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Hope Is A Dangling Carrot

Hope Is A Dangling CarrotbyPaul Bunting

It’s my hope that as you read this short (fictional) story about a guy named Peter, that you aren’t able to relate to his dilemma too much. After the story I’ll share something a wise old man told me about hope that changed the way I think. I wonder if you’ll understand right away what took me years to get.


Peter cringed at the accusation of being in a voluntarily prison with living conditions as bad as those incarcerated in jail.” He wondered how such a close ally could suddenly turn on him and leave. At one point, freedom was all Peter dreamed of. World travel, fancy vacations, leisure and the option to play as he pleased. It was that type of thinking that formed such a strong bond with his ally. It’s amazing how much things change before you realize.

“Sure, when you’re young and dumb, it’s easy to dream. It’s easy to define freedom without barriers. But when you come to the realization that life doesn’t work like that, things change. Once you seriously question: What am I going to do with my life? -- and don’t come up with a good answer, you become open to ideas that you once shunned.” -- Peter rationed.

How could a close bond with such a wonderful ally end up so wrong? Do real allies make you think things like this:

“Oh you think you have a dream, huh? You try to be so bright and full of hope. Yet, how on Earth, you cram your truth down is beyond me. Part of you knows the truth - and it’s that part you resist the most. Your hope has become your prison. How do I know?

Remember what you used to want when you were young before “the world” changed? You probably still want the same thing, right? Ok, I see, I understand, so what I’m hearing is this “I just want to, be happy, feel love and be free” -- is this still true? Ok, if that’s so, then what the heck are you doing with your life?”

You ration that you already have freedom! How funny! It’s so silly that I laugh myself to tears. You get up a couple hours before you want, like religion, in the mornings. As if getting up early and groggy Mon - Fri isn’t bad enough... It’s the reality that hits as you start to think about how your day is likely to unfold that seals the deal.

Then you rush to get ready for work with a mindful of lingering, unresolved problems pertaining to this place you call work. You loath the constant personal compromises you make throughout the day, every workday. Then there’s the physical place you call work. That nice, neat little “working space” filled with surprises and pitfalls that make your stress levels go through the roof. Inside, you know work could be pleasant and flo-ing if you were not bound to the clock. Unfortunately however, it all comes down to those 8 hours before you can go home dreary and spent. At that point, it’s dinner, maybe a chore or two and an evening of television. Then you go to bed late only to get up early and do it all over again.

Sure, there’s sacrifice. Going out, connecting and having fun is all that it costs you! Your will has slowly eroded to what it is now. You’re growing older and thinking of the dreams you had yesterday with only hope. You wish it could be different. You hope daily, in silence, for change. You suffer. You live in chaos and hope is all that keeps you going. But you think about tomorrow with resignation and defeat.”

I confess. Maybe maybe it was betrayal. I lost such a close ally whom I used to hold so close, but things change. The only name I ever knew this wonderful ally by was “Freedom.” But I do have a lot to be thankful for. I tell that to myself daily. It really helps. But I can’t help but to wonder, have I made my life into a metaphorical prison?


When I was studying “Hathaway Alignment Science” a system that paved the way for me to be able to understand how I do what I do now (coaching based on The 5 Elements), my teacher, Harmon Hathaway, shared with me wisdom that continues to unfold. During my initial study period, I was filled with frustration towards life and hope for change. Harmon’s observant twin brother invited me in for tea after a few days of my being there.

Augustus let me know how he had been witnessing my use the word “Hopefully.” He then shared some thoughts (not an exact quote but it’s the message that’s important). “Hopefully is a word that depicts fear. You are telling yourself that you want something, therefor you have a desire. But you lack faith and belief so hope is all you have left to cling onto. Hope is laden with fear that what you wish for won’t come to fruition.”

Those words had a great impact in my life. In the story, when Peter realized his close ally Freedom, who was not a person, but an ideal, left him - he began to wonder about his life. Had he really turned his life into a voluntary prison system, without realizing?

I feel force is something we can learn to align with and direct. Maybe Peter was lacking a simple, easy to understand means to transform hope into faith, action and resolution. Just something to think about.

About the author:
Paul is a writer and Transformational Coach, Based on "The 5 Elements"


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