It is when we suffer tremendous trauma that we are blessed to be able to experience newness of life.
Too many of us kind of just walk through life perfunctorily. We do not want to step out of our comfort zones; in fact, if the truth be told, we are afraid to do that. We would rather be miserable staying where we are than to risk feeling truly fulfilled by going through the trauma that always accompanies change.
My mother died when I was a teen, but her death was probably a good thing for me. Had she not died, I would probably have stayed in Detroit, to be close to her. I would not have gone where I have gone or done what I have done.
Her death jolted me and actually empowered to “go out” and begin to look for parts of myself that I knew nothing about.
Joseph Campbell, in his book, The Power of Myth, talks about we as individuals needing to find our bliss and to follow our bliss. He said that “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…” He said that when we make a decision to follow our bliss, and begin doing it, “you begin to meet people who are in the field of your bliss, and they open doors to you.” He says for us human beings to “follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.”
Campbell’s advise is so sage, so rich, and so inspiring…yet so many of us do not follow our bliss, because we have not taken the time to figure out, or perhaps to acknowledge, what our bliss is.
It really does not matter how old one is when he or she decides that their current life is just not getting it. In fact, we use age as an excuse to not do a lot of things. As long as we have breath in our bodies and are of sound mind, we are capable of making a change in the direction we are going.
Often, though, it takes a tremendous trauma in our lives, something that forces us to live in a “new normal,” to make us step out on faith and in faith to places we have always thought about but never had the guts to try it. Change, and the pain that comes with change, is an opportunity, not an omen, it is a time to move forward, not to yearn to go back to “what was.” Change becomes an impetus if we let it. It gives us an opportunity, as we deal with the reality of our “new normal,” to recognize that “something inside you,” says Campbell, “that lets you know when you’re in the center.”
When we get to that point, we experience an exhilaration. We don’t dread what we are doing; because it is our bliss, what we are doing feeds our spirits, and we grow. When we get to that point, we “keep showing up for life,” as a friend recently advised me to do. We show up for life and we find that life is so different than we have ever known.
It takes faith to follow one’s bliss. Ironically, many of us as Christians talk faith but do not know how to access it or use it. We don’t know how to let faith do its double function of feeding us hope while we are in the midst of the trauma of our “new normal,” and to inspire us to identify our bliss, the reasons we were put on this earth, and to begin following it.
There is a Negro spiritual called “Ain’t Got Time to Die.” None of us have time to die. We have a limited number of days on the earth, and good health is a blessing that too often take for granted. It seems that while we are capable, we might think about trying to identify what our “bliss” is and begin following it. It would be the greatest thing to see one of those doors Campbell talked about that is waiting to open…and to walk through it, finally on our way to the lives we were created to live.
A candid observation …