To Follow My Bliss

The unannounced blur of something passing out of a life.
~Naomi Shihab Nye

Where can the crying heart graze?
~Naomi Shihab Nye

I’ve stopped dreaming about the future, about what comes next.  Concepts or catch phrases like ‘follow your bliss’ either give me a mild case of anxiety or threaten to depress me, if I dwell on them too long.  I live in the now, and though I know that’s a Zen mentality many strive for, I do it out of necessity.  It’s all I can manage.  I can’t bear to look back on what my life once was any more than I can bear looking ahead to all the days yet to come.

None of this is to say that I don’t have joy and light in my life. I do.  Sometimes the joy feels so big I have to look around inside myself for a place to put it all.  That’s the upside to living in the now.  Everything feels brighter and more dramatic, more real somehow.  Still, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t sometimes miss wondering what’s down the road.  What my life might look like if I were free to imagine, to dream, to become and yes…to follow my bliss?

*The lines from Naomi Shihab Nye are from two of her poems: Blood  and Breaking My Favorite Bowl.


Before you know what kindness really is
You must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between regions and kindness.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside, you
must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters or produce bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crown of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.
~Naomi Shihab Nye

**I have taken some small creative licensing by editing this poem; removing a few lines here and there to make it more relevant to my personal life experience**