Charmed Living

Tag: Field notes

Ripening into Bliss in the July Heat

A friend loaned me Thomas Merton’s Book of Hours. It makes perfect reading on these hot, steamy days when the only sounds outside are cicadas and the shout of children jumping into swimming pools. After a busy two weeks filled with company, meetings and deadlines, it was lovely to escape the heat in my studio, drinking in Merton’s words

“The man who is unripe cannot get there, no matter what he does or does not do. But the ripe fruit falls out of the tree without even thinking about it.” Thomas Merton, A Book of Hours.

I feel myself falling, if not into enlightenment, into bliss.

Finding Free Beauty Right Outside Your Door

Every year butternut leaves fall at the end of June. It reminds me of a favorite passage from Ted Kooser’s book, Local Wonders:

“Gold in the grass, gold falling from above, even little flurries of gold that lift from the grass and rise back into the air as if they weighed nothing, and, in fact, nothing they weigh. And all for free.”

Enjoy your weekend and all the free joy and beauty right at your feet.

Finding Beauty

Lately some things I see strike me as profoundly beautiful. This last weekend we criss-crossed the state and I saw so many beautiful scenes: rolling corn fields in emerald green, little girls in sequined dance costumes, a Venetian glass sculpture of Pegas, and this…the Travelers insurance umbrella at dusk. What strikes YOU as profoundly beautiful?

How to Hardwire Your Brain for Happiness

Fall Glory

How I love this time of year.

It’s easy to find contentment with life in October. This time of year is like a custom order for happiness.

I like the cooler, drier days of October. The sun gets up later each day.  Every morning I rise before the sun,giving me a chance for a moral victory.

I wash my face, brush my teeth, make the bed, pour the first delicious cup of hot coffee. I appreciate my own industriousness and good cheer.

So far today, all goes according to plan. I’m spared, so far, dealing with my own or other’s limitations, quirks, shortcomings.


Fall's Porch

The perfect spot for a morning cup of coffee.

The hot cup of coffee warms my cool hands. The brown, pungent smell of coffee is especially inviting as I step onto the back screened porch to catch the crisp morning air. The sun’s rays light up the technicolor world around me. The orange, burnt umber, crimson, naples yellows of the trees and bushes slowly emerge from the dark grip of night. The slow, gray dawn eases into another brilliant blue day. I drink it in. All is well.

Here the trouble starts. I move from liking this moment, relishing this moment to wanting this moment to continue…forever.

Just now as I put the cup to my lips, enjoying the warm dampness of coffee steam and the earthy early morning smells I cherished this moment. In the next second I cling to this blissful mood.


Falling fall leaves

Relishing falling fall leaves

I move from liking and savoring to attaching to these feelings. I crave more of these moments.

As soon as I start clinging to this moment, it disappears. The sun breaks the horizon, a cold breeze makes me shiver and cools the coffee.

When we slip from enjoying to grasping we’ve slipped from abundance to scarcity.What we focus on is where our head and heart stay.

Fall Bounty

Sengun brought me a bag of locally grown, organic apples. They taste wonderful in a bowl of oatmeal, or just plain!

Our Choice

A Beautiful Fall Day

Along the Iowa River

That cool wind on the porch cooling my coffee, making me shiver presents me with a choice. Do I bang into the house irritated that my lovely moment passed. Or do I walk calmly into the kitchen, top off the cup with hot coffee, enjoy the warmth of the cozy kitchen, listening to the sound of my beloved coming downstairs for his coffee and a kiss?

Do I cling to the moment passed, or move into the next moment noticing the grace it holds?

Want to read more about the differences between liking and wanting? Check out the book Hardwiring Happiness, the New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm and Confidence by Rick Hanson, Ph.D.

What will you spend time enjoying today?  Leave a note in the comments below.

  • Fall Glory
    How I love this time of year.

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