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The courage of Hope...

Updated: Nov 22, 2022

I am drafting this blog post on Dec. 21st, the longest night of the year. This is also my favorite day of the year, because once we get through it, every day gets a little longer until the summer equinox. It is because of hope, that I love this day so much.


On the surface, the longest night of the year sucks. It’s cold, the sun sets at like 12:30 in the afternoon (maybe an exaggeration but it sure feels that way), and we are forced into a darkness that makes us feel sleepy and drained. The winter months are hard adjustments for me, I miss the ease my evening walks have during the brighter summer months. I tend to get out less frequently and that leads to feelings of laziness and criticism.


One of the shifts I made around how the winter months impact my mindset, is to find hope in strange places. This now includes viewing 12/21 as my favorite day of the year. For me, sitting in the darkness of long night and knowing the nights that follow will be shorter, makes the winter season more bearable for me. I’ve also noticed that when I apply this mindset to other areas of my life, hope is what I receive in return and I’m able to persist through the majority of challenges put in front of me.


The power of hope is that is has the power to sustain us in our darkest moments. The mantra, “Just keep swimming,” comes mind when I feel lost, unsure, and untethered. Hope in action, is taking the present moment and all its challenges, and saying, ‘what can I do now to get through this?’ What I have discovered in these moments, is that it’s never about a grand gesture or becoming a knight in shining armor. Often when I am most filled with hope it looks like, washing the dishes, tending to the plants, doing a prayer ritual, drinking water, just putting one foot in front of the other. Often when the darkness (both literal and figurative) has set in I reach for hope in ways that seem simplistic, mundane, or repetitive. This is my way of moving forward. This is how I carry hope with me when I need it most.


Our culture tends to pump values like hope up until they are unrecognizable and intangible. Our culture’s version of hope gets played out over a montage. The most vital elements of hope are edited out to spare us our boredom. That’s what funny about hope, often on the outside- hope can look so dull. But when you’re in hope, especially when you are connected with others in that hope, hope can feel sustaining on an almost divine level. Hope becomes a feeling of elation, excitement, courage, belief, belonging, reassurance, and comfort. It is true what when I put hope into practice, I often receive these moments in abundance.


The process of having hope can be excruciating. Hope is both vulnerable and wonderful all at once. We are required us to be courageous enough to want better, while living in wonder with what that could be. Hope requires us to be grounded in our darkness while dreaming of the stars. Right now, as covid cases climb again, I cannot think of a better time to take this message to heart.


The choice to be hopeless is one where we give our power over to bitterness and helplessness. We turn our backs on "possible" and accept apathy as our new acquaintance. I have found it necessary to avoid letting my road get that dark because my recovery was always agonizing and destructive. The best way I've learned how to do this is to stay vulnerable in my emotions, and plugged into connecting with the other humans around me. These are two of the ways I'm able to connect with hope, and knowing this has saved my ass from despair more than I think I'll ever know.


One of my favorite hope examples comes from Ted Lasso. The soccer team Lasso coaches is on the verge of failing out of the league and the future hangs on the final game. The ups, downs, and moment to moment kinetic energy that surrounds the team, is to watch hope in action. The episode has now made it into my “hope and rally” movie play list.


What I love most about the episode is you see the glory of hope... the chemical boost we get from hope. It's the validation of a dream coming true. To have hope is to be alive. It’s admitting you have wonder in your heart. Connecting with others in hope creates a level of belonging that connects us at our deepest human core. Teams connected in hope experience more feelings of purpose, resilience, and vulnerability. Hope is what pushes us forward through the darkness of our longest nights.


This year, there are so many places we can turn that elicit feelings of hopelessness. Climate change continues to hold us accountable for ignoring the needs of our planet. A destructive pandemic continues to spread and claim lives. Systems beholden to white supremacist patriarchal delusion still thrive. There are many justifiable reasons that hope feels in vain. But I also know there are moments ahead of us this year that will inspire us, connect us, and leave us in gratitude and awe. These are the potential moments that become the seeds of my hope. These are the seeds I want to grow with the teams I work with. These are the seeds I want to cultivate internally in myself. It’s the process of caring for these seeds that will bring me hope this year. I invite you to join me in hope this year as we work to bring our seeds to life.


Many of our seeds may not see the light, or may bloom quickly only to fade and wither, other seeds may germinate slowly and require patience and persistence. No matter what seeds you tend to this year, please know you won’t be alone… which feels like a very hopeful start to the new year.


My hope list for 2022…


To create more community and connection.


To listen, learn, and continue to grow and adapt.


To continue to shift cultures towards softer, more inclusive, and connected spaces where the bar is set at belonging and we build up from there.



What hopes do you have for 2022?



Photo Credit: Howl & Rose

Kate Katz is the owner and founder of All Hands In, a soft skills development company. All Hands In specializes in soft skill development using play and puppetry. If you'd like to learn more about the work she does please visit: www.allhandsinworkshops.com or email her at kate@allhandsinworkshops.com


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