Follow your bliss

“So what do you want to do with your life?” How often are we not asked this question by others? How often we do not ask it looking in the mirror. It started in childhood when we were asked, “What do you want to do when you grow up?”

Back then the possibilities were endless. We wanted to be astronauts or firemen. We wanted to be the hero in the story of our lives. Later the realities of living hit us as we grew older and life was filled with heartbreak, disappointments, paying the bills and changing nappies.

To ask “What to do with your life?” implies you are not currently living the life you were supposed to live. It speaks of an outward journey to be something and to do something that is currently only a dream. Sometimes it is a wish to escape the mundane but brutal realities of life.

How many people can not testify that one of the great disappointments of their life came about when they finally reached the “thing” they were chasing? For some it is success or wealth, for others it is a relationship or marriage. It is often establishing a business or the career of our dreams. We fantasise about the goal we are aiming for, and as time marches on that goal seems ever more glorious compared to our current state. We sacrifice so much to reach that goal: our health, time with our loved ones, our morals.

I am not against ambition, or against dreaming big dreams. The human race advances because others follow their dreams and create beautiful things, despite many setbacks. We create, we define, we discover. But it is also an idea sold to us by Hollywood. Rags to riches make for great box office ticket sales. We live our lives through others by being spellbound to the soap operas that feeds our low self-esteem. We sooth our fears by being spellbound to “reality” television.

Maybe the question of what to do with your life should be an inward one. It is in silent harmony with the inner person that we discover our real purpose. Finding that purpose may not mean a career change. We may just be able to live our higher purpose without doing something different.

The late mythologist, Joseph Campbell, is quoted as saying: “If you 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.”