Finding Our Mental Sweet Spot

Finding Our Mental Sweet Spot December 16, 2020

Note: This is part one of a four-part series called Finding Our Mental Sweet Spot. To Read the entire series visit my Publications link.

If you are hiking in the mountains near a stream you’ve probably seen these stone pyramids. When I happen upon them, I look around to see if I can spot the person who took the time to set them up. But they are always long gone by the time I arrive.

If we listen hard enough, we can hear balancing stones inspiring us to find our mental sweet spot. / Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The symbolic value of these tiny monuments is really quite amazing. For despite the fact that these stone temples are just cold and lifeless stacks of stones, if you take a moment to listen, you can almost hear them inviting you to find balance in your own life.

Life’s a balancing act

Finding the right balance in our lives isn’t easy because it’s such an unnatural state of being. Sure, we are often left awestruck by the tranquility of nature. This causes us to experience moments of peace in our busy life. But life in the wild is not picture-perfect. If we look more closely, we’d notice that wherever we find ourselves in nature all the living creatures around us are engaged in their own fight to find balance. Whether it’s the salmon swimming against the current in their mad dash to spawn … or the robin yanking the earthworm from its earthen respite … or the death spiral of yellowing maple leaves falling all around us; all living creatures are engaged in their own struggle to survive.

Yet, we humans have a tougher time finding equilibrium than say, the lustful salmon or the earthworm who just happened to pop its head up at the wrong place and time. In addition to being influenced by the primal survival modes we share with many species our minds have evolved to include higher level thinking processes. What these processes help us realize is that there are far more enjoyable experiences to be gained out of life than merely surviving.

A popular location for spawning salmon along the Kenia River in Alaska. / Photo by Scott Stahlecker

You see, we have the ability to imagine, hope, dream, aspire, plan, create and otherwise motivate ourselves to make life as enjoyable as possible. As glorious as this sounds, though, there is a flip side. Our desires, cravings, and incessant need to do and have more can also make us suffer. This is precisely why finding equilibrium in our lives can be so difficult.

Finding our mental “sweet spot”

Ultimately, in the pursuit to achieve equilibrium, what we’re seeking to discover is our mental sweet spot. It’s that place in life where we have enough to survive, but also, where we are achieving some of the things we wanted to get out of life.

It’s about developing the right mental perspective; one which allows us to feel fulfilled and content no matter what our physical circumstances might be.

Completion coming this weekend …

About Scott Stahlecker
Scott Stahlecker is a former minister and now writes for Thinkadelics about the benefits of living as a freethinker. He is the author of several books, as well as the previous owner of several hospice agencies and music stores. You can read more about the author here.

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4 responses to “Finding Our Mental Sweet Spot”

  1. This is a really timely post. This is the time of year when people are pressured to do ever more, more, more. This time of year, the advertising informs us that now more than ever, we need to acquire more, more, more.

    I’ve been sitting with the idea of “enough”–to be clear, “enough” isn’t a synonym for “bare minimum”. A good friend of mine spent the night in the ER after what appears to be simply doing too much–a decorated Christmas tree in every room, a Christmas village in the kitchen and a nativity scene in the living room, artificial greenery everywhere, and day after day of fancy feasts leading up to the no-holds-barred Christmas dinner. Special, unique Christmas cards created on the computer and sent to a printer for professional presentation, gift bags for one and all and additional gifts for special friends.

    This friend is the sweetest and most kind friend anyone could ever had, but the pressures to perform this time of year landed her in the hospital with exhaustion, blinding headaches, and gastro-intestinal disasters.

    This is a great time of year to figure out where our sweet spot is.

  2. Thanks! Sorry to hear about your friend. She sounds a bit like my stepmother. She’s as sweet as can be and I bet it takes her hours to set up a life-time of Christmas trinkets.

    I think it is one of those things that’s a bit like ADHD. My stepmother gets a lot of joy in setting things up this time of year. I’m sure every item has significance to her. So if she misses setting something up decorating the way she is accustomed to doing she would probably feel letdown. She might even feel that she had let Jesus down. Know what I mean?

  3. Yes, I know what you mean. Lots of pressure and expectations this time of year. Some are self-imposed, some are imposed by society. As fall rolls through into winter, so many people feel pressure to get the perfect gifts, set the perfect table, look the perfect way, and follow the perfect script for how it’s all supposed to go. Spending days cooking far too much food that nobody wants because that’s what you’re supposed to do. Hence my sitting with the concept of “enough”. That means different things to different people. I focused on mindfully doing what I felt was enough–mostly thoughtfully writing cards and giving charitable gifts to those who are truly needful. This year my nuclear family is celebrating each other with a reasonable dinner and playing board games.

  4. That sounds like fun.

    I have a unique situation that eases the isolation many feel with covid, and also this time of year when it’s important to be with family. I have a multi-generational home that is split on two levels. Two homes in one really. My daughter, son-in-law and 2 grandkids live downstairs, and my wife and I upstairs. It can get a little noisy, but that part of my family is always close by.

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