What is the heart of hope?

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This post first appeared at the Department of Hope blog: thanks to Nancy L. Seibel.

I was in the middle of working on releasing a series of 11 songs. Without warning, a sinus infection filled my head and stalled the project for weeks. Since I wanted to continue creating, I pondered options for recordings that I could make in my home studio that would not require vocal tracks nor infecting anyone else with my illness.

That’s when I remembered Nancy Seibel’s “Department of Hope”. Not long ago, she invited me to contribute to it. And that was enough to get me wondering about my own sense of hope: where it comes from, why it appears sometimes and not others, and what my personal sources of hopefulness are.

Because my sinus condition continued for weeks, I had plenty of time to think about it and to create six instrumental pieces. (It looks like there are 7 because there is a shorter and longer version of “heART”.) The composition of each piece was directly inspired by the hopeful concept that gave rise to it.

Breath

“Always start with the breath.” Nearly every morning that I practiced Zen meditation at a Buddhist temple in Berkeley, someone would say this. As a result, it became embedded in my thoughts so that it echoes in my memory each day. Without breath, there is no life and no sense of being filled.
Breathing in: I am alive.
Breathing out: I am alive.

Children

“Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future.” ~John F. Kennedy
We are born. We cannot grow up unless we are children first. Children deserve our most gentle and generous care. Witnessing children and caring for them brings me hope.

Community

Relationships are one of the keys to human life. These can be one-to-one or circles of people with a common connection. When I am in community with friends and neighbors, I am hopeful.

Dance

My hunch is that when I feel fear and doubt is also when I want hopefulness. And I experience fear as a feeling that tends to cause me to freeze; to turn my body to stone. Therefore, physical movement helps me to shift; to feel the fear without letting it take over.

Inspire

All of these — breath, children, community, and dance — are sources of inspiration. And they inspire me to hope.

heART

It is almost impossible for me to feel hopeless when I create from my heart. I think of it as “art made with he(art)”.

I’m glad that I can find ways to hope in the face of my fearfulness and happy to share these musical pieces that come from my pondering of this process. How do you find the heart of hope in your life?
I wish you a life where hope is rarely needed and readily available when it is needed.

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