On the Question of Meaning

In this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. The following blog is from James Michael Castleton, author of  “Mending of a Broken Heart.” To begin your self-publishing journey, get a free WestBow Press publishing guide today!

All my life I’ve yearned for more
Than what this world can bring.
And as I struggled toward that shore,
I could not name the thing
Whose presence I have wanted
And whose price I’d gladly pay.
And so my journey has been haunted
By the promise of that day … [1]

An Early Perspective

The roots of inspiration must begin somewhere -mine began at an early age.James Michael Castleton

I was born in Los Angeles, California, when the last farms and orange groves had all but disappeared. The sleepy suburb where I grew up was nestled in the foothills of Laurel Canyon. We enjoyed a crow’s nest view of the valley. Our tiny home felt like an oasis with its wild mint, lemon and peach trees. The valley at night was a treasure of glittering lights, and the morning a repository of gold against the mountains.

It has been said that “beauty is the promise of happiness,” and our humble but wholesome circumstances impressed upon me an important lesson: life rich with significance is likely to be the one lived on simplest terms—a life that contains nothing less than required and nothing more than it ought.

I was blessed with good friends in high school, yet found that solitude was often my most cherished companion. Many mornings and evenings I spent hiking the myriad trails of the Santa Monica Mountains- witnessing more than one dawn break over Los Angeles from a dew covered sleeping bag. I have enjoyed solo map and compass cross-country trekking in the high country of the Sierra Nevada and have put more miles on my boots in those mountains than I have my car.

Longstanding Interest

I have long contemplated how people make sense of their lives and find the wherewithal to do what needs to be done with the sincerity of purpose that a meaningful life requires. I pursued such interests in college from the perspective of behavioral anthropology and cognitive psychology. Since then, I have continued to reflect on these issues during my more than 20 years of medical practice.

During this time it has become clear to me that the principle cause of mental and physical disease is the failure to find a satisfactory answer to the question of meaning.

A Personal Challenge Became A Call to Write

MendingofaBrokenHeartSeveral years ago, life brought me to the point where I had to address this question of meaning in earnest for myself. The result is Mending of a Broken Heart.

In my memoir, I endeavor to explain not simply how to live a meaningful life, but what it is to experience life as meaningful. The purpose of this drive is to help create- not simply imitate -a meaningful life. Meaning is not an end in itself, it is the byproduct of a way of life. In my memoir, I discuss how meaning relates to purpose and hope, as well as how it differs from happiness—also an essential emotion.

Mending of a Broken Heart is meant for the person of faith or the spiritually-minded. It is a personal journey told from a personal perspective. The lofty topics it dares approach are firmly embedded within the two lives that take this journey together.

Mending of a Broken Heart is written to act as companion along a difficult path. Hopefully the wisdom my memoir imparts will help shorten your journey to meaningful living.

[1] Castleton, James. “Pilrgrim ”. Mending of a Broken Heart: The Nature of Meaning and the Purpose That Gives Life Hope. Bloomington: Westbow Press, 2016. 346. Print.

– WBP –

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books are invited to do so by sending a message through the WestBow Press Facebook page and follow the WestBow Press Twitter account @WestBowPress. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation, and length. 

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