Why Not Hope?

  • Graphics Aiden Locke @lockedsgn

Why Not Hope?

I have read a lot of things in my life, most of them depressing.
I have read about the terrifying prospect of nuclear war, the rising ocean levels, the rampant social misogyny and racism, homophobia and hate that still plague our governments our workplaces our homes our communities and our psyches.

I have read about the heavy footprint of colonialism and the oppression of endless poverty.
I have read about floods and famines, bombings and beatings, migrants dying by the millions and modern day slavery.

In the face of what seems to be impossibility, I have seen this barrage of literature topple spirits and divert energy. Lay activists low with the depressing weight of history.
—And I have seen people get back up out of bed to plant new seeds.
To come together in community.
To dance, to sing.
To build, to unbuild, to be.
To drum up the sun and give thanks for the day.

I’ve flailed around in my own pessimism for long enough
to know the endless spirals of negativity.
Until finally one day an Elder said to me: “Hope is a skill you practice.”

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(Reclaiming) The Power to Choose

I chose to read that which would reconnect my wandering spirit
lost for so many years in the dusty annals of the ivory tower
back to the Earth surrounding me.

I chose to read that which would slip me out of bed and into reality
Into the woodland
Into experiencing
Into a type of learning that doesn’t end when the textbook slams shut, but that sinks into my skin my muscles my very being.

I chose to farm and learn about the plants that feed me.
I chose simplicity.
I chose to see the abundance all around me.
I chose life in all its pain and beauty, hard work and glory.

To take the good with the bad and stop chasing the utopia that will never be.
To accept my flaws, my fury, my shadow, my sadness
and then to continue working

For love
For life
For peace
For community.

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Learning to Be

For everyone who has ever felt the crushing weight—create.
Creation liberates.

For those whose beliefs about the world cause them to hate—change.
We all have the power to choose a different way.

For those whom the rut of monotony has deadened—dream again.
Sit under a tree for days and open yourself to the silent truth of who you were meant to be.

It is not over until the bombs fly,
and even then there will still be life as blades of grass crack through the rubble,
dandelions stretch for the sun, reclaiming the old ways of being.

I have seen women on the front lines of barricades hold hands and sing.
I have seen young people of colour reclaiming their identities.
I have seen love that flows like a river without jealousy.
I have felt what it means to be a part of the beautiful mosaic of humanity.
I have felt my body merge with the trees.
I have felt what it means to be free.
And I choose hope
Every single day.

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