Monday, February 18, 2008

AWNM Meaning Fishbowl/LiveBlog Per. 4

Participants in the February 22nd Liveblog:

Vicki Davis:
Vicki describes herself as “a teacher, entrepreneur, edublogger, conference presenter, and freelance writer.” She is an avid reader, technology "geek", and heart-felt Christian. Locally, she’s been Camilla Chamber president, a Rotarian, and a Leadership Georgia graduate. Her class wiki has won many awards and media recognition. She is a Tech Learning blogger, co-founder of Women of Web 2 and co-host the WOW2 show at Ed Tech Talk. She co-authored the Flat Classroom Project and Horizon Project. Vicki lives in Camilla, GA.

Scott Murphy:
Scott is Superintendent of Littleton Public Schools.

Cathy Nelson:
Cathy is a teacher librarian from Myrtle Beach, SC. She writes her own personal reflections about technology integration in the classroom at technotuesday.edublogs.org. Her blog is designed to offer helpful hints, tips, and tricks to teachers who are integrating technology in an authentic manner.

178 comments:

Vicki A. Davis said...

Hi! I'm so excited about this tomorrow. I have updated my bio.

Best wishes! See you tomorrow! I'll be studying tonight!

Cathy Nelson said...

Found the mebeam--now I'm trying to double check the time. It's 11:20 EST now for me.

Cathy Nelson said...

Okay found all my info--be back in an hour

Vicki A. Davis said...

This is a great chapter of the book and one I had almost forgotten -- it reminds me of a saying I had heard the other day about being a "human being" rather than a "human doing" -- we all need to feel that we have meaning and aren't just rush rush rushing around. I look forward to seeing the class in this session!

Karl Fisch said...

we'll get started in a minute everyone.

Karl Fisch said...

audio/video okay?

Vicki A. Davis said...

The audio is pretty good, the students are little hard to hear but I'm concentrating. We have some terrible weather here.

jkeefer said...

If you don't have SPIRITUALITY, DOES THAT MAKE YOU DIFFERENT THAN EVERYONE ELSE?

Cathy Nelson said...

Hi Karl audio is good here

Cathy Nelson said...

slow to post b/c I want to hit enter like a chat LOL

Oliviak said...

Jkeefer I think it depends on how you define spirtuality.

rachels said...

I think it makes you different from others who do have spirituality in the sense that you view the world and your own life differently and in a different context. Do you think this would affect your everyday actions?

Vicki A. Davis said...

I think meaning, however is so much more than spirituality -- he includes happiness p 225 -- and also "the pursuit of meaning... knowing what your highest strengths are and deploying them in the service of something larger than you are." (226) -- so meaning is so much more although I think spirituality is important.

Cathy Nelson said...

Wow sounds a lot like Purpose Driven Life booktalk too

jkeefer said...

true, but if your definition was different than someone elses; does it make you a " different person"?

Cathy Nelson said...

Hadn't made that connection before

Oliviak said...

What do guys think does everyone have a purpose?

stephanief said...

I think meaning and purpose go together hand in hand like Karly just said.

Cathy Nelson said...

You are not really in your element unless you are on track to fulfill your purpose IMHO

RayS said...

Kind of going off Viki...do you have to have spirituality or religion to have or to find meaning in our life?

jkeefer said...

does your purpose define your meanin, or vice versa?

jkeefer said...
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jkeefer said...
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Anna K said...

How do you find what your purpose is in life?

Vicki A. Davis said...

@jkeefer -- I believe that ALL OF us have a BELIEF about spirituality. It is that belief that often gives us the meaning.

So, really, we all have a BELIEF although our PRACTICE may be different. So, he's talking about WHAT people believe.

He states that people who score high on the spirituality scales tend to be happier, have lower blood pressure, and have more "meaning" as a general trend -- also remember it is "self reported" spirituality -- this is not something you can measure like chemistry.

Cathy Nelson said...

Its an inner feeling of contentment when you are working towards your purpose.

shannanp said...

So then how would spirituality and purpose relate?

HillaryR said...

I think that we should find joy and satisfaction in those around us as opposed to into believing in a higher power that there is no evidense of. I just think this is unrealistic. I do however believe in the healing power of religion, like the alcoholics who "find god" and become better people.

helenp said...

Is it possible not to have a meaning or purpose even if you do not know what it is yet?

Madisont said...

I feel that everyone has a purpose. And everything has a purpose. But it is hardest to define a life purpose. I think it is not something we define, it is something we just have to discover. You can not just have a general purpose. There has to be meaning that is behind the purpose that leads you to have a fulfilling life.

Cathy Nelson said...

If you ask a Christian, the purpose of Life ultimately is to expand the Kingdom of God - sorry for playing the religious card

Cathy Nelson said...

Even if you do not yet recognize your purpsoe in time it will come to you. So live life each day to the fullest as if it could be your last.

Vicki A. Davis said...

@oliviak - As part of my personal beliefs, I believe that each person is created to do something that they can do better than anyone else in the world. Each person has a strength and a purpose and a reason.

Do we all find our purpose? No, we do not.

And does purpose change? Yes, it often does. Now for me it is to be a mother, teacher, wife.. but 10 years a go I was a corporate woman all the way and it was more materialistic.

stephanief said...

AnnaK:
Everyone finds their meaning in life a different way. It depends on who are and how you live your life. I also think there is meaning in small everyday life also in greater things. But for everyone it's different.

Anna K said...

Do we each have one purpose in life? or do we all have multiple?

KiraW said...

Is there a part of meaning that does not have any thing to do with spirituality?

Madisont said...

@cathy

so are you living your day to the fullest right now? is it really possible to live each of your days as if it were your last?

Oliviak said...

Jkeefer I Think that your meaning in life defines your purpose, because if you know what life means to you then your purpose will be driven by what life means to you.

Cathy Nelson said...

Realizing your purpose is a reflective action that can take time and not always be apparent. Purpose can be momentary, a weekly thing, or a lifelong ambition

Coled said...

People say they can find meaning and purpose in everything they do. People talked about how her purpose in life is their kids or job, but what if an extreme change occured and their purpose changed. Does that mean that purpose wasn't really a life purpose only a temporary purpose?

Vicki A. Davis said...

@hilliaryj - We all have to determine our own belief system about God -- as a Christian -- I do believe in his existence, however, you do not believe that. I think as part of meaning that it is important to respect the viewpoints of others.

By treating people with dignity and understand that human dignity and respect is important, that it itself gives us meaning as well.

Cathy Nelson said...

I work b/c I must pay bills. I teach b/c I feel it is my purpsoe to make a differnece in kids and teachers lives.

Anna K said...

I believe that we all have multiple purposes in life and we are not only brought onto this world for one reason.

AustinD said...

I think that we all have more than one purpose in life. For right now, our purpose is to preform well in school. When we graduate from college, does our purpose change?

helenp said...

Finding purpose can help people get through hard times on the journey to find inner meaning

Madisont said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vicki A. Davis said...

@helenp - Life is a journey not a "destination" -- you don't suddenly wake up one day and realize you have "arrived" -- oh I've found my purpose.

It is not like a pot of gold. It is a process or a journey. It is finding meaning in the day to day work.

I think that is one objection many students have to school, they don't see the point in some assignments -- they don't see the MEANING.

We as humans want to know WHY and we want to know that it all means something and we're not wasting our time here.

rachels said...

I think a person's purpose can definitley change several times throughout their lives. Just because a purpose changes doesn't mean each one isn't genuine.

Oliviak said...

vicki
I do agree with you that everyone has a purpose and that it can change over time. I also think that your meaning also changes.

Coled said...

I agree that we don't only have one purpose, but many people claim to have a life purpose. Is it possible to have a life-driven purpose?

Vicki A. Davis said...

@rays - Do you HAVE To have spirituality -- I think spirituality is a word that people don't understand.

I do think that people must make a decision WHAT they will believe as a person. To choose not to believe is a belief. We all have to look at this world and decide if it MEANS something or if it just doesn't make a difference.

Cathy Nelson said...

human nature in general is to question.

Madisont said...

@cole

do you believe it not possible? i feel that each of us have a life purpose, but it is up to us to discover it. how much meaning can you find in accomplishments that allows us to know what our life purpose can be?

Anna K said...

Is there a certain age that you have to be to be able to start your journey to find your purpose on earth?

AustinD said...

Life purpose= meaning

rachels said...

Something brought up in the inner circle was Maslow's heirarchy of needs. Essentially, meaning is at the very top, and you need other, more neccessary things to reach it. Do you think meaning can only be found if a person has shelter, food, love, security, ect.?

Cathy Nelson said...

b/c so many have the luxury of have basic needs mete, many seem to wallow in trying to figure out--look at how many college students are on the 5 year plan and then move BACK home today.

Mike H said...

@Anna K I agree, there are multiple purposes in life. In fact, it's probably a good thing to do so, just to keep you going and not stuck in a rut, even if you have a great "meaning"

Coled said...

@madisont

I'm not saying that it isn't possible to have a life purpose i'm simply asking how it is possible to discover it, most purposes are circumstantial.

rachels said...

Austin - do you think that someone can have meaning in their life if they can't articulate what their life purpose is yet?

Oliviak said...

Vicki
you said something about humans wanting to know why and that it all means something and we're not wasting our time. Isn't there lots of things in life that we do and don't realize we are just wasting our time?

shannanp said...

I think that everyone has a meaning or purpose in their life. They weren't put on this Earth by God just to LIVE. There HAS to be a deeper reason. However, not everyone discovers what their purpose and meaning always is.

AustinD said...

When you try to find meaning, it starts at birth. As you grow older, you learn what are your strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, etc. When someone is old enough to realize their ablities, they can learn their meaning.

Vicki A. Davis said...

When I say "one thing" I mean that each person has a gift -- I honestly believe that. NOw it may be multiple gifts -- but there is something that you are to do that no one else can do -- and it is definitely multiple things -- mother, father, sister, brother, encourager, friend, these are roles.

So, it is more than one thing --

@coled - purpose is a JOURNEY. It is a path not like Disneyland where you arrive -- it is a daily thing.

@madistont-- Yes!

Madisont said...
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Cathy Nelson said...

@rachels I think at every level of Maslow you will have meaning-but they are in priority to meeting these needs first.

Anna K said...

What about people who die at a very young age? Was their purpose in life completed?

Vicki A. Davis said...

Here is my story - at 24 years old I was a general manager for the cellular phone company down here making 6 figures -- huge staff - 4 million dollar budget -- I had everything you could imagine.

But as I prayed about it, I felt "called" to be a stay at home mom -- I quit "work" and stayed home with my children when they were young... I gave up money, prestige, and power but I inherited meaning and purpose!

I think he is saying that we are becoming people who WANT more than money! We want purpose.

Cathy Nelson said...

The things of this world are just that---things. Things do not necessarily give you meaning

Madisont said...

@cole

i think trying to discover a life purpose is completely individual. it is up to us what gives us meaning in life, and what our belief in spirituality is. Having your own beliefs, and meaning, and wishes gives us the idea or knowledge of a life purpose.

AustinD said...

Definetly not. Meaning is pre-determened; Life purpose is realizing meaning is and carrying your destiny out.

Cathy Nelson said...

material things do not make you empathetic either. Meaning essentially comes from within.

KiraW said...

What is our goal in life? Does it always stay the same, or does it change? Do we change the goal or just modify it to fit what we want at that certain time?

rachels said...

Madison - I do think that lack of material things can help people find meaning, or purpose in their lives. Owning material goods detrarcts from our ability to think about our life and our place in the world as an individual, not as someone defined by what they own.

stephanief said...

People in life might have found their purpose, might not have. It depends on the person. Their purpose and meaning might also be after they have left earth.

Cathy Nelson said...

I fel that meaning may not be revealed until the right "time." Sure it may be predetermined, but we are not burdened with it until we are ready.

RayS said...

@Cathy
I agree you yourself give meaning to a "thing"

Mike H said...

Part of the purpose that Pink has for talking about meaning is that it will be an important feature for 21st century learners. How do you all think "meaning" will help you with your future education and/or career?

shannanp said...

Do you think that there has to be a big epiphany to find meaning or that it is just discovered?

AustinD said...

I agree, Cathy.

Cathy Nelson said...

Of course free will can make our meaning elusive too. We choose to pursue it or not once we have the revelation that our meaning is a bigger picture than our physical being happy.

Oliviak said...

Madisont I think that it may be easier for them to find their meaning and purpose because they don't have as much to look through and don't have as much in the big picture.

Also does useing the sense of symphony help you find your meaning and purpose?

Anna K said...

If you are happy with the career you are in, you know you are ment to be there. Because of this, you have found your place in life.

Madisont said...

If we allow ourselves to find meaning in our daily life, that is the first step to helping out our future. Most of the time, if we are able to find meaning in what we do every day, it means that we love what we are doing. If we have a career that we might love, we have to see what kind of subjects we get meaning out of, and possibly, from there, discover a purpose to follow.

HillaryR said...

Should your life purpose be to create a positive memory of yourself in the eyes of those left on Earth after your death or to make life better for others, even if you are forgotten?

Vicki A. Davis said...

@annak - When I was 11 I knew I wanted to be an author. Actually, around 9th grade is when the research says that people can first have long term goals -- until that point, purpose is probably more short term -- day to day. But eventually, pursuit of a goal gives meaning in itself.

"Do work you love and you'll never work a day in your life."

@OliviaK -- You are getting very deep into self actualization and self analysis -- it is important to look at what we do in our lives to see if we are wasting our time -- I am not a big TV watcher for that reason -- some things just seem like time wasters to me.

For me, however, I have great peace because I get up every morning at 5 am, get on my knees, read my Bible and ask God what to do. I have great peace and purpose. It is how I really gain my own meaning.

Meaning is a longer feeling - -happiness is like temporary -- and YES -- it can be faked.

rachels said...

I don't think people have to have an epiphany to find meaning, but it depends on the person. Maybe someone could find meaning in their lives over a long period of time, and it gradually comes to them.

RayS said...

@kiraw
yes we change our purpose and yes we change our purpose to go with our wants or needs...your not going to do something to fufill your purpose if you dont want to do it.

Cathy Nelson said...

oh yeah I can be happy laying on the beach all summer--but I know I am not doing things to give me inner peace like when I am doing things related to my meaning/purpose in life. But that doesn't mean i cannot hit the beach on a warm sunny day. I will not beat myself up just b/c I took a break. I will not be unhappy b/c I have a nice home when Ii know otheres do not.

Coled said...

I don't know that a lack of material possessions really is the cause of helping people find meaning, but people who lack material objects are able to find meaning more easily. It is the way people treat material things which might decide whether or not they find meaning.

KiraW said...

Viki,
Great point! I agree that we are not only searching for money to make us happy, we are looking for a purpose that will define our lives.

I also think that finding meaning in life is different for all people. It doesn't happen to every one at the same time.

Cathy Nelson said...

Tragedy really makes you look at the big picture

rachels said...

How do you think people can 'fake' meaning? Why would people feel the need to do that?

Madisont said...

Again, i feel that meaning is completely individualistic. What you get out of life, and what you feel gives you meaning to your life, will allow you to see more into life. For example, my spirituality gives me a lot of meaning in my life, but thats only because that is what I believe.

Vicki A. Davis said...

@shannonp - For me -- it is not an epiphany. I think too many people have the HOllywood version of the lives of great people.

One of my heroes is a guy named Paul Brand who found the cure for leprosy. He had great obstacles and problems and struggles and no one wanted to help people w/ leprosy -- he wasn't recognized until the end of his life.

But if you read his biography, you'll see he had great meaning in his life before he became "famous."

It is about finding your passion -- things you are passionate about! Things you believe in!

I believe that connecting classrooms and having us here blogging with you adds meaning to what you're doing.

You're having a great conversation!

Cathy Nelson said...

A tragedy even tho we may not understand, forces us to look at things with a bird's eye perspective.

helenp said...

@rachel
I think people can trick themselves into thinking that they are fufilled by getting materials possesions, but this 'fake' meaning doen't last long.

Cathy Nelson said...

reflection is critical to realizing you're meaning. We can always look back on experience after they are in the past and realize what we learned or how something shaped our lives.

Vicki A. Davis said...

@hilliaryr-

Having legacy is something that most people think about later in life. To even consider it at your age is amazing.

Understanding that we will not be here forever is important.

I also believe "if you don't have anything you'd die for, you don't have anything to live for."

Is there something in your life that you'd die for -- if so, there is meaning right there.

rachels said...

Vicki, interesting thought! (That blogging and connecting with people in the discussion adds meaning to the project.) How can people add meaning to everyday occurances in their lives or in their jobs?

Anna K said...

Does everything we do in life have to be to find our purpose?

AustinD said...

I know that, by going through a great loss, that I learned a bit more about myself and my meaning.

Cathy Nelson said...

@rachel a millionnaire always wants more

HillaryR said...

@ Vicki
I don't see why you think TV is a waste of time. In fact, I see it as being part of the meaning of some people's lives. TV can expand your world view so that you become selfless through the tragedies (be they fake or otherwise) of others and TV can also show you what is beyond one's own single-mindedness. Also, meaning can be brought into the lives of TV producers or those in that industry if they make a meaningful movie displaying the hardships of an individual or team. Therefore,I think TV is the opposite of a waste of time.

Vicki A. Davis said...

@helenp - When you talk about "fake" meaning -- I think what you're talking about is doing things that LAST -- things of lasting value.

That is why I like legacy projects in the classroom -- one class hands it down to the next class to continue on. Leaving a legacy.

We don't want to feel as if we're just another number. We want purpose.

Cathy Nelson said...

confession - no matter how much money I make, i think it is my destiny to live paycheck to paycheck

Madisont said...

From the inner circle,
When i can not explain something, I do know that I still believe in it. For example, I can not explain my love for my parents, but yet I just believe and know that I do. Also I love my friends, and I can not explain the feeling of it, but I know that I do. It is just a way to interconnect with your beliefs and way of life. Usually what makes me feel good, is a lot of what defines some meaning in my life. Do you think that when accomplishments or goals make you feel good, they give you little impacts of knowledge that some of that will have to do with a life purpose?

shannanp said...

@viki a. davis--but don't you think that something dramatic has to happen for everyone to find meaning. I don't think that one day s person just has an ah ha! moment and they suddenly know the meaning/purpose for their lives. Didn't something cause you to want to be an author when you were 11? Wasn't that a sort of epiphany compared to events that have sparked other things that you do?

Cathy Nelson said...

@vicki which brings the meaning back to learning. I find that unless I "need" to have knowledge of something for a specific reason, I won't learn it.

Vicki A. Davis said...

@rachels - If we look on p 226 -- "engaging in satisfying work, avoiding negative events and emotions, being married, and having a rich social network" are all attached to meaning.

Oliviak said...

Anna k
I think that not everything in life we do is to fill our purpose but there are many things we do in life that don't effect our purpose, and could be a waste of time.

rachels said...

Hillary - I agree! Even shows that on the surface seem like a waste of time, like reality shows, still expose you to new perspectives and ways of thinking.

Vicki A. Davis said...

@rachels - ON the TV -- I'm not saying we don't watch TV -- I do! I love movies and the history channel and so much -- but there was a time in my life when I realized I was watching way too much -- it wasn't adding MEANING to my life.

Now I blog! You have to be careful about generalizations -- I'll have to read my post and see if I said all TV was bad -- but I don't believe that was what I said or intended -- I don't watch AS MUCH.

I think if a person is watching 10-15 hours of TV a week -- what could they do with that time?

Just a thought. However, what a person does is really their own choice or decision.

I think the need for Americans to be entertained all of the time has hurt the pursuit for meaning.

Cathy Nelson said...

@shannanp i thot i wanted to be a nurse as a teenager--even wasted a year of college in nursing school. Then I had the revelation that my continuous distress was b/c I was pursuing something I didn't really want. I did not know what I wanted then. so Ii decided teaching would do it. IN teaching, i had rewards, but still felt distress. It wasn't until i realized that bing in a library and connecting learners to resources, be it books, electronic, or people, that suddenly i felt a contentment.

Madisont said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vicki A. Davis said...

@shannanp - I was picked on terribly as a child -- and so I became very close to the Lord at that time -- the 6 goals I set for my life at age 11 came out of a time of intense prayer for me. The other 5 goals of my life have already happened -- I'm working on author now.

My goal and meaning is to inspire and help others and to write in ways that does that.

(My goal right now is to try to hear you -- it is raining and thundering TERRIBLY here!)

Coled said...

@Oliviak

Don't you think that things we do that can be considered a waste of time is there to help us grow and find our purpose. For example, Moritz talked about how her purpose assisting a doctor was to make money, but didn't that experience shape what she did later in life.

HillaryR said...

To go along with what I said last, TV can also have a profound effect on viewers. I always go back to the movie "Radio" when thinking about an effectively revealing movie. That movie evoked emotions in me that are hard to draw out from hiding (compassion). I think even just that movie made me a more compassionate person and I'm sure a large fraction of the other viewers felt the same way.

Cathy Nelson said...

I am reminded constantly that I am doing what I should be the people who out of the blue ask my opinion, for help, or just thank me. I don''t need it though, as I know in my heart what I am doing is meaningful

Madisont said...

@vicki

So, do you think having and achieving your goals will help you in finding a life meaning & purpose?

Mike H said...

I think while a lot of people want to find "meaning" in their career, I think it's fine to have a job that does nothing more than allow you to indulge in your "meaning" of life. For example, maybe being a garbage man gives you the time you want to be a painter/artist.

Anna K said...

@Cathy, did you waste your time at nursing school, or was that something you had to do to be able to reach your path to your purpose in life?

Madisont said...

@mike

I completely agree. Sometimes a job may give you meaning, but lots of times the job you do, just gives you the opportunity to do what you feel is meaningful.

Vicki A. Davis said...

@hilliaryr - You're talking to a digital storytelling fanatic -- we do videos for almost everything in my class - you don't have to convince me of the power of media.

I also think that to much of anything can be bad -- too much water causes "drunkenness" it is cause d hypoxia -- we have to be careful about moderation.

I love TV, again, be careful about generalizations. I'm talking about overdoing things w/ TV. And there is a lot of that going on.

Oliviak said...

Coled
I would agree that somethings may be a waste of time but it can still help us find what our purpose isn't.

AustinD said...

Do we need to be "spiritual" in order to find meaning?

rachels said...

A lot of stories have been shared about changing the direction your life is going in (changing jobs) to find meaning in your life. How do you think people can tell that something needs to change to have a more fulfilled life? Is it an inherent ability in humans?

KiraW said...

coled,
I agree, there are so many little things in life that can bother us, but in the end everything has a point.

Anna K said...

I don't believe that you have to be spiritual in order to find meaning. You need to enjoy your life to be able to find your meaning in life and know that you are who you are because that is who you want to be, not who you think you should be.

Vicki A. Davis said...

@madisont - Honestly, I achieve one goal and move on to the next! To me meaning is in the journey - not in the destination.

I wanted to graduate first in my class from Georgia Tech but after I achieved that, could I have meaning and just sit there and say "OK, I've arrived."

No, I moved on. The PURSUIT of a goal is often the meaning sometimes as much as ACHIEVING the goal.

Cathy Nelson said...

@anna K when i reflect on my time in nursing school, I realize I was pursuing a dream my sister had--we are very close and seeing her happy made me happy. I think now that if I had not gone to nursing school she woudn't have either (we are a year apart--her older than me.) But b/c I went with her, I think she stuck w/ it and is today a phenomenal nurse. I just went a diffrnt direction. I really think if Ie had not "gone" with her, she may not have pursued her calling until later in life. Of course we are speaking of when we were 18 and 19, very young, still chasing boys, still living at home, and had many distractions other than school. We were very typical teenagers who were friends and sisters.

Oliviak said...

rachels
I think that you just don't feel like your job is not helping you and you don't like it any more.

AustinD said...

Does being spititual help find life purpose?

Vicki A. Davis said...

@austind - Humans have free choice. I do think that everyone has to make a decision about their thoughts on spiritual things -- you have to make that decision for yourself. NO one can or should force their own opinions on another person, we can only share our experience because that is the only one we have.

Mike H said...

I would argue that spirituality in the work place doesn't mean you have to pray to God or anything. It could also mean your place of work could find a way to help the community. Maybe once a month, you and your fellow employees donate time to daycare centers or homes for the elderly. If a job can give an outer focus like that to its employees, that can be spirituality.

Cathy Nelson said...

I also know in my heart that my husband and I may not have met had I not dropped out of nursing school. It all had a purpose then--it just was not clear to me then. Had I stuck it out in nursing school, I would have never been where I met him. Happy endings are awesome

Madisont said...

@vicki

I have to say I agree with that. Perhaps your meaing doesn't change, but the pursuit of different purposes that you want to achieve at the time may change at any time during your life.

rachels said...

I agree with Vicki about the pursuit having as much meaning as the achievement. Do you think you can also find meaning in the pursuit of the purpose of your life?

Cathy Nelson said...

of course my mother and father at the time did not see it that way LOL

shannanp said...

@viki--so you did have an epiphany...being picked on and then intense prayer. That really puts things into perspective and was a complete revelation for you wasn't it? In a way it was a tradgedy, the leaving of your former self. But also a joyous moment when you found the Lord. All of these combined moments helped you find meaning/purpose.

Anna K said...

So does everything we do in life relate to our purpose in life?

AustinD said...

I agree, vicki

Madisont said...

@mike

So do you think that sprituality is what you believe, or just what you do in life? Because helping out at a daycare or elderly home is great, but is that really something you can believe in?

Mike H said...

@madison
It's been brought up a few times from the book that spirituality can be finding something outside of you. To many people, meaning could be helping other people. That's your meaning. Going to daycare centers is how you exhibit that meaning.

Cathy Nelson said...

@annaK all your actions in life you will eventually see how they related and moved you along in your journey. They may not make sense now--but good or bad you will be a better person for them when you have "figured" things out.

RayS said...

@Anna
not really no...its what you do thats meaningful that relates to your purpose

HillaryR said...

Interesting point, Cathy. Sometimes, an event that seems like a set-back or a tragedy end up being "blessings in disguise" in the long run.

Madisont said...

@mike

So spirituality may be something you can do outside of yourself. And many times those things help us out. Do you think that you can find your meaning and purpose in life just through outside things though? Or do you think it has to deal with both the outside world as well as what's inside yourself?

KiraW said...

Along with what Sabrina is saying about yoga, there is a yoga and pilaties class at AHS now, will it become more of a requested class in the future?

Cathy Nelson said...

WOW @ Vicki do you think it was destiny that we are in this chapter?? Like predestined.

stephanief said...

When you find the meaning in your life, do you think that is the happiest time in your life?

Also I think the search for meaning is more important then finally finding it.

rachels said...

Maddison, great point. Simply going through the motions of somehting like community service won't do anything to help you find meaning. I think you have to be in a certain mindset.

Anna K said...

How can businesses become more prosperous with the sense of meaning?

Cathy Nelson said...

The wealthy make just as many BAD choices as the less than wealthy

Vicki A. Davis said...

@shannonp- You could say epiphany -- however it wasn't like God's voice came down from heaven or something -- it was a day to day thing and I found that in my journal that I had written. At the time I thought nothing of it. Looking back I realize it was an epiphany.

I think we too often tie things up emotion. I am fulfilling my purpose when I come in and teach but some days I'm EMOTIONALLY out of it.

Likewise, some of the greatest things in life happen in the biggest struggles.

So, in retrospect one would call it an epiphany -- however, it wasn't really -- it was just a terrible time when I was called all kinds of names and had no friends.

My epiphany was perhaps was that what others thought of me did not matter as much as what I thought of myself. But again, I think people think of some vision or lightning from the sky when you use the word epiphany.

Mike H said...

@madisont
Both, like using both sides of the brain. For me, the outside "meaning" of life are my children, my wife, my family, my church. But internally, I have meaning in the sense that I think my own integrity is important, having an outward focus, instead of a selfish focus.

rachels said...

Maslow's heirarchy of needs was brought up in the inner circle again. I think that its comprable to the state of America and the changes its going through that allow people to focus on the aptitudes in Pink's book like meaning.

KiraW said...

Yoga is now, in my opinion, viewed as a "rich" past time. Just your everyday Joe Shmo is usually not the one that you find relaxing in a yoga class.

RayS said...

To go off what sabrina said in the middel circle. I dont think social class has anything to do with sense of meaning

Cathy Nelson said...

IN SC we have a video called Corridor of Shame and it is abt schools along the I-95 corridor and how underfunded they are--how old, how bad condition, etc. The video paints a moving picture that schools should be funded in a different way. But I worked in one of the schools the first five years I taught--and I saw a very different picture. These kids were extremely HAPPY--of course school was probably the safest, warmest, and a place where they were well fed. You'd have thot from the video they were starving children from ethiopia.

shannanp said...

@KiraW--I am in Yoga and Pilates right now here at school. It is definitley not a class where I find meaning. We aren't meditating, we are always focusing on the physical part of yoga. I don't think that Yoga & Pilates should be required here at school since its just like another PE class. If you are looking for meaning and meditation, taking Yoga with a zen master would probably fulfill the meaning part better.

Vicki A. Davis said...

@rays -- Social class has nothign to do with meaning... I mean look at Brittney Spears -- what is she looking for? And is she finding it? I don't think so.

helenp said...

People who are wealthier do have more time to search for meaning, they just fill that time with activities and things to do instead of just thinking and reflecting.

HillaryR said...

I think Sabrina makes a good point in the middle circle. (In the United States) the poverty line and the rich probably have a greater chance of finding their own meaning. The poor have so little that they can find purpose and meaning in the fewest of goods, they find meaning in the people around them and love. The rich can find a different sense of meaning because they have enough money that they can do whatever it is they need to do in order to feel satisfied. They could give money to charity, create an organization to help others, or speak to others about their successes and trials.

Karl Fisch said...

The bell just rang. We're done. Thanks everyone!

Cathy Nelson said...

Bye!
GREAT discussion!

Vicki A. Davis said...

Great session Goodbye! I enjoyed it. It gave me a sense of well... meaning!

marissas said...

Meaning reminds me of fate. It is a set path that someone must take. If they do not follow the path that is set for them, they may have found the wrong purpose, or in other words, the wrong meaning. Personally, I don’t believe that everyone has a set purpose and meaning in their life. Everybody’s life should be lived the way they want to live it. Anyone can set goals for themself and try to complete them in their lifetime to feel achieved. Though, I do not believe that setting goals is considered to be ones’ meaning in life. People should just take everyday as it comes, have good times, learn a lot, be happy, and have many close friends and family that they love. If they live their life to the fullest, they will be able to achieve happiness.

Also, I think that people sometimes have more than one single purpose in their life. For example, some people might think that their purpose is to be a pastor and have a loving family. These ambitions may be goals that they feel obliged to fulfill. Those goals aren’t necessarily their purpose in life.

On that note, religion and spirituality can be a ‘purpose’ of someone’s life. I think of spirituality as a general term connected to ones’ innermost being and personal beliefs. Religion is a more specific term dealing with the belief of a higher power and it includes many different denominations. For example, being a Christian, I believe that God has a plan for everyone. God’s plan for someone may be to become a pastor. So my religion is based around my spirituality. However, spirituality could be achieved without having a religion. Life is not meant to be spent wasting time sitting around and contemplating what people need to do to fulfill their purpose and meaning in life.

Jacque said...
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Jacque said...
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Jacque said...

Wow! This was an amazing discussion. I’m extremely upset that I was too sick to be a part of it. I must say, Mrs. Vicki certainly strikes me as a very great lady. Anyways, I’m going to comment and respond to individual questions just as I would have if I had been there.

Anna k
Is there a certain age that you have to be to be able to start your journey to find your purpose on earth?
@ Annak I believe that when the pure joy and innocence of childhood is lost, than the quest to justify existence (meaning) begins. As a child, we all are just content to kind of exist, but as we grow older we begin to search for something more in our lives. This age differs from person to person and can be a gradual transformation or a sudden occurrence (often spurred by tragedy).


Hillaryr-
I think that we should find joy and satisfaction in those around us as opposed to into believing in a higher power that there is no evidense of. I just think this is unrealistic. I do however believe in the healing power of religion, like the alcoholics who "find god" and become better people.

@ Hillaryr- I must say that I have a definite problem with you claiming that there is no evidence of a higher being. I have seen innumerable miracles and evidence of a higher power in my own life. Very little in life is luck or coincidence. Considering this, I think it is undeniable that a higher power has enormous influence over our lives. Even beyond what I’ve seen myself, my parents were missionaries in Turkey and have witnessed a barrage of outright miracles they would be happy to tell you about. My father’s life was endangered many times, and yet he was saved by disappearing strangers and miracles which defied the plausible. You may not believe in a higher power, but you cannot claim there is no evidence that one exists.

Anna K
What about people who die at a very young age? Was their purpose in life completed?
@Annak It depends if they die as a child or just “at a young age.” I believe children possess a sort of divine innocence and goodness which bestows meaning upon them. In other words I believe at birth god endows meaning upon us, and when childhood is lost so is our grasp on that meaning. WE often spend the rest of our lives searching for this meaning which has escaped us. This is the fundamental reason why meaning is so important to humanity: after tasting its depth we can no longer live contentedly without it. If you are talking about a young adult who has died, they may or may not have fulfilled their purpose in life. I believe true meaning transcends all circumstances and time. Therefore true purpose is not to be a doctor, but rather to serve humanity (for example). If this person dies young, they may not have had the ability to become a doctor, but they would have been able to achieve or fail to achieve a more transcendent goal.

Hillaryr
Should your life purpose be to create a positive memory of yourself in the eyes of those left on Earth after your death or to make life better for others, even if you are forgotten?
@Hillaryr Ideally, the truly noble thing to do is to serve regardless of what your legacy may be. Personally, one of my main dreams in life is to serve to such an extent that I do leave a lasting legacy. However I would hope that the absence or longevity of my legacy would not affect my meaning or become a main purpose in my life because I could definitely see it becoming all-consuming and ego-driven at some point.

Rachel S.-
How do you think people can 'fake' meaning? Why would people feel the need to do that?
@rachels I think whether they realize it or not, many people ‘fake’ meaning. One reason for this is that someone may have decided the search for meaning is futile, and created a false sense of meaning to convince themselves that they are happy or that their life is purposeful. People often deceive themselves in this aspect. Also, people can feign meaning to please others.
Coled
I agree that we don't only have one purpose, but many people claim to have a life purpose. Is it possible to have a life-driven purpose?
@ Coled I think originally life drives us to our purpose (“life-driven” purpose) and this leads to a purpose driven life.
Annak-
Does everything we do in life have to be to find our purpose?
@Annak No, not everything we do has the purpose of finding meaning; however, everything we do in life should in one way or another be ultimately motivated by our purpose/meaning. If any action is not driven by your meaning in some way, it is fruitless and useless

Anna K-
I don't believe that you have to be spiritual in order to find meaning. You need to enjoy your life to be able to find your meaning in life and know that you are who you are because that is who you want to be, not who you think you should be.
@Annak I would have to absolutely disagree with you on this one. Do you think enjoyment is the purpose of life? Authentic happiness can not logically be a goal because joy comes from within and therefore to make it a goal is futile and destructive. Happiness cannot be achieved through any material thing, but is more of an outlook on life. Furthermore, if you think you should be something, isn’t that wanting it? I would argue that spirituality doesn’t merely help us to find meaning, but is in itself meaning for many of us. Eternal purpose is the ultimate source of meaning.
StepahnieF
When you find the meaning in your life, do you think that is the happiest time in your life? Also I think the search for meaning is more important then finally finding it.
@Stephanief I believe meaning manifests itself overtime throughout our lives. Once we find meaning an inherent happiness will permeate our lives because of it; that single moment is not the manifestation of the happiness meaning brings. Furthermore, we are often driven to meaning by suffering and thus this moment is often not the happiest in an individual’s life.
KiraW
Yoga is now, in my opinion, viewed as a "rich" past time. Just your everyday Joe Shmo is usually not the one that you find relaxing in a yoga class.
@KiraW I believe that yoga is a fad and often does not bring meaning. The truth is you can find your everyday “Joe Shmo” in a yoga class; the pastime is an enormous cultural fad.
On a few generally discussed topics:
The “changing” of purpose throughout life:
I view purpose as something transcendent which often does not change throughout life. If someone wants to be a lawyer, this may obviously change, but I don’t really view this as a purpose/meaning. I think of purpose as something broader which is not really achieved at any one point, but rather throughout life. Once an individual has found true purpose in their life, it is possible for the purpose to morph or deepen a bit, but I think it is rare that this purpose changes altogether.
The acquisition of meaning as it relates to affluence (or lack thereof):
I think that often it is easier for those living in poverty to acquire meaning simply because I believe sorrow and desperation drive us to meaning. Of course it is also true that the frantic drive for survival can detract from meaning though. I do not think that affluence in any way aids the search for meaning as some have claimed. While hypothetically money would provide “more time to search for meaning,” I think affluence distracts from why meaning is so important in the first place. Often we get so caught up in material things that the acquisition of more becomes our only purpose. The importance of meaning is often demeaned in situations where there are many “substitutes” that can be bought with money. In the end, these substitutes will prove inadequate to satiate the desperate human search for meaning and depth (I am reminded of The Great Gatsby and Gone with the Wind).

Tasha P said...

I feel that meaning is something that doesn't come to someone until they are ready. If someone is just bumbling along, with a job they hate or a life that they don't think is ideal for them, they are definitely not going to find their life's meaning. (I agree with Austin life's purpose = meaning). I think that only when someone is truly happy and content with their life on a certain degree will they find their meaning. And also, I don't think that they'll find it when they're out looking for it constantly; like I said, life's meaning only comes to a person's awareness when they are ready to accept it.
I think that when people have less (rich vs. poor) then they tend to find the quest for meaning easier than someone who has everything they want. If someone (not the richest person) has to work for everything they have, they automatically see the significance in the littlest of things. That's not their life's meaning of course. But when they see the significance of the smallest of things, they usually can find their life's purpose easier than someone who doesn't have to work as hard to get what they want (rich person). Meaning (to me) is something special that needs to be found in life. Without meaning, I think that the human race would be without value. Meaning brings depth to peoples' minds and lives.
I'm not so sure I would link meaning in life to spirituality; I think of meaning as something that anyone can get, they just have to believe in life's purpose and they must be willing to accept it. Meaning and spirituality are two entirely different things. Of course no one has to be religious or spiritual, to get meaning in life for themselves; they just have to have some sense of purpose in life. If someone lives just going along with whatever life throws at them, and not really thinking or wondering about something other than themselves, then they probably are not going to find their life's purpose if they don't have a major attitude adjustment.
I don't think that purpose is linked to goals-in-life either (from Marissa's comment). Goals in someone's life are just hopes for someone to accomplish. Goals are just a matter of breaking boundaries; meaning is not about boundaries. Meaning is not about any limits or anything like that. To me, meaning is finding one's own purpose, or rather, a person's purpose comes to them when they are ready to accept it. Someone's purpose can be to be a pastor and have a loving family, but that's only if they want it to be. I think of meaning as more of a wondrous aspect of the human mind. Sure, someone can have a purpose in life, right now, I think that my purpose is to survive high school without drowning from homework (just kidding). But that's not what my life's meaning is; I probably won't find my life's meaning until I'm in my thirties or so, if that. I think that no one has any idea what their meaning is until it comes to them. So, people may have an idea of what their life's meaning is, but that doesn't mean by any circumstances that they know their real life's meaning by just thinking about it.

(see my wikified research paper for more on meaning)

Sethd said...

shannanp
spirituality and purpose relate in many ways. but i think that the most relevant is that spirituality helps one find purpose and vis versa.

Sethd said...

austin
do you think that our pupose is to preform well in school or more to learn to the best of our abilities and in tern do well in school.

Sethd said...

Hillary
that is an excellent question. First of all, we all would like to leave some kind of legacy. But I think that I would rather help those around me and not be remembered than be remembered for something and it doesn't help anyone. For instance, Hitler was remembered but it was in a negative way. I think that you are mixing up purpose with legacy. I think that legacy is more a want to be remembered and purpose is a need to find meaning or value in ones existence. the two can coincide but they are different ideas.

Sethd said...

anna k
I think that your question really depends on the situation. first of all, i think that you assume that ones purpose can only be found out through many years of experience. But i think that those people still have purposes they are just smaller and harder to understand.

Sethd said...

Madison
I think that achievement of ones goals helps in finding meaning and purpose in their life. Life is just one large experience and the more one gets the more they understand.

Sethd said...

I think that meaning can be found in anything but not just anything can have meaning. Think about it. Can you mark an object as meaningless . if so then the things that an individual gives meaning can be discarded as having no purpose. It is possible for one to find the potential of purpose in anything but there are certain things that are harder to find meaning in. I pen could be thought to have no meaning but given special circumstances, it could trigger a epiphany of ones meaning and purpose in life.