Can you please not waste any more of my time?” he said.

Wow.” I thought, out loud, slamming the car door shut behind me. Does he realize how painful it feels to be called a total waste of time? 

He didn’t say that exactly, but that is how it felt. Good thing I was on my way to yoga class—or was it? Despite the guilt creeping in for taking some much needed time to myself, there I was unrolling my beat up slab of recycled rubber preparing for an hour and a half of spiritual sweating. The lump in my throat grew harder as those words kept resurfacing in my mind, “total waste of time”. His anger, now mine, reverberated as I breathed through every contraction. The lost cause of love was upon me and the hopelessness was palpable. My mind continued to proliferate agitation, eyes wandering to every point but one. Then, there she was. My eyes landed on the girl behind me adorned with a fist full of roses on her left shoulder. Tattooed across the knuckles read the letters, H-O-P-E. She didn’t know it but I did; my teacher had arrived.

Hope: to believe, desire, and trust; the feeling things will work out for the best.

Fresh on my mind was a recent conversation with a relative about remaining hopeful in relationships. What began as a ventilation of the frustration felt after taking matters into my own hands and having nothing to show for it, ended with a humbling realization. “What else are you taking?” I was asked. Though my intentions were good, in the taking I’d also taken away his chance to succeed. Dang.

Relationships are hard, sometimes damn-near-impossible feeling. How do you find hope in the hurt? How do you keep the cuts from becoming callouses? How do you evolve from challenges that seem to grow exponentially more difficult as you begin to confront them? How do you breathe and open through circumstances that leave you feeling closed? How do you hold a space for your loved ones to figure things out in their own way, on their own time, even if it gets worse before it gets better? When all else fails remaining hopeful in Love itself continues to prove a tried and true solution.

Pablo Neruda said, “You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep Spring from coming.”

Love is a Spring—a body of water emerging from underground, a season of growth, a buoyant energy that fosters levity, a coming into being. Trusting it, however hard, can build in us the resilience to endure even our most trying moments.

I steadied my gaze on a piece of flesh with a written message that pulled at my knotted heart strings. By the end of class the hopelessness shifted from something immovable to something much more manageable. A few valuable things were solidified:

1.) Yoga is more powerful than anger.

2.) Tattoos are good teachers.

3.) Movement heals.

Most of all, I’m learning that remaining hopeful in Love isn’t the same thing as not being hopeless. It’s not indifference, but an openness that takes effort. It’s easier to remain undone when it’s just you, it’s way more difficult when reentering the world of we and ours and theirs and his and hers and it. It’s easier to commit to loving when loving comes easy, it’s way more difficult when you’re loved one is looking you in the eyes and saying something insensitive.

We live in turbulent times. This reality is a reflection of the fluctuations occurring in our minds. Remaining hopeful in Love is choosing to live instead of from the head, from the heart. Consider an image, a phrase, a color, a sound—something that is symbolic to you of Love, and when thoughts of defeat emerge embody it as much as you can. If nothing comes to mind there are symbols all around, even in the body art of the unknown person sweating through their own tangles and tightness behind you.  Can we trust in Love and find solace in heart-based living? Here’s hoping.