January 2023 Hope Is A Cold Nose and Other Inspiring Stories

Quest Map

42.779495° N, -86.10709° E

36.778259, -119.417931

29.76045° N, -95.36978° E

42.36202° N, -85.87896° E

47.663933° N, -117.400856° E

Hope Is

How we decide to show up in the world.

As souls having human experiences.


Many of you have traveled with me over these years, and first, let me start out this new year expressing my gratitude to each of YOU for that!  Thank YOU!

Some of you started walking a quest with me from the beginning.  When I wrote the first “for the public eye” story when I met a homeless gentleman and his dog on the streets of New York City. 

“Even then”, my essence was keeping me eyes, my ears – and my heart – open to those who

“Just” want to be seen and heard.   For, everyone just wants to be seen and heard.

As I believe, anyway.  

And, as I wrote in Hope Has a Cold Nose the words by Cheryl Richardson, people start to heal the moment they feel heard.

For that is another essence of me.  This sometimes calm and tranquil, sometimes mildly wavy, sometimes raging, and tumultuous river of life brings at least one experience with, as I phrase it in HHCN, pain, trauma, sorrow, or despair.   And grief.  Joy and sorrow, together for us to dance in grace between the two.  

Can we do so with hope as our anchor?  And how I define hope?  

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. ― Václav Havel

Make it matter that it happened.  The words a friend said to me nearing thirty years ago now. 

As I wrote in my memoir, life brings moments we wish wouldn’t, or never had to, take place. When we find purpose in each one, we find faith. We find the ability to bravely and gracefully move through life, through every up and down we are certain to experience.

And if we embrace the purpose, we know unconditional love.

Yesterday as I was holding space for what to share from this past month on my Hope Is quest, I was reminded of words I shared with a friend a few weeks ago.

I was reminded from a sparrow.

I am blessed to have our home full of many windows.    The blessings are the view I can behold every day.   The curse.   When these same windows look like a twin feathered friend to an unsuspecting bird about to find itself in a sudden nosedive to the ground.   

I periodically find myself in rescue mode.  Now, before you have an image that the interior of my home is filled with song birds in cages.  (smile)  My rescue consists of running outside to pick up a feathered new found friend and try to calm its rapidly beating heart.   I will it in gentle whispers to choose to fly again.   Often it does.   Sometimes.  

Loss steps in to hold space in place of joy.

Yesterday, in the cold of winter, this little sparrow took a nosedive into the snow, too disoriented to rise out of it.   The sound at the window 911 to my ears, and outside I hurried.  Between the palm of my hands I gently held my new friend, assuring it that it would be ok.  A few minutes later I set it on a dog bed under our porch continuing my willing intention that it would soon fly.  

A few minutes later when I went outside to check, it looked at me and then joyously soared into the air and away.  

I remembered my friend who reached out to me after she came home to a pileated woodpecker having hit her sliding window and though she, too, tried to will it to fly again.  Suffering was meant to hold space in place of her joy she always experiences in her photo shoots of these wonderful “beat to the rhythm of your heart” messengers that woodpeckers are symbolically. 

Because she knew I was a “rescuer’, she asked how I process the times flight isn’t meant to be again.

To behold a living winged being full of such beauty in its last moments deeply touches the heart in sadness and in awe!   When I’ve locked eyes with a winged friend taking its last breaths, I have felt this sacredness that I’ve been able to give them the greatest gift of all, which is to know love.   I’ve felt additional awe that I’m holding in my hands a part of the Universe and in this moment, we are not human separate from bird.  We are one.   Since joy and suffering hold the same space in this one beautiful wild unpredictable thing called life, you were experiencing a very special and reverent moment in which in the deepest sorrow is to know the joy of the deepest love.  

We make it matter that it happened when we choose to appreciate and be present to every moment we are given to listen and to see.

With all our BE-ing. 

A person facing loss starts to see beauty where their eyes and their heart were clouded by a to-do list or by a sense tomorrow is always guaranteed. When their perspective shifts, what begins to matter most is what someone else still takes for granted. To watch a sunset—to really watch a sunset—is nothing short of beautiful and extraordinary.

If we choose to see.

And listen.


Unconditionally doesn’t have to mean agreement.  It simply means.


My soul honors your soul.

I always tell my feathered friends Namaste’.   Both of us certainly very different.  Yet, in the moment a winged friend is giving me the most sacred gift we give another.  Trust.   At its most vulnerable, it is trusting me with its beating heart. 

In past quests I’ve shared one of my favorite parables.  Passed from Cherokee wisdom.   A tale of two wolves.  

In a sea of some many words amidst so much information to describe so many ways of being – and doing – I love the way this parable describes our human experience.

One evening, an elderly Cherokee brave told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.

“My dear one, the battle between two ‘wolves’ is inside us all. One is evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other is good. It is: joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.”

The grandson thought about it for a moment and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?”

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

Hope Is

How we choose to show up in the world. 

My quest this month led me to then revisit one of Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper messages from 2022. 

Then my cousin’s husband hit me with some numbers that almost made me spit out my coffee. He said, “Maria, do you realize that since the late ‘80s, we’ve been gaining roughly 800 million people a decade! Do you realize that in the last 2 1/2 decades, the overall increase in population is 200,000 people a day? That’s 9,000 people an hour, 150 a minute. That’s 1.5 million people a week!”

It is no small wonder that people are feeling unseen and unheard.  

Longing for genuine connection.  

That countries like the UK and Japan have Ministers of Loneliness now.

That social media continues to grow leaps and bounds to


And be seen and heard.

Yet, in the rapid treadmills of life everyone is running on, how often do we pause, be present, and truly listen within and with-out (externally)? 

There are wisdoms that say the teacher appears when the student is ready and we teach what we are most trying to learn. 

Life is magical this way.  I aspire to be the very best compassionate, non-judging listening teacher, coach, writer, author, and speaker I can be.   My soul desires to create and lead a social movement of unconditional listening and hope.  

The Universe is always bringing opportunity for me to grow in being the best version I can be to fulfill this calling.

Like when my path crossed with a dear and beautiful soul named Haven.  A name that means “safe place”.   The meaning of her name symbolic in the teachable moment I would soon receive.

She was making a delivery recently during a very snow-stormy afternoon.   The intent was the package would deliver across the street to my parents’ home.   In missing their driveway due to icy conditions, she attempted to use our driveway as a turn around to go back.   At the point I came home, she was stuck mostly in a section of our yard, having slid off our driveway. 

Sometimes listening is about hearing and hearing again.   My first reaction was frustration.  Since I know our driveway is long and challenging, I strive to have packages deliver to my parents’ to avoid issues like…getting stuck.  As my mind thought, what was this driver thinking? As I questioned out loud to the driver if they were trying to deliver to the right place.  Instead of asking are you ok?  Or at least offering an empathetic smile.   

I know.   Not typically me, one who values showing up in the world seeing others thru the lens of compassion and non-judgment. 

But since there is always more than we initially hear and see, I am sometimes unconsciously triggered from childhood feelings I am not safe, either within (my own skin) or with-out (externally).  It is only in hindsight and reflection that I become aware.  That I hear and hear again to better “see”. 

The driver let me know a tow truck was on the way.   I grumbled concern of the tow truck turfing up our yard. 

I proceeded down our driveway.  When I reached our garage, my husband – the Earth angel he is for me – reminded me how I want to show up in the world when he talked about how it can’t be easy for drivers going to places all over the countryside, especially in weather like we were experiencing.  

I began listening to that inner whisper.   Christine, did you see and hear the driver? What were you scared of that caused your frustration reaction?  After all, frustration is a defense mechanism when one isn’t feeling safe.  How do you want to show up to her?  She is part of the world.   

With a bottle of water and a bag of chocolates in hand, up the driveway I walked a few moments later.  As she rolled down the window, I apologized for my initial frustration and I pointed out that I know I am a stranger but I promise the water and chocolates are sealed and would she like them as she waits for the tow truck.   She gladly accepted and we began exchanging in dialogue.  She graciously telling me its ok my initial response and me telling her she didn’t deserve my own internal struggle.     

For that is another multi-faceted aspect of listening.  We aren’t hearing what others say (or watching for what others do).   We are listening from our own starting places based on our experiences, learned perceptions, and internal scars, too.   And we are then choosing our response, which is either taking responsibility for our reaction or choosing to act in defense to point it externally because we don’t feel safe within ourselves.

I once heard it said that the truth lies somewhere in the middle between two perspectives.   This dear driver didn’t seem to think as much of my initial response, but what matters is how I felt about the energy I was casting. 

We ended our dialogue with this dear and beautiful – and brave driving – soul asking if she could give me a hug and me oh so gladly accepting!  

People just want to be seen and heard.  

Amidst the 200,000 people born a day, every day.

Hearing and hearing again to be present to and with a stranger, feeding the wolf of kindness and empathy is

How we live a meaning-full life.

The art of hearing.   Within.  With-out.  In the now.  With are entire being – mind, body, soul. And Soul.

This month’s quest also found me very conscious of being fully present in my in-person interactions with strangers.   I was traveling in mid-January, arriving to the airport disappointed in myself that I had forgot my one essential travel kit I strive never to leave home without.   My notecards.

In past quests I’ve shared how I love to give note cards to strangers.  A waitress or waiter in an airport restaurant.  A steward or stewardess.  A stranger on a plane.   Ugh, I forgot!  Ok. I will find note cards in a gift shop. 

Gift shops closed that early in the morning.   

But I can still pay attention in the same way I do that prompts me writing a note card. 

And the journey began.  

The gentleman standing before the doorway of the plane to collect bags that would no longer fit in the overhead bins.   Good morning!   How are you?  my greetings to this early morning riser hard at work for all of us travelers.  I stop to make sure I look this gentleman in the eye and listen to his response.   The surprised look on his face spoke volumes.

He had been seen and heard.

On my second leg of the journey I was feeling the rising energies around me of people not feeling seen and heard.  Defensiveness streaming to my left and in front of me in the words people were saying about others.  Their own internal lens feeling unsafe in some way.  Not valued.  Not heard.  Not seen for what they care about.    They didn’t do. They should do.  They shouldn’t.  I can’t believe he.  She just doesn’t care.  

And then my soon to be seat neighbor neared me.  From the moment she graciously pointed that she was the one to take the empty seat next to me, I knew the energy was about to shift.  

We struck up a conversation before the doors of the plane closed.  That conversation continued for the nearly 3 hours until we landed at our next destination.  

When we both expressed our gratitude our paths had crossed, I heard that inner whisper if I had remembered the cards, I would have missed this puzzle piece meant to snap into place in the picture of my life.

Sure, I might have still had a conversation with this dear soul.   Or maybe not.   I was more open this day in how I wanted to show up in the world.  I wanted to not just acknowledge I was seeing someone for the extraordinariness that they are by leaving them a handwritten note.   I wanted to let them know I also valued hearing them. 

That their voices matter to me.

True to the quest journey, one “stop” along the trail of this quest leads to the next stop.     

Like a brief exchange when doing some banking recently.   A new face I had not seen before.  As this dear soul was assisting me, an inner whisper nudged ask his name. 

I love to see the look on a face and hear the tone in a voice when someone appreciates being heard and seen! 

By the way, his name is Marcus.   And he shares a similar value as me.



The power of being heard and seen.

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


Image of person and dog
Image of bird in a hand

42.3838° N, -85.95861° E

A Cold Nose

Unconditional love


N ° S ° E ° W °

Hope Whispers, Nature Speaks

And many other offerings.

If you are interested in being guided on a writing journey of stories of your life and / or are interested in going on a listening and hope-filling journey, contact me to take part in one of these courses:

Hope Whispers, Nature Speaks:  How Both can Aid us in Reframing our Life Stories

The Puzzle Pieces of our Lives

The Art of Hearing:  Within, With-Out, Present, Whole.  

Also, if you would like to chat about listening or hope or the river flow of life, contact me at Christine@hopewhispers.net.   I’d love to talk with you!   I welcome, too, your input on what messages would be of value to you in future Hope Is quests.   As mentioned above, in a sea of words and information – and only so much finite time you have – I want to make sure that what you receive from me honors your time.   If you are reading these messages, you are giving me an incredible privilege to be a part of the limited time you have.  I want to make sure

I make it matter that you are.


The first duty of love is to listen. – Paul Tillich

My goal in life is to be the kind of person my dog thinks I am – Anonymous




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! 

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