by Kathie England


So far 2022 has been a year of stark contrasts! The war in Ukraine! The senseless shootings in Buffalo, New York; Uvalde, Texas; and Chicago, Illinois (to name just a few)! And yet we have also begun to see photos from the James Webb Telescope showing us unimaginable views of the universe (some more than 13 billion light-years from Earth).

How do we find hope? How do we maintain hope?

To begin answering these questions I share a few thoughts about hope from Brené Brown’s newest book, Atlas of the Heart.

Brown says, “We need hope like we need air. To live without hope is to risk suffocating on hopelessness and despair, risk being crushed by the belief that there is no way out of what is holding us back, no way to get to what we need.”

She explains that “Hope is a way of thinking – a cognitive process.”

It is also important to remember that “Hope is a function of struggle – we develop hope not during the easy or comfortable times, but through adversity and discomfort.”

Brown continues, “It’s also important to know that hope is learned…To learn hopefulness, children need relationships that are characterized by boundaries, consistency, and support.”

Brown is not alone in exploring hope!

In 1999, I read Jane Goodall’s book, Reason for Hope. Goodall said she had often been asked how she could maintain hope “in the face of so much environmental destruction and human suffering; in the face of overpopulation and overconsumption, pollution, deforestation, desertification, poverty, famine, cruelty, hatred, greed, violence, and war.” Though we still face these challenges, Goodall, now 88 years old, continues to seek solutions. (Her book inspired me to begin buying organic products, despite the higher cost to me. As a person of privilege, I realized that was one small step I could take to live my values.)

In 2006, I read Barack Obama’s book, The Audacity of Hope. And once again, we still face the challenges he described! Like Goodall, Obama’s many endeavors reflect his belief in hope.

I recently started listening to a powerful podcast by Craig Strong. It’s titled Moving Through Fear. Here is the link to the first episode Moving Through Fear. I want to leave you with three inspiring words from Episode 10.

To help us move through fear we need fascination, curiosity, and hope.