Being Contemplative

5 Jul

I wonder all the time if there is really meaning to life. I’m not sure.  I was born.  I’m here going through the motions.  One day I will die and my life will be over.  I think meaning in life exists in those that you effect.  How you reach people.  The way you make others feel.  The creativity and ideas you leave behind.  The love that you shared.  That’s one of the reasons my marriage is so important to me.  The fact that I’m not going to discard him as if his life has no meaning to me is part of what defines who I am.

I am also learning to find meaning within myself.  All of my worth isn’t tied to the people around me.  That’s something that I’m learning every day.  Even if I’m no Shakespeare (although if you listen to some even Shakespeare was no Shakespeare), I have wisdom.  Even if I’m no Einstein, I have intelligence.  Even if I’m never famous, I have talents.  Even if I’m not a super model, I am beautiful.  Even if I never leave a lasting mark on the world, I am here now and affecting those around me in small ways every day.

I’m not really going to delve extremely far into the “meaning of life,” because everyone under the sun has already done that (so it seems).  I will say that I have vowed to really live my life fully.  I’m not even sure what that means right now, but I’m taking it day by day.  Two days ago it was about expressing myself through a new tattoo.  Yesterday it was about relaxing and letting myself enjoy some fried chicken.  Today I’m not sure what it is going to be about.  But I will make sure that I do something that brings me joy.  Because, ultimately, that is one of the most important things we can get out of life.

Back to the idea of meaning in general…  Yesterday I thought even more about the meaning behind my new tattoo.  I delved into it a bit in my original post, but there is even more symbolism behind the turtle.  After some quick research I discovered that many cultures have meaning attached to the turtle.  The symbolism that I relate the most to is a mish-mash of multiple cultures.  The overarching theme across time is that turtles represent endurance, strength, stability, and longevity (many sea turtles live for upwards of 80 years).  They are also said to provide protection, good fortune and happiness.  That sounds great!

The turtle’s careful deliberative movements are a rich symbol for inner reflection and peace.  As someone who tends toward the contemplative side of things, that definitely represents me well.  Turtles are also considered to have courage because they have to stick their necks out in order to walk.  In African fairy tales the tortoise is considered the most clever animal.  In the Aesop fable the tortoise and the hare, the determination and work ethic of the turtle makes him the winner of the race.  The turtle is part of nearly every culture in some significant way, and are involved in creation myths of various cultures including Native American, Asian, Mesopotamian, and many others.  The certainly have a lot of meaning to people other than just myself.

So, I guess if a simple animal can have that much meaning then I certainly do, too.


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