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 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.
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.
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.
A couple of weeks ago Thom and I were wandering through used bookstores in nearby Ventura, CA. Thom was on a mission to find a particular book, with me helping to locate it among masses of used books. That’s when I came across Maria Shriver’s latest. The title caught my eye and with such a giveaway price, I couldn’t pass it by. And although I seldom read books authored by celebrities or famous personalities, I’ve Been Thinking…Reflections, Prayers and Meditations for a Meaningful Life certainly sounded SMART to me. Clearly, Shriver comes from a dramatically different world than I do, but I was pleasantly surprised to learn how many thoughts we have in common. In fact, I’m guessing that this notable woman shares a great deal in common with most of us—and her reflections are reminders about how to live a happy and fulfilled life. [Read more…]
As most of you know, I’m a planner. Not only do I find it enjoyable to research options and then chart a course forward, I’m a big fan of nexting. (Yes, there’s a blog post which explains nexting!) For the most part, planning benefits my life in many ways. It helps me to form great habits, examine different options in order to make good decisions, and allows me to anticipate the future with optimism. But as with most things, there’s a catch.
The “downside” to planning is that sometimes it locks me into a course of action that can be rigid if not downright obsessive. Even worse perhaps, it distracts me from being present in the here and now. The good news is that every new moment offers me (and all of us) another opportunity to practice being here now, to appreciate the beauty right in front of me, and to always remember that “this is it.” [Read more…]
When I started this blog seven years ago I didn’t really know what to expect. All I knew was that I wanted to begin writing about topics that mattered to me. Of course, I hoped others would find them interesting and helpful, but one never knows for sure. The idea of rightsizing had never even occurred to me at the time, and neither did I have that much interest in positive aging. Fast forward seven years and I still find myself drawn to ideas that are encouraging, intriguing and uplifting to both myself and others. But along the way my interests have deepened and broadened in ways I never imagined. So if on this seven-year anniversary (or birthday) of my blog you will humor me a bit, I want to look back over the years to recap a few highlights. Your reward for indulging me is a short quiz asking what YOU like, and a free gift. [Read more…]