My sister recently reminded me that for a short time in my twenties, I used to sign my name Marianna Lauren. What is unusual about that is that Lauren is not my second name. In fact, I don't even have a second name.
Now that I think of it, perhaps Hope may have been a more appropriate choice. I seem to have an abundance of hope, perhaps long after I should have given up on hoping.
Hope comes in many guises - big and small, private and public, whispered and shouted.
There is the unexpressed, yet understood hope I have for health:
- Cook nutritious meals from scratch.
- Get enough exercise and rest.
- Be aware of the need to protect my joints from further deterioration and dislocation.
- Do what brings me joy by ensuring that my values are met in various ways.
- Stay connected and be involved to the extent that is right for me.
- Regularly transform my stress.
There is the hope that I extend to others:
- I wish you a safe journey!
- Good luck!
- Many happy returns!
- I hope you have a speedy recovery. (Grannymar and Laurel)
- My fingers (eyes and toes) are crossed for you!
Finally, there are the hopes and wishes I sprinkle over the things that are a part of my life, but which I know will not likely come to pass. I do it anyway, for good measure. I hope that:
- By showering Murphy with love his cancer will go into remission.
- I'll win that contest.
- He'll do things differently this time around.
- I can help my sister find a home for the stray cat that is in her neighbourhood.
- I can ease some of your pain with A Rheumful of Tips. It's my other blog - the one where I write appetizer-sized tips that I hope will keep you moving through a life with rheumatoid arthritis.
Hope is that thing that allows me to move forward, in spite of knowing that some of the things one hopes for won't come to pass. It's almost as if it's the breath in between - the one that allows you to come to terms with the realization that some things won't come to pass. It's the make-peace-with-it sentiment.
It is also the holding of a dream - a wish that things will get better. And, sometimes they do.
Having an abundance of hope allows me to get out of bed each day and get through my day, when often doing the simplest of things (holding the milk carton, opening a water bottle or typing) can cause pain or can be a drain on energy.
There is a positive change in physiology with hope. This is the difference between the Stress Zone and the Stress-Free Zone. Positive emotions change our heart rhythms so that they begin to smooth out. This signals the brain that there is is no need to activate the stress response - a cascade of 1400 chemical changes complete with side-effects that are necessary in a true emergency. Remember, our system dates back to the time when we had to catch our dinner or run from it!
Plain and simple, hope feels better. Having hope increases our ability to renew - whether it be our emotional, mental, physical or spiritual self. Sometimes we may want healing of one type, when it's another realm of healing that occurs.
Can there be too much hope? I don't think so. Hope is the pause that refreshes and renews. Some may call it denial, but I call it coping by hoping. Is it genetic? Perhaps. Can it be learned? Definitely.
I hope you will...
"Count your night by stars, count your life with smiles, not tears." - Italian proverb
Every Friday, Conrad, Ramana, Grannymar, Ashok and Magpie of the Loose Blog Consortium (LBC) post on a topic suggested by one of the members. Please visit their blogs and see they've done with the topic that was suggested by Conrad - Hope and Renewal.