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Monday, September 27, 2010

Follow Your Bliss

'Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you, where there were only walls.' Joseph Campbell

That’s really good advice, and for some [and I am among them] it was easy to follow because we grew up knowing exactly what we wanted to do, and have never 'worked' a day in our lives because we so loved what we did. But what about those, like my granddaughter, a recent High School graduate, who has a number of talents but is not good enough or passionate enough about any one of them to know what her ‘bliss’ really is? It is obviously too early for her to make lifelong decisions. What to do?

One of my father’s stories was about a farmer who hired a worker to help during his busy time in the early spring. The man turned out to be a very hard worker and the farmer was delighted. One day he ran out of things for him to do, so he took him into his storage shed and asked him to sort the potatoes left there after the winter – into piles of those that were rotting, those that should be eaten right away, and the good ones. At the end of the day when the farmer returned, to his surprise he found the man looking dejected and with only a few sorted potatoes around him. When asked what his problem was, the poor man answered sadly: "I'm sorry Mister, but it’s them decisions that’s so hard to make."

Life can involve many hard decisions, but the message we can all take is that if you are conscious of your feelings as you go through your days, you can get to know yourself pretty well. When you are doing something that you find ‘turns you on’ and you are good at, be aware that is the sort of thing that could be your 'bliss'. Another important indicator in knowing yourself is being conscious of the kinds of things stored in your memory that you can recall easily. They too are a strong indication of what your real interests are.

Then there is always University to expose you to new possibilities - but going that route can be an expensive waste of time unless you are eager to learn and willing to study. Many young people just out of high school are neither of these. Their brains don’t fully mature until they are about 25, and they can easily succumb to the distractions of socializing, sports and dating. Failing can shut doors permanently, so the best decision may be just to not make a decision.

My advice to young people like my granddaughter is that life is for a long time, so just relax, and as you earn a living, find out what you truly love doing. Then as soon as you can, make a leap of faith to 'follow your bliss', and trust that, as Campbell says: 'the universe will open doors for you' to a richly rewarding life. Rie

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