hope might be a rock, but not the kind you think

Hope is my downfall. A bad habit. A familiar addiction.

Earlier today I found myself, as I sometimes do, lost in a cycle of checking and rechecking email, Facebook and various news sites.

“What is my problem?” I kept wondering. “What is keeping me stuck in this unproductive, de-energizing, anti-inspirational, brain-numbing nonsense?”

From talking to friends, I get the sense I may not be alone in this habit. But that doesn’t make it any easier.

And then it struck me.

The culprit is Hope.

Hope is what kept me returning to the various websites – hope that I would find a response to a message I had sent, or a new delightful video that would energize me to continue my work, or an intriguing bit of news connecting me to the rest of the world. Hoping and hoping that something fascinating would break the monotony of the Things I Have To Do But Am Trying To Avoid.

The same thing can happen in other areas of my life, too. I have hope for something – a dream, an ambition, or an as-yet-unrealized potentiality. But sometimes, rather than moving me forward, my hopefulness actually keeps me stuck. I wait and hope, rather than take action.

Hope is useful when it keeps us motivated in pursuing the things we want. It can be a strong energizing force when we’re feeling discouraged. But if we’re too focused on some imagined, potential future, we can miss what is happening right now, this moment, today.

Hope might be “the thing with feathers,” but it can also be the rock tied round my neck if I’m not careful.

Sometimes you have to ditch the hope, let the emails and news cycles (and the rest of life) do their thing, roll up your sleeves, and just start doing stuff.


P.S. Metaphors I considered for this post but did not use because, well, really, they were a stretch:

  • A boulder on a hiking trail (possibly invisible? or at least hidden)
  • A rare bird outside a window in a house filled with treasures
  • Winding hallways
  • Chocolate
  • Money
  • Butterflies
  • An altar

***Prize given to anyone who can figure out how I was trying to stretch and mangle these things to fit what I was trying to say. Bonus points for creativity.***

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3 thoughts on “hope might be a rock, but not the kind you think

  1. prizes! that sounds like hope!!
    excellent post.

    hope as a rock is a good image (when it turns on you it weighs you down) but what’s the positive side of the rock as hope image? oh wait, that it grounds you? keeps you steady and strong?

    your other stretches were good. and by the way, is there anything more hopeful than a good stretch lying in bed all warm and geometric?

    here are my manglings of your stretches…can you guess which of the below is my personal favorite…

    ————————————

    A boulder on a hiking trail (possibly invisible? or at least hidden)
    why I can climb this why I can walk around this why -my toe! my toe!

    A rare bird outside a window in a house filled with treasures
    like the rare willy wonka bird (gene wilder not johnnydepp), there are all kinds of wonders inside once you get a golden ticket IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII’ve Got a Goooolden Ticket! And if I don’t get the things I’m after I’m going to scream!

    Winding hallways
    look at this one!!! no, wait, this is cooler!!! whoa, this one has blue whirlings oh no wait this hallway is made out of candy and this one offer backrubs but wait lookeee here this one drops oooooooooooooofffffffffffffffffffffffff

    Chocolate
    you can’t resist going back to it and again and again and again…often it’s the cheap kind from a vending machine and so you binge on it and now you feel gross. and you’ll do again.

    Money
    if only….if only…why if I won the lottery gall durn anything would be possible…if I could just make more money and then I’d have more money to create opportunshitty.

    Butterflies
    flittering glittering wings of possisibilites smashed all over my windshield

    An altar
    respect it worship it defer to it bow to it to be smaller and less significant and know your value by realizing your grand-of-sand insignificance.

    • I love these responses! I especially like how they are written in first person. :)

      As for your favorite… Hm… Perhaps the chocolate one? Or Willie Wonka? I really like the butterfly one (although it makes me sad). They’re all really great!

      • you’re good…you’re very good, mm. while I love chocolate & willy wonka…the butterfly is my favorite. it has something to do with a specific memory I think. driving to a college friend’s wedding on I-80 in the relentless august of ’93 and being wowed by all the butterflies surging past me. until surging turned into splattering. good times ahead…but not for you, little butterfly…

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