finding the bliss…

According to Webster’s Dictionary, the word, “bliss” is defined first and foremost as “complete happiness.” The suffix of “-dom” refers to a realm or jurisdiction.  In other words, when I attend the blogger/social media conference in Nashville this weekend called “Blissdom” I am essentially entering the kingdom of happiness.

I’ll take it.

I attended last year for the first time at the urging of my friend Calie (aka Broccoli Cupcake.) I confess that I did not want to go. I’m remarkably insecure in new settings and the list of amazing bloggers and Twitterati superstars was intimidating to say the least. I joked to those I knew at the conference that I would be lurking in the dark corners of the conference and I admit, I did a little of that. For the most part, however I found a niche, a track, a place to groove. At the risk of gushing I’ll just say that the Blissdom crew makes it easy. It was a party. I had fun.

This year finds me living in Chicago rather than Nashville, still homeschooling (this time with a high schooler,) starting a new blogging venture with Drama Free Fitness and facing the prospect of launching 2 self published books while pitching a third to a publisher. So, yeah, I’m busy and then the crazy kicks in even more with the “I ought to be…” buzzing in my head.

I ought to be promoting things more.

I ought to be following up on my relationships from last year.

I ought to be focused.

I ought to be preparing for what I’m doing there.

But each time I start to think about what I ought to be doing I fall into a mini panic attack and run screaming toward my two friends Ben and Jerry. If this keeps up I’m going to need to be brought into the conference by a semi tractor-trailer.

And so, I let it go, because I don’t want my life to be about getting ahead or increasing my Twitter followers or Facebook “likes.”  I need my life, my “bliss” to be about this present moment. I had this moment of clarity today as I pondered writing up a post around Blissdom for Mrs Metaphor, and a post for Blissdom on Drama Free Fitness and on DoxaSoma. I am spread so thin already, moments of clarity pierce my very skin and drive right into my vital organs.

I am about being present in this moment, in the now. That is who I want most to be. That is the epitome of my “bliss.” I can sit gazing at the pool and worry about the temperature, worry about the fit of my bathing suit, consider the ramifications and ripples made from my jumping in as I stare and plan and ponder but really, being there and jumping in, feeling the cool water on my hot skin, that’s where the moment resides. Being there, being fully present, that’s where I find my bliss.

This is why I am not going to plot out my time at this conference with any real intention and why I may look disheveled and lopsided when you run into me.  I’m not going to network. I’m not going to sweat the small stuff. I hope I wear matching socks but don’t be surprised if I don’t. I’m not going to worry about how my kids are destroying the house or think ahead to how much laundry I’ll need to do when I get back. I’m going to hold Blissdom to the meaning  of its awesome naming and work toward dwelling in the realm of happiness…this year, it means I’m winging it. I’ll raise a glass to all of our future successes certainly, but I am aiming squarely toward breathing deep the whispering wind of “ready” “yes” and “now” this weekend.

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bliss…

I spent most of the week at a blogging conference called Blissdom. If you follow me on Twitter you’ll have figured that out, certainly.

Ok so here’s what I think- I think I let my introverted nature get the best of me far too often. Don’t misunderstand me, I love being an introvert. I identify with the watcher, the observer, the deep waters introverts swim with ease. It’s just that being an introvert also pegs me as outsider or perhaps it’s more accurate to say that I make myself an outsider.

I’m drawn to extroverts, the yin to my yang, clearly. I married an extrovert, several of my closest friends are extroverts. I’ve needed this energy even as I never envied it. I don’t want to become an extrovert and yet I love to soak in these incredible extrovert friendships. Up until a few days ago I didn’t realize that I truly felt some lacking in me around this.

What strikes me about the gathering of women in this context is that I realize I’m thrown into gradeschool emotion all over again. I FEEL like I’m 8 years old when I attend large gatherings of women. I am that little girl on the playground, glad to be alone and yet terrified of being excluded. She had no idea how to connect with people live and in person. She wrote poetry in her notebooks filled with longing and lament, even then, sitting on the cold ground in the corner during recess. She sat there waiting for her moment, for some cracking in the earth to come and save her from the awkwardness of it all.

Just as me being thrown into that emotion was not the fault of the kids on the playground when I was 8, it’s not the fault of the women gathered at Blissdom that I went there this week, not at all. It was a lovely, diverse, intelligent and fascinating group of humans. Honestly. It is for this reason that I regret that I let my fear paralyze me when it came to engaging. It’s not just that, though. The lacking I feel is anchored in joy I read in them as I watched from my seat. I saw a great number of these women reaching out to one another, not seeming to be afraid of injury, using strong voices and rich words and I was taken apart. I long for that in me. I know it is there.

I’m not without humor or joy, I know this. I can channel my extroverted performer energy when I reach a level of comfort but I want that joy I saw. I want it more readily, more often, worn on the outside. And then I wonder if there is a place that will fall open in my soul one day…a crack in the earth of my finely crafted veneer when I will finally free the 8 year old and allow her to shine, brightly.