A female ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilochu...

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“I am thankful for the moments of bliss that bless my life. I stop often to enjoy several seconds of bliss.” (a mediation from The Woman’s Book of Soul by Sue Patton Thoele)

In The Woman’s Book of Soul, Sue Patton Thoele wrote, “Although we may have extended periods of profound joy, most of our truly blissful moments are fleeting.” And she encourages gathering together those moments and threading them on a memory strand for recalling with gratitude. Like a charm bracelet or charm necklace of bliss.

Moments of bliss come in unexpected ways. They are those moments that make our souls happy, might even make us smile or laugh out loud, catch us by surprise, or move us to happy tears…and maybe put us a little closer to the Divine.

For the last couple of years, I’ve taken to having my morning coffee in the backyard, watching the sun come up. This morning, I was treated to brilliant blue sky, a steady breeze to push around the humidity and the glossy green leaves of the trees, and the aerial acrobatics of the neighborhood goldfinches. Bright yellow darts swooping and chirping on their personal roller coasters of joy against a field of blue.

Last week, I stood in the garden bed, trimming spent blue blossoms off my butterfly bush, with red petunias and pink and gold zinnias at my feet. Suddenly, I had company. A ruby-throated  hummingbird, who shifted from flower to flower at eye level, then dove to investigate the petunias and liatris. It hovered right between my feet for almost a minute before zipping off to park itself on a tree branch. It looked around, and I could almost see the thought bubble over its head. “Oh, look! Bee balm!” And it shot across the yard to the red firecracker-like blossoms.

Bliss is sitting in the yard at night with my feet up, fireflies blinking in garden, the red gleam of Antares in the heart of Scorpio gleaming overhead. Bliss is dirt under my nails and a sore back from four hours pulling weeds and harvesting produce in the garden surrounded by the sound of wind in the pines.  Bliss is a photo of the coastline of Skye, or the natural architecture of Canyon du Chelly. Bliss is my 8-year-old falling asleep with her head in my lap because she “loves her mama.”  Bliss is sleeping till 10am, having nowhere to be, and feeling that your body is grateful for the extra downtime.  Bliss is drag racing a pheasant, running alongside US 23.  Bliss is witnessing two eagles soaring and feeling like they are there just for you.  Bliss is a smile that reaches someone’s eyes when they look at you.  Bliss is an unexpected note that reassures you that you ARE important.

What are your blissful moments? List them. Think about them. Close your eyes and assign them a symbol – a silver key, a small stone, a feather, a bright yellow bead – and string them all together on a silver thread of memory. When you want to visit those blissful moments, pull your charms from your jewelry box of memory and count your blessings.


10 thoughts on “Bliss

  1. Oh Elizabeth we are so on the same wave length! A dear friend of mine reminded me of the remembering to keep a bliss list awhile back. We so often think we need the big stuff to be happy or content. I am very conscious of finding the small moments every day that are blissful. I LOVE sitting with my cup of coffee on my porch as the sun is coming up. I love taking a walk near the water, sitting and closing my eyes and breathing deeply to clear my head. I love being in a local coffee shop just to smell the coffee and listen to the bustle. I love lying in bed partially awake but still snuggled in tight in the morning while the sun peeks through the blinds. I love listening the to the rain…I love having things on my bliss list that I could enjoy whether I was rich or poor or no matter where I am.

    Thank you for such a great post about the simple things that connect us to the small moments of presence and inner peace.

    • Thank you, Liane! I never considered myself “a gardener” but the more I see the space taking shape, the closer I feel to it. Finding these blissful moments…giving myself the space and time to be aware of them…feels doubly important now that so much feels out of control in the world. And when I don’t make time for these still moments, I feel like something is missing. I love the smell of gentle rain…I love sitting outside at night in autumn with a small fire in the chiminea…even in winter, I’ll stand out on the deck with a cup of tea and watch the sun set.

      It’s fun to think that even miles and miles apart, we’re both sitting at home with our cups of coffee watching the sunrise! 😀

  2. My bliss is like yours. It is when I just…STOP.
    You notice things that have evaded you. You realize things that you hadn’t before. You bathe in the silence and lack of movement and over stimulation.
    You usually end up with a contended smile forming on your lips and only notice much later that you are subconsciously doing it. Have you ever done that?
    it can be in a garden like yours, a beach, a mountain or in your head.

    • I love moments like that – where I’m going about my business and realize I’m really happy. Or that just sitting and Being for a bit makes me smile. I got to have that moment this morning, in fact. It’s a blissful morning here: bright blue sky, racing white clouds, lots of sun and lower humidity. Even the birds are having a “woo-hoo!” kind of day!

    • Thank you, Tricia! I look at it now – with the 20′ trees and all the flowers and wildlife – and can’t believe that when we bought the house the backyard had NO trees, no flowers, and an above ground pool that took up 75% of the space! Even in the dead of winter, I like the yard.

  3. Beautiful post… bliss is imagining what wonderful images appear when one is at peace wit all of nature… Your garden sounds delightful. 😉

    • Thank you, Elizabeth! I didn’t really slow down and look at it until I found myself unemployed and recovering from surgery in 2007. I sat at the dining room table one winter day and noticed that even without snow and ice, sun tends to sparkle on the needles of white pines. And I started to pay more attention.

      The garden is very much a work in progress (aren’t we all?), but since taking a spiritual retreat a few weeks ago and having some priorities shift, I have new ideas to make the yard a truly meditative space. I’m looking forward to its evolution!

    • I am with you, Isadora! I hear people talk about being stressed out and always on the move, and I think, “You know, it’s okay to sit still and just look at things. Really.” Although I also admit I occasionally feel weird to be doing absolutely nothing. 😀 Stillness has to be learned…and in this day and age it feels like a doctoral level class sometimes!

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