There’s a conversation over on a gifted social network where a newcomer asked, “How do you find your bliss?”
My first response was giving something that I figured he wanted to hear – a ‘how to’ explore your options. I gave him a book recommendation that I always give.
But then someone said they’ve self-actualized to a point farther along than others, because all she had to do was focus on herself. And that she felt her problem is that her basics needs for love, community, belonging and friendship were never met.”
I’m going to cheese off a bunch of people, but I honestly don’t think one can ‘find your bliss’, as if it’s just somewhere out there, over the next hill, around the next corner, in the back of the closet, in the ONE JOB that suits you best, or in finding your “basic emotional needs for love, community, belonging and friendship”.
And I’ll explain why.
People like me, who’ve had those things (meaningful work and community, of sorts), just not had those things consistently, and pretty much had our whole formative years being scolded or abused for being book-smart-but-common-sense dumb, do want the connections with others, and realize the difficulty in finding and keeping a community of our true peers, wrestle with the idea that it’s almost IMPOSSIBLE to get those things and sustain them, the way Western culture is evolving.
I’ve been in correspondence with a lot of highly gifted individuals across the globe. It’s the same story everywhere.
The thing that I have learned though, is while connection with gifted kindred spirits is important, without a healthy and loving and compassionate relationship to self, relationships and careers will fail to meet our needs. Some of us often look too much outside ourselves to fill the parts of ourselves that are missing. It may not sound like that’s the case for you, but I KNOW that’s the case for me.
I have had to let go of the idea that I have to have those things. I mean, I may find those things in the process of healing a lot of my own childhood and adult relationship trauma and bonding with my self, but I’ve had so many good friends and mentors leave my life simply because our lives went in different directions. At various points in my life, I HAD basic emotional needs for love, community, belonging and friendship. I had that in the group of about 20 college friends I had – all science and engineering majors. We stayed close for many years, until many of them relocated. I had a close, connected group of work mates when I worked in the STEM field, some of whom were gifted and didn’t know it. I have that, now, at least virtually.
I have love and some community with my husband, and most certainly with my daughters. I have warm friendships and fellowship with those virtual friends across the globe. I don’t lack community with highly gifted minds as long as virtual community is sufficient. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t. I know those friendships may last many years, or a very short time indeed as we might simply get pulled away for different factors (moving, falling out, death).
I have also come to believe that finding one’s bliss in a particular JOB is not really sustainable over the long haul…because we change over time and our passions change. We might find something that works for us, but it’s unlikely that that state of bliss will persist even if we find it in a particular career path for a while.
I know, for me, it’s all about making meaning and finding bliss in whatever I am doing. I take a more spiritual approach and feel content when I imbue the most mundane task with meaning. I can feel quite blissful when washing the dishes and I’m thinking of the wonderful meal I just ate, or the fact that I’m still alive and kicking despite a great deal of personal adversity.
I feel bliss when I feel connected to the Universe at large, not with any particular person, because I know that while the Universe will always be there, my relationships may not be. The only way I lack for love, is if I fail to love the whole of humanity, if I lack love for Nature, if I lack the means to express love in whatever I’m doing.
I feel bliss when I read the works of long dead kindred spirits, and come away from my readings with a renewed hope and vitality.
I feel bliss when I feel an inner bonding – where my Inner Parent can soothe the lonely, neglected aching Inner Child. It releases oxytocin, a chemical that makes one feel connected to another and is very soothing.
So, while I think finding one’s bliss may be possible in a job, or in the context of community, for me, it’s not finding people or a career that has meaning built into it, but in creating meaning in whatever I do and creating a deep sense of inner peace in whatever I’m doing and whomever I’m with because whereever I go, there I am.