Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into the conversation. The kettle is singing even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots have left their arrogant aloofness and seen the good in you at last. All the birds and creatures of the world are unutterably themselves. Everything is waiting for you. -David Whyte
A meaningful life has less to do with the tangible offerings that life places (or does not place) before us and more to do with an internal orientation: how we navigate those offerings.
In other words, meaning has less to do with what we are doing at any given moment and more to do with how we engage with all moments.
We experience life as deeply meaningful when we move through our days in a manner in which our daily moments align with our deeper purpose, highest values, and authentic self-expression.
Our purpose is no simpler and no more complicated than living in our integrity (from the root word integer meaning “whole”). We find the meaning we seek deep within our wholeness.
Wholeness means allowing all the parts of ourselves to find expression: from our pain, fear, and trauma to our hopes, passions, and highest aspirations.
When we navigate our lives according to that unique and infallible internal compass that is our deepest sense of self, then every action, task, moment, word, relationship, and decision becomes an embodiment of the inherent meaning we came into this world carrying.
So the meaning of our lives is not found outside of us. We translate our meaning into the language of living through our daily choices.
What can be difficult, however, is learning how to locate and retain connection to that internal compass of self. This requires a deep reckoning with our wounding.
When we are hurt by life, when we fail, and when things don’t go as planned, we may begin to internalize the idea that something is wrong with us and that we are broken.
This internalization interferes with our ability to trust ourselves and rely on our bodily intuition—the inner knowing we all possess but often fail to honor.
More often than not, healing is a practice of unlearning how we’ve been taught to think about ourselves and navigate the world around us. This allows us to reclaim our inner wisdom and self-trust to restore our navigational aptitude.
To live a life of meaning, then, we must take ownership of our own healing. While the happenings of life may not always be our choice, we can take responsibility for them by reframing life’s difficult offerings as opportunities to be in deeper study of ourselves in the process of excavating our soul’s truest expression in the world.
This brings us to a duality: we translate our meaning into the language of life, and when we listen carefully, life speaks back to us.
A personal hero and mentor of mine, David Whtye, refers to this type of engagement as being in conversation with life. It is the continual act of entering this conversation that gives us a sense of purpose—that our lives mean something on the larger stage of the world.
As David says, “Life is constantly speaking to us, not only in explanatory terms, but also in a kind of astonishing beauty.”
As we converse with life and discover more about ourselves in the process, it becomes easier to see how we might be able to show up in the world in integrity—so that we are able to do what we are, living out our unique personal destinies as we grapple with what is true to us, not in our minds, but deep in our bodies and souls.
Every area of our daily life can be an expression of who we are. Living in alignment with our higher purpose and deepest values can mean anything from creating and participating in professional environments that reflect who we are at our core, to caring for those around us deeply and fully, to the granular embodiment of who we are in the daily habits and rituals that make up our everyday experience.
The way we communicate with a friend, the way we engage with our technological devices, or the way we structure our eating habits are all opportunities to live out who we want to be. Each daily task, however mundane, can be an opportunity to enter the magic of the present moment.
Every moment can be an opportunity to enter into a conversation with life. This requires us to slow down, listen, and watch.
When we begin to embody our deepest sense of self, taking ownership and accountability for who we want to be, we also begin to see that there is no difference between living in our purpose and being in service to the larger workings of the world. When we do what we are, we are instinctively doing what matters.
Meaning is not only found individually, nor only in service. The relationships of depth that we create with those around us—those relationships that offer us honesty, joy, authenticity, trust, safety, and nurturance—are some of the most rich and complex invitations into the conversation with life. Our intimate relationships create the space for meaning to be translated through.
In this week’s video, Brooke Sprowl goes more into depth about the tangible things we can all do to help us align with a sense of meaning and purpose in our lives.
If you’d like to deepen your engagement with these ideas, follow us on social media, where we post reflection questions, resources, exercises, and journal prompts to inspire you to live out who you want to be.
Brooke Sprowl is the Founder of My LA Therapy, a concierge therapy practice, and My Truest North, a cross-disciplinary coaching and consultancy firm specializing in mission-driven entrepreneurs seeking greater integrity, spiritual awakening, and deeper ways to actualizing their higher purpose through collective service. With 15 years of clinical experience as an individual, couples, and family therapist, she is trained in a wide-range of approaches, from evidence-based therapy practices to peak performance and flow neuroscience techniques. Brooke is also the host of the podcast, On Living with Brooke Sprowl. She is passionate about writing, cognitive science, philosophy, integrity, spirituality, effective altruism, personal and collective healing, and curating luxury, transformational retreat experiences for people who are committed to self-discovery and using their unique gifts in service of the world.