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Handbook for Mortals : Finding Meaning

Shaping Meaning: A Few Ideas

There are many ways to find and give meaning to your experience. These are offered as examples of things others have done to heal and grow.


Meditation is a way to center yourself and your thoughts, to quiet your mind and connect with the Infinite. Tapes can help you learn to meditate. You might also ask the hospice or hospital chaplain or a social worker to help you find ways to meditate.


Gathering with people you love and who are important to you can be enriching to you and to them. One man, told he had but four weeks to live, organized a party and invited his many friends to come. Family and friends made tributes and shared memories and stories. Such gatherings can be surprisingly happy and can give you a chance to say goodbye to people you have enjoyed and loved.


Making a tape of stories or memories, sharing your experience with family members and friends, is a wonderful gift to you and your family. By making a tape, a special photo album, or a scrapbook for those you will leave behind, you can help create memories of times you shared. Some people, especially parents, write letters to the children who will survive them.


Some cultures and traditions emphasize gift-giving. Native Americans, for instance, give valuable keepsakes to signify the end of life. This ritual allows the giver to show appreciation for the relationship shared.


You can give more than your material treasures to those you love through an "ethical will." Leave a letter or tape recording sharing your values, hopes, insights, beliefs, and wisdom. Even just tell your story. Your bequest becomes both a cherished memento and a way to continue your good ways.

To learn more about the book "Handbook for Mortals" click here.