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Thursday, 12 July 2012

How To Be Meaningful

Quite.  How is one meaningful?  Today, I awoke from an uneasy sleep where I dreamt I had grown a moustache, and felt anxious about the day ahead.  Spending the day in bed was, to my early morning mind, a lovely idea.  But 7.30 arrived and I knew that if I didn't get up, then 15 Year Old Boy wouldn't get up either and I would get the blame.  (You, the school would say on the phone, are to blame!  What is the meaning of this?  Ooooh, I would say in reply, that is the whole point!  I don't know!  Ask me later!).  Once up, once standing upright, things are always a little better and so, making myself do this, stand upright, the day begins.

I know that I get anxious on waking when the day has no particular order to it and I have a great deal to do. Most of it is for some date in the future, but with much complicated (to me) preparation involved, all of which I have to do.  There is no timetable except that which I put in place.  I could spend the day in bed.  Or I could leap to attention at half past seven because I had made a plan the day before but, not having done that, and not giving in to the day in bed, I take the middle path and start the day anxious, but upright.

Meaning, you cry.  What about meaning?  In order to make any progress today, I have to create meaning.  I have to say to myself, Create meaning!  That is the way forward.  What is the purpose of today?  When you have found that out, write it down in your diary, and all will be well.  And so, with a quick glance in the mirror to check that the moustache thing was only a dream, I write down

Meaning of Today is ...

and I don't know what to write.  What is the meaning of today?  I'm blowed if I know.  What, then, I ask myself, do I have to do?  Maybe that will help. Oh a million different and very important things, says my mind, and all at once, now, if you please, and I think, no, that's no good at all. Scrap that. I put on the kettle for my morning pot of tea, and look once more at the diary with Meaning of Today is.... and I think, the meaning of today is irrelevant!  You are barking up the wrong tree, my girl, and this will get you nowhere.  Today having meaning is neither here nor there.  You will philosophise yourself into a coma.  Once in a philosophical coma, I am told, it is notoriously difficult to come back out again.  This is a narrow escape.  By trying to discover what the meaning of your day is before you have even had it, and while you have much to do and many paintings to paint, you are falling for a sneaky ploy by your subconscious to stop you from doing anything at all.  It is, I said to myself, not on. Stamp on it right now.  Subconsciouses are notorious for sneaky ploys and you have to show them who is boss.

So with purpose and vigour, I make my pot of tea, and select the mug I most want to drink from today from the rows of multi-coloured mugs hanging from hooks in the kitchen to enhance the tea drinking experience.  I select the most appropriate tea cosy from the basket of tea cosies that have the same function as the rows of mugs, and take a tray of tea over the garden into the studio. That, I say to myself, is meaningful.  Making the tea like that is meaningful.  Knocking the philosophising delaying tactics on the head was meaningful.  You, old thing, were ever so slightly meaningful there, and didn't even know.  Goodness, I say, I like this.  I can do this.

It seems then, that it is not the day that needs to have meaning, it is me.  I like this too, and I give myself a pat on the back.  Clever you, I say to myself.  And now we come to the question at the beginning of the blog, of how to be meaningful? Well, here's a thought:  the task you are doing may have meaning, and that is good.  Unless though it has meaning for you, then only the task has meaning and you don't. 

 How to be meaningful?  Find meaning in what you are doing. 

Good lord.  The woman's a genius.