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Happy New Year – 2023 with Hope

2022 was an eventful year in terms of writing and publishing. It was also surprising as I the two published pieces, a book chapter and a peer-reviewed article, were about hope and had a spiritual component to them. I think hope is a phenomenon we each want in our lives. Those who have followed the blog for a while may recall that The Peace Prayer of St. Francis is an important part of my family’s life. We recite it at various ceremonies when we come together and Kathy and I have a small plaque my mother gave us many years ago.

The line that resonates most with me is “where there is despair hope.” I used the line in the introduction of a book chapter I co-authored. It commemorated the centenary of Paulo Freire‘s birth. Many would associate him with critical pedagogy and his seminal book, Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Later in life, he revisited many of the themes from this book in one called Pedagogy of Hope, which we used as our primary reference. Without hope, we are left with little. We are left with despair.

For me, Emily Dickinson describes the spiritual and paradoxical essence of hope in the following poem:

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –

That perches in the soul –

And sings the tune without the words –

And never stops – at all –

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –

And sore must be the storm –

That could abash the little Bird

That kept so many warm –

I’ve heard it in the chillest land –

And on the strangest Sea –

Yet – never – in Extremity,

It asked a crumb – of me.

Hope is spiritual in that what we each hope for can animate our spirit and make our lives more complete. We hear it song most clearly in moments of silence and stillness as we turn inward to listen to the tune without words. Hope is paradoxical as it is fragile and exists in the Gale and storm that makes it sore. We have to be alert to the challenges we face in bringing hope to life. Perhaps it is best expressed in moments where it intersects with the hopes of others who we come in contact with.

My taste in music tends to the eclectic and non-mainstream. Several years ago, I heard Michael Franti on a small radio station (they still exist) I listen to and loved his messages. His songs embody hope, the role the heart plays in it, the reality of hard times, and how we need others to live with hope.

Several years ago, we travelled to Jasper National Park and went on a day tour. As we passed the trees in this picture, the guide told us the tall one was about 300 years old. Due to the difficult conditions, the tree did not realize its fullest height. Despite the challenges, it still grew. Its growth is like hope.


About ivonprefontaine

In keeping with bell hooks and Noam Chomsky, I consider myself a public and dissident intellectual. Part of my work is to move beyond (transcend) institutional dogmas that bind me to defend freedom, raising my voice to be heard on behalf of those who seek equity and justice in all their forms. I completed my PhD in Philosophy of Leadership Studies at Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA. My dissertation and research was how teachers experience becoming teachers and their role as leaders. I focus on leading, communicating, and innovating in organizations. This includes mindfuful servant-leadership, World Cafe events, Appreciative Inquiry, and expressing one's self through creativity. I offer retreats, workshops, and presentations that can be tailored to your organzations specific needs. I published peer reviewed articles about schools as learning organizations, currere as an ethical pursuit, and hope as an essential element of adult eductaion. I published three poems and am currently preparing my poetry to publish as an anthology of poetry. I present on mindful leadership, servant leadership, schools as learning organizations, how teachers experience becoming teachers, assessement, and critical thinking. I facilitate mindfulness, hospitality retreats. and World Cafe Events using Appreciative Inquiry. I am writing and researching about various forms of leadership, how teachers inform and form their identity as a particular teacher, schools as learning organizations, hope and its anticipatory relationship with the future, and hope as an essential element in learning.

60 responses »

  1. I have hope Jennie……….I just bought a lottery ticket!

  2. That gaunt pine tree on the rock, sure looks like my hope for 2023. 😊 If the hope doesn’t come true, that’s okay too; at least I enjoyed trying it.

  3. Ivon, I loved the Michael Franti video, and the sentiments that marry your words.
    Here’s to following our heart in 2023.
    Happy New Year

  4. So good to see you posting again Ivon! I love this paragraph, “Hope is spiritual in that what we each hope for can animate our spirit and make our lives more complete. We hear it song most clearly in moments of silence and stillness as we turn inward to listen to the tune without words. Hope is paradoxical as it is fragile and exists in the Gale and storm that makes it sore. We have to be alert to the challenges we face in bringing hope to life. Perhaps it is best expressed in moments where it intersects with the hopes of others who we come in contact with.” Happy New Year, hugs, C

  5. Nice to see you here, Ivon. Blessings for the new year.

  6. The Prayer of St. Francis is one of my favorites and I love it set to music. It not only gives me hope but gives me a peaceful feeling. A dear friend of mine said, “Hope is a tow rope.” It pulls us through those difficult times in life.

  7. Hope floats & flies! Happiness & Health to you in The New Year Ivon! ⌚🔢🕛🎊

  8. Happy 2023, my dear Ivon! ✨

  9. This was the first thing I read today. Such a good way to start my day – Hope.
    Thank you Ivon. A good New Year to you.


  10. Happy New Year! Hopefully, it will be better for the whole World! 🙂

  11. Happy new year to you and yours, Ivon!
    (=^ ◡ ^=)🌈🎊🍷

  12. That tree definitely symbolizes hope and determination!
    Have a wonderful and productive 2023.

  13. Happy New Year Ivon – I personally, struggle the most, with the Prayer of St. Francis with the line, “Seek to understand, rather than be understood” cuz well – try to do all the rest – but don’t – always – say it ‘just right/write it right’ – but I appreciate your works and shares here! As reminders and things that give my heart ‘hope’ even if I sometimes feel like a ‘dead tree clinging to the edge of a cliff’ – LOL

    • I find the call within the prayer challenging. It is no easy feat. I think it is what makes us human and keeps us humble. Many days, I feel like the dead tree clinging to the cliff, too.

      • Hope you don’t mind me ‘blogging’ in your comments space. break over and heavy week of work ahead, so wanted to share the story with you, instead of posting a blog, then needing to check in case I need to approve/reply to a comment from a bloggy pal…sigh –

        When I first read this post, and gazed upon the image, I was reminded of a story Dad told me once – I THINK the story is included in the 1943 published book “Thirty Seconds over Tokyo” but, it sits in a crate waiting for me to build more bookcases to house ALL of my books! LOL

        A paratrooper did night drop/jump – got hung up in a tree – pulled out his knife to cut himself loose, and…..dropped the knife in the dark…. chastised himself for his fumble fingers, realized, if he was still stuck there, come dawn, he would be easy target practice for ground enemy troops/patrols – Sighing, he managed to pull out and light, a cigarette, without dropping anything else! and figuring it was his last, contemplated his life and after doing so, flicked the cig away and watched that tiny, red glow drop, drop, drop…..and thought…hmmmm…okie-dokie…..

        Come dawn’s early light??

        He could see he was stuck in a tree, hanging over a deep, deep chasm – and, well, I don’t remember the part of the story on how he got himself out of that mess to tell the story to others – perhaps, Dad didn’t finish telling me other than,

        “If he had not dropped his knife, he would’ve cut him self loose to send himself plummeting to his own death…”

        And dad share the story, when i was struggling with a Life challenge, and telling him how I had messed up and failed to see the early signs on needing to cut loose from the situation I wasn’t certain, but suspected was a project run by corrupt personages, and the moral of the story?

        “Pay attention, to all the signs – you maybe, didn’t mess up – maybe, that chance to say it out loud, that you think you missed? Saved your arse, so you can actually take care of what needs to be done, when you have better information ….”

        To this day – I see a tree of the edge of the cliff? Or someone refers to holding onto the side of a cliff – I always think of that story and the Sunday morning kitchen table moment, of Dad telling me, during a visit –

      • Thank you for a lovely story with a deep meaning. Stories provide so much for us. We need to get back to our stories. Your Dad was a wise man with deep insight. Sometimes, the supposed bad things that happen turn out to be for the best.

  14. The happiest of the New Year, Ivon! I hope you and your family have a wonderful year! All the best in 2023! Cher xoxoxo

  15. Wishing you a healthy, happy, and prosperous 2023!

  16. Love the way you talk about hope here, the post does a great job of re-igniting hope, especially those moments when it’s flagging😉That tree is a fantastic illustration too. When hope ignites, it brings flames of excitement with it that in turn ignite the soul into action! Happy New Year 2023! And may all your hopes for this year and beyond be fulfilled, and be very satisfying for you! 😃

  17. Let us all hope for a peaceful new year. Also, thank you, Ivon, for all your visits to my blog last year. I very much appreciate the visits.

  18. Emily Dickinson ~ I could read her all day long. She was such a master with words. Happy New Year, Ivon!

  19. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:

  20. Happy New Year to you too Ivan, I believe there’s reason to be positive and that it’s up to us to bring positivity into the world. Thanks very much for your support over the years!

  21. Good to see you back around!


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