Monday, November 21, 2011

Following Your Bliss

Anyone familiar with Joseph Campbell should also recognize this week's title - Following Your Bliss.  In today's world, "Follow you bliss" might be Joseph Campbell's tagline.  It is certainly a philosophy worth considering.  I decided to do just that, because in looking back over some of my older posts, I noticed that many of them had to do with finding balance, keeping balls in the air, basically doing what you need to do to get by.  Of course, I am not always one to d that, because I am driven so much by the things that I enjoy, things that evoke my passion.  Of course, this perspective can be problematic, which is why so many of my posts have to do with managing multiple things at once; I need to work on that.

This week is different though.  This week, I say embrace your passions and follow your bliss, for if we don't do things that bring us joy, we will not be truly happy.  I know it is not easy to do this.  I am guilty of it too.  However, this month, I am taking part in NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writing Month.  Taking this challenge has reconnected me to my love for writing in a way I could not have imagined.  I don't want to lose this feeling of bliss when November and the challenge end next week.  To that end, I asked the Runes how can we follow our bliss?  What do we need to be able to do to follow our bliss?

Hagalaz provides the overview for this line of questions.  The Rune of Hail, which is a destructive force that creates disruption, but where creativity may exist in its wake defines Hagalaz.  Traditionally, this Rune represents hail and is viewed in both positive and negative ways.  For, although it is cold and can destroy crops, once it melts, it provides nourishment.  It is a change agent, disrupting life as we know it, but providing an opportunity for new ways of doing things.  New Age interpretations of this Rune seem to fall in line with this assessment, claiming it represents change, freedom, invention and liberation.  I agree with this, because by having our lives disrupted, we are forced to look at things differently.  It gives us the freedom to consider following our bliss instead of returning to the old path.

The challenge that awaits us in following our bliss is - ourselves.  Algiz, the Rune of Self-Defense and Protection is the Rune drawn here.  Fulfilling our dreams or even attempting to fulfill them is quite a scary undertaking, so our natural instinct is to protect ourselves.  From what though?  We go with what we know, even when it doesn't make us happy.  We are afraid to take a chance and believe that, by taking the safe route instead, the familiar route, we are doing what's best.  The challenge then is to try a different route and follow what makes us happy; even if we don't do it completely, that is to say full time, we need to incorporate it into our lives.

How in the heck do we do that?  Breaking old habits is hard.  Feeling true or content happiness seems like a largely foreign idea these days.  Gebo, the Rune of Gifts is our call to action.  It represents not only a gift in the physical sense, but everything related to a gift, such as the appreciation you feel when receiving one or the fact that gifts are given as a sign of affection or appreciation.  The action required to overcome the challenge of protecting ourselves from ourselves and doing those things which make us blissful, is this - appreciation.  We must appreciate that which makes us happy, be proud of the gifts we possess and support those gifts by pursing the joy they bring.  I'm not suggesting we should change our lives in a moment.  Try to commit to one thing that you truly enjoy doing and do it once a week from now until the end of the year.  Come January 1, 2012, let me know how it's working for you.

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