I’ve never read The Divine Comedy otherwise known as Dante’s Inferno. From what I’ve heard it is difficult to understand or make much sense of, so why bother? That was until I read an interpretation offered by author Martha Beck in her soon to be published book, The Way of Integrity. While I’m unlikely to drop everything and rush out to get a copy of Dante’s classic, I have come to appreciate the metaphorical ideas and mystical inspiration that it contains. But perhaps more important, Beck uses it as a road map for meeting our inner selves and following a path to inner wholeness and ultimate wellbeing. And who couldn’t use a bit (or a lot) of that these days?
As you may have noticed I spend a lot of time looking for ways to improve myself and my world. From there, one of the joys of doing this blog is to share what I’ve learned with others. So this week in a podcast by Brene Brown I was introduced to a man named Scott Sonenshein who gave me new ways to think about a couple of topics I write about quite often. His book, Stretch—Unlock the Power of Less and Achieve More Than You Ever Imagine describes people as either stretchers or chasers. And while the title might sound like a business or motivational book, it essentially offers several good ideas about how each of us can increase our wellbeing, peace of mind and creativity. Today I am sharing four ways each of us can stretch ourselves toward greater fulfillment. [Read more…]
Just over a month ago Thom and I bought ourselves two electric bikes. For several years we talked about doing it, but I kept saying no. I knew the minute I got on one, I would love it. Instead we regularly rode our 7-speed beach cruisers frequently until finally I asked myself, “What am I waiting for?” Thom needed no encouragement—in fact, he had been researching peddle-assist e-bikes for months. He knew what kind would best suit us, which bikes offered the best value for the money, and where to buy them. All it took was the decision to do it. As predicted, the minute I got on the bike and cruised around the parking lot at the bike store, I couldn’t wipe the smile from my face. Ever since, after dozens of rides, I’m the first to admit that yes, sometimes money can buy happiness. Of course, as the saying goes, you need to know where to shop. And definitely you need to know what to buy! [Read more…]
Last week a blogger friend posted an article about how the communication in our country has become very contemptuous. I agree. Anyone who has been on social media or watched any news has seen some very angry rhetoric thrown around—especially at anyone who doesn’t agree with them. While I’ve overreacted to a few things myself, I do work hard not to slide down that rabbit hole as much as possible. It’s one thing to state the facts and another to state your fear, anger and frustration. But the more I considered the idea, the more I questioned whether it is always necessary to stay “nice” rather than get a little nasty now and then. Is there ever a time it is called for, and if yes, do we give ourselves permission to go there when necessary? [Read more…]
During the entire month of August, I took a sabbatical. I nearly just wrote that I took a much “needed” sabbatical. But that wouldn’t have been true. I didn’t need one, I wanted one. And that level of honesty became much more important to me after I read the book Untamed by Glennon Doyle. For the most part during the last month I only read light fiction as a treat to myself. However, when I was able to grab a free copy of Untamed through my library, I jumped on it. It was just what I needed to dig deep and give myself permission to take my writing to another level. What’s that you might ask? I now hope to un-tame and un-cage my inner cheetah and let her roam wherever she wants to go. And hopefully my actions and my thoughts will encourage the same in you. [Read more…]
During the last few months I think the majority of us have been focused on COVID-19 and staying healthy, safe and sane. But if you’re paying any attention you know there is a lot more change going on in the world than just the virus. Some of the events and certain people you might agree with—and others you might not. Let’s just acknowledge that neutrality is impossible. We are either part of the solution—or part of the problem. And while it wouldn’t be SMART to attempt to suggest what any of you should think, it doesn’t hurt to remind each of us that, “If we don’t stand for something, we’ll fall for anything.”
Our age doesn’t matter. If we are alive we still have a part to play. If we are choosing to sit things out or not get involved when obvious and repeated injustice occurs, then we are supporting those who perpetuate it. Let’s never pretend that our silence or inaction doesn’t matter. It does. It’s time to be honest with ourselves and pick the side that best aligns with our highest values and then do whatever we can to bring about the kind of world we want to live in. It really is up to us.
Have you ever heard of the Tao? Taken from a book titled, the Tao Te Ching written over 2,500 years ago, the Tao (usually pronounced Dao) philosophy offers advice for living a peaceful, compassionate and sustainable life. In fact, even if you’ve never heard of the Tao you are likely familiar with some of its more popular sayings like, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” or “Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” This week in our SMART Vlog Thom and I talk about a few of the major concepts within the Tao that we find most helpful for living a good life. We hope you enjoy the discussion.
*Note: If you’d rather read about the Tao than listen to our discussion, here are two articles I’ve written about it before that you might enjoy.
As Thom and I hiked through the forest this morning he happened to mention the obvious. That was how neither of us could have predicted how the summer of 2020 would unfold. And I’m guessing that none of you could either. Even if we have managed to stay healthy, and that the vast majority of our family and friends are managing it as well, it seems like every new day brings some unsettling news. Surely none of us would have “chosen” the current situation.
However at the same time, I’m also reminded of the Wayne Dyer quote, “I don’t know enough to be a pessimist.” In other words, I’ve have repeatedly believed that in spite of any appearance to the contrary, that good can and will eventually come from any situation. Supporting that idea is one of my favorite stories I like to call, “Maybe Yes, Maybe No.” [Read more…]
One of the problems with being endlessly curious is that I sometimes forget about something interesting and helpful that I learned in the past. The concept of Spiral Dynamics is just like that. This last week my husband Thom happened to mention it, and voila!, the light bulb went on! I instantly remembered what captivated me about the theory years ago. In my view, Spiral Dynamics is a good explanation for why some of us have a difficult time getting along with other people. Not only is the country polarized in many ways, but so too are some friends and even family members. To me, Spiral Dynamics offers an elegant understanding for not what we think, but why we think so differently. [Read more…]
Ever heard of Alan Cohen before? Thom and I have had the benefit of seeing him speak in person, and to read a number of his books. His practical, insightful and often humorous perspectives continue to bring me back to some fundamental ideas that influence my life in many ways. When I came across this one today, I am reminded that even in a changing world, we have the choice about which agreements we follow—and those we discard. We alone decide who to believe and who not to believe. And yes, I can’t help but believe that those agreements shape my reality. Staying awake and aware to that concept is a practical and SMART way to live. At least I think so. What about you?