daily preciousness

Sunday, July 07, 2002

bliss revisited

This guy named Joseph told me once, "follow your bliss!" The cocktail party was wall-to-wall thick with Mardi Gras revelers that evening. I had just gone to refill my punch when I spilt some on this old bearded hippie.

Quickly, I mopped up the minor beverage puddle off of his jacket. Luckily, he was drunk, too. The guy was sort of a sloppy drunk, but he had a charming way about him. He introduced himself as Joseph. He was a folklorist, visiting Baton Rouge for the festival weekend. As he talked, his gestures were minimalist -- he had drawn a diagram of some significance on his cocktail napkin. It looked like a sky full of stars -- a Milky Way painted on a tiny paper canvas. And there was a dotted path, drawn in a different color ink, to a star that shone brightly.

"Follow your bliss," the drunk man told me. With his finger, he pointed to the napkin.

"You can navigate by the points of light; they're your talents. Let them guide your way through the ether. Just use them like a passenger pigeon finds its way home. Use what you love to find your route in life." Years later, I was watching public television, when I saw a clean-cut, sober-looking version of Joseph the folklorist. He was Joseph Campbell.

And he was obviously following his bliss -- sharing his love of folklore and comparative sociology with millions through his books and public television specials. He was like the Carl Sagan of the social sciences, sharing his love of humanity with ... appropriately enough, humanity.

When I think about how much more attention I might have paid the drunken Joseph that evening, I have to shudder. But, I'm happy to report that I manage to navigate by my personal stars pretty well. I'm happy and satisfied with the direction of my path. Bliss isn't that difficult for me to identify for me.

Finding my bliss means spending time exploring life. I explore life through writing, travel, music, web development and publication.

My writing takes the form of my journal, poetry, personal correspondence, observational writing and performance or event reaction pieces.

Travel is my most expensive addiction. But it gives me the biggest high.... It is my escape and the most wonderful means of finding myself. It's the best confidence-building exercise I can imagine. Perhaps most importantly, it reminds me of an important fact. It reminds me that although I'm a resident of the United States, I am truly a citizen of the world.

Music is another way I find my bliss. It's probably the most soul-satisfying way for me to relieve stress. While this was very important for me as a young adult, I sometimes neglect the fact that it is a great stress-reliever today. I don't make time for it as much as I used to. And my playing, I'm sorry to say, reflects this negligence. Fortunately, I get a lot out of listening to music. So I still do that quite often. Barely a day goes by without some music in my life. It would be a sorry existence without it, most certainly.

Developing and maintaining an active electronic presence is a favorite pastime of mine. It's something I can spend hour upon hour creating, without even realizing where the day has gone. Therefore, I have to take a day every so often to keep my site fresh and vibrant, so that my viewers will be happy. When I have enough money for it, I would like to have a live webcam again. I spent a year on cam. It was a unique way to see the world and let them see me. The way I viewed the world changed fundamentally when I was being webcast to the four-corners of the globe. It made me feel like a citizen of the world and of the world's wonderful electronic culture.

Publication is very similar to my web hobby. Publication involves all the things I physically create. This includes my scrapbooks, photo albums and other mementos from my travels and my daily life. It's very satisfying for me to see my memories clearly and entertainingly made concrete so that I can share them with others.

"Myth is the secret opening through which the inexhaustible energies of the cosmos pour into human manifestation..." -Joseph Campbell, Hero with a thousand faces


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