What keeps hope alive? A reflection from Survivors at the Summit.

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Thank you to all those who participated in the 2018 Survivors at the Summit event. It was an amazing day, and through your participation we exceeded all expectations.

Last Saturday I hiked the same trail to Snowbird's Hidden Peak. During this hike I asked myself; “What keeps hope alive?”

Reflecting on our event, I passed the locations of the aid stations, recalled conversations with other hikers, and felt the same suffering as I climbed to 11,000 feet. It occurred to me that during the Survivors at the Summit event, what we all shared in common was purpose.

Viktor Frankl, calls this meaning:

"In some ways suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning....It did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life — daily and hourly."  (Viktor Frankl, 1946).

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For those who participated and supported Survivors at the Summit, this infographic represents our collective accomplishment. 

 

KEEP HOPE ALIVE

During my cancer diagnosis I took every opportunity to explore some meaning to the experience.  I used the opportunity to find more meaning in my medical education. I also found meaning in the practice of mindfulness and meditation.

Suffering is part of the human experience. However, finding meaning in suffering is a choice. Meaning, not in the sense of having a life purpose or a clear vision of your future, but rather having meaning in the moment of suffering.

Finding meaning in the experience is what keeps hope alive.

If you would like to include your insights to the question, “What keeps hope alive?, please use the comments thread below.

John Librett, PhD, MPH