Sunday, November 11, 2012


I went for a job interview back in 1977. Two fatherly men were asking the questions. “What gifts would you bring to the job,” they asked. “The gift of youth,” said I in hope, “The gift of female perspective.” “We don’t usually hire young women,” they said. “This will be an exciting new thing.” I went for a job interview in 2012. The place was the same place, the interviewers female. “What gifts would you bring to the job?” they asked. “The gift of age,” I said in truth, “The perspective born of living through change.” Did I thihnk they would say, “Oh, you’re not that old?” Gender was not worth mentioning. So now I pause in curious wonder, surveying two worlds so far apart Who will be asking the interview questions Who will be naming the gifts they will bring To that same place in 2047?

Saturday, November 10, 2012


How can I look to a less-than-promising future and be hopeful at the same time? 1. Hope audaciously. Others can give you statistics, predictions and probabilities, but only you can decide what to hope for. So decide. 2. Find hope in yourself. Discover how it feels to be hopeful. Hope is an emotion. Where does your body feel it? In your chest, your knees, your eyes or somewhere else? 3. Express your hopes. Use the language of ”I hope”. Check for that hopeful feeling when you say “I hope”. You may be surprised to find that others are willing to share your hopes, maybe even willing to work on them. 4. Hang out with hopeful people. You know you have found the right people when you notice that you feel hopeful when you are with them. Avoid people who bring you down. 5. Look for symbols of hope. Collect things that could remind you of hope at times when you might need it. 6. Remember things that turned out better than you expected. Tell others about them. 7. Remember impossible things that became possible. Tell others about them. 8. Take the long view. Remember things that took longer than you expected. Tell others about them. 9. Say things that make you hopeful. Speak as if you believe a hopeful future could happen. Use the language of “when” and yet”. Start sentences with, “I believe.” 10. Do things that make you hopeful. Call them acts of hope. 11. Hoping is a dynamic process. Keep finding new things to hope for. Wendy Edey Registered Psychologist 780-690-8452

Friday, November 02, 2012


With so much attention focused on bullying these days, I’ve been wondering what kind of talk would give me hope if I were being bullied. Of course, if I were being bullied, the bullying would probably have been going on for some time, and I would likely have already tried a number of things. I might have tried telling the bullies to stop, or ignoring them, or telling somebody about it. I might even have tried moving away. And having tried these things and found them to be ineffective would definitely have sucked out a lot of my hope. I might even be feeling that I should give up because the situation is hopeless. Now all of us know that hope is power. People who have hope are active. They look for options. If there’s one thing all bullying victims lack, it is certainly power. So if I were being bullied, and I told you about it, what could you say to me that would give me hope? You could say, “I believe that what they are doing to you is absolutely wrong!” You might not say that because you’d think I already know you believe it’s wrong. But if I were being bullied, I’d probably think it was my fault, and I’d be wondering if the bullies were right. I’d need to hear what you believe. I’d need to hear it more than once. You could say, “The human race hasn’t figured out how to stop bullying yet, so we have to work hard at finding solutions.” If you said that, you’d be hinting that the human race might just solve this problem some day. Even if I didn’t think you could solve my problem right now, the idea that you had a vision of solving it could give me hope. You could say, “I know you feel terrible now, but your life will be a lot happier when they stop bullying you.” That would give me hope, because it would show me that you can see a time when they will stop. If I were being bullied, I wouldn’t be able to see that time on my own. Most important of all, you could say, “I will help you deal with this. I will stick by you even if it goes on for a while before we find a solution. I will be your friend. I will not give up. You can count on me.” If I were being bullied, and you talked this kind of language to me, I might just keep on hoping. I might just keep on trying. Both of us would be stronger, more committed to getting something done. Both of us would have more hope. Both of us would have more power. If there’s one thing that scares off a bully, it’s knowing that other people have power. (This article was first published in the Edmonton Examiner, 24/10/2012)

Thursday, November 01, 2012


There’s a question I’ve been thinking a lot about lately: What is the difference between the Hope Foundation and THE HOPE LADY? It’s a difficult question to consider, the two—Hope Foundation and HOPE LADY having been so closely intertwined for 17.5 years. Still, there’s no getting away from it. It is a question that simply will not go away, because the Hope Foundation is a non-profit organization managed by a board of directors. Those directors have given notice that the Hope Foundation will officially close December 31 2012. Hope research will be the responsibility of the University. Physical assets will be dispersed. Holiday pay will be added to final paycheques. Come January 1 THE HOPE LADY will no longer carry a key that fits the lock on the door of Hope House. Her business telephone number will be reassigned in the campus phone system. And thus we come to a different question, another one that simply will not be thrust aside: If a Hope Foundation falls victim to a lack of financial support in the jungle of non-profit organizations, is there still a HOPE LADY? The answer to this question is clear and unclear at the same time. Yes, there will still be a HOPE LADY in 2013. She will most certainly be different from the 2012 version in some ways. Though we don’t know exactly how those differences will be manifested, we do know about some things. This seems a good place in which to state them, for she will certainly be doing many things that she loves. It’s more hopeful to focus first on the knowns. THE HOPE LADY will be blogging in 2013. This promise she has made to herself. THE HOPE LADY loves blogging. You may wonder about this, given the stretches when she does not blog at all. But rest assured that, at those times, she is thinking about blogging, explaining to herself the reasons for the gap, and planning what she will write when she starts again. Blogging gives hope to THE HOPE LADY. It clears her thinking. It sometimes makes her laugh. She will need all of these things, just as she has needed them in the past. THE HOPE LADY will be making public appearances. Some dates are already booked and have been for a long time. She will be doing conference keynotes, making her knowledge about how to use hope and strengths tools in counselling and group work available in workshops for professionals, and facilitating hope discussions for groups of people who are trying to find hope and strength in difficult times. THE HOPE LADY will still be supervising students who are learning to be counsellors. She won’t be able to do this at the Hope Foundation, but she is committed to supervising the Master’s students studying counselling psychology at the University of Alberta. She does this every Wednesday morning, and has for years. It is one of her great pleasures. Now for the unknowns. THE HOPE LADY does not yet know how she will exercise her love of counselling. A lot of people say they would not welcome the opportunity to deal with people who have illnesses, depressions, chronic pain. But this kind of work has made her very happy in the past, and she’d like to find a way to keep doing it. She will still, after all, be a Registered Psychologist. THE HOPE LADY does not know how she will deal with the looming loneliness. She is accustomed to arriving at the office knowing she will be in the company of friends. She is used to laughing some time in the first five minutes of the workday. She is, by nature, a social being and those social needs have been splendidly met on a daily basis through a shared enthusiasm for knowledge, challenges and experiments in the company of some of the finest people the universe ever created. It won’t be easy being THE HOPE LADY without a Hope Foundation. Without the supporting structure of a Hope Foundation it won’t be easy to be known, to be respected, to be reached. If the Hope Foundation had weathered the financial storm, I would have faced a different problem a few years hence. I would have had to wonder how to retire THE HOPE LADY when I retired from the Hope Foundation. Retirement would have offered certain perks. These I would have presented to her as an incentive. THE HOPE LADY might have welcomed later morning starts, more holidays, less drafting of annual reports and calculation of statistics for funding requests. She likely would have retired—albeit with a lot of complaining. But she still would have wanted to be THE HOPE LADY—wanted it because she liked it so much. Things did not turn out the way we had hoped. The Hope Foundation took early retirement. Seeing the inevitability of this, I have presented all the advantages to THE HOPE LADY. She can sleep late. She can stay home on cold snowy days. She can take a holiday whenever she wants. She can join a bridge club, sing in a daytime choir. But THE HOPE LADY has made her position clear. She is not ready for retirement yet. She has insisted on staying with me. She’s stuck like glue and hard to shake. Now I just have to figure out what, exactly, to do with her.