Giving up hope

image waiting for the storm…

In 2006 I took this photo as we ex pats were preparing for a typhoon. It hardly shows the lights of the ever present Merchant Marine ships on the Philippine Sea waiting to go anywhere in the Pacific region if needed. As we pulled our metal storm shutters closed and made sure the liquor cabinet was supplied the ships would move to safe harbor to wait out the storm.

I thought about this photo one day last week. Tired of preparing to move out, thinking about my dwindling bank account, I was thinking about being rescued. I gave up childish hope a long time ago – you know the prince rescues the princess or the straw is spun into gold – and yet, as we say to the dogs waiting under the table, “live in hope.”

Serendipitously, that morning an acquaintance who has a blog – for the grandchildren (4tgc.com) added this link to Thomas Linzey’s talk at Bioneers about “giving up hope.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rgn7mlsb5gE

Linzey quotes Derreck Jensen, “When we stop hoping for external assistance, when we stop hoping that the awful situation we’re in will somehow resolve itself, when we stop hoping the situation will somehow not get worse, then we are finally free—truly free—to honestly start working to resolve it. I would say that when hope dies, action begins.” http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/170/

After a scheduled conversation with Kent Groff, my spiritual director* talking about faith in resurrection, I Googled “hope in Christian thought” and over 47,000 sites popped up with as many differing views.

Finally I turned to my Creation Spirituality teacher, Matthew Fox’s concluding chapter in his book Creativity; “The coming dawn: the hope that creativity brings.” He asks “where does our hope lie? Where shall we ground ourselves…?”

Fox teaches hope is about the possible! He quotes Aquinas in his book Sheer Joy: Conversations With Aquinas; “Hope is for a difficult good, and is prompted by that part of us that is prepared to tackle opposition.”

“We can create the future we desire.” Despair is giving up hope that we can create the future we desire – in a Christian and secular sense we cannot give up our faith in resurrection – resurrection of justice, care for the elderly and those who are poor, care for the Earth and all who live on Her.

When I searched the Buddhist view of hope the idea is to embrace our experiences without clinging to them. This view is nothing other than “an attitude of complete openness to whatever arises in our minds and daily lives.”

Tich Nach Han, writes:

“Do not lose yourself in dispersion and in your surroundings. Practice mindful breathing to come back to what is happening in the present moment. Be in touch with what is wondrous, refreshing, and healing both inside and around you. Plant seeds of joy, peace, and understanding in yourself in order to facilitate the work of transformation in the depths of your consciousness;

“Do not utter words that can create discord and cause the community to break. Make every effort to reconcile and resolve all conflicts, however small; and,

“Do not live with a vocation that is harmful to humans and nature. Do not invest in companies that deprive others of their chance to live. Select a vocation that helps realise your ideal of compassion.”

Hopefully, “As our economy goes through tectonic shifts, this sort of adaptation is becoming the new normal. Security for our families will increasingly depend on rebuilding our local and regional economies and on our own adaptability and skills at working together. At the same time, we need government to work on behalf of struggling families and to make the investments that create jobs now and opportunities for coming generations. That will require popular movements of ordinary people, willing to push back against powerful moneyed interests.” http://www.truth-out.org/who%E2%80%99s-building-do-it-ourselves-economy/1316352663

My friend and colleague Donna and I just had our Sunday Morning chat about her dissertation on boredom and our intention to develop community; advocating for elders sharing resources, living active, engaged, creative lives. Two Broads on a Mission! leaving laughter and hope in our wake.

I leave you with the poem by Marge Piercy and a video of Rebecca Solnit talking about hope.

The Low Road

What  can they do to you? Whatever they want. They can set you up,they can bust you, they can break your fingers or sear your brain with electricity, blur you with drugs ‘til you can’t walk, can’t remember, take your child, wall up your lover, they can do anything you can’t blame them from doing./ How can you stop them? Alone you can fight, you can refuse, you can take what revenge you can, but they roll over you.

But two people fighting back to back can cut through a mob/a snake dancing file can break a cordon/an army can meet an army.

Two people can keep each other sane/give support, conviction, love, massage, hope, sex./Three people are a delegation, a committee, a wedge./ With four you can play bridge, and start an organization./ With six you can rent a whole house, eat pie for dinner with no seconds and hold a fund raising party./A dozen make a demonstration. A hundred fill a hall./A thousand have solidarity and your own newsletter;/ten thousand power and your own paper; a hundred thousand your own media/ten million your own country.

It goes on one at a time/it starts when you care to act/it starts when you do it again/after they said no/it starts when you say WE and know who you mean/and each day you mean one more.

copyright Marge Piercy, 2006 Middlemarsh, Inc.

Clearly as we move into an election year (have we ever left) and Occupy Wallstreet moves around the world, we are again using hope as a verb in our society. A friend sent this lecture about her book on hope by Rebecca Solint, author of one of my favorite books A Year of Losts, www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBYSlZiiDZ0Apr 27, 2010 – 52 min – Uploaded by LawrenceUniversity
Author and activist Rebecca Solnit presents her talk “Swimming Upstream in  History: Hope, Disaster, and Utopia” at the

*Spiritual direction –Spiritual Directors International, http://sdiworld.org/frequently_asked_questions.html

Spiritual direction explores a deeper relationship with the spiritual aspect of being human. Simply put, spiritual direction is helping people tell their sacred stories everyday. Spiritual direction has emerged in many contexts using language specific to particular cultural and spiritual traditions. Describing spiritual direction requires putting words to a process of fostering a transcendent experience that lies beyond all names and yet the experience longs to be articulated and made concrete in everyday living. It is easier to describe what spiritual direction does than what spiritual direction is. Spiritual direction helps us learn how to live in peace, with compassion, promoting justice, as humble servants of that which lies beyond all names. (Liz Budd Ellmann, MDiv, Executive Director, Spiritual Directors International)

*From the book ‘Interbeing’: Fourteen Guidelines for Engaged Buddhism, revised edition: Oct. l993 by Thich Nhat Hanh, published by Parallax Press, Berkeley, California

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About Marian Methner, B.S., D.Min.

Polydox: accepting that we are many labels, I am mother of 4, mother in law (love) of 4 and grandmother of 5. My life is a collection of bits and starts. I was recently on the road for over a year exploring ideas of living in shared housing. A recent summer course in Permaculture design, solidifed my interest in "social permaculture" or ways we interact not only with our Earthly environment but also with each other. I am back Bellingham, Washington, in a small rental house, owned by my ex husband, talk about shared housing, practicing living in community with family, and friends. My doctoral dissertation A Map to Living Open Heartedly, centers around making art as a way to healing. Paradoxiclly, a recent diagnoses of heart failure (cardiomyopathy) expands this exploration...
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3 Responses to Giving up hope

  1. Thank you for this post, Marian. Helpful and enlightening, it’s one to treasure as I live each day. Blessings to you as you move forward through each day of your life.

    George

  2. Hope seems to me to be related to “transformation” and transformation is related to seeing the world through the lens of the sacred. Well, it’s all related isn’t it?! I just finished a book called Seeing the Sacred, Transforming Our View of Ourselves and One Another by Stephanie Dowrick. Excellent. One quote found in this book from Meister Eckhart, “i have often said that a person who wishes to begin a good life should be like the one who draws a circle. Let the center be in the right place and the circumference will be full of life. In other words, let us first learn to fix our hearts on the Sacred and then all that we do will flourish.”
    Welcome to the blogging world, Marian. I look forward to catching up on your posts. Nancy A

    • Hey, Nan. How was your trip/ Can’t wait to see you – let’s email … thanks for your loving comments. Do you have the new Parabola – the theme is seeing. Blessings and love. M

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