You’ve heard it a million times – follow your bliss and you’ll live an amazing life.
We preach it all the time on this blog. Posts such as What lifestyle are you working for and a Return to love and travel point the philosophy that if you just follow your heart, you’ll find peace and happiness.
It sounds pretty simple. Or is it?
I had someone ask me the other day,
When I paused to think before I wrote, “it’s easy just follow your heart” I realized that its easy for me to say that now that I know what that calling is, but I didn’t fully gasp that calling until I was 34 and started this travel blog.
I had signs and deep-seated emotions that kept pointing the way, but I ignored them because they didn’t seem logical and I was afraid and insecure.
Each of us does really know what the bliss in our heart is.
We know the path of our purpose, we’ve just added layers of dirt on top of it with each new life stage we live. Our parents, friends, school counsellors, uni lecturers and friends have done their best to steer us on the wise and safe path, teaching us to look outwards for the answers rather than within.
The bliss of our youth
Think back to when you were a child and you had the freedom to explore and play to what ever your imagination wanted to create for you.
What were you doing?
How were you feeling? What were you dreaming? What brought you the most joy?
Although our interests evolve over time, and our childhood dreams might not be the bliss we want to follow now, I bet buried down there somewhere is the spark that, if you followed it, would lead you to a place now that’s more heart-centred and meaningful.
I truly believe the secret to a fulfilling life is to follow your heart, and listen to your gut, which will guide you to the right expression of your bliss.
Bear in mind that sometimes that pathway involves experiences that are simply awful, but when you’re ready to look deeper, you’ll see they are perfect as they prepared you for what your heart really wanted.
The principles in the book show you what I call your soul’s yearning. Because our days should be sent singing rather than moaning.
8 Steps to Finding Your Bliss
1. Ask the right questions
Don’t fixate on all the problems and how clueless you are about what your bliss is. Just ask.
[ybox_large] What is my purpose? How can I discover what I was born to do? What do I need to learn or do so I can live a heart-centred life? How can I best serve? What’s my special talent? [/ybox_large]
2. Allow the answers to come
No point answering the questions if you’re not prepared to listen. Once you ask the questions let your fretting over the answers go.
Continue about your day, but leave your eyes and ears open and let the answers come.
They can spring up from anywhere – a book that lands in your lap, a chance encounter, a random conversation that sparks an idea, a movie, or song.
3. What brings you most joy and peace?
Here’s where you’ll find the answer to your bliss.
Most of the time we don’t explore these avenues because the things that bring us joy and peace are what we usually categorize as hobbies.
Who ever taught us at school that hobbies can be turned into lifestyles?
We’ve grown up believing that our hobbies are something we only dedicate time to when we have a few hours on the weekend, after we’ve finished our job for the week. We don’t comprehend that our job and hobbies can be joined – in fact, it’s best that they are.
Get back to your hobby.
[ybox_large]Don’t think about HOW you’re going to make this into your daily bliss, just LIVE the bliss. [/ybox_large]
Pick up the guitar and strum for an hour every day, paint a picture, take up dancing lessons, do morning yoga, write the book anyway, or volunteer at your local RSPCA.
Then just let it evolve.
4. What do you feel called to do?
All of us have certain urges or callings to do leave a deeper footprint in some way. Usually we try to ignore it because we don’t understand them, or we think its silly or unreachable. Those callings are your soul speaking to you. You must listen and follow.
I always had a strong calling to travel and write about it. It felt so crazy, but it never left until I did something about it and created this blog! I have had a strong calling to do something recently, and it feels so silly, I’m not even going to mention what it is, but it’s just this feeling that says, “I really feel like I need to do this.”
I think I heard this expressed in the most beautiful way on X-Factor the other night. The contestant, Jaymie was speaking about his decision to take a step forward to follow his bliss for music.
I’m not doing it because I want to, I’m doing it because I HAVE to.
It’s a I can’t sleep at night until I do this sort of feeling. Yossi Ghinsberg, one of the most influential persons in my life describes it like this.
A life-changing book to read is Manifesting Michelangelo. The author, Joseph Pierce Farrell, spoke about a calling he had from a young age to help young children who had suffered from physical trauma. But, his high school counsellor told him he was not fit for the life of a doctor and he buried that calling and dream.
Many years later he fulfilled that calling in the most incredible way – re-sculpturing people’s damaged bodies. I’ll let you read the book, to find out what its about. (He has an amazing five step plan for manifesting what you want.)
[ybox_large] Pay attention to what you feel called to. What topics move you? What problems in the world do you dream of solving? What passions do you have? How do you feel you can best help? [/ybox_large]
HOT TIP: Do the ugggh I’m so over it test
You know those moments when after an exhausting day you collapse on the couch with the unsolvable challenges of the day racing through your head.
You’re completely over it and so you grunt out, “Ugghh all I just want to do is ___________”
What goes in the blank? How you really want to live your days is what your bliss is?
I realized this was a good strategy the other day, when I grunted, “I just wish someone could take care of everything else for me so I could just focus on writing what’s in my heart.”
So that’s my calling – all I want to do is the creative writing so now I know what I have to work towards.
5. Say yes to the expression
One of the most essential components to creating your bliss, or anything, is to say yes to it.
Something else I gained as I watched X-Factor the other night (I love shows like this) I watched the most mesmerizing performance by a contestant of Clown by Emeli Sande.
I thought to myself, “It’s not really the music she’s doing this for, it’s for the true expression of herself.
That’s why artists, or anyone living their bliss experience such joy, because they have the freedom in that space of creation to truly be themselves.
Intend to discover the answers and make your authentic expression happen. Don’t be frightened of YOU. Commit to the process and connect to a higher power that not only keeps you focused on the dream, but allows the right people and opportunities to come your way to help you do it.
Once you tap into that bliss, the Universe opens the doors for you and the journey seems effortless.
6. Stay present
Much of the advice above is a calling for you to stay present. Remove yourself form the world of your past and future in your mind and ground yourself in your current reality.
[ybox_large] Present moment is where the answers are found. Present moment is where the magic happens. [/ybox_large]
7. Follow the sparks and intuitions
If you’re following all the steps above, your answers will come to you via sparks of thoughts and intuitions.
Something will tell you to just walk into that cafe and order a coffee. Whilst there you’ll have a conversation with the barista who mentions they are in need of a singer for a live gig tonight – their regular called in sick and they’re stuck.
You just happen to be free, and offer to save their arse. You don’t expect too much, you’re just called to sing more and here’s an open door.
One thing rolls after the other and soon your selling records. No joke – it can seriously happen that easily and it will if you follow your inner voice – accessed via the present moment.
8. Let go
It’s time you listen to Elsa’s epic Frozen advice.
“Let it go, let it go, don’t worry about it anymore!!”
Release the inner control freak. Give up the sleepless nights trying to find the answers and searching for it behind every curtain. Just trust in the above process and go about your day.
The more you do this and notice the miracles that occur, the more you’ll want to let go. It makes life so much easier and fun. You don’t have to do any of the hard work! You just set the intention, keep an open mind and heart, stay present and follow the nudges to your bliss. It’s perfect.
I’m so sorry for the constant repeat of Let it go that will be in your head for the remainder of the day.
It’s time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me I’m free!
Let it go, let it go
I am one with the wind and sky
Let it go, let it go
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Have you found your bliss? How did you find it?
21 thoughts on “How Do You Know What Bliss to Follow?…My 8 Step Plan”
Love the quote about dreams….lovely post. One of the many unexpected pleasures of traveling with small children in particular was to see the moment when they realized that something they had read about in a book (like a castle with a moat) could in fact be real. That dreams could be real. Great job finding a way to articulate what that process looks like as an adult!
Yes! So perfect! I love Kalyra’s seeing Kalyra’s excitement in this way too. So magical!
Love your tips, wow I have a lot of thinking to do. I definitely haven’t found my bliss but I think I am getting closer! I am heading off travelling next month as it is something that I have wanted to do for years but always put earning money and career profession first (which has usually only led to unhappiness). However, I leave with lots of worries and doubts in my head! Letting go is definitely no as easy as it sounds, but well worth the effort I guess!
Letting go is so bloody hard!! It’s taken me years to get to the stage where I can do it quite easily, yet still panic will set in somewhere. But, I know that when my life flows perfectly and amazing surprises happen to take me to my bliss, is when I have let go!
Sometimes the travel journey can lead us to the right profession.Perhaps look at ways you can incorporate both
This is fabulous – when I was a kid I loved reading, writing, and aspired to be a famous explorer. When my orthodontist told me “everything has already been explored” I was determined to prove him wrong! Fifteen years later I’ve traveled to the places I used I read about, am living in another country, and working as a writer. Life has a funny way of guiding you to the right place!
Absolutely! I always think if you haven’t explored or discovered it yourself then there is plenty to explore!
Got to keep a hold of those childhood dreams!
In September Im off for a year of travel. Already the thought of returning to something that really isn’t my bliss is crippling me. I already feel like I’m meant to be living the life of a nomad.
It’s only just starting to cross my mind that leaving my well paid secure job that doesn’t make me happy is actually an option. This is definitely whats been calling me for such a long time.
You’ve so got to follow those callings, they really are taking you to the right place. Those crippling thoughts are the wake up signs telling you to try something different. I used to experience such pain every time the alarm went off telling me it was time to teach for another day. I knew there was no way I could do this for the rest of my life and I had to make a change.
Enjoy your travels – such exciting times ahead
These are really great steps. I’m in University right now and I think that A LOT of the students could use this!
Thank you Clay! Id love for more Uni students to follow their bliss.
I’ve long been a believer in the idea that to discover what your purpose is you need to look back to your childhood! As kids we are so in touch with ourselves and our desires, and although we do change and grow as people, the theme is always the same.
For sure! I can pick almost what Kalyra will be doing. It will be something to do with fashion, drama and Paris. I just hope she holds onto those dreams and imaginations
Great post Caz. I love that y travel blog is so much more than ‘just’ about travel. You share so much valuable content – thank you. For me, I feel that we need to listen more to what our heart tells us and act on that. Most tend to listen to the mind too much and the restrictions we put on ourselves. There is this great saying;
“It’s impossible,” said pride. “It’s risky,” said experience. “It’s pointless,”said reason. “Give it a try,” said the heart.
PS. thanks for the lyrics of Frozen…i’ll be singing it all day 😉
So sorry about that Stoewie!! I think if i have to be subjected to Frozen twenty times a day everyone should!!
I LOVE that saying so much. Thank you for sharing it. It’s given me tingles.
It took me a lot of years before I really felt like I was on the right path. I had written down some goals years ago – to be self-employed, financially independent, travel more. I didn’t make a definite plan but I did become self-employed and started traveling more – still working on the financial independence but I am debt-free so that’s a big plus.
I followed many of the suggestions you make in this post – ask the right questions, wait for the answers to come, be present (and patient) and Let It Go – that’s a big one. I like to envision the pieces of a puzzle falling into place – everything is falling into place – that’s my mantra when I know I’m on the right path.
Just saw your were nominated in the 10Best/USA Today category of best budget travel blog. Congrats!! Ironically, so was I. That freaked me out a little bit, got me thinking, and rattled me a bit. So I ventured over here and saw this post.
I retired from this travel writing and blogging thing a year ago. I have to make some adjustments. Life has slowed down and simplified. It was the right thing for me to do. I’m right where I need to be for the moment and I know that. Yet there is still a nagging felling inside of me. Sometimes my motives for blogging weren’t always pure. There was pressure, the insanity, and the burden of doing everything. It was overwhelming and there are many aspects of it I don’t miss. It’s been INCREDIBLY refreshing to unplug and simplify my life. I don’t want to go back to all of that again.
Yet I do miss writing and photography. I’m glad my travel schedule has slowed down but I do miss traveling. I enjoyed those moments writing a sentence or paragraph that painted a picture and helped people connect with my experiences. At times, I wrote for an audience. Other times, I wrote because it was just inside of me and spilled out onto a page for others to read.
I didn’t have these yearnings as a child. I didn’t fit the stereotypical writer. It wasn’t a dream fulfilled. It was a dream revealed through stages and phases in my life. I gave up this dream revealed for a simpler, better life for people more important than an audience. Yet a year later, I still finding myself asking these same questions about life and feeling like something is missing.
I’ve stayed away from all things travel for nearly a year. I’ve disappeared from social media and don’t miss that at all. That’s been the most refreshing part. No blogs, no travel articles, not even adventures. Yet there is a part of me that still misses it. I miss the travel, culture, people, friends, and sharing my experiences. I don’t know that I’ll ever go back but I’ll keep looking for the next dream to be revealed.
Tell everyone I said hello. I made some really good friends doing this. I include you and Craig in that. Hope all is well with the kids and life!
Jeremy! We’ve missed you! We were only talking about you the other day and wondering what was happening for you. We’re so glad you’ve left a comment. Now we have your email. We’re planning on coming to the States next year so definitely want to meet you in person.
I think the dream will be revealed to you. Sometimes we need to take a step back to allow things to shuffle around and find the right place. I can understand how lovely it must be to disconnect. I love what I do but often I long for the days of travel when smart phones didn’t exist and sending postcards were the norm!! Simplicity is always a winner.
We’ll be in touch soon!
I always say I missed my first calling and that was acting. The one thing I’ve learned over this lifetime and at the grand old age of 48 is that if you don’t take a step towards something you enjoy and give it a go – you’ll never know anyway. That is what I learned from not stepping onto the path the first time.
This is now my second time around and I spend time reflecting through my personal experiences I have a better understanding of myself and the world and as a child always found peace & happiness in nature and being outdoors. Now I’m travel blogging and am doing my darnedest to evolve into what I what to become and allowing life to do the rest. If it’s meant to be it will be but I know I need to do my bit as well!
I have been sole-searching since my business venture crashed. I am now an employee while trying to figure out “the more” to my life. Though I have never blogged, I have many things I’d like to blog about just to share my experience, talents, and passions. They are conflicting items such as space planning and dancing, so how so I select which one? I need time to focus to give time to a topic and not confuse my reader, or do I?
I found bliss for the first time in my life in Gran Canaria. I think the feeling of family – combined with living between mountain and sea in such a beautiful location really worked for me as a person and a community spirited person. Although the job I was there doing, didn’t. So I came back to the UK.
I always wondered that I should do something with the bliss. Its telling me something and I’m not hearing it properly. Maybe its not the right time to do so!
Keep pondering over it. You’ll start to find the right path to return to your bliss