The last several months have been extremely challenging for my family: Dementia/Alzheimer’s, misunderstandings, mental hospitals, police, cancer, homelessness, helplessness, guilt, anger, sadness … and lots of love. The pandemic has been a recent cherry on top of it all. In 41 years I’ve never cried so much for other people as I have in the last three months. Though there was something sweet beneath it all. Something I still can’t fully describe, but it feels like hope and surrender dancing as one… and it has the essence of something that could change everything for everyone.
In January there was a morning I couldn’t stop crying and I had a webinar to host. Interestingly, I was doing ok amidst what seemed like mayhem: I was just really really sad. With high hopes of somehow drying up the tears, I phoned a friend. After briefly sharing with her through sniffles what was happening she said “Wow, it’s incredible… I can tell that beneath all of it you really know everything is ok.”
“Yeah… Life is just doing its thing. I have no idea where this all will lead, but it’s happening perfectly…” I replied. Deep down I knew we were all fine. And with this knowing there was such a lightness to the sadness. I was still weepy as we were saying our goodbyes with the zoom call looming. My friend and I laughed as I ended our call by saying “Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to show up crying.”
Within a few minutes Life surprisingly snapped me out of the crying fit and no one on the call had an inkling of any of this. Though, my biggest wish now is that everyone knows.
I used to think “hope” was aligned with the dictionary definition of hope: to want or desire and to anticipate great outcomes.
So many times in my first 40 years of life I hoped and prayed (actually begged and bartered) for something different: for a better situation, for good health, for a win, for love, for you name it. I wanted life to be “better” than it was and did my best to will it into being. That definition of hope lead me astray. Thankfully “Hope” has changed…
Hope is gentler now, and I am gentler with Life.
I can’t explain how or when it happened, but hope shifted to a deep knowing that life is always in perfect motion. Instead of hope relating to what will eventually happen, it is directly linked to what Is. Hope is seeing that what is happening in the world is a perfect unfolding of Life, even if it doesn’t make sense right now. Life instantly became so much simpler.
The poet and peace-focused first president of the Czech Republic (and last president of Czechoslovakia), Vaclav Havel, put it perfectly:
“Hope is not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.”
Can we be certain that something makes sense in the midst of uncertainty?
The world seams extremely uncertain right now. Consider if it is possible that there is just as much uncertainty now as there has ever been. Could this be true: until recently we thought we knew how things would happen and now the veil has been removed? Plain and simple: Could future certainty be a mirage?
Life is uncertain, regardless of the illusion of being certain.
In early March I flew from Florida to Los Angeles for work before everything got heated with the virus. By the time I was able to fly back to Florida much of the country was on lockdown and things had drastically changed. No worries though: I had a plan, a place to stay and back up plans. I landed in central Florida and drove to pick up my Airstream trailer. By the time I arrived at my trailer all of my perfectly laid out plans had evaporated: I was homeless in a place I knew no one with very few supplies. I thought I was feeling pretty cool about it all. Then I joined a call with several friends and the floodgates opened. I felt lost, alone and could barely speak through the tears. At the cusp of it all I just wanted to be with friends/family and that was out of the picture now.
Thankfully this lovely group of friends gently pointed me towards hope and what I knew to be true. I woke up from my lostness and remembered that the universe is kind, life is in perfect motion and we are always ok. I woke up to Hope again and in that space there was peace. From that quiet place I resourcefully looked for a place to live. Within an hour everything began falling into place.
What was in the cards all along was getting “taken in” by a total stranger. Her name was Hunter and she had a big yard made up to be a mini campground. She was in her mid 70s, super cool and traveled the country full time in her Airstream for 15 years… way back before anyone actually did that kind of thing. When I shared my situation of needing a place to park and isolate she quickly responded back saying: “Come on over! You are me 20+ years ago!”
So I did and what a treat it was to become close friends with a kindred spirit while isolating separately together. I stayed in her yard, she in her house and we routinely met in between: sitting on opposite ends of her porch chatting and sharing as the sun went down. Given the choice, I would never have chosen to live in a stranger’s yard in a pandemic, but Life had grander plans… once again, it all made sense.
Amidst the uncertainty, this is certain: Life is always in perfect motion.
In the second paragraph I mentioned that I can’t describe what’s there for all of us, but it feels like hope and surrender dancing as one. There is something to this… let’s look and tease it out: What if life is truly uncertain and we can accept that? And what if we could begin to see how life makes sense, regardless of how situations unfold. What if we could pair that with fully living Life and coming more and more alive while completely embracing what is happening now? Imagine what might be possible when we can let go of all regrets, never worry again and simply live in the beautiful unknown that we call Life.
By chance, I began writing this piece in the darkness of a fierce storm. Just now I looked up to see the water droplets on the window with the sun shining brightly on the green leaves in the background. There is calmness as the thunder is barely audible in the distance and the birds have begun to sing…
Hope is natural, uncertainty is certain and Life is carrying us along… always.
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