Before we get too close to Christmas I thought it might be SMART to remind myself (and anyone else who is paying attention) to not get sucked into the holiday frenzy. You know what I mean. Ever since the beginning of September the retail outlets here in the U.S. have been pushing Santa and all things related. Just like any drug, the pushers make everything seem so harmless, tantalizing and attractive. However, the truth is what makes the season special has very little to do with stuff, and everything to do with experience. That’s why remembering why we do what we do and using our money, time and resources in the service of that which we say we support, is especially critical this time of year. [Read more…]
Here are all quotes used during our SMART Living 30-Day Gratitude Challenge. For a quick pick-me-up or to remember that we all have lots to be grateful for, just read through these every now and then.
November 30 “We think we have to do something to be grateful or something has to be done in order for us to be grateful, when gratitude is a state of being.” ~ Iyanla Vanzant [Read more…]
At the beginning of November I challenged myself to a 30-Day Gratitude Challenge. I knew that it would add extra work to my already hectic schedule. But I also knew that the timing was good. November is one of my favorite months AND Thanksgiving was right around the corner. Plus, everywhere I went people were talking about the coming U.S. elections. And regardless of who they hoped would win—there seemed to be a lot of fear, anger and worry associated with the process. Hurricane Sandy was also looming on the horizon. I knew I needed to take the focus off those things outside myself and place them firmly on the good that I have in my day-to-day life. Hence, the gratitude challenge was born. [Read more…]
Day 1–November 1, 2012
“If the only prayer you ever say in your whole life is ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.” ~Meister Eckhart
Every November I start thinking about gratitude and thanksgiving in a big way. That’s because Thanksgiving Day falls on the fourth Thursday of every November in the U.S., but mostly because it is my favorite holiday of all. Instead of all the hoopla of being pushed and pulled to get and give, Thanksgiving merely asks us to pause and reflect on the good in our life. Plus it is usually celebrated by having dinner and spending time with people you care about most—and those who care about you—be they friends, family or neighbors. For anyone attempting to live a life of happiness, simple living, contentment, peace and well being, Thanksgiving deserves special recognition. [Read more…]
Thom and I just returned from a vacation. Spanning 12 days, we attended a wedding, visited with family, stayed in six different hotels, drove over 1,600 miles, hiked in three national parks, and explored parts of five different states in the Southwestern United States. To accomplish this our trip was an orchestration of coordination and planning—as well as an ongoing intention of the Taoist principal of wu wei. While most people lean one way or another when taking a vacation, I believe that the best of them include a delicate dance between the two. Much like the Tao symbol of yin and yang, wu wei and planning blend the two aspects of action into a harmonious whole. In fact, including wu wei in your travel plans just might be the best way to travel on vacation-–or through life itself. [Read more…]
This last weekend Thom, Kloe and I took a short trip down to Baja Mexico to visit friends. We hadn’t been to Rosarito in years and we hadn’t visited our longtime friends Larry & Jose since they bought their stunning condo perched on the rugged coastline. We had a wonderful time—lots of great conversation, plenty of laughter, tasty food, soaking in the hot tub, playtime with Kloe and her new dog girlfriend Tasha, a couple of bottles of nice wine and even a sip or two of the “new” almond tequila. But toward the end of the mini-vacation we hit a slight “hitch.” Luckily, we both quickly remembered that we “get to make it up” and decided to ignore the hitch and focus on the good. After all, did we want to remember the fun from the amazing previous four days, or the small “black dot” towards the end? And as usual, what we chose to focus on and remember, is up to us. [Read more…]
Most of the time I consider myself to be one of the most fortunate people on the planet. I have a wonderful life—I’m healthy and have a great relationship—I also get to work and write about things that matter to me on a consistent basis. But every now and then something pops up that makes me pause and wonder if my writing and work is making any kind of positive difference. Other times things happen or people do unexpected and unpleasant things that catch me by surprise. That’s when it is SMART for me to remember the words of a wise woman named Byron Katie. One of the solutions she suggests for when we are feeling stressed out or unhappy is to “Stay In Your Own Business.” In fact, she is very clear that most time when we are struggling with a situation we are in someone else’s business—and the simple practice of recognizing that fact is usually all it takes to bring us back to ourselves. [Read more…]
As some of you know, Thom and I just spent ten days in Taos, New Mexico. We went there to attend a music festival and ended up staying for a week. After seven days in one place, we discovered several things that made Taos really special. And that got me thinking—what is it that makes anyplace special? And is there anything we can do to make wherever we are the same? [Read more…]
by Kathy Gottberg
Last week Thom and I spent six days at The Esalen Institute on the Big Sur coastline of California. Esalen, as it is more commonly known, has existed for the last 50 years as a world-renowned sanctuary/retreat center perched on an eye-popping coastline in the central part of the state. Started in 1962, some of the world’s leading philosophers, educators, activists, artists and thought leaders gathered at this site to explore the boundaries of human potential and consciousness. Besides that, the facility structures itself as a model for sustainability, permaculture and organizational transformation. Its vibrant and lush 5-acre garden and farm burst with flowers, plants and vegetables that feed and sustain both the visitors and staff. Besides offering stunning landscapes for rest and rejuvenation, Esalen also features a fresh water creek, roaring ocean-side cliffs, and natural hot mineral spring baths. Clearly, something for every seeker exists at Esalen. Thom and I came to see for ourselves—and to take a workshop called, “Experiencing the Esalen Farm and Garden.” [Read more…]
Happy SMART Day Everyone!
The recent World Happiness Report reminded me that it is always a good idea to define your terms—even with a common word like “happiness.” That’s because while we all tend to use the word on a regular basis, what I think happiness means, what you think happiness means, and what everyone experiences as happiness are very likely three different things. And if we are going to pursue it as the U.S. Declaration of Independence suggests, then it is critical that we know what we are talking about. [Read more…]