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Chasing Meaning

21 Feb

A few Thursdays ago I got home late and tired and feeling bleh.

I decided to run a bath and light a candle and put on some Tara Brach.

Just like that. BOOM. A night saved.

Just like that. BOOM. A ritual.

Thursdays. Candles. Tara.

I don’t want to say everything I learned about rituals comes from Dolly, but maybe everything I learned about rituals comes for that little whipped cream cone.

She has her routines and her patterns. Her own little rituals.

First thing in the morning she wants cuddles, from both parents, for five minutes.

She made it up.

She made it happen.

You can make up rituals! Did you know?

I made up that bath ritual and now every Thursday night when I get home late and tired and bleh I light that candle and I run that bath and I put on that Tara and what was previously a spiral of an evening, sadness and darkness and despair, is now a ritual.

Maybe one day a beloved ritual.

Rituals can be artificial.

In fact, I think it’s healthy to make your own rituals. Rituals give your life meaning where there was none. Purpose and meaning.

It all comes back to meaning.

My therapist and I discussed this this week.

Of course, it sounded so great in the office, as we went back and forth. I buzzed with excitement. I have the answer to it! To it all!

Look out Brené Brown, it’s Chasing Meaning!

I doubt this blog will be eloquent enough for that hype. For it all.

But here is my attempt.

Last week I hosted a social event at my house.

It was so stressful.

I knew before it even began that it would be stressful and yes, it proved to be stressful.

I needed to replace dead plants and buy new picture frames and while I was at it, what about KonMari-ing every section of the home?

What about that?

I was so wrapped up in my head that I made myself slow down.

I asked myself about meaning.

Why was I doing this event in the first place?

(Because I want to make friends with the people who live near me.)

Was all my madness around getting my house perfect serving this purpose?

(No.)

(I still went crazy preparing for it, but there is a power in knowing what you’re doing and choosing it anyway. A power in choice.)

My therapist asked me if I knew any happy people, happy in the way I want to be happy.

No? I said.

Neither do I she said.

Happiness, that can’t be the goal. Happiness is like any other feeling, it comes and goes. And that’s normal! That’s what feelings are.

(Also, for some of us, happiness goes more than it comes.)

The people I know who are closest to happiness have meaning in their life. Purpose.

Are you ready for it?

The thesis?

Rather than chasing happiness, which is fleeting and a losing game, (at least for me, at least for 31 years) perhaps we should be chasing meaning?

For meaning can be created out of nothing.

Meaning can be artificial.

Rituals can be artificial.

Rituals are meaning.

I don’t know that I quite captured it. It felt So Important when we first discussed it, and now, a few weeks later it seems a little thin. Like I’m missing some key points.

But here is what I know.

Chasing happiness is a losing game for me.

But rituals, creating meaning in my life? I can do that no matter what.

I can chase meaning.