The downpour of life and the muscle of hope

February 27, 2023

by Hagar Harpak

Waiting to be pollinated

The downpour of life… How are you feeling there, under the rain?

Sometimes life sprinkles its sauce on us, followed by a rainbow, and sometimes it’s a hailstorm banging on our heads as we run down the street with no umbrella, and the bottom of our left boot falls off. 

When it pours down like the hail of hell, all I want to do is hide. Keep the kids at home. Make ginger tea. Cook soup. Call my sister and laugh about the ridiculousness of it all. Cry all night. Forget about it. All of it! Be done! Start fresh!

I want to give up but instead I reach out.

I want to shut up but instead I howl loudly.

I almost cave in but instead I lean into the feeling

and breathe into the vision of what’s still possible.

Even under water 

Even though it feels like drowning

Find ways to breathe

Envision new ways

We’re not allowed to get too far down the road of hopelessness. Wander in the wilderness of it sometimes, sure. But not for too long. The other day, one of my besties shared that she’s being super disciplined about mapping her way out of hopelessness. We each need to draw our own map. But we can reach toward each other under the soil. When the soil is sweet. And when it’s sorrowful soil. We have to connect. We must be there to pull each other out of the swamp of sadness. And we gotta let ourselves be pulled out too. One text at a time. 

Bjork says: “Hope is a muscle that allows us to connect.”

And connection is what allows the hope muscle to grow. Without reaching for one another, it’s hard to stay up. It’s hard to stay grounded. It’s hard to stay hopeful. Hope needs connection. And connection needs hope. 

Light a candle. Sing a song. Remember something that you love about life. Go talk to a tree. Visit the ocean and watch the rain hit the waves. Breathe a slow deep breath and then another. Put on a good song and shake it like you mean it. Text that friend who has your back. You got theirs. We got each other. 

Sometimes it’s one thing after another. So when the dryer stops working and you’ve got four more loads of laundry to do today, you feel like this is it! You’re done! “It’s just the dryer.” You tell yourself so that you can pull it together and drive the kid to a dance class and not fall apart on sunset blvd. But you know it’s not just the dryer. It’s just one more drop in the downpour. 

You try to dry your eyes. For the kids.

You breathe. One more breath. And then another. 

There’s always more shit to deal with.

So we might have to slow down the pace sometimes. It’s more shit you gotta do, but there are moments when we gotta let the todo list go. Sometimes we need to sit on the floor with the kid that’s been acting up (our own inner child, or the child we are raising) and let them be seen. We have to stop the race and let the face be stained with tears, and breathe into the disappointments and the fears, and let your heart break, and then sleep. A lot.

And then get up. 

And if we can’t get up, we might have to ask the moon for help. 

When it pours down like a scene in a Taiwanese movie, where the rain plays a role, and the wetness makes a hole in the floor, which is the ceiling of a downstairs neighbor, we might need to invest in an umbrella. We might have to let ourselves be supported. And offer someone else a hand. 

It’s pouring down and the air is cold and it feels like those troubles are getting old. We want to break free from the pain that lingers, from the harm of injustices done to others, from the damage caused by the far right everywhere on the planet, and the systemic bullshit that keeps oppression going. We want clean air for our children, and clean waters. We want to be there for them, and not be so stressed out all the time. We want to be socially responsible. And ecological in our choices. And we want financial freedom – for everyone! 

We want to be the flowers that come after the rain. 

We might need to send a message to a bee. 

We might feel like we have no nectar, nothing to offer, nothing left to give. Nothing left. When it pours, It’s hard to remember the green the earth responds with to the wetness, and the blossoms that we are capable of becoming.

But the rain fills you with nectar. And your nectar is what the hive needs. 

It gets a little weird sometimes

And your strangeness is needed

Be the bee that pollinates the field 

with messages of other ways of smelling and seeing and being

Be the bee that buzzes about whatever makes her spark 

and helps others see in the dark

Be the bee that lights the path of no path, 

a way that is a dance, 

a dance that takes a stance 

for social justice and self esteem 

and let out some steam 

and if you need to scream about the tenderness

You might turn into a beam

A beacon of golden honey 

Your voice is needed

Your tender heart’s pulse produces the nectar

that the world right now needs most

The moist inner realms 

The dusty pollan

And the hive

Text that friend today! Or call them on the way to pick up your kids. We can only make honey if we come together. 

After the storms of Winter, Spring arrives with her relentless beauty! Ritualize this transition. Its potency is palpable, and we can move into it intentionally, and map our way into blossoms. 

Spring Equinox Somatic Ceremony is coming! Check out all the details here!

Who is in your hive? Who do you make honey with? Reach out and grow your hope muscle – write their name down in the comments below, and share this essay with them, to let them know they’re on your mind, in your heart, and that you have their backs!



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