Recipe for Joy and Meaning

 Have you ever read a book that has truly transformed you? A book that has transformed your world view, your priorities, and your purpose? There have been a few of those books in my life time. Professionally, the first time this happened was when I read the book “Intuitive Eating.” That book  profoundly influenced the course of my career and totally altered my perspective. The next book was “Rethinking Thin” by Gina Kolata. And the next book was the seminal feminist writings of Naomi Wolfe in “The Beauty Myth.

Most recently I have added two more books to the “books that will change your life forever” shelf. I know that sounds dramatic and perhaps cliché.  The first of these two is “Two Whole Cakes” by Lesley Kinzel. It’s actually a book that I feel every human being should read because it addresses the very relevant issues of weight bias and weight stigma. An issue that is so pervasive that it is hardly noticed. I’m actually working on writing a book review but am having trouble since I can’t seem to do it justice.

And the second of these two books is “The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are” by Brene’ Brown. Ya, catchy title, huh?! The GIFTS of imperfection…say what?!? I’m not going to write a book review here. But I am going to share with you a tasty morsel.

In 2008 Brene’ and her husband Steve asked themselves “When things are going really well in our family, what does it look like?” Their answers included things like sleep, exercise, nutritious food, going to church, control over finances, time for vacation and time to hang out, meaningful work that isn’t all consuming. These became their “ingredients for joy and meaning.” (This excerpt can be found on page 102 of her book.)

So rather than share with you a list of ingredients for a recipe like I normally do, I’d like YOU to come up with a list of ingredients that are your recipe for JOY AND MEANING. What are the things in your life that bring you joy and meaning? What will you have to sacrifice in order to get more joy and meaning in your life? Less money? Fewer accomplishments professionally?

I’d love to know what ingredients bring your life joy and meaning. If you feel comfortable, please share!

P.S. If you want more Brene’ Brown…check her out on TED. I highly, highly, highly recommend it.