Fun is #1!

I wanted to write this post because I’ve been dealing with a bit of an internal dilemma lately.

The problem is this:  for me, fun is #1.

In some ways that may not seem like much of a problem!  It isn’t, really.

It’s just that people seem to expect that since I’m a doctor, since I’ve chosen a service profession, that I always prioritize work, duty, and obligations over fun…that I’m supposed to be “serious”.  But I don’t, and I’m not!  Nope.  I LOVE F U N!!  It’s #1!  I guess I feel a little bit guilty about it though.  Otherwise, there wouldn’t be any dilemma.  There’s a part of me that does feel I “should” prioritize work over fun, that I should be more duty-bound and serious.  But if I’m honest with myself, it’s just not that way for me.

Fun is #1.

The strange thing is that I actually really love what I do.  And sometimes, it’s totally FUN!  So, then I can be engaged with my favorite energy–fun–and also working at the same time.  Win-win!   But, it’s not always like this.  Sometimes my work is hard, heavy, and stressful, and it impacts me negatively.  In those moments, I’m definitely not having fun! Perhaps it’s unrealistic to expect or even hope to have fun all the time.  Maybe.  But still, I can’t help myself.  I do try to have fun most of the time.  Or at least enjoy myself.  Even at work.  If I’m not enjoying myself, I feel that I could do better and some tinkering needs to be done.  I then try to adjust what I’m doing or how I’m doing it or who I’m doing it with or how long I’m doing it order to get my life ever more inline with my greatest JOY … and fun.

In general, I LOVE helping people.  I really love teaching and being a mentor and coach.  Inspiring others is phenomenal fun!!  I also am super duper passionate about astrology, which I’ve been studying since the year 2000 and incorporating into my work for about 8 years now.  Astrology is mystical, symbolic, fascinating, perplexing, and down-right magical sometimes.  It’s like a crystal ball or a cheat sheet…to life!  This is super exciting!   I really love astrology.  There is always more to learn, so it’s endlessly intriguing.  Since I’ve added astrology to my work, I’ve definitely upped my work-fun reading like 100-fold!

Psychotherapy is hard work, so I tend to do a bit less of it than some of the other things in my skill set.  I really don’t do much textbook or classical psychotherapy, but I do weave quite a few aspects of the more progressive psychotherapies into my coaching and consulting work.  Basically, I do “eclectic psychotherapy” or “spiritual psychotherapy”.  I do my own unique, creative mixture of therapy and coaching, really.  I have a serious fascination with the unknown, a very penetrating mind, and a good deal of natural psychological insight.  So, I actually do enjoy doing therapy.  It’s just that I’m sensitive, and sometimes I find myself overly impacted by the issues facing my patients.  This is not a great trait to have for a therapist.  Since I cannot really change my sensitivities (nor would I really want to–as they serve me well in a lot of ways), I handle this problem by focusing my therapeutic work on inspiring topics such as creative self-development, self-esteem, self-love, spirituality, finding one’s life purpose, holistic health and wellness, and generally helping people be their most amazing selves.  If mild anxiety and depression poke their heads in the door, that’s okay, but I what I specialize in is helping people find their passion and open into JOY.

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Holistic health evaluations also are quite fun.  Not too heavy.  But not light either.  They are definitely intellectually challenging, and I like that!  Figuring out what may be going on with someone is like a grand puzzle–it’s one of the things I’ve always liked most about medicine.  I love the educational aspects of holistic health consultations and evaluations, too.  (Educating patients, I mean, about what they can do to improve their health.)  I also enjoy a bit of research, and holistic health (as I do it) definitely involves an element of this, as I am constantly looking into the newest and most progressive holistic/herbal/integrative options and also the actual scientific data about older holistic treatments, too.

But, when I think about what ignites my heart the most…the answer actually is a simple one.  And a caring one!  I’m almost surprised as I write this!  But not really.  It’s helping people. Not “having fun”.  But…I’m talking about helping in a very particular way, that unfortunately does not happen every time…  I’m talking about helping with true connection.  With the heart opened (on both ends).  I’m talking about healing.  I really love to use my own energy to help elevate someone else.  Though, what is actually happening is that I’m opening to the energy of the universe and allowing it to move through me into another person.  I feel extremely alive and vibrant (and happy) when this happens because the passing energy touches me, too!  I can literally watch and feel the other person brighten up.  I can see it working!!  I can feel the energy shift.  And accelerate!  Or release.  It is a joy and thrill.  IT IS FUN!!

But not every session is like this.  Not every day.  Sometimes not even every week.  Why not, I often wonder?  Where is that magic…that spark?  Why is it sometimes here and sometimes not.  It’s kind of like the elusive MUSE I talk about in the “About” page on this blog.  The energy of inspiration.  Maybe she’s the same one that sometimes graces me during my sessions and makes my heart come alive…makes me cry “FUN”!

I think it is the same!  How interesting that I’ve never put that together before now!  Sometimes I have the most wonderful insights while writing.  It’s one of the reasons I love it so much!!  Occasionally wisdom will just flow out of me (thanks to the Muse)!  Sometimes she seems to speak in poetic form (I have a poetry blog also, though I haven’t worked on it in a while). When she speaks through poetry, she’s easy to see.  But when she speaks through prose, she’s a bit more camouflaged…I’ve got her now though!!

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I did not start out to write about the Muse.  How interesting.  She just showed up.  Thank you friend… ♡  I just knew I wanted to talk about fun.  I’ve been having a lot of it lately!  And I’m really grateful!  So, I thought I’d share!  (With a post…)

Fun, to me, is the feeling of being alive in my heart.  It is absolutely what I LIVE for.  I think is it what everyone lives for, really, but some of us just seem to pursue it with more energy and passion than maybe others.  (Still trying to work this one out, exactly…)

One explanation I’ve crafted for this is astrological.  Since I’m an astrologer, I find lots of answers in the stars.  Personally, I have my sun located in my birth chart in the 5th house (the house associated with the sign of Leo).  The sun was in Scorpio on my birthday, but its location in the sky corresponds to the 5th house.  People with their sun in the 5th house are an interesting bunch (well, everyone is interesting!)…These folks love fun!  And games.  And play.  And, usually, love.  Often art.  Creativity.  Children.  Performing.  Anything that’s creative and fun.  These are all things associated with the sign Leo.  Since I’m a Scorpio and not a Leo, I’m still more brooding and complex and comfortable with deep/dark topics, mysteries, and enigma than most Leos would be, but I’m a Leoish Scorpio.  I love fun!  I also love to play.  Games.  Dress-up.  Whatever.  And I like art and creativity.  A lot.  I also have Mercury, Uranus, and my north node in the 5th house.  So, it’s rather loaded there for me.  Mercury represents thinking and the mind, Uranus represents freedom, eccentricity, and individuality, and the north node represents or indicates one’s destiny.

I literally could be destined to focus on love and fun and creativity and play in this life.

It kind of seems that way sometimes.

Many people don’t understand!  But, I feel it to be true. 

I’m always going after what would be the most fun thing vs. what would be sensible or responsible or might suit other people or further my career.  I’m after that spark.  The ZEST.  It calls me.  And I answer the call!  As often as I can, really!  With sparkles.

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I love fun people and funny people.  And people who know how to be a bit whimsical.  Or zany.  Mysterious.  Fantastical.  That’s my favorite!  I like fantasy anything.  Rainbows.  Unicorns.  Dragons.  Fairies.  You know.  It’s fun.  I am a grown-up kid!  And yet, it is also true that I’m reasonably (to very) self-aware, mature, and responsible.  I have been to medical school.  I have completed my residency.  I worked in the psych wards in a county hospital.  For several years!

I’m a paradox!

The psych ward wasn’t fun.  But still, I did it because I knew that what I learned there would take me to fun.  So, I do have the ability to delay gratification.

It’s a good skill.  I don’t LOVE delaying gratification, but I can delay gratification for a good cause.  It’s a reasonable choice now and then!

I remember when I first heard the phrase “follow your bliss” in high school I didn’t know what it meant!  How crazy is that?  At that point in my life my soul was so asleep that I couldn’t fathom how one might know what bliss was.  I knew I liked art, nature, dancing, trees, and some sports, but I wouldn’t exactly say I felt “bliss” when engaging with those things.

What the heck was bliss?  I had no idea!

But this phrase really stuck with me.  Because it perplexed me, it alerted me to the fact that something was missing.  Bliss was missing.  I did have fun.  That is a close feeling to bliss.  But I didn’t have bliss.  I didn’t know bliss.  I had swimming in the pool, riding my bike, going on adventures, learning new tricks on the trampoline, playing pranks….  Now that was fun.  (I was VERY mischievous as a child…to me being a bit naughty was definitely fun…)  But, it wasn’t bliss.  What was this bliss???

And so started my conscious quest to truly know myself and find myself.  Why?  Well, I wanted that bliss.  If I could find what really made me happy, what brought on the bliss (I did intellectually know what bliss meant; thus, I also knew I hadn’t really felt it…yet!), I thought I would unlock the mystery of my existence.  I would know why I was here, how to focus my life, reap the greatest rewards, etc. etc.  And it has kind of been true.  The phrase really is a useful one!  Following your bliss is a key.  Thank you Joseph Campbell (if you did indeed coin it–)…

It took me all of my teens and most of my twenties to realize that for me bliss is vibrational.  It is a frequency of mind and heart synchrony and harmony.  It actually can be cultivated!!  When I was younger, I couldn’t find it no matter where or how I looked, but once I started meditating and doing yoga (first in college and then more seriously in medical school), I found it quickly and easily and often.  And once I’d found it, I didn’t even have to keep doing the same things to get it.  I could meet bliss in dance.  At a concert.  While painting.  While running.  While photographing flowers.  Or just sitting with them.   Walking in a forest.  Floating in the sea.  Cuddling with my cat…

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BLISS!  I found it!  Now it’s one of my greatest teachers!

Meditation was and still is a fabulous way to reach bliss (though it didn’t and still doesn’t always take me there–).  And so is yoga, especially Integral Yoga, which is the kind of yoga I am certified to teach.   But those definitely aren’t the only paths to bliss.  Bliss really is a mind/heart state.  A place in consciousness.  A vibration.  An energetic address.  Once you know it, you can find it again!  And you can practice the things that you know can help you find it!  And you can follow them, too–as the saying goes!

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When I was training to be an Integral Yoga instructor I lived at Yogaville (Satchidananda Ashram) in Buckingham, VA for a month (the year was 2004).  I was in a pretty perpetual state of bliss the entire time!  Days consisted of meditation in the morning, followed by delicious food, followed by yoga, followed by classwork, followed by lunch, followed by meditation, followed by classwork, followed by yoga, followed by dinner, followed by yoga again or meditation or a community talk or other positive, heart-full activity.  It was the most amazing, continuous natural high I’ve ever experienced–living like that!

Integral Yoga definitely helped me become deeply familiar with bliss.

I am so grateful to it and them (Swami Satchidananda and the whole lineage) for blasting opening the doors of perception for me.  It changed my life.

So fun…fun is not the same as bliss exactly.  I guess fun may lead to bliss though.  And that is kind of the hope, really.  Bliss, at least for me, usually is more of an internal, quiet, contemplative, floaty sort of state.  It can be and usually IS a vast heart-expansive feeling though, and this expansion definitely can go outward physically.  So, I do think one can feel bliss while in public or while being active (or interactive) and more awake and aware.  I generally seem to reach a state that seems to be just at the edge of bliss when I have to be a bit more active and social, however.  The deepest, highest levels of bliss are usually reached for me when I am more internal in focus or if I am internal + energetically expanded (transpersonal) + also in nature.

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Gosh, this post ended up being mostly about bliss and the muse…not about fun.  But I guess I just did literally demonstrate one of the things I said earlier, and that is that fun can and sometimes does lead to bliss!   It certainly did in this post!!

And, it does in life, too.

Right now I’m spending a month skiing in Lake Tahoe, and I can hardly remember being more elated and happy and yes, in bliss.  Well, maybe at Yogaville.  And other times I’ve done a lot of skiing I’ve felt something similar.  So, I guess I can remember being at least comparably blissful and happy.  But, the point is, I’ve followed the fun–skiing, and doing so brought me to bliss.  I’m really having an amazing time.  I am moving my body, being active.  It feels vibrant, healthy, alive.  I’m breathing wonderful, clean mountain air.  I’m seeing beauty almost everyday in the mountains, in the forests, in the sky.  And skiing itself is such a rush.  I love the grace of it.  I love the flow of it.  I love the enjoyable sensation of turning again and again and again.  I’m not necessarily into speed.  I’m more into the precision and delicateness of the sport.  There is a rhymicity to the movements (side, side, side, side) that is entrancing.  All of this combined really creates a positive effect in me.  First I get excited and happy and then really excited and really happy and then before I know it…I’m gone!  Bliss!  It takes over.  And I’m just floating on it and in it.  The snow is like bliss.  The color of the sky is like bliss.  The mountains are like bliss.

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Skiing is bliss.

And thoughts, they are gone.  Thoughts do not go with bliss.  Thoughts are generally a vibration incompatible with bliss…except maybe gratitude and love and thoughts exactly themselves about bliss.  Those kinds of thoughts may actually hasten bliss and perpetuate it.  But other thoughts, they diminish the sensation and disperse the bliss vibration..at least for me. I guess this is one reason why it is easier to find bliss in meditation–a practice that naturally involves not thinking.  Or in deep dance, which is almost a kind of trance (which also involves no thinking).  Intense skiing involves no thinking.  And intense athletics of other kinds, too.  Surfing.  Running.  Climbing.  Really anything done intensely and with JOY (profound pleasure and enjoyment) has the possibility of bringing on bliss.  Art can do it for me, too.  Not always, but if I get lost in it.  If I get totally completely immersed in a project–so much so that I lose track of time and paint or create all night.  When I come to, I’ll be in bliss.

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(And probably hungry!)

I’ve got the recipe now.  And, I’ve had it for a while.  And I’ve been living my life according to that phrase that I once could not even understand.  I’ve been following my bliss.  Chasing it.  Cultivating it.  Romancing it!  Luring it!  LOVING IT!

Sometimes I’ve even found bliss at work…similar to what I described a few paragraphs above.  Healing.  With the Muse!  They are pretty related, those two.  Bliss and the Muse.  I’m not exactly sure how.  (I think it’s vibrational!)  But, I’m going to find out. And when I do…

I’ll have the nectar of the nectar of the nectar.

Mmmm….

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And, I think I’ll know why I am here.

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