Discussion Questions, Storytelling, Sharing

  • Share the story of a time when the strength of hope was a spiritual resource that helped pull you through a difficult period.
  • What do you think people mean when they say to you, "Don't get your hopes up too high?" What would be a good response to this advice?
  • Does the prospect of the future fill you with anxiety or hope? Why?

Imagery Exercise

Any attitude can be reinforced by working with the image that you attach to it. Recall the image and you resurrect the feeling. Here are several exercises based on common images of hope. Do whichever one speaks to you or adapt the format to your own images of hope.

Close your eyes. Breathe out one time. See yourself in a long tunnel with nothing but darkness behind and ahead of you. Moving forward, see a dot of light in the distance, which is getting larger the closer you move toward it. Walk out of the tunnel through the light. Then open your eyes.

Close your eyes. Breathe out one time. See a plant blooming in the desert. Then open your eyes.

Close your eyes. Breathe out one time. Find yourself standing outside on a very cloudy day. Looking around you, notice how all the plants, buildings, and objects are becoming lighter and brighter. Look up and see the sun in a cloudless sky. Then open your eyes.

Journal Exercises

  • Quickly write a list beginning with "I hope for . . ." Try writing it with your non-dominant hand to access your less expressed feelings.
  • The Chinese have a saying, "If you keep a green bough in your heart, surely the singing bird will come." How and where can you make a place for hope in your life? Describe specific opportunities.
  • Write a reflection on the ways you have been a life-bringer and a bearer of hope to your family, friends, or community.