“As a rule, man’s a fool. When it’s hot, he wants it cool. And when it’s cool, he wants it hot. Always wanting what is not.”  -Unknown. 

MLN-FrontPorch-14One day when I was sitting on the front porch, fretting about the summer heat, a friend shared the above quote with me.  This lead to a discussion about the best mental state or frame of mind one could cultivate

The first idea that popped into my head was that cultivating happy frame of mind would be best.  Upon further examination, I realized that maintaining a happy frame of mind is a complex, perhaps impossible undertaking.   There are conflicting theories regarding what constitutes happiness.  Plus, I know frustrated folks that claim to know the only path to “true”, lasting happiness and this causes me to think that perhaps constant happiness is a myth or, at the very least, overrated. I consider happiness a transient emotion that few, if any, are able to maintain over the long haul..  Furthermore, how is one expected to recognize happiness unless they occasionally experience unhappiness?

Next, I considered cultivating a busy mind.  I’m goal oriented. Therefore, felt it would be easy to keep my mind busy adding new goals, developing new projects and pursuing life long learning with a vengeance. But, on those nights when sleeping single in a double bed results in serious soul searching at 2am, having a busy mind can’t sooth an aching heart or adjust my frame of mind to an acceptable level.

I finally settled on cultivating contentedness and I’ve worked at doing so.  Along the way, I’ve reset my default thinking – the type of thinking that occurs when one isn’t purposely focusing their thoughts.  Resetting default thinking wasn’t as difficult as I feared. A quick Google, using key phrase “positive thinking”, provided me with a wealth of data to help with the process. As my contented frame of mind grew, I recalled a phrase from an old Coca Cola advertising campaign:  “the pause that refreshes”.  This led me to a clue that helped refine my optimum frame of mind.

I want the satisfied mind that occurs when I sandwich large amounts of contentedness between ample servings of happiness and joy. Then, garnish with an occasional hint of sadness or the blues. I’m careful to add just enough blues to keep my senses sharp so that I recognize happiness when it comes my way.   Yes, now I often pause, focus on what satisfies my soul. Then I come away refreshed.

Betty Freeman Haines, an author and award winning columnist, lives in Mesquite, NV.  Her books/e-books, Reluctant Hero and Grieving Sucks or Does It, can be ordered from amazon.com.  Share your thoughts and opinions with her at betvern@cascadeaccess.com

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