Joseph Campbell, that wonderful storyteller and author of “The Power Of Myth” said this: “I even have a superstition that has grown on me as the result of invisible hands coming all the time – namely, that if you do 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. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in the field of your bliss, and they open the doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be,”
Do you think, when Joseph Campbell said this, he was talking only to men? “Follow your bliss and don’t be afraid.” Was he offering this advice to only men? In fact, the next chapter in his book, following the above quote, is titled “The Gift Of the Goddess”. I doubt if Joseph was just thinking about men. Or this quote, from another writer: “To be or not to be. That is the question.” Do we wonder if he meant only men get “to be”?
I like Twitter. Better, even, than Facebook. I have a twitter account – @BuddyCushman – and when I go on Twitter the ‘tweets’ are brief, you can fly through them, and there are always amazingly interesting links to almost anything you can imagine, depending on who you follow. One of the people I follow is Emma Watson. She of Hermione Granger fame. Among other things. Lately one of those other things is the cause of feminism. Gender equality. Very recently she has given a speech at The United Nations on the subject. You can see it here – www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-iFl4qhBsE
I came across her speech when I clicked on a tweet at #HeForShe. “He For She” is a campaign that was launched at the UN by Emma Watson and its jist is this – men worldwide are encouraged to speak out against the inequalities faced by women and girls. To stand up and be counted. Yes I support equality. Yes I support equal pay for equal work. Yes I support equal opportunity.
That women have the same right “to be” as men. That women have the same right to “follow their bliss” as men, to have the “same doors opened”. That they get to pick who they want to marry. Where they want to go to school, in fact, that they be allowed to go to school in the first place. What clothes to wear. That they do not worry about parts of their bodies being cut away simply because. Of who they are. Of their sex.
Why doesn’t everyone on the planet have the same opportunity to “follow their bliss”, whatever that looks like, “to be”, however that is. Who can say it shouldn’t be that way. Deal everyone the same cards and let them play them however they will, and then whatever happens happens. That is more in line with life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Driving home from our anniversary dinner last night my wife told me that when she walking the day before in Tryon Creek Park, a state of Oregon nature area not far away and one of the real sacred places for Susan on the planet, she was very aware of being alone in the woods, and the possibility of attack. She tried to keep her attention on the song of birds and the glory of the forest, but the thought returned and lingered. I suggested to her, rather cavalierly, that keeping her thoughts on joy and the natural experience would, through the law of attraction, tend to bring her more of that, and vice versa. But that was crap. I’m not a big guy and I had more than my share of worry time about bullies and ugly drunks and someone just looking for a fight growing up, but never the worry that a woman must feel alone in the woods. Alone on a bus in New Dehli. Alone walking to a day school in Jalalabad. Alone walking out to the parking lot after the second shift at St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford. Alone raising a daughter. Who am I to give advice like that?
So I need to do what I can do. I joined the HeForShe campaign on Twitter, signed up, submitted my info. That took about two minutes. I recently wrote a post for my blog here called “Please Give the Keys To Florence”, about the world being a far better place if we would let nurses run it. I try to be decent and fair in my dealing with everyone, and pay attention. The best person I have ever worked with as a fellow employee was Beth B., a social worker in Quincy, MA. My best ever boss – and if your remember last week’s post, I have had a whole bunch – was Betsy R in Framingham, MA. With Gavin O. in San Francisco a close second. My best friends have always been men, my whole life, and now my best friend is my wife Susan. If given the choice to go hang out in a room full of women, or a room full of men, I will most certainly take a book and go off and read by myself. I’m an equal opportunity isolator.
I am not really, in any way, qualified to write about women’s rights. Other than to say I support them. I’m a card-carrying member of heforshe. And I think it will be a day when we all get to the mountain top when anyone, anywhere, a he or a she, can follow their bliss and not be afraid. Then invisible hands will guide us all. Each and everyone.
For now, I’m with Emma.