Full of curiosity, and hope, which bespoke a quadril of smoke
in their eyes,
as they look up, considering a host of possibilities,
which some may deem a masterstroke, and others?
A practical joke.
As I pondered this week’s WDYS #85 prompt from Keep it Alive, by Sadje, I reflected upon our family cat, Whiskers, who still resides with my ex-wife.
I did not have a cat growing up, so when we got Whiskers, I remember watching as she continuously scaled the (un)scalable, thus, masterstroke, and also devoured, well, food, that was not part of her diet.
For example, Whiskers once ate some left over pizza that had been left out. I found this out on my way to the bathroom in the middle of the night by stumbling across the completely empty storage bag, thus, practical joke.
On December 3, 2020, I wrote and posted the poem, Becoming, and then about a week ago I wrote another poem, yep, you guessed it, also called Becoming. I’m sure this has happened to you, and it has for me too; yet, this time, I wanted to post the second poem as it is, title and all.
In a way, I think it is perfectly appropriate for this past year. A time of struggle, death, and extreme hardship in so many different ways; and a time of hope, life, and extreme gratitude. I am holding these concepts with you, and the space inbetween, as I present this second poem on becoming.
As I sit and ponder, and also wonder, and, yes, sometimes feel flustered with the emotions coming, all the while I know I’m becoming.
Something different each day, while sitting in the midst of the presence of the thinking and never ending feelings.
It’s hard as the tears come, sometimes it’s a trickle and not a flood. While at other times, the flood would feel like a respite, with the tsunami of tears pouring forth.
Sometimes it’s a song, or a quick flash of a not so distant past. It feels, moves, and pushes the limits of the pain I think is possible to bear, and then just when I think subside is in stride, I break again.
Darkness envelops me, and I bend over the pain pulling me towards the floor, where at times I feel like I’ll learn more.
Just lay there and be, and let the emotions wash over me. One wave and then the next, they pass through, and time becomes something extraordinary.
And, yet, my dear, just like you, they stop coming, all the while there’s still more incoming. I pick myself up, wash my face, and look at the person staring back through the picture of my mirrored life forthcoming.
He wears a smile with swollen eyes, face damp with the salted tears of years of trying. Yet, deep down he knows, while trying is a piece of the whole, it’s in the doing where the scattered fragments become one, as we march towards our continual becoming.
Have you ever considered hope and despair at the same time? Hm. I’m not sure that I have. I would like to. Thoughts? Well, let’s do a cursory look, and see what we get.
In 4 Reasons Why Language Is Power, I wrote about the power of language. We don’t typically consider the power that lives inside the language we use. It is very important. It shapes experiences, expectations, and trajectories that we set our lives on.
Well, look at that. Hope is defined as a feeling of expectation and desire about a result. Hm. Interesting. And, despair is defined as the lack of hope, or lack of such a feeling of expectation and desire about a result. Mm, this will be fun.
Expectations and desires for a certain [result] thing to happen
If hope is, at least as it is defined here, associated with an expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen, when we hope we are essentially concentrating on a result.
And, if that result doesn’t occur? Then we may fall into despair, which is the lack of the expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. The issue?
We cannot have hope without despair. They go together. If you can feel hope, then it is equally possible to feel despair. Not a problem. Important, however, to understand. Why?
Often, people get upset or frustrated when in despair. Yet, as we can see from the language itself, it is only natural. If you subscribe to the feeling of hope, then you will sometimes feel despair. And, vice versa.
Another way to look at hope and despair
Another way to think about hope and despair is as two sides of the same coin. The world is full of these opposites. Sad and happy, life and death, and so on. For the world to occur as it does, they are needed.
Yet, we can create more power over these concepts by understanding that they always occur together. Meaning that if you are sometimes hopeful, you will sometimes feel despair. It is a must.
When we understand this as true, we can shift our thinking, and mindset to incorporate this apparent paradox with a new understanding.
The new understanding is that these concepts are one. Think about the coin analogy I’ve used in this post. A coin is one thing, yes? Yet, it has two distinct sides; head and tales. Hope and despair are the same. As are all pairs of opposites.
When do we run into trouble with these concepts?
When we expect hope, for instance, to show up more than despair. Why? Because then when despair shows up, we get down, frustrated, maybe even angry. Not helpful.
By accepting that despair is a part of hope, as sadness is a part of happiness, we increase our awareness about the fact that despair will come; and, guess what?
When it does, it’s okay. It’s normal to feel despair sometimes. Just as it’s normal to feel sad sometimes. If you never feel sad, or despair, then happiness and hope will elude you. True.
It is also important to welcome despair as much as you welcome hope. Why? Because when we resist feeling despair, we avoid it. And, when we avoid things, we actually attract more of those concepts into our life.
I avoided sadness for such a long time, that I was often sad. Really. Did I look sad all the time? No. It was internal. Yet, believe me, it was there. As was despair.
Yet, when you openly accept that all feelings happen, you create a space to be with them when they come. No judgment. Being in despair or sad doesn’t mean anything.
You are not having “issues” because you sometimes feel despair. Funny how we create language around “negative” emotions and associate them with problems. Not helpful. In fact, detrimental, and untrue.
What can you do?
When you are hopeful, notice. And, be hopeful. Be just as you are in those wonderful moments of hope. Or, happiness, joy, or elation.
And, when you are in despair, notice. And, be in despair. Be just as you are in those wonderful moments of having despair. Or, sadness, melancholy, or misery.
Our emotions come and go. It is important to expect them all to show up. All of them. And, to welcome them all. When we welcome them all, they stop having power over us.
In that moment of acceptance, we create a space to be with our emotions in a completely new way. Free of judgement and created meaning that one emotion is better, or should be more expected than another.
Remember that our emotions just are, and that hope and despair are two sides of the same coin. Just like the heads and tales of a coin, hope and despair are one.