The Misconception of “Follow Your Bliss”


It’s January which means that our social feeds and news stories turn to mentions of New Year, New You and all the associated clichés. Those classic self-help clichés often ignore racial and social disparities – let’s rework them to empower you to approach 2021 so you can move through the year with intentionality. This month, through our blog and on our social media channels, we rewrite some of these clichés to use our own stories in celebrating diversity in the lived experiences of women and people of color. Today’s reflection is from our Advocacy Manager, Cambria Bowman, commenting on the cliché of Follow Your Bliss.

The cliché of finding one’s bliss seems necessary and required for a meaningful existence, but can be a detriment to a peaceful existence. Following your bliss implies following a path that will lead you to the life you want to live. Yet, the systemic barriers in place can derail and cause strife. They are not conducive to fighting for the greater good, and in the end, the end of the path may not be what you were hoping for when you get there.

Lived experiences are diverse and while following your bliss sounds peaceful, most folks have hurdles to overcome, injustices to fight against, and forks in the road the decide between. While YWCA’s mission is related to empowering women and eliminating racism, we also promote peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all.

As 2021 begins, I challenge you to question the concept of following a path that supposedly leads to a blissful existence, especially as 2020 has shown us that it can be wiped away in an instant. What practices can we put into place to allow for a blissful and peaceful minute in our day? Can we then move to a peaceful morning? What does that look like not only for a single individual, but a group of folks who need some peace and a sigh of relief more than ever?

Daily intentional practices to search for moments of peace in a world that is known for systemic racism, economic injustices and gender inequalities allows for the nuances and barriers to not overtake “following your bliss.”

Use the resources below to invite moments of peace in your life. Perhaps the minutes grow to hours and perhaps there are other practices that develop. Following your bliss does not have to be all or nothing and I invite you to find peaceful moments.

Free Mindfulness Resources

Mindfulness & Meditation Resources for Beginners

Mindfulness Apps

Statements on this blog reflect the author’s personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of YWCA Metropolitan Phoenix or YWCA USA. Blog entries are meant to spark individual reflection and community conversations on issues of racial justice and gender equality.