2 Feb 2007

" MOYERS:Do you ever have the sense when you are following your bliss... of being helped by hidden hands.

CAMPBELL:All the time. It is miraculous....If you 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 the field of your bliss, and they open the doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don't be afraid, and doors will be open where you didn't know they were going to be....Wherever you are - if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time."

Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth

I stumbled across part of this quote while following a link to sock knitting mama at The Path To Freedom. It is from a book which I gave to my husband for Christmas 1993 after listening to the interview that forms the basis for the book on the ABC, late at night or on a cold winter's afternoon.

When I left my part time job in October 2004 I did so because I had a strong conviction that I had to follow my bliss. This was something that had been eating away at me for about a year until finally I just had to give in. The consequences of my choice were that my husband felt abandoned and betrayed , left to be the sole bread winner. I nobly had always felt that I would never work just for the money, if I didn't truly care about my work then I shouldn't be accepting my paypacket. I had reached this miserable stage and it seemed no matter how hard I tried to regain my enthusiasm it was impossible for me to do my work with any level of integrity. So I came home.

My bliss was tinged with guilt , I felt I was letting my husband down. But mostly I felt fabulous. I discussed my mixed feelings with any woman who would stand still long enough to listen. Most just said the predictable, "I wish I could stay home and relax" or "I would get so bored at home " and look at me as if I had lost my marbles. But the occasional woman would give me encouragement and soothe my guilt. One in particular made the point that by following my bliss I might be setting in motion a train of events that will enable or empower someone else to follow their bliss, maybe even my husband.

I always mentioned my doll making of course so people wouldn't think that I just wanted to be a housewife. I was certain no one would understand that. I wanted to be a house wife who had a happy , loving, well- run home and who also had time to play with the craft work she had always loved and perhaps make a little pin money from it as a nod to society's need for financial gain.

Yesterday I was talking to a friend I used to work with and we shared our guilty secret; how much we love being at home, how we have more than enough to do, how we relish our free time when we get it, how we love being in control of how we spend our time and organise our days so that we fulfill our role as house keepers and find time to explore our creativity; the two are not mutually exclusive. She is an empty nester and all my children are at school, we are supposed to be bored but we're not. My family, my home and my needlework sustain me. There has never been a time in my life when I have not been making something with my hands usually involving needles, thread, yarn, fabric. I feel a strong link with generations of women before me who have found peace and excitement in creating something beautiful and often functional with their hands and their stolen moments of free time.

Two years on I am starting to feel confident that I won't suddenly be forced into the workforce. I feel as though I am where I should be and my husband has stopped nagging about my going back to work. Financially it hasn't been easy but we have managed to avoid the poorhouse, the children are still at school and when ever things get a little sticky, the hidden hands are there to help us.

Today, Well Lived - Ancient Sanskrit Proverb

( Proverb found at Downshifting- path to simplicity)

11 Responses to “Bliss”

  1. I could not agree with you more! I quit my job of seventeen years to stay at home. My stress was high and was affecting my health. Financially I/we gave up a lot. The rewards, however, are priceless. I love being home and have started my third year this June. I, too, have more than enough to do. I love fulfilling my role as a a homemaker and help meet to my husband. In addition, he is very supportive of my creative endeavors. What joy to be able to express my creativity! What joy to learn a new skill! God has blessed us tremendously in this decision. Although there have been ups and downs in our finances, God has always provided what we have needed. Our "wants" are the really important things in life, not the temporary "thrill." Without question, it has been one of the best decisions we could have made! Great post!

  2. This post really spoke to me. My position is almost exactly the same as yours, even down to the reaction of friends and family about my decision to go home. I doubt very much if I will ever work outside the home again. Also, like you I have been making things for as long as I can remember and have been knitting since I was five years old. I love my children, I love my husband and I love being creative and my self-worth is no longer related to my earning power or my chances of promotion.

    My DH had a panic about finances when I left work, but like your previous commenter said "God has blessed us tremendously". Great post Jenny, it's so great to know that we're not alone!

    PS. I've just ordered "Homemaking as a Social Art" from Amazon. It's s Steiner book so I was wondering if you had read it.

  3. oh what lovely words. there are things about my job that i still enjoy (you just have to look at pictures of baby nancy on my blog to see what they are) but they are so few and far between and teh rest is filled with ... well you know what the world of work is like. I L-O-N-G to spend the days in my shed, and graden and the woods. but i have a 'work ethic' husband who can't even understand why i would want to work part time.
    enjoy your freedom, your chance to create, your life. it is indeed a blessing.

  4. I gave up work when we had children it was an easy decision as my workplace was a 160 mile round trip away from where we lived. (I only used to come home at weekends!)It was wonderful being at home with the children but I often felt that our freedom was at the expense of my husbands, the sole bread winner. At one stage he was driving over 2,000 miles miles a week, too much. Eventaully he took the plunge and started his own business although we are prehaps not as wealthy as we were when he worked for others we are much happier. He to has reaped the rewards of being at home and watching the children grow.

  5. beautifully written!

    That's something I love about the internet. It can be difficult to find others who find their bliss in the very same way I do in real life.

  6. I so agree with what you have said. I gave up work three years ago when we moved from one side of the country to the other for my partner's job. I have been happy and fulfilled every single day of the past three years and still give thanks each day that I don't have to go to work. It's not that I hated the job I used to have but that I have so much I enjoy doing at home. I cook 'real' food from scratch every day, bake bread and cakes, make home-made soup a couple of times a week etc etc. I've also begun crafting again in the last year, and run a couple of small businesses via the internet. Many people I speak to can't understand why I haven't gone out of my mind with boredom, being at home all day and living 150 miles away from my family, but I'm never bored, and when I was working I was frequently so bored I could have screamed!! Excellent post, and I really enjoy reading your blog. Also, thank you for the recipe for Red Onion Marmalade you gave a couple of months ago, I tried it and its wonderful.

  7. I agree. I work two days a week in school term time only and was recently given the option to increase my hours. I turned it down. I have also faced similar reactions as you to my decision to continue to spend most of my time at home - after all my children are teenagers now so it is time I got back out there into the full time job market. It is also assumed that I am very bored.
    I am never bored and easily fill my day, breadbaking , growing vegetables as well as all the usual household tasks thereby freeing up my evenings to spend knitting and being with the family.
    My husband agrees that I have the right work/life balance but speaking to other people I often feel alone in my views. One of the best things about reading blogs is finding that in fact there is a whole group of people who feel the same as me. A lovely post.

  8. What great comments. Thanks for a wonderful discussion, I enjoyed reading them all. What a joy to find others who feel the same about their lives, I guess that is why we enjoy visiting each others blogs so much.
    P&S, I have that book on my list of books I would like to read but I haven't bought or borrowed a copy yet. Let me know what it is like.

  9. I agree with your post so much. I used to work 6 days a week, I had a 50 hours and more week and all I wanted was to stay at home forever. So now, since one year my dream came true and I love every minute staying at home. I needed some months to get used to this new routine, but I am never ever bored, there is always more to do than I manage in just one day. I often wonder how I ever managed it all before. Maybe now I am a bit slower, if I don´t do it today, there is another tomorrow at home. What I really wonder is, that some of your husbands are not liking you staying at home. So maybe I am very oldfashioned, but I never felt guilty about not earning half of our money anymore and my husband never grumbled or moaned. Otherwise he wouldn´t be my husband. Funny enough because 20 years ago I felt and thought like a real feminist, and now we are having the same old casting of the parts like our grandparents. And I love it!

  10. I loved this post SO much, and also the comments afterwards. Krauggl's especially spoke, as I would never marry anyone who would groan or mumble at me not bringing in a paycheck either, it would show too deep a clash of values and show up in other things too I suspect.

    And yet... with the other commenters, perhaps their husbands' objections were not reflecting their husbands' deeper values but more society's conditioning--which we have every right to walk away from like you all did when you quit your "jobs" and found your true calling at home. Bravo!

    Blessed Week : ) Wendy

  11. Jenny, I am so glad I just had time to go back and read this post, which somehow I missed previously. I won't go into lots of detail, but I understand completely what you are saying. When I quit work 19 years ago, it was commented by some that I was choosing the 'easy life' and many couldn't understand why I wouldn't be going back to work after having my babies. I've also been told that I am 'spoiled'.
    All I know is I love being home, am thankful my husband is very supportive, and I am never bored.
    Thanks for the great post.


Thanks so much for taking the time to chat. I don't always have time to reply but I do read every message you leave.