Before I knew anything about yoga, meditation, or self-care, I practiced hope. Hope guides you to the right place, and faith fuels your progress along the path. What can feel inconsolable one minute can be transformed by hope the next. Hope illuminated my path of healing. It guided me to move beyond the misery of the moment to the peace that exists in the midst of disruption.
I have always been drawn to hope, possibly because in the early days of my life it felt like there was so little. In the confusion of my family’s circumstances, life changed forever. Routines and rituals that I had known before and taken for granted no longer existed. These are the facts of my childhood, but now, with my healing practices in place, I have come to respect and honor the sadness and difficulty as stepping stones on my path toward wholeness. Now I live in partnership with the challenges, and I no longer push away the discomfort or anger or grip tightly to happiness when it shows up. My experiences flow with me, and I know a different type of life because of it. The confusing times of my young life molded me into the person I am today, and in many ways forced me to become resourceful in ways I might not have otherwise been.
Some schools of yogic thought believe that souls intentionally pick mothers and fathers who will offer them the greatest chance to grow. It is through this growth that our souls have the chance to evolve into a greater expression of peace and love. That way we are able to do the highest service available to us as humans: helping others know love.
I know that this is true for me. I came into the world understanding this belief. The loss of my parents was the greatest and most difficult lesson of my life, and yet in the most desperate times there was always a hopeful sliver of light that never blew out. What used to be just a flickering spark is now a full flame of hope that boosts me up in the darker times of my life.
I remember how it felt to be without my mother in the days immediately after she left. I had a heaviness in my belly that made me feel nauseous all the time. I understood this feeling to be hopelessness.
My instincts soon told me that to heal through this loss I would need to rekindle hope. I cultivated a keen eye for what hope looked like in nature and in the people around me. I spent most of my childhood outdoors. I let nature feed me and flow through me. I openly received the energy that I saw in birds, grass, trees, the ocean, my dogs, and in sunrises and sunsets. Nature never disappointed me, and I allowed it to fill me up in my fragile times. All these years later, I understand nature to be a source of endless healing.
Hope also appeared in people. I could feel myself being pulled toward people’s innate kindness and knew hope through them. Because of the loss I had experienced, I was particularly cautious of people. I didn’t trust that they would stay. I was hypervigilant and defensive and approached people warily. But when I detected kindness in someone, I would feel a magnetic draw to them and spontaneously my defensive walls would relax.
I’d try on people’s hopeful ways of thinking and acting, and I noticed how good hope felt in my body. Cloaked in hope, I had something to look forward to, something to move toward, and this intrigued me. I no longer felt dead-ended by the circumstances of my life. I had paved a hopeful way forward. Hope took my hand and guided me toward my healing path.
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We are in this life together, learning, growing, and healing. Awareness of this truth is the essence of humanity.
In peace, light, and love.