Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Follow your bliss

I sat at my desk early Monday morning faced with yet another week of mind numbing tedium, close minded plebeian co-workers, and not nearly enough coffee in my system to handle any of it. It was at that bleary eyed moment that I was reminded of a conversation I had last week with a friend about being able to follow your bliss.

It’s an intriguing idea, and I’m always more than a little pea green when I run into or read about someone who is able to follow their inspired creative path unfettered by outside influences (read “the have to have job”). To be able to exclusively do that which makes them feel most fulfilled.

To even know what that bliss is has to be an enviable state. I struggle to find something in my life that I am that passionate about. Whether it be a desire to create that burns inside, or a passion for working with a particular group of people, or in a particular field of expertise; to have something in my life that inspires me in such a way that I absolutely cannot be a peace unless I am pursuing it. That is what I want to be when I grow up – inspired.

I hear writers in this very blogosphere say they have to write, cannot think of not writing, writing is like breathing for them. To not write on a daily basis would be unthinkable. I see artists and crafts people perfecting their skills, overjoyed at what possibilities a new tube of paint or a new swatch of fabric holds, and I am jealous.

I struggle to find my bliss. I have jumped from one creative endeavor to another. Wire wrapping, silver smithing, drawing, weaving, writing, knitting, and most recently web design. While each has been enjoyable, none have sparked that flame of obsession I crave,and none have held my attention long enough for me to become proficient in any of them.

I should probably take this moment to confess that I have not given any of these projects the time or focus needed to become skilled to the degree needed to take any of them beyond the realm of hobby. Maybe that’s the problem. Maybe I’m just adverse to the hard part of the creative process. The working at it part, while ignoring the voice in my head that is telling me “this is not for you, you have no talent with this”. Do I need to be spending weeks, months, even years perfecting a skill or a craft before I know for sure? When do you know for sure? Shouldn't the joy come more easily? This feels suspiciously like my last relationship, and Jesus did that end badly! I guess the question I have is this; when does the inspiration needed to carry one through the hard part supposed to kick in? Could it be be I'm just not all that creative? Or am I really that lazy? Shit, that’s a depressing thought.

I will keep trying though,trying new things as they catch my attention. I may even go back and to pick up some previously failed attempts at past projects. The silver work specifically was something I felt like I didn't give enough time or effort to. Maybe it's not a specific something I need to find in order to be inspired. Maybe I need to inspire myself, find a way to tap into some yet to be discovered well of creative energy. At the very least I probably need to shut up,stop whining, and just go out and do.


thailandchani said...

I think a lot of it begins with understanding the origin of this state so many people find them in. It just happens I posted about this yesterday... here's the quote: (just something to think about :)

Man, I see in Fight Club the strongest and smartest men who've ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see it squandered. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off.

That's the point when things begin to change.. and even though we have to make some really drastic changes, it's called "finding our bliss." :)

flutter said...

your last sentence could have come from my mouth

Lara said...

Lots of things give me that feeling, until I do them a little too long and throw my back out.

The mind is willing, but the body is weak, so to speak.

Guess I've always been a little backward though.

FairiesNest said...

This is such a good post and I have so many responses that I'm not sure where to start. I think even people who are following their "bliss" still have plenty of dreary, do I have to work today moments. My friend Jeanne and I often discuss the phenomenon of artistic procrastination. I love what I do, dollmaking, but I will find every excuse under the sun to avoid sitting down and working. Once I actually get started I don't want to stop, but the starting is SO hard. I heard this from lots of other artists and it makes me think that humans are just programed to avoid joy! So I guess the thing to do is to say to yourself, "if I could do ANYTHING in the world what would it be?" See if you can figure out the steps to get there, and then make yourself DO them! (Easy to suggest VERY hard to do.)And permit yourself the time to explore outlets for joy, tell yourself that this is worth your time because you are worthwhile. (because you ARE!)

we_be_toys said...

Wow, you got some profound damn readers, girl!
I love what Chani had to say - I often wonder about the effects of consumerism on our generation's creativity and motivation.

I also agree with Cindy - I was going to say something very smiliar. Those creative people you envy DO have empty fallow periods; they DO have trouble getting going; they DO procrastinate; and they DO doubt themselves. So maybe you're very creative and just stymied by all of the above. Maybe we need to come up with Artist's Studio time and get together sometimes just to work. Remember when we used to do that? Wanna?

Ms.Q said...

I loved when we used to get together for our "beading bees". Chatting and bouncing ideas off eachother. It's kind of like working out..it is more motivating when you have a buddy along for the ride.

My favorite dollmaker is right about getting started...I love making jewelry but sometimes it is so hard to sit down and get going. Once I do I can't stop! Don't ever doubt your talent Bea! I have seen the stuff you have done and you have got it girl!!

Cammy said...

Is it possible that your bliss is trying new things? There's a really good book, I Could Be Anything If Only I Knew What It Was, by Barbara Sher, that might be useful. Oh, and another book of hers, Wishcraft. She categorized people as 'scanners' and 'divers', people who like to flit from thing to thing, and people who delve into subjects or fields until it becomes a part of them. The important thing is that all types have value and have the potential to bring so much to the planet.People like you. :)

Grumpy Chair said...

I feel the same way - wanting to be inspired. But along the years, I have felt inspired/passionate about things, if only for a few days/weeks/months.

I think it is okay to have small bursts of something you feel passionate about.

Lynn said...

I'm a writer and a scrap booker... but yes, getting started can be hard. keeping going can be hard, too. I've got so many unfinished projects laying around just waiting for me to get back to them...

If it makes you feel better, I think you're going in the right direction. My mom used to jump from craft to craft... she'd do lace-making (tatting) for a few months and then basket-weaving, and then cross-stitch... she'd spend hundreds of dollars on a new hobby, and then in a few months she was bored with it, and went to something else. And then one day, when I was about 13 or so, she got into Historical Reenacting. My dad and I waited for her to switch gears, but she never did...

It took her 15 years to find her great love, but once she found it.... she still does it today. She's now married to my step-dad who also does it, and the two of them are blissfully happy.

It's out there... it just sometimes takes a while to find it!

Revenant said...

Ah, I wasn't expecting this tonight. Bliss...I have been hating bliss finders lately, just because their blissing makes me feel badly about myself.

Ironically, I am "delving" in my life and it makes me hurt. I find out how much more I need to know. So I say that you probably will find bliss and then say...this damn bliss makes me tired!

Which basically, guarantees blissiness.

Nicole said...

There are a lot of things I really like to do or that I find fulfilling, but I don't have a burning YEARNING to do anything really. It sucks, you know?

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