A Scholar On Joy

“Participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world. We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy.”

Joseph Campbell


I always wondered who coined the catchy phrase, “follow your bliss.”  The complexity of thought in these three simple words strikes to the core of our being.  Most of us have a reasonable understanding of what “following” means. The problem – “bliss” is difficult to describe because of its transitory nature.   Everyone has a uniquely personal definition.

Joseph John Campbell, American mythologist, anthropologist, writer, lecturer and the author of that expression, believed it was possible to “follow your bliss.”  Indeed, his life is a testament to the truth of that statement.  As a child, growing up in White Plains, New York, he became fascinated by First Nation artifacts    This fascination transitioned into a life-long passion for mapping the interconnected linkages that exists across the spectrum of mythology and religion. Joseph Campbell acknowledged the inevitability of sorrow and pain in the human experience.  Even so, living in joy is a choice.

The scholar has spoken: Joy is our choice.

Published by Rebecca Budd

Blogger, Visual Storyteller, Podcaster, Traveler and Life-long Learner

14 thoughts on “A Scholar On Joy

  1. Agree. Joy is for everyone, but not everyone enjoys because they still have not learned. Would be a shame to ignore what is true !
    With affection, always ! Liana 🙂


  2. Oh my, oh my, Clanmother. Our paths were destined to meet today. I lived in White Plains and our son was born there. Amazing, that you tell me it is the hometown of ‘follow your bliss”. I loved WP, New York.


    1. White Plains produced some amazing people. What a coincidence, although the older I get, the more I realize there are rarely coincidences. And I am so glad that our paths were destined to meet today! I am looking forward to “following our bliss” together as we head into 2013!!! Merry, Merry Christmas!!!


    1. Merci beaucoup pour s’arrêter par et pour vos aimables commentaires. Je profite de la suite de votre blog. J’ai pris des cours de français, mais ne comprennent pas l’ensemble de vos messages. Ce que j’ai fait est d’utiliser le Traductrice Google à lire votre blog. Joyeux Noël à vous et aux vôtres. Je me réjouis de nos aventures blogging en 2013. Tout le meilleur, mon cher ami.


    1. A wonderful, wonderful quote, by a man who chose a more difficult path. Have you ever noticed, that there is an underlying serenity to those who have come to understand the power of personal choice. I just read “A First Rate Madness” by Nassir Ghaemi which discussed President Lincoln in light of his struggles with depression. Interestingly, Nassir Ghaemi considered this to be a positive influence that contributed to President Lincoln’s profound understanding of the issues facing a divided nation. http://ontheroadbookclub.com/2012/05/17/a-first-rate-madness/


  3. How appropriate that this post came this morning to my Inbox! I had just been speaking with a friend who was commenting on how “bitter” another individual was about circumstances in our lives. What struck me anew was that we have the choice … to choose to be happy — or continue to wallow in the “injustices” of life! I will always choose the former! I think that “Life” treats us more gently if we embrace it joyfully.

    Thank you for reminding us that the power is in OUR hands!


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