Hope When You Feel Hopeless

I had an experience a few days ago that I keep thinking about. If you follow me on Instagram (@krsnasfav), you already heard this story, but I want to share it here too. As I walked to the chiropractor, I felt dismal, irritated, and hopeless. Everything surrounding Israel and Palestine weighed me down, I didn’t hear back from people I expected to hear back from, and things were just not working how I wanted them to.

I don’t know why I had this urge, but I looked up at the sky and saw a rainbow reflected in a cloud. I took a picture and glanced around, wondering if anyone else also saw this rainbow. Even though my phone was pointed upward, and my head tilted back, the other passersby didn’t notice. They didn’t look up. After 10 seconds, the rainbow disappeared.


The rainbow in question. Photo by me.

It felt like a sign specifically for me, but because I can’t keep these things to myself, it feels like a sign for you too because you’re a part of my life. After seeing that rainbow, my whole mood shifted. I was reminded good things are possible, that life has a way of working out, and maybe I didn’t need to be quite so down in the dumps.

I would say a feeling of hope returned but apparently hope is not what I think it is. Research defines hope as a “positive motivational state that is based on an interactively derived sense of successful (a) agency (goal-directed energy), and (b) pathways (planning to meet goals).” Optimism on the other hand is the belief that somehow – either through luck, others’ actions, or your own actions – that the future will be successful and fulfilling.

While technically I felt optimistic, that word doesn’t sit right with me because seeing a random rainbow in a cloud, which is a rare occurrence, and on a sunny day, is a message of hope if I’ve ever heard of one. That rainbow was a harbinger of good things to come because wouldn’t you know it? My week turned around. The checks I was waiting on came in the mail, people finally got back to me, and I heard more care and nuance about the Israel-Palestine situation.

It only takes one moment but your whole mood can shift. I forget that. I get stuck on the “Life is like this and it will always feel like this,” setting. But when I see things like rainbows, hearts, or the word “love,” I’m reminded that there is a loving, benevolent force in the world and It’s doing Its best to draw me closer to It.

My spiritual teacher says, “When people advance, that which propels them from behind is known as momentum, and that which pulls them from in front is known as attraction. Momentum and attraction can be physical, psychic, and also spiritual.”

That’s what hope feels like to me, something pulling me from the front, urging me forward, whispering to me not to give up even when giving up feels like the most natural thing in the world. How do I regain hope when I feel hopeless? I think it’s by having things work out the way I want them to, but maybe really, it’s by seeing how the universe is pulling me toward it, calling me, and saying, “I’m here. You’re not alone. All is well.”

I dream of a world where we look for signs of hope around us. A world where we understand life can change in an instant for the better. A world where we remember we’re being pulled forward by a power greater than ourselves. A world where we regain a sense of hope when we’re hopeless.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

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