How do we sustain HOPE in times of crisis?

Four years ago, Linda Stout published this blog. It is just as relevant and forward-thinking today, as is her message:  We CAN and MUST sustain hope.

Asheville, NC, September 2016

It’s really hard to have a positive outlook with all that’s happening in the world today: political chaos, hate, violence, environmental disaster: a list much too long to write here. And worse, it seems that people are feeding off hatred and chaos so it continues to grow, taking over everything else, like a vine that consumes and strangles a tree’s life. Sometimes it gets so discouraging, that I, like many others I know, just want to bury my head in the sand like an ostrich.

I could ignore it and pretend it isn’t happening. I can dream about moving out of the country if things get worse. Many people are talking about that.

However, that is not what I’m here to do in this lifetime. I am here to create transformative change in my community, my state, my country and my world. I hope you are too. For me to do that, I have to bring vision and hope – both to myself and others. To do this I begin with dreaming, with visioning about what I want the world to look like.

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”.

Dutch sociologist, Fred Pollack, wrote that only those that held a vision of the future of their society were the ones that thrived and succeeded. Those who didn’t hold a vision turned to violence, war and eventually, self-destruction.

While I am motivated and moved by the words and actions of brave visionaries, I realize having a “leader” is NOT enough. We can’t wait for one person to step up and take leadership and tell us what we need to do. We all have to “shout from the mountaintops.”

We need to join together, create a collective vision, and work together to bring hope to a community, a state, a nation, the world.

Let us begin by looking for the seeds of hope around us. They are there. Think of them as an acorn (I have one on my vision altar), and then imagine it as a seed of hope growing into the largest oak tree you have ever seen. We need to start planting now, wherever we are.

And remember, it is critical that you devote some time to self-care, whether spiritual or musical, writing poetry or spending time in nature. This gives us the ability to dream and work for social change. Yet, many think they are too busy to even do this basic piece–caring for ourselves.

Hope is contagious and we need to create an epidemic of it in this country. We’ve done it before. Now more than ever, it’s important to our survival, both at an individual level and a world level.

Peace, Power and Love,

Linda Stout

Executive Director