direction

     we can only wonder

how big is this planet
and how many

     steps

              we must take

this is a journey
as much as
an adventure

    each of us gets lost

all of us lose our way

     at times

if she didn’t know her direction
you could always leave a few

     breadcrumbs

should she follow the path
perhaps then you
          would share

your sandwich

          we could all use
               more picnics

©2022 j.g. lewis

All You Can Hope For

I have five favorite words. Individually, each is strong. Together, in any order, in any amount, they are powerful.

Inspiring.

Life-affirming.

Peace

Faith

Hope

Love

Trust
Five words; words worth waiting for . . . or searching for, fighting for,
or hoping for.

For many years, the words had become a mantra of sorts, my mythos; so to speak. Not so much an incantation, but more of a statement, or laundry list, of words I believed in.

Then, it seemed, I didn’t.

A few years back, in frustration mainly with myself, the word hope lost its power. By circumstance or consequence, I lost my ability to communicate authentically. My words, my thoughts, my actions and aura, were not connecting, as they should have. I didn’t realize this until it was far too late.

I went numb. I settled into a pattern, and hope never once gave me a nudge. Without hope you are hopeless. I wasn’t. So, I removed the word hope from my vocabulary. It seemed like the right thing to do, at the time.

It came to me at the wrong time, but I realized there is nothing to hope. Hope it is a useless word. Unlike the other four words, hope has no substance. You can know peace, you can feel love, you learn and earn trust, and you can find faith. But all you can do is hope for hope, and that itself says something.

Hope keeps you wondering, hope keeps you waiting, and hope keeps you thinking. There is no resolution in the thoughts hope provokes. You just keep hoping, and that is wrong. Or it certainly isn’t right.

There is nothing tangible to hope. Hope is wishy-washy.

Hope does nothing but prolong pain, anger, or insecurity and fear. Hope, eventually, does little more than create doubt and disappointment. While hope comes from euphoric thoughts or feelings, there is nothing concrete to it.

If anything, hoping creates false hope, or it seems as if that is what true hope is: false. It tends to create unsubstantiated ideals for desiring what may be, when instead you should focus on what you have or what you want.

So I stopped hoping. I began planning.

I settled into a routine I believed would accomplish my goals and remove the sadness I had encountered, simply by staying busy with my plans. And, for a while, it seemed to work. I planned, and I followed through on my plans. They were concrete, they could be adjusted, or altered, or erased. Plans were made, plans were acted on, or plans were dropped. It seemed easier when I didn’t include hope.

Hope is a difficult word; it is tenuous, at best. It lacks definition. I, then, lacked definition. I was lost, and there was no hope. I could not even aspire to hope. You can want, but it is not hope. You can dream, no, you can wish, but that is not hope.

I had stopped hoping.

What I was doing, I thought, was a far cry from hope. But, as you go, as you grow — as I evolved — I then realized you couldn’t erase hope. No matter how I continued to deny myself, hope was always there. It may not always be bright and shiny, but it reaches out, or occasionally whispers from the shadows. Perhaps it is subconscious, but as you plan, as you accomplish even in small increments, there is this bit of hope that keeps you moving forward.

You just have to acknowledge it.

Not including hope in your life is like painting a rainbow without violet; the rainbow is not complete. Life is not complete without hope.

Hope, as a word, has returned to me. I have allowed it back into my vocabulary, and into my life, though I know it never left.

I don’t think you ever lose hope, which is not its nature. Hope keeps you believing, I think hope is what drags you through the grief, or giving-up stage, and keeps you looking further ahead. Hope is the root of all planning.

The thing is, the hope you seek must be self-contained. It’s a lovely thought to hold out hope for someone else, but you don’t really have that power. Hope is internal. In the face of tragedy or despair, I think the greatest hope is how you respond to the situation, and how you deal with the aftermath. Hope is always there, in the back of your mind, or at the core of your being.

It’s when I stopped hoping, that I stopped being.

© 2022 j.g. lewis

 

Clarity

I keep a little notebook tucked in the front pocket of my packsack. Actually, I have a selection of small notebooks in a selection of bags, and a couple of spare pads on my desk.
   While I keep a daily journal — and always have a notebook on the go for reminders, poems and observations — the pocket-sized scratch pads are there should I come across a random thought, idea, or phrase that needs to be written down.
   Everything needs a place to go.
   I write every damn day. Sometimes it involves hours of composing (or editing) at my computer, other times it is playful poetry in a park. Often times it is sitting in a coffee shop; as it is today, where I am lamenting my neglect in packing my pencil case.
   Like the small notebook in the front pocket of my packsack, I always keep a spare pencil (or pencil stub) with every bag in my possession; you never want to be without a pencil.
   You never know when something needs to be written down.
   Part of my process, my practice, or my purpose, is taking notes. Notes become poems, essays, chapters, letters, or simply remain notes on the nonsense we all encounter.
   For me, writing provides time to make sense of the madness.
   Writing, for me, provides clarity.
   Does it become any clearer if you take the time to write it down?