Have you ever wondered why Scandinavian countries continue to show up at the top of all surveys and research done on happiness? Especially when you consider that for much of their winters they have very little sunlight and temperatures are freezing. Still, over and over those countries demonstrate that the people who live there rate highly in what most researchers call “subjective wellbeing.” So even though that environment is near the bottom of my personal list of where to live, and I doubt the people there walk around with giddy smiles on their faces, they clearly have something precious and desirable. Is it possible that what makes living there so unparalleled is something called “lagom?” And could it be that lagom is just the Swedish word for the practice of rightsizing?
When was the last time you hugged a tree? Believe it or not, I’ve spent the last couple of days doing just that. Remember a couple of weeks ago I recommended that we all spent at least 21 seconds a day hugging someone (or a pet) that we care about for our own physical and mental health? But what about trees? Ever since I finished a book titled Braiding Sweetgrass, the act of connecting deeply with nature has become so much more necessary than I ever realized. So, while I don’t know if any of you reading this will ever be motivated to do the same, I wanted to at least invite you to consider how important that connection could be to both your wellbeing and that of Mother Earth as well. [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.
There appears to be so much divisiveness in our world these days that I need to be constantly reminded that there is something that connects us all at a deep level. You too? I also find that a short story or parable is a great way to bring the point home. So when I found this story about frogs—yes frogs—it expressed the idea visually and emotionally for me. And naturally, I wanted to share it all with you. Here is “The Parable Of The Frogs.”
It was a pleasant morning in a small town in the heartland of the United States. Around the edge of the town was a field which had several wells and each well had hundreds of frogs. And the wonderful thing was that the walls of each well had had been painted a distinctively different color.
Like many of you Thom and I have been watching the stock market go down and then up again during this pandemic. We’ve also read about how some of our country’s leaders are using their prior knowledge to “rig the system” while the government is throwing billions at the economy to (at least temporarily) keep it all propped up. Clearly some people are making gobs of money during this situation in spite of the fact that many others are experiencing tragic financial, emotional and health circumstances. But are those the only two options? Surely it is possible to invest in the future in ways that are both more equitable and self-sustaining? Surely it is possible to cover our own needs without throwing all other people under the bus. Those thoughts led me to consider how and why most of us invest, as well as a few SMART ways we can strategize for the future. [Read more…]
March is always beautiful and considered “high season” where I live in the Desert Southwest. This last week it was strangely quiet. Schools are closed, traffic is a trickle, and most restaurants are closed. About the only businesses seeing a crowd are the grocery stores with people looking dismally at mostly empty shelves. Surely we are living in an unprecedented time? Perhaps our parents or grandparents who lived through the last world war recognize the sense of uncertainty that comes when something jolts our sense of safety and understanding about how the world is supposed to work. But most of us weren’t alive then and this is our first introduction to such uncertainty. Thankfully, most of us, like most of them, will get through this crisis with the right amount of care and responsible action. But in the meantime, it is SMART to remember that our how we respond to this experience is up to us. It’s also important to remember we are all in this together. In this, our third SMART Living 365 Vlog, Thom and I share several ideas we hope to implement in the days to come in order to sooth any anxiety or fear lurking inside. We hope you find them helpful as well. And if you have any tips for getting through these times as calmly, compassionately and peacefully as possible, please share them in the comments below.
Note: If you have trouble accessing the video on the link above, please CLICK HERE.
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.
Now that Thanksgiving Day has come and gone in the U.S. we begin the countdown to the Christmas Holiday with what is commonly called Black Friday. All the advertisers want us to believe that if we spend the next 25 days shopping our hearts out, we’ll feel fulfilled, loved and save a lot of money doing it. But we know better don’t we? Today and during the next month let’s do our best remembering that less really is more. What we really crave is connection, hope, love, freedom and meaning–oh, and good health as well. None of that can be bought. Thanks to Joshua Becker from Becoming Minimalist for inspiring this week’s photo blog quote.
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…]
Do you listen to podcasts? Last month I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Kim Acedo on her podcast Me Time Midlife Podcast. I enjoyed our “chat” so much and the opportunity to talk about rightsizing that I decided that this week while traveling I would share the episode with all of you.
I don’t know about you, but it took me a while to get into podcasts. Most of them do take a bit more time to listen to—but they are also very portable when on the move. [Read more…]