Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops… at all. ~ Emily Dickinson

I gave up on hope. Hope it seemed to me was some lofty goal for the future that never seemed to materialize.

For many years, I guess you could say my definition of hope was more like what you might find in the dictionary under unfulfilled hope, and certainly in alignment with the view of Friedrich Nietzsche, “Hope is the worst of evils, for it prolongs the torments of man.”

What really bothered me was that deep down I felt as though I was here to share messages of hope, but I couldn’t figure out what purpose hope served other than to stimulate greater misery.

It wasn’t until I started writing my book, “The Root of All Healing,” that a more positive perspective of hope began to make some sense. As I shared stories about the healing successes of people I knew, I remembered the influential, healing power of telling our stories.

I paid more attention when I sat in talking circles. One person would be sharing their story and across the room another person’s eyes were filling with tears. I listened to conversations between people. One would share a success story and someone else who was listening would bow their head and softly smile, as if to say—next time it will be me.

When in ceremony, I watched the children. As we prayed for our world, the children were a living reminder that the future we prayed for is the story we wanted to give to them.

We find hope in each other’s stories. We find our own potential when we hear about how another discovered theirs’. We find the courage to keep going because we realize someone else shared our own doubts and fears, yet saw their way through to the results they wanted.

I doubt that hope can be concisely defined any better than we can define love. But I do know now that hope is not about the future, nor is it about a far-off, unachievable dream.

Hope gives us inspiration, in this moment, to persevere when we feel lost, confused, unworthy, abandoned or hopeless. Sometimes in our most trying periods, we are helped when someone holds hope in their hearts for us. As Charles Allen says so well, “When you say a situation or a person is hopeless, you’re slamming the door in the face of God. “

When I was a school teacher I hoped without every calling it that. I held each child’s potential as though it was a part of my own soul. I nourished their dreams and fed their potential every day until they were able to take flight on their own.

We find hope when others believe in us. We also find hope from the stories of others. That is why I created this blog at Soul Purpose, the Forums at New Dream Foundation and the blog at Self-Healing Secrets.

In these places we can hold dreams for each other. After all, it is often easier for someone else to have faith in our potential than it is for us. They are also places where we can share our stories—imparting and receiving the hope we need from one another.

Where do you find your hope? Post your experience of hope right here a Soul Purpose.

A prayer on Hope