Every now and then I feel the need to pause, think about and write about why it is important for me to slow down. How about you? And now that I know from my Enneagram* test that I am a “7” it is even more vital. That’s because I have an almost compulsive need to do more, experience more, learn more, research more, have more fun, etc. You can see how critical the concept of slowing down can be for me. But I’m guessing I’m not the only one who is super busy and overwhelmed these days. So, this morning, after listening to one “more” new podcast, I heard a speaker who got me thinking about why we all seem to resist the idea of taking things slower—even when we know better. That’s when I came up with five big myths that I believe are at the root of the problem.
When I was younger I can remember listening to my parents and their friends at dinner. On more than one occasion, the condition of their health or that of their family or friends, would take over the conversation. While they seldom complained, I still considered their discussion beyond boring. I also smugly vowed that I would never become one of those-kind-of-people when I got older. Guess what? Things sure look different from the other side of the timeline now. And after Thom and I have navigated a few health ups and downs during the last couple of years, that particular topic of conversation has gotten far more interesting. [Read more…]
Happy Valentine’s Day! In honor of the holiday, this week’s SMART Living Blog post is a vlog where Thom and I talk about what we believe makes for great relationships. Of course, not everyone is married, we still tend to think that certain elements work for any relationship–be it your parents, your children, your siblings or most especially your friends. So if you have the time, please take ten minutes to watch and/or listen to the video. We then would love to hear your thoughts about what you think the best relationships include in the comments below. Whatever you do, may your Valentine’s Day be a lovely reminder to cherish and appreciate those you love.
Have you ever heard of The Enneagram before? I had, years and years ago. Yet although familiar with the term I only had a vague idea of what it was. Then this last week while listening to a podcast interview by author Brene Brown she mentioned that she had taken the test. When asked what she learned from it she said, “It pissed me off!” She went on to say that it told her some things about herself that she didn’t really want to admit. So call me crazy, but the idea that a test can help reveal parts of ourselves to ourselves, captivated me. From there you can guess what I’ve been doing ever since. And once you know my “type number” you can easily see why I found it fascinating. [Read more…]
Choice. I firmly believe that we really do get to make it up. That doesn’t mean that we are free from the consequences of our choices, or that sometimes those choices don’t come from, or lead to, difficult circumstances—yet regardless, we always get to choose our next step. As Viktor Frankl said when trapped in a Nazi Death Camp, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” And in honoring the opportunity to choose, I’m offering a free gift to all my SMART Living 365 readers for this weekend only. [Read more…]
Last weekend I drove to a small town about 50 miles from where I live to be a part of a Croning Ceremony. There, along with 28 other women, I officially became a crone. Why? As a woman who is about to turn 65 in a few months, I thought it was time for me to embrace and celebrate the woman I am, rather than the woman I used to be. Not only was the gathering of women and the ceremony itself heartfelt, uplifting and inspiring, the experience helped me to get in touch with an inner archetype that most women (and some special men) hold inside. Could it be possible that that energy is exactly what the world needs most right now? [Read more…]
I’m in love. Don’t worry, it’s likely just an infatuation with a 78-year-old man named James Hollis Ph.D. I first encountered his work a month or two ago and since then I’ve read articles and listened to every podcast and YouTube lecture from him I could find. Who is he and why am I infatuated? On the surface Hollis is a practicing Jungian analyst and depth psychologist, author of over 15 books, a public speaker, and the former executive director of the Jung Society of Washington D.C. What I find particularly attractive are the thoughts and ideas that he routinely illuminates—a big part of which is the examination of our lives as we mature and enter the second half of life. And in spite of the many distractions we all face, I can’t help but be captivated by the goldmine of introspection he offers for those of us who are drawn to greater self-discovery and awareness, along with other insights about the innermost workings of our psyche. [Read more…]
A major theme here at SMART Living 365 is to grow, evolve and try new things. With that in mind, Thom and I have been wanting to try our hand at creating a Vlog—that’s a Video Blog in case you’ve never heard of such a thing. Obviously we are new at this, so it is definitely an experiment. But isn’t all life an experiment? And if we aren’t learning and exploring new options, then what are we doing with our one wild and precious life? From that perspective we have nothing to lose. Our intention is to post one of these every month in place of a traditional blog post, and to keep the Vlog to about the same length of time it would take you to read one of my blog posts. We’re going to do our best to make it fun as well as informative! So here goes.
As some of you know, tomorrow December 21st is officially the shortest daytime of 2019 and the longest night of the year–The Winter Solstice. Then Sunday Evening marks the beginning of Hanukkah, followed by Christmas Day on the 25th and Kwanzaa on the 26th. There are a few other holidays in there as well but I think you get the idea. No matter how any of us celebrate, I tend to believe that we, like Lawrence Kushner says in this quote, are awaiting hope, possibility and whatever we call “The Light” to grow stronger. May each of us find it inside and outside of ourselves in the days to come.
And if you’d like to read more about the Winter Solstice, I wrote the following blog post a few years ago that still applies. “Two Big Reasons To Celebrate The Winter Solstice” [Read more…]
Several years ago I wrote a novel entitled Finding Grace. I’d always wanted to write a novel and am quite pleased and proud to have written the type of book I love to read. One of the major characters is an older woman who serves as a life-long mentor to a much younger Grace. I named the elder woman Mrs. Pettermint, with a few quirks to make her interesting. Throughout the book, this wise woman offers her perspective on everything from love, to life, and to healing. And while she didn’t specifically mention Christmas or any of the other holidays celebrated this season, I can easily imagine what she might suggest. Here are five pieces of advice I can almost hear her say to Grace and anyone else who wants to listen. [Read more…]