Most of us know that one of the best ways to live a SMART, happy and fulfilled life is to practice gratitude on a regular basis. As Mathew Henry said, “Thanksgiving is good, but Thanks Living is better.” Unfortunately, if you’re anything like me it’s far too easy to get stuck in our routines or troubles and let the doing of it slip our mind on a daily basis. That’s why for the second year in a row I am challenging myself to highlight aspects of “Thanksgiving” here on my blog in a way that keeps much of my focus and attention on both the feeling and expression of gratitude every day throughout the month. And hopefully, just like last year, you will be inspired enough to join me and “share the gratitude” in any way that you can. [Read more…]
One of my blogging friends named Bethany turned 35 a couple of weeks ago and she wrote a blog post listing 35 different lessons she’s learned during her life. After getting over the shock of realizing I’d been married longer than she’s been on the planet—I realized that with my wedding anniversary happening this week, I had learned a great deal during the last 36 years of marriage. With the hope that some of these might prove useful to others, here’s my list: [Read more…]
I usually stay away from politics here on SMART Living, but for an obvious reason healthcare is on my mind this week. But let me be clear, I don’t think that healthcare is or should be a political issue. Instead, our health and its care are two issues that touch every single human on the planet—including those of us who practice simple living or minimalism. Unfortunately, with all the blogs I follow—everything from minimalism to personal growth to spirituality—no one seems to be talking about this very all-encompassing concern. So, hopefully, by bringing this important subject out into the light we can recognize how vital it is and arrive at more conscious, aware and responsible actions for our future. [Read more…]
Let me state right up front that this article is not about getting rich or making money. It is also not about the latest in security technology or the suggestion that you should be happy just the way you are. Instead, I want to explore the biggest obstacle to why most of us don’t really feel rich, safe or content regardless of how much money we have in the bank, the circumstances surrounding us, or how great things might be at any point. That big “elephant in the room” is an underlying, all-pervasive and largely unconscious belief in scarcity and lack. In fact, whether you are on the path to a simple or minimalist lifestyle—or just trying to get by as you are—I’m convinced that discovering what I mean by that, growing ever more aware of it, and taking steps to counteract it are some of the most important steps we can ever take to increase our individual well being. Interested? [Read more…]
If you follow my blog you know that a couple of my recent posts feature the practice that I call right-sizing. What I hope you’ve picked up on is that right-sizing is actually a way of life—at any age—not just those entering retirement. For anyone just joining us, I define right-sizing as creating a life that uniquely fits and satisfies you and your family with the greatest amount of joy and contentment and the least amount of stress or worry. While the lifestyle offers tremendous benefits to those of us in midlife or contemplating retirement, every person who is interested in a more simple, meaningful, and happy life will benefit. The first post “Step One” focused on the consciousness behind a right-sized life, while “Step Two” got down to the nitty-gritty of finances. In this, the final step to right-sizing your life, I want to throw out a few random thoughts that can help to increase your understanding and awareness. Finally, I’m hoping that each and every one of you who reads this post will offer at least one small suggestion you already practice, or think will benefit you, so that we can all learn and grow together as we right-size our lives. [Read more…]
“Freedom is from within.” ~Frank Lloyd Wright
One of the perks of staying in our rental condo in Baja, Mx is being able to enjoy a lovely infinity swimming pool and hot tub overlooking some cliffs on the Pacific Ocean. Last night as the sun was setting, Thom and I put our suits on and walked the short distance to enjoy a soak. After settling in we were soon joined by three young men and a woman. (Did I mention it’s a big hot tub?) Over the next hour or so we talked about many things, but a big part of the conversation was about freedom. And because the U.S. is celebrating our independence day this week, I am naturally reminded that freedom is one of the greatest gifts available. But just because most Americans have many advantages related to freedom, that doesn’t always mean that we are all free to experience them equally or fully. What then does freedom really mean if we aren’t free to express, experience and enjoy our lives in happy and meaningful ways on a regular basis? [Read more…]
Last week was my birthday. Or I should say, one of my birthdays. That’s because we all actually have many birth-days or major turning points during our lifetimes if we choose to remember and acknowledge them. Each one of these birthdays marks a significant turning point in our experience here on planet Earth. And even though there are always a large number of major and minor days of significance for each of us, I believe my life contains four extra-ordinary days of beginning. By sharing my special days with you, perhaps it will be easier for you to pinpoint and acknowledge similar events and birth-days in your life that you might want to honor and commemorate.
“Wherever you go, there you are.” ~Jon Kabat-Zinn
By now it is probably obvious that I love to travel. But what you might not realize is that I also love coming home. It wasn’t always that way. Years ago I was constantly scheming up ways to get out of town. Naturally, the more exotic the location the better—but I really wasn’t that picky. Above all, I longed to escape to the open road and the infinite possibility that it held. When I finally had to come home it was more like a punishment, or at least the penalty that must be paid until the next adventure came along. Then somewhere along the line my thinking started changing—until now I am as happy returning home as I am packing my bags to go. So what’s different? Ultimately, I’ve come to believe that coming home after any length of time provides a huge mirror into a person’s life. What we think is important, what we feel we have to be and do, and even who we think we are, are all reflected in the thoughts and images of what we must return to after we’ve been away. [Read more…]
“Death, taxes and childbirth! There’s never any convenient time for any of them.” ~Margaret Mitchell
I don’t often quote the Bible on this blog but the phrase “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s…” just seems appropriate this time of year. If you, like Thom and I, are self-employed then this is the time of year when we gather together our income and expenses and prepare to do some rendering. And while it is definitely not my favorite experience of year, it serves to remind me that we have a choice in how we view things (yes—even taxes!) So here are a few thoughts on paying taxes and on other things that we might as well render while we are at it. [Read more…]
“We get too soon old and too late smart.” ~Pennsylvania Dutch proverb
I read many online blogs and a large portion of them are about minimalism and simple living. That’s wonderful because I believe there is richness to simple living that goes far beyond having less stuff. I also think that since I’ve been embracing it more and more, my life has become happier, less stressful and far more meaningful. But something I’ve noticed is that the vast majority of blogs about minimalism are written primarily by those in their twenties to thirties. And while I’m psyched to know that young adults are embracing the lifestyle, I also believe that maturity offers a perspective that should not be overlooked. In fact, it is often those who have lived through multiple choices and experiences that have the most to offer others. That’s why I thought a few perspectives from midlife should be included in any discussion about minimalism or simple living.