When I first decided to take a break from my weekly blogging schedule for a month or two, I had no idea how easy it would be. In fact, except for a couple of times when Thom and I made short video clips (a potential vlog) along the way, I didn’t think about blogging at all. Now that I have arrived at our first destination here on Vancouver Island, I must admit that I’ve had a few twinges of guilt about not being more productive. But other than those twinges I’ve been just happily experiencing being a nomadic “sort-of” retired person for the time being. However, that doesn’t mean that we haven’t taken dozens of photos (along with our short videos) that I decided I wanted to share with any of you who are interested. So here are a few of the best I thought you might enjoy! [Read more…]
Let me tell you a little secret. I am a bit obsessed with the peeling on the manzanita tree. It’s similar to the attraction you might get after your husband or child gets a sunburn and you see their skin start to flake and peel off. The temptation to “help it along” is very strong in me. I would never touch a scab, but there is something about that flaking skin. So, every summer when we stay in the mountains and I see the manzanitas beginning their annual shedding, I just have to participate. Naturally that got me wondering. I know humans peel after a sunburn, and snakes and other reptiles peel on a regular basis. But why the manzanita? After a little research I realized how I too might benefit from an “annual shedding and letting go.” And perhaps it would be SMART for each of us to consider our own benefits from peeling away certain parts of a life we may have outgrown.
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…]
Ever since watching Amanda Gorman recite her poem The Hill We Climb at President Biden and Vice President Harris’s inaugurations, I have had poetry on my mind. I’m reminded of the simplicity and power that the right words can invoke with such emotion and inspiration. Because I was so taken by her, I was tempted to just provide a link to the video and reprint Gorman’s poem for us all to revisit. That was until Thom came across a poem written by the late John O’Donohue that also deserves to be remembered and absorbed. To me, his poem, For A New Beginning is a perfect poem for the start of a new year and a new era in our country. Besides that, his message echoes so much of what I consistently write here on SMART Living 365. I don’t know about you, but I welcome this new beginning for myself and the world.
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…]
Is today a good day for you to live? I’m sure most of you have heard the saying, “Today is a good day to die.” But what about living? Are you putting off living until the COVID-19 pandemic is resolved or there is a vaccine? Are you refusing to make the most of your life until the election has come and gone? Is there any excuse you/me/we continue to use to keep us from making today a good day to live? I don’t know about you but the more I am reminded that I only have so much time left on this planet, the more I value my life. I don’t want to reach my final days saying that I wasted 2020 (or any particular day) for any reason. Regardless of our circumstances, we each have the ability to shift our mindset and create days filled with things that matter to us. Join Thom and me on the SMART Living 365 Vlog as we discuss this topic and encourage ourselves and you, to make this a good day to live.
Have you ever heard the statement, “If you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything?” After a week of disturbing news coming from just about everywhere, it is easy to slip into anger, despair or denial. Honestly, I’ve done a bit of it all. Especially when every new day announces something even worse than the day before. But this morning I woke up and remembered the foundation of what I personally hold to be true, what I “stand” for, and what sustains me in times of trouble. And if I focus on those principles instead of the chaos, then I bring myself back to center. So, while I’m not sure my list will be helpful to anyone else and I certainly don’t expect others to have the same, I’m hoping that sharing mine will encourage others to remember and focus on what they stand for as well.
This weekend I turn 65. In anticipation of that big milestone, I began planning a trip to Spain and Portugal late last year. We were to fly out of Los Angeles on the 12th of May and, perhaps like many of you, my plans have disintegrated because of the current situation. At first we were hopeful that we could make the trip later this year. However, as it stands even those plans are too uncertain. But rather than throw myself a pity-party, I decided that I would go through all of my photos from all my previous trips taken during the last 25 years and pick out the ones that meant the most to me. And you know what? Just doing that lifted my mood AND reminded me of how very fortunate I’ve been in my life. If you enjoy hearing about travel and don’t mind looking through a few photos, this week’s post is all about that. My hope is that it inspires you to think back and remember the travel highlights in your own life as well as feel gratitude for the places and people you’ve seen along the way.
You might think it strange to be writing about luck or privilege with all the news about the Coronavirus or COVID-19 in the airways this week. But as luck would have it, I was offered a free book on the topic that had me asking myself, “Is it luck if you don’t catch an illness?” Likewise, are you unlucky if you do? Does love, wealth and happiness depend on luck? And if luck is indeed involved, is there anything we can do to increase it for ourselves? After finishing the book and listening to a couple of podcasts on the topic, I’ve come to the conclusion that yes, what we typically call luck is involved, but so is privilege. And perhaps best of all, there are steps we can take to increase our luck no matter where we find ourselves on the privilege-scale today. [Read more…]