15 Universal Meanings

“Making Meaning” by Steve Diller, Nathan Shedroff, Darrel Rhea

“There exist 15 universal meanings that resonate with people from all over the world. Accomplishment, Beauty, Community, Creation, Duty, Enlightenment, Freedom, Harmony, Justice, Oneness, Redemption, Security, Truth, Validation and Wonder.”

Which of these resonate with you today, right now, in this space as you read these words? I was immediately drawn, of course, to Beauty and Community. I am enthralled by my journey with the discovery of each week’s hidden beauty this year, and I spend the majority of my work day pondering what would come up in a thesaurus to replace the word community.

If someone asked you to cross one or two of those meanings off the list, ones that you would consider unimportant to your life, what would you pick? I couldn’t erase any from the list. The words are all too true, hold too much value, and resonate in life experience. I have not read the book quoted above. Instead, this small excerpt was entangled in another piece of work I am reading for my new job. The words leapt of the page and into my head, and have stayed there all day.

As I’ve mentioned recently, I am going through some significant changes. A career transition to be exact. It felt too early, too uncertain, too unknown to announce this change before now. (Does one have a career in their mid-twenties? Perhaps it is a job transition? Or a first step towards successfully building a career?) I am happy to say I am in a place where I have successfully closed a relationship with an organization that has loved and nurtured me until it was no longer serving my growth. I continue to value their mission, their vision, their immense belief in hope for a positive future. I feel I finished well. We maintain a relationship and acknowledge the way we impacted one another.

I’ve learned, over the past few months, that taking steps to change yourself, myself rather, can be the most gut wrenching experience. I had a friend describe her husband’s layoff from his job as a death. A death of a job. In many senses of the word, I, too, feel I have experienced a death. Even though I was the one making the decision to let things come to a close. I felt a death of my first professional experience. A death of who I was in that space, and how I used it to define my world, my community, my accomplishments. It was an emotional good bye, and I am pleased to know that the work I completed there nurtured not only myself, but hopefully touched the lives of many working on their own goals.

I’ve never been very good at transition. If you are good at it, can you give me any tips? I woke up last week feeling like it was the first day of college. My parents are not there, I have no idea where I’m going, and I know, for certain, that I can not return to where I once felt on top of the world. Personal tid bit here – my first night in the dorms I locked myself out of my room in my bathrobe. I had to meet my new dorm neighbors by knocking on their door to use the phone to call maintenance to let me in. Or maybe, that horrible first day of seventh grade when you are sitting in the cafeteria, waiting for the bell to ring, hoping and praying that someone will be your friend. No? That was just me?

Starting a new job can be challenging, and fun, and emotional. And AWKWARD. Trying to negotiate the balance of new relationships, new skills, and new work culture while admitting to yourself, oh shoot, I’m not sure what I’m getting into is difficult for my introverted self. However, in just one short week, I feel I’ve entered into a fresh realm of learning space. The canvas is blank. I have an openness for Enlightenment. Harmony, Oneness with my self and the many heart voices that have been saying over and over, “Katie, it’s time.”  I have a clean slate for new Meaning Making in my career and I am thankful for a fresh chance to grow and adapt and learn, but seriously, I want some work friends.

There is beauty in change, there is beauty in change, there is beauty in change. If I say it enough, will my mantra be true? Beauty, too, in listening to and acting upon my own truth.

This week was also my younger brother’s birthday. I can’t believe he is 23. That makes me…. well…. older than 23. We went bowling as a family and my grandmother came with us. Here is a humbling experience for you – when your 82 year old grandmother kicks your butt at bowling. My third game, I bowled 33 points. That is pathetic. Grammie, as I’ve affectionately been calling her these days, bowled over 110. Isn’t that sweet?


When I was growing up my grandparents lived in Chicago. We only got to see them once or twice a year. I never had sleepovers at her house and she never picked me up from school. However, in the last two years since both she and my Grandpa moved to town, I have had the privilege and blessing of spending more time with her than I have in years passed. My Grandpa passed almost two years ago. Two years. Time goes by quickly. This weekend, however, I invited myself over to Grammie’s house and she made me hot chocolate, and we watched a movie. “Movie Night At Grandma’s!” I affectionately yelled in a sing song voice that the rest of my family is very familiar with.

I think Grandma rolled her eyes. She struggles with my sense of humor and still worries that I will spill on the carpet. I won’t take that personally, chances of me spilling are still pretty high. I was tickled at the chance to create memories with a woman who was previously a bit of a mystery to me. There is beauty in reconnecting, in investing in one another, and in rolling our eyes at one another from across the kitchen table. Grammie, you are beautiful.

Biscotti: None – I suck, I know. However, if I bring biscotti to my new job will that help or hurt my chances for making friends?

Nail Polish: Cheap, one dollar, drug store nail polish. It was beautiful, until we went bowling. Bowling ruins a good manicure.

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