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civic engagement community engagement engagement personal development personal engagement

Best Practice: Find Meaning in Life

This is the tenth and last post in my series on Best Practices in Engagement.Personal engagement requires nothing- it simply happens. If you want to be more engaged, all that you have to do is live life, and find meaning in the life you live. Its like Rumi wrote: “If you want to hold the beautiful one, hold yourself to yourself.”

Best Practice 10: Find Meaning in Life.

The 3,000 year old “Árbol del Tule” in Santa María del Tule, Oaxaca, Mexico.Trees find their meaning in simply living. 
Life is for living, and engagement makes it happen. All around you right now there’s the swirling maze of 100,000,000,000 people, places, experiences, ideas, and other realities happening right now. They’re darting in and out of this exact moment. You might give some of them names- friends, plans, moments, movements- but the majority is unnamed. You are already engaged in so many of them.
So you wanna do things different in your life? Wanna have more fun or play more games? Ready to heal wounds from your childhood and make friends with your old neighborhood again? Wanna take some time off work or get on your hands and knees to play with the kids? Looking to let go of old hurts by playing music or gardening? Get to it!
By the same token, maybe you’re ready to simply live more of the life you have right now. You’ve been granted an unlimited, all-access pass to be you as you are right now. There is nowhere to go, nothing to do, and no one to be, except for you. You are ready to know that plans, hopes, dreams, and schemes are illusions we give ourselves in order to make it through the day. The truth of the situation is that you are always supported exactly how you need to be in order to be who exactly who you are. You know this doesn’t mean you need to be idle or lazy. This doesn’t mean you can slough off and bum around. Unless those are the things you choose to do. But the point is there’s nothing to do. The reality of engagement is that everything you’ve ever done and everything you might ever want to do are already supported right now.
Nelson Mandela once wrote,  “There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” So, instead of reading books, watching movies, surfing the Internet, or praying to the saints, know that your life has meaning in it right now, just the way it is. If you’d swear otherwise, its because you haven’t seen the truth that’s within you right now. The truth is that you are engaged already right now, and there’s nothing more that you need to do. Unless you want to, and then the world is yours.

A Path to Find Meaning from Your Life

  1. Select an experience in your life you want to find meaning from.
  2. Describe and explore the experience alone on paper or out loud with another person.
  3. Examine the experience from your perspective.
  4. Interpret and name realizations from the experience.
  5. Identify the alternatives and rethink future action.
  6. Integrate your new learning into the rest of your life.

Read the other practices from this series in my introductory post to Best Practices in Engagement.

By Adam F.C. Fletcher

I'm a speaker, writer, trainer, researcher and advocate who researches, writes and shares about education, youth, and history.

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