Hope and Optimism

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Isn’t it amazing what happens when we commit to something and then keep our word to ourselves as we remain focused? As we do, there’s no end to what may be possible.

It’s that kind of focus that marks this episode as the beginning of the fourth year of The Beautiful Question podcasts. Join me this week as I renew my commitment to you, and to myself, and as we look forward and consider the hope that’s possible, right now and in the days ahead of us.

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Five years ago, I began publishing a brief online newsletter. A weekly thought-provoking encouragement that could be read quickly, I called it The Two Minute Embrace. Within its first year, it grew longer and became what is now The Beautiful Question.

A year later, a friend in New Mexico encouraged me to produce the newsletters as audio podcasts in addition to their written format. After a couple of weeks of contemplation and research, I gathered what I needed and began recording them here in my Fort Worth studios. With that, The Beautiful Question podcasts were born.

My initial commitment was to produce them weekly for a year and then consider whether or not I wanted to continue. That was three years ago.

During this past year, The Beautiful Question website has taken on a new and elegant form. Visitors to the site can now read transcripts of each episode as they listen. There are also new visual elements and an archive of all previous podcasts. I’m grateful for the wisdom and energy my friend and collaborator, Coleton, brings to the process as he makes those things happen. His extraordinary web skills and creative ideas match my own vision and have proven to be invaluable. I’m also grateful to you as listeners and subscribers for your continued encouragement.

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As we begin the fourth year of podcasts, I offer my renewed commitment. Four years ago, we couldn’t have foreseen a global pandemic or all of the changes and stressors that come with it. Since I have no crystal ball, I’m not willing to predict what other changes may yet be ahead of us. As much as we like to hold onto what we know, we know that life is change if nothing else.

What I can predict, however, is that we will remain as present as we can. We’ll stay focused on the best within ourselves and one another. We’ll find hope in us and around us. We’ll stay as optimistic as possible. We’ll endure and eventually find our way. And one way or another, we will get through this.

As we intentionally choose to step forward in conscious ways, we’ll move through our fears and the multitude of uncertainties that lay ahead of us. As we do, we’ll create increasingly effective ways of living, and without question, we will continue to learn and grow.

One of the ways I define “hope” is “choosing to use the strength and resources we have to move forward step-by-step.” In a similar way, I define optimism as “intentionally keeping a realistic and positive point of view as we look around us and ahead of us.” Both definitions have to do with making conscious and effective choices to the degree we are capable at any given time.

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As is true for many of you, the past few months have offered me time for deep introspection. One thing that keeps arising is how important it is to stay focused on the hope and optimism that are available around us and within us. That focus matters now and will become increasingly important in the future.

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Just as there has never been a greater need for hope and optimism, I can’t think of a time of greater need for people to actively remember who and what we essentially are as members of the human family. It’s from that inner place what we’ll find our own built-in goodness and share it with others.

The poet William Blake wrote of cleansing what he called “the doors of perception” (the ways we look at ourselves and at life) so we can see the infinite nature of everything. Since the inception of these newsletters and podcasts, part of my focus has been to shine a clear light on the best parts of us. It’s there, deep within each of us, that we’ll find the hope we’ve been looking for.


 photo: Scott Lennox


Added to that, my personal hope is to offer encouragement to look and listen and feel beyond the stories and illusions and preconceptions we carry in our minds so that we can remember ourselves as we really are—strong and resilient and wise and capable and compassionate and adaptable.

History has shown us, again and again, that one of the most remarkable features about being human is how quickly we can adapt. Regardless of what is happening, we are innately capable of shifting gears and changing directions when it becomes absolutely necessary.

I also hope to inspire deeper thought and consideration of what matters most—whatever that means for each of us. Your feedback tells me that I’m thinking and moving in the right direction. At the same time, I’m open to your ideas and those things I might have otherwise missed had you not shared them with me.

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In last week’s episode I wrote that this is a good time to remember the things we’ve successfully come through. It is that personal stepping through that helps us build our senses of Hope and Optimism. This week’s Beautiful Questions are about exactly that.

One: What struggles have you survived, even when you couldn’t see a path in front of you at the time, and how did they help to build hope in you?

Two: What optimism—what way of keeping your vision realistically positive—helped you move through those struggles?

Three: What inner and outer resources did you draw on?

Four: What do you know on this side of the struggles that you didn’t know as you began it?

Five: What are your personal definitions of Hope and Optimism?

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As always, as your ideas clarify about this week’s questions, write and tell me about it.

As I say each week,
My Light with Your Light.

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