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What gives your life meaning?

Posted Sep 12 2008 2:01pm

What gives your life meaning? It's a question we're apt to challenge ourselves with following a crisis or a life-altering event...or as we age.

Rachel Remen, pioneering holistic physician, believes it is love that gives us meaning. She means the platonic kind of love, not the erotic kind.
"We have the power to make a real difference in the life of a total stranger without knowing their name," she said in an interview with Dean Ornish, called What Matters Most.

As a doctor who treats cancer patients in the last stage of life and a woman who has had her own physical disabilities, she has thought deeply about how to heal one's soul.

The author of Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories That Heal and My Grandfather's Blessings: Stories of Strength, Refuge and Belonging, Remen believes that telling stories connects one person to another, They are the "container for meaning."

Remen said that when people face negative experiences, they can experience a wake-up call. They ask themselves what is important, how do I want to spend my time, my money, my energy.

How can I live more intentionally so that my life conforms to the things that are important to me, rather than merely seeking comfort? Remen draws the distinction between comfort and renewal. The former is like a Band-Aid, she says, while renewal can lead to healing and transformation.

These are the questions that life coaches encounter when working with the age group of 50 and beyond. People at this stage have often achieved much of what they aspired to in their careers and families. They are ready to ponder the question of what makes life have more meaning and purpose. This is what Rachel Remen speaks to in her writing.

Let me know what big questions are on your mind as you enter your 50s and 60s and beyond.

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