Finding our Bliss

We’ve all had them, those moments when we’re reminded just why it is that we love what we do. I’ve experienced this frequently recently with my return to teaching over the last few months and most often when I’m with my son. I think it must be what Joseph Campbell meant when he referred to bliss. Follow your bliss was his mantra and I made it mine too.

James & Ophelia Tango

Dancing with my wife, Ophelia

When we find our bliss we find what we love, we connect with it at a deep level, and through it we experience more of ourselves just as we also let go of any fears or doubts. We might even get that sense of understanding why it is we are here in the first place. It’s this bliss, this love, that transforms what we do, that gives it a value that is at once deeply personal, while also shared by those who have  found their bliss in the same thing. One thing is sure, once you’ve found it, you want more. I remember this when I started learning the Argentinian Tango. Even though I wasn’t particularly good in the beginning, there was something I just loved about it. It opened up a means of expression through movement, a language, that I connected with from the start.

This evening on my ride home I had another encounter that reminded me of a couple of my loves – riding and horses. The first 18km of my ride home is mostly on main roads but the final section goes through a mix of paddocks and large house blocks with big bush gardens. If I’m riding at night it’s completely black, there are no lights except the stars and those on my bike. Tonight though, as I started the descent past the horses all wrapped in their winter blankets under a pink sky, I just felt that lovely, almost indescribable mix of serenity and joy and I thought to myself, this is why I ride.

A bit further on I stopped at the top of a hill to take a photo of the sunset and a beautiful chestnut Warmblood horse came up to the fence near me. He was probably on the lookout for his people as it was about his dinner time as well. I greeted the horse even though he was separated by two fences; it’s always nice to make the connection, however brief. Then as I clicked in and started rolling away an unexpected thing happened. The horse followed, first at a walk, and then as I picked up speed, he started to canter, heavy hooves drumming the ground with that solid rhythmic thud that only a 700kg creature can make. It was magical seeing this beautiful horse running along beside me. At the end of the paddock he stopped and so did I and I asked him if he wanted to run again, so I rolled forward (this time up hill) and he followed. As I rode faster, he galloped faster still so now I was following him. We did this about four times, up and back, up and back. I could tell he was relaxed and just having fun with me, just like the horses we used to spend time with, Maggie, Juno and Shan. I’ve had countless wonderful moments on the bike over the years but this was certainly one of the great ones. Apart from the moment itself it reminded me of how important animals are in our lives. We’ve been blessed to know what it’s like to have this connection on a regular basis and it’s time to start renewing that connection in what ways we can.

Have you had any similar moments recently, at work or at play? I invite you to share them below if you wish.

Sunset over Melbourne

8 thoughts on “Finding our Bliss

  1. Pingback: Finding our Bliss | Ophelia's Fiction Blog

  2. Dear James,
    What a lovely piece of writing. I was touched in imagening the horse and you playing together as the sun went down. For me bliss seems to have a sense of togetherness with simplicity. The simplicity of this one moment and the surrender to this moment, just as it is. Yet bliss seems beyond surrender. It seems to invite us to fully participate in this moment. Just as you and the horse did. Happy greetings my friend

    • Thankyou Coen. I really appreciate your kind words and insights. I think surrender is a good way of putting it. There is an absence of resistance when we allow ourselves to be purely in this moment. I had another experience of this when I was skiing last year. I was able to put aside my fears and doubts and just ski – to go with gravity, and to turn rather than constantly skiing with breaks on.

  3. Pingback: 5:33 am. And Inspired. – Lead.Learn.Live.

  4. What an enviable connection with one of the most beautiful sensitive creatures on the planet. I always think horses qualify for that new label which is wafting about – HSP – Highly Sensitive Person !

  5. Lovely story James. What a great connection with that horse!
    I recently led a workshop on the transformative possibilities of visionary states and was likewise reminded of something blissful about the way i live and the choices i make. It was great to see people extend themselves and find something new within.

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