Hope is a Thing With Feathers

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.

-- Emily Dickinson
Hope is a powerful thing. As Emily Dickinson tells it, hope lifts us up. It is sweet and everlasting; it keeps us warm in the harshest elements, and yet it asks nothing in return.

Sometimes, though,  storms fly through our lives and snatch hope away for a bit. Such has been the case with me in the last month or so. Although the medications I’ve started taking have helped diminish  my anxiety to some degree, I still haven’t been making much progress with the food related aspects of my issues, and that was discouraging.

Luckily, after meeting with a nutritionist yesterday, hope flew back and lit inside my soul. I feel lighter now and much more positive. While I’ve never lost that tiny flame deep inside that tells me I WILL recover from this illness one day, it had dimmed considerably as of late. But now it’s back, burning brightly with the belief that I am on the right track.

Looking back now, I realize that my lack of hope was strongly tied to my lack of goals. Whereas before I had nothing concrete to work toward, now I do. I had the desire to improve my eating habits, but I didn’t have a plan. Desire is great, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not enough. I also probably know as much as my nutritionist does about food and diet. I know exactly how many calories it takes to equal a pound, and although I haven’t counted calories in years, I could rattle off a list of nutritional information by memory (what a waste of brain space, right? :p). Yet all of this information does me no good if I don’t have a strategy to apply it. You’d think if you added knowledge and a sprinkling of desire, the magic would happen — but no, you have to have actionable goals.

Of course, I learned all this in treatment. There’s even an acronym for it: SMART. Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, and Time-related. But as we’ve just learned, knowledge is not enough. I know all about goals, sure, but I wasn’t making any! Or I was, but “gain weight” isn’t exactly specific…  So yesterday, I met with a nutritionist who helped me set some “smart” goals, and I walked out with the unexpected side effect of hope!

I’m not a mathematician, but I’m pretty sure these were the missing ingredients in my equation. Desire and knowledge may not be enough to bring about recovery, but add a bit of hope and some goals, and voila!:  Magic. 🙂


hope and goals are the magic ingredients




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