Follow your bliss
A few random clicks on the net and there I was reading an article about a book I'd heard about but had no plans to read: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo. A few paragraphs into the article, which covered the book's theme of purging belongings, I came across the magical catchphrase of Joseph Campbell, Follow your bliss.
This had great meaning for me, because it marked a turning point in my life.
Many clients come to see me when they are itchy to change careers but don't know what to do next. For many, the stress of not knowing what to do creates internal surges of high volume noise and pressure followed by mean-spirited self-directed reprimands: "What do you want to do? Why can't you figure it out? Why don't you know?"
While a few people do know what they want, and can plan the way there, most of us don't have a clue.
Fortunately, I do not worry about what I should do. But I once did. Even if I was happy with my work, I assumed there was something else I was supposed to do. And that something else would be much better than what I was already happy doing! If only someone would just tell me what to do...
When coaching I try to avoid giving too much advice, believing clients benefit most when they come to their own conclusions. But years ago I was liberated from concerns about what I should be doing and whether I was doing the right things with my life due to a small but meaningful piece of advice.
I was lamenting about being at a crossroads in my life and needing to make a decision. I was under the impression that whatever decision I made would have far-reaching consequences. If I didn't make the right decision, things might go badly. As I was going on and on, I was told in a soothing manner, "Why don't you follow your bliss?"
It was exactly the advice I needed.
Coming across those words in the article reminded me of their influence on my attitude. "Follow your bliss" gave me the permission and freedom to give into not knowing and, with this, I felt free of the noise and pressure that had been building inside. I no longer chastised myself for not knowing.
So I left the article about The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and found this:
"... if you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in your field of bliss, and they open doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don't be afraid, and doors will open where you didn't know they were going to be." - Joseph Campbell
Follow your bliss and, while you're at it, tidy up!
Without clients, there would be no Coach Minda. I want to thank you for your business, your referrals and for sharing so much with me. And thank you blog readers for your contributions and comments on the www.coachminda.com website.
Loved you blog on following your bliss.I think we all know when something needs to change.and although it may not feel like it, we know the answer to what we need.The scary part is accepting that and being ready to put up with the discomfort of change.As T.S. Eliot once wrote, "We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time".
13/12/2015 11:30:23 pm
I like the expression follow your bliss. There is another expression which people often use which is follow your passions or follow your heart. I have found this useful and not useful. Useful is that your passions are backed up by energy and drive. Not useful when it means that you do crazy, irrational things like lose all you money on bad business ideas (yes I have been there, though in the end, I guess the passion led to good businesses too). What I like about follow your bliss is that it finds the quiet part of passions and heart that gives pleasure and is perhaps somewhat more stable/enduring. Related to this, I think, it is very important for people to bite off as much of their fantasies as they can as often fantasies drive our behaviours but when we taste them we are able to better fine-tune what part of the fantasy was our bliss and should be our north star.
I agree with your useful/not useful ideas around passions and appreciate the idea too of testing out of various fantasies to better fine-tune what part of the fantasy was our bliss and should be our north star. Very good advice. Instead of asking ourselves what is our passion we can just say, what can I do with my time that is important to me? It might take off the pressure. Thanks Michael
14/12/2015 05:58:56 pm
Thank you for your "follow your bliss" blog.
15/12/2015 08:52:52 am
At first I thought this topic didn't really interest me. Then I read the comments, and realized I must have missed something, so I read the blog again. Two thoughts - I think, for me, the phrase "make room for your bliss", while not as catchy as "follow your bliss", works better. Of course it's not always realistic to follow your bliss, but to make room for it, or accept it, can usually enrich us and help us grow. The other thought, and I'm not sure how relevant it is, is something the late Psychiatrist and all-round interesting and creative person, Milton Erickson said when he was asked what one-work advice he would give to beginning therapists. He said "Dare", which I think relates to our fear of change and of making room for, or following our bliss.
15/12/2015 09:28:37 am
Thanks for reading the blog again and providing 'make room for your bliss and dare!' Works for me Miriam
15/12/2015 09:09:53 am
Re above comment from me - third line from the bottom, that should read "one-word" advice. I know, I know, I should take more time to read over my comments.
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My family, relationships, movement, nature, flexibility of mind, exploration of alternative perspectives & openness are central to my life.