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the causes of happiness

2013 May 7
by Rachel Turiel



Real rain on actual garden greens: it’s like the reality show called “sometimes it rains in Southwest Colorado, and oh how we rejoice.”

It’s cloudy and drizzly, which makes everyone extraordinarily happy here in the Southwest. It’s like some scene from the Twilight Zone: rain is pouring slantingly from metal-grey clouds and everywhere you go, people say, what a lovely spring day! Even Rose, who is more in tune with say, current footwear fashion, walked outside this morning and said, “it smells so good, like fresh air and rain.”


Also, the fruit trees are blooming—pear, apple, crabapple, peach, plum—which, though it lasts maybe 2 weeks, I’ve come to think of as a season. The season of blooming fruit trees. There are so many fruit trees in our town, you could follow them on foot, zig-zagging from bloom to bloom like a honey bee or a spiritual seeker devoted to ephemeral beauty.



Last night at the Durango Dharma Center, our teacher, Katherine Barr, recited a Buddhist blessing titled, The Four Immeasurables, one line of which is: may all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness.

Sometimes I get confused about the causes of happiness. They’re not always what they appear to be, though it seems any hope preceded by the words “perfect,” “always,” or “more” is a set up, as in: happiness will come when I have perfect health, always feel calm, or have more money. Sometimes I find myself pursuing what I want blindly with arms outstretched and grabbing, thinking this is the key to happiness, while missing anything and everything worthwhile in the process. I forget that chasing happiness is like trying to catch dandelion seeds in the wind. The causes of happiness are always here, just waiting patiently to be noticed. Like a blooming fruit tree in May.

With love,


12 Responses leave one →
  1. janie dalton permalink
    May 7, 2013

    A picture of Grandma Joyce when she was very young just popped up on my computer. Jack asked “who’s that beautiful mama?” I said, “that’s Grandma Joyce, before she was a mama”. He thought about it and then said “and then she had Gran and Ellen and she began to get old?”. That made me happy.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      May 7, 2013

      I definitely began to get old as soon as I became a Mama too. LOVE you and all the J’s.

  2. Jan Turiel permalink
    May 7, 2013

    Janie Dalton, that’s such a perfect description. It made me smile, too! You have a very wise Jack!

  3. Baba permalink
    May 7, 2013

    Wow Janie. Kids can say amazingly wise things.
    Adults too sometimes. Wise post Rachel

  4. Ellen permalink
    May 7, 2013

    Thank you Rachel and also Janie and little Jack for your beautiful words!

  5. May 7, 2013

    I love the chasing the dandelion seed in the wind comparison!

    It’s taken me years but I finally feel like I can be happy just in the moment most of the time, and sometimes aspire for other things that I know will make me happy but not chase them to the point my life depends on it.. if that makes any sense!

  6. May 8, 2013


  7. Andrea permalink
    May 8, 2013

    well, i was just about to tell you how my pastey while legs made an appearance this week! the entire pacific northwest has been blanketed under a warm, clear, blue sky! temps in the 70’s and 80’s. even here in the mountains.

    there may have been some kiddiepool action. and everyone around these parts is greeting each other with “what a lovely spring day”.

    so you get rain, and i get sun, and yes, happiness for all.
    i do declare. the cause is everywhere.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      May 8, 2013

      Yes, they are!
      And it worked, we traded weather! Can we do it again sometime in June?

  8. Andrea permalink
    May 8, 2013

    thats pastey white legs! like a baluga whale. in that we northwesterners wear sunglasses to protect our eyes from the pale, sunburned skin we all exposed seemingly overnight.

  9. Melissa permalink
    May 8, 2013

    beautiful, true post. love!

  10. May 8, 2013

    ‘The causes of happiness are always here, just waiting patiently to be noticed’

    How true!!! This is a lesson I keep learning over and over.

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