Today is a significant day for me, marking the loss of my brother, and since it’s “quote day” here, I wanted to dedicate this day to Love—the kind that keeps us going, that offers comfort and encouragement to keep hope alive when all other lights have gone out.
“You go on by doing the best you can. You go on by being generous. You go on by being true. You go on by allowing the unbearable days to pass and by allowing the pleasure in other days. You go on by finding a channel for your love and another for your rage.” — Cheryl Strayed
Today is a mixture of memories, both painful and beautiful. After 7 years, it feels like suffering that’s morphed into a deeper connection with hope and everything around me.
If you’ve been reading for a while, you might know that I lost my brother to suicide in 2011. Today is the anniversary of his passing. It’s a tough day, one that slowly turned from heartbreak to heartfelt; it’s now full of reflection and purposeful realignment with what matters most in my life.
Today is a day to recalibrate.
I try to take this day “off,” and only focus on the work that feels nourishing to me. This day is for loving and living, and figuring out how I can do both of those things better than before.
Mark, my brother, was one of the most compassionate and passionate people I’ve ever known. He knew how to live true to himself. I’d be surprised if there was someone who knew him that didn’t admire and love him—whether for his commitment, sense of adventure, or caring nature.
My decision to move forward after his loss was shaped by his character: he had a profound impact on the people in his world, and I wanted to honor him by being more like him. In that way, I think, I’ve given him to the world, by doing what I love and giving it away.
Mark is the entire reason why Aim Happy exists. From the dark dirt of uncertainty, a seedling of hope sprouted. It took a long time, but I returned to writing as nourishment, and now that’s the gift I love to give.“And here you are living, despite it all.” – Rupi Kaur salute a friend
This is why I’m sharing this special set of sentiments with you today. They’re some personal favorites for a reason, and I wanted to delve a tiny bit deeper into each quote and share what it means to me, with just a brief addendum.
My intention is that these messages will uplift you, to encourage you to keep hope alive when you feel like you’ve been crushed, dismantled, and covered in dirt.
I want you to know that the dark times have the power to bring you into the light, more fully than you’ve ever been before, if you just keep returning to what really matters, to what feels like love.
10 Quotes + Sentiments to Help You Keep Hope Alive When You Need the Light
1. “I used to see a butterfly in my mind’s eye every time I heard the word transformation, but life has schooled me. Transformation isn’t a butterfly. It’s the thing before you get to be a pretty bug flying away. It’s huddling in the dark cocoon and then pushing your way out. It’s the messy work of making sense of your fortunes and misfortunes, desires and doubts, hang-ups and sorrows, so you can go on and become the person you must next become.” — Cheryl Strayed
Living in a highly connected world is a beautiful gift, but we sometimes don’t hear the stories of huddling in the dark cocoon. We see transformation after it’s happened, but there’s messiness involved in the process. Healing is messy work, but it gives new life a chance to take flight.
2. “It’s turning the thunder into grace, knowing sometimes the break in your heart is like the hole in the flute. Sometimes it’s the place where the music comes through.” — Andrea Gibson
Our broken places, when mended with the bonding agent of love, become the places through which we make our greatest impact on the world.Hope feels like the memory of spring in the middle of a cold and barren winter. tweet this
3. “I believe there is hope for us all, even amid the suffering and maybe even inside the suffering. And that’s why I write fiction, probably. It’s my attempt to keep that fragile strand of radical hope, to build a fire in the darkness.” —John Green
We rewrite our own realities in order to bring light to an otherwise darkened field. We’re no longer retained by our current circumstances if we choose to create a new story that better reflects our love, rather than just perpetuate our pain.
4. “Sometimes when you’re in a dark place you think you’ve been buried, but you’ve actually been planted.” — Christine Caine
Just because we feel lost and confused doesn’t mean we’ve not been planted in the precise position from which to grow towards the light.
5. “I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest. I do not judge the universe.” — Dalai Lama
This is one of those quotes that started my journey into a more hopeful and intentional life. Who am I to judge the universe? Who am I NOT to live as fully as I can? I am here, and it is my duty to live. If it’s a wholehearted duty, it’s a rich journey.Hope is not blind. True hope rests on a foundation of resilience. It is born of courage. It sees what closed hearts don't see. tell a friend
6. “Embrace uncertainty. Some of the most beautiful chapters in our lives won’t have a title until much later.” — Bob Goff
We can look behind us and make sense of things, and it’s actually a key factor in posttraumatic growth. We can only look so far ahead and make sense of things. We’re meant to live here in the space we’re given, learn as we go, and do our best to receive insights without forcing their wisdom.
7. “Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.” — Mary Oliver
Hope lives when we keep some room in the heart for what we don’t know and can’t yet perceive. This is how healing gets to unfold naturally, without resistance and restraint.
8. “Things are far more beautiful when the universe arranges them for you.” — Jai-Jagdeesh
Surrendering my need to be in control of what’s not mine to control is a great exhale.Hope tells us that we are worthy of living like we haven't lived before. tweet this
9. “Part of the healing process is sharing with other people who care.” — Jerry Cantrell
You find people who care by sharing. It’s nearly impossible to foresee how your story will help someone else. Share because it’s a healing process that complements hope.
10. “Sometimes the most healing thing to do is remind ourselves over and over and over, other people feel this too.” — Andrea Gibson
Though I would never wish the suffering I have known on anyone, it’s a relief to know that I am not alone. Others feel what I have felt and will feel, even when I’d like to pretend that I am not understood—what a self-sabotaging, false thing to pretend. We are not islands. Our lives are woven together in endless, invisible and sometimes visible ways. Share. Listen. Learn. Give. Receive. We feel.
Read this next: healing thoughts on grieving the loss of a loved one.
Please, tell me, because sharing is healing:
When have you felt like you were buried in the dark, but ended up rising through it to enter life more purposefully? What helped during that time?
Share your favorite quotes, what sentiments stuck with you, insights gained or lessons learned from losing a loved one, and any stories or reflections with me in the comments.
Give a little light. Share these quotes with a kin spirit.
Never, ever underestimate your impact.