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…]
How To Stop Caring for Others That Don’t Really Care For You
Like most humans I like people to like me. Since the beginning of time, we humans have learned that our survival is often connected to being part of a tribe. Then throw in the fact that 50% of us are women and often require others for safety and companionship, it makes sense. And while a large portion of us don’t live in an environment where we require physical security these days, our mental, emotional and spiritual Self craves a degree of connection and belonging. It is normal to want others to count on and care for us as much as we care for them. But do they? Not always. No matter how much I may want others to like me, be with me and do things with me—not everyone will. Admittedly, an ongoing area of my own personal growth is learning to accept letting go of caring for others that don’t really care for me. [Read more…]
Why Is Change So Hard?
Have you ever had something you really wanted or needed to change, but never seem to manage it? Or how about a change you were able to make for a short time, but before long slipped back into your old routine? You are not alone. Unfortunately, while we all tend to think that with a strong desire and enough will-power we can change anything about ourselves we choose, that is only partially true. Sure, a strong desire is important, and self-discipline is necessary, but as I’ve recently learned we all have an innate “immunity to change” that can keep us stuck in old habits and behaviors. It is that unrecognized, self-protective immunity that makes change so difficult. For those of us who are on a quest to know ourselves better as life goes on and to make positive changes when necessary, learning how this immunity works is juicy stuff.
Is It Time for Me to Give Up the Pursuit of Happiness?
For as long as I can remember I have been seeking happiness. Back in high school when someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up—I said “happy.” I convinced myself that the pursuit of happiness was not only our self-evident right, but that it was equal to the unalienable rights of life and liberty. (Remember the constitution?) I think I’ve read every book with the words happy and happiness in them ever written. And while I am mostly always happy, there are days when it isn’t easy. Then recently I’ve read a couple of books that have me questioning that pursuit on a much deeper level. Is it possible I’ve been seeking the wrong thing? And is it possible that what most of us want when we say we want happiness isn’t located where we’ve been looking?
2022 Best Websites and Blogs for Retirement, Positive Aging & SMART Living!
It’s that time again! For the last five years I have considered it a privilege to scour the internet to find what I consider to be the best blogs and websites I can find. Like SMART Living 365, these are personal blogs and not commercially driven websites to make money. I tend to focus on the topics of positive aging and retirement but I decided to include all my favorites this year. Why not? And while my list certainly doesn’t contain all the sites available on these topics, I think that they are noteworthy and offer thoughtful, creative and provocative insights.
While some are the same from past years, as always, I have added some new ones and trimmed a few old ones that are no longer active. Thank you to each of the authors and creators who put in the time and effort to provide such helpful ideas and information while sharing their lives and experiences with all of us throughout the year. They cost nothing except the time to read. [Read more…]
My Surrender Experiment
In January of 2022 I selected the word surrender for my word of the year. Often referred to as WOTY, it is customary for people to pick a particular word to hold in their mind, and perhaps guide them, throughout the year. I wasn’t entirely sure why I selected surrender, only that it seemed like the perfect next step after using “trust” as my word for 2021. As things happen, surrender became more and more meaningful to me as the year unfolded. Then recently I reread a book from several years ago by Michael A Singer. That book, titled The Surrender Experience is Singer’s follow-up to his first book the untethered soul—the journey beyond yourself. Together, those two books are helping me recognize my own surrender experiment and where I hope to go from here. [Read more…]
Growing Antifragile in A Chaotic World
As some of you know I grew up in the desert southwest. My love of sunshine continues to this day but unfortunately, my skin has paid a price. In my pursuit of the perfect tan, my skin (particularly on my forearms) has become ridiculously thin so that it often bruises and sometimes bleeds at the slightest injury. By the same token I was listening to a podcast this week that asked, “Are we all becoming very thin-skinned and fragile these days?” It went on to ask if our pursuit of comfort and convenience was making us “bruise or bleed” at the slightest inconvenience, threat or annoyance. Regrettably, those questions struck a bit too close to home. Everywhere I look (especially on Facebook!) people are bruised and depressed about how awful things have gotten (climate change, no gun control, schools, etc.) and how mean and impatient other people have become. And don’t even mention religion or politics! Fortunately, there is a cure. Just like using a powerful sunscreen on my arms helps—enhancing our antifragile selves could allow us to live more peacefully in our stressful world.
Embracing Our Many Selves
Lately, one part of me can’t seem to sit down and write a blog post. It’s not that I don’t want to write or intend to give up blogging. The problem is another part of me has found dozens of other equally important or fascinating things to do with my time. Ever find yourself in the same position where you want to do something but other actions seem necessary or important? Or what about when you know you should do something but find yourself mindlessly scrolling on the computer? Well last week I happened to be listening to a podcast while doing my morning walk and discovered the likely answer. Apparently, each of us has many different “selves” within us that have different needs and agendas. I learned that the concept of multiple selves has existed within the psychological and philosophical awareness for decades. And according to some “experts” it can be very beneficial to us all to learn to understand, appreciate and orchestrate these selves into a coherent harmony. Let me explain. [Read more…]
The Secret to My Happy 45 Years of Marriage
Sorry, but now that I have your attention I must confess that there is no real secret to my happy marriage. It’d be nice though, huh? It might also be tempting to believe it is luck. A part of me admits how very fortunate I’ve been to be in a relationship that just keeps getting better as the years go by. Surely luck has something to do with it when the same has alluded so many wonderful people. It’s also inviting to think it’s because I’ve got relationships all figured out. But although I’ve made some great choices, what you haven’t seen is all the road-bumps I’ve/we’ve encountered. Even so, on the eve of my 45th anniversary, I am gratefully aware of the privilege of living and loving the same human for such a length of time and believe there are a couple of elements that helped to make it happen.
To begin with, before we even got together we both held a strong intention to create an extraordinary relationship. [Read more…]
How Trustworthy Are You Really?
I’m not sure why I requested a review copy of the book Trust & Inspire—How Truly Great Leaders Unleash Greatness In Others by Stephen M.R. Covey, but I did. Like many of you, I don’t have a business or employees. Not only do I not manage other people, I sometimes don’t seem to manage myself that well either. But I do deeply admire the author’s father—the late Stephen Covey author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, so the name caught my attention. And when I think about it, the idea of trust has been on my mind as well. Do I truly trust myself to do what I say I will do? Do I trust those around me? Do I trust the products I buy and/or the businesses that sell them? Do I trust my government? As Covey points out, if trustworthy people don’t see others as trustworthy (even if they are) then trust is absent. And is that the kind of world I want to live in?