In all things, it is better to hope
than to despair.
– Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
I just caught myself writing to a friend of mine, “But, don’t worry. I’m not getting my hopes up.” A habit of mine. When it comes to others, I am an abundance of hope. When it comes to myself, I always keep my feet inches away from the brakes, trying to slow myself down from speeding into utter excitement of a possibility; almost certain that at some point or another, disappointment and I will crash into each other. Pieces of my wishes splattering all over the bumpy road.
I was taught that hope is a dangerous thing. I’ve heard cautionary tales of how it lifts you up, only to make your inevitable fall harder.
Yet as time passes, amidst the blur, I begin to see the line between hope and expectation. Hope is light as a feather while expectation creates weight on our hearts and shoulders. When hope gives us the nourishment we need to stand up whenever a situation requires of us courage and love, expectation drags us down into a state of calculated pessimism with its heavy load of self entitlement, relentless need to control and more often than not, fear of not getting what we want.
But, what is it that you really want? Expect? Hope for? The seed of cynicism is planted in the assumption that the answers to these questions are the same. In fact, when we have the courage to look deep within, we see to our surprise that they are profoundly different. Because we mistake hope and expectation to be synonymous, we inadvertently keep our hopes on a short leash while we deal with our expectation management. As an advocate for being liberated from expectations, I ask you, what good does it do, to be rid of hope?
Hope is an open window. It is a flicker of light in the darkness. A breath above the drowning waves of our numbing routines, deadening conformities and the question that is a theft of joy, “what is the point?” The real danger is to walk a life without hope for it is no living. “Living never wore one out so much as the effort not to live.”
October is here already. As one of my – and a safe bet to say one of your – favourite showsGame of Thrones keeps reminding us, “the winter is coming.” A time when we retrieve indoors and in to our selves. When the dark clouds may also cloud our outlook. When our optimism may be washed away with the rain.
As Rainer Maria Rilke writes in A Letter to a Young Poet, “So you must not be frightened if a sadness rises up before you larger than any you have ever known, if a restiveness, like light and cloud shadow passes over your hands and over all that you do. You must think that something is happening with you, that life has not forgotten you, that it holds you in its hand; it will not let you fall.”
Hope will not let you fall, but expectations may. So with the fading yellow/orange leaves falling off the trees, let go of them. As the cinnamon scented autumn air embraces you, feel, truly, what it is that you wish for. Put on your Hunter boots and walk towards it no matter how muddy the road. And when you clink your pumpkin flavored cocktails, simply hope for the best.