The first Suzuki Elder Dialogue on Hope took place December 2, 2021. This two-hour small group discussion included elder members from inside and outside of BC – six men, two women and a facilitator. New folks are now booking in for the 2nd session in the new year, date TBA. The dialogue goal is to assist individual elders to become more deeply informed about aspects of hope and better understand their own relationship with hope. The Education Working Group prepared a set of readings and four guiding questions for participants – the first question being “can you tell a story/describe a time in your life experience when you called up hope to help you move, to understand something better, to move forward and how did that work for you? Jumping into that “deep personal” resulted in a sharing of rich stories. From this we identified various threads of experience, learned from each other, reflected on the readings, and affirmed for ourselves ways we, as individuals, will move in thinking and action. In other words, we found new insights on hope.
Where does hope arise from – these threads emerged from the personal stories:
- From a new understanding of a matter/issue. (Gaining knowledge)
- From taking action, from seeing action as a meaningful stimulus to hope (personal and/or public action)
- From learning there are others similarly concerned. (I am not alone)
- From seeing that a personal life situation could have a different outcome. (My life is not what I thought it was going to be)
- From being inspired. (By one person via a speech, meeting, workshop, friend, or by many people via events such as a rallies, marches, conferences, concerts)
- From seeing the hope in reconciliation, the meaning of which is “to make friendly again after estrangement.”
- From collaborating with others.
- From surrendering, which is done through turning toward the source of our fear, letting go of what is, and turning to possibilities of what could be. Not staying stuck.
Participants described ways the dialogue would help them move forward.
- Being ok with feeling vulnerable, recognizing that vulnerability is part of having hope.
- Listening, with heart and without judgement.
- Balancing hope and despair in either hand, knowing we move in and out of both.
- Seeing that hope starts from the inside, and to make it useful we need to talk about it.
- Building communities of hope.
- Understanding that vision precedes hope, then working with those visions of the future, together, to agree on feasible and reasonable scenarios, build consensus and move forward to act.
- Knowing a key role for elders is talking with our kids, grandkids & others about strategies and actions that worked for us (on a range of topics) in the past. Telling the stories!
At the dialogue close participants were asked to give one word to describe how they were feeling at that moment. They said: hopeful, reflective, thoughtful, appreciative, encouraged, inspired, reconciled…and grateful.
Education Working Group