I had felt a little stuck. A little down. BrendaKnowles.com was up and running but not quite meeting my high expectations. The relationship with my man wasn’t shiny and new anymore (but still good!). Winter was edging in and bringing colorless days, coldness and snowblowing sessions. I was missing warmth and light.
Turkey with a side of non-violent communication
Thanksgiving arrived and brought my sister and her family for a visit. I’ve had some really good team experiences with my sister, Lisa, and her husband, Bill, over the last couple of years. We worked together to care for my mom as she dealt with her ALS diagnosis and its consequences. We’ve shared emotional and stressful times but thankfully, they made us closer. Lisa and Bill happen to be personal growth junkies as well, so we have wonderful discussions about self-esteem, non-violent communication, motivational interviewing, evading depression, childhood scars, etc.
They were the insight and conversation I needed to rekindle my light.
Oh, to be surrounded by growth oriented people
After hanging out with them for a couple of days, I started to think about how I could put myself in other settings with growth oriented people. Working from home on brendaknowles.com is fulfilling, but I have a yearning to mix with others doing meaningful work. When I volunteered as a Guardian Ad Litem, I loved interacting with others devoted to helping abused children and their families. I loved working with the children and their families themselves. I really tried to bring them comfort, understanding and hope.
My brother-in-law is a professor at Michigan State University. He says the world of academia allows its inhabitants to go deep in subjects they enjoy as well as share those subjects with those open to learning. He works with adult learners, who have an especially keen interest in gaining knowledge.
Applying one of my favorite mantras, Action dissolves fear, I went online to a couple of job market websites, indeed.com and highered.com. I’d been considering a part-time job for a while. I was happy to see postings I found plausible and intriguing.
I felt hopeful.
Hope, the natural stress reducer
I noticed after doing the job search, the tightness I’d been feeling in my chest and abdomen, subsided. Calm washed over me. Dr. Judith Orloff says in her book, Emotional Freedom, that hope acts as a natural stress reducer, relaxing your gut, blood vessels and bronchioles. I happened to run across that statement the same day I did the job search. Synchronicity is lovely.
Until then, I’d never considered how much hope is a part of my personality. I love to read and impart inspiring words. New books and their insight give me hope. New insight and new behavior can generate neurochemicals of well-being according to Dr. Orloff.
I totally get excited about things like this Jeff Walker video. In it, he talks about taking note of what you have every day, not just for Thanksgiving or November. He mentions a meaningful exercise to be done at night. In the exercise you think about 3 Wins you had that day. A win could be anything from, I woke up this morning to an old friend called me to my heating bill was lower this month. They don’t have to be anything grand or life-changing. The coolest part of the exercise, in my opinion, is the second part where you think about 3 wins you anticipate for the next day. This is the element of hope I believe is crucial.
I wondered if hope is like the happiness theory in that we all have a certain set point for it. No matter what tragedy or triumph befalls us we return to a certain level of happiness/hope over time. According to Dr. Orloff, there is scientific research supporting such emotional leveling.
Hope, potential and clarity
As an intuitive person, I tend to see all the possibilities to a situation, particularly if there are people involved. I see potential in people and feel sad when it’s squelched by criticism or narrow-mindedness. I have hope and the ability to re-frame most experiences into positive ones.
That mindset comes in handy when working with coaching clients.
A spiritual teacher of Dr. Orloff’s describes hope as:
Enlightenment being the acquirement of wisdom that enables clarity of perception.
Connecting with something bigger than ourselves
I’ve been thinking about attending spiritual services lately. Perhaps it is a longing to connect with something bigger. I am open-minded in my spirituality, so it has to be a religious practice with room for questions.
After my sister and brother-in-law left, I received a text from my friend and fellow introvert champion, Jenn Granneman, of Introvertdear.com, requesting we meet up for coffee. Again, I felt hope and happiness about connecting with someone positive and growth oriented. We both are dedicated to developing amazing support and encouragement for the introvert and highly sensitive community.
I also applied for a position at a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center. The center is world-renowned for the good it does. They have a strong belief in their client’s ability to overcome addiction. They give their clients tools, medical aid, respect and hope so they can return to a healthy life.
What kind of relationship do you have with hope? How hopeful are you? Are there growth oriented people in your life?