Sunday, November 1, 2009

Finding Meaning

I have spent most of my life trying to find the meaning behind all the things in my life. When something dreadful would happen, or something joyous, I would pause and wonder what it all meant. It has been a puzzlement, a little nagging question in the back of my mind… What does it all mean?

Now, I don’t know and I’m not sure we are meant to know, but what I do know is that these happenings, whether they are tragic or blessed, form a tapestry that creates a life… my life, our lives.

One thing happens and then another, we move from one to the next in a seamless flow of time. If we could possibly allow ourselves to let go as we continually drift from one event to the next, perhaps life you would be less painful and suffering kept to a minimum. Perhaps the experience is the important element and not just the result of any event.

When something wonderful has happened to me – it could be a life-affirming event, such as getting the job at hospice, or something as simple as being with my granddaughter for a dinner together– whatever the event, I try to let it go as it is coming to its natural conclusion. I don’t cling and I let go.

There was a time when I would cling. I remember one time, and think it was when I first noticed my tendency to cling to enjoyable times, my husband gave me the gift of a massage and facial at a spa, I was so excited, and I looked forward to it for weeks. The day finally arrived and I went to the spa. They gave me a luxurious robe to wear and soft slippers to cushion me feet and led me into the massage room. The dimly lit room smelled of herbal oils, it was truly delicious. As I lay on the table and began to soak in the ambiance and the feel of warm hands on my body, the thought began to form - this is going to end. I remember I kept thinking, “Oh, I wish this could go on forever.” Which, of course, it cannot; all things must end. Time passed and I began looking for the end. There was a bit of desperation in my thought, it’s going to end, it’s going to end.

It wasn’t until later that evening that I realized I missed most of the massage because I was anticipating the end; so much so, that the actual experience of the massage slipped by unnoticed. It was then that I realized that all things end; slowly, I made peace with it and made a concerted effort to fully experience anything that was occurring that moment. And it has made all the difference!

No longer do I worry about the end, I dwell in the midst. It has taken some time to reach this point, but it has been a blessing. Even in the midst of difficult events, I dwell in the midst, knowing that there is an end, but experiencing all that comes. Somehow, it has freed me in ways that I do not fully understand. It is in this place of not knowing that I find the meaning to it all.

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