Joseph Campbell once said: “You must give up the life you planned in order to have the life that is waiting for you.” He was talking about finding your true purpose, your Bliss. It was a profound statement, made by a man who did not consider himself a spiritual person. And yet anyone who has delved into Joseph Campbell’s work well knows he was among the most spiritual of men.
I was inspired by this statement, along with many other of Joseph Campbell’s insights. Having recently abandoned the life I had been living, which meant leaving behind almost all of the family and friends I had ever known, I opened myself to the Will of the Universe to guide me towards my true path and ultimate purpose. That opening resulted in a great awakening for me, as I discovered Druidry and followed my druid path alongside my druid partner. Each day held the promise of something new, with ecstatic heights of awareness and discovery. I had found Bliss.
Then a shift began to take place. The druid “family” that had formed around me fractured and scattered. My druid partner was being drawn ever deeper into fulfilling his prior commitments and responsibilities, all leaving me to flounder on my own. The life that I thought had been waiting for me began to fall apart. I lost the grasp I had found on Bliss.
The World You Want to Live In
I tried my best to hold on to what I could of that life, but it slipped away. It was about that time that I began my mystic studies. A new Bliss was to be found – but one that only lasted a relatively short period of time, given my previous run at it, and one that was often interrupted by anguish and tears.
Through my mystic work, I learned the meaning of “Mind is All, All is Mind.” We create our reality, whether or not we are conscious of it. It was my druid partner that once alluded to this when he asked me, “What kind of world do you want to live in?” And yet, that world that I had unconsciously created for myself, and consciously wanted to live in, was slipping away from me. Somehow, for some reason, I had apparently created a world for myself that was unsustainable.
I had forgotten Joseph Campbell’s words. I tried for several years to consciously create a new reality for myself, but just when I thought I was on the cusp of manifesting something, it would dissolve into mist around me.
There is another truth I learned through my mystic studies: If your higher self intended to learn or experience something in this incarnation, you will not escape it. The Universe has been designed to push you towards evolution and growth, and you cannot ultimately fail. No matter what reality you think you want to live in, and no matter how hard you fight it, in the end, that preconfigured reality is the one that will prevail. That is truly “the life that is waiting for you.”
There comes a point in time when you must accept what you cannot change. So, what if that life that is waiting for you turns out to be mundane, monotonous, and uninspiring? What if the life that is waiting for you seems void of anticipation and promise? That is where I found myself this past year. It had very little to do with the pandemic that came upon the world, which threw most people’s lives into chaos and change. But the pandemic did create the environment that allowed me, and indeed most people, to re-evaluate my life and learn more about myself.
There is another saying: “Gratitude makes what we have enough.” I have some issues with that saying that I will save for another time. In this context, however, I found it applied. But if gratitude makes what we have enough, I would venture to say that hopelessness does as well, if one can truly accept it. (There is a difference between true acceptance and mere resignation.) Last summer, I accepted it. I experienced the death of a hope that lived in me at a deep, unconscious level; a hope that I thought I had accepted a long time ago. This time I finally let it go; I had no choice. I accepted my apparent fate, whatever it turned out to be. I accepted the life that had been waiting for me, the one I didn’t want. I had fought this mundane, solitary, and potentially monotonous and unproductive life for so long, even when I didn’t realize I was fighting it. I finally gave in to true acceptance, and opened myself to gratitude for what I did have.
An interesting thing then happened. Once I had moved beyond the grieving process, I began to find a new kind of happiness; a new kind of peace. It hasn’t been without its moments of sadness and turmoil, but for the most part, that undercurrent of peace and acceptance endures. There haven’t been any ecstatic discoveries; there hasn’t been much ecstasy at all. Then again, there hasn’t been a lot of anguish either. There was a time when losing those highs and lows meant depression; this time it is different. I believe the difference lies in true acceptance. I have learned to live one day at a time, truly in the now.
I am learning now to appreciate the more subtle highs and lows. I am remembering that the mundane can be imbued with the divine as well; that the physical realm of existence is every bit as spiritual as the etheric realm. I’ve stopped striving for something more, and have become grateful for what I have. I’ve given up the life I planned, and am living the life that was waiting for me. It’s not Bliss, to be sure, but I can live here until Bliss and I cross paths once again.