"Follow Your Bliss"
SUNNYSIDE UP MOMENT - MAY 22, 2020
DAY SIXTY-SEVEN OF THE CORONAVIRUS QUARANTINE FOR US AT STACK 'EM HIGH PANCAKES AND SO FORTH
My friend was telling me about an article he read recently in the Wall Street Journal. It was describing how under quarantine kids have experienced more freedom and autonomy than they would have under normal circumstances. That is certainly true for our two. In the last sixty odd days our children have left the property only a handful of times. While at home, they have entertained themselves beautifully without screens or video games or social media. They have immersed themselves in nature and let their imaginations run wild. Their decreased opportunity to participate in the wider world increased their fervor for creating worlds of their own. In their limited space, they expanded their horizons. While being locked down they simply opened themselves up to endless possibilities. Both kids dedicated hour after hour and day after day to what interested and intrigued them. They embodied Joseph Campbell’s sacred virtue of “following your bliss.”
In contrast, independence is the hallmark of adulthood. Grown-ups don’t need quarantine to be allowed to do what they want to do, it’s simply what being of age is all about. Yet, the last two months have shown many of us that what we want to do is not what we have been doing. The 14th century Persian poet, Hafez, said, “Ever since happiness heard your name, it has been running through the streets to find you.” Happiness usually doesn’t have to chase children, because it is their instinct to follow it. Adults on the other hand have a tendency to give credence to less noble pursuits leaving happiness trailing behind. We know in our heart of hearts, whether we follow our bliss or it follows us, the encounter is what makes life worth living.
As we start to debrief and to make sense of these months of quarantine, ephiphanies such as these are emerging and defining our new space. What joys to behold. What gifts to embrace. What a splendid outcome of sheltering in place.