*This is a guest post.
The meaning of life… looking beyond the laundry basket and demands of others
Discussions on the meaning of life and other such profound yet important questions have helped me get perspective on my life and given me some equanimity back. How did this happen? I joined a local philosophical discussion group in my county which I attend one night a fortnight to have some “me” time. I married young and had three children within nine years, my curious nature and personal aspirations had stopped dead and gone into dormancy at twenty years of age when I married a successful businessman and started our family.
Since I became a single mother my aspirations went from dormancy almost to extinction. I went from having no time for myself but supported in every way to no time for anything and totally unsupported. As many of will know it is a really turbulent distressing existence at times! I was totally overwhelmed, depressed, hurt, angry, conflicted on so many fronts, in short I was a mess. My mother actually suggested the discussion group and offered to have the kids for pizza once a fortnight. All I wanted to do was go to bed as soon as the kids left the house, and did for the first two weeks! The third week I went and found that the discussions and group conversational, relaxed atmosphere touched me immediately. Driving home I felt, an almost by now, unrecognizable spark of enthusiasm and excited curiosity within me!
The discussion group focuses on different religions, philosophers, noted poets and occasionally we are going to invite elders of different religions to come and talk to us. It is all so fascinating and invigorating to think about once a fortnight and really does raise my perspective out of the often micro, very overwhelming, stressful and exhausting existence of a single mother. Talk of the meaning of life, of striving to be cooperative, unconditionally loving and selfless seems to flow through and across all genres of our discussions, it fits with the great religions, with biologists, with psychologists, with physicists, everyone from Jesus Christ to Albert Einstein!
It is so soothing to a soul which has been so hardened and damaged by the difficulties of divorce and single parenthood. My cynicism about humanity is softening as my curiosity expands and we read all of these beautiful, hopeful words from all of these great minds. My mother said at their last pizza party the children said I had seemed happier! Which is confronting but positive, I guess!
I now start each day by reading something much grander than my small stressful existence; it gets me looking to the beautiful horizons instead of into the laundry and mess of our apartment! It sets my sights on aiming to feed my children’s curious minds and worry less about whether they have a grass stain on their school trousers.
Here is an appropriate line that I read this morning from Carl Jung ‘wholeness for humans depends on the ability to own their own shadow’ . We discussed this last week and talked about how for some these words may have literal religious meanings or whether, more liberally, it hinted at our journey as a human race. Perhaps it is just the camaraderie, so a group that interests you such as a book club or sewing club (stitch and bitch!) may be beneficial, however the philosophical element helps me, as I have said, to seek a greater world and perspective and it carries me through the fortnight as it is very thought provoking and enriches my mind as I mop the floors!