Saturday, January 14, 2012


He said he was hopeful for the New Year.  I was concerned about him, he was about to lose his father to a terminal illness and he hadn’t been taking it too well. Today, he said he was hopeful. “A new year means so many things and I can’t help but be full of hope”, he said with a half smile on his face.

What is hope? According to the dictionary hope is: “desire with the expectation of obtainment” or “to expect with confidence”. To me it is directly correlated with a beginning. Early morning is a time for hope for a good or successful day. Hopelessness on the other hand is directly correlated with an ending, it has a death like feeling to it. The night when the day has ended, is the end of the hope for the new day. In fact, we always say or think that tomorrow will be a new day, a new opportunity to try again, etc.

And what about in the middle of hope and hopelessness, what is that?  What is in that space or on that continuum? Or is it a continuum? Going back to the analogy of morning and night, the middle is the day. The middle is what happens between hope and hopelessness. The middle of desire and defeat is the practice or attempt to obtain whatever you were hopeful to achieve. The middle is where you forget about hope and how it started when you are busy doing what you thought you wanted to do. The middle is distracting, consuming, and deceiving. Only when the day has ended, you are reminded of how it began.

This kind of segmentation helps us digest our lives. 24 hour segments of beginnings and endings with the stuff in between, chunking life into digestible pieces. Yes, the New Year is a beginning full of hope and some time in December we decide whether we accomplished all that we had hoped to. In between January and the following December is when life happens.

What if every moment was like the dawn, full of hope? What if hope never ended? What if we were in a consistent state of hope? As young children we are more hopeful than as adults. Just look at a toddler when they wake up in the morning, they are bright eyed and fully alert and ready to go. Over time, we learn that we don’t always get what we want and with multiple experiences of defeat or what we perceive to be defeat, we become less bright eyed and hopeful.

Over time we learn that sometimes we get what we want and sometimes we do not. This is how hope gets diluted and eventually becomes hopeless. What if obtaining something or having an expectation was not part of the hope experience? What if hope was just a feeling, like joy or sadness or excitement? What if hope didn’t come with baggage?

That’s the hope that he was talking about. He had no expectations, he knew that his father would not survive his condition, yet he was still hopeful.  He was hopeful because it was a New Year and hope was just a part of the New Year experience. It was not logical or rational, it was an irrational emotion, a child-like enthusiasm, a beginning, a clean slate, endless possibilities, …

Spiritual life coaching provides an opportunity to explore concepts like hope in a safe space. Sometimes you can change what you believe they mean and then re-experience them in a new way. If you are interested in pursuing spiritual life coaching with me, contact me for a complimentary 30 minute spiritual coaching session.

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