written in response to Savannah’s wonderful prompt
I’d like to start by trying on “makes” in that prompt instead of “is”. A meaningful life is dynamic, a state to exist in; it is not “achieved” or “found” to be held on to, nor can it be compared or measured – it is practiced and nurtured and welcomed. Day after day, year after year, decade after decade.
What makes a meaningful life?
A meaningful life consists of many ordinary, simple days. Days that might not be easy or smooth, but conclude by laying down in bed with a sense of satisfaction and excitement for what follows in the morning. It is filled with practices approached diligently, repetition compounding depth and clarity over time. Consistency and commitment.
A meaningful life has people nearby nurturing the tapestry of their lives into something beautiful. A life to resonate and reflect and interconnect with those around it, in mutually beneficial positive sum feedback loops of care. An openness to connection from other, welcoming support and feedback and encouragement, and offering it in return whenever possible.
It can appear when working towards grand, transcendent visions of the future. Or it can be in the ordinary here and now: cooking dinner for a group of loved ones. Writing and mailing a letter. Re-potting a plant. Smiling at a stranger. The extraordinary emerges from the ordinary, complexity from simplicity.
Being in right relationship with self, others, and the earth. Building towards systems that are re-generative, non-extractive, non-exclusionary. Learning, each and every day. Making space for self-growth, for change, for evolution. Seeking teachers, and mentoring students of one’s own someday.
Respecting the interconnected nature of life and reality, acknowledging one’s actions echo and reverberate through all of existence; that we are all part of one cosmic dance, on a scale somewhere between the dance of atoms and the waltz of galaxies.
A meaningful life emerges from a sense of gratitude and wonder at the marvel that is the universe dancing with itself, to embrace and step into this role with curiosity, openness, and faith.