Mark has been stuck in his apartment since March. He’s managed OK, but last week he woke because of a pain in his chest. It hurt so much that he went to his local emergency department at the hospital. He waited for hours. When he was finally seen, he was told there was nothing wrong that they could find; that it was nerves. They gave him some Gravol and sent him home.
Back in his apartment, Mark wondered what was wrong with him. He was grateful for his job, even though he wasn’t inspired by the work he had to do. That work was easier when there were others to talk to and take breaks with. But now he works from home alone – like everyone else in his company.
As it happened, he and his long-term partner decided to end their relationship in January. It was by mutual agreement. He’d found relief in that at the time, but that was before COVID. Lately, with the uninspiring work and the isolation, he’s starting to ask himself if this is all there is.
We now know that having a sense of meaning in our lives promotes a sense of well-being; it also contributes to physical well-being. What I’ve begun to notice among my clients and friends is that the continued restrictions that come with containing COVID are inadvertently robbing people of their sense of meaning. The things we do to entertain us and make life fun have been either temporarily eliminated or curtailed, and these small things are impacting us.
It actually doesn’t take much to make our lives meaningful. We all have it within us to recapture that sense of meaning and purpose, even in these restricted times. What lies within us is all our experience of the past, and a creative capacity to make something out of just about anything.
When I was 12, we moved to a new neighbourhood. There was no park, and no playmates. Just hills and hills of prairie dogs, yellow grass, and underneath the grass, clay. That summer, while my brothers dug out forts, I used the clay they put aside to make colorful pots out of water, yellow grass, and watercolors, allowing the heat of the sun to dry and harden my creations.
My life was filled with meaning that summer.
I was a kid then, with kid imagination. I didn’t need to be anything great. I only needed something that gave my life meaning. As adults, we can re-learn to tap into that limitless potential we had as children, and our lives, once more, can be filled with the magic of our natural imagination and abilities.
The happy secret to better work
Quote of the Week
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
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