As human beings we have a magnificent ability to ascribe meaning to our life’s experiences. Our choice of these meanings and our reflection on them give us new opportunities for growth and development. A recent article in DailyOM, “The Understanding Underneath – Experiences with Multiple Meanings,” deepens our understanding of this process and the impact it has on us.
“One situation has the power to teach us about life because it exposes us to something unfamiliar. Another touches our emotions deeply by enabling us to see how fortunate we are. Yet our initial impressions of an experience may not wholly reveal the true significance of that occurrence because our full response to an experience is like on onion with many layers that all have disparate meanings. Consider that a sunrise may stun us visually while simultaneously evoking memories of childhood and reminding us that each new day is a rebirth.”
It is our initial impressions that serve as input for examination – one that allows us to “peel away the levels” of an event, see it through different lenses as we mentally relive it. This process enable us to explore new questions and, in seeking the answers, find new meaning. It is important to remember also that experiences and impressions come to us without meaning. It is we who give meaning to them – through our values, attitudes and our life’s experiences. It is in our choice that meaning is created. As Anais Nin, Cuban-Spanish-French author, writes: “There is not one big cosmic meaning for all, there is only the meaning we give to our life, an individual meaning, an individual plot, like an individual novel, a book for each person.”
This week fill your life with magnificent meaning and purpose. Take time to find in your experiences great learnings. Peel back the layers in quiet reflection and, in choosing the meaning that you give to those experiences, choose wisely and choose well… as you write your life’s story, your book.