You might think it strange that an optimist like me, on an encouraging and uplifting site like SMART Living 365, would ever ask the question: “What do you do when things fall apart?” And yes, there is a best-selling book by Pema Chodron with the title When Things Fall Apart. So what makes me think I can add to the brilliant words offered by that woman? Because I’m human. And because even though I’m not an expert, I do believe we are all more similar than not. Plus, because even when we know better—even when we think we are better, stuff still happens. Then, when it does, we have the option of taking our experience in one of two ways. My recent experience in Mexico offers the perfect example. [Read more…]
This week I’m happy to introduce you to Dr. Gary Lange as my guest blogger while I am traveling. Gary is a personal friend whom I’ve known for over 20 years. He lives locally, and besides seeing clients in his private practice, he also writes and teaches psychology at the nearby Cal-State University. While Gary and his husband Robert live very rightsized lives, he also spends much of his time focused on relationships and self-awareness. Thank you, Gary, for filling in for me and sharing some of your ideas with all of us.
Extroverted or introverted?
Methodical or impulsive?
Happy or glum?
Cautious or open-minded?
Past or Future-oriented?
Recently a graduate student of mine asked about the best ways to get to know herself. For many this may seem like an onerous project, so here are a few suggestions. You could always ask your friends and family but often they are not objective enough and are more likely to list things that stand out to THEM or bother them. That’s why I often suggest you ask yourself who you look up to, admire as an inspiration, or mentor you? If you can talk to these people, they may be able to give you some insight. [Read more…]
This week I’m happy to introduce you to Leanne Le Cras as my guest blogger while I am traveling. Leanne is one of the bloggers I’ve met online who lives “down under” in Austrailia and I’ve been reading her blog Cresting The Hill for many years now. Leanne consistently writes great blog posts about staying happy and content while going through midlife. But I could tell that a big reason she was so happy is because she and her husband have rightsized their lives. Thank you, Leanne, for filling in for me and sharing some of your SMART and rightsized thoughts with all of us.
Kathy writes a lot about Re-Sizing your life and it resonates strongly with me because that’s how my husband and I have always lived. To begin with, it was from necessity. Then, as we became more stable financially it became a lifestyle choice. We choose every day to live as good stewards of all that we have been given, and I thought I’d share how that has looked over the years.
This week I’m happy to introduce you to Karen Hume as my guest blogger while I am traveling. I’ve followed Karen’s blog ProfoundJourney.com since late last year. The moment I “found” her and started reading her ideas I sensed a kindred spirit. Thank you, Karen, for filling in for me and sharing some of your SMART and intriguing thoughts with all of us.
Have you ever been the only person in a parking lot at night? Or a hotel hallway after the elevator has stopped pinging and all of the guests are tucked up in their rooms asleep? Maybe you have descended to a subway platform moments after the train has left and you are alone on the platform for a minute or two. Each of these is an example of a liminal space.
The word ‘liminal’ comes from the Latin word ‘limen’, meaning threshold. A physical liminal space is a place where we feel hyper-aware and uncertain, sometimes uncomfortable or unsafe.
On a clear day the sun always casts a shadow. In fact, the brighter the light, the more vivid the corresponding silhouette. That is why any complete discussion about positive aging requires the acknowledgment that a dark side exists. And while I am certainly not a professional who understands all the implications, I do think it is important to explore how it may affect us as we age. That’s because no matter how optimistic we remain about aging, none of us knows for sure what our complete future holds. And, like with all shadow work, it’s SMART to accept its existence as well as how it can potentially affect our lives if we want to experience the days to come as an authentic and whole individual.
This summer Thom and I are extremely fortunate to spend several months living close to the beach. The house we rent was built in the 50’s and is quite small. But having the option to walk along the beach every single morning with our dog Kloe running free is worth the added splurge/expense. It occurred to me this morning as I nodded hello to other walkers that each of us looked happier just being outside. Feeling the waves lapping against our ankles and the moist sand below our feet while enjoying the cool breeze off the water made all seem right in the world. So it was no surprise when I learned that spending time in nature is actually the perfect cure for overcoming Nature Deficit Disorder or NDD. Yep! While not a formal medical term, the idea of NDD reminded me how each and every one of us needs time experiencing the joy of nature on a regular basis.
Last night my husband Thom and I watched a television show called Billions. It followed a few previous nail-biting episodes where the main characters, Axe, Chuck, and his wife Wendy, stood on what appeared to be an inescapable precipice of disaster. Then, through an unexpected twist, they all managed to escape jail time and return to their former wealth and status with little or no repercussion. While we’d all like that kind of break in our own lives, especially when it comes to our finances, we usually aren’t as lucky. Even more interesting, at least to me, was that after triumphantly returning to his billion-dollar hedge-fund business, Axe looks at Wendy, his financial performance counselor, and says something like, “I thought the high would last longer than it did.” Don’t we all? When it comes down to it, many of the messages we think we know about money don’t pan out. And while I’m certainly no expert, here are a few truths about money that I wish I had known when I was young.
Every now and then, if we are lucky, we find an author whose words seem to speak directly to us in ways we wish we had said ourselves. That’s how I felt when I first found a book written by Palmer Parker over two decades ago. So, when I learned that his latest book touched on aging, I didn’t hesitate to send him a Facebook private message asking if he provided review copies. Not only did he respond personally by email (because that’s the kind of man he is), he sent me an autographed copy hot off the press. His new book, On The Brink of Everything—Grace, Gravity & Getting Old is a collection of essays that covers aging well along with other topics facing the world today. For all of us who appreciate a wise, authentic and often transcendent voice about issues that matter, it is my deep pleasure to introduce you to Parker Palmer. [Read more…]
Since turning 60 a couple of years ago, my interest in aging well and happy has ramped up considerably. For the longest time, I claimed that I was middle-aged and for some ridiculous reason felt that I would stay at that stage of life for decades to come. But something in me switched at 60 and the midlife label no longer felt true. The problem was, calling myself a senior or old person didn’t fit either. Since then I’ve been thinking, talking and writing about the process of aging from all sorts of angles. Surprisingly, something that is becoming more and more clear to me is that most of us hold a lot of bogus ideas about what aging means. And while I’m not usually one to use profanity, the term B.S. applies to a number of those erroneously held beliefs. [Read more…]
As some of you know, my husband Thom and I are at the beach enjoying the summer weather. Because we mainly work-out-of-the-house, as long as we have good wifi and a phone we can work from just about any location. The thing is, it’s the beach! Between morning walks by the water, the lure of my bicycle, a pile of books waiting to be read, and being in a location with so much to do and see, I’m finding it difficult to motivate myself—especially towards anything that feels like work. Ironically, I have been planning my next book for the last several months and want (should) be making progress. But with a tentative title of, You Get To Make It Up I am reminded that when it comes down to it, and in spite of most circumstances, we really do get to make it up as we go along.