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.
I’ve never read The Divine Comedy otherwise known as Dante’s Inferno. From what I’ve heard it is difficult to understand or make much sense of, so why bother? That was until I read an interpretation offered by author Martha Beck in her soon to be published book, The Way of Integrity. While I’m unlikely to drop everything and rush out to get a copy of Dante’s classic, I have come to appreciate the metaphorical ideas and mystical inspiration that it contains. But perhaps more important, Beck uses it as a road map for meeting our inner selves and following a path to inner wholeness and ultimate wellbeing. And who couldn’t use a bit (or a lot) of that these days?
Last weekend Thom and I did a podcast interview with two new friends—Mary and Kevin Roberts. Their podcast Growth Minded Marriage is one I’ve recently started listening to because I appreciate their emphasis on growth as well as their honesty and connection with each other. During the podcast (link below) we talked about each of our WOTYs. My word, as you might recall, is trust. Thom’s is perspective, while Mary’s is patience. Then Kevin announced that his word was “uncertainty.” While I think all of them are uniquely important, I cannot help but admire both Kevin’s courage and his willingness in these uncertain times to embrace such a word. I suppose that is why it has been on my mind so much during the last week. Plus I believe it holds some SMART insights for us all as well. [Read more…]
I don’t consider myself very good at grieving. For one thing I tend to live in my head far more than my heart or body. For another I am constantly future-oriented. I wake up in the morning thinking of what is to come and where I go from here. That way of being is very unlike my dog Kloe. She was a master at staying present in the moment. She never seemed to look forward or backward—just focused on what was right before her. Perhaps that is one of her final lessons for me. Just take one day at a time. Feel what you feel. Don’t push away your emotions, but don’t let anyone else tell you how to handle them either. And be happy and content when surrounded by those you love.
As I think most of us know, grief is a normal human response to loss and it will last as long (or as short) as it needs to last. As for Kloe, she never denied when irritated or upset—and was often pretty vocal about it—but she seemed to know how to immediately forgive and forget, and then be happy and content shortly thereafter. While my heart felt broken by her sudden passing less than a week ago, I want to learn these last lessons from her to the best of my ability. [Read more…]
Back in 2018, and every year since, I began choosing a guiding word-of-the-year—otherwise known as WOTY. The idea is to pick a word as your one overarching theme or intention and then integrate it into life in the coming year. I’ve put quite a bit of thought into my word this year—more than any of the others. And although it wasn’t my first choice, “Trust” is the word I want to use as my guide during the 365 days of 2021.
The following list of sites (compiled at the end of 2020) are the best on the web that share information and personal insights about positive aging and retirement. Besides offering current and interesting news on an ongoing basis, most offer glimpses into the life of those living these experiences. While these are certainly not all the sites you can find on these topics, they are personal favorites that I believe are noteworthy, informative and often fun to read. Thank you to each of the authors and creators who put in the time and effort to provide such helpful ideas and information to all of us throughout the year.
Some people are born storytellers. That’s why I have been, along with millions of others, a fan of Robert Fulghum. His short essays nearly always manage to touch my heart and remind me of what really matters in my life. So although I know we all have a lot on our mind with the holidays unfolding around us, I thought I’d share one of his short stories that will lead to what I am guessing we all hope to experience this holiday—and into 2021.
“One year I didn’t receive many Christmas cards. One fetid February afternoon this troublemaking realization actually came to me out of the backroom in my head that is the source of useless information. Guess I needed some reason to really feel crummy, so there it was. But I didn’t say anything about it. I can take it, I’m tough. I won’t complain when my cheap friends don’t even care enough to send me a stupid Christmas card. I can do without love. Right.
This last week I passed a friend and her young son while taking Kloe (my dog) for her morning walk. We paused to chat, from a distance of over six feet apart of course, and immediately Joey the son began to excitedly recite what was on his Santa List. After listening for a few minutes about Joey’s ambitiously long list, we said our goodbyes. Then as Kloe and I headed for the nearby park, I couldn’t help but feel grateful that my little girl has never developed the habit of making a Christmas List. Of course, even if she did, it would likely be far different than the vast majority of young children in the U.S. Would you agree? [Read more…]
Is today starting to look a lot like yesterday, and the day before? That’s a sure sign you are living safely within your box. Have you tried something new or taken a chance lately? If no, there’s that box again. Is your life primarily focused on security, sure-bets, and hanging on to what you have? Yep, that’s a very comfortable box indeed. But at what cost? During the last week I’ve been asking myself these sorts of questions as I’ve read Seth Godin’s new book, The Practice – Shipping Creative Work. And make no mistake, while he does insist that we all have the ability to be creative, it is not limited to painting, writing or the typical actions we usually tie to creativity. His version of creative boils down to generously providing solutions for whatever matters to you in your world that could not be solved or supplied without your unique contribution. And the practice? It is the journey of sharing your creativity with those you serve. [Read more…]
Some people probably don’t realize one of the gifts of blogging is the people you will meet on the journey. That’s why when one of those “gifts” sent me an email a few weeks ago telling me they would be in town this week, I responded immediately. Yes we could figure out how to do a physically distant “safe” lunch—but I had a condition. Would they also do a live interview with Thom and me? Of course doing a live interview outdoors is tricky enough. Then throw in the restrictions of a pandemic, other people, and swarms of gardeners and you never know what you will end up creating. However, when you are willing to take a chance with your blog, your vlog and life itself, great things can and do happen. Thanks to Michelle and Jedd Chang from IntentionalTravelers.com for a great interview. And a special thanks to Thom for managing to film and edit another complicated Vlog for us all despite the challenges!