I’m in love. Don’t worry, it’s likely just an infatuation with a 78-year-old man named James Hollis Ph.D. I first encountered his work a month or two ago and since then I’ve read articles and listened to every podcast and YouTube lecture from him I could find. Who is he and why am I infatuated? On the surface Hollis is a practicing Jungian analyst and depth psychologist, author of over 15 books, a public speaker, and the former executive director of the Jung Society of Washington D.C. What I find particularly attractive are the thoughts and ideas that he routinely illuminates—a big part of which is the examination of our lives as we mature and enter the second half of life. And in spite of the many distractions we all face, I can’t help but be captivated by the goldmine of introspection he offers for those of us who are drawn to greater self-discovery and awareness, along with other insights about the innermost workings of our psyche. [Read more…]
A major theme here at SMART Living 365 is to grow, evolve and try new things. With that in mind, Thom and I have been wanting to try our hand at creating a Vlog—that’s a Video Blog in case you’ve never heard of such a thing. Obviously we are new at this, so it is definitely an experiment. But isn’t all life an experiment? And if we aren’t learning and exploring new options, then what are we doing with our one wild and precious life? From that perspective we have nothing to lose. Our intention is to post one of these every month in place of a traditional blog post, and to keep the Vlog to about the same length of time it would take you to read one of my blog posts. We’re going to do our best to make it fun as well as informative! So here goes.
Four years ago I began publishing a list of the best blogs and websites on retirement and positive aging that I could find on the internet. I started it because I wanted to have a list of sites that I can continually refer to myself, and I thought it would be helpful to others as well. However, I am selective. I know that my time and your time is very valuable, so before I recommend another site, I want to make sure that they offer something I find worthy of our attention. I also tend to avoid sites that are more about making money than helping, are overly technical or financial, or put a focus on fashion, food or politics. Remember, SMART stands for Sustainable, Meaningful, Aware, Rightsized and Thankful. I do my best to suggest sites that I think fit those categories.
As some of you know, tomorrow December 21st is officially the shortest daytime of 2019 and the longest night of the year–The Winter Solstice. Then Sunday Evening marks the beginning of Hanukkah, followed by Christmas Day on the 25th and Kwanzaa on the 26th. There are a few other holidays in there as well but I think you get the idea. No matter how any of us celebrate, I tend to believe that we, like Lawrence Kushner says in this quote, are awaiting hope, possibility and whatever we call “The Light” to grow stronger. May each of us find it inside and outside of ourselves in the days to come.
And if you’d like to read more about the Winter Solstice, I wrote the following blog post a few years ago that still applies. “Two Big Reasons To Celebrate The Winter Solstice” [Read more…]
Several years ago I wrote a novel entitled Finding Grace. I’d always wanted to write a novel and am quite pleased and proud to have written the type of book I love to read. One of the major characters is an older woman who serves as a life-long mentor to a much younger Grace. I named the elder woman Mrs. Pettermint, with a few quirks to make her interesting. Throughout the book, this wise woman offers her perspective on everything from love, to life, and to healing. And while she didn’t specifically mention Christmas or any of the other holidays celebrated this season, I can easily imagine what she might suggest. Here are five pieces of advice I can almost hear her say to Grace and anyone else who wants to listen. [Read more…]
The other day my husband Thom and I were having lunch with a friend. That’s when Susie (not her real name) asked the question, “How do you cope?” Sure we were talking about a couple of troubling current events, but the question still surprised me. Why? Because I tend to think that most of the ideas I write about here on SMART Living touch on ways to cope and move forward in a positive way. That’s certainly the way I handle stress in my life. But clearly that option wasn’t helping Susie. Then later, I happened to pick up a new book I’d been offered to review and the answer became clearer. What I’ve come to realize is that there isn’t just one right way to cope with stress or trauma. Instead, like with any “rightsized topic,” we each need to find what works best for us and then work to allow it to bring us the comfort we seek.
Now that Thanksgiving Day has come and gone in the U.S. we begin the countdown to the Christmas Holiday with what is commonly called Black Friday. All the advertisers want us to believe that if we spend the next 25 days shopping our hearts out, we’ll feel fulfilled, loved and save a lot of money doing it. But we know better don’t we? Today and during the next month let’s do our best remembering that less really is more. What we really crave is connection, hope, love, freedom and meaning–oh, and good health as well. None of that can be bought. Thanks to Joshua Becker from Becoming Minimalist for inspiring this week’s photo blog quote.
While I believe Thanksgiving is one of the best holidays we have going in the United States, I also firmly believe in the statement, “Thanksgiving is good—but thanks “living” is even better.” So with gratitude on my mind, this week I’ve been dwelling on how very much I have to be grateful for—and it inspired me to take the time to write out my top ten. Hopefully, by sharing my list you will be inspired to do the same. Oh, and self-servingly, it is also a great opportunity for me to announce the publication of my latest book, You Get To Make It Up—a SMART Living 365 Guide to Creating a Happy & Meaningful Life.
Of course I also realize that some of my readers don’t live in the U.S. so Thanksgiving isn’t on their calendar. But from what I’ve read, a number of other countries celebrate something similar…. [Read more…]
Ever heard of Narrative Therapy before? Neither had I until I came across an article in a recent edition of Prevention Magazine. This relatively new talk therapy approach, originally developed in New Zealand, is now being used as a counseling method to help clients in need. And although I’m neither a therapist or someone in great need, I can see how beneficial such a practice could be for all of us—especially those of us who appreciate learning about ways to expand our self-awareness as well as how storytelling adds meaning and value to our lives.
I’ve written before about how story creation is a natural expression for all humans. Recognize that voice in your head? It is actually you telling yourself a “story” about something that is happening or happened in the past. [Read more…]
Unfortunately, the short answer to that question is, “Not always.” While I usually start out my posts a little more optimistically, this idea has me wondering. Why? Because as I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been listening to a bunch of lectures by a man named Ken Dychtwald. Based on many of his insights, I can’t help but believe this topic deserves more thought and consideration than I’ve given it before. After all, what is a long lifespan worth if it doesn’t include a long healthspan? Do that many of us want to stay alive long after our health is unrecoverable or completely deteriorated? Not me. What about you? [Read more…]