3 Powerful Lessons I Learned from A Simple Word

3 powerful lessons I learned from a simple word changed the way I experience hope and despair.

I was in bad shape in January 2009.

My mother’s death at age 68 plunged me into an ocean of grief. I could barely see the shore.

Here’s what I told myself over and over.

Life from here on is unending sorrow.

I’ll never recover from this.

I can’t bear this pain.

This is simply not fair.

At the time I didn’t have Allison Carmen’s book The Gift of Maybe: Finding Hope and Possibility in Uncertain Times. Not that it would have made much sense to me back then.

Today it does and I can offer 3 powerful lessons I learned from a simple 2-syllable word: Maybe.

At first, your reaction may be Whaat??!!

How can Maybe make me feel better?

Stay with me, please.

Here’s what I learned when I turned the last page.

Maybe is a philosophy.

Maybe is a calming mantra.

Maybe offers us a soft landing.

1.Maybe” relaxes the grip on certainty. As a species, we’re taught to value certainty. We want to know, be sure, and have predictable outcomes. Life offers none of these–especially when loss rocks our world. By inviting Maybe to open a new door, we become more willing to befriend uncertainty. e.g. Maybe I’ll feel better tomorrow. Maybe I can be grateful for every blessing that’s right here.

2. “Maybe” makes room for hope. When we cling to the doom and gloom of a bleak future, we have no energy, no hope. Maybe gives us hope to take the next baby step toward wellness. It lets us invest in the possibility that hope can move in and start to shift things. e.g. Maybe my heart will grow lighter. Maybe there are lessons here that I don’t see yet.

3. “Maybe” brings us home to the present. When we’re grieving a loss–whether it is the death of a loved one, a divorce or a friendship gone sour, we build a house in The Past and begin to live there. Change, however, can only happen in this moment. A new decision, a fresh choice, a recent discovery. e.g. Maybe I need to create a ritual to let this go. Maybe I can find someone to support me through this loss.

It’s a small word. But it can help us make big changes. Maybe is about welcoming possibility, experimenting with new perspectives and playing with positive What Ifs.

As Carmen sums up: “…the playing field is unlimited, but the possibilities in the field have changed.”

Share this post. Maybe someone out there needs to read it.



  1. maya on June 19, 2015 at 5:31 am

    Whoa! Never imagined that a simple word like ‘Maybe’ could have such deeper implications. Thanks Uma for opening my mind and heart.

    • umagir@gmail.com on June 19, 2015 at 2:31 pm

      Yes! Maybe just releases the rigid hold we have on “It has to be this way” or “I am right” or “I’ll never feel better or have enough money or feel well.” Maybe I will, maybe life has other plans for me, maybe tomorrow will bring something new. It is a place of hope. Glad you enjoyed it!

  2. Stella Chiu on June 19, 2015 at 11:13 pm

    When people in grief, they are so stuck in one direction. They thought there is no way out because their thinking just so definite in one angle of thought. “Maybe” offers sense of flexibility
    of moving forward or turning into opposite direction. “Maybe” offers soft guidance to new paths. Beautiful post, Uma

    • umagir@gmail.com on June 22, 2015 at 2:21 pm

      Thank you, Stella, for your feedback. You’re absolutely right. Grief is a rut most of us get stuck in, but we don’t have to remain there. Maybe is a strong foothold to help us move beyond it.

  3. SRINIVASA MURTHY on June 22, 2015 at 2:25 am

    The last two posts are simple but full of wisdom.
    They are very practical way of addressing loss.
    I have shared it to benefit few of patients in a situation of grief.
    Thank you for these wonderful contributions to understanding grief and coping with grief.

    • umagir@gmail.com on June 22, 2015 at 2:20 pm

      Thank you, Murthy, for your very kind words. I am so happy these posts resonated with you and helped you share ideas with those who are grieving a loss.

  4. allison carmen on June 22, 2015 at 11:40 pm

    Uma, I absolutely love this post. You really have embraced the true essence of Maybe. I hope it continues to provide you comfort and hope. I feel inspired by your work. It is very meaningful so I hope you keep doing it!!!!!!! I shared this on facebook!

    • umagir@gmail.com on June 25, 2015 at 3:15 pm

      Thank you SO much, Carmen! I am very grateful. I am passionate about guiding women who are struggling through the pain of loss and I believe it is my divine soul purpose.

  5. Malok Mading on June 25, 2015 at 8:33 am

    I have been soul-searching as I read your post. The word is power and it’s more of a power on its own…Learned a lot myself before I even grab Carmen’s book.

    • umagir@gmail.com on June 25, 2015 at 3:16 pm

      Thank you, Malok, for your kind words. I agree with you. This is a powerful word. May your soul-searching lead you to that beautiful place of self-discovery.

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    • umagir@gmail.com on October 24, 2015 at 8:24 pm

      Thank you for stopping by 🙂 Hope you’ll enjoy what you read here.

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