Today's New York Times crossword's clue for 2 down is: "_ _ _ _ is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness": Desmond Tutu. The answer to 2 down is the very same answer to many other facets of our life: "hope." I was fortunate to here Desmond Tutu speak seven years ago. Louise M. Davies Hall, San Francisco, became an intimate setting. A rug was placed on the same stage where the San Francisco symphony plays. Desmond Tutu and his daughter perched on one couch and the interviewer sat, eager and attune, on the facing couch. I felt I was in a living room as Desmond discussed that what makes humanity distinct is that no man is an island.
Desmond did not address hope when I heard him speak. But it is that connection to others that can serve as a catalyst for hope. When we see ourselves as alone in the darkness, it is more difficult to peer past it. There is greater difficulty to recognize that the darkness is transitory and will lift. With hopelessness, the emotions can bring on a pain that is almost physical. In fact, when cortisol is released in reaction to stress and the potential need for fight or flight, the response is physiological. The mental health condition can drive isolation and isolation maintains the impairment in daily living. Be gently reminded that an antidote to despair is a willingness to connect to others.
This brief post is a call to reach out to another person as soon as you read this. It may be a partner, friend, co-worker, student, or teacher. You may bring hope to them. They might bring hope to you. Making this routine will be a habitual light through any darkness that comes upon you.