I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. The air around me was heavy with the smell of salt and seaweed. The sun was beginning to set and the sky was colored in hues of pink and grey. The sand was wet beneath my feet and the water was warm. I looked around, smiled and stepped out onto the water…
Well, almost…change onto to into and that’s what I did last week.
A friend, armed with her bucket list, said. “Lets go to the beach. We’ll just drive down, spend the night and come back. It’s on my bucket list and I need to get away.”
Understanding her need and feeling the same, we made plans and last week we drove about 8 hours, spent Friday night and Saturday on the beach then drove 8 hours home. It was glorious.
While there is only One who has ever truly walked on water the idea of it intrigued me as I stood for a long time just watching the waves. The ocean, like life, is ever changing and moving yet somehow steady in the passing of time. The idea of storms and rolling waves I can apply to my life so why not walking on water, too?
So then how does hope–as we have been learning about this past year–how does this hope help me to rise above the waves and keep on going through the changing ocean, seascape, seasons, storms, and tides?
As I stood on the shore with my feet in the water, I saw something off into the distance. It was directly in front of me–a buoy. I watched it bob around as the motor boats flew by and the tide rolled in. As the sun set, I heard a whisper in my heart, “That’s hope“.
Hope is like a buoy in the water. Bouncing, bobbing, rolling but never sinking. Hope is what keeps us buoyant on the sea of life. Hope is like air–hope floats.
Hope is what helps us to walk on water.
In order to walk on water we have to buoyant and in order to be buoyant we have to learn to lighten our load. I touched on three ways to embrace change in the last post (The Secret of Change). These can help us as we choose what to take with us on our journey towards a more HOPE-full life and what we will leave behind.
- Savor the good/shed the negative
- Learn from the past/be in the present
- Be joyful in hope
Savoring & Shedding
The word savor is that desire to linger, to relish and to cherish a smell, flavor, feeling or moment of something good–to let it wrap around your soul like a blanket or coat and soak in. This is vital to being buoyant/hopeful. Savoring the good is like covering ourselves in waterproof oil. It insulates us from the cold water seeping into our souls. This goes hand in hand with shedding the negative. Bad stuff happens–and sometimes it’s even my fault–but I can choose to walk in grace both with my self and others. I can learn to shed the negative like water off a duck’s back.
In research about PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), it was discovered that part of the problem in recovery is that the traumatic event is continually playing on a loop in the head of the person affected–in the forefront or in the back round. The brain is stuck in the trauma and as it continues to play the grooves/tracks keep getting deeper. In order to get out of the groove the brain needs to build new pathways. Savoring, even the smallest things like a cup of coffee in the morning or the taste of your favorite pastry, was found to be a powerful tool in building new neural pathways and breaking out of the trauma loop. So savoring even the smallest moment or good in each day can insulate from the cold water of the negative. Savor each small kindness or moment. Savoring is the power of gratitude in action. I liketo call it the oil of gladness. This is what helps us the let the negative slide on past–like water off a duck’s back.
Learning & Being
Oh the pesky power of the past to permeate our present and perpetrate powerlessness.
It’s enough, I say. Time to learn the lessons from the past, shed the old skin and step into the bountiful blessing of just be-ing.
When we are BE-ing, not only are we collaborating with chronological time, but we are touching on *kairos, and are freed from the normal restrictions of time.”
― Madeleine L’Engle,
The past is heavy–very heavy. Especially if it’s full of regrets or recriminations. The best way to lighten our load and to free us to be in the present is to learn from the past. Accepting our failures and the failures of others doesn’t mean that it’s okay just that I am releasing forgiveness to myself and others. To me, forgiveness is cutting the weights and ties like little anchors or cords that keep me from be-ing in the present.
I ask myself this question–So then what can I learn from the past mistakes or successes?–and in looking/finding some answers I then bring the lessons into today and cut the links to the past. Sometimes the lessons are obvious like– don’t count your chickens before they hatch. Sometimes they are more difficult to see. Pain/hurt can blur our vision for awhile and that’s where seeking wise counsel can be helpful. Sometimes the lesson is that life is a mystery but we can still choose to release the negative and embrace hope.
I know this sounds simple but I also know that it can be one of the hardest things to do. We can really only live in the present. We have memories of the past and hopes for the future but we are alive when we are able to BE in the present. Our past pain, failures, and successes have been allowed to define us but it’s not who we are today…it’s not.
The lessons that we learn from the past are what enable us to see how good (wisdom/blessings) can come out of hardships. We can’t walk on the water when we are weighed down with past junk. Time to lighten the load.
Being joyful and hopeful
If hope is the buoy in the water then joy is the is the feeling of freedom and movement that comes each time a wave hits and the buoy just bobs to the left or right. Fear and regret restrict our movement. Our ability to love and breathe today are frozen when we are tied/bound to these two. The ability to be joyful in hope is the result of the first two steps. Change is not to be feared but embraced because we have learned to savor the good and shed the negative. We have learned from our past and embrace being in the present. This brings us to a most wonderful place where we can be joyful in hope. Remember our definition of hope back in January?
Hope can be defined as a desire of some good, accompanied with at least a slight expectation of obtaining it, or a belief that it is obtainable. Hope differs from wish and desire in this, that it implies some expectation of obtaining the good desired, or the possibility of possessing it. Hope therefore always gives pleasure or joy; whereas wish and desire may produce or be accompanied with pain and anxiety.
Joy can be defined as the passion or emotion excited by the acquisition or expectation of good (hope)
So being joyful in hope is crafting hope and letting yourself feel it. Joy is the expression of hope and hope is the foundation of joy.
My friends, I realize that all of this is much easier to write about than to do but I want to encourage and challenge you with this: the results are immeasurable and worth the effort.
Crafting a more HOPE-full life is a journey for the brave.
And if you don’t feel brave, remember the advice from one dear friend to another:
You are braver than you believe,
stronger than your seem,
and smarter than you think.
–Christopher Robin to Winnie-the-Pooh.
Heidi Mull, at times wading on the shore; at times walking on the water.