Persevering in the cause Paul Loeb’s The Impossible Will Take a Little While and how hope is not the same thing as optimism Author and expert on citizen action issues Paul Loeb has sold 170,000 copies of his Soul of

Persevering in the cause: Paul Loeb’s The Impossible Will Take a Little While and how hope is not the same thing as optimism

Author and expert on citizen action issues Paul Loeb has sold 170,000 copies of his Soul of a Citizen: Living with Conviction in Challenging Times. Paul is a good friend of this writer. In fact, that book includes a short couple of pages on me and my own “cause” work in integrative health and medicine. His newest book, the collection of short essays beautifully titled The Impossible Will Take a Little While (from the Billie Holiday line) gave me the credo for everything I do professionally. People wonder sometimes how I stay active and hopeful given the power of the US medical industry’s continuous feeding on the increase of disease. In the book, Czech artist-dissident-president Vaclav Havel has this to say about the distinction between “hope” and “optimism.” Havel writes: “Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.” Hope, in Havel’s framing, is a verb. Engagement allows hope. The reverse, in my experience is also true: disengagement creates pessimism. This collection of essays and anecdotes from scores of inspirational, progressive leaders is food for the soul. These short pieces are, as Loeb aptly named an earlier book, hope in hard times. If you are practicing hope, you will find much to aid and abet you here. If you are not, buy it to refine your scoffing.