Tag Archives: follow your bliss

Meeting Bonnie Paul – and Following bliss…

When Bill Moyers asked  Joseph Campbell (1904-1987)  – ‘What does it mean to follow your bliss‘ and ‘Do you ever have the sense of being helped by hidden hands?’  – this was Campbell’s response.

All the time.  It is miraculous.   I even have a superstition that has grown on me as a result of invisible hands coming all the time – namely, that if you do 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 your field of bliss, and they open 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.”   Joseph Campbell. 

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Back to 1987.        Recently divorced, I had no money other than an old carriage house studio that I owned in West Chester, Pennsylvania.     The studio was a fifteen minute walk from where I had previously lived.

At that time, I made a life-defining choice to live and work in my studio, the only problem being that there was no heat or running water!

My Prescott Alley Studio, West Chester Pa. mid eighties.    I worked on one side and lived on the other.    Scan 74I had recently been introduced to the writings of Joseph Campbell – Philosopher/Mythologist and discovered the term – Follow your bliss.….His books spoke to me.   I knew that it was time to stop straddling fences and to begin following my life path as a serious artist/creative, and that’s when amazing things began to happen, including Bonnie Paul coming into my life.

Although I was exhibiting and selling work, plus teaching, I needed to make more income.       Almost immediately after I made this decision, an artist friend from Philadelphia sent her art consultant/agent to my studio to see if she might be interested in representing my work.     The art consultant was Bonnie Paul,  

 

Years later after Bonnie and I had worked together on many large corporate murals and private commissions, we would laugh about our first meeting.      Bonnie so very glamorous, and I was definitely an artist living and working in my studio !

Bonnie and I together in Wales years after our first meeting – a place where we always relaxed and had so much fun. 20-11-15 - 1 (1664)Along with private commissions, Bonnie got me into the Corporate mural area….which at that time was very much in vogue and lucrative.     She also became a very good friend.

Other people within my field of bliss arrived from seemingly out of the blue.   I can’t write about this without mentioning Jean Frohling who helped me enormously with the heat/water issue and much more, and became a life long mentor until her death last year.

The living side of the studio on Prescott Alley – after heat and water was installed….An episode that deserves a book. til August 10 245When we follow our bliss is doesn’t mean that everything will be easy.

I have found that when I follow my chosen path, my needs (not necessarily my wants)  are met in ways that I can never have imagined.

I have learned that when I stray from my path and try to control life….I usually get into trouble.   I don’t feel right – and my creative flow dries up!      It is when I tap into the unseen energies that the magic happens – (symbolised by my signature image, magical hummingbirds).

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Dear Bonnie Paul departed the world this past weekend.    She had achieved so much.    A great lover and supporter of the arts, she has left a wonderful legacy for all who knew her, including her devoted family and many friends.      She will forever be part of my field of Bliss.

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A Bientot

http://www.janetweightreed.co.uk

 

One of those lightbulb moments…..

Watercolour/gouache sketch from the years I spent hill walking in Wales.   20-11-15 - 1 (35)

Five years ago, I attended an Adlerian Summer School, based on the teachings of Alfred Adler,  Austrian psychotherapist and founder of the School of Individual Psychology (1870-1937).

One of the workshops I signed up for was entitled ‘Earliest Childhood Recollections’.      It was Adler’s theory that if we could pin point our earliest recollection/memory,  we would find clues to what he referred to as our ‘private logic’ – metaphors for an individual’s personal lifestyle.

During the workshop, we were asked to go back to our rooms and make a sketch of our earliest childhood recollection.    This  exercise proved to be most revealing.

Sketch of my earliest childhood recollection.

This image depicts me at three years old standing in front of a cobbler’s shop fascinated by a colourful, miniature carousel displayed in the window.. 

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When I was three years old, my Mother and I were living in Dovercourt, Essex – a small seaside town.    This was immediately after World War II when my Father was still in the Mediterranean with the the Royal Navy.

Each day as we walked to the beach we passed a cobbler’s  (shoe repair) shop which displayed in its window a brightly coloured miniature carousel.       In a post war Britain, devoid of colour, it was a magical sight for a small child.

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One day, I escaped from our garden.    Given our close proximity to the sea, police were called and a general search was held.

I had somehow made my way to the cobbler’s shop and was found standing in front of the window transfixed by the colourful carousel.

And so how does this memory express my ‘private logic’ as a metaphor for my personal lifestyle?

Throughout my life, I have escaped from situations where I have felt hemmed in either emotionally or physically.    I have always loved colour, and today as an artist am known for my love of colour……..

watercolour – Welsh landscape

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For the first forty years of my life, I was a square peg desperately trying to fit into round holes.    It was very painful causing me high levels of stress and anxiety.

At forty, I experienced a major turning point, which was when I stopped being all things for all people and became true to myself.   With that came freedom.    To coin the late Joseph Campbell’s words – it was when I began to ‘follow my bliss’.

watercolour/gouache – Welsh landscape. 

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Over the years I have met many people who are struggling with what it is they want to do in life.    Often guided by teachers, family, society or circumstances towards careers and lifestyles that don’t fit with who they really are,  their lives  are often filled with an underlying sense of frustration.

Learning about Adler’s theory was a ‘lightbulb’ moment for me and has given much food for thought.        I am sure it might help others to see more clearly what their own ‘private logic’ is and consequently the lifestyle best suited for them.        Regardless, it’s a fascinating exercise.

As always, I leave you with a colourful, magical hummingbird flying free with Mother Nature.     Have a creative and peaceful weekend and week ahead.

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A Bientôt