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Posts Tagged ‘hope’

I’m here to say that I am very pleased with the results of Tuesday’s election. No surprise, right? 

Now, two days after the election, I’m reflecting on my experience with this campaign, and my strong emotional attachment to all aspects of it, right through to today. Just some random observations.

1. I was alarmed by the intensity of my emotions. The projections, the inability to be objective, the way I was eager to vilify the other candidates, and the agitation I felt whenever I saw them or heard them speak. I felt I was caught up in something that was deeply primitive, both in myself, and in the soul of the country. I know I’m not alone in this; people on both sides of the race felt similar things. My emotions were extremely hard to control. I found I had to avoid talking about the campaign, listening to it, or engaging in conversation with anyone I perceived as not on the page with me. I couldn’t tolerate dissent. This was very scary to me.

2. I noticed a strong conflict inside myself around the idea of hope. Pendulum swings, all the way from deep cynicism and fear that I would find out my candidate was just another asshole vying for power, to the certainty that we all would live happily ever after, if we could just elect the man.

3. I also noticed a resistance to any real investment. I was content to believe he was the man for the job, and might have even punched someone who disagreed with me, but I was unwilling to volunteer for the campaign, or to give any money. I just could not risk investing, with the potential for failure. Couldn’t risk the disappointment. This is irrational as well, illogical and dysfunctional, I admit, but it was there. I simply would not put my money where my mouth was. Go figure. One very valid reason I refused to contribute was that I was offended by the obscene amount of money it requires to get someone elected in this country. This is morally wrong to me. On both sides, nearly a billion dollars spent, and for what? Negative campaign ads, hotel rooms, flights, etc. etc., all the while people are starving and struggling, right here in the US. Very hard to swallow, much less support.

4. The reality of the win is still sinking in. I resist letting myself believe it, or enjoy it. I have to remind myself that the election is over, and that the person I wanted to win actually won. I think at some level I actually believe that what I want, or what I think is right, is not possible. I think I secretly believe that assholes run the world, and there’s no justice or goodness to be had. I find I have to remind myself that Obama won, and when I do, I immediately take a breath into my heart, and I feel a moment of happiness, surprise and ease before returning to caution. I still can’t quite believe it.

5. I notice the incredulity I feel toward those who honestly believe Obama is evil, and that our country has taken a spiritual turn toward disaster. The syncretism of religion and Republicanism frightens me deeply from a spiritual perspective, and I have a new appreciation for the wisdom of separation between church and state.

6. I feel sad that the whole world is rejoicing, welcoming the news with relief and hope, while a sizeable group of people consisting of Neo-conservatives and the Religious Right are deeply dismayed and afraid.

7. I am honored to be able to witness history in the making. Of course, any election is history in the making, but this one is significant in a more powerful way. I’m happy to have been here.

8. I have a strong sense that our whole civilization is on the cusp of a powerful turn, the likes of which we haven’t seen in 500 years. I can’t help but feel that many things are changing, above and beyond partisan politics and even world events. We are in the crux of a shift that is impossible to resist, and this election is a small part of that shift, worldwide. 

That’s probably enough. Feel free to share your personal reactions. No accusations, please.

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Hope-go-round

You need money to make money.

To get a good job, you need experience. To get experience, you need a job.

Good things will come to those who have hope. If you lose hope then nothing good will happen.

Can anyone explain this to me?

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If hope is not wishing, then what is it?

I’m searching for the ontology and the phenomenology of this thing called hope. Faith and trust as well, while I’m at it. These are juicy human necessities of the soul, substances I could use right now, if I could just settle them into my heart.

Religion/faith systems/communities of worship are built around mining and manufacturing these soul commodities for the health and consumption of their members. This is the highest measure of their value. But if we take the religion out of it, what do we have left?

Ontology is the essence of the thing at the level of being. What is the essence of hope? Is it an attitude? A substance? A spirit? An illusion?

Phenomenology is the experience of something. What does hope feel like? What is it like to ride on a wave of the stuff?

All my references to hope are biblical ones. Not a bad place to start:

But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. Romans 8:24&25

Hope concerns the future, certainly. But the thing we hope for in the future is not itself hope. Hope is the juice we have inside us while we look forward to the thing – that’s what I’m wondering about.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. I Corinthians 13:13.

Hope is something on the order of faith and love. Love I think I get better than the other two. Hope is a little harder to get my arms around. The Apostle Paul seems to state that hope is more than just a wish that things in the future will turn out well. It’s something that remains. Something that fuels the universe, something that enables life maybe.

In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope… I Peter 1:3

This is the most mysterious phrase of all – new birth into a living hope. Living hope. What could that mean?

Here are some things I suspect:

1. Hope, at its essence, can be more than a wish for something good.

2. Hope is imbued with a kind of spiritual substance – power maybe?

3. Hope is alive somehow, and feeds the soul.

We often get confused about what to put our hope in. That’s when hope disappoints.

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Hope Lesson 2: There’s a difference between hope and magical thinking.

I just don’t know what it is. I have a pink magic wand at the office. I bring it out when I need to make a point. It flashes and lights up, and it’s fun to swing around, but so far it’s not produced a single desired outcome. Magical thinking – wishing – is easy to spot. Hope is a little more subtle.

If wishes were horses then beggars would ride.

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I have a love-hate relationship with hope. Is that too weird to admit?

I’m thinking about this because I find myself in the vulnerable position of hoping big – of letting my hope stir on a national scale.

Like a pack of weaned puppies – Irish Setters, Labradors, or Golden Retrievers – I just had to let them out of their cage, give them a sniff of wild rabbit. Open the door on a fine summer’s day. What was I thinking?

I let the dogs out. I’m hoping against hope that something good will happen in politics this year. That some good and lasting change can occur.

In politics.

Whhhaaaaattt? Why couldn’t I practice on something smaller, and more sure, like I hope summer will come this year. Chances are good I won’t be disappointed on that one. But no, I have to hope big. I have to hope unlikely. Let’s face it, I’m hoping impossible. Damn.

The committee, and my own good sense, are having a fit.

I can’t think about this rationally or calmly. I can’t listen to the news without having an outburst. I’m disturbed when people don’t share my belief in my candidate. (I’m sooooo disappointed in you, South Dakota – my home state!) I can’t listen to differing opinion without instantly being reduced to the maturity level of a…well, of a racist West Virginian, or a kid on the playground shouting, “my daddy can beat up your daddy!” It’s embarrassing.

And I think it’s tied to this thing called hope. My dysfunctional relationship with it, that is.

Welcome to my neurosis, and to a possibly lengthy exploration of this phenomenon. Ready?

LESSON 1: HOPE AGAINST HOPE

We have soul-laws about hope, beginning with the old standard, NEVER GIVE UP HOPE! Movies and novels, speeches, biographies and news articles confirm the rock-solid surety of this law. WE MUST HOPE.

Hope is necessary ingredient for life. Nothing good happens without hope, we’re told.

Great stories of hope inspire us and feed our souls.

But no one ever talks about how dangerous hope can be.

My mother was the great guardian of hope in our family. The guardian against hope, that is. While she never talked about it, never outright squashed our hopes, she always moved to protect us from hope, from dreaming big. She knew a lot about the pain of disappointment. She thought she knew what was necessary for some dreams to come true, and she knew she couldn’t give us the goods, so she tried to buffer us against hoping, against the great wound of disillusionment.

When she did the postmortem on disappointment, she identified hope as the culprit.

Don’t get your hopes up became the rule. We’ll see was another coded message, along with maybe someday…

I love her for trying, for loving us the best way she knew. But I couldn’t stop the dreaming. I was a dreamer. I am a dreamer.

Screwed from the get-go, I say.

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