Following your bliss is not for the faint of heart!
I must confess to getting the idea for this article from an ABC sitcom called Dharma and Greg. In one episode, Greg was lamenting the challenges that he was experiencing after leaving his fast track corporate law position to “follow his bliss,” and Dharma was trying to understand why he was so upset. (The following dialogue is an approximation, but the sentiment is the same).
“But honey,” Dharma says. “Why did you think it was going to be easy?”
“Well,” Greg replies. “You hear ‘Follow your bliss’ and you think it’s going to be fun.”
After I picked myself off the floor and caught my breath from laughing so hard, I realized that the topic would make a great article. Because those of us who take risks, who leave “stable” and “secure” situations to venture out onto our own, have all felt, at one time or another, the exact same way Greg did.
You struggled with the decision to take a risk, change your life. Maybe it’s a cross-country move, or getting married, or changing careers. It took months, perhaps years, of wrestling with the societal and/or familial messages that discouraged taking such a “chance.” Finally, you did it! You initiated the transition and flew on the wings of elation for having had the courage to do so.
But then reality sets in. The fears, doubts, and inevitable human insecurities overwhelm you. Sometimes you just cannot escape the feeling that you’re in the middle of the ocean with the clouds darkening watching a twelve-foot tsunami head your way. And the only thing you have to hold onto is a stick.
There’s also a very good chance that, because you are not spending the day obsessing about what it is you want to do, that there is now room for the issues that have been gurgling in your subconscious to move into your consciousness. Things you didn’t know you had as “issues.” Things you thought you had already resolved. Things that come completely out of left field. It’s often painful and exhausting to deal with them. In fact, there are days you want to do nothing but curl up in fetal position under the covers.
Welcome to following your bliss! No it’s not easy. It requires total commitment to facing and feeling your fears and continuing to move forward anyway. You must be utterly dedicated to your bliss, whatever that may be. You must be willing to buckle the seat belt tightly, because the roller coaster ride is scary, sometimes nauseating, but entirely exhilarating if you permit yourself to feel it.
So why would anyone want to follow their bliss? What was Joseph Campbell thinking when years ago he encouraged millions on the PBS special with Bill Moyers to ‘Follow your bliss?” Was he some kind of sadist? No. He simply knew that following your bliss is the fullest expression of life.
Yes, it comes with a variety of price tags, many of them steep. But they’re never more expensive than the ones you pay for suppressing your soul’s desires. And they are accompanied by rewards that are unimaginable to those who allow their fears to keep them in a place that forbids the understanding of true joy.
Following your bliss is not for the faint of heart. It is not for those who despise discomfort. It is not for those who choose to believe in the delusion of “safety” or “security.” It is for those who have a desire to remember who they are. It is for those who know that with God/dess all things are possible. It is for those who understand that this is the only chance they’re going to get in this lifetime. Following your bliss is for everyone who is willing to at least try to focus on the joy it brings them instead of the fears that ego places in the way.
It is a tough road to hoe sometimes. But I wouldn’t change my decision for anything in the world. Following my bliss has permitted me glimpses of the light I carry within me. It has opened doors I didn’t know existed. It has helped me to let go of beliefs and behaviors that don’t honor who I really am. It has strengthened my faith. It has taught me that being of service is more important than anything.
Following my bliss has deepened my commitment to self-discovery and refining my spirituality. Most of all it is setting me free from the myriad of untruths I have chosen to believe, moving me closer to becoming the person I really am. What gifts! I’m more than willing to pay the price for my freedom. Are you?