When I was pregnant, I read a really powerful book recommended to me by my very cool ex-doctor from B.C. (she was only my ex-doc because we moved away. If I could have cloned her and brought her with me to PEI, I would have in a heartbeat!) called, “Birthing From Within.” The concept of the book is to help birth in awareness and to understand and embrace what is happening to your body during the processes of pregnancy, labour, delivery and postpartum. It’s a pretty awesome book and I connected with its ideologies immediately. One of the postpartum exercises was about following your bliss. Bliss, as it turns out, can be rather challenging to come by after the birth of a child, and so the book provides an exercise to help.
As Pam England (the author of Birthing from Within) writes, “Too many parents at the end of their baby’s first year, or even eighteen years later, realize that they gave up the things they loved to do and that gave them bliss when they became parents. Becoming a conscious parent does require sacrifice, and it also requires modeling for our children how to live creative, balanced lives.”
The goal is to do the exercise before the birth of your child so you remember what bliss actually feels like (wink). I think this is a valuable exercise for everyone. We should probably start with a definition of bliss so we’re all on the same page.
- Perfect happiness; great joy.
- Something providing such happiness
Okay, now that we have that laid out, the goal is now to brainstorm what are the moments/things/experiences that give you bliss. From there you are to commit to a timeline as to when (with the goal being within the first year or so) you are going to follow through on 3 of these things. My 3 things were:
- Take in a breathtaking view somewhere scenic and new (within the first year).
- Plant a vegetable garden to start growing my own food (Spring 2012)
- Go on a nature filled overnight camping trip with my husband and son (Summer 2012).
So far, I’ve accomplished the first (albeit that it has been here on PEI), I’m seriously planning the second (upcoming gardening blog post to follow!) and I’m loosely planning the 3rd (I’m feeling an overnight canoe-camping trip in my summer plans).
To that end, I recently got back from a 5 day trip to NS to visit my parents. I had gone for several reasons. For starters, my husband was away over-seas and it’s always nice to have an extra set (or two) of hands to help look after Fin. Secondly, I wanted to take the opportunity to see my folks (and let them see Finlay) before starting back into the routine of work. Finally, a trip to “the big city” always allows me to pick up a few things that I can’t get here on PEI. And this is where my, “Follow Your Bliss Path” took an interesting turn. For starters, I got inspired by a trip to MEC to commit to my 3rd bliss goal. I bought a book on being in the wilderness with babies (called, “Babes in the Woods”) and started to really think about the logistics of an overnight camping trip with Finlay. After some preliminary reading, I think it’s completely feasible to plan for a close to home over-nighter this summer. Also, I purchased a yoga DVD.
I like yoga a lot. I did it semi-regularly (at home) prior to getting pregnant, and even attempted some challenging programs with success (like the P90X Yoga, which if you’ve never tried it, is a killer!). During my pregnancy I did prenatal yoga (again via DVD at home- I’m not much for going to classes with others. I know I could benefit a lot from an instructor, but I am bad at sticking to schedules and the idea of paying for classes that I may not be able to go to just isn’t in my nature). Anyway, I digress…I had decided that I wanted to try to get back into Yoga and was looking for something a little bit less intense than P90X and also a program that had some more diversity. I read a recent review article in Canadian Living on Eoin Finn’s Blissology Project and it sounded great, so I decided to pick up a copy from the Lululemon store in Halifax.
Here’s where the everything comes together. Eoin’s program is not just about yoga. It’s all about following your bliss. I have only done the Friday yoga program and meditation, but I’ve got to say, so far I’m pumped. While I like Pam England’s concept about planning for future bliss, this was even better because I got to feel bliss in an unplanned, unadulterated form today. When Finlay went down for his nap this morning, I slipped in the “Friday” DVD (There’s a different program for each day of the week- LOVE!). It was a hugely pleasant surprise. The program was challenging (especially for my postpartum, lacking exercise body!) and it’ll be a while until I’m fully able to participate, but I like where it’s going and I love the philosophy behind it, so much so that I decided to sign up for the free Commit to Bliss 4 week challenge. I came away from the workout super charged, feeling great and committed to living in bliss not just 3 times a year, but EVERY day. On the one hand, I’m looking forward to getting into some form of physical shape, but more so, the mental workouts provided are what have me really excited. The idea of practicing yoga daily, taking time for daily meditation, focusing on appreciating the world around me, eating in awareness, and being thankful for what I have really resonate with me. Anyway, this is starting to sound like a sales pitch (which it’s not….I paid for my DVD in full and have no affiliation with Blissology, not to mention I have only looked at a sixth of the program so far) but I just wanted to share this in order to remind everyone (myself included) how important it is to step out of the bog that so often becomes our life and to follow your bliss as frequently as possible.
“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.”