction. Enter pandemic, stage right. Enter global protest for a variety of different reasons including racism, environmental issues, and more, stage left.
As a black woman living in America, I have felt stretched to the limits of my grief at times. I wondered on some days if there were enough tears, while on other days I felt numb and mechanical, just going through the motions, observing myself, but not quite myself. This period has been the great balancing act, learning more deeply how to navigate joy, pain, and everything that happens in between those two emotions. Even if you are the type of person who tries to shield yourself from the news of the world, I am sure some news has reached your ears. There have just been so many things adding up to be that proverbial straw on the camel’s back. These things trickle into the psyche and fill us with a sense of fear, despair, and sadness. The biggest question often seems to be, “When will it all end?”
I too, an eternal optimist, felt disheartened because in addition to everything else, I started to sense a common theme. It scared me a little, because it seemed to be a sense of hopelessness, and when we have lost hope, then everything really is gone. I saw messages of, “I don’t want your love and light,” or “I don’t want your thoughts and prayers,” and things just as doom and gloom as we could get. To be fair, I get the meaning behind some of those messages; most people right now are yearning to see something concrete. They are yearning for action, yearning for proof that prayers can be answered, and yearning to know that miracles still exist. I cried reading some of these messages, because I am a water bucket; I feel a lot and I often can feel the collective grief. The past few weeks it has felt heavy like an iron ball and chain dragging behind me. I wondered what bothered me so deeply about this?
The notion of “light and love” and “thoughts and prayers” has come to be seen as something meaningless, popping up as hashtags on every crisis, ever tragedy, and everything that is demanding something more. I too want concrete action and justice for the woes of the world, but I urge us to remember that love is the highest emotion and the strongest power in this entire universe. Biblically speaking, 1st Corinthians 13:13 says, “And Now These Three Remain Faith, Hope, And Love, But The Greatest Of These Is Love.”
I think it is beautiful that is at Chapter 13, verse 13; 13, in numerology is the number of the divine feminine, it is a number that brings things into balance, and is said to ascend matter; it is coded with the frequencies of Ascension, Oneness, and the Unity that transforms all things.
I want your love, and I want to see you shine your light as bright as any star in the sky. (Be as bright as Sirius—the brightest star in our galaxy). I also want your prayers when things go wrong, and I want them when things are going right. I think it is beautiful to be in someone’s thoughts (for good reasons lol). For me, prayer is one of the most intimate acts that I engage in. Side note: I still write prayers/blessings for friends and family, so if you need one, let me know. When I say a prayer, it is personal, powerful, and an acknowledgment that I am co-creating something beautiful each day with the divine. If I pray for you, if I include your essence in that space, my most private space, how could it not be powerful?
Everyone is naturally inclined to their own views, but I will continue to advocate for these things: love, kindness, hope, and a better world for all of us. I asked, in my own prayers, and in conversation with myself (hahaha, yes, I chat to myself, no shame in that), how could this be made better? I started to notice a curious thing happening. When I slept, I get sensing this message of “don’t give up on hope.” Do not give up on humanity. Do not give up on love. That message was with me when I woke up each day this week, and it stayed with me throughout each day. As I am learning to balance days where something shocking could happen, and throw my emotions for a loop, with days where I feel joy, gratitude and love, in between each of these kinds of days, I encourage us to believe in hope and to believe in love. I am also asking us to be the best of humanity.
When I created my blog, and YouTube channel, my goal was to create a space where we could all be reminded of the best of the world, and the best of humanity—the beauty, the kindness, the love, the grace, the faith, and the hope. I wanted to create a space where each of us would be reminded of our own greatness, and be encouraged in our goals and dreams, to know that they are valid and possible. You can see this week’s video here: https://youtu.be/J5VHDVXoxk0
So when I felt that feeling that a lot of people were losing hope, I had to even grab myself and say, no. No. Don’t succumb to that despair. It is ok, as I have said before that we acknowledge the range of our emotions, and that we understand, that everything has its shadow side. Even for us as humans, our shadow side serves us in important ways. That is a conversation for another time. I do think that when we face ourselves truly and we can embrace the parts of ourselves that we do not love as much, or the parts of ourselves that we think other people might not like, it really does allow for deeper self-awareness, and the possibility for deeper healing. I really think some of what we are seeing, is a situation in which the world is facing its shadow. When we do face ourselves, and experience deeper healing and acceptance—and I do think that some part of “healing” is realizing that while we are growing, learning, and moving towards our own self-actualization, that we are beautiful and amazing as we are right now. But when we get to this space, this translates into a situation where we allow love to guide us on this incredible journey of life. When we allow love to guide us, what happens next? Miracles…
In her amazing book, “A Return to Love, Reflections on A Course in Miracles,” Marianne Williamson says, “Miracles occur naturally as expressions of love. They reflect a shift in how we think, releasing the power of the mind to the processes of healing and correction…In asking for miracles, we are seeking a practical goal: a return to inner peace…We are not asking for something outside of us to change, but for something inside us to change…ultimately all creation is expressed through the mind. Thus, as A Course in Miracles says, our greatest tool for changing the world is our capacity to change our minds about the world.”
I hate to be the one to break it to you, but no one is coming to save us. The responsibility of saving humanity, the world, and ourselves from whatever we perceive that we need saving from, falls to us. That means that we are the greatest tool for changing the world. If we lose hope, then we have already lost a battle that we did not even attempt to fight. Let me also add, that small actions lead to big change. You don’t have to become a politician or Oprah, you can make small changes from a place of love, right where you are, with the resources that you have.
The late Congressman John Lewis who was very wise, said this, “You are a light. You are the light. Never let anyone—any person or any force—dampen, dim or diminish your light. Study the path of others to make your way easier and more abundant. Lean toward the whispers of your own heart, discover the universal truth, and follow its dictates. […] Release the need to hate, to harbor division, and the enticement of revenge. Release all bitterness. Hold only love, only peace in your heart, knowing that the battle of good to overcome evil is already won. Choose confrontation wisely, but when it is your time don’t be afraid to stand up, speak up, and speak out against injustice. And if you follow your truth down the road to peace and the affirmation of love, if you shine like a beacon for all to see, then the poetry of all the great dreamers and philosophers is yours to manifest in a nation, a world community, and a Beloved Community that is finally at peace with itself.”
I can imagine that place, that world where things are at peace. I have not lost hope for that, and I know that to get to that place requires something of me as well. Maybe my role in all this is to help spread that light, spread that love, and to remind others of what they are capable of doing. Maybe when the time comes, I can stand for the things that I truly believe in, and I can stand for the people that I love and care for. Maybe I can remind others to do the same.
A few years ago, my mom gave me the book, “Man’s Search for Meaning,” by Viktor Frankl. Frankl had survived the Holocaust, and he was the founder of logotheraphy—healing through meaning. He said, ““For the world is in a bad state, but everything will become still worse unless each of us does his best.” He also said, “Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather must recognize that it is he who is asked. In a word, each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible.”
Taking action can help us to regain a sense of hope. Barack Obama said, “The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.”
We do have a responsibility to answer to the highest calling of our life and to be of service to humanity. I absolutely love John Lennon’s song, “Imagine.” It is worth taking a listen sometimes to remember that the dreamers of the world are not alone in their desire for something really beautiful to unfold, despite everything that may be happening. He said, “Imagine all the people living life in peace, You may say I’m a dreamer, But I’m not the only one, I hope some day you’ll join us. And the world will be as one.” Oprah Winfrey said, “I’ve come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that’s as unique as a fingerprint – and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you love and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working hard, and also allowing the energy of the universe to lead you.”
I have sprinkled in this conversation some of my favorite quotes on hope. It is my desire that you let these words sink into your psyche, and that as the world changes before our eyes, and as things get seemingly worse, before they get better, that you do not give into despair; instead, allow the courage of your soul to remind you that hope lives, love lives, and that you can help to create the world as you would like to see it. Barbara Kingsolver, said, “The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof.”
Laini Taylor, said, “Hope can be a powerful force. Maybe there’s no actual magic in it, but when you know what you hope for most and hold it like a light within you, you can make things happen, almost like magic.” Amy Tan said, “We dream to give ourselves hope. To stop dreaming – well, that’s like saying you can never change your fate.” Please do not stop dreaming. You are the master of your fate, the captain of your destiny.
The Dalai Lama, “There is a saying in Tibetan, ‘Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.’ No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster.” His good friend Desmond Tutu said, “Hope is being able to see the light, despite all of the darkness.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”
In his Autobiography, Nelson Mandela said, “I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.”
And to round things out, In J.R.R Tolkien’s, “The Fellowship of the Ring,” I think he captures a sentiment that fits our world well right now. “The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.”
May love and hope continue to grow and may whatever unfolds for us—with our help—be something beautiful. May the stars shine brightly over your week, and may you find hope aplenty, and may you find that love abounds.