“What happens when you follow your bliss?”
“You come to bliss.”
Those words – which have become further popularized by others since – originate with Joseph Campbell, from the 1988 modern classic, The Power of Myth. The words themselves could not be more simple. And yet, that simplicity may just provide a path forward for those who find themselves regularly pausing in front of the mirror and asking, “what happened to my life?” Living a life shrouded in disappointment creates an ever-expanding anchor, pulling us downward and relegating the very idea of enhanced wellbeing as being virtually unreachable.
You’re not alone and it’s not a sensation unique to this time in history. Campbell speaks of a wasteland existing throughout the Middle Ages, a period of 1,000 years (from the 5th through the 15th century) when people were living inauthentic lives. Instead of doing things that blossomed organically from their hearts, they felt trapped by the “shoulds.” A wasteland… Trapped… Inauthentic lives… Sound familiar here in this century? How could it ever be possible for health & wellbeing to thrive in a field salted in shoulds?
But there is an alternative – follow your bliss.
At this point, there’s a good chance you’re thinking “Sure – nice advice for the trust-fund kid but I’ve got responsibilities. I feel trapped by the ‘shoulds’ because I AM trapped by them! I can’t just run off and start painting watercolors on a beach in the Caribbean somewhere.”
Fortunately, that’s not what is meant by bliss. We follow our bliss by tuning into those little moments. We follow our bliss by noticing the skip in our step, that smile on our face, the sparkle in our eyes amid some activity or setting. Once discovered, then, Campbell urges, “grab it!” That’s the key – grabbing it. These moments exist for all of us. Some tune into them and others miss them in the rush of everyday life. I’ve written previously about some of those moments recognized in my own life that might help spark some ideas and potentially provide the catalyst for identifying your own moments of bliss.
Therein lies the excitement inherent in the bliss-guided journey. It’s not dependent on our resume, financial resources, connections or any other external factor. It depends only on having our eyes opened to what is already there, grabbing it, and then looking for opportunities to expand it further within our lives. From there, according to Campbell, we begin living life very differently: “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.”
The influence of following our bliss on the wellbeing of ourselves, our clients, or our employee team members? We know inherently as well as from the research literature that a spark in one area of life quickly spreads to others. Even a small spark of hope shifts our perspective and opens our eyes to other elements of bliss not previously recognized. Doing so creates a compounding effect on the energy we then have available to planting within and across our current wasteland toward a garden of potential.
In the end, we may not end up painting watercolors but rather living them out instead.
Interested in learning more about guiding people through the world of wellness? Check out our Certified Wellness Coach Fast Track program or contact us to see how you could augment your health and wellness career.