I have all the usual excuses, work, home upkeep, writer’s block, lack of motivation… All are just distractions. Though I have been distracted from writing, I have not been distracted from actually looking for “bliss” in alternative activities. I have been painting. I have been drawing. I have been building things, and designing things. I have been reading, playing music, writing songs, going to museums, and visiting with friends and family. All are things I love. These are all places that feel rejuvenating to my soul… They are all are places where I find happiness. I am so grateful for all of these outlets.
Sometimes I wonder what I could actually accomplish if I could focus on just one thing rather than jumping from project to project. What I am beginning to realize though, is that they all feed each other, and me. Sometimes becoming engulfed in music inspires me to write poetry. Sometimes poetry inspires me to draw, and drawing and photography to paint. Going to lectures and museums, being in nature, reading, and talking with friends all give me ideas for my own work. All of these things feed the creative side of me.
But this week, I’ve been thinking more about blogging, and pondering what the term “mapping bliss” means to me. Today, I found the following on Wikipedia:
“Cartography is the study and practice of making maps. Combining science, aesthetics, and technique, cartography builds on the premise that reality can be modeled in ways that communicate spatial information effectively.”
Reading the above definition validates the title of this blog for me, and also that the creative process is all about distractions. We – artists, writers, poets, musicians, performers, etc. – are all hunters AND gatherers. We view our world through a lens of creativity. We are constantly on the prowl for inspiration. We take bits and pieces from all that we encounter in order to create a unique model of our reality. Through our work, we are creating a map of our thoughts, feelings, queries, and discoveries… The map can communicate despair or bliss, and every emotion in between. I’m looking for bliss, but I believe, in order to find it, sometimes we may have to walk through despair. If I do it right, you will eventually find all of those things in this blog.
In thinking further about this blog, I realized that I have never really defined the agenda of Mapping Bliss. That’s probably because I never really gave much thought to what that might be. Recently, my cousin wrote to me describing her work. She said that her work was all about understanding. I had never taken the time to think about what my work was all about. Do I have a central theme? Is there one thought that runs through all of my works? When I stopped to consider that, I realized that indeed there was. It was subconscious, but it was there. The theme? Connection. All of my works are about connecting. This blog is about connecting. If there is an agenda for Mapping Bliss… it is to connect by sharing my explorations, thoughts, struggles and ideas, and hopefully to grow from those connections.
Like right now. Right now I would like to take a moment to connect with all of you by thanking you for your support. This time of year, with Thanksgiving right around the corner, we are more apt to think about giving thanks. This time of year we slow down and reflect on the things we are grateful for, but it shouldn’t just be a once a year activity… should it?
Gratitude means thankfulness, counting your blessings, noticing simple pleasures, and acknowledging everything that you receive. It means learning to live your life as if everything were a miracle, and being aware on a continuous basis of how much you’ve been given. Gratitude shifts your focus from what your life lacks to the abundance that is already present. In addition, behavioral and psychological research has shown the surprising life improvements that can stem from the practice of gratitude. Giving thanks makes people happier and more resilient, it strengthens relationships, it improves health, and it reduces stress. - Marelisa Fabrega
I also believe that it is important to teach the value of gratitude to our children…. and to model it… to lead by example.
If you agree with that statement, and that expressing gratitude is an important plot on the map to bliss, you should check out Growing Gratitude. They are attempting to launch a gratitude revolution. I believe this is long overdue. The Growing Gratitude phone app will be an easy and fun way to teach the attitude of gratitude to children… AND some adults as well. Please take a minute to help spread this idea. Tell your friends about it, share it on all of your social media outlets. But, most importantly, take a couple of minutes to just watch my friend Amy’s video. If what she says resonates with you, then please support Growing Gratitude by making a donation, and leave her a comment. She really loves hearing from everyone! You can also follow the adventure on her blog, Mother of Mahem. She only has a few days left on her campaign. Will you help by becoming a “gratitude pioneer”?
And, finally, because I believe that acknowledging the things that I am grateful for is an important plot on my map, I would like to take this opportunity to thank YOU. Thank you for participating. Thank you for following, and reading, and commenting. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for your support of me and my quest. Thank you in advance for supporting Growing Gratitude. I don’t have a fancy video app on my phone yet… so I’ll just thank you from here for now… But hopefully, one day soon, with your help, we can all show our gratitude instantaneously .. in the moment… when we are feeling it most.
Thank you for connecting.