DISCOVER YOUR BLISS! That was the audacious challenge I received while thumbing through my favorite magazine today. Discover your bliss.

Discover my bliss?

What the hell is my bliss, and where is it? When did I lose it? Did I ever have it? If I find it, can I get it back?

The article says “true bliss occurs when several joyful moments fuse into one unforgettable day. Whether it’s a major turning point, such as a wedding, a major achievement or a day when everything just ‘feels right.’ ”

It goes on to assure me that “everyone has those magic moments.”

The article further advises that I should “recall two or more of your happiest moments, connect the dots to see what they have in common, then think of ways to plug those passions into your life to design your own personal brand of joy.”

OK, then. That should be easy.

One of the happiest moments in my life was many years ago when I let a bad tooth go on too long without treatment. The pain repeatedly flared, warning me of impending trouble, which I continued to ignore until one night the pain wouldn’t stop. Instead, it pounded through my head like a sledgehammer on speed and left me a crazed, wailing animal desperate for relief.

Now if you’ve ever had a toothache, you know it can make you think of guns and bullets in a brand new way. So my husband, in desperation, called our dentist and he agreed to meet me at his office late that night and, after a few shots of Novocain, I came to believe he was GOD. The pain relief was amazing. I was filled with gratitude and joy.

Another moment of pure joy, when everything just felt right, was the day I married. It was the middle of December and the weather should have been cold yet was wondrously warm. I was surrounded by all the people I loved and was marrying a man I knew I could love and trust forever. It was the perfect day, and it went off without a hitch.

Now, to connect the dots: marry/pain…! No… crying and wailing/warm December…does that make sense? Bad toothache/perfect day…what?

Maybe there is a message here – that there are no perfect days.

Like the day of my toothache, each day has its joys and pains, and even my sunshine-filled wedding day turned cold and damp at its end.

Those days are memorable to me not because they were perfect but because of the good I saw and remember in them.

How often do we overlook the small joys in ours lives, believing that a greater joy is out there somewhere — a better job, a better mate, more money and on and on?

And in failing to see the joys of the gifts we already have, we make them cheap and replaceable.

Maybe our bliss isn’t lost. Maybe it’s right here with us and the “sometimes pain” we are married to. Maybe it’s in days that surprise us with their unexpected warmth and vigor.

Bliss, I suspect, is found in the rather mundane things of life — the joy we feel when the dishes are finally done. The thrill of finding that last piece of chicken still hidden in the refrigerator the next day. The happiness found in a bill paid or that dress you can finally get back into.

Bliss is being thankful for the love and laughter of our families and friends and for a safe place to lay our heads at the end of a long day.

Maybe what’s needed is to celebrate bliss. Maybe that is the magic. To appreciate the everyday joys that we too often take for granted. Maybe we need to dust off the gifts we’ve left unappreciated for too long and be thankful for the place they hold in our lives.

So, for today, I’m going to revel in my bliss and thank God for life’s simple joys. I’m going to tell my husband I love him. Maybe take a soak in the tub and light a candle. Take a slow walk and enjoy the sunshine. Or maybe I will just put my feet under a blanket and watch my favorite TV show.

I’ll appreciate that the cold ain’t cancer, the bad children aren’t delinquents and the check didn’t bounce yet.

Maybe I’ll have a glass of wine or two. That should really make me feel blissful… three might get me bliss-tered!

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D. Barbara McWhite grew up in York County, S.C., and now lives in Orange Park, Fla.

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