“Follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.” – Joseph Campbell
Can you jump up and follow your bliss after reading this quote?
I used to feel even more fearful after reading quotes like this. Why weren’t the quotes catapulting me to a blissful life, happily ever after? What was blocking me?
One day after reading the above quote about not being afraid, I realized I wanted to be fearless once and for all. I had enough. What was going on here? What was I so afraid of anyway?
I felt like I was living my life on a leash, and it was time to figure this out, so here is what I did.
I took 30 seconds to identify my fear.
I looked into my own eyes in the mirror. What or who was I so afraid of? The answer came right to me. It was 6 ft. 2, boss-of-the-house Dad.
I felt like a prisoner of an energy that was lingering around me far too long.
“Children should be seen and not heard, look like a perfect young lady when you leave the house. Spare the rod and spoil the child. Don’t shame the family name.
Homework? Your job is to help your mother with your siblings”.
Harry Potter had the invisibility cloak. I wore the cloak of fear.
So here was adult me, living small and fearful in the corner of my mind, afraid he would get mad at me and he wasn’t even alive anymore.
The way I dressed, still putting everyone ahead of me, the way I viewed myself in general was in no way leading to following my bliss.
So when this Joseph Campbell quote says ‘Follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open…’ I could now see who was blocking those doors from opening for me.
My monster fears about Dad. It was time for a sendoff. Here are the 5 steps I took to shake my fear forever so that I can follow my bliss:
1. I Took 30 seconds. I looked at myself in the mirror for 30 seconds and asked myself what I was afraid of.
2. Decision Time. I decided what my beliefs were and wrote them down. I decided that I am no longer a fearful child – I am an adult that can live the life of my own choosing. I wrote out what I DO believe are my thoughts and opinions of how I want to live my life. Re-reading my own desires and beliefs daily drowns out the old fearful messages and voices that aren’t mine.
3. Dig for the Good. I hung up a picture of my father when he was young, in the navy, handsome and charming, before he had us 11 children and a wife to care for. I realized there was more to him than the person I feared.
4. Find Something Bigger. I started riding horses. I needed to do something in the physical world that I was afraid of, not just think and write my fears away. Terrified as I am, the towering magnitude of horses remind me of my Dad who loved to ride.
5. Add Love. Adding love drowns out fear. I pay more attention to being present when I am with people I love, and who love me, such as my children. They have so much love to give me if I am open to it.
I spend more time doing creative things I love, even if it’s sneaking my child’s rubber band loom and looming a rubber bracelet after she’s asleep, or drawing on my iPad for a few minutes.
You too can go ahead and ‘follow your bliss, and don’t be afraid…’
There’s a reason this quote is so famous, because it’s so simple, yet it takes such a mysterious leap of taking yourself on a magic carpet ride to discover your own fears and desires.
Give yourself a few moments to go through these 5 steps and think about your own life. What comes up for you? Write it out and start on a journey to conquer your fear with a life force that is all your own, perhaps with a mentor, coach or friend.
Life has a way of surprising us. When doors open unexpectedly, it’s because we unlocked it by looking at something difficult, and shifting a belief in ourselves. We invited more love and processed and let go of fear.
So what’s behind door number 1 in your life? “…doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.”
How exciting is that to contemplate. It’s certainly worth peeking and when you do, there’s no turning back.
Photo by Laura Katharina