Musings on Being the Artist of Your Day

Tag: Joseph Campbell (Page 2 of 2)

The Adventure is the Reward

Eternal Optimist

Monotype by Mary Gow

I think the concept of bliss appeals to me so much because it makes so much sense and is so opposite of what I was told in my childhood. Even Donald Trump says “You have to do something you like!”

MOYERS: Would you tell this to your students as an illustration of how, if they follow their bliss, if they take chances with their lives, if they do what they want to, the adventure is its own reward?

CAMPBELL: The adventure is its own reward – but it’s necessarily dangerous, having both negative and positive possibilities, all of them beyond control. We are following our own way, not our daddy’s or our mother’s way. So we are beyond protection in a field of higher powers than we know. One has to have some sense of what the conflict possibilities will be in this field, and here a few good archetypal stories like this may help us to know what to expect. If we have been impudent and altogether ineligible for the role into which we have cast ourselves, it is going to be a demon marriage and a real mess. However, even here there may be heard a rescuing voice, to convert the adventure into a glory beyond anything ever imagined.

MOYERS: It’s easier to stay home, stay in the womb, not take the journey.

CAMPBELL: Yes, but then life can dry up because you’re not off on your own adventure. …

From p. 197 of “The Power of Myth,” by Joseph Campbell with Bill Moyers, 1988.

So following your bliss may not be totally blissful. Pack some powerful doses of courage in your toolkit.

Remember Your Bliss

I remember the Bill Moyers PBS series “The Power of Myth” when it first aired. It had a tremendous impact on me. I became a big fan of both Joseph Campbell (1904-1987) and Bill Moyers and was spellbound by their insightful dialogue.

Joseph Campbell was a mythologist, writer and lecturer. When he spoke about “following your bliss” it resonated with me – and millions of other people. That phrase became the most memorable part of the show, as is reflected in the attached video.

MOYERS: Do you ever have this sense, when you are following your bliss, as I have at moments, of being helped by hidden hands?

CAMPBELL: All the time. It is miraculous. I even have a superstition that has grown on me as the result of invisible hands coming all the time – namely, that 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. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in the field of your bliss, and they open the doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.

(Excerpted from “The Power of Myth,” by Joseph Campbell with Bill Moyers, p. 150).

Read more about Joseph Campbell and bliss in my next post.

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