I know that I’ve been quiet lately. Like all of you, I’ve been adjusting to this current season of life in my own ways. Some days I want to be super connected and productive and my day is filled with Zoom calls and coworking dates and happy hours and workshops. And other days I am silent and reflective and want to be curled up on my couch with a good book and not engaging with anyone or anything outside the safe and cozy little bubble that is my home.

Many people I love and respect have reached out asking me to share more during this time. I’ve been hearing “Now, more than ever, we need a message of optimism. Now is your time.”

And yet I’ve continued to be quiet.

And, between you and me, I’ve spent a lot of time asking myself this question:

“Am I really an optimist?”

Because honestly, I don’t feel like it a lot of days.

Grief.

Defeat.

Sadness.

Fear.

Worry.

Stress.

Guilt.

Uncertainty.

Anger.

Lost.

There are a lot of these feelings as of late. And most days they show up in a weird combination of ways. So, I’ve been asking myself, how can I really be an optimist when this what I’m feeling? When I’m not rushing to reframe, or pivot, or “be positive”, or focus on the silver lining.

And, at the same time, these heavy and sometimes dark emotions co-exist with a lot of other feelings at the other end of the spectrum.

Intense gratitude.

Ease.

Space. Expansive space.

Inspiration.

Simplicity.

Flow.

Resilience.

It is OK to have good moments and bad moments, to mourn what’s been lost and celebrate what we’ve gained at the same time, to be grateful for more connection time with loved ones and crave more time for yourself, to be uncertain and worried about what’s to come while at the same time hopeful for what can be created and what will emerge. Optimism is not the same as happiness or positivity, and it’s not necessary to feel it all the time. in order to be optimistic.

Last weekend I celebrated Easter. Springtime, and Easter especially, is my favorite time of the year. To me, it is the most optimistic time of the year. It’s a season of hope – of renewal, rebirth, reemergence. The sight of buds on the trees and blossoms in the yard are one of the most beautiful reminders that the long, dark, cold seasons are simply that – a season – and there is beauty and joy on the other side.

In celebrating Easter this year, I was reflecting on one of my favorite quotes by one of my favorite authors:

“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has risen, not only because I see it but because by it, I see everything else.” – C.S. Lewis

And it dawned on me, this is my philosophy on optimism.

I am not an optimist because I always feel optimistic.

I am an optimist because it is through the lens of optimism that I see everything. In a world of gray, optimism is not about seeing everything with a silver lining. Optimism is the lens through which I can see the world in a full spectrum of color.

Service.

Connection.

Creation.

Possibility.

Hope.

Optimism is hope in action.

It is the belief that spring will come, that better days are possible, that something greater than what has been before can emerge, AND it is moving towards this hope with action that will help bring it to fruition. Planting and watering the seeds for what you want to grow. Building the foundations and creating the structures for what you want to emerge.

So yes, even on the days when I don’t feel like an optimist, I’m reminded that optimism is always there because by it I am seeing everything else.

Optimism is the lens through which I see and experience the world. And it’s a beautiful sight.

What lens do you usually see the world through? Has that changed at all in the past month or two?

Whether you’re finding it difficult to feel optimistic, or you’re more optimistic than ever, I’d love to chat more and hear how you are doing. Book a coffee (or wine!) date with me here so we can connect. On optimism, on life, on cooking, on books, on working from home, to chat through things that feel like a struggle, or to delight and celebrate together in the things that are bringing you joy.

While I don’t have all the answers, I know supporting each other on this journey is one of the ways to put optimism into action. Will you join me in seeing the world through this lens of optimism and moving forward together?

Warmly,
Elizabeth