The day my mother died, I was hoping for something, anything, to help alleviate my incredible pain and overwhelming sense of loss. I was also hoping that Mom was finally at peace. A Facebook post around the same time revealed that a friend of mine was hoping fervently for something as well: that she would find just the right shoes to match her new dress.
At first, it seemed so cruel and unfair to me that I was hoping for something so crucial while she was free to hope for something that seemed so insignificant to me.
Hope: We hear it all the time. Heck, we say it all the time: “I hope I get the job!” or “I hope I make the cut!” or “I hope things work out!” The word “hope” adorns T-shirts, jewelry and bumper stickers everywhere. Our president even based an entire campaign on the notion.
So, hoping … is that all we’ve got?
Big wads of plastic in the ocean that stretch for miles and disintegrating polar ice caps are the kind of news stories that tend to make us feel hopeless regarding conservation efforts. Why bother to change our light bulbs to compact fluorescents if our planet’s imminent demise is a speeding train that can’t be stopped?
The reason we have these feelings is probably the work of environmentalists themselves. They’re sending the wrong messages, if you ascribe to the new field of neuro-conservation.
Instead of focusing the spotlight on results of scientific studies that prove our planet is rapidly warming, or on statistics about alarming species extinction rates, they should be talking about how an ocean view will make us feel happy or standing among trees will arouse our feelings of peacefulness.
After all, selling us emotions is what marketing professionals have been doing for decades. They know that we don’t just buy a car; we buy how that car makes us feel — wealthier, greener or more in control. Using the tenets of neuro-conservation may just be the boost that environmentalists need to gain support for their causes in a world that’s overrun with more scientific data than we know what to do with — or pay attention to.
What does hope mean to you? That’s the inspiration behind the Gaiam Hope Project. We asked experts, authors and readers like you to share stories of hope. Every day for the next month, we’ll publish those stories on GaiamLife.com. You’ll find new ideas to get your happy on, tips to be more optimistic and ways to have a little faith.
If you’re like most people, you have, at some point at least, tried meditation. But if you are also like most people, you’ve probably not found meditation user-friendly enough to become a regular habit.
In addition to the age-old spiritual benefits, thousands of research studies have demonstrated that meditation increases awareness, well-being and equanimity; relieves anxiety, depression and other mental health problems; increases mental clarity; and reduces the stress associated with many medical problems.
Whenever I visit Europe — whether to explore a few former Soviet bloc countries or to take a 2,000-mile driving trip through Italy and Switzerland’s Ticino region — I’m always struck upon “re-entry” into the U.S. by how BIG everything is here at home.
We drive big cars, especially here in Colorado, where every other vehicle seems to be an SUV. Our cars have big cup holders for our venti Frappucinos and Big Gulp sodas. We live in big houses that we furnish with stuff we buy at big-box stores. Our big refrigerators – and often an extra freezer – are crammed full of food we purchase at big supermarkets. And, alas, we ourselves are big, and getting bigger: According to the American Heart Association, more than 70 percent of American adults are overweight, and of those, nearly 38 percent are obese.
Europeans clearly do things differently from us. Yet their ‘smaller’ lives seem in many ways richer and fuller. I’ve begun to notice some of those differences that we might do well to consider. Here are five that really struck me:
Dear Arielle and Brian,
I was married for 30 years and it was always a difficult relationship. I learned many important life lessons throughout it all — even how to forgive betrayal, though we eventually divorced. For the past seven years I have been enjoying my single life, meeting lots of new friends, traveling, redecorating my home, growing spiritually … but this past summer I found out that my ex, now 59, had been living with a woman 20 years younger than him, and she is having his child. (We have two children together, now ages 27 and 29.) The idea that he had started over with a new family hit me hard and brought up much anger, resentment and feelings that he doesn’t deserve happiness. I know this is selfish and un-Christian of me but this is how I am feeling right now. I am in therapy and I have spiritual direction as well, but how do I get to forgiveness? I really want to manifest a new soulmate!
God bless you!
No matter what
No matter where
It’s always home
If love is there.
I grew up with this quote hanging on our kitchen wall. As a little girl, I admired the fine needlework (yes, I grew up in Kansas) rather than the actual message embedded in the thread. As I’ve grown in life and with my yoga practice, I’ve come to fully understand the power behind this simple message. Home and comfort reside in the small things, and love is magically woven into every crevice of our lives when we learn to let go of the story we’re telling ourselves and open our eyes.
This summer I’ve spent a good deal of time upstate in the Catskills where my boyfriend manages a 2,000-acre estate. (Two and a half times the size of Central Park!) This Gilded Age estate includes a once grand 20,000-sq-ft mansion and riding stables. Needless to say, it’s paradise for me, Nature Gal. The abundant wildlife (including bobcat and bear), fresh air, pure spring water and total lack of light pollution has me ‘blissed out in the boonies.’ I believe nature is our ultimate healer, which is the reason I incorporate all things natural into my design work. And I have never felt healthier or happier in my whole life than I have this summer, enveloped in this magical kingdom.
Dear Arielle and Brian,
I’ve been putting out the vibes to call in a soulmate and as a result a couple of my exes are showing up. In particular, I had a reunion with my most recent ex of last year and it was quite magical.
What do you do when you are calling in “the one” and then get distracted by the recycles who become magnetized? And I’m now wondering whether he is “the one”? I realize that it comes down to discerning which one is the right one. In many ways, the familiar has an advantage because they already cherish me and know my heart versus a new man coming in and not knowing much about me. The negative side of this is that it didn’t work before and why go down that road again?
What advice do you have for me?