A few years ago, I took on a new name and persona along with it. I had been teaching a class called BYOB -- Be Your Own Bliss which encouraged folks to take a look at their lives as they were and make positive changes so that they more closely resembled what they desired.
I was walking into the room when one of the women said "Oh, you're the Bliss Master who is going to show us how to live blissfully." I nodded, smiled and proceeded to teach the class. By the time it was over, both the participants and I were walking on clouds. Bliss will have that impact on people. When I got home, I was speaking with a friend who lived in San Francisco at the time. I told him the story and his delighted response was "Oh no, not Bliss Master... Bliss Mistress." and I could see the twinkle in his eye from the double entendre designation all the way cross country. He added, "If you're going to call yourself that, you had better be living it." Game on! The challenge was set. I began to come up with lists of blissful goings on in my life as well as new ways to engage in that state. I loved embracing that lifestyle and it became my branding as a result. People had come to expect that of me. That I beam sunshine and scatter rose petals in my wake... or maybe that was just my own expectation.
It sometimes rings hollow, as a long-time friend expressed a year or so ago. She has known me since the early 1980s, and has seen me mostly shining, rarely cloudy, never stormy. When my book, entitled The Bliss Mistress Guide to Transforming the Ordinary Into the Extraordinary was born in 2011, she told me that as much as she was proud of me for writing it, she wasn't going to read it until I showed her my anger. Not at her, mind you, but in general. She wanted me to express "normal human emotions," which I had been reluctant to do for fear of people disappearing if I did. She and her husband invited me to come over to their apartment and engage in energy release exercises where the possibility... heck, encouragement of a raised voice would be heard. "But, I'll disturb your neighbors," I protested. When that didn't work, I added "I'll scare the dogs." I was assured that both the neighbors and dogs had heard it before and would survive my intentional tirade. The day arrived and I found myself standing in front of a strategically placed pile of pillows with a plastic baseball bat next to them. I was invited to whale away at them, breathing and yelling. Not my comfort zone by a long stretch, having grown up in a home where raised voices were rare and then living with a Taurus (son) and Leo (husband) who had no problems vocalizing fortissimo. After a few minutes, I really got into it and was actually laughing in between shouting out expletives and all of the things I felt angry about that I had stored for so many years. Drenched in sweat afterward, I felt spent. A few side effects lingered for the next several days, including a sore sacral spine.
"Now," affirmed my friend, "I'll read your book." The last time I saw it, it was ensconced between others on their bathroom bookshelf, along with the rubber duckies so I know it is being read.
In the past few months, real emotion has become all too... well, real and raw and unavoidable as mightily as I initially attempted to resist its siren song (not an alluring and pretty one, either). It sneaks up on me when I least expect it and broadsides me, knocking me on my butt. I make sure I drink more water than usual, so as to avoid having my tear ducts dry up. I carry tissues around with me since I know they will be necessary. I sit with clients and connect even more deeply with their pain, without taking it on, but having a more profound experience of what they might be feeling. I no longer am as willing to dispense platitudes in an effort to make everything all better for them or my friends, or even myself for that matter.
I am questioning everything, letting go over and over, surrendering expectation as much as possible, even though I want what I want when I want it. I throw inner temper tantrums, letting my petulant 2 year old lead the way sometimes, kicking up quite a fuss in my head. I am less likely to withhold sharing of my thoughts, putting my heart on the line. I have long believed that we teach people how to treat us and they will follow suit as long as we allow it. I am speaking up even if my voice trembles. Sometimes I don't recognize myself and it is as if I am giving birth, at nearly 55, to a new version of myself. I don't yet feel the excitement of the possibilities that exist for "her," still seeming quite uncertain who she will become. I am stripping away the layers of the stone Buddha to reveal the radiant golden Buddha beneath it.