The Space

dum spiro spero

May 26, 2024

(The pictures above are: 1 - a robot grass cutter that I found amusing; 2 - my cat working alongside me; 3 - I had a chapter published in the 'Inclusion Emergency' (published by the RIBA) last week; 4 - a mug that sums up my goals for 2024; 5,6 & 7 - photos from the Parkland Walk in North London) 

"Where there is life there is hope" (related to dum spiro spero in Latin)

My neighbor, lets call her Judy, two doors up was 90 years old last Friday. That is a huge achievement. It means Judy was born in 1934 in Jamaica. She lived through World War 2, the decline of Empire, Windrush, the murder of George Floyd, and so much more. 

Drawing attention to her thick black here with a speckle of grey, Judy said she was going to the hairdressers to get her real hair done to attend the birthday party which was being held in her name. She found out about it by accident when a friend contacted her to ask why she wasn't invited to the party. Judy said 'what party?'

Her daughter hired the (large) local community hall for a surprise birthday party and everyone was going! Except her friend - don't worry, that was soon rectified :-)

Judy started to tell me about the things that her daughter was organising to celebrate her mother. Judy was explaining at some length how wonderful her daughter was. At that point I interjected and said 'you raised her, she is partly the way she is because of your efforts.'

At that point Judy paused for a long time and then said 'where there is life there is hope.'

I was dumbstruck. I had no words.

It is such a profound statement. 

Where there is life there is hope. 

And I have carried that statement with me since our conversation.

Sometimes life, work, family [insert your own word here] can feel hard and challenging...

And I know on one level it can be easy to say 'where there is life there is hope.'

However, when you step back from whatever is happening and really look at what the statement is saying, there is no denying it - where there is life, there is hope. 

I believe that we can define hope in whatever way we need it to be. Sometimes hope will show up as clarity, sometimes it will be confusion, and then lots of choices. 

At the end of the day, it is true, where there is life, there is hope. 

In doing research for this weeks The Space I see that the Latin phrase 'dum spiro spero' meaning 'While I breathe, I hope' originates from Greek poet Theocritus. It is also the motto of St Andrews, Scotland. Cicero, Ann Frank, and Steven Hawkings have also been attributed as saying 'where there is life there is hope.'

Clearly it has a powerful meaning and invitation. 

It reminds me of a statement from Islam: Anas ibn Malik reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "If the Final Hour comes while you have a shoot of a plant (or seed) in your hands and it is possible to plant it before the Hour comes, you should plant it."

Hope is profound.

Where does hope come from for you?

How can you develop the hope that you seek/need/want/desire?

What is hope? 

I leave these invitations with you for now. 

I'd love it if you would like to share any reflections with me. Just reply and let me know your thoughts. 

I look forward to next time, where I will be writing to you from Fort William, Scotland as I will be preparing to participate in a wild hike and camping trip! 

Have a great week,


The Space





The Space

Receive 'The Space' — a complementary, curated weekly newsletter with tips, ideas, & resources for gaining clarity, confidence & space.

(no spam, I promise — 3-5 minute read)