The Art of Making Meaning

No Comments

Art of Making MeaningOne of the biggest breakthroughs of my adult life has been learning that “meaning happens where we make it.”  Yes, the moments in our lives carry exactly as much meaning as we give them.

I can light candles because the electricity is out or because I want to dispel the scent of onions… or I can light them with intention, making my home feel more peaceful and my meals a bit more special.

I can set my table because I prefer plates and cutlery to eating directly off the table… Or I can set my table with the dishes passed down from my husband’s grandmother and the lapis bowl we bought together in Afghanistan.

I used to think that “important” things would just automatically “feel” meaningful, or at least different somehow.

Ellen Dissanayake writes about art as the action of ‘making special.’ Art-making is taking something out of its everyday use and context and making it special. I agreed with Dissanayake in graduate school and I agree with her even more now.

As I’ve moved from country to country over the last 10 years, I’ve had the opportunity to observe many different national and religious holidays that were not my own. I could discount my positive experiences as just another mental ploy of seeing other people’s lives as more meaningful than my own. But it made me realize that holidays are moments of making life special. We need holidays because we seek meaning.

Celebration is an art, not a science, and I’m still learning how to make my holidays special.

These days, I’m looking for my balance point between tradition and personal expression.

What about you? What’s one action you take to make your everyday life special?




Leave a Reply

Comments are welcomed and encouraged, but please be thoughtful and courteous. As the old adage goes, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. We reserve the right to edit or remove comments that violate the spirit of these guidelines, including comments that we deem to be offensive, off-topic, self-promoting, or spammy. This comment policy is subject to change at any time.