Friday, April 8, 2011

Following one's bliss

" What is it that makes you happy? 
Stay with it, no matter what people tell you. 
This is what I call 'Following Your Bliss.'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.
 Wherever you are, if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment 
that lives within you, all the time. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in the field of your bliss,
 and they open doors for 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

I spent 4 days recently in group meditation practice at Tashi Choling. It makes me very happy to be there. It is splendid and profoundly meaningful to me. It opens the door to a mythic resonance and brings me back to the vastness, radiance and wisdom that permeate everything. I had the good fortune to help start Tashi Choling over 30 years ago. That place and spiritual community are such a blessing in my life. In terms of following my bliss I put it up there at the top of my list.

News flash--It took decades but I finally realized what I want to be when I grow up. I want to be a deeply positive force and influence, someone who is truly selfless and vastly loving. What chance is there of that in this lifetime? I am laughing a little here. I have a way to go. As anyone who knows me can attest. But that is my pervasive goal and I am at work/play on it every day.

Of course I have other goals and dreams that are apparently more mundane. But it is all interwoven. I remember decades during this life when I wouldn't even ask myself the question "What makes me happy?" because I didn't believe the possibility of creating happiness, of manifesting one's dreams, of following one's bliss. So I have done some work on that over the years. Hallelujah!

Writing this blog makes me happy, though I do wonder who in the world reads it since readers so seldom talk back to me. Who are you anyway? Say something will you please? That would be so nice.

Right now, I am highly engaged in producing A Celebration of Aging on April 23rd, where we will preview some of the songs in my musical revue A New Wrinkle. I love producing events. This one will be quite wonderful. I can feel it. Save the date if you are in the Rogue Valley Oregon area. In order to produce the event, I have to call together and work with a fine group of people. This is such a rich process. I love knowing that you can ask for help and get it. People want to do things together. They support this particular work I am engaged in to catalyze positive change in our society's views on aging.

It makes me happy to be nonlinear and right brain and to trust in my path. It makes me happy to share news of other people's adventures and challenges, like these two stories below I will share with you today.

News on the An-Tiki Voyage
Anthony Smith, the 85-year old captain of An-Tiki and his crew of three men between 56 and 71 successfully completed their 2,800 journey across the Atlantic on April 7th when they reached St. Maartens on their raft made of pipes after 66 days at sea. The expedition was intended to raise awareness about lack of clean water on the planet and to raise money for WaterAid. Read more about it here. The An-Tiki voyage--yet another example of late-life adventure and altruism.

I liked this story from the Guardian about a 91-year old man who took up bodybuilding when he was 85. Charles Eugster told reporters, 'I'm not chasing youthfulness. I'm chasing health...At 85 I had a crisis. I looked at myself in the mirror, and saw an old man. I was overweight, my posture was terrible and there was skin hanging off me. I looked like a wreck.' So he decided to do something about it and that's where his dream led him.

Do you find these stories inspiring? I sure do.

Every moment is fresh. We have the potential to discover or acknowledge what makes us happy and to engage in life in ways that are powerful, restorative and beautiful. It doesn't matter what size the gestures are, whether they are outer or inner. Each of us knows what is best for us when we allow ourselves to drop down into our heart's desire.

What makes you happy? How do you follow your bliss?


  1. I understand that desire to know who is reading. I generally am one who reads your blog and enjoys what you are exploring. I felt a lot like you for a lot of years-- why bother to figure out what I want as I can't have it. I still have some of that going on but also am doing what I love even if not yet all of it.

  2. Hi Gaea - I do read your blog and often feel simpatico with what you are saying. I too wonder who is reading my blog although lately I've been pretty slow about posting on it. Right now I am "chasing health," both physically and spiritually, trying to grow from the inside out. Right now what makes me happy is discovering patience in myself, and learning to forgive. forgiveness is a process I have a hard time defining but there is great joy when I find I have released by whatever means some old grudge or resentment. So freeing. Thanks for sharing your bliss.

  3. I've had differing blisses at different points in my life. Sometimes I wonder how my life would have evolved had I stayed with any one of them, but have been pleased with my situation. Theatre is one such interest, so reading about your activities is partially what attracted me to your blog which I added to my blogroll -- hope you don't mind.