A Meaningful Life

People want to have a life of meaning – of purpose – yet how does one accomplish this?  Not from an egoic place, but from a humanistic vantage point. A recent article in the magazine, Mindfulness: Healthy Mind, Healthy Life, offered some suggestions on how to accomplish this. Here are a few of the ideas to try.

#1 – Set an Intention
According to Parneet Pal of Wisdom Labs, “Intention can help you align your conscious thinking  with your primal emotional drive … like reward, connection, purpose, self-identity and core values”.  Before starting out on your day, take a moment to think of what you are going to do, who you will be dealing with and how you might interact for the highest good. During the day, it is good to revisit the intentions to see how you are doing and how they are influencing your way of being in the world.  With daily practice, you will begin to notice subtle, yet significant, changes towards being meaningful and purposeful.

#2 Pick a Pillar
Psychologist and author of The Power of Meaning, Emily Esfahani Smith describes “four pillars” which support a quest for greater meaning in anyone’s life. Even if you strengthen only one of these pillars, you will notice positive changes. The four pillars of a meaningful life are:

Belonging – relationships in which we feel valued for who we are and in which we value others. We can choose to strengthen relationships in this way.

Purpose –  the key to purpose is using our strengths to serve others;  this offers us something worthwhile to do.  When we have a sense of worth, it strengthens our sense of purpose and our life’s meaning .

Transcendence – those moments when we rise above the daily routines and activities of life and feel connected to a higher reality.  These moments have the power to change us and how we operate in this world.

Storytelling – everyone has a life story which helps them understand who they are.  If the story is not helping you realize the purpose and meaningfulness in your life, why not change how you are telling the story?  Perhaps a change towards retelling with more  emphasis on your positive actions, thoughts and relations will help steer you towards having more of the same.  Change the language of the story and you may change the course and focus of your future.

#3 What’s Life Asking of You
Advice from Chip Conley, the author of Emotional Equation: Simple Truths for Creating Happiness and Success and founder and former CEO of Joie de Vivre hotels: “Instead of worrying about the meaning of life, craft a life that has meaning to you right where you are.”  He goes on to say, “Lots of people are so distracted by searching for the light at the end of the tunnel that they cannot see clearly what is right next to them. Creating an abstract idea of meaning can just become another distraction.  What is life asking of you RIGHT NOW?  Can you light a figurative candle in your hand to illuminate this moment so that you and those around you can make a difference today?”   His challenge is for us to be present in our life and use this to “build it” into something meaningful.  The meaning of life is, in his view, “a DIY job”.

These are just a few of the ways in which we can create a more meaningful life.  You don’t need to tackle every suggestion at once.  Just start with one thing and see how it helps you find meaning and purpose every day.  Over time, add more activities and see how the miracle of You unfolds.  Enjoy the adventure!

Article written by Pat Antoniak Registered Nurse-Registered Aromatherapist and owner of the Natural Comfort Wellness Centre in Tsawwassen, BC.

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