The other day, I was visiting with my niece Caitlin at Mahoosuc Health Food, and I overheard a couple of the regulars talking. The gal has Rastaman dreadlocks down to her waist, and the fella has a tattoo of a snake that coils ‘round his neck. Whatever floats your boat, right?
“Hey, Connor!” she says.
“How’s it goin’?”
“Can’t complain. I came in to pick up some of this magic herbal juju for my bonsai. The stuff’s epic.”
“Cool! That little tree of yours is perfection. You’re an artist, my man.”
“Thanks! Follow your bliss, right?”
Wow, I thought, “Follow your bliss.” Sounds good, but what is my bliss? And if I’m busy following my bliss, how am I going to get all the things done I need to get done? You know, glamorous things like cooking dinner and cleaning the bathroom. ‘Course, before I follow my bliss, I gotta figure out what the hell it is. And what if I spend my whole life searching, and never find it? That would stink. That’s when I realize the thought of following my bliss is stressing me out.
It’s only five letters long, but “bliss” is a big word for a Mainer. Not really part of our heritage. My grandparents lived long and productive lives, and probably never once thought about following their bliss. We could substitute the word passion, but that’s a whole other kettle of fish, the mere thought of which makes many a Mainer a little uncomfortable, to say the least. But, maybe bliss is just what makes you happy. We’re are not half bad at that.
Now bliss is gonna be different things to different people, right? Why, the mere thought of keeping one of them little bonsai trees alive sounds about as much fun to me as swatting black flies. But crafts? Now we’re talking! Crafts may not appeal to you, but put a hot glue gun in my hand, and I’m as content as a kid with a Creamsicle. Don’t ask me to play board games, though. I don’t get the fascination with them. I believe that if I’m real bad in this life, when I die, I’ll be sent someplace where I have to play board games all day. It’ll just be me and the devil playing Monopoly, over and over for all eternity.
“Caitlin!” I says, “What’s this follow your bliss business, anyways?”
“Well, Aunt Ida, to me, follow your bliss means doing something that makes me lose track of time. In a good sort of way.
“Not in a ‘went on a bender and blacked out’ sort of way.
“Right. It’s something that relaxes and re-charges me. I stop thinking about life’s little irritations, get totally into whatever I’m doing, and completely lose track of time. That’s how I feel when I do yoga.”
“Then, I guess for me, it’s crafts. Time just flies by. It’s just me and my glue gun, sequins and what not, in the flow. Come to think of it, it’s the same with Charlie and the remote! Just kidding. I know he feels the same kinda thing when he’s puttering around in his workshop.”
“Reading a good book can do it, too,” Caitlin adds.
“Or how about this: reading a good book while taking a hot bath and being spoon fed candied bacon ice cream by a scantily clad hunk?”
“I don’t know, Aunt Ida. That kinda sounds like bliss overload.”
“Yeah, but what a way to go!”
That’s it for now. Catch you on the flip side!
March 28 & 30 The Best of Ida, The Footlights, Friday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 2:00 p.m.
Upcoming Shows and Book Events: Spring(ish)
April 21 A Visit With Ida, Huntington Common, 2:00 p.m., Kennebunk, ME
May 3 New Keynote Speech, Alpha Beta State Conference, 1:30 p.m., Bowie, Maryland
May 19 Book Club Visit, 10:00 a.m., Portsmouth, NH
For details, please check out the schedule page on my website: http://www.idaswebsite.com/schedule