Happy SMART Day Everyone!
Have you been wondering what living responsibly and within your means has to do with positive thinking and happiness? Or what about articles focused on the search for meaning and purpose, and how those ideas relate to being grateful and appreciating what you have? And what do any of those have to do with staying curious, open-minded and conscious? In case you haven’t noticed, I write about all these and more here on SMART Living on a fairly regular basis. And while they might appear at first to be unconnected, I’m convinced that all of these topics and ideas flow together to create a balanced and whole life. In fact, embracing all of those ideas just might be the perfect way to achieve happiness and a sense of well-being every single day.
Unfortunately, blogging experts say that to be successful it is best to stick with just one topic and write about it over and over again. The theory is that when people come to your website they want to read the topic they searched for and not “waste” their time learning about something else. Of course, when you think about it, that’s led to many of the problems in the world today. If we focus solely on one topic, (what we think we want to know) then we are liable to ignore and even possibly hurt loosely related connections without even thinking about them.
For example, the American obsession with getting more has wrecked havoc on the environment without forcing us to consider all the interrelated costs to the planet and our health. Working hard to get ahead overlooks the simple and every day pleasures we can find when we just take the time to “be here now.” Any obsession with youth ignores the psychological price for downplaying the gifts that maturity and wisdom carries. Emphasizing the hereafter, ignores the heaven to be found in the here and now. When you put one deity on the pedestal, that often makes it easy to knock down any others without thought or consideration. All these can lead to a very myopic (not to mention unconscious) view of the world. And yes, that has created many of the problems we see reported on every TV news channel.
On a more personal note, writing this blog is a way for me to be more balanced and whole in my own life. Its creation came as a result of my last website and interest in the environmental and sustainable movement. Thom and I started a website back in 2008 entitled “Coachella Valley Green.” We wanted to discover everything we could learn about going green and sustainable in our own lives, plus we thought it would be interesting and beneficial to share that knowledge with everyone else in our desert community. During the three years that followed, we educated ourselves about how important it is to consider the planet when making decisions for our lives. We also learned a lot of practical things about saving money and getting healthier when going green. But when it was all said and done it wasn’t enough. While I’m proud of the changes we made in our own lives, we were only marginally successful at helping and educating others. Plus, the day-to-day chore of writing about sustainability felt very limiting after three years.
What I eventually learned from doing Coachella Valley Green is that no matter how critical sustainability is as a topic, until you change the heart, minds and souls of the people around you, little will change. In other words, in order to be whole and balanced I needed to be learning and writing about why people do what they do, what’s important to them, what motivates them, what makes people happy, how they think, etc. etc. Perhaps when we learn who we really are and why we do what we do, we will naturally all be called to do that which is best for ourselves, other people, and the world around us. Those questions lead me to the birth of SMART Living 365.
I’m aware that some of you are more interested in simplifying your lives and finding the peace that comes from a more minimal lifestyle than you are about a search for the meaning to life. Others of you might be interested in creating a more happy life, but resist simplifying or living within your means. Still, if my own experience is any kind of example, learning to embrace and include everything will ultimately get us all where we want to go. Besides, we each might also learn that there are rewards and benefits to learning and expanding in ways that we never even knew we would love.
So regardless of what the blogging experts recommend, I’m going to keep on sharing those ideas I come across that I think make for a whole, inclusive and happy life. I won’t pretend to know all the answers or assume I’ve got the formula all worked out in advance. But just as the Eastern Indian word “mandala” stands for a circle that represents the idea of unity and wholeness in all things, it is my intention that the circle created by SMART Living is big, exciting and beautiful enough to include it all.
“Individuality is only possible if it unfolds from wholeness.” ~David Bohm
“He who experiences the unity of life, sees his own Self in all beings, & all beings in his own Self.” ~ Buddha