“Follow your bliss and let the magic of life happen.” ~Janelle Jalbert
Is there something you always wanted to do as a child, and for whatever reason didn’t do? Is there something that you have wanted to do for years? Perhaps it is something that didn’t seem practical. Maybe you felt you wouldn’t be very good at it or you didn’t have the time or the money.
You can ignore the urging, submerge it, and choose not to follow through on it. But it will show up again and again, and sometimes in the oddest places. For me it was in the toy aisle at a local department store.
Here’s what happened.
My husband and I walked into a popular department store, looking for the toy and game shelves. We wanted a board game we could play with our young grandchildren. I assume there was some kind of bland elevator music playing, but I didn’t notice it until it changed to an upbeat dance tune.
The beat caught my attention, and my feet, seemingly of their own accord, started to move to the rhythm. A minute later they started to tap dance.
As a child I wanted to learn to tap dance, but for some reason I never expressed that desire. Perhaps I was afraid of looking big and heavy in a dance costume, or feeling awkward on my feet. Whatever the reason, I never told my mother, I never took lessons.
The desire to tap dance stayed with me, most times submerged beneath school, friends and family. As a teenager I learned one tap step from a friend, Shuffle Off to Buffalo, and enjoyed shuffling and tapping just for fun.
That’s as far as I went with it. There was always too much else to do. Besides, what would I do with it even if I learned how to tap dance?
Fast forward through fifty years and there I was in the toy aisle, tapping and shuffling my feet. My husband, tolerant man that he is, just smiled at me. But my feet surprised me that day.
I’d love to be the kind of person who can just break out in song and dance and not worry about what other people think of me. I’m not. For me to dance in the aisles of a department store is unusual.
Add to that the fact that I’m a sixty-four-year-old grandmother with an arthritic knee and ankle. I danced anyway and laughed at myself.
Back home again I went to the kitchen to prepare dinner. My husband sat at the counter reading a magazine. He said something to me and I looked over at him. The words “Take a Chance—Dance” headlined the page I saw in his hand in bold letters.
Okay, I thought, perhaps my feet and the Universe are telling me something.
“Bliss is doing that which fulfills you. Action that touches you deeply and fully. Bliss is active. Bliss is…following your dreams, desires, or heart.” ~Angie Karan
The next day I searched out a how-to tap dance video on my computer. I was delighted to discover a number of them specifically designed for absolute beginners.
I chose one, set the computer up where I could see it on the dining room table, and learned the first basic steps of tap dancing, shuffling and tapping around my dining room floor in my sandals.
My inner child was ecstatic. I smiled and laughed, stamped, shuffled, and tapped.
My husband walked in, no doubt wondering what all the stomping was about. “I’m learning how to tap dance!” I beamed. He smiled, shook his head, and left the room. I kept at it.
The emotional lift I felt from just those few minutes learning dance steps stayed with me all day. I smiled whenever I thought of it.
Our bliss may come in small packages. It may look like a subtle urging that has been with you since you were a child.
It may not be your life purpose, or even life changing. It may simply be something that allows you to express the childlike happiness that is within you. Something that many adults have forgotten is there.
I have no idea what learning to tap dance is going to do for me, or where it will take me. I do know that it is time for me to allow the desire that has been within me for years to express.
These longings stay with us for a reason. It is our soul talking to us through the language of our desires.
Why does my soul want me to tap dance? I don’t know. I do know that it’s fun and good exercise, and that’s enough for now.
What is your soul telling you? Let’s find out with a simple exercise.
Gather paper and pen and give yourself a few minutes of quiet time.
At the top of your paper write, “When I was a child, I loved to…”
Complete the sentence with a list of the things you loved to do as a child.
Now write, “When I was a child, I always wanted to…”
Complete the sentence with the things you wanted to do as a child but didn’t or weren’t able to do.
How many of these activities are part of your life today?
If your favorite thing to do as a child was to create models of rockets with plastic blocks, how are you expressing your love of creative construction in your life today?
What if you always wanted to go horseback riding as a child but only got to go once, and that love of horses is still with you? Could you sign up for horseback riding lessons today?
Perhaps you tell yourself you don’t have time or money for pursuits that are just for fun. Perhaps you tell yourself that you’ll get to that later. But if not now, then when?
Life zips by us while we are busy doing, doing, doing. Allow yourself to enjoy the journey. Listen to the urgings you feel inside. Don’t wait for some time in the future when you’ll have more time, money, or more accomplished. Do what you can to live a little bit of your bliss each day.
Now, if you’ll just excuse me, I have to Shuffle Off to Buffalo.
About Holly Hidreth
Holly Hildreth Ed.M. is the author of the blog OurSoulDoors.com. Soul Doors is a blog of practical spirituality for every-day living, gathered from many different paths. Within its pages we learn together through shared spiritual lessons, stories, exercises, inspired wisdom, and that indefinable teacher within. Holly is also an energy health practitioner, wife, mother, grandmother, and life-long spiritual seeker.