Cultivating Hope in a Time of Darkness

Cultivating Hope in the Darkness by Kelley Grimes at Cultivating Peace and Joy

You can make positive deposits in your own economy every day by reading and listening to powerful, positive, life-changing content and by associating with encouraging and hope-building people.”

~Zig Ziglar

 

It has been an incredibly challenging week in the United States with more hatred, violence, pipe bombs, and senseless killing. The anti-Semitism and racism expressed with the murders in a Pittsburgh synagogue and a Kentucky grocery store cast even more darkness over our already divided nation.

 

If you are anything like me, you may be feeling the profound sadness and grief of these all too common tragedies and may be feeling the fear that this kind of violence so easily incites. You would not be alone in wondering if there is anywhere safe in our nation when this kind of violence regularly reaches our schools, faith communities, and stores.

 

But it is exactly at such times, when our hearts are broken, that we have the capacity to shine more love and light into the darkness.

 

My inspiring friend Azim Khamisa, peace maker and restorative justice advocate says,“There is nothing as painful as a broken heart, but a broken heart is an open heart. There is so much possibility for healing and transformation when you keep your heart open.”

 

So how do we keep our hearts open when we feel so much despair and hopelessness?

 

The answer is to cultivate hope.

 

There are many ways to cultivate hope, from listening to uplifting messages, to connecting with a supportive friend, to hearing an inspiring story of transformation and overcoming, to learning you are not alone in your struggles, but I think one of the most powerful ways to cultivate hope is to connect with other people who are working to keep their hearts open too.

 

I experienced the power of this on Monday night when I attended an interfaith service at a local temple with my Jewish father in law and many Hands of Peace friends to honor those who died at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. We heard from Christian, Muslim, and Jewish faith leaders who shared words of hope from their tradition and all reflected the belief that what happens to one person, happens to all of us and therefore we must stand united. During the service we sang songs together, lit candles in solidarity, and shared what acts of love and healing we would commit to in order to bring more compassion and kindness to the world. We wrote these commitments on leaves and placed them on a tree of life in the sanctuary. It was a lovely ritual and being with others committed to staying open hearted during a time of tragedy filled me with hope.

 

I know what an act of courage it is to stay open hearted and hopeful during difficult times. After living with so much grief and despair while caring for my daughter with chronic health challenges, I understand how critical it is to cultivate peace, joy, and hope. I have made it my mission to spend my time and energy engaged in work in the world that invokes hope and supporting others in engaging in self-nurturing practices that allow them to do the same.

 

I am blessed to make positive deposits in my economy of hope every day by working with women overcoming domestic violence, homelessness, and other major life challenges through the nonprofit Leap to Success, as well as working with my amazing clients who inspire me daily to hope with their profound commitment to healing, growth and transformation.

 

I am also inspired with hope by Hands of Peace, an extraordinary organization that brings Palestinian, Israeli and American youth together to use dialog and relationship building to cultivate youth leaders for change. These inspiring youth leaders embody courage, compassion, and a profound hope that peace is possible. I am so honored to serve on the board of directors and to have developed so many friendships with open-hearted people who help me cultivate hope on a regular basis.

 

How do you cultivate hope?

 

What stories of hope can you share?

 

Who’s stories inspire you to hope?

 

How can you be an encouraging and hope-building person?

 

I believe that hope is a powerful antidote to despair and apathy, is deeply nurturing, and is so needed in the world right now. Finding and sharing inspiring stories of hope embodied by Azim Khamisa, participants of Leap to Success and Hands of Peace, and so many other remarkable and courageous people fuel my hope that peace is possible through our individual acts of compassion, love, and kindness. Remember being a person of hope blesses the world and creates ripple effects of healing and transformation that shine brightly in the darkness.

 

May you actively cultivate hope each day to nurture peace in the world from the inside out!

Kelley Grimes

Sending you so much peace, love and gratitude,

Kelley Grimes, M.S.W.
Counselor, Author & Speaker

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Join the discussion 18 Comments

  • Leila says:

    “You can make positive deposits in your own economy every day by reading and listening to powerful, positive, life-changing content and by associating with encouraging and hope-building people.”
    ~Zig Ziglar

    This quote says it all Kelley.
    In the midst of the ordeal, hope is all we have left and I will say we are facing such despair in the English speaking part of my cou try and personally I have come to acknowledge hope is found in God and what He has done for all mankind.
    Man in his limited egocentric self can only create problems and even when we come up with solutions, these solutions will create other problems.
    Hope and that inner sense of peace and calm comes fro. Beyond and that is what we are nurturing daily.

    • You are so right Leila, Zig Ziglar’s quote is powerful and his encouragement to nurture ourselves with hope-building people and content is spot on. I know I reflected on the challenges in the United States right now in this blog but I know that there are places across the earth struggling with hatred and violence. We must find ways to nurture hope each day in order to bring about a more peaceful and loving world. Thank you so much for your comment!

  • Always so profound…sharing.
    Appreciating, “I know what an act of courage it is to stay open-hearted and hopeful during difficult times. After living with so much grief and despair while caring for my daughter with chronic health challenges, I understand how critical it is to cultivate peace, joy, and hope…”
    Let there peace, and let it begin with you and me.
    Amen

  • Kelley, thank you so much for this article. I could feel the peace, hope and healing from it as you described it. I absolutely agree that “when our hearts are broken, that we have the capacity to shine more love and light into the darkness.” And I would add also when we find ourselves in fear. The anti-semitism and other hate crimes are shockingly atrocious and instill fear, as the perpetrators of such hatred and violence attempt to strip us of our safety. I choose to send divine light-the light of the highest and purest to bring peace & hope.

  • If I had a magic wand, I would wish all forms of hatred away, Kelley. Instead I remember that little drops of water create an ocean and I try to make a difference in my own humble way by being the best human being I can and doing at least 1 random act of kindness each day.

    • Thank you for your commitment to making the world a better place Vatsala and for your wise perspective that each of our drops of water create an ocean of peace and possibility. Thank you so much for your comment!

  • Sending Light to all concerned and lots of hugs. Having grown up in a divided South Africa, I am familiar with this kind of violence. I am also very grateful to have been able to move away. The lessons I learned from growing up in a country where racism was rampant, I saw first hand that no one wins in circumstances like these, so better to move towards embracing diversity. Change takes time however never doubt that it is happening and the it’s often darkest before the dawn. Blessings.

  • Your post gives us all hope. Peace and blessings.

  • Rachel says:

    Like you, i find that connecting with people who seek healing and a more loving world is a healing space to be. I am so thankful for the outpouring of caring and support to the Jewish community from our allies and friends.

  • CK Kochis says:

    Your articles always encourage peace, hope and transformation, Kelley. “I know what an act of courage it is to stay open hearted and hopeful during difficult times.” This is a powerful statement. It can be easy to hide and shut down in times of heartbreak, but that only deepens our internal pain. When we open our hearts not only do we offer comfort to ourselves, we invite others to comfort us in our period of heartbreak. Love heals all… Thank you for all you do to make this a better world.

    • Thank you so much for your loving and kind comment Cindy. You know heart break and are a beautiful example of courageous open hearted presence. I am grateful for you and how you show up in the world. Sending you love!

  • Thanks for this. It has been a difficult week.

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