I tried for many years to follow my bliss, as Joseph Campbell taught. After a while, though, it seemed I was genetically predisposed to lead an unfulfilled life. Regardless of how hard I tried to connect with what I truly loved and do it, my bliss following would fizzle out before I could turn around twice. Stubborn Soul that I was, I’d read another self-help book, get another coaching session, take another workshop, watch more law of attraction videos – and pick myself up off the sofa and go at it again.
Then it occurred to me that I had to trust my bliss before I could follow it. Okay, now I was getting somewhere. Trust is one of my central life lessons, so this made sense. I wasn’t deeply trusting that what I called “bliss” would lead me to what I wanted – a life of freedom, peace, fulfillment and joy. I read countless success stories about people doing what they loved with money following. But for me, it felt impossible. That’s when I started this blog and experimenting with trusting what I was led to do – no matter what it was. I would pay attention to my energy and notice when it would go up and down. What felt right, or good, or in alignment. Excellent. Progress.
And yet, I was still going around in circles. I’d get clear about what was next, what I wanted to do with my life and work – then that clarity would vanish in a puff of smoke – sometimes before I could finish breakfast. Then last week I cleared my calendar to make room for clarity – or something – to emerge. I set up my paints and engaged with the creative force through The Painting Experience. The process is life-changing and I knew it was just what was needed as I began examining what was leading me back to the same lost, fuzzy place over and over again. The energy started to flow, and I stayed with it.
Then while I was at the gym on Tuesday working out with my amazing Personal Trainer, it hit me. The roadblock was self-image. This became clear at the gym, of all places, because my previous self-image of being fit, strong and attractive has been progressively disassembled during the past few years of life and health upheaval. At the gym this shift is even more pronounced because my body feels stiff and weak and clumsy and I have no idea what it’s going to do. The folly of trying to maintain a self-image was in my face – literally – as I saw my reflection in the floor to ceiling mirrors. All the layers of my past (good) self-image flashed in front of me as I almost laughed out loud at the insanity of trying to come up with a new version that was acceptable in any possible way.
Aha. Without realizing it, I had been trying to reconstruct a career that would reflect the new and improved transformed “me”, even though I know self-image is just that – an image. Not real. Made up. A lie. With the way my mind is wired, though, it had been re-conditioned by self-help books, life coaches, personal and spiritual development gurus and motivational speakers into believing that the only acceptable career of a transformed, awakened person was doing what you are passionate about. Following your bliss. I had come to believe that even my life’s purpose had to be turned into a career. And worse, if I settled for anything other than that, I was selling out and short-changing myself, not being true to who I am, and was guaranteed to be miserable. Oh, and it also had to be wildly successful and provide financial abundance beyond my wildest dreams because after all the law attraction worked if you did it right.
Wow. No wonder I was paralyzed. That’s ALOT to demand from anything! However, oodles of people are doing it – which is wonderful – and I wanted to join that club. What was I doing wrong?
Only one thing. Nothing based on a lie (which self-image is) leads to freedom, peace, fulfillment and joy which is what I want for my life. There’s only one thing that sets you free.
So, what am I truly passionate about? What is my bliss? The answer is always the same. Writing about truth and freedom. And Westies of course. My love of Westies is steadfast and forever.
After the joy and bliss of restarting this blog on Tuesday, everything was clear. I will write without the pressure of having to turn it into a career by adding coaching services to bring in money (although I like to “coach” and am told I’m good at, but that idea always trips me up – so will have to come back to it). I will write for the love of it, and if I get published and make money from it, that’s great. If not, I will write anyway. Since I’ve decoupled my bliss and passion from making money, what will I do to make money? There are many things in marketing and business I enjoy and am excellent at doing – so one or more of those. What I’m not good at and have no interest in is self-promotion (this is probably what stops me from coaching). My hat is off to those who can do it and be successful at it. So, being a solopreneur of any kind is probably not advisable, although I crave the flexibility and independence. I also love working with a team. Doesn’t have to be a big one – even a team of two would be fun.
So we’ll see. For the time being, I’m writing. I trust it because it’s true.
Truth, it turns out, is at the heart of trust.