Before getting my first Driver’s License, my father insisted I learn to drive by using a stick-shift. I drove that type of car for years and grew to appreciate the gears and how they work—including the downshift. So although the vast majority of cars now automatically shift for us, the downshift is still very much a part of the engine. As it turns out, I think the human body also has such a gear. That’s partially why I decided to use the next month (August) as a time to downshift from this blog. No I’m not shutting it down, but I am going to pause for 30 days and sink into a more mindful, aware and slower version of my life. After contemplating this idea for several weeks, I am hoping that my downshift will generate three important benefits. And in case anyone wants to join me in their own downshift, I’ve listed three good reasons it makes sense. [Read more…]
During the last few months I think the majority of us have been focused on COVID-19 and staying healthy, safe and sane. But if you’re paying any attention you know there is a lot more change going on in the world than just the virus. Some of the events and certain people you might agree with—and others you might not. Let’s just acknowledge that neutrality is impossible. We are either part of the solution—or part of the problem. And while it wouldn’t be SMART to attempt to suggest what any of you should think, it doesn’t hurt to remind each of us that, “If we don’t stand for something, we’ll fall for anything.”
Our age doesn’t matter. If we are alive we still have a part to play. If we are choosing to sit things out or not get involved when obvious and repeated injustice occurs, then we are supporting those who perpetuate it. Let’s never pretend that our silence or inaction doesn’t matter. It does. It’s time to be honest with ourselves and pick the side that best aligns with our highest values and then do whatever we can to bring about the kind of world we want to live in. It really is up to us.
Have you ever heard of the Tao? Taken from a book titled, the Tao Te Ching written over 2,500 years ago, the Tao (usually pronounced Dao) philosophy offers advice for living a peaceful, compassionate and sustainable life. In fact, even if you’ve never heard of the Tao you are likely familiar with some of its more popular sayings like, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” or “Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” This week in our SMART Vlog Thom and I talk about a few of the major concepts within the Tao that we find most helpful for living a good life. We hope you enjoy the discussion.
*Note: If you’d rather read about the Tao than listen to our discussion, here are two articles I’ve written about it before that you might enjoy.
As Thom and I hiked through the forest this morning he happened to mention the obvious. That was how neither of us could have predicted how the summer of 2020 would unfold. And I’m guessing that none of you could either. Even if we have managed to stay healthy, and that the vast majority of our family and friends are managing it as well, it seems like every new day brings some unsettling news. Surely none of us would have “chosen” the current situation.
However at the same time, I’m also reminded of the Wayne Dyer quote, “I don’t know enough to be a pessimist.” In other words, I’ve have repeatedly believed that in spite of any appearance to the contrary, that good can and will eventually come from any situation. Supporting that idea is one of my favorite stories I like to call, “Maybe Yes, Maybe No.” [Read more…]
One of the problems with being endlessly curious is that I sometimes forget about something interesting and helpful that I learned in the past. The concept of Spiral Dynamics is just like that. This last week my husband Thom happened to mention it, and voila!, the light bulb went on! I instantly remembered what captivated me about the theory years ago. In my view, Spiral Dynamics is a good explanation for why some of us have a difficult time getting along with other people. Not only is the country polarized in many ways, but so too are some friends and even family members. To me, Spiral Dynamics offers an elegant understanding for not what we think, but why we think so differently. [Read more…]
Until a week ago I had never even heard the words doomsurfing or doomscrolling before. Have you? Not only does the Urban Dictionary online include it, but the well-known Merriam-Webster recently wrote a blog post describing it as, “the tendency to continue to surf or scroll through bad news, even though that news is saddening, disheartening or depressing.” What they fail to mention is that many of us do it even if the source of the “news” hasn’t been verified and is sometimes untrue. That leads to the other new word—Infodemic—as a “blend of ‘information’ and ‘epidemic’ that typically refers to a rapid and far-reaching spread of both accurate and inaccurate information about something such as disease. As facts, rumors, and fears mix and disperse, it becomes difficult to learn essential information about an issue.” So these days, with the flood of doom issues related to the COVID-19, the economy, the political landscape, police brutality and systemic racism, every piece of news carries the potential for both doomsurfing and being a part of an Infodemic. The question is, are we personally adding to or easing the spread? [Read more…]
Ever heard of Alan Cohen before? Thom and I have had the benefit of seeing him speak in person, and to read a number of his books. His practical, insightful and often humorous perspectives continue to bring me back to some fundamental ideas that influence my life in many ways. When I came across this one today, I am reminded that even in a changing world, we have the choice about which agreements we follow—and those we discard. We alone decide who to believe and who not to believe. And yes, I can’t help but believe that those agreements shape my reality. Staying awake and aware to that concept is a practical and SMART way to live. At least I think so. What about you?
During the next two month Thom and I are renting a home in the mountains high above our desert valley home. We have been fortunate to do that for a month or more for over 20+ years. How? The best explanation is because we rightsized our lives. As some of you know, rightsizing is the conscious choice to design a life that focuses on what really matters to you and then work to eliminate the rest. So instead of merely downsizing (often seen as a sacrifice) rightsizing is moving toward what is more fulfilling and beneficial. Naturally people are different and we all face different circumstances, but when we take the time to be conscious about what really matters to us and our families, and then follow those directives, we can call our lives rightsized. This week while taking a walk in nature, Thom and I began talking about how rightsizing really is more important now than ever before. The more uncertainty with our health, our economy or even our social structures, the more important it is to clarify our individual requirements. None of us can control all of the circumstances in our lives, but we can work to create a life that fits our needs and current times in any given period. If you would like a bit more information about how we’ve done it, and hopefully get some ideas about how it could work for you, please visit the linked vlog. Afterwards, we would love to hear your thoughts, comments or even how you’ve managed to rightsize your life in these times.
Have you ever heard the statement, “If you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything?” After a week of disturbing news coming from just about everywhere, it is easy to slip into anger, despair or denial. Honestly, I’ve done a bit of it all. Especially when every new day announces something even worse than the day before. But this morning I woke up and remembered the foundation of what I personally hold to be true, what I “stand” for, and what sustains me in times of trouble. And if I focus on those principles instead of the chaos, then I bring myself back to center. So, while I’m not sure my list will be helpful to anyone else and I certainly don’t expect others to have the same, I’m hoping that sharing mine will encourage others to remember and focus on what they stand for as well.
There appears to be so much divisiveness in our world these days that I need to be constantly reminded that there is something that connects us all at a deep level. You too? I also find that a short story or parable is a great way to bring the point home. So when I found this story about frogs—yes frogs—it expressed the idea visually and emotionally for me. And naturally, I wanted to share it all with you. Here is “The Parable Of The Frogs.”
It was a pleasant morning in a small town in the heartland of the United States. Around the edge of the town was a field which had several wells and each well had hundreds of frogs. And the wonderful thing was that the walls of each well had had been painted a distinctively different color.