Every summer my husband Thom and I rent a house up in the mountains about an hour from our home. We do it mainly to get out of the summer heat of our desert environment. But behind the more obvious reason is that it connects us to feelings of beauty and nature that we can’t get sitting at home in front of the computer in our air-conditioned house. So, when I happened upon an article that offered an even better reason why our yearly sojourns have become so important, I wasn’t surprised. It turns out that being in nature, and finding and experiencing an ongoing sense of awe and wonder, is critical to our feelings of happiness and wellbeing. Oh, and besides that, it also makes us nicer people to be around. [Read more…]
My husband Thom and I love to travel almost as much as we enjoy rightsizing. But the two ideas are not mutually exclusive. In fact, because we rightsized our lives some years ago, we can now travel more and in better form than ever before. So, if you’ve always dreamed of traveling more, but never seem to have the time or money, perhaps what you need is to rightsize your next trip.
First, I must recommend that you rightsize your entire life. What do I mean by that? If you are new to this website and unfamiliar with rightsizing, here’s a short definition: Rightsizing is taking the time to focus on what really matters to you and brings you happiness—and at the same time reducing and then eliminating everything that brings you down and sucks the joy out of you. [Read more…]
For the next couple of weeks I will be out of town and I’m happy to introduce all of you to another SMART blogger named Lizzie Lau. Liz is a part-time resident of La Quinta, CA when she’s not traveling the world with her daughter. From the moment we met, I knew she was living a rightsized life. This post about “pura vida” says it all. Thanks Liz for allowing me to share another version of rightsizing!
Costa Rica has always been especially alluring to me. There is something about it that makes me want to go there and hang out. It’s on my bucket list, and ideally I’d love to take my daughter there for an extended visit to help her learn Spanish. It’s not just the beautiful scenery, beaches, cloud forests, hammocks and ocean breeze that call to me. It’s the vibe, the Pura Vida.
As a kid, I wanted to think of my mother as the most beautiful, loving and witty woman in the world. Didn’t we all? Then as I teenager, I came to the conclusion that she probably didn’t know half as much as I thought I knew about absolutely everything. Finally as an adult, I’ve come to understand that she was just a human being doing the best she could with the awareness and consciousness that she possessed at the time. Thankfully, I no longer need her to be other than who she was, and I can appreciate the love and gifts I learned from her along the way. That’s why in honor of Mother’s Day I decided to look back on the things she taught me to both do, and NOT do, to live a long, happy and healthy life.
Last weekend I attended my first ever blogging conference. In many ways, it was my birthday gift to my blog. At the end of April, I will be celebrating the 5th anniversary of SMART Living 365. But what does any of that have to do with you, my dear readers? Just like with so many other SMART topics, when we think about it, we can learn and grow from any situation we experience. Even better, when we open our minds and our hearts, there is a good chance we can also have a fantastic and fun time. With that in mind, I jotted down a few things I learned over the weekend that I thought might prove SMART for us all. [Read more…]
Most mornings when I take my walk, I listen to taped talks and lectures I find online. A particular favorite is Abraham-Hicks and their discussion of Law Of Attraction. One thing I’ve always appreciated about them is the constant reminder to us all to recognize how we are feeling at any given moment, and from there to choose a more beneficial thought. On a particular morning last week I heard Abraham say to a deeply unhappy woman, “Just pick a slightly better thought, and slowly lean toward happiness.” That reminded me that while it’s nearly impossible to be happy 100% of the time, most of us have the ability to lean in that direction no matter what. From there, I came up with seven simple things all of us can do to make the leaning easier. [Read more…]
My mother Alice Pfeif was an artist. In middle age when all her daughters were grown and gone, she blossomed as a painter. A deep lover of horses and most animals, Mom painted hundreds of pictures of animals using photos and her imagination. Gradually she evolved into sculpting, working with paper, clay and bronze. Although she sometimes created art true to life, nearly half the time she made playful, funny art with animals doing unexpected things. One of her best was a huge circus elephant sitting on a couch with a trainer holding court. Unfortunately, her art teacher at the time had the gall to tell her that her elephant sculpture wasn’t art at all. He claimed, “Art is supposed to be serious!” Fortunately, she ignored him, entered the piece in a local art show, and won first place. Although I was oblivious at the time, I now know my mom created her art with tremendous courage and stubborn delight. I desperately hope to follow her example. [Read more…]
Can you remember back to a time when you thought you knew everything there was to know about life and love? Thom and I were talking the other day about how dramatically that has changed for us. As Thom likes to say, “The older I get, the less I know, but the more I understand.” Do you feel the same? With that in mind, Thom and I came up with 60 things we think we now understand that we didn’t even know we didn’t know when we were young. If you are over 40, take this test to see if you agree. If you are younger than 40, then here are some things we think you have to look forward to understanding on a deeper level as you age.
For as long as I can remember I wanted to travel to Egypt. I’m not sure if it was a vision of the pyramids or movies about Cleopatra that created the longing or not. I just knew that given the chance, I would go. In 2015, I turned 60, and I had no interest in a big party or an expensive gift. Instead travel, as usual, was at the top of my list. Now, after just returning from nearly three weeks in this chaotic, ancient and mesmerizing country, I still don’t know for certain why I needed to go. But what’s clear is that the biggest thing to fear about traveling to Egypt is the challenge it gives to our comfort zone, our limited scope of history, and our egocentric view as citizens of planet Earth. [Read more…]
This weekend Thom and I return from our vacation. But rather than a guest post, I am offering one I wrote four years ago. After re-reading it, I realized that this idea was exactly what I wanted to share with you at the start of another new year. Please join me in 2017 as we all write a story of peace, well-being and meaning for ourselves and others in 2017.
As a writer, it’s easy for me to imagine each New Year as a blank sheet of paper awaiting my creativity. But that metaphor actually works for everyone. Every year we each have the potential to start over with a story—our personal story for sure—and any other story we want to create. Some of you may have already started by creating a year filled with all sort of drama and possibility. Others are planning to make this one just another carbon-copy of last year. Or, for those awake and aware, some of us are willing to accept the idea that this year’s story can be filled with all the peace, love, adventure and purpose that we desire. As usual, the choice is up to us. [Read more…]