a holiday wish: hope-full

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This has been quite a year. The turmoil of our political climate, the drastic cuts in our country’s safety net, the hatred some now feel emboldened to express, and the resistance efforts against all of it – some more successful than others (#metoo).

It is a time of reckoning. I know that I have days of hopelessness and despair at what is going on in the world. And I have to admit that sometimes it feels small and obtuse to be talking about clothes. Who cares about what we are wearing when it seems like our country is imploding around us?

but.

It does matter what we are wearing. Because, this I know – what you are wearing affects how you feel. And if you are feeling hopeless, dressing intentionally can help reduce that feeling. It can help you feel more ready to face the world.

What you are wearing can help you to summon the confidence and the courage to stand up for what you believe. It can help you feel better about yourself, which spreads to how you show up for the world and other people. It can help you be a better you – strong and authentic and bad-ass in whatever you are doing.

It isn’t frivolous, and it isn’t extravagant to take care of yourself. In times like these, it becomes more important than ever. This is a core value of my work.

my holiday wish

What’s happening these days is on my mind all the time – I imagine on your minds as well – and it’s important not to ignore it or pretend it isn’t happening. Here is my wish for the holidays:

Let’s find ways to be hope-full. Truly filled with hope. If we do that, we experience gratitude, which leads to peace. Even if things aren’t peaceful in the world, finding peace within yourself allows you to keep moving forward.

What brings me hope is true connection with others – going past the superficial to deeper understanding of each other. That keeps me going.

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in your words

I asked some readers, “Please take 1 minute TODAY to reply to me with one sentence about something happening in your life that makes you hope-full. Don’t think too hard about this – write what pops into your head right away.” Below are the messages they sent – as they came in over the course of the day, I got little bursts of hope with each new thought.

What makes me full of hope is the fact that every one of us has the ability to give hope any time of our day!
Antje
I am hopeful because I have a new grandbaby! I am hopeful because I am reconnecting with my emotional self. I am hopeful because the evil of the current political situation galvanizes people out of their passivity and clarifies the difficulties of the average person.
B
It may sound simple, but I’ve been full of hope lately when I see how much my son is flourishing in middle school. The group of teachers he has have been so supportive and creative with cross-curriculum teaching that his love for learning has come alive this year. It’s been really magical to see and fills me with hope for his future.
Cece
I am hopeful for more connections with family and being together for the holidays.
Ellen
The innocence of the kids I work with and how others in their class treat them. They show SO MUCH patience and empathy and as a result the kids have authentic and innocent friendships.
Julie
Despite the snarled traffic caused by ice and snow, when I see twinkling lights glittering over snow-covered lawns, I’m hopeful for a renewed appreciation for the simple beauty and joy of the holidays — and hopeful that our home can be a sanctuary of comfort and love amidst turmoil in the world.
Mai 

Antje even sent the link to this video – it’s a really beautiful message of how, as she said, we all can give hope.

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VIDEO: Noah and the Whale – Give a Little Love

Our families and loved ones, the beauty of the world around us, the potential of future generations, teachers!, simple acts of kindness, standing up for what is right, connectedness – these are the stuff of hope. Let’s spread it far and wide.

So now I ask you – take 1 minute to respond in the comments with one sentence about something happening in your life that makes you hope-full. Don’t think too hard about this – write what pops into your head right away. We can fill the day with messages of hope!

 

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#resist

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This past week has been filled with fear and chaos. Our nation, and the world, is in turmoil. Frankly, I’ve been reeling since the election. It shouldn’t be any surprise where my politics lie – I worked in the environmental field for almost twenty years before launching my own business, which is focused in part on practicing sustainable consumerism. Human rights and environmental responsibility are values I strive to uphold in all aspects of my life.

How can I talk about embracing your true self in my work if I don’t do the same?

Until now, I’ve been careful about keeping politics out of my work. I have friends, family, and clients who hold different views than me, and I respect that the right to differing views is a critical element of our democracy. But we’ve entered something altogether more alarming than differing views. People’s fundamental human rights are at stake with the recent actions taken by our nation’s new president.

I feel that it is inauthentic for me to stay silent when each day brings more concern, disbelief, and truthfully, outrage. How can I talk about embracing your true self in my work if I don’t do the same?

We must stand up for what is right. We must resist divisiveness, hatred, and exclusion in favor of practicing tolerance, kindness, and compassion for those in need and those who are different from us. And we must take action through our actions.

We must take action through our actions.

For some, that means daily calls to our elected representatives. For others, protesting in public spaces. And for others, it is through quieter, local actions to help those affected by the recent executive orders that are marginalizing groups of human beings in our nation and in the rest of the world. And some will do all of the above. Whatever choice, we must do something. Otherwise, we are complicit in our silence.

share your resources

One way you can resist is to be generous with what you have. What resources can you share with others?

Of course, monetary donations to organizations representing those affected are a great way to help. But there are other ways as well.

Volunteer your time. You may have just the skill, and definitely the people-power, a non-profit organization needs.

And something that immediately comes to my mind is to donate the clothing you are no longer wearing. There are many local organizations giving immediate help to people in need – my December post, The Gift of Giving, lists some Twin Cities organizations.

the power of numbers

How can we band together to create more impact?

I LOVE this idea from Tim Mazurek on his blog, Lottie + Doof: throw a party for friends, where instead of bringing a bottle of wine or other gift for the host, they bring whatever dollars they can to donate to your chosen organization. Together, they raised $750 for Planned Parenthood and got to spend quality time with good friends. Check out more great party ideas at Lottie + Doof.

Think about ways you can collaborate with others – together we can make bigger change.

speak up, and listen

We must not be fearful to speak up. We must not let hopelessness keep us from taking action. Every small step collectively makes impact.

And we must listen. Not to the rhetoric, but to the underlying reasons behind what drives people to believe what they do. That goes for all of us. If we seek to truly understand each other, perhaps we can find common ground to resist those who are threatening permanent harm to our nation.