a recipe for hope

In Film, Inspiration
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It’s been gone so long, that I’m finding my new, if fragile positive outlook, a little bit disorienting.
Spring’s arrival surely doesn’t hurt, but that can not explain it entirely, for the past few springs haven’t been accompanied by any customary, seasonal mood shift on my part.

Numbness is how I function in grief. And grief, I’ve learned, will take the time it takes. Since the world’s Covid grief has run concurrent with and compounded my own for so long, I’d become so acclimated to numb that I’d begun to believe it was my new steady state.

Lately, though, tiny day-by-day actions are beginning to accrete into something substantial that feels like an expectation of possible good to come, a return of my old hopefulness where a void had taken up residence. In the spirit of my burgeoning hope, and the knowledge that someone reading this might be ready to begin the slow work of their own inner thaw, I’m sharing a list I’ve made of some things that have helped/are helping me so it’s a ready resource for the inevitable next time it is required.

A Recipe for Hope:

Mind your time.
Spend it like it’s precious.
It is.

Pay attention. Follow your curiosity.

Choose real over virtual, almost always. When you opt for virtual, do it consciously.

Get outside every day.
Move your body.

Test to your physical and mental capacity when you work.
Thoroughly relax and nourish yourself when you rest.

Look. Harder.

Cliche, but with good reason – count your blessings, gratitudes whatever you want to call them.

Go new places, see new things.

Learn something, make something, fix something, try something new. Every day.

Mind your time . . .

What would you put in your recipe?



  1. Oh Debbie, this is so beautiful and hopeful and also broke my heart a little. I’m so sorry you have been feeling this way and am so glad you are finding your way out.

    These are wise words. I live by “Get outside everyday. Move your body.” My mother told me to do that when I was going through undiagnosed postpartum depression 26 years ago, and it always helps.

    • Thank you, Deirdre!

      You can’t make the hard stuff of life easy, you know. And it’s been so hard for so long for so many that I had on more than one occasion wondered if this was how it would be. I’m not sure-footed yet, but holding a fragile hope feels every bit of a miracle. And if I can hold out the candle for someone else, all the better.

    • When I read your piece on slowing down, I felt an echo to parallel what I’ve been trying to practice, Staci. Maybe you see it too? xo

  2. Yes! So, so good!

    “Learn something, make something, fix something, try something new.” (And I’m also adding clean some clutter out). I love this and I’m going to make conscious effort to do it every day.

    • Fix something, I’ve found to be surprisingly powerful, Maite. And I use it pretty loosely, so “fixing” a cluttered drawer or too full closet, would definitely count for me.

      I have read many place that the satisfaction that we receive from fixing a long-standing problem or annoyance has far longer-lasting happiness benefits than indulging in something we believe we want, and I’ve experienced that lift. There’s a virtuous spiral effect to it as well. Once you fix enough small things, you are empowered to tackle bigger ones, you see solutions that hadn’t occurred to you. Hope and possibility begin to displace dead ends and inertia.

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