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Archive for September, 2013

The_Meaning_of_Life

My daughter Jennifer, the mother of three girls, posted something interesting on her Facebook page this morning about “mean girls.”  It’s well worth the read:

Mean Girls

Like any good read, it got me thinking. And because I have always been fascinated with words and their “meanings,” I go to thinking about the meaning of “mean,” and came to a somewhat “startling” thought.  I think we need to encourage our children to be “mean.”

Crazy? Not so if you follow me down the YBR.

While being “mean” as in mean-spirited, unkind, cruel, nasty etc. is wrong to the tenth power, being “mean” as in asserting who you are not as one of the huddled masses, but as an individual, your entire life is all about “meanness.”

Here’s what I “mean.”

Say what you mean: be as polite as the situation and circumstance allows, but always say what you mean

– Mean what you say: If you’re going to say it, you better mean it.

– Find meaning in everything: You only go around once, so wring every ounce of meaning out of each and every moment.

– Mean something to someone: Love and be loved.

Want a deeper sense of meaning? Here are two great books:

MLS 6-2 - Man's Search for Meaning

mans search for himself

And one of my favorite poems that is quite meaningful: Edgar Lee Masters’ “George Grey” from Spoon River Anthology

I have studied many times
The marble which was chiseled for me —
A boat with a furled sail at rest in a harbor.
In truth it pictures not my destination
But my life.
For love was offered me and I shrank from its disillusionment;
Sorrow knocked at my door, but I was afraid;
Ambition called to me, but I dreaded the chances.
Yet all the while I hungered for meaning in my life.
And now I know that we must lift the sail
And catch the winds of destiny
Wherever they drive the boat.
To put meaning in one’s life may end in madness,
But life without meaning is the torture
Of restlessness and vague desire —
It is a boat longing for the sea and yet afraid.

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Too many tears.

911tinman

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Photo: courtesy of Dr. Petey Silveira http://www.newpathwaytohealing.com/

Photo: courtesy of Dr. Petey Silveira http://www.newpathwaytohealing.com/

When I was a kid no one ever talked about a “level playing field” despite the fact that the deeper meaning of the term was at work in our lives back in the day when Ricky loved Lucy and father knew best. And since I have a habit of looking for metaphors and analogies, I found one last week when I was thinking about the level playing  field at my time in life. (At 65 I need a level playing field, especially when a speed bump in the road stands like Mt. Everest.)

When you’re ten the world you know is the world you see…or have experienced. Since all ten-year olds are not alike, all ten-year-old world views are not alike either.  Some ten-year olds have not lifted yet, while some have. In time, however, we all begin to rise like a hot air balloon. (I hasten to add a cautionary note: Chronological age does not necessarily mean ones hot air balloon will rise as one gets older because some ‘adults’ refuse to rise to the occasions of life.)

If, as you grow older, you are not afraid to rise, then I believe you are in the ride of your lifetime.

Understand, however, that there are a number of factors that affect the rise of a balloon. In addition to the size of the balloon we have to take into account the air around the balloon. If the atmospheric conditions are ideal, the balloon will lift and float effortlessly across the wide expanse of the open sky. If weather conditions are such that there are updrafts, downdrafts, etc.  your ride will be a bit bumpy.

The truth of the matter is that no one’s life journey is clear sailing. We all hit some stormy weather.

There is another thing to consider. Most hot air balloons of the older and traditional type, had sand bags that the floater could drop…thereby making the balloon lighter and capable of floating higher. Metaphorically speaking, the sand bags are those things in our life that keep us earthbound and that inhibit us from soaring. The more willing we are to drop those sand bags, the better our chances are of rising higher and higher and soaring!

What then are the advantages of rising high above the level playing field? The biggest advantage is an amazing vantage point. At a certain age…and under certain conditions …when we are floating free and high above the earth, we get to see life from a different perspective. We can see clearly where we came from, where we are, and hopefully, if we have clear vision, we can see the wonders that await us.

In school we learn the fundamentals. In life we need to learn more. We need to learn how to soar.

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