Bliss

For a long time, I have endeavoured to articulate the feeling of ‘bliss’. Bliss, for me, has always existed within the realm of language. Bliss is sitting at a coffee shop and asking a waiter for a pen, in order to sketch that landscape, that church, that person walking by. Bliss is sitting at a table by yourself, eating pasta by candlelight and thinking, quietly, about the universe: how magical it is, and whether you believe in it. It is a feeling of interconnectedness that comes only during moments of intense, quiet introspection.

Perhaps this is the introvert in me talking, but I have always found happiness during long walks by myself, by the lake or in front of a page, when I have finally succeeded in making something worth saying. I once thought that bliss was being loved and admired by everyone, showered with accolades and prestigious job offers. Now, I think less about what bliss might be, than what it is: bliss is now, bliss is love, bliss is writing.

What is your bliss, I ask myself. Follow it. Follow it until your mouth is dry and your knees are weak and your heart is broken from trying. Carve out your bliss until there is nothing but beauty and contentedness.

I remember having this feeling of bliss while I was living in Germany, sitting in a small restaurant near the Universität. There, I succeeded in ordering sparkling lemon water with soup and bread, as I wrote in my journal. I watched the people go by. I heard the beautiful, lilting tones of women speaking softly in German, which is a gentle language. I remember the candle flickering, and thinking about how little my life was, disappearing down the river like a boat into the night – feeling unbelievably alone, a stranger to the world and to myself.

And then came that feeling of bliss, riding the waves of my confusion, lifting me above the storm. I was nineteen years old, and I had paid my way to live in Germany. When six months ago I could barely name my fruits and vegetables, here I was ordering a meal and listening to people speak in German. Language had the power to separate me from or connect me with these people – and that feeling of connection is what I call 'bliss'.