The seminar names all sound the same to me: Find your brilliance! Discover your bliss! Live from the heart! The inspiring messages have enticed me over the years to spend way too much cash searching for my bliss. After ten years of reading self-development books I have awarded myself an honorary degree in the million ways of finding my heart’s desire.
So why do I feel I still haven’t found what I’m looking for?
I have seen and read the great modern philosophical thinkers like Deepak Chopra,Wayne Dyer and Caroline Myss. I have crossed legs at meditation seminars in far-flung mountain retreats. I have downloaded dozens of podcasts from well-meaning scientists, psychics and gurus.
Listening and reading these lessons have stolen years of my days and diverted several of my well-intended careers. And like the universe, my book list is ever expanding. I can’t seem to get enough. A dozen paths to enlightenment swarm in my head, but I can’t choose just one. There are billions of ways to follow your heart and find your bliss, but the one thing no one tells you is: you’re on the longest road trip of your life.
Why must we slog through the trenches of our modern lives just to reach the safety of our own souls? Isn’t there an easier way to find our brilliance and the secret to our souls? No wonder so many people avoid the journey. It’s like having that dreaded colonoscopy. You know you probably should, but you just can’t bring yourself to make the appointment.
You also know you should learn to meditate, “be still,” and make decisions from your inner guidance, but you usually don’t. Most of us just forget and plunge forward in life the way we always have, with good intentions, but still flipping the bird to that guy in the Lexus who just cut you off.
Some days, I am trudging faithfully along my rambling life path when I have a breakthrough. My heart pumps faster and lighter at the prospect of reaching even a glimpse of my hallowed destination. I think I see my heart’s chambers creaking open, so I’m going to peek in.
And then it happens: an unexpected bill shows up, I forget a job interview (who does that?), I fight with my husband, my chakras get all clogged up. Once again my temporary glossy brilliance fades to matte, looking like contractor grade Navajo White, instead of something glorious designed by me and the universe.
Perhaps bliss and inner self-development are not for me today, I decide. I will try again tomorrow, thank you. This is usually when I decide to make cookies just for the batter and call it a day. Stick to the safety of domestic issues, my logical left brain advises, maybe balance the checkbook. That right side of your head has big ideas. Thinks it is running the show.
Later, adequately sedated by chocolate and cuddled in bed, I can’t ignore the stacks of seminar notes and books that have become my wobbly nightstand. Move forward, they whisper to me. Reclaim your power. Detach from the outcome. As if.
So much of my precious middle-age life has been sacrificed to reclaiming my power that detaching from the outcome would be like going through pregnancy and then deciding at the last moment to give the baby up for adoption. I am in this for the long haul. So I pull out another book, Shakti Gawain’s The Path to Transformation. It falls open to Chapter 7, “Taking Action”. I settle in.
How many other people live like me, spiritual development junkies skulking library book sales and seminar tables for just one more book? Am I really a kook like my mother and left brain insist, or is this search for a right-brained life part of the new normal for a new time? It’s sort of hard to tell anymore because my perspective is on quantum steroids. Instead of deducing things, I just feel them. And I feel I should be getting closer to knowing my complete inner self any… second… now.
Of course most days nothing happens. I go about my suburban mom, wife, sister, daughter duties as usual, but I’m always on the lookout for a sign from the universe that all of this is not in vain. And every once in a while I get one.
It is usually a moment of knowing. A knowing so cellular I can’t explain it using my stunted 10th grade science or Google. Like the moment I held my newborn daughter and I knew she was the soul who first visited me when I was just a girl myself. Or the mind-bending moment sitting in Astronomy 101 back in 1978 when I felt the massive beauty of the universe scoop me up and wash through me just for an incredible second. Or more recently after a long walk, when I realized that I may just be starting to understand how physics, the universe and human history all swirl together. I felt like I was a part of it all.
Those are the beautiful moments in my life, so I keep going back for more. Addicted? I guess so, because when that happens it’s a good day. I guess that’s my bliss.