Why I can't stand to "follow your bliss"

When I was on the verge of graduating high school (a looooong time ago), and all my friends were applying for universities and discussing their plans, I would get awkwardly silent and try desperately to change the subject. When my parents asked me about my "future" I would stare blankly and ask them why they were invading my personal space. Really, I was afraid. It was the beginning of the "follow your bliss" hype and the thought of finding my bliss let alone following it was enough to make me want to jump under the covers and stay there forever. (To this day the term "follow your bliss" gives me the shivers) So instead I ditched my hometown the week after graduation with a backpack and left for the mountains. I tripped around and snowboarded and made new friends and made mistakes. Then I hopped on a plane and flew around the world, best friend in tow, vowing never to come home. I worked an obnoxiously long list of really crappy jobs, I drank beer on the beach, I surfed, I read, I lived in a van with my friend and made mistakes. I questioned everything I had been taught and everything I hadn't. Then I made more mistakes. I did stupid things and really fun things. I wrote long, embarrassing entries into a journal about love affairs I hope my daughter never reads but still I refuse to throw away those journals. I was dramatic the way you are when you are 19 and haven't really learned from the school of hard knocks, and sometimes I wish I could go back and hit myself over the head and tell myself to get over these petty things. But most importantly, I developed a curiosity for life, and for the stories entwined in the people around me.

I used to be afraid of choosing a career path, of dedicating to something that could potentially fall flat of what I hoped. Finding something to be passionate about seemed like a BIG decision and one I really didn't feel capable of finding. I didn't know at 15 that I wanted to be a photographer. I didn't know that I wanted to travel and discover the world and help preserve people's stories and memories. I was intrigued by so much about life and my attention was caught by so many glittery options I didn't want to have to narrow it down. So, I just followed a curiosity about the world, and maybe ran away a little from the person I thought I had to be. I took one step at a time and now many many years later I find myself with a business and life I adore very much. I have built it from falling down and getting back up and getting re inspired when my curiosity was lackluster. The idea of following your passion makes it seem that you wake up with fire under your ass and a burning in your gut, but actually, at least in my experience, it is more of a quiet call and a willingness to push through some mundane tasks and challenging moments to pursue a bigger thing that calls you back time and time again.

My work has allowed me to be curious about a variety of things and people and slowly my path emerged for what I really love. For me it is a desire to understand people's connections- to each other, their work, their motivation, their loves, their losses, their lives. I sometimes am afraid to declare to the world, "This is what I do!" so I don't really. I just keep quietly plugging away and hoping to offer up something valuable to my clients, something that makes them see the beauty I see when they invite me in. It is never perfect, but that is rarely my target, my goal is usually more malleable and stems from trying to understand what motivates you to be the person you are.

Like this beauty. Dana is a mom, a wife, yoga teacher and life coach, who helps her clients through small but meaningful changes. I never really understood the value of a "life coach" thinking it was a little too airy fairy for me. But when I dug deeper with her, I realized how important it is to make time for myself and commit to showing kindness towards myself. She wasn't holding my hand and chanting and telling me to "follow my bliss", much to my utter and total relief.

If you happen to be looking for images that tell your story, either your love story, your family's story or your brand's story, I would love to talk about how we could make that happen.

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