Do you find your Bliss or does your Bliss find you?
We discussed this all-important question in the 52nd Edition of #BlissCatchers last Saturday. #BlissCatchers is a live, reflective, non-commercial Conversation Series that Vaani and I curate and host, exploring the journeys of those who have gone on to what they love doing the most in Life. This Series is supported and sponsored by the Odyssey Bookstore in Adyar, Chennai.
The guests in Saturday’s Edition of the Series were Learning Experience Designer Harish Srinivasan and Photo Journalist and Cinematographer Wide Angle Ravi Shankaran.
Harish may well have ended up as an engineer-turned-corporate-warrior! But, while in Engineering school, in an ambitious bid to find a cure to “fix our unimaginative education system”, he asked a question that led him to follow his Bliss: “Are we willing to listen to the voices of children?” He explored this question and its possible answers with two of his classmates, Aravind and Jaikanth. Straight out of college, the trio set up Infinite Engineers in 2014. As this company’s uber-cool Learning Experience Designer, Harish’s current mission is to make science fun for children. “I am hoping to inspire a few generations to use their intellect to not just acquire knowledge, but to do, think, learn and innovate,” he says.
Ravi believes it is destiny that led him to his Bliss. 35 years ago, playing around with a doctor friend’s camera, Ravi fell in love with the medium. Then, the venerable news photographer Subha Sundaram, his mentor, instilled in him a value that he strives to live by daily – which is, “to bring his unique creative vision into every picture he shoots”. And then came the opportunity to learn from the Master, P C Sreeram, who taught him how “to create art with the magic of light”. “Each of these events were simply meant to be. They have shaped my Life,” says Ravi. True. Without them, there may be no Wide Angle Ravi Shankaran – an ace photographer who straddles the business, news and celebrity genres seamlessly; a brilliant cinematographer who has done documentaries, ad films and several full-length movies; a #BlissCatcher who has showcased his works in five exhibitions!
In both their journeys I found that their Bliss had found them. For instance, when the chairperson of Harish’s college reprimands him and his colleagues for not focusing on their engineering studies, the trio are angry – not defeated – and channelize their anger to go set up Infinite Engineers. And when Ravi is toying with a friend’s camera, he unwittingly embraces a medium that would eventually shape his entire Life. Listen to my entire Conversation with them here.
Not just with Harish and Ravi, but in exploring over a 100 #BlissCatcher journeys, over the last 5+ years, Vaani and I have repeatedly found this pattern: When you step out of the earning-a-living or economic circle of your Life, when you are willing to allow Life to lead you, your Bliss will come calling. It will come back, again and again, whenever you step out of the earning-a-living circle…until you embrace it, until you make your Bliss your Life! This is an irrefutable truth, this is how Life works! Rumi, my favorite poet was, after all, right: “What you seek is seeking you too…!”
But when your Bliss comes calling, you have a huge responsibility: you must trust the process of Life! You have to let go of whatever you are clinging on to and go with the flow of Life. It may be scary, even unnerving, at times, but this is what makes Life’s fun; so, celebrate that sense of uncertainty, that romance, that only an unscripted adventure can offer you. Harish dived deep into his Bliss when he chose, after Engineering school, not to take up a corporate job. And Ravi gave up a regular, well-paying, job to set up Wide Angle; then, when his freelance photography career with Wide Angle was soaring, he took another deep dive, into cinematography – offering start as an apprentice, at age 40, with the Master, P.C.Sreeram.
Now, at face value, it may appear that Bliss requires you to do something daring, something extra-ordinary. But when you pause and reflect, when you examine the lives of happy people around you, folks who are doing what they love doing, you will notice that all these people have allowed themselves to be led by Life. So, Bliss only asks for something simple, something fundamental, something intrinsic to Life, from you. It only asks for you to trust Life. It requires you to let go of the fake sense of economic or social security that you are clinging on to, and take that leap of faith. That’s when your Bliss will find you and draw you into its fold. And, as American mythologist and author Joseph Campbell says, when you do follow your Bliss, unfailingly, doors will open – every single time!
Note: AVIS and Vaani are the happynesswalas. They believe their Life’s Purpose is Inspiring ‘Happyness’! They are going through a fascinating Life-changing experience – a crippling bankruptcy!! Look them up here: www.avisviswanathan.in and www.avinitiatives.co.in.