Saturday, January 13, 2018


There's an idea in yoga practice based on the Sanskrit word "drishti."

I'm no expert, but from what I understand based on classes I've been to, a drishti is a focal point that is unmoving somewhere in the room and if you fix your eyes to that place, you are less likely to wobble. Maintaining a drishti is usually suggested during a particularly difficult balancing pose where if you were to move your eyes around (or close your eyes for that matter) balancing would be particularly difficult. If not, impossible, for some of us.

I don't know about you, but the last year or so has me feeling pretty wobbly. There are endless things to look at these days that are completely throwing me off balance:
-intense school requirements
-a heavy internship load
-watching Donald Trump be so embarrassing and unkind
-two man-children holding their fingers on nuclear launch codes
-mass shootings
-being aware of the news at all
-my upcoming graduation
-my upcoming job search
-all the existential questions that make a life, a life

So for this coming year of 2018, my drishti--the one, unmoving place where I am choosing to devote my attention--is hope.


I need all the hope.

Definition of HOPE
hoped; hoping

intransitive verb
1. to cherish a desire with anticipation, to want something to happen or to be true

transitive verb
1. to desire with expectation of obtainment or fulfillment

2. to expect with confidence, TRUST

Sometimes, my 75 year-old friend, Carole and I will take long walks around the park near her house. And often she will chuckle (with love...) at all the things I may be worrying about on that particular day. The things that consume my thoughts. The ways I'll talk so incessantly about "running out of time." To which, she usually says something like, "Why are you always talking like you're my age?"

Probably because I've always felt older than I am.
Which doesn't leave much room for hope, constantly thinking that your world is about to end.

The Bible has some helpful things to say about hope.
Like Hebrews 11:1,
"Now faith is confidence in what we hope 
for and assurance about what we do not see."

And 2 Corinthians 4:18,
"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, 
but on what is unseen. since what is seen 
is temporary and what is unseen is eternal."

Hope cannot be held in your hand.
But it can be felt in your soul.
This is a spiritual practice.

There's a quote by Jennifer Michael Hecht that my sister and I pass between us from time-to-time:

"Have some respect for your future self who's 
going to know things you don't know."

The poet, Nayirrah Waheed, writes:

you are.
is not
you are.

And Henri Nouwen, the priest and theologian, writes:

"Learn the discipline of being surprised not by suffering but by joy. 
As we grow old, there is suffering ahead of us, immense suffering, 
a suffering that will continue to tempt us to think that we have 
chosen the wrong road. But don't be surprised by pain. 
Be surprised by joy, be surprised by the little flower that shows its 
beauty in the midst of a barren dessert, and be surprised by the immense 
healing power that keeps bursting forth like springs of fresh water 
from the depth of our pain."


This makes all the sense in the world to me.

I think I grew up with this idea that life would be mostly good, mostly manageable, except for those few ornery bumps in the road (death, illness, betrayal, heart break) and they were to be feared and dreaded. But I hear Nouwen saying, maybe the whole journey is bumps. So maybe we've got it wrong to expect an otherwise peaceful life. Maybe we should expect bumps. What's really worth being surprised and grateful for are the flat and smooth and picturesque parts of the trip.

I think that if we view life as mostly manageable and then, completely lose our shit over difficulty, we might have a tendency, as Brene Brown says, to "dress-rehearse" for tragedy. We think we might be able to predict difficulty and, thus, be better able to handle it. But she has an entire chapter in her book, Daring Greatly, that pretty well debunks that theory. Because what preparing for those "random" bumps in the road does, is it keeps us focused on the bumps in the road.

But maybe we would be better off anticipating, trusting, hoping for the joy in the road. And being delighted by that instead.

My drishti for the coming year is hope.

Sing us home, Brittany:

"So, bless my heart,
Bless my mind,
I got so much to do,
I ain't got much time
So, must be someone up above
Saying come on girl,
You got to get back up.
You got to hold on.

Yeah you got to hold on."


emily said...

i came across your site again from an old blog roll and really identified with your post, "Hope." then this one, today, so encouraged me. thanks for sharing. keeping holding onto hope.

KendraKay at said...

Word. That song. I call myself Baby Girl when I struggle to love myself. Thanks for writing and sharing. I read that we don’t get a free pass from human suffering and to expect one is just an entitled (delusional) ego. I claimed this promise recently, when things went sideways and it helped. Now I’m working my faith muscles, wobbling and learning what a drishti is really for.