Play For Meaning

705. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

Horatio took me on a whirlwind tour today. We met his art teacher, Jo, and I listened as they discussed artists like Sylvia Plath and Diane Arbus, artists whose work explores the darker shades of life. Both women killed themselves. Horatio posits that their artistry in some ways chronicled their march toward an inevitable conclusion. Like a raft caught in the current, hurtling toward a waterfall, they determined that there was nothing to be done, no greater meaning to be found, and went over the falls.

Horatio and I often stray into the topic of meaning making. What’s it all about? What is the greater purpose and meaning of this experience of life? I’ve decided that meaning is something we make and not something we find. Meaning is something we bring to the dance. However, we come to the dance with great expectations. We look for someone to dance with, we look for an experience that might lift us from the ordinary routine, we yearn for someone to notice us, we want food to eat, a future to create; we seek experiences. We want more. Life is made sweet in the yearning.

We get lost when we think someone else has what we need or that someone else can fulfill our yearning. Our job is to engage life; no one can do that for us. Our job is to bring our selves to life (I intend the double meaning of that phrase). Our job is not to fulfill another person’s need just as their job is not to fulfill ours. The meaning is in what we bring to the dance; if we bring joy there will be joy. If we bring blame there will be blame.

Tonight Horatio and Teru made a lovely dinner and had a cake for my birthday (coming soon!). Their daughter Nina and her beau Keith came along with Nina’s 4 year-old daughter, Jordan. I spent much of the evening learning from Jordan how to play Chutes and Ladders and a cupcake game. The first rule is that there are no rules. The second rule is that because there are no rules things like winning and losing are ridiculous. The only thing that mattered was that we played. She showed up and I showed up and the rest was imagination and wonder. You’ll be surprised to know that in a single evening I played the role of Santa Claus AND was placed forever on the naughty list (my name is written on the list in magenta crayon). It is an existential dilemma of massive proportion that required the creation of a third rule: naughty and nice are relative terms and who needs lists anyway? Meaning is never found in the list and always found in the play. So, as Jordan taught me tonight: play and the meaning will soon follow.

4 Responses

  1. Absolutely on target!!! PLAY!!!

  2. “…meaning is something we make and not something we find.” Wow. I love that. Hugs to you David.

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