Ripples #1211: Hope in Hard Times


We seldom admit the seductive comfort of hopelessness. It saves us from ambiguity. It has an answer for every question: “There’s just no point.” Hope, on the other hand, is messy. If it might all work out, then we have things to do. We must weather the possibility of happiness.
Jarod K. Anderson aka The CryptoNaturalist
shared by Pidge in Pacifica, CA


To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.
-Howard Zinn, shared by Pete in Colorado via James Clear


I’m back in the office after a few weeks off, still getting caught up and also getting excited to hit the road, visiting a sprinkling of college campuses and school districts to fire up students and staff for another academic year. Well, PART of me is getting excited.

Another part of me recognizes the heaviness that exists in the world right now, the deep gloom that hangs over everything. Things are not good in the world right now, and the short term prognosis is bleak with a side of blech. I’ve been wondering how I was going to be any good at firing up other people while I was having such a hard time getting myself fired up.

And then the Universe stepped in with an assignment that would help turn things around: I received a message from a longtime Rippler who needed a lift. The video I whipped up helped me regain my footing by reminding me that our FEELINGS impact our THOUGHTS which impact our BEHAVIOR which impacts our FEELINGS…and it just keeps going round and round. When I catch myself in a downward spiral, it is often some small-ish tweaks to how I’m feeling, thinking, and/or acting that help me cycle back upward.

It isn’t always easy to sustain hope in the midst of hard times, and sometimes we need to ask for help (hopefully everyone knows about the new 988 suicide and mental health crisis phone line here in the U.S. ). And it isn’t about painting a fake smile on our face and ignoring the significant turmoil that might be churning in our lives and in the world at any given point. Maintaining hope in hard times is about remembering that the harder things are, the more important and more useful it is to assemble even scraps of hope to help us make it to better days.


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