Since turning 68, I’ve been increasingly interested in what it means to grow older in a vibrant and purposeful way. Much like my work with rightsizing, I see aging not as an inevitable loss or sacrifice, but instead as an opportunity to get to the heart of what really matters to each of us as living, breathing beings on this planet—and then sharing that with our community and the world. Plus, with so many of us nearing ( or at) retirement with many years to come, isn’t is SMART to recognize that making the most of those years seldom happens by chance? So instead of merely growing old and waiting for the unavoidable, we set the intention to learn what makes us whole and happy—and make the most of our remaining time on Earth. [Read more…]
As I’ve shared before, I am (almost) always up for a new adventure. I like exploring and my curiosity about people and places guides me forward. But something I consider nearly as important to me is getting together with other people and talking about subjects that matter. Whether they are friends or just acquaintances, the opportunity to get beyond the superficial and connecting with my mind and heart is intoxicating. Surprisingly, this last week here in Mexico, Thom and I participated in three different discussion groups that left me feeling as full and satisfied as a gourmet five-course meal. That got me wondering if others feel the same way I do and if it is so gratifying, why isn’t it more common? [Read more…]
As some of you know Thom and I are spending a couple of months in Mexico to escape the heat of the summer. Our location is the small town of Ajijic (elevation 5,046) located in central Mexico around 230 miles east of Puerto Vallarta. It’s monsoon season here so not only is everything green and lush, the weather is just about perfect. Ajijic is also on the edge of one of the largest and most scenic lakes in the country (Lake Chapala). We’ve rented a wonderful home with a pool (solar heated of course) that is a short walking distance to downtown and the Malecon (Boardwalk.) Town itself if stuffed with dozens of good restaurants, cute shops and very friendly people—expats and locals. Sounds just about perfect right? Well, it’s not. For one thing there are LOTS of mosquitos (remember all that green?) And for about a week we’ve been experiencing power surges on and off day and night which is more trouble than you might guess. But the thing is…in practically every single place in the world we’ve been fortunate to visit there is always something—call them power surges or not. In other words, stuff happens even in paradise.
Do you realize how much power we possess every time we open our mouth? Or what about when we post something on Facebook, NextDoor or any Social Media? And yes, it’s the same with our notes or emails. Every communication we have with others carries with it the ability to bring a smile to someone’s face and potentially lift their spirit. Simultaneously we have the power to create doubt, anger, distrust or even worse. While we usually can’t turn another person’s life around without their cooperation, we can, with the simple words we say or write, instantly shift the energy in a person or in a room. Let’s start remembering that the words we share with others are like a wand bestowing blessings or curses.
I woke up in the middle of the night last night and guilt was on my mind. My primary focus was guilt for not writing another blog post in weeks. Guilt about being unproductive. Guilt that doubted my value if I wasn’t doing what I feel is important to me. Guilt about my inherent worth as a human being. Ugh—that rabbit hole can be nasty! Fortunately, I am a good enough meditator that I was able to put those thoughts aside and go back to sleep. But unfortunately, they were still on my mind this morning. And because I suspect I’m not the only one who feels the nagging pull of guilt at least once in a while, I decided to write down some of the thoughts I’ve been able to explore as the morning progressed.
I have been a big fan of science fiction my entire life. Back when I was a kid, I couldn’t wait to watch the latest episodes of The Jetsons, Lost in Space, Outer Limits and of course Star Trek. Recently, Thom and I agreed that one of our favorite rides at Disneyland used to be Carousel of Progress. In 1977, the year Thom and I met and married, theaters gifted us with the first Star Wars movie—and we saw it at least seven times that summer along with every sequel and prequel ever since. And let’s not forget books like Dune or everything written by Ursula K. Le Guin or Robert A Heinlein. I think the attraction is the mostly positive vision of life, people and worlds so creatively different—and yes, all wrapped around an adventure. To me, science fiction requires unlimited imagination and open-mindedness. If we can’t imagine something different and yes, impossible—how can we ever hope to create or achieve it? And now, a new sub-genre of science fiction called solarpunk raises that bar in optimistic and innovative ways.
It is said if you look long enough you will find what you are looking for—or it will find you. So, after a couple of months of not feeling inspired or excited to write much, I finally stumbled upon an idea that just won’t let go. Of course, that idea will take a while to completely unfold, but ever since I first heard it I felt captured and inspired by a new way of looking at things—a new way of looking at life. That idea is an optimistic protopia. What is protopia? It is the middle way between a dystopia or a utopia. It asks, will our futures look like a dystopian disaster where the planet and humans are fighting tooth and nail to survive? (Think of the movies Terminator or Mad Max.) Or will it look like a utopian dream where everything is perfect, all people are “perfect”, and nothing ever changes? Until recently no one really talked about a third alternative. A middle way. And that future is protopian. I’m guessing most people never even heard of it just like me. [Read more…]
Did you ever play house as a kid? I did. And while once in a while my play house would contain a family with kids, most of the time my play revolved around adventure and the experience of living somewhere new. Then like most of us, I assumed I gave up playing house when I became a teenager. But this last week I realized that in many ways I still play house on a regular basis. In fact, every time Thom and I rent a vacation rental we are “playing house” in a similar way. Taking that a step further, this last week Thom and I bought a Park Model in Tucson and it hit me—this is just another way to play house! What about you? Did you play it as a kid? And are you playing a variation even today? [Read more…]
Earlier this year I revealed that my word for 2023 was acceptance. I had been reading Michael SingerMy Surrender Experiment’s book The Untethered Soul and it reminded me of how important accepting the Is-ness of every experience was to living a peaceful and happy life. Also important is living in the present moment—not the past, not the future, just now. After a couple of months of practice, I’m not an expert and likely never will be. But I believe I’m getting better. As Singer continually reminds me/us, the problem is not the experience you are having or are witnessing. The problem is the story we are telling ourselves about the experience. It doesn’t matter if it happened two minutes ago or 20 years ago, that story running through our minds, that narrative, is either re-creating that event in our mind or emotions, or passing through us. By the same token, it doesn’t matter if something has happened yet (or will ever happen), the story we are telling ourselves about what might happen is our choice. We face that choice in every moment. Right here. Right now. [Read more…]
Last week a blogger friend died unexpectedly in her sleep. Rena McDaniel was 55. I didn’t know her well. But I’ve been following her online since I began blogging over 12 years ago. Her first blog posts focused on caregiving her mother with Alzheimer’s. Then when her mother passed on five or so years later, she switched to writing about blogging itself—how to do it, best programs, and even served to help others with repairs. In other words, Rena was someone who spent her life helping others. While I never had need of her services, her presence in my blogging world was always there. And now it’s not. I’m only guessing, but from my perspective I don’t think Rena ever reached her “golden years.” That got me wondering about how many of us ever really do? What does “golden years” even mean? And like so many thoughts I have these days—maybe it is time to stop waiting for some time or some “place” in the future—and instead live life right now. [Read more…]