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Day 60: Hope is the thing with feathers...

I now see that Fire&Water seeded in me when I named aloud how very hopeless I felt, particularly about organizational learning and/or communal transformation.

I was weary of the human fragility and refused woundedness that come with paradigm-shifting, seeker-community(ies). With tears in my throat, I remember saying, “It just feels so hopeless to me: I was all-in for leadership learning at Wabash. Woundedness. An awareness that nothing changed in higher ed when the racial-ethnic percentages changed or shifted. Same conceptual violence, just different actors in their own aggressions, wounds. I was all-in with Women Writing for (a) Change, for nearly 10 years. I innovated and learned: woundedness, twice. What’s that saying? Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me? I’m done visioning with seeker communities living “new wisdom” into the world that is really just woundedness in the end.” Tenneson received my hopelessness with a hand to his chest/heart, a weary smile. I left the discernment-interview conversation uncertain whether I was saying a NO, or a MAYBE, but I left the door open.

Fast forward 16 months. I began my PoL last Thursday with named hopelessness, identifying for my peeps where I had begun. "I’ve never really known a lot about hope, in an active, faith-filled sense," I said. Wikipedia offers definitions including: an optimistic state of mind, an expectation of positive outcomes. I know a lot about expectation of positive outcomes, as my life has been blessed with so very many positive ones, earned and unearned. I have even known about an optimistic state of mind. I tend toward impish charm to encourage positive outcomes with others. Both of these led me to an outcome-dependent hope. Hopelessness was the fruit of outcomes.

Then F&W merged my streams of practice, listening, and learning with those whose sense of hope is actively independent of outcomes. I’ve been observing—apprenticing, really—with those of African descent whose lives are buoyed by hope in speech, behavior, action. They befuddle, goad, and inspire me regularly to ask, “How can you be hopeful in the USA of today?! How?!”

Each would respond differently, in his/her/their voice. One said “I trust in the divine order of things…I’ve already surrendered.” Another spoke with such clear buoyancy for living from Joy, no matter what. Live hope, and it lives; live fear, and that will live. Another spoke of her ancestors, the inherited gift of resilience. I know there is no easy answer for any of us…

But it seems rooted in vision, in heart’s desire, in the power of the imagination to co-create with Spirit, with others, the world desired. Believe the world is out to gift you, not get you. Attend to what you desire to create; give obstacles no energy. Let the Universe prove your hope right, not your fear.

So I concluded my PoL: "...a fledging visceral sense of hope independent of outcome has begun to stretch its wings within me, because of you." (smiling nod to Emily Dickinson's poem).

I am thankful…

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