Repeated MeaningPlace

Day 82 Week 12 Q1  Thursday, March 23, 2023

Every time we return to a MeaningPlace, we are voting for it. The behaviors and actions we invest energy in can take on a life of their own when they become habituated automatic behaviors. For example, you stop at the same cafe every day, either on the way somewhere or perhaps to spend some time and hang out. Or you periodically go to the same bookstore or restaurant where you feel very comfortable and pretty certain you will enjoy this activity. Sometimes these can become MeaningPlaces. Hopefully, your job or profession is also a MeaningPlace, but this is not guaranteed. In fact, none of these are guaranteed. Cafes close, companies go out of business, people get laid off, and each of these can be a loss because these are all places where you are known, and part of Meaning is to be seen, known and acknowledged. In fact, the greatest gift a person can give another is to see them. This is not always easy.

Some MeaningPlaces are more permanent such as being out in the ocean in a kayak or hiking in the woods. But the most permeant of all MeaningPlaces are the ones you construct in your mind by dint of your significant investment in them. For example, a long-term relationship like a marriage hopefully becomes a place where you are seen by each other and positively acknowledged by each other. The many-year-long relationship has much more meaning than the always-exciting startup relationship. If you are lucky, they can even be in the same relationship at different stages of evolution, where both parties are co-creating a MeaningPlace.

Back to the consistent investment of energy into an activity or a relationship. What about your relationship with yourself? Do you find meaning apart from the external cafes and relationships? I sure hope so, for this is the most persistent MeaningPlace because it is difficult to take away from you. Your athletic prowess can be your MeaningPlace, but as a retiree, you will not do the same things you did in high school. You can try, but the outcome is less meaningful. As a high school gymnast, I find that approaching my seventieth year does not provide, shall we say, the same flexibility. 

The relationship with yourself can be the greatest MeaningPlace of all, and this does not mean that you are self-absorbed. It means you are more or less self-contained and self-sufficient. And sometimes, the little things you find yourself doing consistently over time can provide tremendous meaning. For example, I play some guitar every morning for a few minutes, okay, I admit it, sometimes for more than a few minutes.  And no, I do not consider this to be the activity I am most proficient at. But a few minutes of noodling around, not trying to do anything in particular but simply exploring the sound and vibrations, is particularly satisfying and, yes, for me, a MeaningPlace. After having done this for a few years, usually for a few minutes, I find this simple activity, made simpler by having more than one guitar in one place in my life, provides an incredible amount of meaning. For me, it is a MeaningPlace.