I'm currently reading a wonderful book, Archetypes, by one of my favorite contemporary philosophers, Carolyn Myss (pronounced "Mace").
Hmmm... maybe I'm attracted to people who's names look different than they sound, e.g., Bähler, or Bahler -- (pronounced "Baylor") -- but then -- what's in a name? To me it's first a label that creates identification... then, I associate the sounds with that person or thought, and it goes on from there.
And so it is with this word: HOPE.
This word has always sounded inviting to me.
It begins with the exhalation of blowing out a candle -- followed by a vowel sound that I associate with pleasure, such as:
"Oh, you are so thoughtful," or, "Oh! What a great achievement!"
The next consonant brings my lips together as in a kiss.
The final vowel, while silent, is important to the previous vowel, for in English it indicates that the "O" sound is the long "O" not the short sound, such as it would be if the word were "HOP."
So, beginning with the very sound of this word, I find it to be
a delightful one that immediately opens the sky for me.
Now, reading in Carolyn's Archetypes I came across the following passage:
If only one grace were to be granted to humanity, I would choose the grace of hope, for while all the graces are magnificent, hope is essential. Life without hope is nearly impossible to endure, but with hope the impossible is surmountable.
(Myss, Caroline (2013-01-08). Archetypes (p. 34). Hay House. Kindle Edition.
And, of course, I saw this word as yet another that celebrates our philosophy:
"Anything Is Possible."
Then I wondered what it would be like to not have hope, to truly feel defeated, and since I know myself better than anyone else, I looked back at those times in my life when I felt this way...
small defeats, big defeats, devastating defeats.
Were they failures?
They were definitely unpleasant, even painful,
and I believe that, like all living things,
we seek the pleasant and avoid the unpleasant.
I also believe that these elements are essential to learning.
But, again, were they failures?
They might have been if I were to stand still in that low place, dwelling there from that moment on.
But we, like the Universe, are in constant motion.
This is one of my favorite things about being here on this planet right now.
All of my defeats, huge to infinitesimal, have actually been steps forward in my continuous journey.
They have also been beacons of learning that have demanded my attention and, in feeling unpleasant, have caused me to ask empowering questions essential to building a better future for myself.
"What have I learned from this?"
"How do I avoid this moving forward?"
These are questions to which my answers define the quality of my future.
On the other side of this coin, there are also questions that are not empowering.
To me, these are questions, the answers to which, are paralyzing and almost always tear at the fabric of our humanity.
"Why did I do that?"
When I ask that question I usually come up with a pretty depressing answer.
"Because you're a jerk."
"Because you're stupid."
I have learned to steer clear of these questions because, for me, they are devoid of hope.
I also put them in the category of "Paralysis from Analysis."
In contrast, I find that asking what I have learned from these "defeats" is inherently full of hope and moves me forward.
Just like the Universe.
Nevertheless, not all perceived defeats are immediate beacons.
Not for me anyway.
I do make certain mistakes over and over.
Einstein was quoted as saying, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results."
In some cases, I expect that this is true.
However, we are human beings, not machines or computers.
I forgive myself, believing that there are more lessons to be learned before I can move on.
I allow and accept that if I make the same mistake repeatedly the range of lessons I must absorb in order to move on has not yet been fully assimilated by me.
And I do believe the lessons will be learned.
Even in the foggiest corners of my understanding, I believe that the defeats, the unpleasantness, and the mistakes will eventually reveal themselves as brilliant rays of light.
Another word for "Anything Is Possible."
Follow Thomas Bähler on Twitter: www.twitter.com/tbahler