If you’re anything like me you might not have thought much about inequality over the last week/month/year. If you are white, upper middle class, have no debt, a good family income and are healthy—it doesn’t cross our mind much. Unfortunately, if you don’t fit in any of those categories, there is a good chance that you experience inequality in dozens of ways on a regular basis. Even worse, you might not even be aware of how your opportunities for a better future for yourself and your family are slowly being eroded. But because SMART Living 365 is about waking up and living consciously, responsibly and sustainably in everything we do—and then making choices and decisions that lead to greater happiness and wellbeing—learning about the growing inequality in our country is essential. [Read more…]
Several months ago I had the pleasure of doing my first live interview around the subject of simple living. A website named Midway Simplicity.com made it a regular practice to talk with a number of simplicity and minimal living bloggers about his or her version of minimalism or simplicity. I was honored to be included. [Read more…]
Have you ever heard the statement, “Argue for your limitations, and they’re yours?” In case you’re wondering, that quote comes from a book written by Richard Bach titled, “Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah.” When I first read it years ago I thought I knew what it meant. What’s interesting is that I seem to need to learn that lesson over and over again.
Limitations, of course, are any excuses I use to hold myself back and not live the life I dream of living. Limitations are also the rationalizations we all use for doing or not doing something, or believing or not believing just about anything. The big problem is that limitations seem so real that we often think we have no choice but believe them. Fortunately, there is now scientific proof that much of what is going on in our minds are stories we tell ourselves—that may or may not be, true. So if we are making up stories as we go along—why on earth would we invent stories that limit us and hold us back?
This morning I was surprised to see a blog post on the Internet titled something like, “It’s not easy to be a minimalist.” Then when I thought about it, most of the articles I read these days about simple living or minimalism focus on the struggle to de-clutter or reduce one’s debts—as though this new lifestyle was a chore instead of a pleasure. But at the core of how I define simple living are the opulent gifts of freedom, rest, peace, time and contentment. A great outcome from any one of those is a good night’s sleep. While seldom mentioned when listing the benefits of minimalism, I think most people overlook the fact that sleep, and sleeping well, is one of the most luxurious aspects of a richly contented life. [Read more…]
This last weekend Thom, Kloe and I took a short trip down to Baja Mexico to visit friends. We hadn’t been to Rosarito in years and we hadn’t visited our longtime friends Larry & Jose since they bought their stunning condo perched on the rugged coastline. We had a wonderful time—lots of great conversation, plenty of laughter, tasty food, soaking in the hot tub, playtime with Kloe and her new dog girlfriend Tasha, a couple of bottles of nice wine and even a sip or two of the “new” almond tequila. But toward the end of the mini-vacation we hit a slight “hitch.” Luckily, we both quickly remembered that we “get to make it up” and decided to ignore the hitch and focus on the good. After all, did we want to remember the fun from the amazing previous four days, or the small “black dot” towards the end? And as usual, what we chose to focus on and remember, is up to us. [Read more…]
Most of the time I consider myself to be one of the most fortunate people on the planet. I have a wonderful life—I’m healthy and have a great relationship—I also get to work and write about things that matter to me on a consistent basis. But every now and then something pops up that makes me pause and wonder if my writing and work is making any kind of positive difference. Other times things happen or people do unexpected and unpleasant things that catch me by surprise. That’s when it is SMART for me to remember the words of a wise woman named Byron Katie. One of the solutions she suggests for when we are feeling stressed out or unhappy is to “Stay In Your Own Business.” In fact, she is very clear that most time when we are struggling with a situation we are in someone else’s business—and the simple practice of recognizing that fact is usually all it takes to bring us back to ourselves. [Read more…]
A number of years ago my husband Thom came up with the phrase, “you get to make it up.” Something about that statement resonated with others, especially those of us who have studied New Thought philosophy . But at the same time the phrase raised questions, like: What the…? You mean I am making it up when bad things happen and I don’t feel good? I get to make up who is the next president? I am making it up when I’m broke and in debt? It sounds so bold, presumptive and sacrilegious to say we are individually making it all up. But after reading a new book this week entitled, “Subliminal—How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior” there is now nueroscientific proof that much of what happens in our lives is indeed the creation of our own minds. [Read more…]
Do you consider yourself a minimalist? Do you even know what minimalism means? Lately I’ve been excited by a number of blogs and websites devoted to the topic. That interest signals a reverse in the over-consumptive tendencies and consumer lifestyle so prevalent during the last couple of decades here in the U.S. But often when I read the posts and comments on such sites, it seems that those who are involved have differing views of what minimalism is and why it can be beneficial. Perhaps before we start calling ourselves a minimalist we should describe what we mean in the first place. [Read more…]
Anyone who knows me very well knows I’m not really into sports. Even though I have attended a number of sporting events in person—NFL Football, Lakers Basketball, Angel’s Baseball, Rocky Hockey, world-class tennis, golf and a few others—it was always about the experience. I guess I figure that if I am going to watch others play sports, then I want to be present and not just passively watching on TV. Maybe that’s why even though I can appreciate some of the 2012 World Olympics—it only partially captures my interest. It also makes me ask, why do we continue to put so much emphasis on what is physically possible, but very little attention on intelligence and creativity? Why don’t we hold a “Creative” Olympics every four years? Or what about holding a worldwide Olympics of Compassion? One can only guess what an Olympics for the Mind might foster for the people of the world. [Read more…]
I caught a cold this weekend. Yeah, I know it’s not a popular thing to do—or especially to admit. After all, how many times have you heard someone say, “I NEVER get sick!” Which is odd, when you distinctly recall just a short while (week, month, season) ago they were moaning about feeling awful. Besides, now that most people have a Facebook Timeline we have proof of their past experiences! But being sick and trying to heal while not fighting the process got me thinking. That’s when I decided it might be SMART to come up with a few lessons all of us could remember when we have a cold. [Read more…]