Hope Springs Eternal and all that

Hope springs eternal and all that is a phrase we’ve likely heard.  And with good reason.  With all the hardships we face in life including health issues, job loss or dissatisfaction, financial woes and family disappointments to name some, it’s easy to understand why at times we may lose hope.

Besides personal grief and other reasons that cause our hearts to break, we have had the problems of the world to contend with this past year – chief among them a spreading disease, a stock market tanking, election woes and so on.

It’s unfair, agree?

Anyway, all these problems are causing anxiety, fear, unhappiness, stress and sorrow for many.  So, what are we to do?  How do we maintain hope?  Check out the following ideas and be sure to let me know your thoughts.

Stay calm

Hmm.  Don’t many of us struggle to find calm in ordinary circumstances?  But how does one do that?  One way I’ll share one with you comes from best-selling author Wayne Dyer, who was attracted to the following line from A Course in Miracles: “I can choose peace, rather than this.”

Dyer says, “Choosing peace is an energizing call to action that eliminates self-pity and thoughts of why something shouldn’t be happening.  Choosing peace then gives you a serene quiet mind that makes conscious contact with God [the Universe, Spirit or whatever you believe] and brings peace to bear on the so-called problem.”  (The bracketed line is mine.)

Carry on

Perhaps this is a version of the British philosophy:  maintain a stiff upper lip.  Or maybe this is somewhat like bury your head in the sand?  Okay, maybe this means keep on with business as usual.  Then again, maybe it means carry on, and it will soon go away.  To be replaced by or with what?

Take the coronavirus for example.  What about faire la bise?  In France, cheek-kissing is a tradition, a sign of affection and a warm welcome.  Although the lips are not supposed to touch someone’s cheeks (they simply graze), might these “air kisses” spread the virus?  Is one way for people to “carry on” to take up bowing, saluting or elbow-bumping instead?

Yes, we can carry on, but a little creativity helps, too.

Hope for the best … prepare for the worst.

Have you ever hoped that a couple you know have a long and happy marriage, hoped for a satisfying and well-paying career or even perfect health?  Have you ever bought a lottery ticket hoping to win big?  Sure, you have, and yet, we all know that something, anything can go wrong.

And still we hope for the best and all that.  Even in the middle of some great misery, we can choose to have perfect or happy moments.  Because frankly, all we can count on in life is the present moment.

As grim as it may seem to prepare for the worst, creating a plan allows you to consider different scenarios and to take precautionary measures.  Notice how our political leaders are constantly revising their strategies and hoping for the best in any given situation.  With a Plan B, you’ll have some notion of what to do when s—- happens.

The many struggles and challenges we face in life provide the fuel for our fire.  Our struggles and challenges shape us and how we live out our lives in the world.  We’re facing turbulent times.  Our lives may be a mess with worries, disasters and more bad news, but notice how we humans rise to the occasion, how we grit our teeth and press forward, how our confidence and resilience increase as we take steps – ever-so small ones toward higher places and how we weather the storms in life.

It’s important to cry and grieve.  We shouldn’t sweep our feelings under a rug.  The good news is that eventually, we come out the other side.

Keep the faith

Faith is a feeling or conviction that you hold deep within you.  You can draw forth faith by conditioning your mind to the point of belief.  And your subconscious mind will respond to the power of suggestion.  For example, you can repeat some affirmations and/or afformations.

What’s the difference you ask?

An affirmation is something such as:  I am healthy.  An afformation asks the question, “why.”  An example would be:  Why am I so healthy?  Even if you have something wrong, your mind will supply a positive answer, such as “There may be something going on with me, but I am able to walk and participate in activities with my family.”  In other words, your mind will seek out a positive response based on what you have not what you lack.

In my own life, I’ve found saying affirmations and afformations to be extremely powerful in excising negative trash talk.  When I meditate, I also sit and repeat affirmations and afformations to myself.

Lastly, smile (more)

I love Charlie Chaplin’s song, Smile.  The song was written in 1936 as the soundtrack for his movie, Modern Times.  The lyrics were added in 1954 by John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons.  The Rod Stewart version is my favorite, and I sing along with the CD while I’m driving.

Though your heart is aching
Even though it’s breaking
When there are clouds
In the Sky,
You’ll get by
If you smile
Through your fear and sorrow
And maybe tomorrow
You’ll see the sun
Come shining through
For you

Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear
May be ever so near
That’s the time
You must keep on trying
What’s the use of crying?
You’ll find that life
Is still worthwhile
If you just smile

* (And for anyone who’s interested, the phrase, hope springs eternal comes from hope springs eternal in the human breast, a line from Alexander Pope’s, An Essay on Man, 1734.)

Hope springs eternal and all that.  So, keep hoping for the best and looking for the good!

And please let us know in the comment box below how you maintain hope.  Have you tried any of the suggestions above?  We love to hear from you!

Categories: Blog, Hope, and Optimism.


    • Barb Wickland

      Hi Barbara,
      I certainly couldn’t agree with you more about Wayne Dyer. All of life is a choice. And isn’t that empowering!

  1. Hope floats, Barb. We have a saying in India in the Urdu language that means hope makes the world go round (rough translation).

    I found my faith in the Divine and staying constant in a gratitude practice has helped me cope with the worst days of the lockdown,the health issues of my loved ones and generally staying calm when others were going into lockdown fatigue and headless chicken mode.

    • Barb Wickland

      Hope floats — I love it! Yes, faith and a gratitude practice are both great way to cope and boost one’s morale, especially now during our current pandemic. Thanks Vatsala for commenting and providing the wonderful saying.

  2. So nice to read you again!

    I think what I enjoyed most about this particular post is the straightforward, balanced approach you use. And examples. Specific examples are always useful to me.

    Thank you.

  3. On the really rough days, I say, “It’s okay. It’ll get better.” Today, is in fact one of those days. It’s okay, though. Things will be better soon. I know it will.

    Thanks for the pearls of wisdom and insights to lift our spirit. I’ll have to listen to Rod Stewart’s version; for the life of me I don’t remember “Smile”. I’m sure I will as soon as he starts sing. 🙂

    As I always state, “Life is an amazing adventure; it was never intended to be lived in gray-scale.”

    • Barb Wickland

      Hi Cindy,
      Things are better! When we choose to say things are better, they will be. Belief is a big part of better days and sometimes we just have to keep repeating the thought until it takes root in our brain as if it had always been there. Thanks so much for commenting!

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