Follow your bliss...
One of my favourit'ist quotes ever also happens to be from one of my favourite'ist hero's ever... the American mythology Professor, Joseph Campbell:
"I say, follow your bliss and don't be afraid, and doors will open where you didn't know they were going to be. If you follow your bliss, doors will open for you that wouldn't have opened for anyone else".
Following my bliss hasn't exactly been as straightforward as Mr. Campbell so simply suggests. I have endeavored for many, many years to close the door on my bliss, to give up on my bliss. I've tried ignoring my bliss, worked on suppressing my bliss, comfort-eating my bliss away, every day I resist the bliss... yet still, my bliss just wont stop... well, following me! My bliss wont go away, and I know it wont go away until... I stop being afraid of it.
The fear is real. Real silly, real annoying, real debilitating, real frustrating.... a real waste of time! How do you stop being afraid?! You don't! I got desperate. There's nothing quite like the despair of a looming deadline, the last two weeks of Lockdown 3.0 and I've achieved naff all. Fuck it! I didn't face the fear. I just started to paint!
So! Here is my first little blog post about my first little series of paintings. I did it. Yay
I started, and successfully completed, a collection of paintings called '30 Roses, in 30 minutes in 30 days'. All inspired and tutored online by the marvelous David Jansen (Hallelujah for Youtube and friends called Lauren for the recommendation). The paintings in themselves are nothing spectacular, but it is a start, and that's a pretty big deal for me, especially as this is the first time I have painted consistently every day since... well, errr... school!!
What is spectacular though, is that I have finally learned you don't need to get rid of the fear before you start to art. You feel the fear, and carry on in spite of it. Not only have you just got to make a start, but that one teeny tiny little small start, I discovered, will grab your hand and lead you to the very next little step.... and so on and so forth. You don't try and figure out all the steps you need to take ahead from the offset, those doors are closed because you're not there yet! Just start, and that first brushstroke will reveal to you to what the second stroke needs to be and then onto the third etc. etc. And that's when I really got to understand what Campbell was getting at... don't be afraid when following your bliss... because the steps will reveal themselves to you when you get to them, the pathway will unfold, tiny doors will open where you didn't know they were going to be... doors just for you, right in front of you... and that is following your bliss. The following in itself is the bliss. It's the following that foils the fear.
I'm following my bliss, and I'm still afraid, but not afraid of following my bliss, you get me!? This series of paintings got me falling in love with the process again, something I've not felt since leaving school! All cliche I know, but it really is truly true - it's the journey not just the destination. Or, let me just borrow Alan Watts to succinctly reiterate, as he does it so beautifully....
"In music, one doesn’t make the end of the composition the point of the composition. If that were so, the best conductors would be those who played fastest, and there would be composers who wrote only finales. People would go to concerts just to hear one crashing chord — because that’s the end! ....We thought of life by analogy with a journey, with a pilgrimage, which had a serious purpose at the end, and the thing was to get to that end: success, or whatever it is, or maybe heaven after you’re dead. But we missed the point the whole way along. It was a musical thing — and you were supposed to sing, or dance, while the music was being played."
That gets to me. Always.
And so, yeah, that was a very wiggly winding story to basically say... here's some paintings I did!
I enjoyed working this way so much that I've decided to create lot's more series with the theme '30 in 30 minutes in 30 days'. I am already well under way with a skyscapes collection - never painted a cloud before - that'll be interesting! But then I had never painted a rose before either and I quietly surprised myself there. I will share all of my progress with y'all here all in due course... and in the meantime I look forward to opening all those blissful doors, waiting just for me xx
Go follow your own bliss'ness folks... xx