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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Distinctions of Bliss

For those of you interested in "my process" so that you can create your own personalized game or just because you want to understand the how and why of my 13 bliss virtues please do stay tuned... this is the post for you!  If, however, you would rather not have this much detail and are just waiting for the game to start,  I recommend skipping this post and joining me when I post the Game Specifics or starting next Monday (September 21, 2009 -links added 11/5/09) when I start the actual game.

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

3 comments:

  1. I did not know this whole Ben Franklin thing about you. Has it been simmering in the background or have we just never talked about it?

    Are you working on this in a journal as well or only on the blog?

    ReplyDelete
  2. PS.Re: whimsy - two quilt designers came out with a book called Whimsyland over the summer. Their editor took a trip to France and created a really funny travelogue by Photoshoping photos of their book and designs into famous photos. Take a look at: http://www.lizziebcre8ive.com/blog/?p=639

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks Jaye! And thanks for commenting on the blog. It makes it a lot of fun!

    The Ben Franklin thing has been simmering and we just never talked about it... he doesn't happen into my general conversations all that much... until now that is! LOL

    ReplyDelete

Thank you "very so much" (the construct I stole from my 3 year old!) for your comments! I reply to every comment. I will ALWAYS reply over here on the blog so if you haven't heard from directly please do check back here. If you become a Disqus member you will be automatically updated via email as well!

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Ben Franklin's 13 Virtues

  • 1. TEMPERANCE - Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
  • 2. SILENCE - Speak not what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
  • 3. ORDER - Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
  • 4. RESOLUTION - Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
  • 5. FRUGALITY - Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e. waste nothing.
  • 6. INDUSTRY - Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
  • 7. SINCERITY - Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and if you speak, speak accordingly.
  • 8. JUSTICE - Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
  • 9. MODERATION - Avoid extreams; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
  • 10. CLEANLINESS - Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths or habitation.
  • 11. TRANQUILITY - Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
  • 12. CHASTITY - Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or to the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation.
  • 13. HUMILITY - Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

Benjamin Franklin Quotes

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