"What do you think makes you happy?" I asked.
"It's not contentment, exactly. It's a way of looking at things."
"I think it's a feeling you get," I said. "Something happens that delights you, or satisfies a need. And you feel happy for a while. Or maybe it's a series of things like that and it piles up and you feel really happy. Joyful, maybe."
"I think it's an attitude. The way you look at things. Like you said, something great could happen to you. But it's also the lens you look through, how you see things."
I pondered this for a minute. Her opinion was different from mine, but I agreed with what she said. You want good things to happen, or else there'll be no cause for happiness. But you have to feel gratitude, or the good thing in your life will go unappreciated.
"So you're saying that even the trivial, mundane things that most people don't even notice could make you feel happy, if you noticed them and appreciated them."
"I have this blog buddy, a woman on the East Coast who has cancer. She's treating it with chemotherapy to extend her life, but she pretty much knows how much time she has left. Even so, she has a wonderful attitude about each day. She experiences pain and fatigue, but she still has a wonderful sense of joy about her life."
Sittin On A Porch. Right now, in addition to chemotherapy, she's directing a new play at her local theater. So I don't know where she gets the time or energy to write lengthy accounts of her daily life several times a week. Her stories are extremely well written. I love good writing. And totally honest. It's as if she opened all the windows and doors to her life and invited everyone in - one of those rare instances when sharing the facts of one's life creates a sense of intimacy.
I found that reading her blog posts inspires me. Maybe that's why she writes them. I don't know. But it's a wonderful effect to have on a reader. After only a few days, I'm hooked. Just as my wife said, her happiness is genuine and bountiful.
She expressed these thoughts about May 1st - May Day: "I love the old legends and myths. They give us an inner view of the evolution of human thinking. From evil spirits to germs and viruses, from the devil to disease, from magic to science. And yet so much of what we now know and view with a scientific eye is still so beautiful and magical."
Wow. I wish I had written that. And she ended the post with this: "It is a glorious day here, and what a wonderful life overflowing with gifts I have." If you read the whole post, you'll know that she means it.
I think Kathleen is right about the importance of attitude. I'm a Follower of Sittin On A Porch now. I want to know more about this kind of happiness.
Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., Copyright 2011. Building Personal Strength .