Thursday, 18 September 2014

Follow Your Bliss? Really?

You will often hear the words, “Follow your bliss” from self help books, motivational speakers and during weekend retreats designed to send you back to the world energized and blowing sunshine out your butt.

Let me start by saying this...

Read books by Tony Robbins, Napoleon Hill, Robin Sharma, Oprah, Elizabeth Gilbert, Dale Carnegie, Cynthia Barlow (personal plug), et al.

See movies like What the Bleep Do We Know, Way of the Peaceful Warrior and Celestine Prophecy.

Go on weekend retreats for yoga, nature, self improvement and general spiritual awakening.

But you have to know this. For the most part, when you finish the book, movie or retreat, in most cases reality is going to slap you right back where were. You'll know why you are this way in your life and mostly you won't know how to get out of this place. How do we gain all of this knowledge about ourselves, society, psychology, philosophy and how the world works and ultimately end up back where we were?

The rest of the world hasn't changed... and you still have to fit into it. You may see things differently and they don't. You still have to feed the kids, go to work, deal with traffic, pay the bills... it doesn't stop because you are light and fluffy from your weekend. What the hell do you do with all of that new knowledge and sunshine coming out your arse?

The world isn't likely to treat you differently. Odds are they will try to drag you back to average, where they are, because they don't feel comfortable with the new you. 

What's a girl to do?

Which brings me back to follow your bliss. What the hell does that mean? What is a bliss? If I found one, would I even know what it looks like? Can I put it on a leash and take it for a walk like the dog?

I was watching a video the other night with Elizabeth Gilbert speaking (author of Eat, Pray, Love). She said following your bliss is fine as long as you know what it is. And ninety-five percent of the population haven't a clue what it is. In her words, "If you knew what your bliss was, you would already be doing it!"

Great. Now what do I do?

The trick is, if you don't know what your bliss is, don't panic. Follow your curiosity.

What makes me curious? What is it that I would like an answer about? How do I enjoy spending time? Is it kayaking? Is it photography? Is it hiking? Is it reading? Is it writing? Is it philosophy? Perhaps I should be a kayaking-cycling-photographer-writer-reader-philosopher thingy... if there is such a thing. (Actually, there is such a thing... me.)

If you don't know your bliss, follow your curiosity.

There are a lot of people who may never find their bliss. Perhaps, for them, curiosity is the bliss. Curiosity itself can be bliss... count on it. For many others, following their curiosity will lead them to their bliss. Following your curiosity will open doors you never knew existed in the first place. And one door opened will lead to a room with more doors until you find the room that feels comfortable to you.

Whatever you may be curious about, find people who know something about which you are curious and ask questions. Try new things you thought you would like to try. Read a book that has a subject you might like. Watch a movie that takes you places you haven't been before. Join a group that has activities you may be interested in. Teach other people what you know. (We teach what we most need to learn.)

Sparks that peak your curiosity are floating all around you. Grab a spark and light a fire.