I haven't forgotten Scot's question in his comment to my post of March 18 on whether by meaning, I was referring to the spiritual aspects of life. I've been giving that a lot of thought over the last few days.
My relationship with my sweet boy Jake was meaningful to me. We spent nearly 20 years together, nearly all of my two decades of sobriety. He kept me company, provided entertainment, was affectionate, and loving. He gave me an opportunity to take care of another being with love and affection in return. No matter what was going on, I needed to be responsible for his well-being as he couldn't do much of that for himself. So right now I'm thinking about the connections between responsibility (the ability to respond) and meaning and the spiritual.
Meaningful to me means a deep engagement in what I'm doing or how I'm being. I'm deeply engaged in my sobriety--it isn't a casual thing. And sobriety is clearly a gateway for me into the spiritual, into my connection with God, Spirit, the Great I Am, the All That Is, whatever lies deep within us and around us and connects us to our souls and helps our souls connect to the souls of others.
I am connected specifically to many souls: my parents, my siblings, my friends, those I have taught, those I coach, those I meet in an AA meeting. I am connected to the souls of the animals that have been in my care, to the trees in a forest, to the small, dying bat that we found huddled in a window corner last night.
Meaning, on the one hand, seems to me to be about how I be in relationship. But it can also be about how I do the things I do. I can do them with thought and attention and care and they become more meaningful by virtue of that deep connection. Or I can do them superficially or out of a "should" and the actions and even the end result can be meaningless.
When I gave up sugar before, my reasons were important to me (lose weight, look better) but those reasons didn't evoke a deeper meaning. Now that I see it differently, am doing it differently, am motivated differently, it seems to be more meaningful. So maybe meaning is as much in the "how" as in the "what." Something more to ponder.