Just over six months ago Thom and I added a new family member to our household—a puppy we named Kloe. To be sure, a puppy ads havoc, lots more work and a great deal of responsibility to anyone who cares for them. However, the increased value and joy Kloe brings to our lives more than compensates for any inconvenience. Not only does Kloe make us laugh on a daily basis, there is plenty of proof that she is also good for our health.
“Research has shown that people with a greater sense of vitality don’t just have more energy for things they want to do, they are also more resilient to physical illnesses. One of the pathways to health may be to spend more time in natural settings,” Richard Ryan.
As some of our friends and family know, Thom and I have been renting a house for a month every summer up in Idyllwild for around 17 years. Idyllwild is a very small mountain town, (less than 2,000 permanent residents) about an hour from our home in the desert. Back in 1993 we did it for the first time because, quite frankly, we couldn’t afford any other type of vacation. It seemed like a good way to escape the desert heat and was a great bargain as well. Little did we know back then that the experience would be so rewarding, that we would still be doing it 17 years later. Now, not only do we consider it still an amazing vacation value, we are living examples of the restorative power of spending time in nature. [Read more…]
“There’s more to life than increasing its speed.” – Mohandas Gandhi
It’s summertime here in the Coachella Valley where I live, and because it is the desert southwest, it is expectedly hot outside. While we locals have certain tricks and techniques to stay cool, most of the time the heat of the season makes me lethargic and under-motivated. While none of us like to think of ourselves as lazy, me included, maybe the season is both an invitation and permission to slow down, relax and enjoy life. After all, pushing yourself when it’s extremely warm (or cold) outside isn’t SMART no matter how you look at it. [Read more…]
“It took some good calm thinking in order to get myself to calm down and stop throwing myself against the boulder.” –Aron Ralston, mountain climber and author
Yesterday Thom came across an interesting article on Huffington Post about the lack of common sense in the world today. The article by Dr. Jim Taylor said, “common sense is neither common, nor sense. There’s not a whole lot of sound judgment going on these days… so it’s not common.” We both agreed with his suggestions on how to bring more open and rigorous thinking to our decisions, but there was something else missing. Maybe that final ingredient to all common sense should be some “calmNsense.” [Read more…]
This week Thom and I experienced a dramatic reminder of this truth—don’t take anyone for granted and share your love with those you love every single day. While most all of us would agree that this is an important part of SMART Living, everyone—me included, can use a reminder
Our “lesson” in this regard came this past Monday evening. There was nothing special about the day—nothing bad, but nothing amazingly wonderful either. We’d finished dinner and Thom was in the kitchen doing dishes. I could see that the sun had finally set so I knew it would be getting cooler outside. Our small mixed-terrier dog Kloe was watching me closely to see if it was time to go to the dog park before dark. But right before we did, Thom decided to take the garbage out to the trash bins with Kloe trailing behind. [Read more…]
Just over three years ago, Thom and I bought a new home in the “village area” of La Quinta, CA. We called it an experiment because we weren’t sure if we could live in a house that was nearly a 1,000 sq. feet less than the one we had before. Never mind that the new house had 1,400 square feet with three bedrooms, two bathrooms and was plenty large enough based on comparables around the world. But with huge changes happening in the economy, and our personal growing awareness in the “green” movement, Thom and I felt it was time to discover if the American obsession with size was just a habit we’d adopted or a true necessity. What we’ve come to know during the last two years is that smaller is plenty big enough, especially when it fits perfectly within your needs. [Read more…]
Do you have any idea how powerful a simple smile is? I sure didn’t. Last night I watched the attached TED Talk where Ron Gutman, the CEO of HealthTap, explained the benefits of something we can do every single day—smile.
Gutman said he got his start from a study done at Berkley that tracked graduates over a 30-year period. What they did is first examine and then measure the smiles from students found in their graduation yearbook. From the smiles they measured they were able to predict how fulfilling and long-lasting the individuals married relationships would be, how well they would score on a standardized test for well-being, and finally how inspiring they would be to others. Wow—makes you wish you could go back and take that photo again right? [Read more…]
Several years ago Thom and I attended a workshop where the speaker asked us the question, “How open-minded are you about closed- minded people?” It was asked in the context that here we all were, thinking we had the right and perfect solution to the world’s problems, and yet this simple question asked us, “so what makes you think you are so smart/spiritual/aware that you have the right/ true/correct answer to whatever is going on?” Huh?
SMART living requires that we are to take full responsibility for our lives if we want to live happy, and rewarding lives. But in order to be fully responsible for what’s going on, then we have to first be aware, and then second, realize that even when we think we know, there can always be a different or bigger perspective that we are clueless about. Even when we try to be as opened-minded as possible, we always have a blind spot here and there. And often, the more we fight something the more it “backfires.” [Read more…]
Let’s face it. We live in an amazing world filled with all sorts of incredible things. Yet, because humans tend to adjust to just about anything very quickly, we usually forget how great our lives are. SMART Living asks us to slow down, look around and pay attention—and then be thankful. I found this great short comedy video on FaceBook today and I think it says something very important in a short, funny and irreverent way. What do you think?
Happy SMART Day Everyone!
The most important practice to living SMART 365 is to feel thankful and grateful on a daily basis. Luckily, it is also one of the easiest. Once you begin to put gratitude at the top of your daily to-do list, you will immediately begin to see positive changes in the way you look at your life. My own experience shows it is impossible to be truly grateful and unhappy at the same time. But I’m not alone in my thinking; these days there are books and studies that prove that the science of gratitude can profoundly increase the quality of your life. [Read more…]