Without a vision, hope is only a wish.
If we can’t imagine it, we can’t do our part to help create it.
Yet just beyond the boundaries of our imagination,
our thoughts, our perceptions, and our beliefs,
are visions that are waiting for us
to steward them to reality –
visions that can bring hope to our lives
and hope to our world.
It was 5:30 on New Year’s morning – still pitch black out here in the North Shore countryside as the dogs and I had our first morning outing. Thanks to Matty, our long-haired black Dachshund, I’m up most mornings about this time. No need for an alarm clock in this household!
I love the early morning, and on this morning in particular, I wanted to be up before the first light of day. I wanted to greet the New Year as the sun came over the horizon. So after walking and feeding the dogs, I made a pot of tea and settled into our little sunroom to await the first glimmers of dawn.
Sitting in the dark stillness and contemplating what 2015 would bring, I was surprised when “hope” was the first word to come to my awareness. Up until now, I’ve had a mixed relationship with the concept of hope. It always seemed to me that to hope for something was to give energy to the idea that whatever I was hoping for was not, in fact, here. It felt like I was reinforcing what I didn’t have or what was not happening.
However, as the first light of day began creeping over the horizon, something was nudging me to reconsider how I thought about hope. I started sensing a distinction between the noun and verb forms of “hope,” at least as I had perceived them. I realized that I had equated “hoping” for something (verb) with a kind of passive non-engagement – “hoping” that something would happen, yet not actually taking any personal responsibility or action toward it. I’m not saying that this is the correct definition of the verb “to hope.” It’s just how I had always thought of it.
In the pre-dawn light, I started thinking about what it means to have hope – hope as a noun. It occurred to me that in order to have hope, I must have a vision of something more, something better, along with some confidence that, in fact, whatever I envision can indeed happen. From this perspective, to have hope felt active to me, not passive. It required that I focus my attention and intention on a vision. And I know from past experience that when I truly engage with a vision, I become a steward for it – a partner in bringing that vision to reality. Therefore, for me to “have hope” means to become a steward for something greater. It calls me to take responsibility for doing my part in manifesting that vision. Suddenly, to “have hope” meant that I was entering an active partnership with a vision to create something new.
This was a powerful paradigm shift for me. As the sun came blazing over the horizon, I was now seeing “hope” in a new light. For the first time, I understood that true hope requires vision – that without vision for where we can go or for what can happen, hope is just a wish. I understood that to truly “have hope” is an active process. Therefore, the verb form, “to hope,” now had a new meaning for me – to have a clear vision of another possibility beyond the current circumstance and to give energy and focus to that vision. In my perception, “to hope” had gone from passive wishing to pro-active engagement.
As an example, if I hope for something in particular to happen in my career, then it is my responsibility to have a vision of what my career could look like, give energy to that vision, and to say “yes” to what it asks of me. In the same way, if I hope for world peace, then it is my responsibility to have a vision of what world peace could look like, give energy to that vision, and to say “yes” to what world peace asks of me. To hope means to become a steward for a new reality. Again, to hope is not just a wish. It’s full-on engagement with vision and potential.
As the first sunlight of 2015 warmed my little sunroom, I remembered Walt Disney’s words, “If you can dream it, you can achieve it.” And then I thought about the other side of that statement: What you cannot imagine, you cannot create.
The sun was barely up on the first day of 2015, yet I was already being handed my first assignment for the New Year. The assignment is to pay attention to what I do, in fact, hope for, yet have trouble imagining that it could be possible. And then to stretch beyond the horizon of my imagination and find what is waiting for me that I hadn’t seen before. Each day since then, I discover more. As the vision gets clearer, I realize that I have had fleeting glimpses of it before. Yet I never dared to actually walk toward that vision and let it show itself in full. It had always felt like it was too big, too much. I was caught in my own limiting beliefs about what could be possible and my pre-conceived ideas about the structures that have defined my life and work.
Seeing beyond the horizon of our awareness and imagination, beyond our beliefs and life structures, can be overwhelming at first—too big to wrap our thoughts around. Yet the fact that we can imagine that bigger vision means that the heart has already embraced it. In fact, it’s actually the heart that shows us the vision. The heart sees the bigger picture and is ready to go. The mind just needs some time to catch up.
In the coming days, consider what you hope for. And then be honest with yourself – is your hope merely a wish or are you actively partnering with a vision? Carve out some quiet time to stretch beyond the limits of your imagination and awareness. What potential or invitation is waiting for you beyond the boundaries of your beliefs and life structures, beyond the horizon of your current circumstance?
Then as you begin to perceive what’s beyond the horizon, give yourself the time and space you need to get used to the idea of what you discover. Step beyond “how could I ever do that?” or “how could that ever happen?” and just let yourself be in the energy of the potential.
Take away any pressure to “do” something about it right away. The more the vision becomes a part of you, the more comfortable you will become with it and the more it will start to feel possible. You may still have no idea how the vision can become reality. That’s OK. Your job is to listen and pay attention to what is happening inside you and around you. Before long, doors will start to open, synchronicities and serendipities will start to occur, and you will find yourself moving toward that potential. The path will show itself.
So here’s the gist of it. Without a vision, hope is only a wish. If we can’t imagine it, we can’t do our part to help create it. Yet just beyond the boundaries of our imagination, our thoughts, our perceptions, and our beliefs are visions that are waiting for us to steward them to reality – visions that can bring hope to our lives and hope to our world. Here’s to “hope” in 2015!
P.S. If you are ready to stretch beyond the boundaries of your beliefs and imagination, perhaps it’s time to step into Transformational Presence personal coaching. I would be honored to walk beside you and support you in taking your next steps. Email us now to schedule a short sample session and talk about the best ways for us to work together. Take your next steps in making a difference. The world can’t afford for you to wait any longer.
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