Meaning of Life

Thank you so much for your letters and your blog entries you have addressed to the!

We co-founders are heartened to see that the creation of our website, launched in the midst of the Coronavirus lockdown, has met with your needs to be seen and heard, to be given a platform to share your experiences and to find some healing that can come with the recognition:

This is what I suffer from!

We are becoming a community of concerned, caring individuals, who were once born as replacement children and who seek with compassion to understand each other and ourselves. In this process we will face existential questions in the hope of finding answers that console us and promote the healing process. And to find ways to access our full potential. To become who we are meant to be.

In the midst of this pandemic, I reflect, again, on what is the meaning of life for me and for other adult replacement children? I have asked myself the question of the meaning of life for as long as I can remember! Born six months after the death of my baby-brother, I must have done everything to try and comfort my mother, my family, to give them hope and feel loved in return.  (But even as a baby, I find I look dead-serious!)

I am certain, the question of the meaning of my life drew me like a magnet towards Jungian Psychology. I feel deep gratitude for this path of consciousness my life has led me on, despite or actually because of these difficult beginnings.

I always had an acute sense for the need of survival, a whiff for where danger lay but I have also learnt early to face head-on, like many of you I am sure, my deepest anxieties. Anxiety is the fear of fear; for a replacement child, it is the fear of not being. In these cases, fear, can be life-prodding, a preserving force, provided we understand its purpose to find the reason for being, the meaning of life is being and preserving pure life. Now again, in this pandemic, all my senses are geared to safe-guarding life.

Many schools of psychology believe that we grow through suffering. The suffering of the replacement child condition gives me a clear focus: I want to live, and to develop; for that, I need to know who I am, what I feel, and to be clear that I want to survive, and not only that, but that I want to live to the fullest degree of consciousness.

I know who I am and that I am when I discover the ground of my being, when I value the uniqueness my existence and that of my fellow human beings and when I cherish my relationships.

On one straightforward level, the meaning of my life, is that I am alive!

On a deeper level, I have grown to know: the meaning of my life is to discover my soul.

In a recent dream, my soul reached out to me! She looked like a birdwoman and I took her hand, or rather her wing, and said: I love you! I woke refreshed and happy and gave value and credit to this image which came from the unconscious by making a little drawing. This dream image helped me to get through the day in a better way, with more confidence and trust. It helped me in my work with my patients and analysands. It helped me to deal with my day-time worries and to care for my family in the most supportive way, and to envisage the economic and social and other consequences of the Covid-19 crisis without being dragged down by dark thoughts or feelings of despair. Even though, I must add, these worries also have their place, because they do exist and because like fear, the worries help us take precautions.

In feeling what I truly feel, at the very bottom, I get energy – the energy to rebound and say yes to life.

None of us are safe – unless we have a secure connection with who we are deep down within ourselves, with our soul. When we get a glimpse of soul, we are safe, no matter what. When we try and connect with the deeper source in ourselves, there is hope, a hope within, no-one can take away or endanger.

I remember the big sign of “Yes”, a yes to life, I had pinned on the door to my room, as a child. As an adult, in the midst of the corona-crisis, I am back to the essentials: I live, I love, I eat, I sleep and I dream and: I am with my soul. In the very beginning of my life, I was surrounded by the feeling of death – and I survived. More than that, I thrived to become truly myself.

Yes to Life. A conscious Yes in the face of threat. Acknowledging our feelings of uncertainty and deep anxiety, is the meaning of life for me. It is the essence of our capacity to face and then turn fear into hope.

Kristina Schellinski