Hope is an energy source. It may not be understood by modern science, but indigenous people and many others have an inner certainty that there is something bigger than any one of us. People call this greater source for hope by many names: Grandmother and Grandfather, God, Allah, Universe, Tao, cosmic energy, nature, consciousness, or original wisdom. For everyone, and under whatever label or banner it resides, it represents the connection between people, earth, and spirit.
THE GIFT OF HOPE
When we open ourselves to hope, it is possible to release the pressure and desire to know everything, the need to think we are in control. It is, in fact, impossible to know all the answers. There is no certainty. Any control we think we have is an illusion. But hope, this infinite energy source, can inspire us, and can help pull us through even the most difficult times as they arise in our lives.
Through the Internet and media, we continuously are made aware of the realities of economic disparity, colonization, war, violence and terror, environmental degradation, and desperation worldwide. We can see the scars that all of that has left behind, in societies, in the landscape, in the earth we walk on, and in the rivers, lakes, and oceans that sustain us.
We can see the pain and the devastation and displacement of people and cultures throughout the world. Yet the gift of hope fortifies us to see the problems and to choose to focus on what is working, to sidestep discouragement and despair. We can choose to embrace the real possibility that together, through our individual and collective action, we can make things not only better but as they are intended to be, a reflection of the abundance.
HOPE IN ACTION
As Wangari Maathai said in a speech after receiving the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize:
“In the course of history, there comes a time when humanity is called to shift to a new level of consciousness, to reach a higher moral ground. A time when we have to shed our fear and give hope to each other. That time is now.”
Indeed, the time is now. We must use this energy source, the gift of hope, to imagine something better and to take positive individual and collective action.
Hope is a spiritual muscle. It is a practice, one in which vision and dreams play a critical part. Hope in action bridges the ordinary — what can be seen and known — with the extraordinary world of what one imagines.
Acting with this hope, acting with faith, acting with the knowledge of something unproven is a powerful energy that helps us to live as whole human beings. Hope in action is an act of freedom. It is an antidote to the doubt and the pain existing in the world around us.
INDIVIDUAL AND COLLECTIVE HOPE
What does it take to develop and sustain hope? What does it take to trust in your vision, to honor the action that demonstrates that abundance comes from connection? We return to the indigenous worldview: the circle of connection between people, earth, and spirit.
We can allow ourselves to be nourished by the energy of hope. We can create something from its radiant light. Hope can cause things to change at the speed of your imagination. Hope can provide the inspiration and vision that allow you to see what might be possible along the wonderful and sometimes challenging journey to achieve it.
Hope draws you toward itself and then invites your efforts to bring it about. Some call this space between what you hope for and what the current reality is a “gap.” This is not a gap of nothingness; it is the structural tension that draws your mind, body, and spirit to trust and move toward what is hoped for.
WHAT SUSTAINS HOPE?
What sustains hope is the act of looking for and seeing signs of hope becoming realized. This requires a positive outlook. With this practice, more of your energy is used to see what is working and what is possible than is spent focusing on the problems. It replaces the habit of constant use of negative thoughts and non-generative words and images that cause tunnel vision, preventing us from sensing all the possibilities.
Instead of seeing only the things that are not working, give more focus, more of your energy, more of your light, and more of your mind to what is working inside of yourself and outside in the world. Take time to have fun, share laughter, dance, and engage in positive conversations with others. Search out the movements, organizations, and people who give you hope, such as those who study and mimic the extraordinary design of nature to create answers to problems that seem insurmountable. Create a world that works for all of us.
Excerpt from “The Four Sacred Gifts: Indigenous Wisdom for Modern Times” by Anita Sanchez.
Anita Sanchez, Ph.D., Aztec and Mexican-American, is a transformational leadership consultant, speaker, coach and author of the international bestselling book, The Four Sacred Gifts: Indigenous Wisdom for Modern Times (Simon & Schuster). She bridges indigenous teachings with the latest science to inspire and equip women and men to enjoy meaningful, empowered lives and careers. For more information and to download the free song that is based on the book, visit The Four Sacred Gifts website. For information on Anita’s diversity training, coaching and speaking see her consulting website.