Earlier this year I revealed that my word for 2023 was acceptance. I had been reading Michael SingerMy Surrender Experiment’s book The Untethered Soul and it reminded me of how important accepting the Is-ness of every experience was to living a peaceful and happy life. Also important is living in the present moment—not the past, not the future, just now. After a couple of months of practice, I’m not an expert and likely never will be. But I believe I’m getting better. As Singer continually reminds me/us, the problem is not the experience you are having or are witnessing. The problem is the story we are telling ourselves about the experience. It doesn’t matter if it happened two minutes ago or 20 years ago, that story running through our minds, that narrative, is either re-creating that event in our mind or emotions, or passing through us. By the same token, it doesn’t matter if something has happened yet (or will ever happen), the story we are telling ourselves about what might happen is our choice. We face that choice in every moment. Right here. Right now. [Read more…]
Last week a blogger friend died unexpectedly in her sleep. Rena McDaniel was 55. I didn’t know her well. But I’ve been following her online since I began blogging over 12 years ago. Her first blog posts focused on caregiving her mother with Alzheimer’s. Then when her mother passed on five or so years later, she switched to writing about blogging itself—how to do it, best programs, and even served to help others with repairs. In other words, Rena was someone who spent her life helping others. While I never had need of her services, her presence in my blogging world was always there. And now it’s not. I’m only guessing, but from my perspective I don’t think Rena ever reached her “golden years.” That got me wondering about how many of us ever really do? What does “golden years” even mean? And like so many thoughts I have these days—maybe it is time to stop waiting for some time or some “place” in the future—and instead live life right now. [Read more…]
Like most humans I like people to like me. Since the beginning of time, we humans have learned that our survival is often connected to being part of a tribe. Then throw in the fact that 50% of us are women and often require others for safety and companionship, it makes sense. And while a large portion of us don’t live in an environment where we require physical security these days, our mental, emotional and spiritual Self craves a degree of connection and belonging. It is normal to want others to count on and care for us as much as we care for them. But do they? Not always. No matter how much I may want others to like me, be with me and do things with me—not everyone will. Admittedly, an ongoing area of my own personal growth is learning to accept letting go of caring for others that don’t really care for me. [Read more…]
Have any of you been paying attention to the exploding news about recent developments in AI (artificial intelligence)? I’m guessing that some of you haven’t given it much thought and don’t believe that it will change much in your life anyway. But I beg to differ. What little I know about it, and believe me my knowledge is extremely limited, I do know that it is creating more changes than we have the ability to comprehend. Very similar to how quantum physics changed the way we looked at and think about reality and matter itself—AI is poised to change how we do things, how we relate to each other, and effectively how we evolve as a planet and a species. So, while I don’t plan on changing careers, it does seem important to me and the future of those I care about to at least familiarize myself with what it is, where it is today, and a few of the possible ways it will unfold in the very near future. And hopefully, when it is all said and done, I will discover that my writing, and yes me and all humans, are relevant in the coming days. [Read more…]
Have you ever had something you really wanted or needed to change, but never seem to manage it? Or how about a change you were able to make for a short time, but before long slipped back into your old routine? You are not alone. Unfortunately, while we all tend to think that with a strong desire and enough will-power we can change anything about ourselves we choose, that is only partially true. Sure, a strong desire is important, and self-discipline is necessary, but as I’ve recently learned we all have an innate “immunity to change” that can keep us stuck in old habits and behaviors. It is that unrecognized, self-protective immunity that makes change so difficult. For those of us who are on a quest to know ourselves better as life goes on and to make positive changes when necessary, learning how this immunity works is juicy stuff.
For as long as I can remember I have been seeking happiness. Back in high school when someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up—I said “happy.” I convinced myself that the pursuit of happiness was not only our self-evident right, but that it was equal to the unalienable rights of life and liberty. (Remember the constitution?) I think I’ve read every book with the words happy and happiness in them ever written. And while I am mostly always happy, there are days when it isn’t easy. Then recently I’ve read a couple of books that have me questioning that pursuit on a much deeper level. Is it possible I’ve been seeking the wrong thing? And is it possible that what most of us want when we say we want happiness isn’t located where we’ve been looking?
It’s that time again! For the last five years I have considered it a privilege to scour the internet to find what I consider to be the best blogs and websites I can find. Like SMART Living 365, these are personal blogs and not commercially driven websites to make money. I tend to focus on the topics of positive aging and retirement but I decided to include all my favorites this year. Why not? And while my list certainly doesn’t contain all the sites available on these topics, I think that they are noteworthy and offer thoughtful, creative and provocative insights.
While some are the same from past years, as always, I have added some new ones and trimmed a few old ones that are no longer active. Thank you to each of the authors and creators who put in the time and effort to provide such helpful ideas and information while sharing their lives and experiences with all of us throughout the year. They cost nothing except the time to read. [Read more…]
In January of 2022 I selected the word surrender for my word of the year. Often referred to as WOTY, it is customary for people to pick a particular word to hold in their mind, and perhaps guide them, throughout the year. I wasn’t entirely sure why I selected surrender, only that it seemed like the perfect next step after using “trust” as my word for 2021. As things happen, surrender became more and more meaningful to me as the year unfolded. Then recently I reread a book from several years ago by Michael A Singer. That book, titled The Surrender Experience is Singer’s follow-up to his first book the untethered soul—the journey beyond yourself. Together, those two books are helping me recognize my own surrender experiment and where I hope to go from here. [Read more…]
As some of you know I grew up in the desert southwest. My love of sunshine continues to this day but unfortunately, my skin has paid a price. In my pursuit of the perfect tan, my skin (particularly on my forearms) has become ridiculously thin so that it often bruises and sometimes bleeds at the slightest injury. By the same token I was listening to a podcast this week that asked, “Are we all becoming very thin-skinned and fragile these days?” It went on to ask if our pursuit of comfort and convenience was making us “bruise or bleed” at the slightest inconvenience, threat or annoyance. Regrettably, those questions struck a bit too close to home. Everywhere I look (especially on Facebook!) people are bruised and depressed about how awful things have gotten (climate change, no gun control, schools, etc.) and how mean and impatient other people have become. And don’t even mention religion or politics! Fortunately, there is a cure. Just like using a powerful sunscreen on my arms helps—enhancing our antifragile selves could allow us to live more peacefully in our stressful world.
Lately, one part of me can’t seem to sit down and write a blog post. It’s not that I don’t want to write or intend to give up blogging. The problem is another part of me has found dozens of other equally important or fascinating things to do with my time. Ever find yourself in the same position where you want to do something but other actions seem necessary or important? Or what about when you know you should do something but find yourself mindlessly scrolling on the computer? Well last week I happened to be listening to a podcast while doing my morning walk and discovered the likely answer. Apparently, each of us has many different “selves” within us that have different needs and agendas. I learned that the concept of multiple selves has existed within the psychological and philosophical awareness for decades. And according to some “experts” it can be very beneficial to us all to learn to understand, appreciate and orchestrate these selves into a coherent harmony. Let me explain. [Read more…]