Your Daily Shot of Hope
Volume 1: Meditations for an
Age of Despair
Copyright 2017 Diane
Published by Diane Silver
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Books by Diane Silver
with Diane Silver
This book would
never have been written without the enthusiastic support and
encouragement of Jennifer Lawler, the help of copy editor Janet
Majure and cover artist Lynne Baur, and the excitement of every
friend and acquaintance who urged me to actually publish that crazy
book about hope I kept mentioning. Thank you all.
We live in unsettling times. Hate appears to be ascendant. Bullying
looks like the quickest path to success these days, at least in
politics. And truth? Increasingly truth—the real thing based on
facts and evidence—looks like an idea that is past its prime.
For many of us, hope has become a fleeting memory. But can any of us
survive for long without hope?
If you are among the
millions who have been thrown into despair by the election of Donald
Trump as president of the United States, by the passage of Brexit in
Great Britain, and the rise of authoritarianism and hate around the
world, this book is for you. If you wonder how you can possibly keep
fighting back, this book offers a place to rest, recharge, know that
you are not alone, and remember that, yes, you do have the power to
create change. If you are struggling with despair in your personal
life, this book is also for you because ridiculous, cockeyed hope
helps us heal. Hope fuels us. It enables us to go on.
It’s easy to
misunderstand hope. After all, isn’t hope supposed to be
something for the uninformed and the childish because who else would
be silly enough to have hope in this nasty world? But I’m not
talking about hope that springs from denial. True hope stands on a
bedrock of nitty-gritty reality. Pretending that pain doesn’t
exist doesn’t make it disappear. Claiming that the loss of a
child, a spouse, a job, or our illusions isn’t really a loss
doesn’t lessen our suffering. We can even make ourselves feel
worse if we beat ourselves up for hurting when we think we’re
not supposed to be in pain. Real hope provides room to grieve and
acknowledges pain. Real hope recognizes challenges even as it thumbs
its nose at the conventional wisdom that claims we can’t
Of course, there are
days when the idea of hope can seem flat-out absurd. How can we trust
that something good will happen, how can we maintain a feeling of
trust in the future (as dictionaries define the word hope) if we
don’t see the evidence that it will? But then again, how can we
Without hope, there
never would have been a civil rights movement, women’s
movement, LGBTQ rights movement, or labor movement. Segregation would
still be the law in the United States, women wouldn’t be able
to vote anywhere, same-sex marriage would be universally banned, and
neither the 40-hour workweek nor protections against child labor
would exist anywhere in the world. Without hope, slavery would never
have been challenged and defeated, dictators would never have been
overthrown, and the founding fathers and mothers of the United States
would never ever have conceived of a republic based on the idea that
all people are created equal. Without hope, I would never have
survived a turbulent childhood or have had the energy to raise my son
after my spouse died.
This modest book is the
first of four planned volumes of meditations that seek to explore and
evoke the feeling of hope. Each volume contains ninety-three
mediations, enough for you to read one a day for more than three
months. Taken together, these four volumes provide more than a year
of inspiration. Consider these meditations to be like vitamin pills.
Take one a day to strengthen your soul.
I composed these short
poems to heal my own despair, which erupted anew on the night of the
2016 U.S. presidential election. What I experienced that night felt
like the hopelessness I knew growing up with an alcoholic and abusive
father. As a youngster, I constantly had to answer the question, how
can I find the courage to go on? Every day brought a different
answer. Some strategies worked better than others. Over time I
learned that what worked best for me was to find a way to evoke a
feeling of hope or love. Even a fleeting sense of one of those
emotions helped. Not only did these feelings keep me upright and
functioning, but they also gave me the energy to succeed in ways that
seemed impossible at the time. The following meditations employ the
techniques I learned. May they bring you peace and energy. Above all,
may they help you find a renewed sense of hope.
To Use This Book
There are no rules. You
can read all the meditations in one sitting if you like, or take in
only one each day. No matter how you choose to approach the book,
however, I’ve found that I thrive when I pick one meditation a
day to contemplate.
Here’s what I do.
I find a quiet and private place, and sit comfortably. If I’m
preoccupied, I try to set my bubbling thoughts aside. If that proves
to be too difficult, then I visualize putting my preoccupations into
a secure box and setting them outside the door. I promise myself that
I can pick them up when I leave, although often I find that by the
time I’ve finished my meditation I’ve forgotten all about
my preoccupations and worries.
I read (or reread) a
single meditation and then sit for a few minutes. Often I close my
eyes and open myself to the feelings the meditation evokes. At first,
I don’t try to analyze the meditation. Instead, I seek to
smell, taste, hear, see, or feel the sensory images mentioned in the
meditation. I seek to experience the emotion.
When I’ve given
myself a few minutes to sit with the emotion and the images, I ask
myself, how can I use this to be stronger? What can I do today to put
what I feel into action?
I’m not going to
lie. There are days when I struggle to find a reason to have hope. On
those days, I don’t force myself to accept the idea. Instead, I
take the concept of hope and a world ruled by love as hypotheses to
be investigated. I ask myself, if this were true, what would I feel?
What would I say and do? What would the world around me be like?
To open to hope, move
to the next page.
Hope is warm and
Expectant like the
night before your birthday party,
of presents piled high.
not exactly right
Because true hope
is never greedy.
Hope is deeper and
more solid than that, but what is hope to you?
Is your hope
Find your feeling
of hope right now.
Do the best you
can, even if you must fake it.
feeling over you like a soft blanket.
The time for
action will come soon enough.
When we cannot
hope, we can look up.
The sky follows us
on days when it hurts to breathe.
It comforts us.
Blue or gray,
There is majesty.
Wide and endless,
Room to fly.
Some say holding
on to hope
Is like trying to
live out a pipe dream
But I disagree.
Is born of the
ability to peer into reality
And see sun
Through the cracks
in our assumptions.
Where did we get
the idea that
The only faith
that matters is faith in God?
God can be at the
center of faith, of course.
If that works for
you, embrace it.
Trust that the sun
will come up tomorrow,
Birds will sing
shortly before dawn,
And we frail,
confused humans will rise.
Today we shall be
buoyant in our hope,
Tossed atop waves,
White capped and
Roaring all around
We may plunge
under water briefly
But we always we
pop up again.
Join me in
Set aside your
One defeat does
not cement the future,
Or even two
failures or more.
We go on.
Waving their arms
in time to music only they can hear,
And we owe them.
Sing today of this
Not tomorrow or