The Search for Your Bliss

by Melanie Votaw

Knowing that you’re unhappy in your current profession is often a no-brainer. Knowing what to do instead is another story. You hear Joseph Campbell say, “Follow your bliss!” But, just how do you do that?

Unfortunately, society teaches us to abandon our passions. We’re bombarded with actual or subliminal messages that our passions are dangerous. That we can only make a good living in the professions that are tried and true money-makers. In the process of these messages, many people completely disconnect from joy, bliss, and pleasure. No wonder so many of us are unhappy!

The truth is no one is here by accident, and no one is inconsequential – whether you were planned by your parents or not! Every single one of you has a reason for being here on the planet right now, and every one of you has a unique contribution that no one else can make. Of course, wouldn’t you love to be handed a pink slip telling you exactly what to be or do “when you grow up?” But, being “told” rather than going through the process of discovery is disempowering. It’s all in the journey!

In these days of quick fixes, no one wants to hear that life purpose is a journey. It’s human nature to want to “get there” and be done with it, but be willing to honor wherever you are in your process. Realize that no matter how frustrated or discontented you may find yourself now, one of your tasks will be to befriend that discontentment, for it is the catalyst for change that keeps you focused on your goal.

When it comes down to it, you have the same life purpose as everyone else – to be the “you-est” you that you can be. That is the “you” beneath any of the things you have been taught in your life, the “you” who knows no bounds, limits, or restrictions. The “you” who can experience joy and passion without fear or apology. So, the idea is to find a vocation that not only fits this essential you but is tailor-made for you, rather than trying to squeeze yourself into a job that doesn’t fit quite right.

So, if you know you want to make a change, how do you begin to discover what will fulfill you? The SIMPLE answer to that question is: LISTEN! Your discontent is there because some part of you already knows what it is you want to do with your life. It has brought you to this point where you are reading this article. Congratulate yourself because you have already begun to listen!

Often, learning to listen to your inner voice is merely a matter of asking the right questions. Begin to pose questions to yourself, and let the answers flow. Ask yourself each morning: “If I could do anything at all today, what would I do?” Write down your answer each day, even if you don’t feel you can accomplish what you’ve written, and allow yourself to be gloriously inconsistent. Resist the urge to go back over your answers until at least one or two months have has passed. Then, review what you have written to see what patterns have emerged.

Most importantly, quiet your environment and your mind so that you can hear the voice of wisdom inside you. It IS there just waiting for the opportunity to counsel you. Take time to meditate, walk in nature, sit in silence.

One of the best ways to receive guidance from your inner voice of wisdom is to notice the synchronicities and coincidences that occur in your life every day. If you begin to pay attention to these incidents, you are energetically inviting more of them. If you hear about a book, then see it in a bookstore window, and then have a friend mention they’re reading it… GET THE BOOK!

In addition to learning how to listen, go on a “passion hunt!” Do something different that can open you to new ways of listening, hearing, experiencing, and expressing. Try things that you’ve never tried before just for fun. Create a collage, paint, dance! Observe children and their innate ability to have fun. Do you remember that feeling? Close your eyes and reconnect with your inner child. What can you recall about the playfulness of childhood? Do you remember the wonder that the world held when you were young? Be patient, but active as you search for your passions. If you make the effort to “discover your bliss,” you will be well on your way to “following your bliss!”

Melanie Votaw is a Hypnotherapist and Transformational Counselor in private practice in New York City since 1988. She has taught the “Discovering Your Life Purpose” course for the Learning Annex in New York and California and produced a meditation CD to accompany the course. Melanie now teaches an online version of “Discovering Your Life Purpose” for Additionally, Melanie is the author of five books and has appeared on Sony Worldwide Radio. For more information about her work and her Rapturous Living Newsletter, see her website at