Monday, January 11, 2010
What is your Bliss?
Those of you who have been following this blog are hopefully aware that part of the purpose of this blog is to connect with others who are following their bliss and to provide mutual support and appreciation for such endeavors. Toward this end, I have joined an online artist's community called red bubble where I also exhibit and sell prints of my work. I think of this website as similar to facebook, except, on this facebook, everyone is also an artist. I have had the chance to make many new comrades on my art quest. One of them, Karin Taylor, invited me to write for her blog and after doing so and thinking it was a great idea, I invited her to write for my blog in the form of answering some questions. In addition to that interview which follows, this blog's image is also Karin's. I hope you will enjoy this new element to my blog as much as I have. PLease visit Karin's website for a look at more of her work: Karin's Work. Next week, after she has posted my feature on her blog, I will feature it here as well. Pay a visit to her blog, which is also great.
1) What is your bliss?
I researched the definition for ‘bliss’ and came up with ‘supreme happiness; utter joy or contentment and the opposite is just plain and simple ‘misery’…..hmmmm, so what is my bliss….. that’s such an intriguing question and not easy for me to answer….
There are some things that contribute to a state of bliss in my life and these would be the sunshine on my face, the wind blowing through my hair, the sea before my eyes, the feeling of warm sand beneath my feet, touching my pencil to paper and drawing the first circle on the page, that contact which is a hug, stroking the cat, patting the dog, watching children play in the water and hearing their echoes of laughter, daydreaming under a tree where I can feel soft grass under me and a warm scented flow of air passing by, catching a glimpse of something beautiful in nature’s wonderful wonderland and being so drawn to it as to explore it further, researching a topic that is close to my heart, or close to another’s heart, letting go and letting God, releasing my bitterness and experiencing humility, meditating on words of wisdom and time spent in prayer with my higher power, visiting rockpools and fossicking around in them, fishing.
These things all contribute to my state of bliss.
2) How did you find your bliss?
Wow, another great question… well….I found out that I am usually in a state of bliss when all the above are covered and how I found out, was through moments of ‘misery’ the antonym of ‘bliss’. I have had some very down times, during which it was necessary for me to commit myself to time spent pondering the things I am most grateful for, and the things which I would need to gravitate towards, in order to be whole and healthy again… for ‘misery’ leads to my ‘madness’… and ‘bliss’ leads to great goodness, for myself and others. You see I feel that ‘bliss’ is not a selfish pursuit, even tho it may seem that way, for to be happy in life, we must first shower ourselves with respect and love, nurture our health…. And when we are well (following our bliss) we are able to be of service to others, ‘otherly’ without ulterior motives… our giving therefore, is unselfish giving, the best kind of love.
3) What are some of the things/people/books/resources/etc that have helped you?
One of the best books I ever read which helped me enormously was “Further down the Road Less Travelled” by Scott Peck… and the book “Hawaii” by James Michener…one is a sort of self help book by a psychologist and the other is a novel about life from the very beginning in Hawaii and traces the lives and deeds of the islanders and white settlers and I learned a wealth of things about human nature, through studying these two very different texts.
Another thing which I only recently realised has made a big impact on me were these little books from my childhood by Joan Walsh Anglund with beautiful little illustrations, there were a few… ones I remember are “Love is a Special Way of Feeling”, “A Friend is Someone who Likes You”, “Childhood is a Time of Innocence”, and these little books carry in them, some very special messages which were imparted to me as a child…it is only very recently that I’ve realised as an adult, that I appear to have retained my great fondness for the childlike naivety and strive for the very same ideals contained within the pages of these dear little books… one special thing that happened this week, was that my friend Christine, surprised me with two of these vintage books all wrapped up in a delightful package…. She’d ordered them for me through eBay because she saw how much the books meant to me from childhood….what kind of wonderful thoughtful friend I have in her…it just brings me to tears that someone would listen and act upon the things that are dearest to my heart, to bring me closer to my bliss.
As for people that have helped me, hmmm that’s so hard…there’ve been many, I’d have to say my partner Scott first of all, as he is always there helping, encouraging and spurring me on, he’s a great comfort in down times and so happy for me when I feel successful and happy…he only wants for my happiness…then there are my parents, who I feel have helped me enormously in many varied ways, but they are first and foremost my biggest supporters and art admirers…they help me too by listening to me when I’m down, and spoiling me a bit. Then there are 2 special friends I’d like to mention, they are Christine and Fa…Frozenfa is an artist friend of mine from Singapore and she’s the type to come running when you’re in a bind and be supportive no matter what I say or whinge about…. She’s also done me many, many favours and sells my work overseas…she is the most loyal friend and a really funny person who makes me happy and makes me laugh a lot, I hope to meet her some day!
The other one is very special too and I call her Chris….she is a quiet person, who works with textiles and also draws beautifully, she has a great eye, and a great ear for listening… she is a gentle person, with a great deal of wisdom and I respect her opinions and ideas.
4) What difference has this made in your life?
The books I read and the friends and family I have make such a difference in my life…I was watching ‘The Soloist’ (movie) last night and it’s about a schizophrenic musician who is very down and out… a reporter befriends him looking for a story, but in the end, the story is more about how both the reporter and the musician find a certain something in one another that goes to enrich their inner life and their lives in general, albeit… both parties must come to compromise certain things, in order to understand the other and participate on the friendship… they must learn about one another… it is a wonderful story…
The point I wanted to make without any further waffling, is that there is a line in the movie, where the reporter states that psychologists said he is making a difference in the schizophrenic musicians life, purely by being his friend, as this has the ability to alter brain chemistry!! Wow!! That just blew me away….. now I know that’s true…because that’s how I feel after encounters with my uplifting books, research material, friends, partner and family…… like my brain chemistry is altered…. A flow of good hormones happening there, and all is well with the world…to much aloneness and ‘on my own-ness’ is not good, simply not good at all’… too much ‘staying in the house-ness’ not good either…encounters with nature are almost as good as with a friend….
5) What do you do if ever you find yourself “off course”?
Well, that’s very hard… normally I go into a cave for sometime, before I realise I’ve become very silent, or shedding to many tears a day…once I’ve grasped that I’m down, I look at the reasons why, often I feel sorry for myself, or embittered or hurt by someone, I have high expectations of people, and then I feel let down…. So I reason through those thoughts and feelings and I talk about them with a trusted friend, usually my partner Scott… or Chris or Fa… and afterwards I feel I’ve found my way again…. But it’s hard being lost in the sea without a boat or a compass… it is scary and I fear the sharks are all out to get me….in those moments I’ll often seek my bible and read passages such as Psalm 91 which calm and soothe my soul…and I will pray and I will wait in prayerful state until I feel a sense of being heard and answered…it makes a large difference…. Better than reassurance from friends even… as I take it as a special privilege in life, that we are considered friends of God… and I believe there is a real sense of companionship there…I’ll imagine God to be with me, or holding my hand through difficult circumstances, using visualisation.
I also often use goal setting as a way of assisting myself to retain my course through life, and try to set short term goals, as they help me to take the little steps in achieving the ultimate perfect bliss, my long term goal.