I was recently interviewed by Julie Shubin, a labor law attorney and adjunct professor at George Mason University, for her labor blog Helitzer Blouse Girl: A Modern American Labor Journal, where she features a “day in the life” series of people from all walks of life. In her profile, Julie called me “a modern day renaissance woman, finding a way to fit all her passions into a small business.”

I was incredibly flattered by this description, because I don’t really think of myself that way. But as I thought about it a little more, I realized that I’ve been on a journey of following my bliss for more than two decades now. Since my current bliss  involves writing about and working with cats, and since cats played a significant role in finding that bliss, I thought I’d share a little more about my journey today.

It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I started my professional life by translating manuals for a computer manufacturer. Then I wrote and translated ad copy for a magazine about diesel and gas turbines (can you stand the excitement?). After that, I worked as a travel agent for a while.  Eventually, I ended up at a large financial services corporation, beginning as a receptionist and working my way up into middle management.

After fifteen years in corporate America, I had enough. A couple of life changing events propelled me toward an active path of discovering my passion.

For the next twelve years, I worked in various facets of the veterinary profession. I loved every minute of it. I did everything from cleaning cages to answering phones to giving injections and placing catheters. Eventually, I managed a veterinary hospital for eight years.  During the time I worked in veterinary clinics, I gained a thorough understanding of pets’ and owners’ needs in what can often be a stressful and emotionally challenging environment for both.

My passion for educating pet owners and my love for animals led me to realize my dream of serving pets in a more hands on and individual capacity. I started Healing Hands, which provides Reiki treatments for pets and people. As a Reiki Master Practitioner, trained in traditional Usui Shiki Ryoho Reiki, I integrate Reiki with my natural intuitive abilities and I tailor each session to develop the best experience for each individual client, be it human or animal.

As part of marketing Healing Hands, I began to write and publish my free online newsletter News for You and Your Pet, and  even though I had been writing in some shape or form all my life, this made me realize just how much I really love writing. In addition to writing and publishing the newsletter, I started The Conscious Cat, and began writing Buckley’s Story.

The cats along the way that inspired all of this were Feebee, who was responsible for my transition into veterinary medicine, Amber, who inspired The Conscious Cat, Buckley, who inspired an entire book, and Allegra and Ruby, who keep the inspiration going each and every day.

I’m often asked how I did it. How did I figure out what I wanted to do? How did I find the courage to give up a lucrative corporate job for the uncertainty of self-employment?

Everyone’s journey is going to be different. The important part is to start somewhere. If you’re unhappy with your current life, or your job, start taking steps to figure out what makes you happy now.

The following tools helped me along my journey, maybe they can help you on yours.

Journaling. As a writer, this one came naturally to me, but this is a tool that can benefit everyone. Write about your dreams, your fears, your wishes. Journaling can be a great way to start planting seeds for change in your life. One of my stepping stones way back when was working through Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. A key part of Cameron’s program are her “morning pages.” Every morning, you sit down and write three pages in longhand, whether you feel like it or not. It doesn’t matter what you write, as long as you write. It’s a truly transformational practice.

Dream. Allow yourself to daydream without censoring yourself. What does your ideal life look like? What would you be doing? Where would you be living? Who would you be with? Don’t think about how you could realize your dream – just let yourself imagine.

Creative visualization. This takes dreaming one step further. Once you’ve zeroed in on something that really resonates, refine that dream. The example I often share is that when I visualized my perfect job when I was trying to leave the corporate world, that visualization always involved a cat sleeping on a sunny spot on my desk. When I started my job at the animal hospital, it came complete with an office cat named Virginia, whose favorite sleeping spot was next to my computer, near a sunny window.

Make a vision board. The process is simple, all you need are scissors, glue, some free time, and a stack of magazines. Start cutting out pictures that appeal to you and that represent what you want to manifest in your life. This goes beyond just things, you can also use pictures to represent less tangible desires such as love, peace, fun, fulfillment, abundance, and happiness. Making a vision board can be a powerful transformational tool.

Surround yourself with people who are living their passion. Connect with others who love their work, and their life. If you’re only around people who are unhappy with the status quo, you’ll tend to get mired in their negative energy, and it becomes harder to make changes in your own life. Find people who do work you think you might enjoy, and ask to spend some time with them. Take them out to lunch, ask whether you can shadow them on the job, or volunteer for their business (that’s how I got my start in veterinary medicine). Network with like-minded people online.

If there’s an aspect of your life that you’re unhappy with, whether it’s your job, a relationship, or the place you live in, start taking small steps toward change and find your bliss.

What will you do today to take the first step?

©2012 Ingrid King/The Conscious Cat – All Rights Reserved

30 Comments on Sunday Purrs: Finding Your Bliss

  1. Dear Ingrid, just wanted to say THANK YOU for this wonderful post!!!! It’s SO inspiring!
    I always feel so inspired by people who have followed their heart and found their real path, living their dreams and their talents. Thank you for sharing your steps to personal happiness and fulfillment. I’m going to print this out!!!!
    Going to read about the Vision Board, it sounds amazing!

  2. Wonderful share and glimpse into a part of your life that most of us would have never imagined of you! There comes an enormous amount of peace when you finally feel the comfort of your true calling and I love the vision of a cat sleeping on a sunny spot on your desk… and how it actually came to be!!

    Your last bit of advice is also so important. For me, the cat world is my forever home and my true calling. Sharing this home with so many talented, creative, and passionate people, such as yourself, has made all the difference in the world!

    • I agree, Deb, one of the things I love so much of being able to write about and work with cats is the dedicated people you meet as a result of it – people like you!

  3. Your story is inspirational. I am currently out of work and not as motivated as I should be to find a job. ($$) I keep thinking, what else is there? Maybe it’s time to think of a passion instead of just another job.

    You are blessed –

  4. Thank you for sharing your personal journey. You are truly a remarkable woman. I admire you and wish I had such courage to live my bliss.

  5. Ingrid – thank you for sharing your journey. First love was writing, but for reasons to numerous to mention here, I chose a different path. I ended up working at a bank, getting a degree in accounting, working in public accounting for a few years, and going back for my master’s degree. I spent the next 17 years in the nonprofit world doing fundraising. But the idea of writing never left me, and I kept a journal all through those years.

    Three years ago, I discovered the blogosphere and it has been a blessing. Although I am not making a living at it, I have at least found an outlet for my passions (writing and animals). As they say – “Life is a journey, not a destination” – and I can only hope that my journey will continue to lead me in this direction. Thank you for the inspiration!

    • Vicki, thank you for sharing your journey. I’m so glad blogging has provided an outlet for your writing, and I’m also glad that we “met” because of it!

  6. this was fabulous and sound advice. I could NEVER imagine you not working in a career that fed your love of animals (specifically cats)…those jobs in “corporate America?” sooooooo not YOU!

    What first step am I taking? Reading THIS incredible piece!

  7. Ingrid, I’ve always envied those who knew their path from the beginning, followed it and were successful, but the lives we grow into are the most comfortable. That doesn’t mean they don’t require effort, as we know! But it is so worth paying attention to what is fulfilling to you and creating a life around it.

    • I wish I’d discovered my path sooner, Bernadette, but I’m so grateful that I found it when I did. In retrospect, even the jobs at the computer manufacturer and the diesel and gas turbine magazine (I mean, really!) led me to where I’m at now.

      • In regard to your other jobs seemingly unrelated still contributing to your path (glad you weren’t caught up in the excitement of diesel and gas turbine engines), an interpretation from the oft-interpreted Tao Te Ching:
        A good traveler
        enjoys the journey;
        the destination
        will come on its own.

  8. Ingrid, what an inspiring story and great tips for those of us who want to “follow our bliss.” Life offers enough challenges without adding another: not loving what you do.

    Thanks for your guidance!

  9. Love that photo of you and agree 100% with the steps. “Follow your bliss” coined by Joseph Campbell means find where it is, and don’t be afraid to follow it. But I’d like to add: to listen , really listen to your body, to what it needs physically, mentally and spiritually. Passion or bliss can over-ride basic needs like getting enough sleep or being online too much. Many women fall prey to helping others without listening to their needs. I spent the week unplugging and restoring.

  10. Ingrid, thank you for this glimpse into your life – I love Julie Shubin’s description of you! As someone who spent many years in corporate America, I understand the joy of jumping off that bandwagon and finding your soul work.

  11. Ingrid, thanks so much for sharing this. You really are an inspiration. I like the idea of keeping a journal-especially the idea of writing in the morning when my thoughts are fresh. Maybe this will help me focus on my passions–photography, cats and art. It’s so easy to get off track with all the demands of the day.

    Best wishes to you,

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