Hope. What is it? I like the acronym for Hope in this image: Help Other People Evolve. What a great way to make hope real in my life: helping others. When I help others evolve and express my caring, I become witness to the promise of growth or change. This is not only exciting, it is inspiring. When I see someone else’s success or joy or delight as a result of their willingness to take the risk to evolve, I am blessed with hope concerning my life as well. It all comes full circle in the simplest and most elegant of ways. Hope gives back hope.
Hope keeps us alive. Without growth and change in life, I tend to lose focus of why I am on the planet. When I do not feel hope burning inside of me, life feels more than hopeless. It feels pointless. When I lose my sense of direction and feel utterly lost in a fearful place, I can feel hope being extinguished by despair and worry and fear.
These emotions disable my forward evolution, instead I am spiraled into a hopeless state of devolution. While a modern scientist might state that there is no such thing as devolution, I believe that my spirit and my intuition would disagree. I know, internally, when I am evolving into a new state of “advancement” and when I am devolving into a previous primitive state — those experiences that we sometimes refer to as being 2 steps forward and 3 steps backward. I like to feel growth and positive movement as a result of hopeful living. I have an aversion for devolution.
I like this acoustic version of the song “Despair” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. It is one of those songs that is both sad (with the potential for the self to be swallowed by overwhelming regret), yet it is hopeful. It speaks of wasted years, tears, and fears.
What sometimes feels like the path of least resistance can lead to “wasted years.” There have been times when I have given up hope and “settled” for various “hopes” that were not real: financial security, available opportunities, self-limitations on skills or resources — all perceptions and oftentimes a poor assessment of reality.
In January of 2014, I met a man from Jamaica on the beach in Hawaii. He said he was almost 80 years old, but he looked like he was in his early 60s. Life on the island was treating him well. His name was Cliff. We talked. He had a lot of interesting things to say. He asked to take some pictures of my hair before we said good bye.
Cliff told me that I was going to have the best year of my life. At the time, I thought that it was so kind of him to say such nice things. I wanted to believe that he was a prophet and that he could see things that I could not see at the time — things that I had lost complete hope of ever realizing or enjoying.
We parted paths, and I remembered his words throughout 2014. His words gave me hope. True Hope. Based on his prophetic words, I stopped settling for second or third best. I changed my game. I looked for better when things were just okay. When “bad” things happened — like getting laid off from work — great things kept happening as a result of these fear-inducing negative things. My life shifted into Amazing. Really great things presented themselves as a result of research, reaching out, staying alert, moving forward without fear, and hoping. Dreams that I have held for many years have grown into reality. Who would have thought?
Today? I feel like a Public Service Announcement for the Do-Not-Give-Up-Your-Hope campaign. Don’t stop hoping. Own your hopes. Act on your dreams. Don’t settle for second or third or fourth best. Don’t settle. “If it’s all in my head there’s nothing to fear . . . Nothing to fear inside . . .” Let me be your Cliff and hear that 2015 is going to be the best year of your life. The Best Year.
Partial lyrics from “Despair” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs:
“Don’t despair, you’re there
From beginning to middle to end
Don’t despair, you’re there
Through my wasted days
You’re there through my wasted nights
Oh despair, you’ve always been there
You were there through my wasted years
Through all my lonely fears, no tears
Run through my fingers, tears
They’re stinging my eyes, no tears
If it’s all in my head there’s nothing to fear
Nothing to fear inside
Through the darkness and the light
Some sun has got to rise”