Did you smile today? It matters—at least according to research by college professor, psychologist, and author Barbara Fredrickson, Ph.D. Yet most of the time we tend to believe that a smile, while nice in the moment, is too tiny or inconsequential to make much of a difference. But according to Fredrickson every smile, and all the other positive emotions we have during the course of the day, add up to tremendous benefits to the quality of our mental, emotional and physical health. So yes, it matters whether you smiled today. In fact, it could be one of the most important things you do for yourself or others as your future unfolds. [Read more…]
I’ve been a big fan of Mark Nepo after hearing him give a lecture at an Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) Conference years ago. Both his prose and his poems are pearls, or blossoms if you prefer, that draw us in and speak to many of us. He continually reminds me to stay true to myself and freely share that with the world. Then, without struggle, the bees will come.
Unless you live in a very remote area and are essentially off the grid, you know that our world is facing at least two major challenges—climate change and political corruption. But before you stop reading because you think I’m going to get political (I’m not) and/or tell yourself neither of those have anything to do with you, I beg to differ. I do agree it is tempting to just pretend everything is just fine, or distract ourselves into believing those issues are someone else’s problem. However, I don’t think that’s the SMART approach. That’s because it is obvious to me that the people and the world around us have a significant influence on our wellbeing, our health and particularly our future. So regardless of what country you live in or what side of the fence (wall) you happen to be on, you and the people you care about are being touched by world events. What do we do? I believe there are three things we all can do to stay sane, relatively happy and hopeful in the days ahead.
Are you facing a transition in your life? If yes, you might be interested in a new book I’ve just finished by a fellow blogger named Patricia West Doyle. Pat is the author of Retirement Transition—An Innovation Approach. And even though I’m not yet retired, I still found a few ideas in it that could prove valuable to others—especially those of us facing a transition. Of course, when you think about it transitions happen repeatedly to all of us over the course of our lives. So why not prepare before we’re in the middle of one? [Read more…]
Thom and I are renting a cottage at the beach until the end of September. Sounds wonderful, right? But I’m torn. Yes, it’s still sizzling hot back home in our desert community, but once September hits things start to kick off. Although not officially the beginning of the “desert season,” once school starts more and more activities pop up on the calendar. Traffic picks up, meetups get scheduled, and friends start calling with plans. So even while I’m loving the cooler weather at the beach, part of me is anticipating seeing those friends and getting involved in social and volunteer events back home.
When I think about it, that tension between what I have and what I’m possibly missing is something that happens to me/us all the time in one form or another. It’s similar to the oxymoron of celebrating life in one moment and yet feeling pain or sadness at the same moment. Or how about feeling optimistically excited, and yet somewhat anxious about what’s ahead? And probably the biggest one, feeling grateful and happy while recognizing deep in our heart that there are huge challenges going on all around us. How do we handle those paradoxes, and where do we go from there? [Read more…]
Last week I explained how a big part of Thom and my ability to travel frequently comes from living a rightsized life. Yet although that’s the starting point, the successful details of our vacations usually boil down to a few simple tips—or hacks as they are often called these days. While these certainly won’t apply to everyone, they do work for us. And because a number of people seem curious, I decided to share them with you. If I can inspire just one of you to explore your options, not to mention save money, then I’ll consider it worth my time. [Read more…]
As some of you know, my husband Thom and I took a road trip in July. As usual, we were seeking a way to avoid the summer heat in the desert that we call home. As planned, we figured that a road trip to the Pacific Northwest just might be a great solution for part of that time. It was. Not only was the weather spectacular, we also met with family in Seattle, old friends in Kelowna, B.C., as well as a planned meetup with some of my friends who blog. With a little forethought and design we had a wonderful vacation. However, once we returned people continually questioned how it was possible to spend several months both traveling and renting out-of-town houses for over three months, while most people are stuck at home. And remember, we aren’t retired either. Our go-to answer is always, “Because we rightsized our life.” [Read more…]
I’ve been a big fan of Mary Oliver’s poetry for most of my adult life. She offers so many great quotes that it is difficult to just pick one. But this one jumped out at me today for two reasons. First off I am drawn to the idea of having an instruction manual for life. And second, I love the idea that life isn’t as complicated as we tend to think. Today, I want to remember to just pay attention, be astonished and then tell about it. How about you?
Last month I had the deeply satisfying experience of getting together with five friends—who blog. That’s right. Instead of just a meet-up with other bloggers—I now consider them first and foremost to be friends. I walked away knowing that how we each blog is actually just the foundation for who we are as women, and what we value and appreciate. To me it is so interesting that although we are all very different people, with rather extremely different lives (not to mention blogs), we share something fundamental. It’s likely that when you start with such a connection there is almost an immediate sense of belonging. [Read more…]
This week I’m again happy to introduce you to another great blogger/writer named Jennifer Koshak. I first started following Jennifer’s blog Unfold and Begin several years ago because so many of her topics are about creativity, starting over, and trying new things–how SMART is that? Jennifer lives in Connecticut where she frequently teaches workshops on creating with Vision Boards. With a strong intention to help others make the most of mid-life and beyond, Jennifer writes with humor, insight and inspiration. A woman with many talents, Jennifer began teaching yoga in her 40s and taught seniors the many benefits of yoga for over ten years. Whether you’ve ever been to a yoga class, or consider yourself a senior or not, her insights are a good introduction to why yoga can be beneficial for us all.
On my blog Unfold & Begin I usually write about creativity, Vision Boards and writing. But because I used to be a yoga teacher, I’ve also written about teaching yoga to seniors. However when I did, it was more about how much I enjoyed teaching the classes—not the actual benefits. So today I am sharing the many values of yoga for seniors. [Read more…]