It was quite a daunting ask, for me to be on panel speaking about something as abstract as ‘hope’. Even as a poet it is hard to steer clear of cliche´s about olive leaves in the beaks of birds on the wing. All we know is that it is something that can be felt in the body, and that hope can sometimes be made manifest in physical form like a lighthouse or a beacon to give direction when in the dark. There you go. This is what I mean about avoiding the cliche´s…
Ultimately hope requires a type of blindness. Not myopia or blinkers or plunging your head into sand. It requires tunnel vision for a specific thing and committed conviction to that thing. But a long with that you must be propelled toward hope when in certain circumstances there is none.
Taking to the street to protest in many ways leads us to believe that we are all powerful if we are united, only to see some either lose their faith when they look up at the towering enormity of the project of saving the world… Saving the world? Who would volunteer to that challenge when the prospect of death or ruin lurks at every turn. Only an extremely brave person or a stupid person would. I’ve heard
“Who is more the fool, the fool himself or the fool who follows him?”
Who and what do we follow into the future if it is not going to be our blind faith in the power of hope. The horrifying occurrences in Gaza are holding our attention to ransom. Social media is going crazy over the bombing. And so it should, but there is something is seeing direct act like ordinary people protesting by occupying Bristol BBC Gardens to highlight the lack of balanced coverage that makes you feel galvanized, supported, rebooted because you know you are not alone in your voice. Some people would say, “So what? I have a voice. But WHO’S LISTENING!?! No one cares.” Who is no-one? A million people marched against the illegal war in Iraq. “They still went in though innit?” said my regular-folk friend from Tottenham. Here is an example of where hope is thin, where people don’t think about hope, they think just about getting through the day, because the day to day is all that matters. And herein lies the rub. If we only focus on today, how are we going to build a tomorrow? How are we going to do this if we believe Hope and we are powerless.
Now this question aggravates me the most but it can also become the driving force for seeking the answer – Who cares? I do. And I think that is what matters the most. Expressing a care is Hope in action and gives collective caring a chance even if we do not have a conversation about it.
There is always so much unsaid because of fear. How about the unsaid that exists in Hope? We are often scared to declare the things we hope outwardly for fear of setting ourselves up for disappointment and making a mockery of our selves. What we need to think is that in the long run, opinions don’t matter, saving lives do and if that means holding on to tenuous sense of hope that things will be alright in the end, then let that be your soul foundation of your every move in dark times. Darkness itself is nothing to fear, it is the unknown an din the unknown we can find potential. Its about shifting focus. And having faith that faith will provide.
Hope has got to play a part in our healing first and foremost – being allowed to possess Hope, taking your desires or prayers to Hope, preserving the ability to Hope. But what exactly is it though? As much as Hope is a physical sensation (I feel it mostly behind my eyes, strangely enough), to me, Hope has got to be made practical as well. Art has done that for me.
It has allowed me to organize a rather chaotic upbringing into a semblance of order, placing traumas and life saving memories in their rightful places in the past, in the moment or the future and making art was a method to calmly respond and act with Hope in the world.
Hope can catalyze organisation in way that at least make sense to the individual, even if nobody else.
Let it be your crazy Hope. And meditate on it, write it, draw it, collage it, dance it. Let it be the reason why you get out of bed on THAT morning when it seems most futile, even if the
best that can happen is that you make it through that day. Success!
I am looking forward to the next Shake! -You Arts and Activism intensive course in August. It is all about mental health and well being. Perfect fertile ground conversations around the point of Hope.
Click the link to the video of my Hope In the Dark Stream of consciousness (with my not so new hair cut – the Lo-fro throwback!) – http://bambuser.com/v/4720016