Following Bliss

“Sit in a room and read — and read and read. And read the right books by the right people. Your mind is brought onto that level, and you have a nice, mild, slow-burning rapture all the time. This realization of life can be a constant realization in your living. When you find an author who really grabs you, read everything he has done. Don’t say, “Oh, I want to know what So-and-so did”–and don’t bother at all with the best-seller list. Just read what this one author has to give you. And then you can go read what he had read. And the world opens up in a way that is consistent with a certain point of view. But when you go from one author to another, you may be able to tell us the date when each wrote such and such a poem–but he hasn’t said anything to you.”  (Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth)

Joseph Campbell is describing quite a rabbit hole there, and as I mentioned in The Magic Down the Rabbit Hole, to dive into that state of being is bliss for me.

And speaking of bliss:

If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Wherever you are–if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time.” (Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth)

While reading that, it struck me that following your bliss is largely an internal endeavor, just like the dedicated attitude towards reading Campbell described. This falls right in with my thoughts on solitude that I wrote about recently.

To be solitary is not to be lonely. This is how we learn about and nurture ourselves. Sometimes it feels as if taking time for yourself is a sacrifice, but doing so is a necessary act that rejuvenates us and helps us be strong enough to be there for others when we need to be.

‘Reverie’, Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Model: Jane Morris

Many Pre-Raphaelite images are of a solitary female, apparently lost in thought. I wrote about this last year in In a World of Her Own. Critics may say that these are images of objectified women created solely for the male gaze. To me, Pre-Raphaelite women are not shallow objects of beauty, but women focused more on their own contemplation than their surroundings. They are in that state of solitude and deep thought and I’ve learned that to cultivate that state is crucial to my well-being. We can not even attempt to follow bliss if we do not make time for ourselves and our personal growth. There are many aspects to that and solitude is an important ingredient in that recipe.

‘Spring’, Burne-Jones

We entered Spring this week, a season of growth and new beginnings. It’s a perfect time to revisit priorities and make a choice to be mindful, follow our bliss, and happily read our way through a rabbit hole.

Treat your personal time and how you choose to use it as sacred and it will become so.

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