Hope ~ March 2023 ~ Three Thoughts for Thursday

Hope Springs Forth!

Light, resilience, and planting with reckless abandon, both literally and figuratively, have all been topics that have come to mind as I looked back over the last few years and my previous thoughts for March.  I was curious to know if this year’s ponderings were repetitive of years past, so I wandered back through my previous posts.  I breathed a sigh of relief as I journeyed through my March reflections, that my thoughts this year have been different, and interestingly a bit more cumulative of my thoughts of years passed.  While some topics, learnings, and themes bear repeating, I do like to keep things fresh. I also want to keep growing, changing, and expanding.  Hopefully, that is what is happening – growth and evolution!
            HOPE has been the topic on my mind as we celebrate here in Seattle, that with each passing week, we get 17 more minutes of daylight!  Hope on these rainy, cold days, like today as I begin to write this post, is seeing the bulbs I planted many months ago, beginning to sprout from the soil. Hope is seeing rays of sunshine poking through the clouds.  Hope is going for a run without my rain jacket, and hearing the birds chirping at 6 am. Hope, to me, as I reflect on what is coming and what I am preparing to leave behind, is this sense that change is coming. There was a sense of deprivation that led to a sense of deep appreciation. 
        There are elements of joy and elements of pain; like the way that light is painful to the eyes after adjusting to the darkness. There is both a sense of letting go and exposure and a sense of welcoming, of taking off the layers to soak in the sun. There is a sense that I have survived and am ready to live.  Hope is like that big, satisfying, full-body stretch after a great night’s slumber.  I have curled up in my home all winter long, and now I am ready to expand and explore. I have gone inward to reflect, rebuild and replenish, and now I am ready to emerge with renewed strength to grow with purpose. Because of the winter, I am prepared to step into and embrace the new opportunities of spring. Like the birds, I am hearing again on my early morning runs, I am ready with my song to greet the dawning day and to chase away the darkness.
            How would you define hope? What does hope feel like for you? What makes you feel hopeful? Does hope come easily or have you learned to have hope or look on the bright side? If you’ve learned to be hopeful, what has aided and supported this lesson?  How do you cultivate hope? If you’d like to be more hopeful, how might you reflect on your journey to see the ebbs and flows, the seasons of your life, and how might this reminder of the ups and downs serve to strengthen your hope? How are our experiences in life and our resilience connected to hope? How else might you support yourself in growing your sense of hope?

Photo by Lina Trochez on Unsplash

Quote I’m pondering:

Confucius once said:

“A seed grows with no sound, but a tree falls with a huge noise. Destruction has noise, but creation is quiet. This is the power of silence.

Grow silently.”

Photo by Aleksandr Ledogorov on Unsplash

What I’m listening to:

The Psychology Podcast
With Scott Barry Kaufman
In each episode, we talk with inspiring scientists, thinkers, and other self-actualized individuals who will give you a greater understanding of yourself, others, and the world we live in. Scott Barry Kaufman explores the depths of human potential and tries to get a glimpse into human possibility in every episode.
Martin Seligman || From Learned Helplessness to Learned Hopefulness
Episode 208, June 3, 2020
Today it’s great to have Dr. Martin Seligman on the podcast. Dr. Seligman is a leading authority in the fields of positive psychology, resilience, learned helplessness, depression, optimism, and pessimism.

Some of the themes and ideas discussed in the episode include:

  • Belief in free will and human efficacy and agency
  • Helplessness is the default when bad things happen, when we face challenges until we learn we can do something to create change
  • Optimism and resilience, pessimism and helplessness
  • Part of what makes humans different is our prefrontal cortex and that
  • Culturally accrued hope
  • The importance of fun and joy
  • Positive Psychology – What builds the good life?

Like this podcast? Check out this one, too!  Episode 20: Hope, the Future, and Flourishing from July 4, 2015.

Photo by Dmitry Ratushny on Unsplash

What I’m reading:

Transcend: The New Science of Self-Actualization
By Scott Barry Kaufman, Ph.D.
        When psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman first discovered Maslow’s unfinished theory of transcendence, sprinkled throughout a cache of unpublished journals, lectures, and essays, he felt a deep resonance with his own work and life. In this groundbreaking book, Kaufman picks up where Maslow left off, unraveling the mysteries of his unfinished theory, and integrating these ideas with the latest research on attachment, connection, creativity, love, purpose, and other building blocks of a life well-lived.

        Kaufman’s new hierarchy of needs provides a roadmap for finding purpose and fulfillment–not by striving for money, success, or “happiness,” but by becoming the best version of ourselves, or what Maslow called self-actualization. While self-actualization is often thought of as a purely individual pursuit, Maslow believed that the full realization of potential requires a merging between self and the world. We don’t have to choose either self-development or self-sacrifice, but at the highest level of human potential, we show a deep integration of both. Transcend reveals this level of human potential that connects us not only to our highest creative potential but also to one another.

        With never-before-published insights and new research findings, along with exercises and opportunities to gain insight into your own unique personality, this empowering book is a manual for self-analysis and nurturing a deeper connection not only with our highest potential but also with the rest of humanity.

A passage from the book regarding what Kaufman has to say about hope:

        Kaufman quotes Nathan Fox and Jack Shonkoff, two developmental psychologists, on fear responses, ‘“Fears are not just passively forgotten over time; they must be actively unlearned.”’

        Kaufman explains, “While fear can be learned relatively early in life, and is influenced by both the frequency and emotional intensity of the event, unlearning can occur only after particular areas of the prefrontal cortex have properly matured when they have enough power to regulate the amygdala…”

        He goes on to note, “What must be learned is hope – the perception that one can control and harness the unpredictability in one’s environment. The capacity for hope relies on the development of the medial prefrontal cortex, which is not completed until early adulthood.” (Kaufman, S. B., (20p. 27, 28)

My biggest, most impactful takeaway from this book:

A lot of what hope is to me, is this idea that I can change and transform, I have choice and agency, I make meaning and create my reality. A powerful part of this book is the learning that the pyramid of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs was actually designed by a management consulting firm.  Maslow did not put the needs in a pyramid.  Kaufman frames the needs in the image of a boat with the idea that in order to keep from sinking, we need to first have certain needs met that allow us to build a hull, and from there we can then aspire to open the sail and explore to realize our fullest potential. 

Check out Kaufman’s podcast, The Psychology Podcast, on the topic of Transcend, episode 202, April 9, 2020.

Photo by Mahdi Dastmard on Unsplash

You can sign up to receive my Three Thoughts for Thursday post as an email on the third Thursday of every month by clicking here.  If you’ve missed any of my Three Thoughts, you can find them all on my blog.  If you enjoyed this post, take a look at February’s Three Thoughts.
If you are interested or know someone who may be interested, I also offer leadership and emotional intelligence coaching and workshops. You can find more information on my website, or you can use this link to set up a free 30-minute introduction to coaching session.
I recently celebrated the 5th anniversary of my stroke with the writing of this commemorative post, a training run, flowers, pie, and special time with my kids.  I will continue the celebration as I run the Boston Marathon next month, five years after I ran the course for the first time. Please join me in celebrating these milestones by taking time to celebrate your own milestones, and by fully embracing the opportunities in front of you, the value in the little things, and the beauty that surrounds you in this wonderful, messy life.
In September 2022, I completed a year-long, quarterly series entitled “EQ and WooWoo” with my colleague and Spiritual Coach, Katie Kay. This year, we have kicked off a new series, Yoga, EQ & WooWoo. In this series, we use yoga to presence ourselves and learn from our bodies, EQ to explore and leverage the information held in our emotions, and tarot to further illuminate our lens and the stories we tell ourselves. If you are local to the Seattle area, intrigued, and would like to learn more about this year’s series,  please email me or click here to see what we have planned for these in-person workshops with Hola House. This workshop series was designed to help you manifest action toward the year you want to live, the person you want to be, and the goals you want to achieve. 

Katie Kay and I are now also collaborating on a new online series, Reframe Conflict with EQ & WooWoo, beginning next week, March 22nd, and running through June.  These monthly Zoom sessions will help you look at conflict through a new lens in order to find possibilities and opportunities in difficult moments. Learn more and RSVP here.
Also in September, I hosted my first local, in-person event here in the Seattle area, Savor the Sweetness.  It was a fulfilling experience and event, and I look forward to hosting quarterly events for local women in 2023 – stay tuned and contact me for more information or to join the invite list!
I have the privilege of hosting the Emotional Intelligence Special Interest Group for ICFLA.  Please join me for another year of EI learning and growth as a part of these sessions.  You do not need to be a coach or a member of ICFLA to attend.
If you are interested in joining and co-creating these learning communities, please use the links above to find out more about ICFLA’s Emotional Intelligence Special Interest Group and the Yoga, EQ & WooWoo Workshops. I hope you will come along for the journey!
I’m always looking for new inspiration, new books to read, and new podcasts to listen to, so please send your suggestions my way or comment on this post to offer some new recommendations!
As always, thank you for your continued support and readership! Stay strong, stay brave, stay true to you!
Wishing you a season of thoughtful growth, beauty, courage, a deeply satisfying stretch, and HOPE!