Lyricisms: Follow Your Bliss-ters

August 17, 2011

“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.”    ~Joseph Campbell
Dance by Lyric Montgomery Kinard
40 x 48
What is your calling?

Finding your calling is a wonderful thing. Sometimes it comes to you in a blast of enlightenment, sometimes it slowly grows on you as you wander aimlessly. Either way you take the seeds of the talent you have been given and you nurture and develop it into something you can use to create a better world. Joseph Campbell said, “One way or another, we all have to find what best fosters the flowering of our humanity in this contemporary life, and dedicate ourselves to that.”

Where is the bliss?

I know what my calling is…. so where’s the bliss? It’s the peak of summer and I’m tired. I’m keeping the children occupied, trying to keep the house from devolving into complete chaos, struggling to meet deadlines. My art-making feels much the same way. I’m barely slogging through the things that must be done. Aren’t I supposed to feel bliss every time I sit down to my sewing machine or pick up a paint brush?

Follow your blisters

I recently read an article by Jefferey Thompson, a professor at the Romney Institute of Public Management. He studies things like “callings” and workplace satisfaction. Some of the most satisfied workers in their professions? Zookeepers. They are passionate about what they do. Are they always blissful? No. They are not paid well, the hours can be difficult caring for sick animals through the night, and the work can be at times – well – unsavory. Professor Thompson learned something very interesting.

“The pain and burdens and sacrifice were not threats to their sense of calling—they were part of it. The work was meaningful because of the trials and burdens. That is an important lesson. We can’t expect deep meaningfulness from our calling unless we are willing to assume its burdens as well.”  A number of years after Joseph Campbell coined the phrase “follow your bliss” he quipped, “What I should have said was, ‘follow your BLISTERS!'”

Ah. This is the “blister” part of summertime. Motherhood, art-making, zookeeping; they all have their slogging, difficult moments. They are worthwhile callings. The children will have had a good summer. I’ll have time soon to develop some of the beginnings of ideas for some new artworks. It’s not all bliss but it is my calling. What is yours?


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  • Reply
    August 18, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    I love reading what you write because I am amazed that you make time for your art while raising a houseful (five?) of inquiring little minds. Thanks for helping us find our bliss or calling or niche!
    Martha Ginn

  • Reply
    August 17, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    A great reminder. Thank you for the posting.

  • Reply
    August 17, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    I am looking forward to the days when all my children go to school. My youngest is only one so I have a while to wait. I just try to take it one day at a time and have fun making art when I'm not worn out by being a mother. Thanks for your inspiring post.

  • Reply
    Loralei Walker
    August 17, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    Aaah, many thanks for this posting today… Lately, I feel that I have many blisters, from wearing so many hats – mom, entrepreneur, and aspiring artist; feeling such a connection to the thoughts and words does a bit to cure (as will the vacation next week, lol!)

  • Reply
    August 17, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    excellent posting today…I think it's very helpful for the novices to know that the folks we look to for OUR information struggle as much as we do…
    Campbell said so many wise things and always keeps me thinking…



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