I would like to say goodbye to 2021 and hello to 2022 with some thoughts about hope. We all need hope, especially when experiencing dark times.
The emergency state of the entire planet might go on and we need to be prepared, finding our own solutions to difficult or unpleasant situations. We have to accept all challenges and learn new behaviours by establishing new pathways in everyday life.
Where there is a will, there is a way. If you have the desire and determination to do or change something, you can find a method for accomplishing it. Everything that might work is permitted as long as it helps you to prevent despair as much as possible. Create daily rituals, taste new experiences, be conscious of necessary changes, have courage to take a risk and embrace everything that will take you towards your vision of a better today and tomorrow. Your main task is to structure your daily life in a stable and meaningful way. The meaning of something should not stay only in your head, it emerges through the actions you take.
Hope can shift you from a problem to a solution, it is your inner powerful force. It will help you make things better - in your dancing, teaching, judging, in your relations with other people. Not only privately, for your own good, but on a larger scale, taking the importance of the entire dance community under consideration. You can choose your actions towards necessary changes or you can stay in the role of a victim.
Going towards or away
When we complain, criticise, judge others, we state our position as being against all negative happening. Be careful with words, this kind of speech will just move you further away from the possible solution.
If you want something to change for the better, you need to learn how to speak in favour of a solution. Presenting new options, perspectives, even if they sound like a dream at first, will redirect the attention from a problem to a possible solution. Energy flows where attention goes.
The same goes for strong opinions that are extended in our dance community. A big question is whether they contribute to a solution of a particular situation or move away from it. Plato's words may open our eyes:"Opinion is really the lowest form of human knowledge. It requires no accountability, no understanding. The highest form of knowledge is empathy, for it requires us to suspend our egos and live in another's world. It requires profound purpose larger than the self kind of understanding."
Before criticising others we should listen to them, try to put ourselves in their shoes for a while and then decide how we can share hope with them.
Goals - pathways - persistence
When you are building your reality, you have to be conscious of the decisions you make. First you need to set your goals, related to your sense of meaning and purpose of your life. Goals already carry the hope, but are no guarantee that you will get where you want. You need to find new ways to get around obstacles, taking curves and sideways if necessary.
Hope is all about taking action to create what you desire. It is not an emotion, it is your belief in your own power to materialise your now and future. Hope is a way of thinking, therefore it can be thought. The learner always begins by finding fault, but the scholar sees the positive merit in everything. Teachers and adjudicators are role models to coming generations, our responsibility is huge and our actions matter.
Too often there is only a wish which is normally just a desire without clear pathways. Pathways are actions that need to be fuelled with the will power and your ability to sustain motivation. Staying persistent will make it happen.
However, will power is a limited source of energy. It gets weaker as it is associated with the glucose supply in your system. Glucose is related to your energy, therefore you have to mind your nutrition. Make sure you eat food rich enough in carbohydrates. Health means wholeness, and nutrition is just a part of it (you can find more in my blog "Creating health"). You can get wounded physically and emotionally.
The pain of being disconnected
Who doesn't know the feeling of hopelessness? Being tuned out is an adaptation to the pain you feel. When you experience trauma and adversity you are wounded. And you would ask yourself: "What's wrong with me?" instead of: "What happened to me?". Trauma is your emotional response to a terrible event, it is what happens inside you as a result of what happened to you.
In trauma your will power is driven by fear and continuous thinking about the same problems, sad and dark, you are captured in a vicious circle. For example, after a long period of hard training you experience a very bad result in a competition, not once but a few times. It might affect your future goal setting, you might even be avoiding setting them or they will become achievement-oriented and most likely only short-term goals. Trauma tends to rob you of your problem solving capability. But you can help yourself by searching for solutions; there is hope.
Imagination is the instrument of hope
The first thought after failure is normally "I can't", a failed attempt in your mind stimulates your natural affinity to avoid setting new goals. So your goal has to be truly desired in order to overcome all the obstacles.
Where can you find the strength to learn new pathways? There are three sources available - your imagination, desire and understanding that hope generates hope. Always put your hope into mental images, visualise yourself dancing on a high quality level, exactly the way you desire. When you achieve the first little goal, you will believe that the next one is possible and the next one. Stay engaged and passionate in your actions and cherish the gradual journey.
Find hope in your own story first, but remember, hope is a social gift, it doesn't happen in isolation, it happens in relationships with others. Finding a way out of despair and still caring matters. You can change your attitude with gratitude. When we feel empathy for others, hope reaches out and the fear shrinks back.
Perhaps in our dance community the vision and actions can shape an environment of trust, respect, honesty and acceptance of diversity. In this case the word 'perhaps' includes understanding of what is actually going on and what might have happened, but didn't. An individual piece only has meaning when it is seen as a part of the whole. We need to find a common language in struggles with others and consciously share hope.
Sharing hope means sharing with love and kindness. Doing so we can improve our psycho-physical health and social wellbeing. We can intentionally nurture and restore hope in all aspects of life.