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Hope Forward: Surviving and Thriving through Emotional Pain: The Year in Review (sort of) and Hope Forward Again

Monday, December 30, 2013

The Year in Review (sort of) and Hope Forward Again

As the year turns again, I've been thinking a lot about hope and about resiliency and about resources.
I've been thinking about complicated grief, complicated life choices, sacrifice, joy and meaning.

Lots of folks this year in my office have talked out and through difficult relationship issues.  Some have stayed in the relationship and tried to climb through the mountain of anger and sadness and do what needs to be done to cultivate a culture of mutual respect and to bring back the love and seen surprising good results. Others have decided to move on and forward.

Some folks have keep at the good - but not always easy - work of understanding more about their relationship with themselves.  Some have dug into the past to see how it effects the present and could shape the future.  Others have been talking about trauma, frustration, grief, addiction and obsession.

Some situations take time to sort through, others give way to clarity sooner.  The questions of who we are, what we need, what we are willing to sacrifice for, compromise on and invest in continue to be important and discussion worthy.

A lot of folks tell me that there is peace of mind and meaning that comes from the search.  That at least the looking serves the purpose of honoring one's self, spirit and psyche.  That even when things are not abundantly clear, there is goodness in knowing the effort is being made to find out more.

And, a lot of folks ask me "What if I try (to heal, figure it out, do this method or that) and it doesn't work? What if there is nothing left to try?"  So this is where hope can be painful.  But I think that there are always new places to explore, and there are old places to explore again in new ways. 

Sometimes, we are even afraid of better.  Someone once asked me "Why does getting better - feeling better even - seem to make me feel worse sometimes?"  And I think that maybe it's because the familiar is so comforting and we think that the fear and the worry will keep us from something really bad happening.  That the things that kept us feeling safe no longer work really as we move forward in life is a daunting idea sometimes.

But I land on hope anyway.  I think that when we are sorting it all through -   be it quickly or slowly - that if we have our sources of nourishment in place, we can keep at it and it pays off.  We just have to take good care of our sources: our supportive relationships, our spiritual life, our service to others, our safe places to talk, our quiet time, our genuine pleasures - the places where we get uncomplicated good feelings -  and then we can keep on keeping on as the rest unfolds.

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