Finding Meaning (Again)

Last week was a “dark night of the soul” kind of week for me. I felt unmotivated, untethered, and lost. I have a great life, but suddenly it felt as if I had gone off the path and into the brambles. I had lost sight of what gave my life meaning.

We all have weeks like this, weeks where we feel as if we’ve lost our way. I think a lot of people live lives like this, never knowing in which direction they should be headed, and never expecting anything better.

Last year I quit a job I used to love. It reached a point where I felt as if I was selling my soul every time I went to work. I didn’t believe in what I was doing any longer and I walked away.

I think a lot about meaning these days. What makes our lives meaningful? Does it just happen, or can we create meaning?

I mostly believe life is what you make it, that we facilitate a meaningful life by the things we do, the relationships we build, and the experiences we create. Sometimes, though, you have to search for meaning, and it’s not always easy to find.

After a week of soul searching, I finally figured out that most of what I’ve done this past year has been solely for the purpose of making money.

We all have to eat and make our way in the world of work, but focusing mainly on how to make money completely changes everything. Whereas I used to look forward to writing, it became a chore, something that might possibly lead to a way to make a living. My writing changed, became less personal. I found ways to avoid sitting at the computer. I found excuses. Having to write took all the joy away. I started to resent the constant pressure of having to write something every day.

If I’m writing only because I hope to make a living from it, it will probably never happen. I don’t want to write because it will put food on the table; I want to write because it’s the food that will nourish my soul.

I had forgotten that without meaning, without having things we do for no other reason than we love doing them, life becomes stagnant and hollow.

What did I do? I sat down and wrote, for no other reason than I wanted to. I wrote without an agenda, without an ulterior motive, without expecting anything to come of it.

I’m going to try and write poetry again. I’m going to knit something beautiful. I’m going to grow green beans.


Your passions may be something other than mine. It could be painting, gardening, cooking, running, knitting, photography . . . the possibilities are endless. Hopefully you have more than one passion.

Whatever brings meaning to your life has to be nurtured and allowed to breathe. It has to be something you can’t live without doing, something that encapsulates your entire life into one single, small moment of creation.

Find time each day to do something creative, for no other reason than the pure act of creating something. Do something just because you love doing it. It will bring meaning back into your life.


  1. ameliaclaire92

    I absolutely love this post! Ah, beautiful. And I can totally relate. I also agree that writing is the nourishment to my soul. Also, the people who have impacted my writing and my belief in myself are also very important to me. 🙂

    • Mind Margins

      Thanks so much! I felt I wasn’t putting writing in its proper place, and now that I’ve taken the pressure off myself to “produce,” I’ve been writing up a storm! Thanks for stopping by.

  2. melissabluefineart

    Such a wonderful post! I, too, have found that sometimes what brings meaning to my life has slipped away from where I thought it was and I have to rethink what I’m doing. Happy knitting… I have been longing to go buy some beautiful yarn, too.

    • Mind Margins

      Thank you! I have actually started the knitting project with some beautiful handpainted yarn I bought last summer. It was expensive, but so worth it.

  3. skippingstones

    You have answered my internal question for me! I haven’t posted to my photo blog in over a month, and I feel guilt about my readers, guilt about not doing something that “I’m supposed to do”, and some failure feelings mixed in for spice. The truth is (you made me realize) that it had become as much chore as pleasure. I love my format over there, but it’s also something that ties me down. Suddenly, I just lost my photo blog spark! I still want to do it, but I also felt SUCH a resistance! After a month, I’m starting to get my juices back. I don’t know if I’ve forgiven myself for the break, but it’s too late now, isn’t it? And I may have to cut myself a break on the format thing too. It’s not working perfectly if it keeps me from posting a photo that I can’t make fit the mold. I need to bring back the pure joy and worry less about the rest.

    Thanks for this great post! I’ve always enjoyed your writing, and how you make me think about things!

    • Mind Margins

      Glad I could help! I go through all that guilt as well, when I’m not inspired to write and keep up the blogs, or when I’m not motivated to run. I always beat myself up over it, but in the end I just have to let it go, pick myself back up, and get moving. Part of it is that I hate routine, and once an endeavor starts to feel like something I “have” to do, I start resisting. I’ve figured out that there will be lapses from time to time in everything. The challenge is keeping things fresh and fun, even if that means stepping back for a little while.

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