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In the journey.
In walking each other home. (As Ram Dass writes, we are all just walking each other home.)
Home. At the right end of the dash. The left side of the dash. The beginning. Birth. The dash grows. Both, in length. And in gathering travelers along life’s journey when paths intertwine. The right side of the dash. The last breath. Death on Earth. Were one walks out the door of home as a spiritual being having had a human experience and into another door of home wholly as Soul.
Between the dash. Where we dance. And we dance. We dance so giddy when Joy takes our hand and guides us to the dance floor. We long to run from the outstretched hand when Suffering doesn’t necessarily ask may I have this dance?
I have valued her friendship for at least twelve years now. I don’t remember the first day she entered my dash. I remember she was the first person to hold up a mirror for me that meditation practices didn’t only have to be sitting still. Even then, she was walking beside me with unconditional acceptance. I don’t think I fully realized it until I sit down to write this. She entered my dash at the beginning of a significant inner transformational journey I was starting to walk. She has been an Earth angel walking me home for over a decade.
We are like-minded in our beliefs about mind, body, and soul. And she is a role model for me. She has felt similar feelings of not fitting in amidst the places she has found herself in. She inspires me with her bravery. If she doesn’t feel she is fitting in, she takes her Light and goes elsewhere. She has a thirst to look paradigms, stereotypes, and many generations old legacy systems calling out for evolution straight in the eye and then look directly into her own eyes in the mirror for what she can do to be part of positive change.
And, perhaps quite miraculous is how she actually said Yes to an “athlon” with me ten years ago now! Let’s do a driathlon together, “she said”. It will be fun because you don’t have to swim; you can canoe, “she said”. She, being me. (smile) My dear friend saying yes to a 3-mile canoe race, followed by a 12.4-mile bike ride, and then finishing with a 3.1-mile run.
Boy, unconditional acceptance for sure! (smile)
Her mom went with us for that weekend adventure. Not to canoe, bike, run with us. But to cheer us on. To spend time keeping watch over two of her grandchildren – my friend’s son and daughter – while unconditionally supporting and celebrating her oldest daughter.
The essence of my friend’s mom. Passed on to her daughter.
And now a legacy my friend carries forward without her best friend physically by her side.
A few weeks ago, on a stretch of our dashes, my friend’s email read Prayer request for Cindy.
November 29, 2022, to be exact.
Please hold her in your prayers for a successful procedure tomorrow, answers, and a positive prognosis (and for less pain!).
Suffering was now standing up slowly yet deliberately walking to the dance floor where my friend stood.
In my inbox December 1. December 5. December 14.
Today was surgery day. We have good news!…She will be at Spectrum for at least a week. May have to go to rehab after leaving here it will all depend on how she does over the next week.
And then, as I am dancing with Joy the eve of the eve of Christmas December 23, I read
Yesterday we had to say goodbye … 💔 There are no words and there are so many words. We are sad, stunned, and yet so grateful that we could call her wife, mom, gram, mother-in-law, sister, aunt, and friend!
And in the moment in which life becomes before and no longer the same, Grief stepped from the wooded tree line and began walking my friend’s dash with her.
Suffering began owning the dance floor.
As I think of my friend who is now living her life while she simultaneously watches her life -for Grief and Suffering have a way of taking one to out-of-body sensations – I love her even more than I already did. Susan Cain writes in her book “Bittersweet” that the real reason for…all our emotions…is to connect us. And Sadness, of all the emotions, was the ultimate bonding agent.
If I had a magic wand to make this all a bad dream in which my friend could wake up, it would be hers. But since life brings that which we cannot control anything of, except our response to it, then I choose gratitude that I have the privilege of walking beside my friend on our journeys home.
The deepening awareness that life is fragile and precious and that in the greatest suffering is the joy of knowing what it is to
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in the privilege of being a co-author an additional time with a community of voices. Last month I shared about the book that can be found on Amazon, Seeing through Their Eyes. This time a collective of co-authors share about Kitchen Table Stories: Sharing our Lives in Food.
For a copy of inspirational stories along with delicious recipes, click on this link below
In the inspiration that Hope Has a Cold Nose continues to cast to others in unanticipated ways. As December knocked, I had the honor of receiving this message below from Page Turner Awards as follow up from their gracious announcement a few months ago that HHCN had made it to the finalists round.
We have just completed a full and complete list all 2022 Page Turner Awards winners, for all awards and awards’ sub-categories, and your submission, ‘Hope Has a Cold Nose’, has won The Best Book Title. We all thought it was an intriguing, charming and warm (in an emotional rather than nose sense!) title!
What is Hope to you? I would love to read and hear your thoughts. I’d love to share them with others via email or on my web page(s). I welcome your handwritten messages or drawn pictures to the address below. Or feel free to email me (Christine@hopewhispers.net)
P.O. Box 327
Gobles, MI 49055
ATTN: Hope Is
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The number eight.
Turned on its side is the symbol of infinity.
Eight years ago, I was dancing with Suffering when my soul mate in fur began having seizures, which turned into a pancreatic cancer diagnosis. Hmmmmm…this thought just entered…the same cancer that my friend’s mom – who I talked about above – was diagnosed with just a few short weeks ago.
To the Moon: What I Learned from Four Running Feet was how I made it matter, that chapter of my story that included Roo’s cancer.
How I started making all the chapters of my story matter.
Make it matter that it did.
Nearing twenty-five years later, and I can still hear those words from a friend. Everything that happens has purpose…if you drive slower in icy conditions…if you say “I love you” more often before you leave home…you will have made it matter that it happened.
It. The tragedy I had heard about.
When Suffering had just taken the hands of many and said Now, we dance!
I didn’t know any of those directly impacted. And yet. Someone else’s story forever changed my life.
Those of you who know me, or have followed the progression of Hope Has a Cold Nose from manuscript to publication or who have been on this Hope Is quest with me know that I am very passionate about
My favorite description of hope is the quote by Václav Havel. Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.
Hope has probably been with me all my life, though I don’t think I started to recognize it until my friend said his words. And even then, I hadn’t finished framing the chapters of my story in such a way that I begin heeding Hope’s call. In entirety.
I started to listen when I first heard a song by Chris Rice on the radio with the words, so carry your candle, run to the darkness. Seek out the hopeless, confused and torn. Hold out your candle for all to see it. Take your candle and go light your world. It would take me a couple of more years to know why that song had played and in what darkness I would find myself shining a light into, but I knew at the moment I heard that song that I needed to take particular notice. Eighteen years later and I still remember the road I was driving on when the song came on the radio. I think it’s fair to say I noticed. (smile)
I held on to Hope as Havel defines it when I felt myself step into another tunnel of darkness a couple of years after I walked through the darkness as a candle for approximately a hundred and forty individuals who found their lives now in significant transition due to life bringing change in the form of a business decision. This time the next tunnel would be my own darkness, in which I kept the candle extinguished, letting others – like my friend – shine their lights for me to travel my way back into the Light of my soul from the dark night in which it had found a temporary home.
I began to embody Hope through the journey of letting Roo go, 8 years ago. She had whispered write a book in her last days on Earth. Two years later To the Moon was published. The calling had only just begun.
If you have read To the Moon, you know how very much Roo let me know daily – if not frequently in a day – that space was not separating her and I. In the eight years since she has left Earth, she is also still with me. She has walked beside me this year in what has been another life shifting transformational year for me. If you have read earlier months of Hope Is, you know some of that transformation.
For many years now, I have grown my dash letting go of emotional weight no longer necessary to carry and through reframing chapters of my story. This year felt like the first year with Roo when she began to live on the other side of the bridge (rainbow); every day there was a letting go and a reframing and a way of seeing that every sentence of my story could not have been anything different for me to be here now answering what calls.
Serve others by listening, writing, teaching, authoring, speaking, and guiding (coach-mentor) the reframing of one’s life stories from self-judgment to self-worthy, from uncertain to hope-fully, from grieving to embracing, from shame to dignity.
Make it matter that it did.
Every sentence of one’s story.
For everything that happens has purpose.
Including when Suffering takes our hand and leads us in a dance.
Ah, but when Suffering does, our heart doesn’t crack apart. It actually cracks open and expands to know greater love.
Because mine did.
Eight years ago, today (it is the 30th as I write this), we brought Ginger home from a shelter. Roo had only been gone a little over three months, and up until mid-December that year, we were going to wait a full year before getting another soul in fur to fill our home. We met Ginger on the 28th, but due to the approval process, we could not bring her home until the 30th. I can still remember how I couldn’t sleep, my body wracked with the feeling that I didn’t want Ginger to think we weren’t coming back for her and even more, my soul felt it couldn’t bare to begin a new year without Ginger. I cannot go into the new year without a soul in fur by my side, the nonstop feeling coursing through me.
I didn’t think I could love to the depths I had known love with Roo. Until Ginger. Through Ginger I began to see that Peppi, my first love – who first showed me hope has a cold nose – had been there as my heart was just beginning to learn the various dimensions of love, both the ways love can comfort, and it can hurt. Along the way, my heart expanded – and contracted – and then Roo came just before I would enter darkness so that she could walk beside me until I felt ready to step back into Light. When my heart was wide open – bare and vulnerable and sad and curious and hopeful and seeking how
To make it matter
Ginger came and ensured
My heart would stay open and expand.
This year a similar feeling came as this year has drawn to a close. The feeling isn’t about entering a new year without a soul in fur by our side at home. The feeling has been about finishing the letting go to fully step forward with the story of my life written differently. A couple of weeks ago I had one final thing to let go of. She was whispering it’s time and remember to the moon and back, always by your side.
I’ve had tucked in a keepsake box Roo’s winter jacket, her harness for the running leash, and the sweatshirt I wore on the day my hand was on her heart when it beat for the last time. I washed all three items, having sniffed the jacket and harness to relive her smell. I smiled at the magic of life when I could still smell her even after the wash cycle had completed.
I’ve worn the sweatshirt a couple of times now.
Joy has been leading me on the dance floor since.
One doesn’t wash away the other.
When hearts are connected, love always remains. Infinitely.
No matter time nor space.
I will leave you with this smile. Hawk has been one of the ways Roo communicates with me, and as I just typed when hearts are connected, love always remains, Hawk just flew by the window.
Hi Roo, I am reminded of the last sentences in our book, To the Moon. “I will always make it matter, Roo, the life you lived and gave that I might fully live. Thank you for leading me to the center of myself, my beautiful—so beautiful—gift.”
Dear reader, now I ask you.
How can YOU make it matter that it did, every sentence of your story? Especially when Suffering has taken your hand and said I think it is time now for us to dance.
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A Cold Nose
A dog is love’s purest shadow – Angie Weiland-Crosby
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Hope’s Spiral Staircase
As a new year prepares its beginnings, may joy, faith, peace, and prosperity be yours in 2023.
N ° S ° E ° W °
Hope Whispers, Nature Speaks
And many other offerings.
I have been redesigning my web sites to include the courses I teach, such as Hope Whispers, Nature Speaks: How Both can Aid us in Reframing our Life Stories, as well as outlining other services I provide. Stay tuned in future emails for an upcoming course! The Art of Listening. Details are still in development but the current timing for the first course is targeted to begin in March. Be on the watch for how you can take part!
Here is a link to one of the two re-designed sites.
You can get to my additional site through links when you visit Christinehassing.com but I will also provide you a link here.
Much more coming in 2023! Book three…. a campaign…
As we stand at the edge of letting go of this year and letting come new beginnings, I stand excitedly looking forward to the future and how my path may intersect with you. I look forward to our journey together!
Helping, fixing, and serving represent three different ways of seeing life. When you help, you see life as weak. when you fix, you see life as broken. When you serve, you see life as whole. Fixing and helping may be the work of the ego, and service the work of the soul. –
Rachel Naomi Remen
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 share via the post office address (or via email at Christine@hopewhipsers.net). I welcome sharing their input in a future Hope Is message!