12/17/2012 04:47 pm ET Updated Feb 16, 2013

Following My Bliss

A while back, I was watching television and caught an old taped show of Bill Moyers interviewing Joseph Campbell about Campbell's book, The Power of Myth. I suddenly realized that Campbell was talking about me. It appears that what I've been doing most of my life is struggling to "follow my bliss." Doing this means always listening closely to the voice within you. This may lead you to sacrifice. It may lead you to challenge and it could even lead you away from fortune, but it will direct you to the greatest and purest joys of fulfillment... to your own true needs... not desires, but needs.

We all have that little voice within that guides us towards what we instinctively know will make us happy. But most of us don't even hear that voice or we ignore it because we are moving too fast; anxious to get on with the next project that will take us to what we believe will fulfill us -- fame, fortune, sexual gratification. But, if we take the time to stop and listen... really listen, we will know exactly what it is that we need to be happy.

Over the years, I have been lucky to hear that voice, but during the first part of my life, I ignored it because my confidence was low and I didn't believe that my needs, thoughts or ideas were valid or mattered. In the middle of my life I started to acknowledge my bliss, but there were those who stood in the way of my getting it; discouraged me from reaching for it because it conflicted and interfered with their plans for me. And that is why, in this last part of my life, I am struggling with every fiber of my body to be true to myself and follow my bliss.

It has often been an extremely difficult process, remaining focused while on life's long, bumpy path. It has meant forgoing some pleasures, losing some friendships and sometimes being viewed as incomprehensible. And the fallout often saddens me but I find that when I deviate from my path towards bliss to appease the desires -- not needs, but desires -- of others, they are grateful and I am left feeling somewhat diminished and further from my goal.

Following one's bliss does not equate with hedonism, self-gratification or self-indulgence. Not at all. It simply means that you should always know... always... what you need in this world to bring you the most fulfillment.

I do not strive to be unreasonable or antisocial, but only to bring myself peace of mind that I don't seem to have unless I'm totally true to myself and in touch with my needs. I've reached an age when I fully believe that I've earned the right to follow my bliss, and I should be able to do it without fear of controversy or conflict.