Remember back when you were a teenager and every thing that you did was either the beginning or the ending of the Universe as you knew it? The angst, the drama, the excitement, the thrill of life is usually never more vivid than during that time of such strong feelings and emotions. But as I shared in a previous post, I’ve had a couple of challenging weeks and it occurred to me over the weekend that I was severely “fun deprived.” In fact, it was four in the afternoon and I couldn’t even remember if I’d laughed once, let alone cracked a smile. That’s the exact opposite of feeling passionately alive. [Read more…]
As most of you know Thom and I have been mainly self-employed since we got together over 37 years ago. Fortunately, we are currently more financially secure and wealthy than we’ve ever been throughout our lives. Are we rolling in money? Not hardly. But not a week goes by that we don’t hear how so many others are stressed about money, how difficult are these economic times, and how financially things seem to be getting worse everywhere in the world. So what makes me feel so good about money these days? It’s probably because Thom and I take a money SMART approach to our finances. [Read more…]
This week Thom and I celebrate our 37th Wedding Anniversary. Whew! It’s strange to think that I’ve been married longer than many people I know have been alive. It’s even weirder to think that when we met all those many years ago I had the foresight to know that Thom was the one. Not just one, but THE ONE. Obviously, my life as I know it would have been dramatically different with any other man, Plus I would probably be much different than the person I now know myself to be. In the big picture, I’m sure there are several reasons why we’ve lasted while so many other good people haven’t. But one thing I know for sure is that my marriage to Thom differs tremendously from both my parent’s marriage and that of my in-laws in a couple of very distinct ways. And perhaps that offers some clues to others who would like to create a marriage of a lifetime.
A well-known study done in 2008 by Brandeis University reports that 90% of Americans believe in prayer. In fact, according to medical centers across our country, prayer is consider the most commonly used “alternative medicine” practiced. But what does that really mean? Are we all thinking, feeling and practicing the same way? Hardly. In fact, I’m fairly certain that the prayers I practice are very different from the prayer that you say or do—if you do. But if 55% of our country’s population say they pray every single day, who or what are they praying to, what are they experiencing and what do they expect as a result? Obviously the power, mystery and variety of the practice deserves more discussion.
With that said, I’d better point out that I am not religious at all. I do consider myself spiritual—actually a spiritual being having a human experience—but what I sometimes call God is likely very different from how you define It. Fortunately I don’t need you to agree with my definition of All-That-Is to receive the full benefit of my understanding. By the same token, I hope you don’t need me to agree with your definition for you to receive your benefits as well. [Read more…]
There is nothing like traveling to another country to help you appreciate what you have back at home. It’s also easy here in the U.S. to take so much of what we have, and routinely do, for granted. So even though I told you I was done with writing about our recent trip, here is what I immediately learned to appreciate the minute we crossed the border. Of course it is only SMART to remember these each and every day. [Read more…]
We woke up early on our final morning in Oaxaca MX and came up with five remaining SMART Tips we can all use for both travel and the journey of life. Overall our vacation in Mexico has introduced us to captivating and interesting sites and experiences. Everywhere we’ve gone we’ve met friendly, kind and generous people. The variety, quality and presentation of the food and beverages have been asombroso (amazing). And like the very best of travel, we have learned more about ourselves and discovered that people everywhere mainly strive for the same things—love, meaning, peace and a sense of purpose. How SMART is that? [Read more…]
Back when I first began writing I dreamed of becoming a travel writer. In those days travel writers wrote mainly for newspapers, magazines or occasionally a book. Then 10 years ago when I started hearing about the potential of blogging, Thom and I toyed with the idea of a travel blog for middle-aged motorcycle riders. Yes, really! That idea crashed and burned when I dumped my motorcycle at 40 mph, broke my arm and shoulder, and Thom sold my bike. Instead I spent over three years writing about the environment and everything green and sustainable before eventually focusing on what I call SMART Living. But even though writing about things I consider SMART is deeply satisfying, I’ve never forgotten that pull to write about my second love—travel. So with a three-week adventure planned in the days ahead, I decided to give it a shot—with a dose of SMART on the side! [Read more…]
So May is my birthday month. On May 23rd I turn 59. Yes, really! I only get to say that once so here it is in writing. And as I was sitting around thinking about how I wanted to celebrate I came up with a couple of ideas. Most importantly I want to offer all of you, my SMART readers a gift. If that’s sounds even remotely interesting, and/or you are curious about what I am giving away, please read all the way to the bottom of the post to discover how you can claim your free birthday gift from me.
But my thoughts about birthdays don’t stop there. By the time you get to be my age you’ve certainly been-there done-that with traditional ways to celebrate. So how can we celebrate in a way that makes this year stand out and not only be different, but be one of the more special years of all? [Read more…]
Yesterday I read an article about the coming season of Lent. It’s not something I’ve ever observed or celebrated before, but certain aspects of the ritual appeal to me. That got me thinking. Regardless of where a practice comes from, who says we have to be religious to learn and benefit from them? And even if we consider ourselves completely non-religious, we all routinely practice habits and other traditions, every single day. So why not mix the two ideas together into a powerful way to experience greater wellbeing and happiness? With the Lenten Season beginning next Wednesday, let’s consider whether a variation on the tradition can help us to be more mindful and eliminate a couple of bad habits at the same time. Interested? [Read more…]
For the last two years I have volunteered for a local organization called The Ophelia Project where I mentor teenage girls enrolled in high school. While not well known, I first learned of the organization from another volunteer named Sandy who told me how much she loved the experience. She explained that although it was an eight-month long commitment per year, adding up to about 12-15 hours a month, the time spent was some of the most rewarding things she did in her life. Right after that conversation, I got in touch with the director of Ophelia and signed up. [Read more…]