Hope …. making it a strength

In today’s world of turmoil and uncertainty, we may sometimes wonder if there is any hope left. Headlines, news reports and social media remind us of this daily. Then we look closer to home, or even in our backyard and we may wonder the same thing. Life is filled with ambiguity and unknowns but I have learned that choosing to hope as a strength has made the unknowns bearable. I cannot change what happens in the world, but I can be an agent of change for myself and in the small corner of the world that I influence. By directing my attention within, I find real hope at the core of my being and that gives me strength, clarity, and purpose to navigate this turbulent time.

Hope is my source of strength.

As I strive to become a better writer, my friends encouraged me to write about something I love or have experienced on a deeper level. After reflecting on these comments, I landed on hope. It’s something that I have experienced deeply over the past 15 months as I have worked through the many emotions of a new title I didn’t choose “unemployment.” It’s such a hard title to wear with grace, but it’s because of hope that I can wear it. The reason I write about this is I have met others in my situation and they seem to have lost hope. But it’s not just for people that are unemployed, hope is for all of us in whatever uncertain situation we may be facing. What is the challenge you are facing?

Because of the oil and gas downturn, I was one of the many professionals that have been impacted. I’ll write more about this in a later blog, but for now, it’s just a small piece of the backdrop but it’s a huge part of why I know that hope is a strength. I am still in the middle of the storm, and very uncertain about many things, but if I can give an ounce of encouragement to one person to have hope, then that is why I share a glimpse of what I have learned through my pain and suffering.

Uncertainty is not my enemy. We embrace uncertainty from a place of inner security and harness potential. I have discovered that hope is activated through self-awareness. Hope can become a power source — a renewable source.

Hope and fear cannot occupy the same space at the same time. Invite one to stay. Maya Angelou

I have a very supportive network of family and friends and they have taken this journey with me. But not everyone has that, so that is another reason I write about hope, is to pass it forward.

During one of dark days where I was feeling paralyzed from the pressure, I met with Monica and Raquel (which took every bit of strength I had that day) to connect. It was a day where hope seems far away and the winds of the storm were taking a toll on me. After that conversation, my situation was still the same, but they restored my hope and Monica sent this quote from Vivian Greene below. How have you responded during your dark days? With whom could you reach out too?

“Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass…. it’s about learning how to dance in the rain.” Vivian Greene

Dancing in the rain…. that is exactly what I had been doing on most days, but I needed a reminder that day. It was another brushstroke on my canvas of life as my journey creates this masterpiece.

In my little corner of the world, this 15 months of what I now like to call “my sabbatical” has provided me the opportunity to do many things that, otherwise, I would have never been able to do if I were working. I have been privileged to do the following:

  • sit in ICU for two weeks with my aunt after she underwent open heart surgery at the age of 86,
  • be a carpool mom for the first time,
  • give an opening speech in my professional society about what it feels like to be under intense heat,
  • learned to be wholly present to my three children,
  • found out the true meaning and benefits of meditation and a gratitude journal,
  • able to be with Raquel for a week while awaiting test results,
  • attended talks and met people I would have never met otherwise,
  • and found my way into graduate school at Arizona State University where I am transitioning into sustainability.

I am grateful for this time for the many reasons, and I would not be blogging if it weren’t for my professors at ASU. Don’t get me wrong, or read that I’m nether motivated, nor highly-competitive… as that’s far from the truth, but I’m moving from being to becoming, as my professor and storyteller, Park Howell, teaches. Becoming more than I ever thought I could because of hope.

Hope is a pattern that has traveled with me during my sabbatical. Patterns in a professional career or personal life requires practice, practice, practice. Keeping chipping away at it. Hope has enormous power. What’s your pattern? How has that worked for you?

May hope be your strength, too. Thank you for reading my blog. If you have additional stories of hope, please leave a comment, or select the heart icon so others might read it and be encouraged.