The Savvy Sage of Sewing Stimulation

Something off subject but so important!

This video is entitled: “This video will CHANGE  your life,” which sounds a little ominous or maybe far-fetched, or in this very jaded world, a waste of time.  But it is a worth thought, and sometimes lost in all the hubbub of day-to-day life.

But the fact is that it’s true. It’s just  said so much it becomes trite.  The same philosophy was espoused by Joseph Campbell in his often-quoted:  “Follow your bliss.”  The idea came from the Sanskrit describing the jumping off place to achieve a higher understanding of yourself and your place in the world (the ocean of transcendence).  The three words describing this are

  • being,
  • consciousness and
  • rapture or bliss.

The thinking here is that you may not be sure how proper, workable, plausible or right-for-you your “being” or consciousness are, but you can come closest to understanding bliss, so you go with that.

This caused the quote from Campbell:

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. Wherever you are—if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time.

What is evident after you have been on a path like this (and I’m on it right now the second time), is that it is truly like a “leap of faith” which we have all attributed to the Path to Yahweh, but not exactly quoted in the Bible (except as referenced..”Oh ye of little faith,”  and others accomplishing great miracles, raising from the deal, being healed, cured through their faith, but not an exact quote).  But this path following your bliss, taking the leap of faith, can set a person on a course that is not only fulfilling, but mentally healthy, rewarding and most of all effective in that we truly do have a positive effect on our environs, community, family, etc.

For me it’s also a vivid example set for the people following me, either proteges, students or others who just may be casual looker-on’s.  These people often need an example before their eyes, and one that you can easily provide by following your bliss.

I drew this cartoon about 30 years ago, and it still applies.


Campbell was good at describing this trek full of nuances and subtle signs, but also at describing what happens when you don’t follow this path.  When the path, opportunity (or in Campbell’s description) challenge is presented, you  may feel like this cartoon on the left!  This is all very Arthurian, a myth Campbell really liked, and Arthur may not have received Excalibur from the Lady of the Lake (or in my cartoon, the lady of the lavatory), but he did earn it.

At first we look at this and think, “Who me?!”….. uh…. I think you mean the guy behind me!….. umm…we’ll there’s no one there just now, but I’m sure you don’t mean me, because of all these problems with me – with an ensuing list enumerating all the problems.  The point is that our first reaction to something like this is that it’s meant for anyone but the person who it is actually aimed at!

This looks really improbable, but here’s the part that Campbell brings up….what happens if you don’t accept the offer or the challenge? That’s what Campbell talks about as well.  He calls it a death of every hour and every day of your life.  You live a life that is void of the bliss.  Now that doesn’t sound like much, but without joy in your life, you slowly die each day.

On the other hand – when you follow your bliss, you have this joy every day that follows you around like a cuddly little puppy, reminding you constantly how much fun you’re having while you’re working your tail end off.  This can get confusing for some folks who think that work and job and dread are synonymous;  they are hard, not fun and basically a huge chore that is nothing to be liked or looked forward to.  Suddenly when that work becomes fun, passionate and blissful it’s no longer a chore or a bear to do.  This can sort of play havoc with your mind.  Not only are you having to deal with that stuff about being and consciousness which are nebulous enough, but now that faith and bliss thing are getting in the way – is this really bliss?… am I doing something or just fooling around?  Well, you get the idea.

But aside from all the confusing and nebulous, it really is best to follow your bliss or your calling or whatever you want to call it no matter how foolish, stupid or otherwise impractical it may seem.  If you like collecting garbage – make it your bliss;  if you like shooting pictures of grass – make it your bliss;  if you like designing wedding and debutante gowns – make it your bliss!

If someone would have told anyone in my city that there was a niche market for a designer of wedding and debutante gowns, everyone would have laughed, but here I sit 30 years later still with clients, still designing wedding and debutante gowns!  That’s how this bliss stuff works.  It’s amazing.  No matter how foolish, outlandish, unpractical, or hair-brained your bliss seems, when you follow it, the market follows. Why?  Because enthusiasm is intoxicating – folks love it.  Clients come to my studio and we start talking and get all excited about the dress and I share my love and joy in what I’m doing and the clients get caught up in that too!  That’s what really makes it, is the enthusiasm.

And although you can “fake” it for a while, pretty soon it comes out.  The fake eats at a soul and eventually east away all the good nature in a person and leave only the sour part.

This sounds all really ooooooOOOOOOooooo, and crystallite and like Claire’s really out there.  But I kid you not, from the moment I started my company I had (I mean I really HAD) to make money and I did.  I’m an artist, but I’m also practical.


So what does this have to do with sewing?  Well, I know lots of times I’m pushing and prodding my readers to sew “outside the lines” and that’s very different from either what they’ve been taught or what they’ve heard.  Sewing is a creative process.  That’s been lost, and so lost it’s hardly recognized any more. Sewing needs a facelift and a whole make-over.  The creative part of sewing one’s own clothes has so lost any creativity it once had, that even the shoddiest of garments can be pushed over on most of the buying public and they don’t even know it.

Taking a step outside the lines and off the beaten track is hard.  I know that.  And I know I’m asking most of my readers to do something that’s really far out there.  But even just  a little toe-in-the-water tiptoe outside the lines is better than nothing at all.

So don’t be afraid, and get out there and sew something really different for yourself!

How many cares one loses when one decides not to be something but to be someone.

Never, never, never give up. (actually in the real quote there are more “nevers” in it!)

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