How To Find Hope
I found one thing about hope: it does not come to you, you find it.
Hope sits on its throne, in its own right and applause. It is unbothered by what goes on around it, only turning an eye to those who dare sit in it.
Hope does not ask for allegiance. It is well fed in its own manner. It asks for nothing in exchange. It is that confident in its ability to sustain itself without you, and not vice versa. It does not fight for attention nor does it quarrel over posts and titles. It sits and watches. Never waiting to be called on yet always expectant of a guest, with arms wide open.
We are the guests and we can stay as long as we’d like.
With hope you’ll sometimes reap the harvest you did not labour. It produces a type of faith to carry you through.
Hope has been on my mind for years now. I think of hope often since 2015 and again in 2018. I think to myself, there has to be something I can hold onto as I wait to be rejuvenated. This cannot be it. I have overindulged in my travels, working abroad at the grassroots level. I, in many ways mentally and emotional, “went native” and lost myself in my work. When I was done, my body got on the plane, but my mind and spirit stayed behind. Hence, in addition to being humbled by the realism of development work, I returned jaded and empty with overflowing questions. Nothing was worth reviving, participating in or arguing about. I got tired of conversations that spoke about what is out there than what we can do and actually do it. I was saddened by the very idea of life. To me, life began to resemble a hamster and its wheel. Always running but never going anywhere. So why run? Well, it is something to do.
Sounds so sad doesn’t it? Well it was. If you have lost someone, something or somewhere that can never be replaced, you too will understand. The jarring feeling of being stuck as a hamster on its wheel holds a devastation similar to not evolving from your current state of mind. And in such a state finding hope is the first step a revival.
Progress won’t come to you. Change won’t come willingly. Hope won’t grace itself at your feet. You have to go find it and with whatever strength you have left, you hold on.
The question now is, where can hope be found? If it won’t come to you then how do you get it? Well, it is best to understand that hope is also not playing hide and seek. Neither is it waiting for you to find it, as though it is lost. It is yours to have it you want. Yours to keep if you nurture it.
As my healing-change continues, it have graduated to another stage: finding hope. To close in on it, I began thinking about the ways I have found (in the past) and how I can find hope again. Looking back to move forward as well as creating new mechanisms to stay in hope and fulfilment are the few methods I used but let's chat some more...
Hope can be found in established positive relationships. It pops up in meaningful conversations linked to your interests, sparking a fire when prolonged. You come alive around this/these people and conversations. I have found hope in such places with certain people. I have also found the contrary and made a note to stay away from the drainers. We all have them.
But the place I find hope rather easily is when I travel and stay in a different place for more than two weeks. This place can be a country, a culture, a town or a mental journey – like a silent retreat. Although two weeks may seem like a long time for a silence retreat it may be the perfect time for self-evaluation, mental and emotional surgery and healing. Adjust the days as you see fit.
My all-time favourite way is by traveling. Traveling to find hope or healing is more than just a plane ride, touring a foreign country, eating local foods, Instagraming the whole time and hopping back on the plane. It is a journey where you are thoughtful with your intentions, disciplined with your reasons for taking such a trip and you allow yourself, not just your luggage, to be unpacked thoroughly.
I undoubtedly find hope and peace when I travel and stay in a different place for more than two weeks. I suggest living with a trusted local family, rent your own room and be part of the family. Live with them openly as you would your family, allow their hospitality to caress you, and permit the language barrier to relieve you of your inmate anxiety to understand and be understood. Just let it all free fall.
Luckily for me I have three countries and families I can disappear to for this. However, if a new-born to this, use your networks. If you have friends from other countries, ask them if you could go back home with them or if they could have recommendation of people to stay with. Share your plan and see how they can help. Remember safety comes first.
A third way to find hope and revitalise yourself is doing a silent retreat. Back in 2017 I created my own silent retreat. I was financially poor and could not afford to pay for one, so I created my own. I had the entire apartment to myself that break. And since I never cultivated the FOMO syndrome, I was ecstatic to be alone. I googled some guidelines on how to create an in-home silent retreat, added my own masala and did it. It was the best three days of that year. It resurfaced filled, grounded, more balanced, freer and happier.
A fourth, but not final, way to reach this desire is to bring back your old hobbies and passions. You know, the ones that got you here in the first place. Slowly ease yourself back into your groove. For me working abroad in certain conditions and situation shuttered me but it was when I was the most alert, on fire and content. Ying- Yang. Now that I have left the scene, I am slowly working my way back. Starting with a few readings, a few documentaries and reminiscing on my time in the field.
Brokenness is part of growing. Feeling low means you once were on cloud nine - we can get back there. This is not the end of the road. It a rest stop, a rewiring for handle the next stages of our customised lives. ^_^