Finding meaning… or not

Right now is a good time to reflect on our lives, on the world we have created, and on what we want for our “now” and for our future, but sometimes that feels like too much. It may be that you don’t want to sit and contemplate what the meaning of all this is or what your meaning is in the midst of all of this is. And you know what? That’s okay.

There are people out there right now who are telling us we need to find meaning in this pandemic and others who are not at all wanting to deal with this at all. So, where is the middle ground for you? You may feel this is a good time to find meaning, but also feel pressured to do so. You may feel like you should be coping and you don’t feel you are coping well. You may be bombarded with messages that you should be stressed or anxious, but you’re not sure that you are, you’re just going along.

However you feel right now is fine. However you are coping with this pandemic or not coping, is fine. What it means to you and whether you want to explore that meaning or not is what I would like you to look at. Finding some sort of meaning for yourself around all of what this pandemic has brought and continues to bring can help us deal with grief. Grief around knowing there are people dying, grief around our lives being very different than they were just a few months ago, grief around our own anxiety or fears, grief around losing jobs or things not being as stable as they were, grief around our fears.

There are people who are saying this pandemic is our earth’s way of clearing us out for a bit while she heals. There are others who say this is an act of God to make us take note of our evil ways. There are still others who say this is meant to help us recognize the interconnectedness we have as humans to raise our hearts in compassion for each other. What do you believe? What do you think? And does it help you cope or not? Does it help you wonder, imagine, hope?

Finding meaning in this pandemic can help you address your grief- whatever that looks like.

Today there are two writing exercises. Begin with the first and then you decide if you proceed to the second, based on whether you want to deal with having meaning in all of this.

Write:

First think about whether you want to find meaning in this pandemic or not. If you do not, that is fine, but write that you do not and then keep going, write why. Write what meaning you think others are finding in this. Write why attaching meaning to it can help you cope with all that is going on or not. Then write three things that bring you joy right now. Notice where you feel that joy in your body and write that down.

If you DO want to contemplate the meaning in all of this, take 20 minutes to write the following:

  • Write three things that bring you joy right now. Then write three things that make you feel stressed right now.
  • Write what it means to have things that bring you joy and also things that bring you stress happening at the same time.
  • Write the things you are grieving right now. What do you miss? What are you sad about?
  • Write what it means for you to find meaning in a pandemic. Write about what this change in pace has meant for you. Write what it means for you that we are taking extra precautions right now. Write what you think of other people’s ideas about meaning during this time. Write how you are finding meaning for yourself in this world.
  • Write how finding meaning at this time helps you?

You might share your writing with a friend, over zoom or over the phone, or sum it up and share your thoughts with someone you trust. We are all having different emotions right now, grief, joy, fear, sadness. Share those feelings. You don’t have to keep them to yourself.

Thank you for writing with us. We’d love to have you back each Tuesday. If you would like to write more about you, please follow the blog.

Take care of yourself. Be safe and be well.

Best,

Liza

Published by lizawolfffrancis

Liza Wolff-Francis is a poet and writer with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Goddard College who is proud to have served two terms as a member of the Albuquerque Poet Laureate Program’s Selection Committee. She was co-director for the 2014 Austin International Poetry Festival and a member of the 2008 Albuquerque Poetry Slam Team. She has an ekphrastic poem posted in Austin’s Blanton Art Museum by El Anatsui’s sculpture “Seepage” and her work has most recently appeared in Steam Ticket, eMerge, Minute Magazine, Weaving the Terrain: 100 Word Southwestern Poems, Bearing the Mask: Southwestern Persona Poems, Poetic Routes, Poetry Pacific, Edge, and on various blogs. She has a chapbook out called Language of Crossing (2015, Swimming with Elephant Publications), which is a collection of poems about the Mexico- U.S. border. She loves breakfast food, popcorn and dark chocolate.

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