Most of us are aware of the physical structures on which our lives are built. The homes we live in, the landscapes that surround us, the bodies that we inhabit. We usually also notice the substance that we create with our minds, and how what we think and imagine can often feel more real than what surrounds us in the material plane. The substance of the creations of our bodies and minds, the forms that surround us both literally and in our imaginations, make up the stage on which we play out our lives. Each day we perform an entire play, and in each moment, every line that we utter and prop that we grab – all these things that we “do” – seem to matter. If to no one else then at least to ourselves.
But once the play is over…what then? Yes, that day may have included much productivity. Boxes ticked, jobs completed. House cleaned, homework done, bills paid, holiday planned. Structure added or organized within the physical form of our lives. A good day’s work.
What about all the other moments – the ones that often we often savour the most but that aren’t measured by a line crossed off on a to-do list? The friend that we hugged, the picnic with our kids, the glorious sunset we soaked up. Certainly these meaningful moments are what life is all about. Living to experience love, pleasure, creation and joy within the context of compassion and connection to the world around us is a very high state of being. But is that all these moments are? Moments in time that exist only in our memories once they have passed?
I don’t think so. I have come recently to have a very visceral experience of the accumulation of meaningful moments in my life. The feeling is of a structure almost as solid as the couch that sit on as I write this.
I think I was always good at recognizing and creating meaning. I would often find myself in a situation, or planning one, and think hmmm…what could make this EVEN BETTER? And then the picnic would be complete with extra cozy blankets, flasks of tea, spare towels for spills, and candle lanterns for when the sun began to sink. The friend would be hugged that moment longer, words of affection and appreciation expressed. The setting sun would enter my eyes and touch my skin, the surrounding smells filling my nose, the cool evening air caressing my lungs, as I took care to notice it all. When my son was born I upped my game even more, as creating meaning for him gave me a heightened sense of pleasure and achievement at levels that I had not known previously.
Now, this “meaning” of the 46 years I have lived so far, feels like a vibrantly woven tapestry from which I bound my way forward. I feel it as a part of my energy field, a layer that strengthens all the others, and that lends itself in to my present day moments as if to say “Here it is…that beautiful tapestry you’ve been working on…and look…an opportunity to add even more colour! Even more beauty!”. I am enlivened by it. I am strengthened by it. I live from it and in it. I breathe in my past, savour the present, and exhale my future, and every moment the meaning deepens, my heart expands, my gratitude grows. For every pain- and pleasure-filled thread is a part of this creation. Wow.
I have this, and you do too. Just take a meaningful moment right now to have a look at your own tapestry. I bet you will see, truly, you are an artist, and truly, every single coloured thread matters. And every day is an opportunity weave an even more beautiful, even more life-giving, even more meaningful life experience.
*For some great tips of creating meaningful memories check out my recent interview with Meik Wiking, author of "The Art of Making Memories: How to Create and Remember Happy Moments ".