Once I decided that Everyday Bliss was to be my target I began to consider the distinguishing characteristics of bliss. I began by defining the word bliss and many of its synonyms and slowly as I dug deeper and deeper into the meaning of particular words I noticed that certain qualities would resonate and I would find myself recognizing bliss in them. It was exciting and fun to see how one word would ring true somewhat but subtly was a little off the mark. Then as if by magic the right word would click and I knew that it was a defining characteristic or true virtue of bliss for me!
I am pleased to report that ORDER and HUMILITY from Ben Franklin's virtues remained on my list. ORDER "clicked" because I could palpably recall feeling blissful when I succeeded in bringing something that previously was in disarray to its proper, orderly state. I am also eager to expand on that meaning and include Ben's addendum to ORDER : "let each part of your business have its time." HUMILITY might not have been included if I hadn't read how Ben was pursuaded to add it to his own list.
From Ben Franklin's autobiography: "My list of virtues contain'd at first but twelve; but a Quaker friend having kindly informed me that I was generally thought proud; that my pride show'd itself frequently in conversation; that I was not content with being in the right when discussing any point, but was overbearing, and rather insolent, of which he convinc'd me by mentioning several instances; I determined endeavouring to cure myself, if I could, of this vice or folly among the rest, and I added Humility to my list, giving an extensive meaning to the word. "
This total lack of pretension and grace afforded by modeling one's behavior on Jesus and Socrates is entirely blissful so HUMILITY makes my list.
Ben's virtues of Silence and Tranquility are summed up blissfully in SERENITY. I like Industry and Resolution a lot and had both of these other Ben virtues on my list at one point but suddenly MOXIE revealed itself as the bliss filled amalgam. JOY was almost dropped from the list because it felt like too close of cousin to bliss that I feared it wouldn't distinguish anything new. However, since I have spent the better part of 10 years (thank you Landmark Education!) thinking of myself as the Possibility of Outrageous Joy (POOJ for short lol) I decided it had to make the cut.
I have no idea where WHIMSY originated in this process but the moment the word crossed my lips it solidified a spot on my list. CREATIVITY, PASSION, ROMANCE and GRATITUDE fell into place with nary any consideration. They belonged from the start. COMMUNITY or more specifically, the fostering of community was an easy pick since bliss is most often found in the company of other people. INQUIRY was almost discovery until I realized the process of looking thrilled me even more then actually finding.
My last virtue SURPRISE was exactly that. I originally intended to leave my 13th slot blank so I could have a catch all for anything I may have missed. I wanted some wiggle room. Heck if I ran out of things to write about perhaps I could even take a vacation during the fill in the blank week! What was giving me trouble was how would I distinguish this undeclared virtue? Writing BLANK didn't seem to fit and then I thought to write SURPRISE but in italics, so as not to be like all the others. A soon as I pushed the italicize button I felt that knowing click... SURPRISE is a perfect virtue of bliss and had to be given its full member status!
NEXT POST: The Blissful Definitions
My 13 bliss virtues: joy, order, creativity, passion, whimsy, serenity, inquiry, community, romance, gratitude, moxie, humility, surprise