I invite you to pick up an imaginary rubber band.

Hook one end of the rubber band around your right forefinger and the other around your right thumb, with your palm facing away from you. Your forefinger represents the world and the life that you long for. Your thumb represents your current reality.

Imagine pulling the rubber band between your forefinger and thumb and feeling the tension.[1]

I call this inevitable chasm between where we are right now and where we long to be the Gap of Longing. This gap can become a Gap of Despair or a Gap of Hope.

Let’s explore the Gap of Hope first.

The Gap of Hope

Hope is different from optimism.[2]

Whereas optimism expects that our actions will probably bring a positive outcome and everything will probably turn out alright, hope faces reality.

Hope knows there are no guarantees and that in many cases, the odds are not in our favor. And yet, in the face of devastation and peril, hope is the willingness to take a stand for what we love—whether that’s ourselves, our people, or the planet.

In the words of writer and activist, Rebecca Solnit, hope says: “Anything could happen, and whether we act or not has everything to do with it.”

When I speak of despair and hope, I speak of them not as emotions but as stances or postures from which action can spring forth.[3]

As abolitionist organizer Mariame Kaba writes,

“‘Hope is a discipline.’

[1] I first learned this rubber band model from Peter Senge’s 2006 book, The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of the Learning Organization. He calls this the creative tension model.

[2] Rebecca Solnit. Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities. (Haymarket Books, Chicago, IL: March 16, 2016.)

[3] Meriame Kaba. https://theintercept.com/2021/03/17/intercepted-mariame-kaba-abolitionist-organizing/


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