I was talking to the people I work with this week about hope. I have been thinking about the hope that lives inside me a lot lately. Because I have been noticing that, in fact, my heart is a very hopeful place. I have been feeling my heart bursting with hope most strongly when I am with people that also feel hopeful. But I have also been feeling it quietly giving me strength as I make spaces for new beauty in my life. As I have been noticing it I have been wondering why I tend to shush that hope away instead of letting it be the most important, wonderful part of who I am as a person in the world. Somehow wondering about it has led me back to the time in my life when I was hospitalized. A lot of things that are still painful to me and hold me back from joy often lead back to those experiences that I had back then. So I follow the path to that time in my life even though it’s uncomfortable and often scary to understand and release my fear and pain. I have decided to give hope more of a chance. To let that sweet, innocent part of my heart that believes in goodness shine forth. I am willing to see where it wants to take me. Even if I have to let go of some fear to follow it. No matter where I go, I will never go back to the same exact places I went before. Because those places are already gone. The only place to go is to a new place. I am willing to let my heart light my way to the new places that await me. Sometimes I am still afraid that the new places will be just as painful and hard as the old places, or even harder. Sometimes I think I will go off into the darkness again without a candle. But my heart doesn’t want to let my fearful thinking hold it anymore. My heart wants to shine like the springtime sun in the afternoon. My heart wants to be alive and free and beautiful. It wants to be full of hope. That doesn’t mean I forget who I am or where I’ve been. I always, always remember. And I give thanks for the places in me that have learned from those dark times and I hold onto myself in a way that keeps me safe and grounded. I am not talking about letting go of my roots. I am talking about feeling my roots in the rich, dark earth and also letting myself feel something else again. I am talking about letting myself feel the part of me that stretches so lovingly toward the sky. Right now as I write this the spring bulbs are opening themselves to hope. They are digging in their roots and pushing their green shoots toward the light and the warmth of the sun. This spring I am ready to let my heart be like them. I am ready to myself be green and bursting with life. I am ready to let myself be who I am in my truest heart. A person blooming with hope.