1. A life’s legacy: the rippling effect

    July 31, 2014

    A life’s legacy: the rippling effect

    Author of great novels and psychotherapist Irvin Yalom talks frequently about the rippling effect we have on people’s lives. Imagine yourself as a rock sinking down a lake and causing a wave of emotions and impact on everyone around you. Did you truly believe you would come and go out of this world without influencing anyone? Without changing someone’s life? And that that effect wouldn’t be passed on?

    Even if we don’t realize it, we’re constantly touching and changing others people’s lives simply by existing and that wave of change keeps on going through time and space and generations. Simply put: think about the great heroes and characters of our history. How much influence has had Leonardo de Vinci or Jesus in our lives? And they’ve lived and died centuries ago! It’s actually a comforting idea: your body may die but the ripple effect you’ve caused will live on as long as your teachings or your actions do too.

    Apart from comfort it gives you a sense of responsibility. Your actions will be passed on and repeated even through generations. Doesn’t it give a new meaning to your job as a parent!

    Looking back: feeling a sense of purpose

    The Australian nurse Bronnie Ware published a book on the top five regrets of those who are reaching the end of their lives. It is a moving book that serves as a wake-up call and warning on how to face death with a sense of mission accomplished, as opposed to “I should have done better with my life”. In case you’re wondering the top 5 regrets of those facing imminent death are:

    1. Not having a courage to live the life you wanted and not the one that was expected of you
    2. Not having worked so hard and enjoying the simple pleasures of life more
    3. Not expressing one’s true feelings
    4. Not keeping in touch with friends
    5. Not letting yourself be happy (because happiness is also a choice)

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  2. The Search for Meaning: A Road Less Traveled.

    July 3, 2014

    The Search for Meaning: A Road Less Traveled.

    Isn’t life a bit like taking a trip to some unknown destination? Let’s call our destination Meaning. If your trip is well planned and organized you will want directions to where you are going. But, before you can get those directions you will need to know where you are starting from. This all seems simple  enough.

    It’s time for a truth test. Have you noticed how we all wear different hats. Sometimes we even wear different hats at the same time. In our haste to find our way to Meaning we often fall victim to the latest “in” terms. Adjectives that we unquestionably accept as true. Some of these adjectives include descriptors like:

    “Soccer mom”, “Easy”, “A loud mouth”, “Smart/stupid”, “Fat/skinny/Wow”, “Nerd”,  “Friend”, “Rich/poor”, “Lazy/on their way to the top”

    Is it any wonder that we get confused about who we are or what our role in life is?

    Added to this is a world of contradictions, or mixed messages. Such things as the generation you most identify with, your gender, your position in life, and your level of involvement in the world around you all influence how you filter these mixed messages. Here are just a few of these messages:

    “Stop and smell the roses”

    OR

    “I want the world and I want it now!”

    “Don’t sweat the small stuff”

    OR

    “The truth is in the details”

    “It is what it is”

    OR

    “You’re in charge.”

     

    The last factor holding many of us back from finding our own place called Meaning is our increased dependence on instant gratification. Gone for many is the patience needed to see things through to their logical outcome. It is difficult to have an attachment to things that are disposable.

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  3. Putting a Positive Spin on Views about Man and Nature

    June 2, 2014

    Putting a Positive Spin on Views about Man and Nature

     

    by Sue Chehrenegar

    In an earlier article about beauty and the meaning of life, I wrote about those people who work to protect the earth’s natural beauty. Some segments of the population applaud such efforts; others tend to laugh at talk about saving the earth.  This week, I spoke with a woman who had become discouraged by the stark division between environmentalists and those who show no interest in preserving the earth’s natural beauty, along with its resources.

    She believed that there ought to be a way of bringing those two groups together. Thus, she thought-up a way for introducing a sense of unity into what has become a very divisive issue. She has put a positive spin on that controversial topic by focusing on the fact that the typical person respects the God-given order of things. Hence, she has chosen to reach-out to the members of various faith groups.

    I liked her idea, as so I decided to read more about order in the environment. As I was reading, I discovered that her concept helped to highlight the reason that an environmentalist finds it relatively easy to introduce plenty of meaning into his or her life. The book which I have been reading was published way back in 1974, but it tackles a subject that is the focus of online discussions now, forty years later.

    I discovered that I had read and studied this particular book before. In fact, I had underlined the author’s definition of order. He had defined order as a condition in which things have been arranged with respect to their purpose. In other words, a consideration of purpose aids someone who must carry-out the act of putting a group of things in order Only by considering each object’s purpose can someone identify some sort of integrating principal, an element that shows how those various things are related.

    Now, according to the author, there are certain qualities that are related to order. The author mentions both clarity and beauty. A person with a strong religious faith has clarity regarding what is considered right and wrong. Hence, a religious person can appreciate the need for clarity, and, therefore, such a person ought to be able to understand why some people advocate for preservation of the environment.

    Once the author of this one book has presented his concept of clarity, he has turned to the concept of beauty. According to him, beauty can be categorized as the highest expression of order. The author speculates on why humans have such a love for beauty. He states that because life depends on order, those who become aware of its presence experience of sense of grandeur and majesty.

    Grandeur and majesty are words that are often used to describe our Creator. Hence, this one author’s observations on order and beauty have managed to shine a limelight on how religion might be used to put an end to the divisive nature of discussions about the environment. In other words, his words have helped to put a positive spin on any such discussion.

    As someone who writes an occasional piece for dreampositive.info, I admire any attempt to change a negative into a positive. I would also like to mention one particular website: www.edenkeeper.org. The woman who I talked with this past week added meaning to her life by creating that specific website. Now she invites others to contribute articles that focus on religious news, and how that news relates to preservation of the environment.

    I hope that those who read all the posted articles on that particular website will begin to understand the message that I have been re-reading this past week. Meanwhile, I am pleased to share the thoughts of some people I once knew, people who appreciate why a person would strive to have a meaningful life. I once enjoyed an evening in the home of the book’s author (Daniel Jordan), a man whose life ended much too soon. Dr. Daniel Jordan was one of the leaders of Bahai religion and was killed by an extremist in 1982 while he was visiting New York City.

    Dr. Jordan’s book dealt with so many significant subjects, that he asked a colleague to index all the information for him. The man who took-on that task (Geoffrey Marks) happens to be married by college roommate. Thanks to my roommate, I had a chance to meet Mr. Marks and lots of other people who have worked to make their lives more meaningful.

    Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/alicepopkorn/3704377275/

     


  4. An Author’s Experiences Give Her Life Greater Meaning

    April 24, 2014

    An Author’s Experiences Give Her Life Greater Meaning

    by Sue Chehrenegar

     

    As a children’s writer, Emily Lockhart can relate to the thinking of children. When interviewed by a reporter from the Los Angeles Times, she shared memories of her own childhood, of a time when she did not feel pushed to take life seriously. Later, like so many of the youth that pass-through the age of adolescence, Lockhart experienced an awareness of increased freedoms. For a time, she relished those new-found freedoms. Then, as she grew older, she began to take view life more seriously.

    Lockhart’s altered pattern of thinking copied that of many younger adults. It provoked thoughts that focused on the meaning of life. Her mind had become attuned to such thoughts by the age of 17, when she realized that people did not see her as someone who was capable of challenging their own thoughts and actions. Consequently, she felt decidedly underrated and wanted to add some meaningfulness to her existence.

    At that point, Lockhart began to lose interest in those things that had been providing her with intermittent periods of joy. Such actions included the application of make-up, while staring into a mirror, the refusal to abide by specific codes of conduct and the willingness to give-in to less-than-virtuous behavior. Lockhart realized that by choosing to pursue such actions, she allowed adults to view her as someone who is a tad silly, maybe even close to incompetent. Hence, she wanted to fill her life with greater substance/more meaning.

    At that point, the acquisition of added substance became her goal, one that she went-after while in college and graduate school. Eventually, she did get people to give serious consideration to what she had to say. Moreover, as that change took-place, she found that she was treated with a greater amount of respect. Still, she did not appreciate the degree to which she had to deal with on-going competition from others in academia, in order to retain the level of respect that she then enjoyed.

    Lockhart’s observations pushed re-think the wisdom of copying the pattern that had been adopted by her associates. She decided to have-a-try at the craft of writing for children. She even managed to get some of her writing published. However, it was not long before she discovered that within academia, a writer of children’s literature did not enjoy an appreciable amount of status.

    She found that within the highest echelons of academia, people tend to be serious on an almost continual basis. Their attention seldom turns to subjects that do not fall-in-line with the stated ideals of the most respected members of academia. Yet Lockhart did not view that approach to life as one that she could use, in order to make her existence more meaningful. That was why she chose to follow her own path, as opposed to the one that had been presented to her those with whom she had been interacting.

    She chose to retain what she viewed as the most meaningful aspect of her life, and she did that by seeking to excel in a discipline that gave her great pleasure. That was the craft that required development of writing skills, particularly the skills of a children’s author. Contrary to any advice she may have received from others, Lockhart’s choice did not deprive her life of meaning. She has authored books that young people read and loved.

    As a loved children’s writer, Lockhart did not allow herself to compose material that sounded a bit like a sermon. Still, she realized that she could get young minds thinking. Hence, she managed to write books that helped younger readers to begin to think more seriously about their own pathway into the future.

    Lockhart does not recommend that every child follow the pathway that she has chosen. Still, she realizes that, at some point, every child becomes a teenager and then a mature and thinking adult. She hopes to get younger readers thinking seriously about how each of them can go-about living a more meaningful life.

     

    Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/floringorgan/4694122800

     

     

     

     


  5. If You Don’t Want To Regret About Your Life In 10 Years

    November 5, 2013

    If You Don't Want To Regret About Your Life In 10 Years

    by Alex Strike

    Once, I’ve read such an expression: “Do not behave as if 500 years are left for you to live”. I do not know why, but these words made me think of my life in a different way. You must admit, that usually we do not think about the fact that tomorrow might not come; and one day we look around and confess that we lived a wrong way. We start thinking about the things we would change or do in a different way if we were ten years younger for example.

    Were you happy all these years? Did you love enough? Did you do what you wanted exactly? Maybe it would be better to do something today in order not to regret about your life and missing opportunities in ten years? What can you do right now for your tomorrow’s happiness?

     

    1. Think of health

     

    Your body is a house of your soul, that is why think and care about it as the most important thing you have in life. If you do not have health, you will have nothing at all, so, eat and rest well, and do not forget about exercising as well.

     

    2. Love

     

    Love may come to your life from different sources, that is why just do not miss an opportunity to love something. It will give you a chance to understand how much beauty is around you every day, and you will surprise how easy it is to notice it and get pleasure of it.

     

    3. Laugh

     

    Some of us take their life too seriously. Why should we do this anyway? Every day it is possible to find humor in something that surrounds us, so, do not ignore such a chance. Laugh as much as you can, find positive moments everywhere, enjoy every moment your life brings to you.

     

    4. Do not keep silence

     

    How often do we hide what we really think? Do you really think that no one around you do not know about your feelings? Do not keep silence, when it comes to relations with other people: if you love a person – tell him/her about it; if a person hurts you – tell him/her as well.  Is it difficult for you to express your feelings? Writing a letter will be a perfect variant for you then.

     

    5. Do not live in the past

     

    We all have the past, and we often think of it wondering about “what if…”. Moreover, some people believe that the past can be changed (we all remember Jay Gatsby, do not we?). Forget about it! It is done already, and there is no reason to regret about anything that can’t be changed. So, it’s high time to throw all regrets away and think of your past as memories, nothing else.

     

    6. Do not crave for material things

     

    We all want fame, popularity, much money, beautiful people around, etc., and we all crave for it for the whole life. We think that we’ll become happy at once we get all these material things. But the truth is that your expensive clothes and cars are the last things you will think of when you are old. The more chances are you will remember your loyal dog and those feelings it gave you. So, just stop craving for all material only.

     

    7. Accept what you can’t change

     

    There is no point to regret and worry about anything you can’t change. And even if you think you should have entered another university or married another person, there are things you can’t change already. The only thing you can do is to re-evaluate all of them and think logically what you can change. Follow your instincts, or just try to change your attitude towards the situation you can’t change.

     

    8. Do what you love

     

    Yes, it sounds so obvious, and we all definitely heard this advice, but… Do you follow it? No, think again! You will never regret about spending time with people who make you happy; you will never regret about your holidays and vacations… But you may regret about all missing opportunities: about a book you have not read, about courses you have not attended, and so on. Be open to new hobbies, and do what you really like in this life.

     

    9. Open your mind

     

    Do not be afraid of thinking about things in a different way. Open your mind to new opportunities and possibilities, change your perspective, and you will see how easy it can be to improve yourself and your relationships with people around. Feel less bitterness, feel less anger, and open a new world to yourself.

     

    10. Be grateful

     

    Maybe you do not know this fact, but gratitude can really improve you: your health, self-worth, spirituality, happiness. The sad truth of life is the fact it will never be perfect, but it does not mean you have nothing to be grateful for. Do not forget to thank life for all those big and small joys it gives you.

     

    Author Bio: Alex Strike is a young blogger at the best online essay writing services.

    Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/federicoravassard/8568683430


  6. Can Books Help You Find The Meaning Of Life?

    September 11, 2013

    What is the meaning of life?

    by Jessica Galbraith

     

    Philosophers and forward thinking individuals have been searching for the ominous meaning of life since the beginning of human existence. Thousands upon thousands of books have been written on the subject, each author offering up their own explanation of life’s ultimate meaning and the mantras one should live by.

    Not everyone is a natural born explorer of the mind and author extraordinaire, so for those of us who are left to sift through the piles of material written by others, what can we expect to gain? Is it possible to learn about life and discover the meaning of our existence through reading a book? While looking at some of the most popular literary works that examine this issue, we can analyze the possible positive effects that they can have on our own lives as well as whether or not they can effectively answer humankind’s greatest question in their pages.

    You have to decide what’s the meaning of life

    Victor Frankl, the Nazi concentration camp survivor turned inspirational author, is best known for his philosophies that promote finding meaning in everything. From a man who experienced true suffering, he challenges all of us to discover beauty in tragedy and good in the bad. Frankl was the creator of Logotherapy, which is based on the concept that the meaning of life is all about finding what is important and meaningful in one’s own life. Readers all over the world have claimed that Frankl’s words have changed their lives, and his works such as “Man’s Search for Meaning” have sold over 10 million copies worldwide.

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