Excellence Reporter: Jane, what is the meaning of life?
Jane Sloane: The meaning of life is in what we learn about our capacity for love, kindness, generosity and forgiveness. It’s in our acts of creation and in our experience of loss and grief. It’s in our work to rebalance the world ecologically and in advocacy for human rights and equality for all. The earth and soil on which we tread and the aliveness we feel when we’re immersed in the natural world are touchstones for this meaning.
It can be found in the dreaming stories of aboriginal peoples and their songlines that sing the land, in radical grace and in staying close to beauty and sensuality. It’s in daily acts of courage and risk-taking that allow us to explore and know what it means to be fully human. It’s in our resilience and persistence in working toward a world where we can treat each other decently (aka kindness, respect, dignity).
I find life’s meaning in working for justice, seaswimming, music making, dancing, writing, spending time with friends, family, on my little wooden boat rocking on the sea and in the more than human world. And in time spent with my young friends, Juniper and Wilder, who affirm joy, laughter, playfulness, curiosity and wonder as essential human qualities.
I find comfort in Ecclesiastes 3.1-8: To everything there is a season in reflecting the meaning of the seasons of our life.
~Jane Sloane is director, Women’s Empowerment Program with The Asia Foundation. In this role, she provides intellectual and programmatic leadership for The Asia Foundation’s programs to empower women and advance gender equality in Asia. Jane was previously Vice President of Programs, Global Fund for Women and her other previous roles include Vice President of Development with Women’s World Banking in New York and Executive Director of International Women’s Development Agency in Australia. Jane holds a Master’s degree in Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of Sydney and a BA (Hons) from the University of Adelaide. She is an Atlantic Fellow at the Inequalities Institute at London School of Economics, an advisory board member at LSE’s Centre for Women, Peace and Security and a Patron of Marie Stopes International. Her twitter handle is @janeintheworld and her blog is janeintheworld.com
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