Several years ago I wrote a novel entitled Finding Grace. I’d always wanted to write a novel and am quite pleased and proud to have written the type of book I love to read. One of the major characters is an older woman who serves as a life-long mentor to a much younger Grace. I named the elder woman Mrs. Pettermint, with a few quirks to make her interesting. Throughout the book, this wise woman offers her perspective on everything from love, to life, and to healing. And while she didn’t specifically mention Christmas or any of the other holidays celebrated this season, I can easily imagine what she might suggest. Here are five pieces of advice I can almost hear her say to Grace and anyone else who wants to listen. [Read more…]
The other day my husband Thom and I were having lunch with a friend. That’s when Susie (not her real name) asked the question, “How do you cope?” Sure we were talking about a couple of troubling current events, but the question still surprised me. Why? Because I tend to think that most of the ideas I write about here on SMART Living touch on ways to cope and move forward in a positive way. That’s certainly the way I handle stress in my life. But clearly that option wasn’t helping Susie. Then later, I happened to pick up a new book I’d been offered to review and the answer became clearer. What I’ve come to realize is that there isn’t just one right way to cope with stress or trauma. Instead, like with any “rightsized topic,” we each need to find what works best for us and then work to allow it to bring us the comfort we seek.
Now that Thanksgiving Day has come and gone in the U.S. we begin the countdown to the Christmas Holiday with what is commonly called Black Friday. All the advertisers want us to believe that if we spend the next 25 days shopping our hearts out, we’ll feel fulfilled, loved and save a lot of money doing it. But we know better don’t we? Today and during the next month let’s do our best remembering that less really is more. What we really crave is connection, hope, love, freedom and meaning–oh, and good health as well. None of that can be bought. Thanks to Joshua Becker from Becoming Minimalist for inspiring this week’s photo blog quote.
While I believe Thanksgiving is one of the best holidays we have going in the United States, I also firmly believe in the statement, “Thanksgiving is good—but thanks “living” is even better.” So with gratitude on my mind, this week I’ve been dwelling on how very much I have to be grateful for—and it inspired me to take the time to write out my top ten. Hopefully, by sharing my list you will be inspired to do the same. Oh, and self-servingly, it is also a great opportunity for me to announce the publication of my latest book, You Get To Make It Up—a SMART Living 365 Guide to Creating a Happy & Meaningful Life.
Of course I also realize that some of my readers don’t live in the U.S. so Thanksgiving isn’t on their calendar. But from what I’ve read, a number of other countries celebrate something similar…. [Read more…]
Ever heard of Narrative Therapy before? Neither had I until I came across an article in a recent edition of Prevention Magazine. This relatively new talk therapy approach, originally developed in New Zealand, is now being used as a counseling method to help clients in need. And although I’m neither a therapist or someone in great need, I can see how beneficial such a practice could be for all of us—especially those of us who appreciate learning about ways to expand our self-awareness as well as how storytelling adds meaning and value to our lives.
I’ve written before about how story creation is a natural expression for all humans. Recognize that voice in your head? It is actually you telling yourself a “story” about something that is happening or happened in the past. [Read more…]
Unfortunately, the short answer to that question is, “Not always.” While I usually start out my posts a little more optimistically, this idea has me wondering. Why? Because as I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been listening to a bunch of lectures by a man named Ken Dychtwald. Based on many of his insights, I can’t help but believe this topic deserves more thought and consideration than I’ve given it before. After all, what is a long lifespan worth if it doesn’t include a long healthspan? Do that many of us want to stay alive long after our health is unrecoverable or completely deteriorated? Not me. What about you? [Read more…]
I’ve been a big fan of the poet David Whyte since I first heard him speak back in the 1990s. When he shares his amazing poetry he brings it to life and his words dig deep inside of you in ways you don’t always expect. Plus, the fact that he blends his prose and poetry into the “real world” experiences of business, work-life, family and more, in ways that add a dimension not always found. If you have never heard of him before, I strongly encourage you to check out his work.
This last week I happened to find and listen to an online interview of a woman named Karen Sands who calls herself a positive aging futurist. While I’ve never really thought of myself as a one, and I’m guessing you haven’t either, she made a convincing argument for why we should all at least think about it. Why? Because as I’ve written about before, and she confirmed in her own way, if we want to know where we are headed in life, having a clear destination is critical. That doesn’t mean you can’t adjust or change as life unfolds. But it does offer a target that will likely include a future we want to experience. [Read more…]
I’m fairly sure that I first received my first AARP solicitation when I was only a few months shy of 50. What? How did they know my age and why would they think I was interested? Not only had I not even considered retiring, the idea of getting older was still very foreign to me. In fact, I wasn’t even willing to admit I had hit midlife, let alone become a senior. But things change and here I am 14 years later. And yes, I am now a card-carrying member of AARP. This last weekend I sat down and read one of their latest publications and that got me thinking about why I find them helpful—and what I find annoying. Interested? [Read more…]
Did you smile today? It matters—at least according to research by college professor, psychologist, and author Barbara Fredrickson, Ph.D. Yet most of the time we tend to believe that a smile, while nice in the moment, is too tiny or inconsequential to make much of a difference. But according to Fredrickson every smile, and all the other positive emotions we have during the course of the day, add up to tremendous benefits to the quality of our mental, emotional and physical health. So yes, it matters whether you smiled today. In fact, it could be one of the most important things you do for yourself or others as your future unfolds. [Read more…]