As most of you know, a reoccurring question here on SMART Living 365 is, “how can we live a happy, healthy and meaningful life?” Another way of saying that is, “What makes a life go well?” I recently came across the work of a man named Dr. Nick Baylis who has spent his career in pursuit of that question. Baylis, a “wellbeing” consultant and psychologist, teaches at Cambridge University in the UK where he helped to co-found The Well-Being Institute. He is also the author of several books and is known as Dr. Feel Good in his column written for The Times (London). One of the first to lecture on the field of positive psychology in the UK, Baylis is convinced that the “science” of wellbeing is a practice of identifying and then utilizing the skills that lead to a life well-lived. [Read more…]
Ever heard of the parable of the hedgehog and the fox? These terms gained notice after a philosopher named Isaiah Berlin used them in a popular essay back in the mid-1900s. Berlin used the parable to analyze the worldviews and history of Tolstoy in his classic manuscript, War & Peace. And while I haven’t read War & Peace in many years, or the essay by Berlin, I did read a more recent book entitled, Good To Great by Jim Collins. Collins uses the allegory as a way to define how to be a leader and run a successful business. Even more recently, I came across the two terms in the book Thinking Fast & Slow by Daniel Kahneman. Kahneman uses them to define differing ways to think and predict coming events. But what exactly is a hedgehog, and how does it differ from the fox? Even more importantly, what does it have to do with your life and can it help you live SMART 365? [Read more…]
It’s been over two years since my father made his transition*. I still think of him regularly and miss him more than I actually expected. With Father’s Day (in the US) being just around the corner, he’s been on my mind more than usual. But who says you can only celebrate Father’s Day when your Dad is present and available? Besides, if the true sentiment behind Father’s Day is to honor fathers and paternal bonds, maybe the holiday is a good excuse for all of us to acknowledge the care and guidance our father provided—and to celebrate the fathers among us who take the time to nurture and encourage children in many different ways. [Read more…]
by Kathy Gottberg
Last week Thom and I spent six days at The Esalen Institute on the Big Sur coastline of California. Esalen, as it is more commonly known, has existed for the last 50 years as a world-renowned sanctuary/retreat center perched on an eye-popping coastline in the central part of the state. Started in 1962, some of the world’s leading philosophers, educators, activists, artists and thought leaders gathered at this site to explore the boundaries of human potential and consciousness. Besides that, the facility structures itself as a model for sustainability, permaculture and organizational transformation. Its vibrant and lush 5-acre garden and farm burst with flowers, plants and vegetables that feed and sustain both the visitors and staff. Besides offering stunning landscapes for rest and rejuvenation, Esalen also features a fresh water creek, roaring ocean-side cliffs, and natural hot mineral spring baths. Clearly, something for every seeker exists at Esalen. Thom and I came to see for ourselves—and to take a workshop called, “Experiencing the Esalen Farm and Garden.” [Read more…]
by Kathy Gottberg
The current box-office movie The Avengers features a scene where the evil bad guy Loki confronts the massive and up-until-then unpredictable Green Hulk. During the entire first half of the movie Loki repeatedly hurts, maims and condemns both the people of Earth and the avenging superheroes at every twist of the plot. At one point Loki even stabs his own brother Thor in the gut when offered a chance at peace. Finally, during an intense confrontation where Loki insults the Hulk and demands subjugation, the Hulk merely looks at Loki calmly before reaching out and gabbing his ankles. Then with a firm grasp, The Hulk beats Loki senselessly against the ground over and over again like a rag doll. The action feels so justified and well deserved that just about every single person in the theater laughed and applauded in agreement. If only every encounter with a difficult person were as clear-cut and simple to resolve. [Read more…]
Happy SMART Day Everyone!
Until recently, very few of us purchased a home or rented a house based upon its “walkability score.” But that might be changing. With increased emphasis on the benefits of living in a home where you can walk to community services like libraries, schools and shopping—plus increasing legislation which promotes sustainable regional growth strategies for both housing and transportation—attitudes may be shifting. In fact, as more people attempt to embrace a more SMART and eco-friendly lifestyle, walkability is proving to be one of the best “steps” on the way to going green.
Happy SMART Day Everyone!
This last weekend Thom and I spent time with good friends that are looking to buy a new home. In case I haven’t mentioned it before, both Thom and I have been real estate brokers for over 25 years (yikes! Where does the time go?) While Thom works exclusively with commercial properties, I mainly keep my license active in order to use that knowledge for my writing career. Plus, it comes in handy for personal use and sometimes to help friends or family. After showing our friends about ten homes in different areas, it occurred to me that based upon my experience, I could offer some tips to anyone who wishes to buy a home in a SMART (sustainable, meaningful, artful, responsible and thankful) way. So here are my seven tips to do just that! [Read more…]
Happy SMART Day Everyone!
I like choices. Nearly every one of my decisions is carefully researched to maximize the greatest number of benefits. When I buy something, I like to know I purchased the best product at the best price. When I travel somewhere, I am fairly certain I’ll enjoy the most outstanding experience available. When working I am reasonably convinced that I have covered as many bases as possible and creatively contributed to my field. And while most of the time I enjoy the process—I have to admit there are times when I take the whole thing to extreme. (I’m sure Thom, my husband, would agree!) That’s when I know I am caught in the loop of over-thinking and that’s when it’s time to seek recovery. [Read more…]
This year, for the first time ever, I planted a garden. At the beginning, it was fun, rewarding and easy. I began harvesting lettuce within two weeks and peppers barely 30 days later. Every day was a miracle as I watched green tomatoes forming on my wandering vines. Then, just as I anticipated ripe tomatoes, I noticed something awful. Huge juicy caterpillars were munching my vines and my baby tomatoes. Not only were they devastating my plants, their overwhelming presence shattered my idyllic garden image. Almost overnight, my garden became both a challenging endeavor and a reality check. Much as I’d like to believe that disappointment or challenges don’t happen to all of us on a regular basis—the truth is they do. And because it is SMART to stay focused on solutions rather than the problem, here are 8 suggestions anyone of us can use to overcome the hornworms (or any other challenge!) you face in your life.
A big part of Living SMART 365 is staying conscious, awake and aware. In fact, most of us like to believe that’s what we do most of the time. But after reading the book, “Thinking Fast & Slow” by Daniel Kahneman, I’ve discovered that I am seldom as awake and aware as I think I am. In fact, far too often I frame most of my decisions like a lot of you—in the easiest and most comfortable ways possible. Fortunately, now that I have a better understanding of how human thinking and decision-making works, I can be more awake and conscious about some of the most routine illusions that befall us all. [Read more…]