Monday, February 1, 2016

Your Life Has Meaning. How Do You Define It?

In our world we long to be heard, to connect and know we're not alone. Our life needs to matter in some way. So we apply meaning to almost everything, to people, situations, and conditions in life. Then they make sense to us, and we can relate to them. We create our outer world, but we're seldom aware of our own involvement in our creation. We simply act and react. But there's another world inside--the place where we give meaning, or lack of meaning, to our own life as a person.

The meaning of life: To shine a light where there is no light and take responsibility for shining that light. Noelani Musicaro

We're all born with a gift, our own unique voice that speaks to the world like no other. When you shine that gift in your outer world, you feel great joy in your heart. And without this inner response to your action, you would not know meaning. Each flower petal, each cloud in the sky, and each drop of water is unique unto itself, a divine creation with its own mission to express its unique self. And this, as with you, has meaning.

When I worked in the Mental Health Field in a jail setting, I discovered a book entitled, "Man's Search For Meaning" by Viktor Frankl. This book is now on my shelf with memories of the many times it circulated around the jail, read by hundreds of inmates. Each time I sent it out it came back to my office a little more tattered and worn--a testimony to those searching for meaning in their lives. According to Frankl, we create meaning in 3 ways--good deeds, experiencing a value and, yes, through suffering.

Good Deeds: Good deeds don't have to be on a grand scale. They can be acts of kindness and serving others in everyday living. I have a friend who shares her baked goods with neighbors and enjoys seeing them smile; another neighbor brings happiness mowing lawns up and down the street; others do volunteer work in schools, hospitals, and anywhere they're needed. These people answer the call within, and their lives are meaningful.

Experiencing A Value: We humans hold a myriad of values. Pursuing a passion involves values, and may be work you love, growing a garden, writing poetry, preserving nature, or simply expressing love in your life. And your spiritual life expresses values in many ways. You create meaning by honoring your values in whatever way expressed.

Suffering: It would seem that suffering is meaningless, but much can be gained through suffering. It can bring self-discovery, spiritual enlightenment, and many blessings. Have there been painful times in your life when you thought you could not survive, but you found inner strength and you did survive? Has suffering led to a positive change in your life that you would not have found otherwise? Much depends upon your attitude toward suffering and your ability to deal with it. But it can provide unimagined miracles with profound positive meaning in your life.

You may ask yourself, "Does my life count for anything? Do I matter? If I disappeared, would I be missed?" You may believe you don't matter because you haven't done anything that you believe merits greatness, or you focus on your failures rather than your successes. But take another look at your life--in your work, your relationships, with strangers, things you love to do, in your spiritual life. Only you can be you, and that in itself has meaning.

All that you are seeking is also seeking you. If you lie still, sit still, it will find you. It has been waiting for you a long time. Clarissa Pinkola Estes

In your heart, in your soul, in your very being--that's where you mean something beautiful. And when you share the meaning of who you are with your world and allow your light to touch others, your life has meaning. And the world needs you.

I wish you many happy meaningful moments.


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