Hope Without Attachments

“Hope is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all -“

-Emily Dickinson

Hope.  It has substance.  It has life and weight and it dances with faith.  It calls us to action, and is the farthest thing from plain-ole-wishful-thinking you can imagine.  It reminds us to dream, and lifts us out of boredom, lethargy, and depression.  It has life, and it has a song.  (There is a reason Emily D. is still quoted at dinner tables.)

But, what if hope sings from the perch of your beautiful soul and nothing happens?  What if hope is all you have for what seems like an eternity, and nothing seems to be changing or growing?  What if, despite the song of hope bursting from your chest, you still don’t see the thing you hope for materializing?

I’ve had to learn about this aspect of hope the hard way.  Trust me, it was not easy, but I learned that hoping for the sake of hoping is like balm for the soul.  And the best way to enjoy the process of hope and hoping is to let go of the attachment to the outcome.

Just. Let. It. Go.

By clinging to a result – such as:

  • a student making a certain amount of progress
  • someone understanding your kind words
  • winning an award
  • making a certain amount of money
  • the list is endless, really . . .

You are no longer hoping, you are expecting.

And, expectations, especially of others, can set us up for emotional distress.

(Once you’ve tasted life without emotional distress, you don’t want to go back – but I digress.)

Expectations set us up to tell ourselves stories in our minds about what “should” and “should not” be happening.  As I’ve written before, you will know what “should” be happening by what IS happening.

Simple, but sometimes emotionally difficult to accept, I know.  Been there y’all, so I get it.

I’ve been writing a lot of “I hope” statements lately in response to the higher-than-normal levels of public, emotional outpouring.  Fortunately, when I hope for more comfort and peace and deep breaths and beautiful music in the world, I can finally just enjoy it (that thing with feathers) for the song it sings in my heart.

I can’t really help anyone, at least not just because I want to.  It doesn’t work that way.  Everyone gets to arrive at their own healing, their own experience of hope, their own song, in their own way and in their own time.  My job is to hope and respond with love and let the rest of it off the hook. 

I hope this post brings you one step closer to experiencing “the thing with feathers/that perches in the soul/and sings the tune without the words/and never stops at all.”

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