April 2022: Hope is a Cold Nose and Other Inspiring Stories

Greetings to those sharing this quest journey with me.  I trust this finds the last few weeks have been kind to you.  I trust your individual walks have not been too weary. 

I thank you for continuing to hike with me.  I begin walking from where we left off when we last met up on our quest with ideas of directions I might wish to walk towards next.  When I then pause again to summarize the travels for each of you, I am left in awe at where the path led in ways I did not plan.  Affirmation of the quote by Rumi what you seek is seeking you.  As I venture to find what Hope Is to others, what Hope Is finds its way to me.  

It continues to be a wonder-filled, beautiful, sacred, and meaningful adventure, this quest of what Hope Is.   May at least one X on the map bring the same to you. 

Hope Is

39.97729° N, -105.13212° E

I had listened to a podcast by Lynne Twist, author of Soul of Money, shortly after the world began locking down in 2020.  She had shared an indigenous culture’s prophecy that what we were experiencing had been predicted long before our world began locking down due to the pandemic.   From her significant amount of time spent listening to the wisdom of these cultures, Lynne had shared that the past 500 years – prior to the year 2000 – was the time of the Eagle, a time of living from the mind.  She referenced the overwhelming number of technological advances the world had made.  Certainly, that kind of evolution born forth from brilliant thinking minds.  

Lynne went on to share that the prophecy was that we would then begin a time of the Condor, in which the Eagle and the Condor would integrate together, so that we could become a world not of dominance and darkness but of light and harmony.  We would enter a time to begin integrating the heart and the mind. 

Nearly two years later and I listened again to a podcast in which Lynne was interviewed by the founder of Sounds True (https://www.soundstrue.com/), Tami Simon.   Once again Lynne shared how Hope Is

The Eagle and the Condor integrating together in our next 500 years that began as we entered the year 2000.

We would experience huge climatic events for the first 25 – 50 years, per the wisdom passed on to Lynne through these cultures.  These events would humble all creatures, that we would begin to remember our rightful role with Mother Earth.  The mind and the heart will remember we are one.  We have been separated and lost from each other over the past 500 years. 

We would shift from a world of darkness and dominance to one of balance and light.

Hope Is

The Bird of Humanity’s once bent wing will now fully extend, ending the flight in circles, enabling the bird of humanity to now soar.

An additional prophecy from the wisdom of other indigenous cultures.  Lynne referenced the Cherokee as one of the wise sage cultures.  A bird has been flying in circles, one wing – as I think about it, the wing of logic – fully folded out for hundreds of years while the other wing has been bent – the wing of intuitiveness.   Now we enter a time in which the bent wing will also extend, and the bird of humanity will now soar

Hope Is

The wisdom of our elders to carry us through, in particular, as Lynne described it, Grandmother energy.   The wisdom of those who have already learned the grace of living an integrated life of mind and heart can teach those who are in still in infancy of such things as mindfulness, listening to that inner knowing, resilience, compassion, and so much more.   Once again, I am reminded of this wise and inspirational Cherokee parable

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

 Two Wolves – Virtues For Life

Hope Is that we can feed that which will allow us to, as Lynne said have a love for life that will allow us to flourish, not just survive.  The goal is to flourish, to thrive, where we are contributing to the community of life.

42.779495° N, -86.10709° E

Hope Is

Holding tight to worthiness, no matter how deeply it might be buried under the punches of menacing words

And fists

And fear for one’s life.

Hope Is

A strong, brave, and unbreakable will that cannot be shattered, no matter how deeply the physical and emotional bruises have pulverized one’s body and spirit. 

And threaten to hurt three of the primary reasons one fights to take another strong, brave, and unstoppable step. 

I had the sacred privilege of crossing paths with a survivor of domestic violence who gave me not only the honor of writing a story for her.  I was given the gift of listening to an extraodindary and inspiring journey of resilience, triumph, faith, love, and

Hope.

As you join me at this spot on our quest map, may you hold in reverance as I do the gift that has been given to be inspired by an excerpt from this extraordinary individual’s story.

It is a tradition we have created, my children and I.  A yearly event, with flexibility to be a different date each time.  The only requirement is a summer day.   And ideally, it is a day that doesn’t include rain.  That sunshine is present isn’t mandatory, for we’ve performed this tradition when it’s cloudy and cold, too.  A little like life, that sometimes the weather we are given is not the ideal weather we’d choose.

Our tradition involves taking one step at a time.  And it always involves an upward climb.  Most of the time the steps are consistently the same size.  We can always count on our tradition including a large leap to reach the end we have in sight.  Each of us have to set aside any angst we might feel about heights.  We have to remind ourselves if we push through our fears, we acquire a sense of invincibility with the flow of life.  We gain the remembrance within, each of us has the power to survive. 

Our tradition has the ability to take our breaths away when we reach our end goal.  It has the ability to reveal to us limitless possibilities, worthiness, and celebration of our previous year’s growth.  We reach our end goal each year and we see far and wide.  We see in front of us no boundaries and we feel the power within each of us as we stand tall and high.  It is not a power as in “we are royalty, hear us roar greater than you down there that look like ants we see”.  It is power as in we are as strong as this which has lifted us to its tallest peak.   We are strong like this beacon that has braced against the forces of Nature trying to erode its capability.  We are mightier than the darkest nights, menacing ice, and hurling winds trying to take us out at our knees.

Our tradition reveals to us year after year we are lights for others in need.

The only thing is, sometimes the other three-hundred-sixty- four days until our next tradition, we aren’t always certain of our ability to shine.  I guess that is simple because we are human, and we are still learning we are now safe, and all is all right.

My children and I are survivors of others’ self hate that had to find a ship to try to sink.  We are survivors of verbal, mental, emotional, and physical traumas that tried to make us the sea storm casualties. 

Logically I know that I do not have reason to judge my story.  Our stories.  Like the first steps we take at the start of our tradition, I am slowly, one step at a time learning this emotionally.   If you are a parent, though, you can appreciate when I say I wish I could change the journeys my children have traveled in their young lives.  I wish I could give them a different experience to learn the wisdoms of life.

I also wish this for me.  Ah, such is the dance like the round and round circle of our tradition, that tug and pull between learning worth and undoing unworthy.  Between hindsight to teach for our growth

The storm clouds raged, and they still on occasion try to reach dry land where my children and I reside.  The children are the targets of lightning bolts in an attempt to convince them I am not worthy of keeping them safe and dry.  I have amazing children who have learned to listen to their own inner whispers of what is truth and what is lies.  The gift is that I am glad my children have learned how to avoid sudden menacing strikes.  The curse is that I wish they had never had to learn that not all of Nature is calm and free of struggle and strife.  I wish they could learn how to treat and be treated without direct knowledge not every person has another person’s best interests in mind.

I marvel at my children’s kindness and their focus on respect and dignity.  Not just for their elders, so to speak.  But for those who are the other sex or are diverse culturally or racially.  They’ve given meaning to their own feelings and experiences of being treated cruelly.  They have chosen that hate stops with them and will not be paid forward in any way.  They are change agents to end the piracy of deep-seeded destructive “I hate myself so let me create hate in every wave”. 

Sailing the sea of life is like that, you know.  You think you are steering away from home until suddenly, the waves are cresting over the front of the boat.  Before I know it, my home was not my safety.  I could be watching TV and suddenly feel my hair yanked as I was pulled off the couch immediately.  He had found ways to break into my home, stealth-life and suddenly there without me ever hearing.  Suddenly there to choke me, push my head into a coffee table or floor, to remind me with his equally harsh verbal punches that I was lazy, ignorant – basically not worth anything.

Yes, I know, it can be hard to understand how the stormy seas can be so disorienting.  When you are pulled from the safety of shore, the huge white foaming waves leave you so dazed and unable to navigate where land may be waiting. 

The thing is, everyone on the ship becomes dazed and confused.  Officers of the law, family and friends, neighbors, too.  I called the police several times when experiencing his breaking in and entering.  Each time he was believed for his story.  Yes sir, officer, we are engaged to be married.  Just a misunderstanding.  I am always allowed in without her hesitancy.  Just surprised her, that’s all, so no need to worry.  We will kiss and make up, if you know what I mean {wink wink}.  Yes, you too, officer, have a good evening. 

Since I did not have visible marks except my panicked eyes and trembling body, there was never a tow to land to rescue us from this stormy sea. 

And then there is the night our ship took on water and I thought we might sink.  The night I thought I might lose one of the very reasons I fought to survive against the raging seas.  The night my son became the captain of striving to steer our ship to shore.  Actually, the night both my son and my daughter turned that wheel and started us for the beacon of light flashing this way through the tumultuous storm.  

My youngest son was with friends in the basement and my daughter in her room enjoying her teenage sanctuary.  I was on the couch, phone in hand, quietly relaxing.  Yes, I know, I guess the hope within me always tried to believe was safe.   My deepest self craved carving out moments I wasn’t completely afraid.

Suddenly, in that split second blink of an eye, or should say in that split second, I found myself yanked to the floor fighting for my life.  There he was, fully there, but lost behind the deepest rage in his eyes.  Have you ever witnessed that look someone gets when their eyes are glazed over, and they are in a place not able to sense reality?  I hope you only know that look I refer to from TV or movies.

The phone was ripped from my hand as a portion of my hair was also now on the flour no longer a part of my head.  This time I was not certain I was going to reach dry land.  That my life would end now felt more of the certainty at hand.   My screams alerted my son who came up the stairs to help my steering.  Soon the Rage had his hands around my son’s neck, threatening to end my son’s breathing.  My son’s friends rushed up the stairs to assist as my daughter rushed to dial 911 pleading help would come immediately.  My son’s friends reminded this Raging Storm that they were minors causing this Storm to slow and then retreat. 

My fiancé’ left, the police arrived, and we had one major gift in that fight for our lives.  We had visible proof of abuse as blood ran from my son’s body from the broken glass he was pushed through.  As strangulation marks on our necks were our temporary tattoos.

Yet periodically we take a boat trip of anxiousness or nightmare memories.  I sometimes leave my children on land while I take a canoe ride with guilt, shame, and grief.

Every time my children stand at the top of that lighthouse – our tradition annually – I look back at my last step I have just taken to reach the view and I find hope and faith looking back at me.  I look out over the horizon, and I look to the left and to the right beside where I am now standing.

I’ve got three amazing co-captains and together we can weather any stormy sea.  

My dear children,

You know I believe knowledge is power, so I wish to give you this that it may further strengthen yours.

I often tell myself that a good captain makes sure to never lead their crew where they could experience a storm or a risk of sinking.    Yet, I know Nature has its own control, and because Nature cannot be fully predicted, like life, lighthouses have been created to offer beacons of light to guide lost ships so they can find their way home.

Since I cannot undo the times the ship of our lives was tossed and turned and nearly sunk to the bottom of the ocean, the best I can do is tell each of you that I am so proud of the beacons of light I am watching each of you become.  Not just for each other, or for me, or for your friends.   You are each such bright lights of goodness and hope for your communities and for this world.  Each of you, each in your own unique, gifted, talented, smart, wise, handsome, beautiful, good, good ways are the changes for the better the world needs.  I am honored to be your mother witnessing that despite, or maybe even because of, the raging storms you had to endure have made you the ones to end the cycles of violence and trauma that seem to be unpredictable aspects of what has become human nature for some.  The world is in greater pain.  The waves are reaching all new heights.  And each of you are brave souls determined to give meaning to your experiences by not letting the experiences sink you!

We each know we are a collective work in progress to heal as a family.  We each individually are giving our all to heal what has changed each of us for life.  I anticipate we will find ourselves climbing the spiral staircase of our healing journey for a long time to come, but what I am already starting to see.  I am walking the steps of that staircase next to three incredible human beings who are my reason for being. 

Thank YOU for being the greatest co-captains on this ship of life with me.  

Hope, faith, love, and the greatest of these three…

I love you with all my heart. 

-Mom

34.13411° N, -118.35219° E

Hope Is

No longer being anonymous

Ever look at all the people who seem to know exactly how to be?

You think, “They don’t need piles of prescriptions to function naturally”

Well, look again, and you might catch it

Just stay a minute more

There’s this little moment after the sunny smile

As their eyes fall to the floor

And the truth starts peeking through

They’re a lot like me and you

They can fake a smile, too

The anonymous ones

Never let you see the ache they carry

All of those anonymous ones

Who never name that quiet pain they bury

So they keep on keeping secrets that they think they have to hide

But what if everybody’s secret is they have that secret side?

And to know they’re somehow not alone

Well, that’s all they’re hoping for

What if they didn’t have to stay

Anonymous anymore?

An excerpt from The Anonymous Ones lyrics – Musical / Movie – Dear Evan Hansen

During travels home from an international trip, I felt drawn – in that what we seek seeks us kind of way {smile} to watch a movie I had not heard of until that moment I was scrolling through movie options.   Dear Evan Hansen.  

The simple description of the movie is a high school senior with Social Anxiety disorder and his journey of self-discovery and acceptance following the suicide of a fellow classmate.

The depth of the movie reached deep within me.  Touched in a profound way that I, who love words, will not be able to describe.  Touched like the movie I talk about in the introduction to Hope Has a Cold NoseExtremely Loud and Incredible Close.  Touched like when I asked a veteran and his service dog if I could write their story, long before HHCN became the thought to become a manuscript.  And then a book. 

Touched in a way that I anticipate this portion of the map will start to have small rips where the creases have been unfolded and folded so many times the seam is pulling apart.     This X has imprinted itself deeply into my heart.  

Hope Is

In the eyes, ears, and hearts of

Children

Teenagers

Hope Is

A whisper within softly – or maybe loudly – nudging where can I offer those growing up after me the ability to reframe their stories if they doubt their stories are worthy. 

Where can I offer the ability to reframe their stories that they will recognize that they are change agents and legacy builders for “The Bird of Humanity to soar” and “for the Eagle and Condor to integrate”. 

Where can I offer the ability to reframe their stories that they will “have a love for life that will allow us to flourish, not just survive”

Hope Is

Being seen.

And heard.

People just want to be seen.  And heard. 

No matter the age.  Young.  Older.  Eldest.

Hope Is

We will see those who are waving. 

Before they have no more hope in their waves.

I’ve learned to slam on the brake

Before I even turn the key

Before I make the mistake

Before I lead with the worst of me

Give them no reason to stare

No slipping up if you slip away

So I got nothing to share

No, I got nothing to say

On the outside, always looking in

Will I ever be more than I’ve always been?

‘Cause I’m tap, tap, tapping on the glass

I’m waving through a window

I try to speak, but nobody can hear

So I wait around for an answer to appear

While I’m watch, watch, watching people pass

I’m waving through a window, oh

Can anybody see, is anybody waving back at me?

We start with stars in our eyes

We start believing that we belong

But every sun doesn’t rise

And no one tells you where you went wrong

On the outside, always looking in

Will I ever be more than I’ve always been?

‘Cause I’m tap, tap, tapping on the glass

Waving through a window

I try to speak, but nobody can hear

So I wait around for an answer to appear

While I’m watch, watch, watching people pass

Waving through a window, oh

Can anybody see, is anybody waving?

Is anybody waving?

Waving, waving, whoa-oh, whoa-oh

An excerpt of Waving through a Window lyrics – Dear Evan Hansen

Hope Is

Being heard.

Hope Is

Being found.

Have you ever felt like nobody was there?

Have you ever felt forgotten in the middle of nowhere?

Have you ever felt like you could disappear?

Like you could fall, and no one would hear?

Well, let that lonely feeling wash away

Maybe there’s a reason to believe you’ll be okay

‘Cause when you don’t feel strong enough to stand

You can reach, reach out your hand

And oh, someone will coming running

And I know, they’ll take you home

Even when the dark comes crashing through

When you need a friend to carry you

And when you’re broken on the ground

You will be found

 An excerpt of You Will be Found lyrics – Dear Evan Hansen

https://www.amazon.com/Dear-Evan-Hansen-Ben-Platt/dp/B09J41PK1P/ref=sr_1_1?crid=VX048O1ZECVE&keywords=dear+evan+hansen&qid=1649008029&sprefix=dear+evan+hanse%2Caps%2C328&sr=8-1

48.926563° N, 31.475782° E

Hope Is

Unconditional love.

Even when that love is pushed away.

Perhaps it is the life story listener and writer in me that has the following reaction to images I see related to the Ukraine.  There is so much more to each story than what we see.  They are each a human being with a very personal story.  Please, let’s make sure we are giving them our full listening ear with dignity, and not pity. 

When I saw an image of baby strollers in a public square to represent the youngest tragedies of war, I wanted to discover what are the 119 individual stories?!  Let’s give each a voice that mattered in the brief moments they, too, have been part of history. 

As my heart called out to the Universe let’s give voice to the images that are not able to speak, the Universe responded with a moving dialogue on my quest journey.   I was talking with a dear individual who had grown up in Russia though he no longer lives there, asking about the well-being of his family who still live in the country.  Each time I am in dialogue with this dear soul I think about how Hope Is

The day he will be able to hug his mother and sister in person after nearly three years of not seeing them in person due to the pandemic.

This dear soul then shared another story.  From the words printed on paper in a news story became a “real” story of what warfare does in choosing which wolf we feed. 

A story of best friendships.  And a story of how the phrase “war torn” is as individualized as it is for a country.   

This dear soul has shared a thirty-year friendship with someone who lives in the Ukraine.  What was initial dialogue when the war began of is there anything I can do to help? Please stay safe.  How are you doing?  Are you ok?  soon became dialogue extremely strained. 

The person I was in dialogue with caring so deeply for the wellbeing of his friend and family found himself being held responsible for the wolf of greed and evil because his original citizenship was associated with Russia.   No words could diffuse his friend’s mounting perspective of guilt by association.  

The next message sent to this dear soul we are friends no more.

Division is not unique, but universal.  Division is a fundamental element of the choice we make in being human.  The choice we make in how we see.  And hear.  

Or no longer choose to. 

Hope Is

Witnessing in this dear soul a deep compassion, grace, forgiveness, sadness, and faith that what doesn’t currently make sense will.

That judgment is only temporary.

That a friendship will come back.

And that this year will include hugs in person with a mother and a sister after nearly three years.

38.367966° N, -92.47788° E

Hope Is

Front line workers named Katie, Laura, Tricia, Lucy, Kathleen, Ali, Chloe, Lori, and Melinda.

Not front line in the occupations you first think of when you hear front line.

These extraordinary individuals are the front-line workers of hope

For children.

For teenagers.

In schools

After school

When a crisis is experienced at a school.  Like a gun threat prompting a lockdown.

Or a suicide.

I had the honor of crossing paths with these extraordinary frontline workers of hope.

Hope Is  

these extraordinary individuals who bravely, tirelessly, and with unwavering faith

strive to bridge this gap

Hope Is

School counselors who are trying weekly, daily, hourly,

Sometimes in a moment

Be the ones to assist in reframing stories that a child or teenager might feel they are worthy

They are seen and heard

Discover that they are change agents of

A hope-full future

And build the inner toolkit that will ensure they don’t just survive, but that they thrive with life.

42.530506° N, -85.850494° E

Hope Is

Not losing oral history for the future tomorrows.

After two plus years, I had a most wonderful gift of giving a dear “grandmother wisdom” special friend a hug in person.   A few years ago, I was privileged to write my friend and her husband’s life stories.   In our more recent conversation, we talked about their stories as we talked about the Ukrainian-Russian war.  Her husband shared a News communication that one of the war tactics is to starve the Ukrainians.   Both he and my friend shook their heads as they shared their remembrance of the Winter of Hunger in 1944-1945, when both were starving in the Netherlands at the hands of war tactics then.   

My friend reminded me of her story of how her and her mom boiled tulip bulbs to eat – or tried to anyway.   She talked of looking out the window and seeing neighbors marched down the street to transportation that only had a one-way direction.  She didn’t know the Jewish souls passing by her window.   Her husband knew the Jewish couple his family kept fed in their home.  Until they ran out of food.  And a neighbor then took them in because fortunately he had a small ration to spare. 

Both of these dear souls – immensely resilient and immeasurably grateful souls – look through eyes of compassion for what the Ukrainians are experiencing.  They do not look back with eyes of trauma they once knew; their own humbleness has softened time and taken the edge off memories such that with incredible grace they talked of how they were fortunate “then” compared to what is being experienced “now”, to be teenagers then, resilient by nature of age, body, and attitude. 

Hope Is

Each of their own stories they also wrote and shared orally as well with their children. 

Resilience is a powerful legacy to pass on. 

So is gratitude.

And hope. 

My friend and her husband think a lot about their grandchildren and great grandchildren.  They pray for a hope-full future.  They question how brightly hope is shining for the world. Yet, their own hope is not diminished.  They’ve traveled too far to not believe in

Hope. 

Which Is

Choosing to thrive with each day of their ninety-two and ninety-three years young, looking at their four children, and their children’s families knowing that they lived the best versions of their life.  Their proof is their children that surround them.

As my dear friend told her four children recently, I want you to know, I’ve lived a happy life and you are the reasons and I want you to know I love you. 

Hope Is

In the words of Robert Brault, Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things

Like hugging a dear special friend n person after two years and feeling wrapped in the warmth of her wisdom and

Hope. 

42.783° N, -86.1° E

Hope Is

The friendships we make the second half of our lives.

Recently I had lunch with one of those lifetime friends.  The kind of friend in which time moves along, the texts and calls are silent, then a lunch or dinner plan is made, and the most joyous rejuvenating reunion is experienced in which it seems like it hasn’t been any time lapse at all. 

Our friendship first began blossoming at least eleven years ago.   Maybe longer, but I remember eleven years ago because it was my first racing event I was training for and participating in, and this friend was one of my biggest encouragers.  

She still is.    One of many blessings I receive with her as friend.  To name a few others.  Like her wisdom.  Her calmness.   Her inspiration in how she centers herself with each day.  And with life.  Her non-judgment of the world balanced with her voice of conviction for injustices that perpetuate division.   Her thirst to learn.  Her love of Nature.  (She was an incredible trekker of trails long before trails stole my heart!)   Her determination.   And her perspective that  

Hope Is

Being connected to what is my Source, that when I set aside ego and connect to Source, I worry less.  I feel more…hopeful.

42.38337° N, -85.95741° E 

On behalf of Ginger and Kutana, may you always have at least one person in life who is keeping a lookout for you.  And if you ever feel sightly squished by the weight of the world, remember, there is always at least one person who has your back! 

Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me … Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.” —Shel Silverstein

Sincerely,

-Christine

P.S.

If you have enjoyed this month’s message, please pay it forward to others.  They can also subscribe to future emails by visiting www.christinehassing.com.   If you know of someone who has a Hope Is message to share, please encourage them to contact me.  I welcome sharing their input in future messages!   

Namaste.’ 

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