I sometimes find myself saying to a person who is staying in a grindingly unhappy relationship* (often abusive-except when it isn’t, of course) that “hope is a great deluder”.
I wondered today if that means I am cynical? Certainly I have been in relationships* for far too long because I hoped the other would change. I hoped the other would eventually “get it”.
Maybe if I loved them “enough”, or tried “harder”…
I like to think I am reaching my wisdom years – a small chuckle tells me that wisdom simply means that I am prepared and eager to learn more…To understand more.
There is never stasis in wisdom. Maybe acceptance and peace – but never stasis.
If I stop hoping I will grieve the loss of hope. The loss of the dream of what could be. Now, “what could be” is a pretty amazing thing – and can lead to an immense amount of awesome creativity. And my capacity for hope and dreaming must be honoured.
How do I honour this amazing gift?
Discernment. Honing my skills of discernment. On which particular altar of relationship will I place my hope (and my grief)? Who will honour my dreaming in the way my dreaming deserves?
Listen to your voice of discernment.
Locate it. (Mine is at the back of my neck – go figure!).
Most days now I go down to Witches Leap (Leap being the Scottish term for waterfall and the witch being a face in the rock- (see image above) and say hello. I don’t usually say it out loud, (well…ok, sometimes), because my discerning voice has some reservations about being put in a straight jacket or burnt at the stake (oh hang on – there’s a difference between discernment and fear – there’s that wisdom again)…and I listen to her, in this place of my belonging.
She reminds me that hope is (or should be) always tempered and informed by ‘what is’. And what is in this moment, at this time has many layers of joy and pain and beauty and aloneness.
Listen to ‘what is’ and be discerning about the threads of hope you decide to follow (that is the witch speaking as I listen to her).
We are in a place of great learning
My hope at this time says to me that we are in a place of great learning. It’s not easy – in fact, a lot of it feels f***ing impossible (my apologies to those of you who do not know that I can be quite sweary at times).
But, relationships only work if we allow ourselves to love and hope and tolerate difference. And, to be discerning about what aspects of difference are “dealbreakers” for you.
There is a spectrum of tolerance for difference.
Where are you on that spectrum? Are you at the….
- I want everyone to be and think and feel the same as me” end?
- Or more towards the “I love and accept everything and everyone no matter who or what they are” end?
I encourage you to wonder (wondering being another exceptional wisdom tool, a close friend of curiosity) where you might stand (or sit or lie or dance) on this spectrum.
And what has formed this place? What brings you here? And how do you feel and respond to others who may stand (or sit or lie or dance) at a different spot on this spectrum?
Can you be with ‘what is’ and hold hope and grief in your heart (and soul)?
Please wonder, and move forward with hope and discernment gently.
*a small note about what relationship means: it might be with an intimate partner, a friend, an acquaintance, a group, or a workplace. It could also be with trees, plants, animals and rocks…it’s all about relationship!
Witches Leap – Katherine Howard
Bird – Hayley Melrose