Sacrifices must be made if you want daily bliss. And one of them is not your bliss. – Amy Larson
You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club. – Jack London
I have now been using my Daily Greatness Yoga Journal for two weeks. Each daily page has 4 boxes at the top for the user to check, to indicate whether that category of practice was accomplished each day. It looks something like this:
o Yoga Practice
o ____________ (Blank, the user can enter their own daily goal)
In reviewing my entries for the last two weeks, I noticed that I checked Meditation and Yoga at least 3-4 times a week (Yea for me!), but had only checked Inspiration on 2 or 3 days out of the total 14, my birthday being one of them.
While I had met my personal expectations for Meditation and Yoga frequency, I hardly gave a thought to achieving the lofty goal of ‘Inspiration’ on a daily basis. I just sort of ignored that checkbox for most of the time.
Why? Why did I clearly not think that was achievable, reasonable, or even important as a DAILY action?
I went back and read the Journal’s introduction and general instructions. Here’s how it describes that box, Inspiration, and its partner, Inspired Actions:
Inspiration is essential to keep your inner flame burning, to fuel your purpose and to keep your energy elevated so you can continually expand and move towards your potential. With Inspiration, your fear decreases and your actions become almost efflort-less. Instead of doing what you “have to do”, these actions are things you “love to do”. (They are) …anything that lights you up and makes you feel good…It’s about following your bliss.
Whoa…I am supposed to do something that helps me follow my bliss every day? Not just on weekends, or on precious vacations, but every DAY? That just did not compute with me, and hence, why I think I just ignored that block in the journal on most days.
I was raised by parents who were born during the Great Depression; parents who were teenagers during World War II. We were taught that work always came before play, NO EXCEPTIONS. You worked very hard during the week, and if you were lucky, you got a free day on Saturday and part of Sunday to do what you liked to do. If you were lucky, and had worked hard, you got a vacation a few weeks of the year to travel to a favorite place and relax. Work and personal sacrifice were just what you did for 95% of the year; it was expected. That was how you got ahead, how you built security for yourself and for your family. When you retired, you could finally “follow your bliss” each day. For my mother it was golfing. When she retired, she joined the ‘fancy’ expensive country club in town and played golf every day if the weather permitted. For my father, it was tinkering in his shop in the basement, fixing appliances and putting together Heath kits.
I don’t know if my parents loved their jobs or not, but let’s just say we did not hear each night at dinner about ‘inspirational’ moments. To be fair, my father worked for the federal government in a ‘classified’ job, which prevented him from discussing anything about his work. But regardless of whether there was inspiration or not, they each worked those jobs for almost 30 years before they retired. They had no debt and a nice big paid-for house when they retired at around the age of sixty. And THEN they followed their bliss. They got about 10 years of bliss each, before they both developed debilitating health conditions which severely curtailed their ability to do what they loved in their golden years.
I thought about this concept of daily bliss some more. To me, it was sort of like eating chocolate or cake…something you did once in a while, as a special treat, but not something you could – or should – do every day. It was sort of like cheating while on a diet. Not to be done very often or it would derail you.
But what if it was really the exact opposite? What if enjoying some soul candy daily was not only OK, but was actually how it was supposed to be?
In my typical project management fashion, I made a starter list of what actions and activities might inspire me, ones that could be done even in a small amount of time allotted each work day. It was a rather sparse and incomplete list. I was so unfamiliar with this concept that I had trouble even identifying the daily possibilities.
But I am persevering. I’m making it my business to start checking that box some more, even on those Monday – Friday ‘work’ days. I’m going to start making some sacrifices of a new kind, and they will not be at the expense of my bliss.
The great mythologist Joseph Campbell said, “Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.” If I have to take a club to those walls, as Jack London recommends, well then so be it.
What actions give you inspiration and bliss each day? How do you make time to savor some of that precious soul candy on a daily basis?