Have you ever heard the quote, “Comparison is the thief of joy?” That great quote comes from former President Teddy Roosevelt. And I completely agree. But this week I realized that comparison is also a thief to feeling grateful—and without gratitude, how can we feel joy? Of course, like so many issues of awareness, this seems obvious. The key is to remember it on a daily basis. Because if you are anything like me, it’s very easy to fall into the trap of seeing and comparing what others have or are doing—and then overlooking the good in my own life. Fortunately this week, two great examples popped up to drive this idea home. Even better perhaps, they happened to others rather than me. Ever notice how we can often catch behaviors in other people far more easily than in ourselves? [Read more…]
The amount of rainfall in California this year has been phenomenal. Even here in the desert where I live the rocky mountainsides are covered with a soft green layer and just about every inch of open space is blanketed with blooming flowers. Every sand dune and vacant lot flaunts a wild mixture of brittle brush, purple verbena, brown-eyed primrose, Arizona Lupine and others I can’t name. So, with flowers on my mind, a recent article in Psychology Today caught my eye. It seems that current research has identified, primarily in children, two defining characteristics. That as a dandelion—or that as an orchid. Is it possible that understanding how those two flower traits play can play out in a person’s life could help us better understand ourselves as well as those around us? [Read more…]
This week I’m pleased to introduce you to Beth Havey as my guest blogger while Thom and I are traveling. Beth is actually a neighbor of mine here in Southern California (about 150 miles away)—but we haven’t met in person—yet! But I do feel like I know her because I have been reading her blog Boomer Highway for several years now. There she writes about many things that I believe are heart-felt and SMART. Thank you, Beth, for filling in for me and sharing some of your ideas about relationships during the holidays.
Ebenezer Scrooge said: “I will honor Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year.” That saying is just one of the hundreds of memories in our hearts that help build our traditions during the winter holidays. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukka, Kwanzaa or other traditions associated with the winter solstice or eastern religions, it is a time of year that gathering friends and family together helps create a warm environment of food and friendship. Clearly, such gatherings help us deal with the bleakness of winter. Christmas, like the other holidays, is most often about the people in your life. [Read more…]
I doubt it is a surprise to many of you that one of my favorite holidays is Thanksgiving. But once the official day is over, it’s far too easy for us to let it slip away and get busy preparing for the slew of holidays to come. Making matters worse are all the retailers and advertising companies doing their best to sell us things for others and ourselves. That is why I decided this year to spend a little more time focusing on what Thanksgiving means to me on the day and week after. And what better way than by sharing the SMART words of many of my favorite writers and speakers?
With that in mind, here are ten quotes from my collection that I believe have the ability to help me the most.
You might think it strange that an optimist like me, on an encouraging and uplifting site like SMART Living 365, would ever ask the question: “What do you do when things fall apart?” And yes, there is a best-selling book by Pema Chodron with the title When Things Fall Apart. So what makes me think I can add to the brilliant words offered by that woman? Because I’m human. And because even though I’m not an expert, I do believe we are all more similar than not. Plus, because even when we know better—even when we think we are better, stuff still happens. Then, when it does, we have the option of taking our experience in one of two ways. My recent experience in Mexico offers the perfect example. [Read more…]
During a recent conversation, the topic turned to the latest news on television. When asked for my opinion, I prefaced my answer by saying, “You know that I always search for the silver lining, don’t you?” A friend answered in a way that surprised me by saying, “I know you are a positive thinker, but I also consider you a realist.” A realist? It’s true that I don’t deny that bad things happen, I just do my best to not let them destroy my happiness or peace of mind. Yet, rather than thinking of myself as a realist, I prefer the idea of being a practical optimist. While optimism is important, vitally important, keeping things pragmatic is equally necessary. After all, if something doesn’t bring you the results you want, it’s advantageous to keep trying to discover what does. And if you are standing in front of a charging elephant, it is best to move out of the way. [Read more…]
My older sister Ann passed on this week and rather than make myself crazy with everything I am called to do, I decided to share a post I wrote many years ago instead. It was, and is, a simple and SMART reminder for us all.
This week Thom and I experienced a dramatic reminder of this truth—don’t take anyone for granted and share your love with those you love every single day. While most all of us would agree that this is an important part of SMART Living, everyone—me included, can use a reminder
Our “lesson” in this regard came this past Monday evening. There was nothing special about the day—nothing bad, but nothing amazingly wonderful either. We’d finished dinner and Thom was in the kitchen doing dishes. I could see that the sun had finally set so I knew it would be getting cooler outside. Our small mixed-terrier Kloe was watching me closely to see if it was time to go to the dog park before dark. But before we did, Thom decided to take the garbage out to the trash bins with Kloe trailing behind. [Read more…]
Happiness research by Harvard professor Daniel Gilbert teaches that most of us aren’t good at predicting how happy we will be in the future. Not only are our predictions based upon current feelings and events, they also flow out of our previous experiences—none of which necessarily explains what will happen, or how we will feel, far into the future. Instead, Gilbert recommends that we study and learn from those who are living the experience we say we want to mimic. Could it be that only the oldest of old living today can offer us clues about living a very long and happy life? That’s exactly what John Leland suggests in his new book, Happiness is a Choice You Make: Lessons from a year among the oldest old. For those of us who see a very long life as a gift we want to embrace, this book is a window into the wisdom of several elders with a great deal to teach.
There is something about the beginning of a new year that fills me with even more optimism than usual. I won’t deny that last year was challenging on many levels for many people around the world. But that simple digit change on the end of the date invites the potential for something different—something better—something hopeful. And as a person who believes in the power of affirmations to help direct our thoughts in positive ways—I decided to go through a few of my favorite quotes to see which ones I want to focus on as 2018 gets underway. [Read more…]
Most people I know here in the U.S. are focused on the coming holidays. Everywhere you turn the music, the decorations, and the celebrations are overlapping with festivities. It’s very easy to get swept up in cramming the calendar with every possible event and trying to do it all. It’s also tempting to compare one’s experience with the past, or the other people we see on Facebook. Or how about those Christmas movies where every relationship drama is resolved in less than two hours so that everyone is happy and in love by the end of the movie? That’s why it is SMART to remember that our expectations can either provide us with a wonderful experience—OR—they can make us miserable. Like so many things, if we stay conscious and aware we can choose to embrace the best and let go of the rest. [Read more…]