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The Time for Hope is Now

17 Aug 2020 | Louise Hall

Hope Painting

The past few months have made us realise that change is inevitable and though we are encouraged to embrace change, sometimes it is not so easy.

Change can be sometimes cruel and make your world spin out of control. It can affect people in a multitude of ways. We might experience anxiety, low moods, night sweats, exhaustion or worse. The emotional pain can manifest into physical pain. The world can seem out of sync and instil a feeling that everything is not alright. We can lose all hope and feel that there is nothing to look forward to.

I know this. I have been there. I am not alone. And neither are you.

Though these feelings and heightened emotions are unwanted and unpleasant, it is okay to experience them and allow them flow. Because that clears the way for all those good feelings - the ones you wish you could bottle up and give to your family and friends.

There is a beautiful poem called The Guest House, written by the 13th century Persian poet, Rumi. He talks about our emotions and how each day we are greeted by a new arrival. The poem talks about how the human being is like a guest house and though sometimes these dark emotions may sweep in uninvited, it is important to welcome them all and to be grateful for whoever comes, because 'each has been sent as a guide from beyond.'

For ten years now, I have been writing about hope and how people find happiness in their lives in the most unusual and unassuming places. I've interviewed a range of people from all walks of life, from a chronic drug addict to a wealthy businessman. From a TV personality to a paraplegic. From a member of royalty to a former terrorist. What was the common denominator amongst this intriguing array of people you might ask?

The answer is that they were all at difficult stages in their lives and searching for happiness and peace. And they found it in a little village nestled between two hills in a former communist country. You could say that they were all granted the desire of their hearts; they just had to go on a journey in order to discover it.

Yellow Line

I lost my sister when she was just twenty-six years of age. She died very suddenly, and our close-knit family were distraught. My sister was the epitome of happiness. She was born with Down's syndrome and though life was at times challenging, she brought much joy into our lives.

Ten years later, my father passed, after living with stage four cancer for many years. We had been so grateful that he had lived a good life even though his initial diagnosis had been bleak. I was very close to my father and worked with him every day. We holidayed together, had Sunday dinner together. And as a family we always embraced life.

When my father died, I spoke at his funeral then got up the next morning at 7:30am and went into work. When people asked me how I was, I lied and said I was fine. It was business as usual and life goes, I told them. I threw myself into work not realising the high levels of stress that were building up inside.

Eventually, I was burnt out and because I had buried my true feelings and emotions so deep, when grief finally hit me like a battering ram two years after his death, I experienced delayed reactive depression. I had been through a trauma - it's not easy to watch someone you love die.

Those following months were the most difficult I have ever experienced. A fog had descended, and an imposter had seeped in under my skin. I experienced anxiety, low moods, ruminating thoughts. I was exhausted and even simple tasks became difficult. Everything was disastrous. Catastrophic. I thought everyone I loved was going to die. And I felt like a failure.

I thought I would never feel normal again. Never find joy in my life again. The light of hope and happiness inside me was burning so low that I thought it had extinguished completely.
It took a while. But I got through it.

How?

Family. Friends. Rest. Time -for myself. I walked, talked, grieved. I meditated. I prayed. I observed all those emotions and allowed them to flow. I accepted things and learned to be patient.

10 Optimistic October - Direction

Soon, the way I felt became a memory and I started to feel good again. I had been on a journey and like all journeys through life, I learned much along the way. I began to believe in myself once again. To trust in myself. Trust in life. Hope and happiness had returned. Joy came back into my life.

When the pandemic hit earlier this year, our world suddenly paused and life as we knew it stood still. This gave us much time for reflection, and for some people it was a welcome reprieve from the fast pace of life. But for others it brought uncertainty and many worried about the future. This change that we are always encouraged to embrace was not so easy for some people to hold on to and people are grieving in many different ways.

But I know something that I want to share with others. I know something about that little light inside us all. I know that sometimes when the wind blows hard, it burns low. But once you give it shelter in your heart, soon it will ignite. And no storm will ever fully extinguish it.

We are living in a time of great grace. Never before have we been so advanced in science, research, medicine and industry. Some of us have families, others have interesting careers. The young are bright and enthusiastic, and the old are wise and living many more years. We teach and nurture and care and console each other in lots of different ways, each and every day.

The universe is dazzled by the beauty of humanity, and the heavens too must surely smile.
But sometimes we reach points in our lives when we get knocked off course, and we struggle to get back on our feet. When this happens, it can be hard to recognise the person staring back in the mirror. Life is not always a smooth and easy road to travel, and though no one is exempt from troubles, neither are they exempt from love. Always remember that little light of hope and happiness which lies inside us all because where once storm clouds gathered, soon a rainbow will replace.

There is a time for everything.

The time for hope and happiness is now.

Blue Line

Louise Hall is a writer of fiction, non-fiction and short stories. You can find out more about her writings at www.littlebookofhope.co.uk or follow her on Instagram for a daily dose of hope and happiness @louisehallwriter

Louise Hall    Little Book Of Hope

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