Hope and fear cannot occupy the same state space. Invite hope to stay – Maya Angelou.
Have you ever had a day during this corona chaos when – despite your best intentions to be strong and courageous – you feel yourself sinking into worry, anxiety and fear?
About a week ago, after several conversations with fearful family members in New York, I heard from two friends who were wondering how long their small businesses could survive during the shutdown. This was followed by two fruitless hours online attempting to order disinfectants, hand sanitizers and vitamins.
“When will all this suffering and disruption end?” I asked myself. Just then, through the window drifted the clear sweet sound of a robin singing his little heart out. What an amazing reminder that – even in the midst of this crisis – spring continues to unfold in a beautiful orderly pattern, as nature renews herself after her winter nap.
The birds are building their nests. Spring flowers are blooming. The trees are budding and turning a lovely, fresh green. As new life springs up all around us, I realized that there is a higher power, a universal intelligence that is more powerful than the coronavirus.
It then occurred to me what a blessing it was that the pandemic hit at a time when harsh winter weather wouldn’t interfere with efforts to fight the virus and ship critical supplies to areas where they’re needed.
As I shifted from anxiety to gratitude, I gave thanks for the medical professionals and scientists on the front lines of the fight against the virus. This expanded to gratitude for our first responders and all the wonderful people in our communities working in essential businesses as well as those who keep our infrastructure going.
I gave thanks for the millions of acts of kindness occurring daily throughout our country and the world, as people help their neighbors and communities weather this storm. I expressed gratitude for having a home to shelter in, wonderful neighbors and an internet connection to stay connected with family and friends.
It’s a funny thing about gratitude – as we notice and take time to appreciate what’s good in our lives, we become more optimistic, generous and resilient. The more grateful we are, the more hopeful we become.
When we begin to view our world through the lens of hope, we’re more likely to recognize the positive things emerging from this crisis – new innovations, medical breakthroughs, stronger communities and our own personal growth.
We move from feeling like the victim of invisible forces to being open to new possibilities. This awakens our creativity and inspires us to use this situation as a catalyst for personal development, growth and possibly some major life changes.
We all have the power to invite hope in to our hearts and gratitude is a powerful way to rekindle hope during a tough time.
INSTA- POWER CHARGE: Invite Hope into Your Heart
Anytime you start to spiral into stress and anxiety, you can re-ignite hope with the simple practice of shifting to gratitude.
- Be Aware – Notice how you’re feeling and ask yourself if this is working for you.
- Choose to Release Negativity – Take three deep breaths – and breathe out any feelings of hopelessness, anxiety or anger.
- What am I Grateful for? – Choose one thing you can appreciate in this moment. As you give thanks, think of another, then another until you’ve listed ten things you’re grateful for.
- Breathe in Hope – As you focus on what’s good in your life right now, take three deep breaths breathing in the healing energy of gratitude and hope.
POWER PRACTICE – The Gratitude Journal
One gratitude practice that I’ve used for many years is keeping a gratitude journal where I write down what I was thankful for first thing in the morning and then again before going to bed at night.
A few years ago when I was going through an especially difficult time and was feeling pretty hopeless, I realized that I had abandoned this practice and decided to start it again. There were some days when it was hard to identify what I was grateful for and I would write down things like “my cup of coffee” and the fact that my car started.
As I continued to journal daily, I noticed that each day the list expanded by one or two things. I started to feel more hopeful about the future. I was able to recognize new opportunities when they emerged, and better still, by focusing on the positive, good things started to flow into my life.
If there was ever a time to keep a gratitude journal it’s now. Start by taking time once a day to write down things you’re grateful for. Nothing is too small. You can begin with your cup of coffee. As you do this daily, you’ll notice your list will expand and you’ll feel more hopeful.
As nature renews herself all around us, why not use the beauty of spring as your daily invitation to give thanks for what’s going right in your life and invite hope to stay.
“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all the darkness.” Desmond Tutu