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…]
Happy SMART Day Everyone!
Now that the largest Mega Millions Multi-State Lottery is finally behind us, let’s talk about luck. According to estimates, nearly $1.5 billion dollars was spent with the hope of winning $640 Million. Unfortunately, those who bought tickets were in reality 50 times more likely to get hit by lightening—and some guy in Kansas actually did on his way home from buying three tickets at a local store. But those odds didn’t stop hundreds of people from standing in line over five hours in nasty and cold weather for the miniscule chance of becoming a mega-millionaire. News reports say there are only three lucky winners and dozens of others who will share in lesser prizes. Do those winners have a secret the rest of us can use to increase our odds in the future? The answer is yes—lucky people do have a formula. But it isn’t exclusive and you and I can benefit every day of our lives by knowing certain behaviors that can increase our odds. [Read more…]
Anyone who has studied positive thinking, New Thought or the Law of Attraction understands the concept of acting “as if.” You know—acting with confidence and grace even when you’re shaking in your boots, or putting a smile on your face and acting happy even when you woke up feeling terrible. Many people believe that those actions can actually lead to their desired results. But while “faking it until you make it” might sound like nothing more than an unsubstantiated urban legend, plenty of evidence now proves the process is beneficial in dozens of ways. [Read more…]
One of my favorite authors is a man named Parker J. Palmer. Parker comes from the Quaker Tradition which embodies such a genuine depth of spirit and connection that I am always interested in what he has to say. With a background in education, spirituality, community, and leadership his latest book is Healing the Heart of Democracy.” And while politics may seem a strange bedfellow to spirituality or even SMART Living, the manner in which Parker approaches the topic is relevant to every single subject I ever write about. Ultimately, every one of his themes leads to a greater experience of the whole.
Happy SMART Day Everyone!
I just read a short interview by author and activist Gloria Steinem. In it, she was asked to offer three words that have guided her life. They were: Hope, Ideas and Friends. And while I think all of them are indeed valuable and important in my life as well, it made me ask myself, what three words do I feel enrich my life the most? Whether you agree with Gloria, or me, it may be worth the time for you figure out three words that bring value to your life and help make them more prevalent in your life today. [Read more…]
I’ve never considered myself an expert on relationships. Instead, I’ve always thought of myself as extremely fortunate that I had such a great marriage and partnership. But this Valentine’s Day is a year when Thom and I will be celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary and I can honestly say I love him now much more than when we first got together. So, upon reflection, I might not be an expert, but I do believe that along the way I’ve learned a few things that makes for a happy life between two people.
“Why try to explain miracles to your kids when you can just have them plant a garden.” –Robert Brault
Starting a garden has been a goal of mine ever since we moved into our new house nearly a year and a half ago. Just like every one of us, I had dozens of great excuses for why it was easy to put it off and not get started. Still, slowly but surely Thom and I began taking steps towards creating the perfect space on our small urban lot. This last weekend I finally put the plants in the soil. Now I have a vegetable garden and regardless of whether anything actually bears fruit, I can begin reaping the many benefits offered by such a time-honored and humble activity. [Read more…]