Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas
The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away. Pablo Picasso
Yesterday in Toronto was a day of celebration and revelry celebrating the Raptors championship win. It was marred by gunshots. My husband had talked about going down there Sunday night but we have work to do, and the crowds, oh the crowds.
My son’s girlfriend went down with friends, and the friends were close to where the gunshots were fired. That no one was hurt in the inevitable stampede out of harm’s way is very fortuitous. People were knocked down and couldn’t get up but it seems the panic was not so great, and people helped up those who fell.
There are always idiots it seems. What is amazing is there weren’t more.
As a fair weather fan, I’ve enjoyed the win. Sports don’t mean that much to me. Winning is good for our morale as a city and as a country. We get a little excitement in our lives as we cheer for our team.
Will there be a bit of a letdown now? The high and hope are over. I found a quote on a blog “becomingminimalist” The emptiness of sports, is most felt in victory.
We pursue many things in our lives that lead to emptiness. We don’t notice the emptiness until we obtain our goals. Money it seems or at least we are told is an empty victory if all we get is money at the end of our pursuit. Zig Ziglar said, “Money won’t bring happiness, but everyone wants to find out for themselves.”
What are the pursuits in our life that bring the most meaning? Family and relationships are where we find most of our joy and happiness. Using our resources to do some kind of good is also a meaningful pursuit.
If we spend our time pursuing material possessions, public accolades, fame, or early retirement do we feel empty when we finally reach our goal? Is part of our problem focusing on the goal and not the journey?
Service is the rent we pay for being. It is the very purpose of life, and not something you do in your spare time. Marian Wright Edelman
Early retirement sounds like a laudable goal if one has plans after retirement that are as compelling and engaging as what we were doing before retirement.
A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness. Albert Einstein
What are the pursuits that lead to meaning and purpose? Meaning comes from belonging to and serving something beyond yourself and from developing the best within you. Martin Seligman
Even though life is getting objectively better by nearly every conceivable standard, more people feel hopeless, depressed and alone. Emily Esfahani Smith argued in a Ted Talk that despite our culture’s obsession with the pursuit of personal happiness, understanding the meaning in your life is the secret to your resilience and success.
Pursuing purpose and meaning what does that even mean? Can seeking happiness make people unhappy?
Finding purpose and meaning will be different for everyone but I think part of it is when we impact someone else’s life in a positive way. We do this in our families; we impact our spouse’s life, our children’s lives, our parent’s lives, our sibling’s lives. We can move out into a wider sphere and impact our communities and still wider and impact our society, countries, and the world.
Victor Frankly tells us we should find meaning by not caring about it, not pursuing it, let it happen. He suggests we embrace activities that connect with something greater. While having meaning present in our lives may be associated with greater happiness, searching for meaning may be associated with less happiness. The most satisfying forms of meaning may blossom not when we pursue them but when we seek beauty, love, justice or a cause greater than ourselves. The secret to meaning may be to remind ourselves every day to do the right thing, love fully, pursue fascinating experiences, and undertake important tasks, not because we are trying to increase the meaning in life, but because these pursuits are worth pursuing in themselves.
Do we love fully, pursue fascinating experiences, and undertake important tasks? Are we giving our gift away, do we even know what our gift is?
The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning. Mitch Albom
Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, meaning, purpose, and love.
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