Following Your Bliss

September 3, 2010 § 3 Comments

“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…I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.” —Joseph John Campbell, American mythologist, writer and lecturer

My yoga teacher has offered the phrase “follow your bliss” a few times before starting class. Ever since I heard her say it, I’ve thought that it’s a beautiful concept to meditate on while practicing yoga. (And on a side note, every time I hear the phrase I think of my friends whose last name is Bliss, which is an awesome last name — lends a whole new meaning to the phrase, eh?)

After the craziness of the critters and my strawberry fortresses, I wanted to share good news from the garden. I like to think that these small successes are the result of me following my bliss in gardening: discovering that nurturing a seed through its life cycle and rejuvenating flora that once looked lost fills me with joy, and then sticking with it even when I fail or feel like I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing.

So, first: The strawberry fortresses worked. My husband and I enjoyed five ripe, unscathed strawberries for dessert the other night. I harvested another six the next morning for breakfast and four more this afternoon. So far, at least, the critters haven’t figured out how to get past the sharp, pointy sticks and into the glass jars, and I haven’t had a midnight encounter with a raccoon.

Our largest unmarred strawberry harvest to date

Second: My bolted veggies are getting another life as flower arrangements. It must be the unusually hot weather we’re having in San Francisco, because my arugula and parsley — not just my cilantro — have bolted, sending up thick stalks topped with flower buds. (Sadly, my cilantro did not survive our week away in Hawai’i.) Luckily, one of my readers shared with me that the arugula flower photo in one of my posts inspired her to use blooms from her garden to create sculptural arrangements for her office. Inspired myself, I now have a lovely arrangement of arugula and parsley flowers in a glass jar on my desk.

Arugula in foreground, parsley in back

Third: There are new flower buds in the garden. The September sunshine seems to have triggered a new phase of life out there. The artichokes have stretched in size and both have buds emerging, though one plant is a little farther ahead than the other.

Small artichoke bud emerging under the bigger bud

The dahlias are sending out their second set of flowers, and one bloom is beginning to unfurl.

The dahlias reaching for the sun

Even the jalapa pepper is striving to survive. Although the first pepper leapt to its death a month ago, two tiny peppers-to-be are developing and a third flower is starting to transform into fruit.

Jalapa: I will survive?

And finally, there’s the camellia bush, which was mostly branches in our backyard when we moved in and generated one flower in five years. I must admit I neglected it for a long while, but this year when I got into gardening, my in-laws and I weeded around it, giving it some breathing space, and I gave it consistent TLC. The shrub has now begun to erupt in pink blossoms, and there are still dozens of fuzzy flower buds that I hope will actually pop open.

First camellia flower of the year

Second camellia peeking out from the green

I hope you, too, find some bliss this week. What do you think of those strawberries and flowers??


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§ 3 Responses to Following Your Bliss

  • […] the best fruit out there, and for doing it sustainably, was infectious**. To play on a theme I wrote about earlier this week, here was a man who was clearly following his […]

  • shishi says:

    Hi Stephanie , I am loving your photos of the beautiful plants and your determination to keep them healthy. Following our Bliss is sometimes a lot of hard work and dedication…..but it’s soooo worth it! My garden has been through a tough growing season…hot, hot, hot then Huge rains. A very challenging summer. Some of my veggies are strong, though, despite the torture. I’ll keep checking in…thanks for visiting me.


    • Shishi, Thanks for visiting and subscribing! You’re so right that truly following your bliss is hard work sometimes; it’s so easy to get side-tracked into what you think you, or others, think you should do. But you’re also right that in the end, it’s worth it! Love the quotes on your blog and can’t wait to see more.

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