“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-14

One day while sitting on the front porch, complaining about the summer heat, a friend shared the above quote with me.  This led to a discussion about which mental state or frame of mind folks should cultivate

The first idea that crossed my mind was to cultivate a happy frame of mind. Upon further examination, I realized that maintaining a happy frame of mind is a complex, perhaps impossible, undertaking.   Since the world is filled with conflicting theories regarding what constitutes happiness, I wonder if constant happiness isn’t a myth or, at the very least, very overrated. Happiness may very well be a transient emotion that we are not able to maintain over the long haul.  Furthermore, if we never experience unhappiness how will we recognize happiness when we achieve it?

Next, I considered cultivating a busy mind.  I’m goal oriented, so I thought 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 resulted in serious soul searching at 2am, I found having a busy mind did little to sooth my aching heart or adjust my frame of mind to an acceptable level.

I decided that cultivating a contented frame of mind was best for me.  As part of doing this, I’ve reset my default thinking.  Default thinking is 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 encouraged me to refine my optimum frame of mind. Therefore, I’ve integrated pauses into my life and I find each one refreshing.

For me the most satisfied state of 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.   And, of course, I continue to pause, focus on what satisfies my soul and come away refreshed.

Each of us should sit on our own front porch and focus on discovering which mental state or frame of mind is our personal best.  There is no such thing as  a “true” state of happiness – each person’s happiness is unique.

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.comShare your thoughts and opinions with her at betvern@cascadeaccess.com