Choosing Hope

How to have it?
How to keep trying for that elusive quality?
Why choose hope?

Because I can.

I have a choice. I admit it’s a discipline of mind to keep reaching for hope. Lately I notice how I am experiencing it as a feeling located on some high shelf that seems just out of reach. But hope is there. It’s waiting for me to grab and hang on to.

Hope: grounds for believing that something good may happen:

This is not denial. I’m not in denial. Or I try very hard not to be. I see what is happening in the world and I try in my corner to address it. I try to stay conscious. I try and face my fear and see what is there.

I notice that some people habitually turn toward the fear. They seem to notice situations that alights their fear center of the brain. This is often from past traumas. They are not in denial either. In fact some of you reading this may think for me to even consider hope, I’m in denial. But that is fear talking. Think about it. Fear determines so many thoughts. It’s the driver of thoughts and feelings that may appear rational. The reason I say “appear” is because fear is often about a future not yet happened. It’s what we “suppose” will happen, but we cannot know for sure.

Sometimes it seems to me that when we operate in fear, we have a belief that the fear will drive us somehow and help to avoid pain. Of course it just exacerbates pain. It heightens our sensations of pain. Fear makes pain worse.

And for most of us experiencing fear, we cannot imagine any other feeling. It seems rational for the situation. I get it.

But I don’t want to operate from fear. I am not in my highest brain potential to do anything from making positive decisions to operating a car. When someone experiences fear, they are activating their most primitive brain center. It’s not an optimal place to go through life. And yet many people know this place. It feels like a habit some of us keep reverting back to, because we don’t know a way out.

Hope activates another place for me. It activates my spiritual connection to humanity. And I want this connection. Perhaps we need it?

Humanity: humaneness; benevolence.

I want to believe that there is more good in the world than bad. I choose to believe that there are more people who want to act benevolently than not.

So how can we get there?

How can we get out of fear and activate hope?

Protect yourself from all incoming information. That includes news, friends and family. I’m not saying be uniformed. I’m asking you to critically examine where you get information and how much you are willing to expose yourself to scary information?

People who are operating from fear tend to get news from sources that exacerbate fear. I’m asking you to put yourself on a different path consciously. If you feel your fear, that clenching and un-ending rumination, change the source. Remember, operating from a fear center damages us. It causes dis-ease. Getting sick from fear isn’t productive to change anything.

Alternate the people you hang around. I’m not saying get rid of anyone, but if certain people keep you going in circles of fear, then find new sources of community and connection. Search for a class that ignites some fun and passion. Find people who aren’t activating your fear.

Journal. Go to therapy. Seek a spiritual advisor. Meditate.

Look; we feel alone. We feel like the world is going mad and we sometimes feel crazy. We aren’t crazy. We’re in pain. And that pain needs relief.

Sing. It helps. Music soothes the soul.

Read memoirs about people who have overcome great odds. You need to fill your brain with the potential and power of humanity. You need to remember that throughout the ages, mankind has endured difficult times.

We’re trying to activate our frontal lobe, the part of our brain that operates in reason and response. Anything we can do to not just react is going to serve us well.

Give yourself a nature break. Go to a park, find a tree, put your feet in water and sand, anything that can connect you to the Earth. Remember as you breath deeply that the Earth has been around for eons and connect to it, center yourself to it. Breathe, breathe, breathe.

Watch something funny. Laughter is truly relief for the soul. Laughter also activates areas in the frontal lobe.

This is only a partial list. But you have to want to change your brain to feel hope. This is work. It’s a discipline of mind.

It’s worth it. So worth it.

Amy Brunell

www.culvercitysymphony.org

6 Comments

  1. At the bottom of Pandora’s box was hope! Hope that mankind can use to go on, endure and thrive! We need that HOPE so badly now……..we can go on and make it……..and make the world a BETTER place!

    Thank you Amy for sharing your wisdom to help us cope with these trying times. We can and will be stronger as we come out of the dark hatred and enlighten the world with LOVE!

  2. There’s a place called HOPE. Thank you Amy for taking the time to share these thoughts…I was just in Arkansas and got to visit several places including the Clinton Library in Little Rock – A place called HOPE was emphasized there. Thank you.

  3. Your most thoughtful and articulate piece yet! Glad I stopped watching news 2 years ago. Couldn’t stand the effect it was having on my head and heart. Brava!

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