Bliss, etc.

Joseph Campbell formulated what became his most quoted dictum, "Follow your bliss" in the decade before his death. Join this conversation to explore this idea and share stories.

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CarmelaBear
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Post by CarmelaBear » Sat Jan 31, 2015 12:44 am

February 2nd is my very own bear birthday. Looking forward to this one, because it is when I am officially a geezer of 65 years.

8)
Last edited by CarmelaBear on Tue Feb 03, 2015 4:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
CarmelaBear
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Post by CarmelaBear » Tue Feb 03, 2015 1:00 am

This milestone birthday turned out great. I love celebrating every year. It's always different, and rather exciting. Lots of expressions of love and caring when I really needed it so very much. Having spent years looking after a person in fragile health, I have been a bit worn out lately. The outpouring of moral support was absolutely remarkable. I do not take my family and friends and colleagues for granted. I dearly love all the people in my life.

Wow! It doesn't get better than this! I am so grateful.

8) :!:
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
CarmelaBear
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Post by CarmelaBear » Tue Mar 03, 2015 10:41 pm

Found an interesting website that seems to be about using "character strengths" to lead a happy, fulfilling life. I have not taken their survey, but I'm curious about it.

http://www.viacharacter.org/www/

~

P.S. Took the survey. The results are all sweet, nice, saccharine and not very helpful. Too positive, sunny, brilliant and unbalanced. Also, the entire website is about making money. Everything that hints of possible benefit has a high price tag. Seems a bit mindless and frivolous.
Last edited by CarmelaBear on Tue Mar 10, 2015 7:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
CarmelaBear
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Post by CarmelaBear » Tue Mar 10, 2015 6:56 pm

The most obvious sign of aging for me is the stiffness I feel, which slows me down and makes simple movements seem just a tad more difficult. No pain, mind you. I can still boogie and move. I'm just slower than before.

It is as if every bad habit I ever contemplated having has come back to bite me in the backside. No complaints, mind you. No pain. Just slow.

Being a slug of a caregiver for so many years, always drained from the hopelessness and monotony of the work, took its toll. With determined effort, I can slowly return to a more fit state, both physically and emotionally. It is just taking longer than I ever dreamed it would take.

Tasks I could complete in a day or two take me weeks to finish. No reason to quit, but slow....slow....slow. It gives me a chance to relax and reflect and dream and think and read and take in the stories and do the kinds of things I never made time to do before. Life changes, but it never stops giving and giving.

This kind of bliss is easy and soft. It slips into the room without a sound.

~
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
CarmelaBear
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Post by CarmelaBear » Tue Mar 17, 2015 12:46 am

She likes being alone these days.

We can all let the sentiment surface.

Happy in a realistic way.

Sad in a way that's just inevitable.

Outraged and ready to give up the dream.

It belongs to us, you know.

The dream belongs to those who sleep.

They say it delivers destiny.

The gods rain down wrath and fire.

The hawks fly above the treetops.

White-topped eagles, ready for bear.

Alone is nice.

Words are easy.

Dreams sleep and the world is a shiny penny.

~
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
CarmelaBear
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Post by CarmelaBear » Wed Mar 18, 2015 12:40 am

Signed up yesterday to audit a class at the University of New Mexico. Showed up for the first scheduled session, along with about a half dozen other students, but the teacher never showed up.

Then, I visited the library to see if my book, "Bearing It" could be found there. It was on the shelf at the Center for Southwest Research. Although the library catalog claimed there was another copy in the Zimmerman Main Library, I looked for it, and it was not on the shelf. I requested that they purchase a copy of "New Mexico Woman".

My fingers crossed, hoping they will order the better version of my book. I'm sorry, but I'm a little fish in a big pond, and it means a lot to me that somebody at the library at my Alma Mater actually cared enough to order a copy of my book.

Today, I quickly perused my friend, Barney Frank's autobiography, "Frank", and it is exceedingly clear that my world is very small and insignificant in comparison to that of the famous Congressman from Massachusetts. It explains why hardly anyone has noticed me or my book. Silly me, at one time, I actually entertained the thought that I was on the radar screen. Ah, well.....perspective is a good thing, and my insignificance gives me a great deal of freedom. I don't have to worry that I'm being judged, because no one knows I'm alive, anyhow.

Not a target: the invisible Bear.

Image

UNM Zimmerman Library in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
CarmelaBear
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Post by CarmelaBear » Mon Mar 23, 2015 10:07 pm

Another day.

Bliss is no longer an issue. At some point, being happy or satisfied or content is beside the point. For each one of us, there have been opportunities to test every wonderful thing about experience, only to discover the obvious. It is both awesome and awful.

Eventually, it becomes completely over-the-top, and the gate opens.

That simple fact of life has given rise to complex empires with dominant myths, major legal institutions, myriad ways of life and billions of simple individual thoughts. For all the violence, there is a global Pax Americana, global communication and a global economy. For all the myth, there is the earth and water beneath us, supporting whatever breath we know.

We survived for one more day, and yet, we remain essentially as we were yesterday, looking forward to the next step in the journey.

~
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
CarmelaBear
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Post by CarmelaBear » Tue Mar 24, 2015 11:28 am

IN HIS HANDS

And all the readers have fled,

For their stories are long and

Their hearts are broken.

The guns, loud and terrible,

Cracked the air and made a hole in the sky.

As he ran, he carried hope in his fist,

Where sweat mixed with a maiden's blood.

There, amid chaos and turmoil,

He held the future,

A place of small and gentle ways,

Where he might know something of value,

Something he could trust

And mingle with the sweat of his hand.

~
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
CarmelaBear
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Post by CarmelaBear » Fri Mar 27, 2015 5:45 am

~
Last edited by CarmelaBear on Tue Mar 31, 2015 12:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
CarmelaBear
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~

Post by CarmelaBear » Fri Mar 27, 2015 5:51 am

~
Last edited by CarmelaBear on Tue Mar 31, 2015 12:54 am, edited 3 times in total.
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
CarmelaBear
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Post by CarmelaBear » Mon Mar 30, 2015 4:52 pm

--SURPRISE--SURPRISE--

Study shows that happy children do better in school.

http://www.gse.harvard.edu/news/uk/15/0 ... 2015%20(1)

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Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
CarmelaBear
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Post by CarmelaBear » Thu Apr 02, 2015 8:00 pm

I like Jane McGonigal's game ideas. It turns out that
playing a half hour of computer games each day
can make a person happier and healthier.

There is something called Post Traumatic Growth,
when people benefit from the strengths they acquire
after experiencing trauma.

Check out this TED Talk:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfBpsV1Hwqs

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Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
CarmelaBear
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Post by CarmelaBear » Tue Apr 07, 2015 12:37 pm

Poverty in America is not total. For elders, like me, there is a safety net. I am financially without cash resources beyond my government pension, but I am smart and resilient. My other personal resources are not the kind that I can readily turn into cash, (unless I wrote something someone would pay money to read, which I have not). The money I had for a while was in savings, and I invested badly in the vanity project of my first book, which I self-published at considerable expense. People did not buy my book, and my finances did not recover.

My only income is a Social Security retirement check, which is less than $600. Retired from caregiving, I am happily living in a charming efficiency, with basic needs covered. I am safe here and I have absolutely everything I need to live well. If everyone drinks out of cups. I do, too. Does it really matter to any of us whether the cup was given to me or if I bought it second hand? Does it matter if the cup is only half full? It doesn't matter.

There is a serious bias against those who do not live in a certain way, and it rarely touches me at all. In my world, everything is good. Don't ask me why, but I have no enemies. If there are people who hate me, they do not express their hatred to me, personally.

There are issues, of course. The system of government benefits is set up to make my life difficult. My small Social Security check was reduced by over $100 about two months ago.Social Security is "unearned income", and at age 65, I am automatically charged a monthly fee for Medicare and bumped off of Medicaid, which I have relied on for many years.

It just means that I have to fight to keep my small check. I will file the necessary papers to request a fair hearing, and in the meantime, continue my quest to get a handle on my eating habits. I don't LOOK huge, and looks are not the issue. It is a health problem. It's not morbid obesity, but the numbers don't lie, and if I do not win this battle over the pounds, I will continue to lose sleep from a mild, but real case of a sleep disorder called "apnea". The chief symptom is fatigue. It is not debilitating fatigue. I can walk miles, dance like a fool and function in the normal way. My organs all work as they should. It has emotional consequences. It affects my ability to give myself over to proactive attempts at creating professional relationships. It lowers my self-esteem and my sense of control over my own life. it contributes to a sense of not being my true self. Slow is not me.

Money is a problem, and I am working on it. My number one job at the moment is to eat less, move more, and hopefully lose weight and develop more energy and vitality.

It means improving my management of my response to stress. Stress is part of life. It is universal and will not go away. My response to it can make all the difference. Something has been getting between me and my self-control where food is concerned.

I spend most of my time creating peace and teaching myself to find joy in the cravings and the hunger and the sense of deprivation and all the complicated factors that make me put aside reason and eat comfort food. Oh, how I love giant servings of fatty, starchy, sugary foods! It became an addiction over the years, little by little, year by year as the stress became cumulative and my defenses became food substances instead of other things. The "other things" became sources of more stress.

I may be poor, but I am not worried about money. I am concerned about the eating and the exercise, my own behavior. It sounds so simple and easy, "Just say no" is silly advice. "No" doesn't address the hunger. It is not just a physical hunger about feeling satisfied. It is a hunger for respect, a hunger for dignity, a hunger for recognition, for love.

Do I really need more respect? I don't think it is possible to be more respected than I am. You can go down the list, and I do not need more dignity, more recognition, more love. I don't even need more money. Then what?! What is this hunger? That's my demon. Whatever this hunger may be, it lives in the shadows and hidden within the dark forest I inhabit. I feel ready to take on the demon.....whatever it turns out to be. I need to identify what it is that makes me ignore my conscience and seek that physical feeling of satisfaction.

I may be poor, but money is not my biggest issue, and the world is not my problem. Politics is not my problem. My only responsibility is to take care of my aging body. How hard can that be? I can do this.

I can do this.

~
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
CarmelaBear
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Post by CarmelaBear » Tue Apr 07, 2015 5:46 pm

Well, good lawyer that I am, I finally got around to reading the fine print on the Medicare-Medicaid issue. It turns out that I qualified for assistance to pay the Medicare premium, and the fees I paid out of my Social Security might be refunded. I still have more work to do to make sure I am on Medicare, but my fees for Medicare are supposed to be paid by the State of New Mexico.

Whatever happens, it will be okay. My biggest concern remains the matter of my physical and emotional energy, self esteem and the capacity to get uninterrupted sleep every night.

To make this happen, I have to neglect other matters, including my friend who is quadriplegic. She can send me email, but I am no longer taking any phone calls from anyone at all. The services I can render at the moment do not match the extraordinary needs she has. She is at the mercy of her current, younger caregivers. I have to trust her and them to look after her so that I can mend from nearly fifteen years of being there in her residence, doing whatever I could do.

If her caregivers fail, the agency of the government that may rescue her in an emergency is called Abuse and Neglect. They can place her in a nursing home if it comes to that, and I only hope she is protected from having to be removed from her home. She has lived in the same place since before her accident in 1978. She is happy there. She is able to deal with anything there. She is strong and long-suffering.

If I get my energy back, I want to do more for the management of her care, but it's not clear whether the existing programs will be workable. I am not compensated financially for any of the work I do for her since I stopped doing the caregiving. I don't know if there is a program that would help either of us. As soon as my health is back to higher fitness levels, I will do more for her.

Information gathering is a top priority on several fronts. The work is cut out for me, and I just have to get myself back in order.

Resistant forces work to keep the weight on my person, keep the apnea as it is, and keep me moving slowly. How many relationships are bent out of shape on account of my just being my heavy self?

Here's hoping that the world continues to function as well as it can without my having to turn my attention away from the task at hand. Joe Campbell said it was a mess. It's a different sort of mess today than before, and with any luck at all, maybe we can still avert total disaster.

Maybe.

:arrow:
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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Post by CarmelaBear » Mon Apr 13, 2015 6:20 am

With me, bliss is a puzzle. It's easy. It's just there. Still, I'm not sure. Campbell helps, but sometimes his wisdom is simply insufficient.

I belong to a half dozen or more conquered, victimized, stigmatized and completely subjugated social groups, beginning with being who I am. Though I want to believe these things are irrelevant, we all know that's patently absurd. My happiness or bliss comes from the only thing worth anything. Bliss is a thought. I think it, and it is so.

That's all.

As for the nation and this feminist election of the White Hawk, it is best to go through the symbolic motions and let it go. Pre-elections are something I remember from my days as a shoe-in student senator in college. There are political realities and emotional fantasies. Hillary and her Mayor of Casterbridge election is real. My "campaign" is merely for our private amusement and nothing more. I've been to the winning circle, and it is not what it's cracked up to be.

Adjusting. Trying to figure out where I am. It's not clear. I just want to be freed of the awful din of pre-election. The Queen of War was crowned nearly a decade ago. The events of the next two years are a foregone conclusion, a fait accompli, a formality. It's still cowboys and Indians, except that the main attraction is Annie Oakley instead of Wild Bill.

Trying to find balance.

~
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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