As part of my Masters in Wellness, I’ve been doing a few activities on finding meaning. Activities that encourage you to think deeper about the big questions: who am I, why am I here, where am I going, what am I doing with my life, what do I want, what is real?
On reading the first activity I had to do, I thought it would be simple.
Supposing that you needed to escape from where you presently live, and could take only ten things that you currently have, what would they be?
Considering most things I own can be found in two rooms, five minutes is all I would need. The question was pretty vague and for all I knew, I could have ended up in Disneyland and had the time of my life for a day before ending back in my two rooms.
I began to scan room one. Slowly, one item was added to the list only to be crossed off when something more ‘valuable’ to my unknown future was identified.
I assumed I was wearing clothes when I escaped, so I didn’t even bother considering my wardrobe. I’ve arrived in places before with nothing and always managed to rebuild, so it was easy to remove half of what I could see from the consideration list. It was then I found myself reflecting on my life to give each item its ‘value’ on which to make the decision if it stays or if it goes.
So how did the final list shape up – one hour later?
- Good hiking boots
- Voice recorder
- Sketch and note book
- An album of all the important people and a few key milestones from my life
- Visa travel card with $200 on it
- 20 year old backpack
- Pocket knife
Could I survive with just these ten items and the clothes I left with?
It was an interesting exercise to undertake as my list didn’t end up being about survival. From my experiences of meeting people in some of the most poverty stricken countries on our planet, I believe most of the items we need for survival are not so much physical but traits such as strength, courage, creativity and perseverance.
My list therefore came down to those items which would help support me through any experience: war zone to Disneyland. The backpack allowed me to have space to carry more things I may find/be given on the way and give me a good pair of shoes and I can walk for weeks. I had a little bit of cash for an emergency/bribery/border crossings and figured that I also had skills that could help me in raising some $ or to barter for a roof, food and water. It was important I had the ability to leave and enter destinations, hence the passport, as were the tools to record the people I met and the journey.
And so with ten physical objects, I added another big list of traits, abilities and willingness and figured that no matter where I ended up, I was certain to make the most of any situation for I had caught a glimpse of what is most meaningful to me.
Meaning comes from inside of you, and finding meaning is certainly a process of going to the source – yourself.
What do you value? What would you take?