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Visual Cues for a Grateful Heart: Looking for Reasons to Hope

We are six weeks into writing the Book of Hope together and this past week I’ve been struggling to feel the gratitude I know I have within me. There are so many reasons to hope, so why am I finding it so difficult? Turns out Professor Robert Emmons, the world’s leading expert on gratitude, has conducted studies to answer this very question. His research found that the two main obstacles to gratefulness are forgetfulness and a lack of mindful awareness. As humans, we easily forget what isn’t right in front of us. How can we better remember the blessings we’ve been given? 

Let’s Get Visual 

We know that the mind gravitates toward the visual. We see this playing out in real time as we endlessly scroll through Instagram or opt for the movie over reading the book. In a pandemic lifestyle where so much of our interaction is virtual (visual in the digital realm), and our everyday environment is more static than ever before, it’s especially important to take note of what is actually surrounding us, to really look at what we might be missing for familiarity or lack of awareness. Could beauty truly be in the eye of the beholder, as close as the trees outside our window or the sun that rises to greet us? 

“This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

Psalm 118:24
Photo: Guillaume Lorain 

This week, let’s look to be inspired, let’s seek out visual reminders of our reasons to hope. Who are the people, pets, plants, paintings — the pictures of gratitude in our lives we sometimes forget to truly see? We’ve launched a collaborative Pinterest board so we can help each other look for Reasons to Hope in our photos, drawings, verses and inspirations. Add your own visual reminder of gratitude to our collective board, or post it on your socials and tag us @rootandvinenews #reasonstohope #bookofhope. Let’s illustrate the Book of Hope together. 

If this is your first time here, welcome. Here’s what we’re up to and we’d love for you to join in.

The Book of Hope 

Daily 5 

Join me in writing down 5 things you’re thankful for, pen on paper if you’re up for it. If that becomes an impediment to actually getting the gratitudes down every day, use your phone, whatever works, it’s about the action of recognizing what you’re thankful for on the reg. I will say that handwriting is optimal as it slows down the brain enough to realize things that you might not recognize in the swirl of digital communication, even with yourself. Plus it’s just a lovely ritual to have your Book of Hope by your bedside; even just looking at it will remind you of your practice and all the joy it contains. And it will serve as a memento of your journey for years to come.

Quality is always over quantity here, so if you get overwhelmed, figure out what works best for you. Maybe it’s not daily, or maybe it’s not 5. Maybe it’s 25 when the spirit flows. Take this month to find your own rhythm and then commit to that. It’s more about establishing a practice than worrying about numbers. 

Weekly Reasons to Hope

Reflect on what gives you reason to hope. This could be directly tied to the moment or the week ahead, or could be something broader and more far reaching, reasons that you’ve carried with you throughout your life. Start with the statement “_____  gives me hope because…” and write out what it is about this idea or person or thing or experience that offers you hope — anything from your kids, your work, the beauty of the natural world, wherever you feel inspired. Consider the ways you see this reason to hope and your process of finding hope. Reflecting on this can be just as revealing as identifying the source of hope.

Community of Hope

We invite you to join our community, sharing reflections, daily gratitudes and weekly reasons to hope. Over the coming weeks, we’ll introduce a variety of ways to connect. For now, comment  

-in the weekly Instagram video chat Mondays at 3pm EST 

-tweet us at @rootandvinenews 

-on Facebook @rootandvinenews

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