Tuesday, October 17, 2017

How to Make a Bliss Cocktail: Add a Cup of Wisdom


Here’s how soul operates. 

After my son watched a video I made for a conference on leadership he was quiet for interminable seconds. I wondered, have I rendered my opinionated son who believes he’s always right, speechless—was it that good? 

He finally broke the silence and asked, “So, you’re basically making the Kool-Aid, is that what you do?”

The urban phrase, with its disturbing origin, did not sit well with me.

“Leadership is important.” I said.

“If that’s the kind of stuff they want, then I guess it’s good, right?” he asked. “Lot’s of cool effects; people talking about leading by example. It’s good, mom.”

Then why do I feel like you’re totally unimpressed?

Soul bites deep.

So then I got in my head about what I do not really being all that necessary. It’s not like I was keeping the lights on at the utility company I worked for. 

When the mind goes down one dark road you can quickly get lost in a tangle of roads that lead nowhere. This is when it’s time to call on the heart.

What my children think about what I do really matters to me. I want them to be proud of who I am; I want to set a good example and be more so they too can ask the best from themselves and follow their heart. 

Soon I felt like a hypocrite. I spent their childhood telling them to trust themselves to go after what they were passionate about—to mine their gifts and cherish them. My son’s major is Video Game Design. My daughter won a scholarship to play basketball in college. They’re making their dreams come true. 

Hypocrisy preyed on me, begging the internal question, are you following your passion? 

Honest answer—yes. Soul is my passion. But, change was afoot and I was feeling the stirring of emotions to grow in a new way.

Experience has taught me the soul’s path is the one less travelled. The soul’s agenda is unpredictable and it can be uncomfortable. Like she’s writing a new chapter of your life as you’re living it and you have no idea what the next sentence will be … Alma left the meeting and went to lunch. She walked across the street and reluctantly stepped into a dark portal that whisked her to another world. Actually, I pushed her. 

Soul’s transitions can be dramatic and not so funny when life looks perfect on the outside already. Is the possibility of making less money going to make a better life story? Hmm. Maybe that's the portal to avoid.

Here's the truth that's right for me—following the soul can feel like I’m just merely existing and not really living the way I am meant to. Soul always has me right where she wants me and that’s just fine with me because I want to really live. When I’m willing to acknowledge what matters most, she delivers unexpected inspiration—like taking a trip to India to mark my 50th birthday.

My soul is a stealthy seductress. Beauty, adventure, joy—these are her playthings and I am her whore. Everywhere I turned in northern India mirrored the truth that was in my heart. 

Brilliant, jewel-toned saris on gorgeous, graceful women evoked inspiration for artwork after artwork that I promised myself I’d make. I’d bring the vivid and exuberant color combinations imprinting on my mind to create just like my soul does—something unexpected. 

Camels took me into a vast unknown—a desert on the Pakistan border where I befriended silence—it seeped into unknown places of my heart and expanded it. I wondered how I would share this with others. How will I write about meditating on the edge of a sand dune overlooking hundreds of miles of emptiness? How to express how it filled me up and showed me what I want out of life? 

How might I describe dreaming about what’s possible then marinating that in a deep sleep under a starry, night sky—completely unprotected and undefended?

Engaging rickshaw drivers whisked me to ornate, architectural marvels—palaces, homes of Maharajas and floating temples. I asked myself worriedly, when will there be time to develop the quick sketches of fancy windows and doorways and the musings my imagination composed in their frames? 

Soul nudged me to see myself beyond those openings, where a different reality was in play—one where I could play more and have more time if I gave myself permission.  

How to tell of my dancing in processions to celebrate Hindu goddesses and gods, raising my arms joyously with strangers, then locking arms with them, sealing our friendship under watchful eyes of deities willing to remove my self-imposed limitations? 

How will the layers of meaning of this trip of a lifetime transform themselves into creative inspiration for others? 

There is so much to mine from our experiences on Earth, whether they involve travel, our work, the raising of children or a dance with a stranger. A little reflection can unearth what lives inside oneself, begging to be transformed. 

I was in that place for a reason—for many reasons. One, to see more clearly how a conversation with my son about my job was showing me how I was really feeling about the direction my life had taken. Two, to not find fault with a privileged existence at home with all the questions arising, but to remember my beating heart knows its own rhythm, truth and purpose and can be trusted to sustain my life beyond just existing. Three, it was time to bring about what was asking to be created.

No sooner had the wheels of the plane touched down at home than my brain pushed my soul’s directive away—I can’t quit my job! You have bills to pay and a lifestyle to uphold! The creativity of your soul can wait until retirement. No. No. No. You have an important job and you better appreciate it! Now, get to work—chop, chop!

Anxiety and fear did their best to run away with a few of my core values, the ones I wanted for my children—live your dream, serve your soul and live a life of joy. I realized that, among many things my corporate job taught me, leading by example was one of its most important lessons and a value I share with the company.

It was time to lead with my heart. It required a move to a new city, to live more modestly, to become even more soul-reliant and trust even more deeply in myself. 

Soul shows me an inner world full and rich with unlimited ideas, myriad artworks, layered stories, and colors begging to drip down a canvas. 

I’m reimagining that quote of my son’s. I’m making Bliss Cocktails these days. They render me highly motivated to do my soul’s bidding. Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients—enjoy life, dream big, listen to your heart—it's full of wisdom


Directions—shake it up, add a twist of the unexpected, share it with others

What Is Waking Up Inside of You?