C’mon Let’s Laugh: Follow Your Bliss!

By: Marilyn Sprague-Smith, M.Ed.

Sometimes we don’t remember the specific details about where, when, how or from whom a pearl of wisdom is set before us. The messenger’s how-to’s seem impotent in comparison to the potency of the message. So it is for me and my introduction to Joseph Campbell’s renowned philosophy, “follow your bliss.”

When I first heard what has become a catchphrase, I remember thinking it was a profound piece of advice, although it didn’t have an immediate influence on my thinking and behavior. I was, like many of us, too busy to take a moment to let it sink in. In essence, I was traveling the road of grit-your-teeth-nose-to-the-grindstone-gonna-make-it-happen.

It’s taken me years to become aware of the nuances of the message and to develop an understanding of how letting go of “got to’s,” listening to our heart’s desires and choosing to follow our bliss allows us to tap into our innate nature—joy. It’s also taken a little help from a new canine friend to know what “follow your bliss” looks like in action.


Tubs is a bounding-with-energy, one-year old German shepherd. He’s not so sure about me and Spirit, my Bishon Frise´, moving into his master’s house, which is our new home in Ft. Collins. Tubs may be uncertain about the new occupants in the house, yet he’s rapidly demonstrating the characteristics of a master teacher in residence.

On a recent raw, blustering winter day, when so many humans were complaining about the harsh weather, Tubs’ insistent pawing at the door let us know he wanted to be where the action was. For more than an hour, I watched him frolic in the large fenced backyard and witnessed seven lessons in following one’s bliss.

Each 40-mile an hour gust of wind appeared to be a best ever toy for Tubs. With his powerful lean frame, he braced his hind quarters against the howling wind and pointed his nose directly into the oncoming stream of air. He seemed to be in ecstasy as he sniffed and sniffed the bountiful scents swirling all around him. He was fully present to the here and now and living one hundred percent in the moment. Lesson number one for following our bliss.

As soon as one gust spent itself, Tubs had a way of doing what looked like a gratitude dance. Around and around in circles he spun, while emitting gleeful yelps. Lesson number two: express gratitude for all that we receive.

Instinctively, he knew precisely when to stop his gratitude ritual and prepare to receive the next gale. Lesson number three: listen to our instincts and be open to receive bounty from the Universe.

After completing numerous sniff and spin cycles, Tubs stretched out on the ground to take a break. His eyes were vigilant of everything around him, yet not a muscle flexed. Lesson number four: hush, sit back, relax and look for emerging opportunities.

Dried leaves, shaken from the trees by forceful winds, swept past Tubs. Instantly, rest period was over and a new round of bliss launched. Lesson number five: embrace new resources with gusto.

An endless round of pounce, leap and chase crinkled leaves in flight came to an end 30 minutes later. Having ignored three of my previous attempts to beckon him inside, he was at the door, tail wagging. Lesson number six: Follow your sense of timing, know when it’s over, and move on.

With effusive praise, I welcomed Tubs into the house. He continued wagging his tail and headed in the direction of his water dish. Lesson number seven: Ignore spectator applause/jeers and do the next right thing, according to your internal guidance.

Thanks Tubs for demonstrating seven how-to’s for following our bliss. This time the messenger is as memorable as the message. So, C’mon, Let’s Laugh! as we go forth to celebrate Heart Health month, send valentines to our sweetheart, and dare to follow our bliss.

Marilyn Sprague-Smith, M.Ed. is an award-winning trainer, author, professional speaker and certified laughter leader. She and Spirit, her white male Bishon Frise´, reside in Ft. Collins. Call 336-314-1700 or visit www.miraclesmagicinc.com for info about her keynotes, meeting energizers, breakout sessions and customized training services.

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