Happy Birthday SMART Living 365! Yes, it was exactly eight years ago today (April 26th, 2011) that I conceived the idea of creating a blog around the letters S-M-A-R-T. In case you don’t know it, those letters are all part of an acronym that stands for Sustainable-Meaningful-Aware-Responsible & Thankful. At the time I wanted to create something that would help me focus on, and then write about, topics that are very important to me. I didn’t actually write my first post until May and it took me another month to get the site up and running. But, here I am, eight years later.
One of my favorite parables is the story of the light wolf and the dark wolf. Most of us know the light wolf as those parts in the world and in ourselves that are kind, loving, peaceful and hopeful. At the same time, the dark wolf represents all that is angry, fearful, greedy or hateful. Which one is most prominent in our lives? Simply—the one we feed. In other words, whatever wolf we focus on the most—nourishing it with our attention, time, words and Facebook posts, that’s the one that grows and multiplies. The good news is of course that even if we realize we’ve been feeding the wrong wolf for far too long, it’s never too late to make our light wolf strong, healthy and the biggest part of our lives.
This parable came to my mind after finishing a new book by Mary Pipher called, Women Rowing North—Navigating Life’s Currents & Flourishing As We Age. Some of us may remember Pipher as the author of Reviving Ophelia. That book, written back in the 1990s, shared thoughts on the [Read more…]
If you opened the SMART Living Blog post email last week you probably noticed it was different. Rather than publish a full article like usual, I decided to take a short trip down to Baja Mexico with Thom and enjoy myself. And while that might not seem radical if you haven’t followed SMART Living 365 for long. But it was actually the first time in over six years that I’ve given myself permission to not post an article. And guess what? The world did not collapse and (thankfully!) you all did not unsubscribe. What it did do was allow to me pause and consider why I have felt so driven to stick to such a strict self-imposed schedule. More importantly, it reminded me that my definition of success and happiness as I enter my third-act of life is the guidepost that I want to follow at the present time. And perhaps my thoughts on this are something all of us can use regardless of our age. [Read more…]
Do you agree? I do. This week I am taking the advice of Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh and mixing up my routine a bit. Because I am planning a trip out of town for the weekend, I am offering this photo blog post rather than a typical post. I hope you enjoy the idea as much as I do!
The amount of rainfall in California this year has been phenomenal. Even here in the desert where I live the rocky mountainsides are covered with a soft green layer and just about every inch of open space is blanketed with blooming flowers. Every sand dune and vacant lot flaunts a wild mixture of brittle brush, purple verbena, brown-eyed primrose, Arizona Lupine and others I can’t name. So, with flowers on my mind, a recent article in Psychology Today caught my eye. It seems that current research has identified, primarily in children, two defining characteristics. That as a dandelion—or that as an orchid. Is it possible that understanding how those two flower traits play can play out in a person’s life could help us better understand ourselves as well as those around us? [Read more…]
One of the best things about reviewing new books for this blog is the opportunity to be exposed to titles and authors I would normally never select. Such is the case with The Book of Mistakes—9 Secrets To A Successful Future by Skip Prichard. My first reaction was, “What? Who wants to learn more about making mistakes?” But when I was told the book was a business parable I couldn’t resist because parables are a favorite of mine. After all, just about any message, when told well as a story, has the potential to offer insight and inspiration—even a book about mistakes. Plus, no matter what our age, or how we describe success, each of us can use positive reminders to create the kind of future we hope to live. [Read more…]
As I mentioned last week, I confess to watching a certain amount of television in my ofttimes. While I tend to avoid reality programing, I do admit that every now and then I flip on HGTV. A few of the shows I’ve seen in the past are, House Hunters, Love It Or List It, and The Property Brothers. Yet even though I realize that these shows are meant as entertainment, I still find my husband Thom and I asking ourselves: “What are those buyers thinking?” Or even worse, “Who can afford that kind of house—and why would they want to?” If you have ever watched one of these shows and reacted like us, you might also wonder if the messages being portrayed are actual “reality” and whether the shows should come with a disclaimer attached. With that in mind, I came up with five SMART disclaimers that I think every program on HGTV should include. [Read more…]
Like I explained last week, I’m recovering from a really bad cold. I truly wish I was the only one going through that experience, but I know others who’ve had their share of illness as well. That, or half of the country has been locked in frigid cold temperatures forcing them to stay inside. So as I previously confessed, I watched a LOT of television during my recuperation. And rather than fight the impulse to do absolutely nothing, I decided to make a list of some of my favorite feel-good shows to share with others. After all, if we are going to be watching TV anyway, let’s make sure it feeds our hearts, minds and souls in a positive way. So here is a list of my favorites. [Read more…]
This last week I came down with the worst cold ever. Don’t worry, this post isn’t about that or what I did to get over it. Instead, once the fog began to clear I started to beat myself up for laying around for over a week and for my lack of any productivity. Rather than practice what I now understand to be self-compassion, I jumped into criticizing myself for too many naps, too much television, and not one bit of exercise. I even berated myself for getting sick in the first place. Now maybe I’m the only one who ever does this, but ever since then I’ve been exploring how and why I tied my personal value (not to mention my health) to such an absurd goal. What I’ve since discovered is that all too often our sense of self-esteem is a big part of the problem.
As every writer knows, words matter. But what about the words that come out of our mouths or the words we hear in our heads when someone is talking? Perhaps one of the greatest things we can learn, and teach one another, is how to speak and listen with empathy, kindness and connection. Sound simple? It’s not. In fact, after reading Say What You Mean—A Mindful Approach To Nonviolent Communication by Oren Jay Sofer, I am convinced that I have much to learn and years to practice. Ultimately it’s SMART to remember that communication, especially the mindful nonviolent kind, is far more than figuring out the right words to say in any given moment. Thankfully there are books like this that offer perspectives and tools to increase our awareness, fulfill our mutual needs, and build relationship.