A few years ago, I had no idea that the work I did…teaching school….or any job… any career … contributed so “automatically” to a such a deep and varied sense of “a deeply meaningful life”…in so many ways…in so many aspects!
And then I “retired” from working… moved on into a “new” life… Wow!! Big, unanticipated surprises!
What a change that’s been! Wonderful, in many ways…but challenging in many other ways!
I’ve been wondering…
where did that wonderful sense of…
…how in the world…
might I ….
can I …
continually create or re-create those important qualities, now,
in my everyday life?
What amazing amounts of learning, creativity, ingenuity and improvising I’ve been having to use as I’m learning about, discovering, exploring and actually using positive strategies and ideas in support of creating…and re-creating…. a “new” variation on…. a meaningful life!
“bricolage” …. a wonderful word that I learned from reading Joan Borysenko
“an ability to think outside the box and improvise successful solutions.”
There’s a phrase used about parenthood… the idea that parenthood is “an automatic friendship generator”… “parents” are continuously developing an abundance of friendships and relationships as we’re supporting our kids in activities, schools, organizations, volunteering…new friendships continually developing with other adults…
Well… I’m starting to realize that “working”… a job…a career is “an automatic MEANING generator” …simply by being at work, being with others, caring about and committed to whatever work we might do… engaging in so many meaningful aspects of that “job” throughout each work day….each of those contributing to a sense of a deeply engaged and meaningful life….
Work: an automatic “meaning” generator…
“qualities” supporting having a sense of meaning:
an automatic “relationship” generator,
an automatic “connecting to others” generator,
an automatic “contributing to others” generator,
an automatic “growth and learning” generator,
an automatic “accomplishment” generator,
an automatic “feeling acknowledged and appreciated” generator
All contributing to…..
a generator of….a deeper sense of meaning in one’s life!
Soooooooooooooo…..now…???… how in the world do I go about creating… or re-creating…. a sense “meaning” in important areas…??? ….
How do I learn more about how to actually DO this???……living with a sense of “meaning” and “purpose” in my everyday life…. a sense of meaning and purpose not coming out of or generated by the “work” I previously did….
How might I go about NEWLY creating, generating and living with a deeper sense of meaning…??? …. living meaningfully… creating and generating a sense of a deeply meaningful life…
How do I do that…………..????
What might I be able to I learn?
What might I try to understand?
What might I actually try?
What can I do?
What important “meaning generators” can I learn about, develop and live?
Well….that’s what the “Charging Well Being Checklists” I’ve been creating and using for the past 10 months are for… for actually learning effective strategies for living with a deeper sense of meaning….for support in creating a meaningful and purposeful life… and for meeting, enjoying, living and connecting with people around me.
So many of the varied ideas on that larger checklist,
are ideas I can learn about, explore, try out and use!
Ideas that are turning out to actually be really supportive and helpful
in this “quest” that I’m on….
At least for me….this is a good idea!
Here’s a photo, below, of a larger “Well-being Checklist”
a checklist I’ve been using for the past many months…
This particular version….checked off during the past few weeks
after various activities I “did” each day….
a variety of both simple and complex activities
It doesn’t matter how simple or complex any activity might be!!!
What matters most to me, is seeing the depth and levels of meaning
generated by participating in both simple and complex activities
Ah ha!…lots of new approaches for creating and living…
“automatic meaning generators!!!”
Increasing my awareness of those choices and options..
increasing my appreciation of them…
increasing my sense of access to them…
all leading to living with
a deeper sense of meaning and purpose
At least for me…this is a good idea!
Yes… for me…. this is a good idea!
The full Well-being checklist”…
lots of overlap in each section… ideas and strategies from various researchers…
lots of good and helpful ideas for living and enriching my everyday life!
For the past 10 months,
I’ve been using the ideas on this checklist to support….
learning, enjoying, creating and living….
an increasingly varied and balanced….
Using these checklists to support “generating”….
creating exploring experimenting
learning and flexibly growing
feeling acknowledged and appreciated
connecting with others
contributing to others
an abundance of positive qualities
I’ve been reading, studying, reflecting upon and thinking about some additional, really insightful ideas from a wonderful, newly published book: “The Power of Meaning Crafting a Life that Matters” by Emily Esfahani Smith. Reading those ideas is really helping me to put the ideas from the checklists into a deeper, more meaningful context… a terrific book!
This post is part of Nurturing Thursdays, hosted at Becca Givens’ Blog, On Dragonfly Wings With Buttercup Tea. Link into Becca’s blog to view her Nurturing Thursday post and for links to posts by other Nurturing Thursday bloggers.
I believe that’s why everyone feels so unsettled now. The chaotic economy has made people understand what’s wrong with depending on a job to provide meaning in life, but we don’t yet know how to do better. The world would be much improved if more people took the time to consider the details as you do.
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Meg, that’s a really helpful point that you wrote about… thank you…. it hadn’t occurred to me that people who are unemployed, or under-employed, health insurance concerns etc would be facing similar challenges by not having that automatic meaning generator of a satisfying job etc…thank you for pointing that out. That makes sense, especially in the context of my own bewilderment about what’s happened and is happening in the US and world these days.
The song… “Little Honda”… the old Beach Boys song has been coming to my mind…and realizing that even though I may not have an “automatic transmission/generator” at this point in my life… I seem to have a manual stick shift! … so for me to at least keep pushing in that clutch and shifting into first gear and then accelerating!..and maybe 2nd and 3rd gears, too!
“First gear …. it’s alright
Second gear …. I lean right
Third gear …. hang on tight
Faster faster faster
Yes, it’s not that people are any nastier or more racist than they used to be. They feel overwhelmed and out of control. It takes a lot of effort to work through the choices in today’s complicated world, and some would rather look for scapegoats and quick fixes.
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Yes, I can see more of those expanded parallels now… the dynamics of those “automatic meaning-in-life generators” that I’ve been thinking about, “missing” and writing/creating about seem to be impacting large numbers of people far more significantly than I had realized … thank you for helping me expand that awareness from a more “personal” level to a much wider level….
I loved reading this and seeing the evolution of your thoughts, of life really. We get the opportunity, throughout life, of recreating who we are and how we walk this world. I love that.
There seems to be a big, positive evolution happening within me… (in spite of a concurrent ongoing sense of dismay over US politics and human rights)… Joss, we’re very fortunate to be able to be personally creating and re-creating as we’re walking our way in and through this world…………….
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Yes, yes, and yes. And that we can do it in good company is a big bonus.
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