On Mining My Life for Meaning

With my late husband Jeff, who knew how to play with meaning, and loved it, too. And whenever I would lapse into the furrowed brow pose, jolt me out of it with some remark out of left field that blew my tiny closed mind wide open. Photo taken in 2002. He died five months later. See my book, This Vast Being: A Voyage through Grief and Exaltation, at www.tendrepress.com

Re: my “Fractured Wrist Chronicles”:

A dear old former lover of mine commented, on Facebook, last night:

• COME ON, ANN! It’s a broken wrist! 1,000’s broken everyday. Yes, I know, it’s your wrist, but enough is enough.

To which I replied:

• For you, maybe! And I KNEW you would be making this comment. As you remember, I’m constantly mining my life for meaning. Wish more people did the same!

(You see why we’re no longer lovers?)

Okay. But why do I mine my life for meaning? And why do I wish more people did the same?

I ponder this question, not because for me, unless I answer it satisfactorily, I will stop mining my life for meaning; because, frankly, I can’t. I’m obsessed, geared to go through life this way, seeking patterns in apparent chaos. Patterns themselves satisfy. Each aha! indicates, to me, that something is going on underneath the apparent randomness of events, and that this something, however mysterious, is deeply alive, intelligent, and purposeful. If all I can catch is little clues here and there, tiny bits and pieces of extraordinary, complex, synchronistic reverberations linking waves and particles well, then, even that is enough. It keeps me going. It’s why I’m here.

Everything in my life is grist for this mill of mining for meaning. And meaning continuously morphs, as perspective widens and deepens. For that is what it must do, continuously, or I get stuck, fixed in place, rigid and dogmatic. Even fundamentalist! Messianic! Knee jerk religious or patriotic! Yuck!

I have no choice not to be a Sagittarian, hungry for meaning. But I do have a choice as to whether or not I keep on moving or just stay stuck in some kind of “belief system” or “identity” that I use to keep me separate from everybody else and, hopefully, moving up some kind of socially sanctioned ladder by grabbing and throwing whoever is higher than me and stepping on the toes of whoever’s coming up from below.

Nope. Not for me this conformity that has been bred into us for centuries to follow the leader into oblivion.

But why do I want other people to do this, too. Well, for one thing, companionship. I like nothing better than a long juicy conversation over jasmine tea where we bring each other our stories, and nudge each other into further, deeper understanding of the narrative threads that we are weaving into the whole cloth of meaning that itself, continuously mutates like a kaleidoscope of color.

To find meaning in the events of our lives changes us, turns us from victims, pawns, into free agents, actively seeking to see and feel the ultimately indescribable mystery and beauty of the natural world, and the natural mind, its childlike curiosity ever hungry to engage in fuller, deeper ways.

Let’s face it, folks! We are the universe, playing with itself. We are the universe, at play.

How different, this way of life, from the usual 3D, polarized, either/or, right or wrong, good or bad, attitude that most people adopt, tenacious and with furrowed brow, trying to figure out once and for all what happened, to whom, why, and how to correct whatever horrible thing we see it as until the next horrible thing happens and whips us from that distraction to this next one, and we react to that, too, always seeing ourselves as superior to others who we judge as stupid, or ignorant, or lazy, or as we say the cabal would call us, “useless eaters.”

Well, this useless eater loves life! And she loves to mine it for meaning! And to share what she has discovered! And to put even that discovery in a broader, deeper context which, undoubtedly, down the line, will fission back into the cosmic soup which just keeps on stirring, stirring, a wise witches brew of continuous caring, compassion and connectedness with the one being that embraces us, all of us, whether we’re stuck or moving or in between.

There’s no way to get away from life. Unless you’re dead. But even then, you’re not. So you might as well come out to play. Why wait?

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0 Responses to On Mining My Life for Meaning

  1. “Mining for meaning.” I love that expression, and yes, many of us are compelled to do so! And with the shifts in perspective we get from age to age, the meanings *change* lol!! I was just reading about how the last time Saturn was in Scorpio it was from Dec 1982 to November 1985. *Immediately* I started looking for parallels from that time for me and this time now.

    I lost my virginity during that time frame, lol. Just sayin’.

    Anyway, I get this, and you just keep on going. 🙂 Some of us understand and like looking for the patterns, too.


  2. Pamela says:

    I got divorced, moved to a mountain in Colorado, and lived in a bus! Whew! That kind of energy is coming around again? Better get my traveling shoes on…:-)

  3. Susan Knilans says:

    I, too, have been a lifelong “meaning-miner.” There is a trap in it—a tendency to think we have actually found the meaning. Or sometimes, we force meaning because we need it so much. As I age, I find the real challenge is to be content with absolute anchorlessness. That is, meaning is there but utterly beyond me, and I am distracting myself from the simple isness of life when I try to put a face of “meaning” on it all. I am trying to find peace in this: “Haven’t got a ****ing clue.” I feel sometimes that meaning-seeking puts borders on our experiences, or frames them in too tight. As I said, I’ve been seeking meaning in everything all my life, and have only recently begun to see the “darker face” of the activity. What does this all mean????!!

    • I agree, there is a dark side, the effort to click any interpretation into place, and hold it there, frozen, stuck, as a frame that includes only what’s inside it and no more. That’s why I like the idea of play, continuous framing and reframing, recognizing how all forms arise and disappear. And frames can be anchors, too, especially here in 3D, for those like me, who need ’em to stay grounded. So much easier for me to just fly off — and yet as long as I’m embodied, I feel my responsibility is to this place. All sorts of anchors, like house, garden, people, the routines of the day, events, and so on!

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