Photo by Ting Libunao

Photo by Ting Libunao

OCTOBER 27, 2016

What Gives You Meaning?

What makes you come alive? What makes you feel the surge of passion in your veins? It has been said that having purpose and meaning in one’s life is the key to not only thriving but to finding happiness. Would you agree?

Reflecting on this, I look back on living my earlier decades propelled by contribution. At that time, I was driven by honing my skills. That was my passion, To Do. And when I achieved what I thought were meaningful contributions, I was happy that I had a lot to show off for my efforts. This “doing” was closely associated with accomplishing (and the more the better), which quickly became a way of defining myself. This belief further became my standard for measuring other people. What have they accomplished? What have they achieved? And the more I asked these of people, the more I demanded from myself.

In the frenzy of more doing and accomplishing that became an endless loop I couldn’t get out of, life gave me successive reasons to stop. They had to be painful to not only slow me down, but to stop completely. My mother died unexpectedly. What I thought was a secure job ended. A loved one’s health crises. Very quickly, my interest in doing and accomplishing evaporated as I sought the meaning behind my world turning upside down.

I began to ask, there must be more to life than having something to show for what I did.
And thus in the midst of my midlife crisis of spirit, my search for new meaning began.


Embarking on a new career in psychotherapy opened a new world of meaning and allowed me to explore what it means to be human. What it’s like to hold space with compassion. What it’s like to plough through pain and strive to find even a sliver of a silver lining. And so at this time in my life, I have found new meaning. It is no longer about contribution, but more so, about Connection. Heart connections, soul connections, whatever you wish to call it. Ironically, my losses led me to the treasure I may have sought all my life. Real, honest human connections, and feeling part of a sacred community of people who have in their own ways, experienced their own struggles and losses, and have found the path back to hope and courage. Connection has given me new meaning to what it is to feel alive.

There could be a reason that you are reading this, either that you are a valuable connection I have made after my long search. I am very grateful. Or perhaps you are searching for your own answers. Keep on, your light will guide your way.

©2016 Copyright Margie Santos