‘Hope is not a strategy’ is often brought up when a plan doesn’t consider the undesirable possibilities of life.
And yet, sometimes we must consider the unexpected hopeful possibilities of life.
Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.
~Thich Nhat Hanh
While I don’t believe we should move blindly forward and hope for the best, I do believe we should live with a sense of hope so we are open to seeing possibilities and so we have the energy to move towards our best possibilities.
For example, in 2015, I injured my good knee. After an MRI, the doctor said trying to repair my meniscus would be like stitching ground beef together to make a steak. The lifetime prognosis? A limp, chronic pain, and the inability to walk far. I won’t go into details about why but there were some other factors that lead me to believe, despite the MRI results, my body could heal, at least partially.
It’s seven years later, and things have improved dramatically in the knee department.
Why do I share this?
I accepted the findings of the MRI. And I also understood that the body can sometimes compensate or heal in unexplained ways. It became an almost fun puzzle for me to figure out what increased the inflammation and pain.
The focus was on doing daily small steps literally and figuratively.
Whatever action I took either couldn’t have a downside, like replacing some processed foods with whole foods, or only have a minimal downside, like walking on different terrain to test if it impacted the knee (btw, the terrain had a huge impact – no to cement. Yes to grass. Opposite of doctor’s suggestion).
I built some of the changes I made into habits or lifestyle choices in case it took a long time to show improvement.
The hope that things could change fueled me mentally and physically to take positive action, even on those days when I didn’t feel like it.
My hope/belief that things could change and taking action on that belief may have also changed cellular events within my body allowing more change to occur. (The topic of epigenetics is fascinating)
Life can be tough, especially during a holiday season. Choose a mindset that brings you the most satisfaction, joy, and energy to move you forward.
Embrace hope if that helps you to move forward.
P.S. My since-having-kids Christmas traditions have moved from driving 8 hours to be with the grandparents to staying home to going on holidays (loved that option) to staying home. I think the only common tradition in all cases was the Christmas stocking.
Christmas traditions are only good if they make you feel good. If they don’t make you feel good, then tying yourself to a tradition sounds more like being held hostage of your past. Is that the Christmas message you want to embrace and share with your kids? Or your future?