Posts tagged: joseph campbell

Giving it up

We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.

-Joseph Campbell

No, I’m not giving up. I am giving “it” up to the universe, to react and create in the way and time that it needs to.

I came to this mini-epiphany a couple of weeks ago. I realized that the constant worry and obsession over trying to conceive is not doing anything but making the journey unbearable. This wasn’t the first time I thought this, but it was the first time I felt it. It’s been 8 months since my miscarriage. My due date has come and gone, and while I expected to be completely crushed throughout the entire month of March, I instead felt a huge sense of relief and hope.

It doesn’t make sense to actively allow myself to suffer, by convincing myself every month that ‘this could be the month’ or ‘I would be mother by now, if that didn’t happen.’ I’m trying to find the line between positivity and surrender - but not surrender to defeat, surrender to the universe instead. Staying positive doesn’t mean I need to say ‘this could be the month’ and give myself a hope that might be (and has been so many times) shattered a few weeks later. Staying positive, I think, means I need to say ‘I’m going to enjoy this month’ and not worry over when or if or how. It will happen as it is meant to happen.

For a while I thought maybe I needed to accomplish a few things before it was my time. I needed to go to the dentist, then it would happen. I needed to start eating better, then it would happen. I needed to exercise regularly, then it would happen. I needed to get a handle on my debt, then it would happen. I was so wrong, and pretty foolish to think that I knew what was in store for me. I couldn’t possibly know.

So now, I’m trying to hold on to the simple idea that I just need to be at peace with this whole process, and it will happen someday. It’s not up to me to decide when, all I know is that I can’t go on feeling defeated every month.

I have already mentioned the legend of the Buddha elevating a lotus and but one member of the audience grasping the meaning. Suppose now that I were to lift a lotus and ask you for its meaning! Or suppose, rather, not a lotus - for associated with the lotus are a lot of well-known allegorical references: suppose I lifted a buttercup and asked for the meaning of a buttercup! Or a dead stick, with the question: ‘What is the meaning of a dead stick?’ Or still again: Suppose you ask me the meaning of Buddhism or the Buddha, and I lifted up a dead stick!

The Buddha is known as the one ‘Thus Come,’ Tathagata. He has no more ‘meaning’ than a flower, than a tree; no more than the universe; no more than either you or I. And whenever anything is experienced that way, simply in and for and as itself, without reference to any concepts, relevancies, or practical relationships, such a moment of sheer aesthetic arrest throws the viewer back for an instant upon his own existence without meaning; for he too simply IS - ‘thus come’ - a vehicle of consciousness, like a spark flung out from a fire.

Joseph Campbell, “Zen,” Myths To Live By
Quotes for life

This is a collection of quotes from one of my favorite books - Reflections on the Art of Living - A Joseph Campbell Companion.

The collection is inspired by those who simply won’t embrace life and move on to the next chapter. By those who are struggling with themselves and the world around them, struggling with addiction, depression, and the pain of life and fear of learning who they really are.

Here’s hoping that you learn to love yourself, this world, and learn to grow into the beautiful person that I’m sure you can be someday… if you will only let yourself.


The dark night of the soul

comes just before revelation.

When everything is lost,

and all seems darkness,

then comes the new life

and all that is needed.


As a drop of oil on the sea,

you must float,

using intellect and compassion

to ride the waves.


The crucial thing to live for is the sense of life in what you are doing, and if that is not there, then you are living according to other peoples’ notions of how life should be lived.


You become mature

when you become

the authority of your own life.


Tension, a lack of honesty,

and a sense of unreality

come from following

the wrong force in your life.


Life will always be sorrowful.

We can’t change it, but we can

change our attitude toward it.


As you go the way of life,

you will see a great chasm.


It is not as wide as you think.