‘All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.’ Martin Buber
This quote closely matches a life philosophy that I have come to hold so very dear. Life so rarely turns out the way that we think it will, and so often the things that we think we know about people, places, and relationships turn out to be incorrect. I use the word incorrect with the utmost reverence- incorrect only in the sense that our ability to see is limited and renders us unable to see the bigger picture until we are in it.
Trusting that there is meaning to the things that happen in our lives is probably the single most important life skill that I work toward with clients. Therapy rarely has the ability to ‘fix’ anything in a person’s life, but therapy does open up the possibility that one can re-envision what is happening in their world and make use of it.
When I was a young woman I read Viktor Frankl’s book Man’s Search for Meaning. He credits his ability to find meaning as the reason for his survival of the horrific death camp experience at Auschwitz. After reading that book, I was completely sold on the belief that if we can find meaning in something, we can survive it. When I use the word ‘survive’, I do not do so in the traditional sense. Over the years I have seen many hundreds of people who were in the last days of their lives learn to survive their death (symbolically) by an ability to grasp onto some meaning in their demise.
Meaning is big medicine– it imparts hope, relieves pain, helps us to sleep, relieves depression, and a hundred other things. If we could find a way to put meaning into a capsule and dole it out to the masses, this world we live in- it would be a different place.
Well…. meaning is not available in capsule form – but we can self medicate by learning how to seek meaning in the experiences that come our way.