I’m in a mood this evening. There could be any number of reasons for it. It’s Christmas Eve. My oldest daughter isn’t home for the holiday. My niece has suddenly grown into this little girl who carries on conversations with me. The neighbor’s dog hasn’t stopped barking since I got home this evening. The sun has not been out in days. Maybe it’s all these things. Or none.
Don’t worry—it’s not a bad mood. Not even a melancholic or nostalgic mood. It’s more a mood of sudden determination that has been months in the making. Within the next week, 2011 will be upon us (I have decided that the real New Year is on December 21st, the winter solstice, but no one is asking my opinions on such things). With the New Year comes resolutions. Face it—even deciding to not make a resolution is a resolution, so there’s no getting around it. But if resolution leaves a bad taste in your mouth, let me offer an alternative. This year, let us issue challenges rather than resolutions. The human race is a competitive sort, so when someone throws down the gauntlet we respond. Hell, sometimes we respond with no provocation whatsoever.
So, I will now issue any of you reading this, three challenges. I dare you to accept them. Double dog dare you. Here we go:
Challenge number one: Stop waiting for the perfect time. It’s here. Right now. If you wait, it will pass and it won’t come again. So, next time you want to go or do or say something, do not say ‘It’s not the right time.’ Just go or do or say it. Especially if you need to say I love you. Or I’m sorry. Or I forgive you. Really—those are kind of big ones.
Challenge number two: Pursue joy. Even if it’s just a teeny, tiny, miniscule piece of joy. If you can’t be a ballerina, you can still turn on the music and dance like you’re at the Bolshoi. Afraid someone will see you? No—hope they do! You just might inspire them to make a little piece of their own joy come true. And wouldn’t the world be a happier place if we all pushed each other towards delight rather than towards antagonism?
Challenge number three: Follow your bliss. Joseph Campbell knew what he was talking about:
…if you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in your field of bliss, and they open doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don't be afraid, and doors will open where you didn't know they were going to be.
This is not the same as pursuing joy. Joy is the sensation of light breaking through after a long storm. Bliss is the sensation of coming home. You just know you’re where you belong. Can’t take the time to pursue the path you were meant to be on? See challenge number one. Too afraid to make a change? See challenge number two.
That’s it. Three simple tasks. Who’s in? Let me know. I will gladly offer words of support (or, if you’re of such a nature, I can offer glib comments that provoke you to action. You decide). I only ask that you return the favor.