“It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. When you stumble, there lies your treasure.” Joseph Campbell
“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, then dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: You don’t give up. “ Anne Lamont
Mmmm. I found both of these pearls of wisdom in the same quote book aptly titled, “Don’t forget to sing in the lifeboats,” and somehow, they seemed to fit together. How, I’m not exactly sure, but let’s what arises.
First, the treasures of life. According to Campbell, who coined the phrase, “Follow your bliss,” our treasure is found not when we’re happy and contented, but when we’re willing to go down into the abyss and when we stumble. The abyss is never a pleasant place, is it? We’ve all visited or been plunged into it in one time or another. It’s a dangerous place—a place we’d rather avoid than embrace. But, Campbell claims, it’s when we stumble that we find our treasure.
When we stumble, what’s happening to us. Most of the time we’re making mistakes, we’re failing, or feeling we’re off track and losing our way. But think about it for a moment. Aren’t these the times when things are shaken up and falling apart? Aren’t these exactly the times when we’re forced to open up to new ideas and possibilities and to put all the pieces back together in a way that’s new and different? I know this is true in my life and my writing—and it probably is for you, too.
Campbell says that when we go down into the abyss, when we stumble, we “recover” what’s most valuable. So maybe it’s waiting for us all the time, quietly and patiently, until we stumble and are forced to take the time to find it.
That brings me to Anne Lamont, who believes, “…if you just show up and try to do the right thing, then the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: You don’t give up.” Great advice when you are in the abyss or when you’ve stumbled!
What’s your take on Campbell’s words of wisdom? I’d love to have you share your thoughts as we all write on!
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