On Friday I taught a yoga class to benefit Saint Rock Haiti Foundation, a group that supports impoverished people in Haiti by, among other things, providing clean water, a clinic and an orphanage. I themed the class to support their upcoming gala, “Building Hope Together” and we raised over $1,000 for the cause.
When I began preparing for the class themed on hope, I was thinking that “hope” sounded so trite, so cute, and that it was going to be hard to pull something off. But honestly the more I sat with it, the more excited I became. Hope is a life boat to climb upon, pulling you up into the light out of the darkness. And it’s concerted work; it’s hard to remember to have hope at all, since we have the negative bias of the brain that enjoys wading in the dark and twisty waters of the mind. But even a little hope goes a long way. I’d even offer that there is no such thing as “false hope” because even if things don’t turn out to your exact liking, you had that hope to pull you through.
I even found a catchy moniker for “hope:”
This weekend, in fact immediately after the fundraising class, I was off to CT for a college visit with my son and his friend. Stopping on the highway for gas I started groping around for my purse in the usual spots only to find that I had forgotten it at home. I went into the convenience store checkout area and had a brief conversation with the manager involving me asking and almost begging to pay with the credit card number memorized in my head, paypal, or a bank transfer that I could perform on my telephone which had somehow come along for the ride. The manager looked at me in disbelief, just shaking her head in a “nope, nope, nope” kind of way. After all my offers, I think I actually said, “Oh no, what am I going to do?” and a voice behind me replied, “Well, you could borrow $100 from me to get through the day.” Yes, it was a perfect stranger offering me a loan out of the good of his heart. He offered me hope and the ability to make good on my promises. I think I gave him three hugs before writing down his name so I could send him his money back that evening.
The universe did not stop there. That day I received two phone calls from a wine merchant across the country who had a “suspicious order in a large amount in my name.” We connected the next day. This kind person had taken the time to look me up on Facebook (“I figured a yoga instructor didn’t want an order of $4,000 in expensive champagne,” he said, adding yet another chapter in my unwritten book of how yoga saved my life). I was able to dodge that identity theft bullet from the kindness of a person whom I’d never met.
Offering hope to someone else creates a deepening in our faith in humanity which is needed these days now more than ever. Hope is truly a game changer. You’ve experienced it first hand, we all have. You’ve been in that “oh-no-what-will-I-do-now” place. It’s called desperation. And desperation can only be dispelled by hope. Hope is like pure grace, turning things around. It brings a feeling of safety like a warm blanket. So you can breathe again, smile again.
I started out the week thinking hope was going to be hard to teach about. And then the universe reminded me of the good in people, the ability of people to help each other, to connect and pull someone out of the darkness into the light. You have certainly done that for someone, or offered a voice for those who don’t have one, or taken action through activism. These are moments of grace, offering hope where there wasn’t any, offering light.
Peace and hope to you <3