Saturday, April 9, 2011

Happiness: A State of Mind

   The other night I watched my four-year-old grandson have his swimming lesson.  When he began weeks ago he was a bit timid but he's come a long way. I realized that he was totally involved in his lesson and his experience in the water. He jumped, splashed, grinned ear to ear and kicked like crazy. He was in the moment. I was reminded of another time when I witnessed this state of being present.

     It was several years ago during a dark time in my life. I had gone to the ocean with a dear friend. It was October. The Washington coast  was gray, windy and cold. We had decided to take solitary walks on the beach. She suddenly stopped ahead, took off her outer clothing and ran into the cold surf, jumping and squealing in the waves. She was in the moment. 

   We often think of Happiness as a destination but it isn't.  Happiness is a state of mind.  A mind that is in the moment, fully present and open to whatever emotions and physical sensations are happening at that moment. Many of us spend so much of our time, planning, regretting, wishing, hoping, always thinking of the next thing missing the point of living.

  What's the point? To be fully present in our lives.  To slow down and be in the moment. Only then will Happiness light upon our shoulder as quiet and gentle as if it was always there.

What do you do to be fully present and in the moment?


  1. Great post! My faith in God helps me to be in the moment. Sometimes, I do forget to take a moment to enjoy life, but when I concentrate on Him, He reminds me to slow down and enjoy it.

  2. She must have froze. The ocean in Oregon is freezing on a blazing hot August day. :)

    Learning to be present is a great skill and worth the effort.

  3. Beautiful post! But what if the present moment is dark and ugly? God is my inner strength in those times. Also holding a vision of past "happy moments" helps.

    p.s. your orange blog reminds me of your choice of bedroom color back when. You always did love orange!

  4. Great post mom! Keep up the good work!

  5. Happiness is definitely a state of mind. Thumbs up for this post and double thumbs up for your child giving you encouragement.

    To stay in the moment I just remember to breathe. Focusing on my breath for a moment makes me stop and be aware.

  6. This is so true. Happiness is not the destination but the experience of journeying.

  7. @Rae@Carol I'm glad that your faith keeps you pulling through, I know it works for many. For me I found that my religion was an incredible distraction from being present. All I ever thought about was the afterlife and fixated on the sentimentality of religious community.Now I have learned the rhythm of life and when things are dark or sad I breath and remember that this is all part of the journey, the sun always comes up.

    @M Pax It was a chilly 45 degrees and probably colder in the water.

    @Linda @Josh Through meditating and bringing my mind back to my own breath always grounds me to the moment. It also teaches me to focus on what is most important and not getting distracted with "add-ons" like...I always make this mistake...I'll never be happy...Why me...I can see the journey for the incredible ride that it is.

    Thanks to all of you for stopping by!!

  8. Pam,
    This was a lovely post and one I need to be reminded of frequently. I think our busy lives endear us to the approach of list making and checking it off to allow us to be productive that we often forget the purpose. Or shall I say, I DO!!!
    thanks so much!

  9. Oh, I love that image of your friend running into the water!

    I meditate every day, and I have a little chime set that goes off throughout the day, to remind me each time to check I'm in the moment, and not off on some mental expedition to somewhere I shouldn't be. Comes of having a zen master for a college professor!

  10. This is very insightful and a great reminder. I am often so intent on getting everything on "my list" done, that I don't enjoy the moment.

    Met you through A-Z.

  11. @Tracy @Amie @llene We all need reminders. Great idea with the chime. Where do you get something like that? Lists always focus on the destination when the point of our lives is the journey! Thanks for your thoughts and coming by.

  12. Thanks Pam, for this wonderful post.
    Being 'in the moment' is a skill I have had to learn...I think we all have it as children...

    I try, whenever I can. to forget that there is a tomorrow, a next week, a next month or year, or times past, and just focus in the I was making vegetable stock just now, and stirring the pot became like a meditation...the colors, the flavors of the tasting, the aroma, and myself.


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