Wild Fires in the Dream World: Building the Virtue of Hope

Counseling Work with Richard Hastings

I am currently in a small town in northern British Columbia in Canada after having done a workshop with some young people on the weekend because our car had some troubles as we were leaving town.     It just so happened that this area was hit really hard this past summer with raging fires on large areas of land.  Thousands of the people had to be evacuated.  Everyone has a story about the fires.

It got me to thinking about the metaphor of raging fires in nature and what it means in terms of one’s functioning in the world.   Here is a short post with some of my thoughts.   The way you are overcome by fire inside  means that something is burning you up.   Being burnt up inside happens when you are stuck in the negative present tense.  What does this mean?  If you are a coal miner in the U.S. or used to working in lumber mills in Canada, you could be stuck in the negative present tense because how you made a living is no longer as viable.  You look around and become angered about the fact that something that used to be so lucrative is now gone.   It is the emotion of anger about the present conditions that causes the roaring fire inside.   It can literally consume your mind and actions.

When a fire like that is burning inside of you because of the current conditions,  you can just be so caught up in blame that your life becomes ruined.    At first you may look for a leader who is going to get  your work back, as is the current case in the U.S., but really an industry like coal is a dead one.  What works instead is to engage the virtue of hope.    Hope is what moves you into the future.  It sees positive possibilities of a different kind of future and then gets you into action toward them.    Hope is an amazing energy, but to get to it you absolutely have to let go of the fiery blaming conditions inside.   This is the key.

To exercise hope you can practice this exercise.  When you take your next vacation, just plan your destination and maybe a couple of nights of where you are going to stay.  Leave everything else open.   When you get to the destination, starting feeling hope by checking out all of the positive possibilities to do in the location.  Then do them one after another.   By the end hope will be huge in you.

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