Find your bliss

Are you your own worst enemy? Every once in a while my old habit of self-sabotage reappears and positive thinking disappears. I am left with feelings of not-good-enough and the old self-pitying "why me?" attitudes.

Today, I asked myself: "What do I tell others who struggle with the old negative tapes and mindsets?" I thought about conversations with several friends who are feeling stuck and frustrated and recalled my suggestion was to follow their bliss. I have been especially adamant about this philosophy when it comes to career. So many people are unhappy in their jobs and find it hard to stay motivated day to day.

I followed my bliss when I started to write a book several years ago. I decided to do this in order to escape the stress and worry I was suffering as a result of a failing retail business – a business I had put endless hours of sweat and tears into. I listened to my heart, rather than my head, and started doing what I not only wanted to do, but felt a desire to do. Today I am writing a second book. When I am writing, I know I am following my bliss.

Self-Defeating Thoughts

Self-defeating thoughts come from your head, not your heart. Ask yourself what lives in your heart? What brings you joy and contentment? When you follow your heart you will find happiness and peace-of-mind. I believe I have an ability to communicate universal ideas, feelings and emotions through words. When I do, it feels good and my soul says "yes" to me.

A friend and I met for tea recently and she was complaining about her job as a server in a restaurant. I remembered a couple of similar stories of past jobs she’d had and commented that there seemed to be a pattern there. I also remembered a time when she was creating the most spectacular tutus for friends and donating the proceeds to children in a third-world country. She enjoyed the creativity it allowed her while the proceeds made a difference in the world. She agreed that she feels joyful when creating and fulfilling a passion inside her.

When you face resistance in your life, it’s a sure sign you are not following your bliss. It’s the universe’s way of guiding you to make a new plan. Some people engage in the same actions repeatedly – for example, they keep picking the same kinds of partners, or a similar job to the last one that they left because they felt unfulfilled. This is a form of resistance – you open a new door, but you pick the same outcome again.


Watch for the Signals

If you need clarity on how to find and follow your bliss ask the universe for guidance and then watch for the road signs. They always appear, just ask and pay attention. Sometimes you may not like the guidance you receive, but with acceptance and a little faith everything becomes clear over time. For example, you will see why the outcome you thought you wanted, like getting more deeply involved with that unhealthy man or woman you were dating, was not going to lead you to your bliss. You were sad in the moment but grateful in the long run.

What makes you smile? What makes your heart sing? What gives you a sense of peace and contentment? What are you really good at? Do more of that and you will discover your bliss.


Believe in a higher power

People who have a belief in a higher power seem to navigate life with less stress and more ease, as they possess a level of faith that assures them things will work out for the best. Living life without the support and guidance of a higher power greatly short changes your opportunities for growth, joy and peace. It doesn't matter what you choose to call this powerful force – God, Buddha, Allah, The Creator, Mother Nature, universal or source energy, are just a few. What matters is that you are able to define it as a loving energy that exists around you and, inside you. It's the power that keeps your heart beating and sparks your intuition. It is the invisible life-force energy field that created and sustains Earth - a planet bursting with wonders that, as far as we know, are unique in our universe. One of the most effective means to connect to this energy source is through meditation, which teaches you how to quiet the mind and go within. In stillness you meet your energetic self, the spiritual being that gives you life and makes you the unique individual that you are. It is there, in the quiet, you discover the guidance you’re seeking. The messages you receive when praying (talking to God) and meditating (listening to God), are far more reliable than the opinions and ideas of other people. When you are able to go within and and connect to your spiritual self, you connect with true power.

It’s fascinating to observe how dedicated – even obsessed – people are with overloading their minds with information and bodies with exercise but give little attention to the needs of the spirit. This is the missing link for many who are seeking increased wellness, fulfillment and contentment. Connecting through quiet contemplation, taking a walk in nature, participating in a yoga class, sitting by a lake or ocean, or hiking to the top of a mountain - these are methods of communicating with your higher power. You can feel this energy as you deeply breath the air that sustains you and appreciate the natural elements that feed your spirit. Tapping into this powerful energy is an essential step in transformation and growth. It is the life-enhancing sunshine that feeds your soul.

Your higher power never lets you down nor deserts you. When you discover this fact you no longer need to try to control others to achieve your happiness and well-being. Humans will disappoint you – just as you do others on occasion; it is part of the human experience, but something greater than yourself will not. If you don't pray, or have stopped praying for whatever reason, it's time start. Prayers are very simple and come in many forms. For example: writing a gratitude list; sitting quietly and mentally asking the universe to help support and guide the people you love; or sitting in nature and feeling the awe of its divinity, are all forms of prayer. You don't need to belong to an organized religion or attend church services to believe in a higher power. Everyone can use prayer and mediation to expand awareness and grow in positive ways.

If you have tried connecting with God in the past with unsatisfactory results, keep this important fact in mind: when you call on your higher power and ask for guidance and support, the answer will always be "yes". When you say, "I want to be in a relationship" the universe replies "yes" and it will support your wanting to be in a relationship. If you say, "I need help" you will always be supported in your need for help, as the universe says "yes" and gives you more of what you ask for.

Alternatively, try something like: "I am ready for a wonderfully healthy and loving relationship." Do you see the difference? If you find that you often say things like "I want" or "I need" or "I don't have" you will constantly find yourself in a place of wanting and needing. The universe agrees with your thoughts - which create your feelings - which create your life. This is free will - you are free to be and think what you like. However, it is imperative to acknowledge the role you play in creating your reality. When you say, "I'm not good enough", "I am so frustrated all the time", "I just can't seem to meet the right person", "my kids are so ungrateful for all that I do for them", "my husband [or wife] is always on my back", the universe simply agrees with you and gives you more of what you are saying and energetically attracting. Your feelings matter more than your words so that is where the work comes in when you embark on changing your self-talk, you have to think, say, and feel your way to change. This is why gratitude is such a powerful emotion; it opens the door to abundance.

When you embark on some form of prayer - a conversation with the highest part of yourself, the words, "I am" fit well with the universe's eternal "yes" response. Instead of saying, "I am a loser" or "I am a failure" replace it with statements such as: "I am capable of anything I set my mind to"; "I am healthy"; "I am abundant in all areas of my life"; and "I am grateful". When you are facing a challenge you may certainly ask for help - but consider framing it in the now - as if the help you're requesting has already arrived: "thank you for helping me with this situation", rather than "I desperately need help". Ask, and you shall receive.

Positive statements accompanied by positive feelings take your vibrational being to a higher frequency and you attract what you are projecting. It is very simple once your become aware of how it works. It's an energetic and vibrational flow that supports happiness and contentment. You will be "in the flow", as they say. With your cooperation and understanding, your higher power will work miracles in your life. It isn't easy at the start because it is a whole new way of thinking and feeling. "Fake it 'til you make it" – even if you don't feel true to what you are saying. You need to stick with it to train your brain to make new connections. Envision your life as you wish it to be and say it out loud, in the present tense, like it has already happened. Feel the good feelings that are connected to it. When you consciously change your self-talk you will see a brand new experience emerge in your life. You are a co-creator with your higher power and together, you are an unstoppable force.

Emotional maturity

When you experience a two-year-old having a temper-tantrum, or a 15-year-old vehemently arguing his or her point with no room for compromise, you are witnessing emotional immaturity. The emotions of anger, fear or frustration overtake one's ability to behave in a rational manner.

You are in control of your emotions. That is not to say that you never become emotionally charged - joy, sadness, anger, frustration, jealousy - these emotions were given to you for a reason and it's largely what makes us human. But like most things in this world, balance is the key to emotional maturity. Chasing a good time, numbing uncomfortable emotions with drugs or alcohol or wallowing in self-pity, are ways emotionally immature or unaware people prevent themselves from fully embracing life.

If you started using drugs and alcohol at a young age to fit in and feel more comfortable in social situations or, to escape difficult circumstances, you stunt your emotional growth. When addicts get clean and sober, they learn that their emotional maturity is stuck at the age they started using. That is why dealing with the real world is so challenging even when the substance abuse ceases. They soon discover that stopping the addiction can save their lives, but it doesn't fix it. It is the first step. They learn their emotional state is raw and oversensitive, much like that of a young child or teenager. Initially, they don't handle stress or conflict well. It takes time and a lot of effort to achieve a new level of emotional maturity, but it does happen with time and effort. For many, building spiritual muscle provides the strength they need and yields significant and lasting results in sobriety.

Addiction is not the only thing that creates emotional instability. There are many unhelpful behaviours you may have learned from the people you have grown up with and adapted from the environment in which you lived. As well, traumatic experiences can create negative shifts in behaviour and need to be addressed and healed in order to grow in a positive way. Playing the victim, judging others to avoid looking at yourself, having a negative or angry attitude in general, are methods by which you are not taking responsibility for your own emotional maturity. You justify your behaviours and attitudes rather than taking ownership of them. Instead of learning how to handle and move through emotional situations, you have learned to avoid or deflect. When you overreact, fear sits just below the surface. You are fearful because you don't know how to deal with your feelings or how to control your emotional responses.

Emotions are a guidance system. They are designed to help address issues that need resolving so that you can bring balance into your life. When your experiences cause you to feel stress, anger, sadness or fear, it is an indicator that your physical and mental states are being thrown off kilter. Your job is to bring yourself back to a place of peace. This is something the spiritual part of your being is designed to help you with. You learn the benefits of silence. A clear mind is a gateway to allowing a higher power to help resolve your challenges. Your job is to be willing to be honest with yourself and others about how you are feeling and have faith that your higher power will guide you through.

Too much of anything is not good for you. In an unhealthy state, you may use emotions to manipulate others with displays of self-righteousness, neediness, self-pity or anger. If you want more love and gratitude, cultivate emotions and share them with others. Seek to gain appreciation rather than sympathy. With awareness, willingness and lots of patience and practice, you can master your emotions. Through the process you learn how to bring forth more joy, contentment, love and happiness – emotions that have a very positive influence on you and others.

What is your definition of happiness? For some it is the sense of excitement that comes with new discoveries and experiences. For others, it is a feeling of peace and acceptance of life and all its circumstances. Perhaps it is a combination of these feelings. When we are young, excitement tends to be the elixir of joy; as we age, contentment and peace become bigger contributors.

The goal of becoming emotionally mature is to understand you are meant to experience all emotions as you travel through life. They guide and teach you many wonderful lessons but in the end, your faith in a higher power - the God of your understanding - is bigger than your emotions. When you are overwrought with grief, or guilt or shame or pain, it is your higher self that will help you to find peace, balance and joy by bringing forth your truest self, which is centered in love.



The reasons for dishonest behaviour can often be tied to judgement. People are worried they will be negatively or unfairly judged so they cover up the truth. The solution is to learn to accept yourself exactly as you are – warts and all – and when you can do this, you are able to be honest with others because it is no longer their judgement you are concerned about, it's yours, and yours alone.

A lack of acceptance usually stems from low self-esteem, which is fuelled by old, subconscious programs that you learned from others, be it a parent, teacher, coach or friend. Try to identify the root from which your dishonesty stems. Let's take cheating on your taxes, for example. On the surface (in your conscious mind) you may justify your actions by speaking negatively about the government, complaining about the unfair rate at which you're taxed. But subconsciously it's likely the real reason you are cheating is because you are worried about lack of resources. You are trying to find ways to cut corners because you have convinced yourself there "isn't enough", that you don't have the funds to pay the balance owing. This is especially true of self-employed individuals. There is a belief that being self-employed means staying small in terms of paying taxes – after all, writing off expenses is touted as a big benefit of being self-employed. And while that is true, trying to avoid paying taxes is only keeping you from reaching your fullest potential as an entrepreneur. When you have monies owing at year-end it's a reflection of the success you have achieved over the last 12 months. The solution requires you to save money to pay taxes, or better yet, pay them quarterly, which means being responsible and realistic with your finances, but it's a relatively easy adjustment to make. When you change your viewpoint, everything changes.

Speaking of viewpoints, do you judge other people through gossip and complaining? Everyone does at one point or another but it's important to break this detrimental behaviour, especially if it's something you do on a regular basis. Instead of focusing on the faults of others, think of yourself as a "full time job" in terms of self-development and let go of what others are doing, or not doing, with their lives. Keep your attention on the character traits that you would like to improve about yourself rather than deflecting to others and you will soon find you are no longer giving your energy to their shortcomings. As you begin to gently guide yourself to healthier actions and reactions you will become more compassionate with yourself and others.

If you want to talk about others, find some positive role models and speak their praises. When you make the switch to look for positive qualities in another it helps you do the same for yourself. When you acknowledge and appreciate the good parts of you and let go of self-judgement you are more able to identify and appreciate the goodness in those around you.

As we get older we tend to judge less. You have likely noticed people mellow with age. Why does this occur? Because a whole bunch of things you were certain you would never do, say or participate in, actually came to pass. Perhaps you said you'd never cheat on a partner or leave a marriage; or become overweight; or be addicted to alcohol or gambling; yet despite best intentions, it happened. It's in that moment of truth that one realizes that when you judge another you may very well be judging yourself. As time passes we are better able to relate to the challenging circumstances of life. We learn that very few things in life are black and white and that most of us are doing the best we can in any given moment.

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About the Author

Tommi Hanley has a degree in journalism from Ryerson University. She owns an event company in Kelowna, Shop the Valley Destination Management and is the former lead instructor of the Event Promotions & Management program at the Centre for Arts and Technology. She launched her affiliate events company, purepower events with Kathy Reid in 2013.

Visit the purepower website here: http://www.purepowerevents.com

Contact e-mail: [email protected]



The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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