Okay I’ll admit it—Thom and I enjoy tales of the supernatural. For years we watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer on television. Together we’ve seen all sorts of movies and shows about werewolves, vampires, aliens and all sorts of bizarre characters doing all sorts of strange things. Most of them are pure entertainment. However, one of the more sinister creatures is called a succubus. While never fully fleshed out in most episodes, it needs little description. Simply put, a succubus is something that sucks out the very essence and joy of a person in all sorts of horrifying and painful ways. When you think about it, oppressive debt feels exactly the same. The good news is that just like how Buffy knew ways to slay vampires, there are at least five ways any of us can rise above even the worst sort of debt succubus on the way to a happy life. [Read more…]
Just about every day I read a post on Facebook or one of the many blogs I follow about getting older. And while many of them poke fun at the experience, most of the time the posts subtly (or not so subtly!) talk about the drawbacks to aging. But, when you think about it, every single day each of us is getting older—and thankfully so! Consider the alternative. So instead of thinking of life as a gradual decline, maybe it is time to start thinking of how life gets better as we go along—and that the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. And even though I’m not facing a significant birthday for several months, I decided a good way to prepare was to start focusing on the benefits long before the day arrives. [Read more…]
In scouring the Internet for the blog post links listed below I came across one that very simply listed 50 things they were grateful for in their lives. What a GREAT idea! If you believe the concept that what we think about grows, what we dwell upon we become, you might want to try it yourself. (If you want to go directly to this week’s gratitude links—scroll down to the bottom of this post)
So, here are 50 things I’m grateful for in my life right now: [Read more…]
A couple of weeks ago Thom and I had lunch with a long-time friend I’ll call Bob. After a great meal our conversation turned to health and successful aging as it sometimes does for people in midlife. We all agreed that we were extremely fortunate to live in an area where we can observe people well into their 90’s who are vibrant, active and younger in mind and heart than many people half their age.
Next we talked about the importance of living each day as a gift, never taking a moment for granted, and fulfilling our bucket list while we were all healthy and financially able. That’s when Bob joked that he recently had dinner with a woman in her late 80’s who had a different take on the idea. She told him very emphatically that she was done with the idea of a bucket list. At her age, she was working on her F*^k It list! And while we all laughed at the spunk of Bob’s friend, that declaration got me thinking.
Sure, it’s healthy to have a bucket list containing all the goals and dreams we hope to accomplish during the remainder of our lives. But maybe a F*^k It list is good as well. After all, at a certain age we should be both willing and able to let go of anything that drags us down and holds us back from living a happy and content life. So, after some time thinking about it—here are a few things I’m putting on my F*^k It list that perhaps might convince some of the rest of you to make such a list as well. [Read more…]
My husband Thom is much more of a Taoist than I am. In case it’s new to you, Taoism (pronounced Dow-ism) is an ancient Chinese teaching originally developed from a book written over 2,500 years ago by a man named Lao Tzu. Often referred to as “The Way,” Taoism emphasizes a harmonious relationship between nature, humanity and the divine. Put another way, Taoism is a path to simple, SMART and sustainable living. This year Thom decided to make the book The Tao of Pooh part of his summer reading. After quickly absorbing the content, he urged me to read it as well. I was surprised to discover that The Tao of Pooh offered both an entertaining and unique perspective on Taoism, as well as a number of simple living lessons that I thought any minimalist might appreciate.
It doesn’t take a genius or a scientist to know that music has the ability to lift our mood and make us feel happier. In fact I’ll bet every single one of us can think of a song that played at a pivotal moment in our lives and be instantly transported back to that time and place the minute it plays. Or I’ll bet you can remember a time when your all-time favorite song spontaneously came over the radio and you burst out in song and/or dance with a smile on your face. But if we all know music can make us happy, why don’t we use music more regularly to experience greater happiness and motivate our actions when necessary? More importantly, are we willing to consider that music might even alter the very chemistry of our bodies and positively influence our overall health. [Read more…]
“It is not impermanence that makes us suffer. What makes us suffer is wanting things to be permanent when they are not.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
I’ve come to the opinion that our culture is obsessed with owning as opposed to renting. Maybe because Thom and I have a background in real estate, or because we do our best to spend time away from our home every summer when it gets really hot—a reoccurring question we’re asked is, “So when are you going to buy a vacation place?” To be clear, we’re not against owning property—we just prefer to rent our temporary homes instead. But it’s easy to tell that many people don’t understand that we’re perfectly happy renting and have no desire to own regardless of how much we like the properties or enjoy the location. And that got me thinking that perhaps our culture has gotten a bit too attached to owning things and forgotten the fundamental fact that everything in life is impermanent—and ultimately every thing is just a temporary right-to-use or leasehold estate. [Read more…]
“Hi, my name is Kathy and I have been addicted to more.” What about you? The good news is that I don’t believe that any of us are powerless against it—but we do need to admit that it is a problem to begin with and be on continuous alert to its presence. But what exactly do I mean by being addicted to more, and why is it so important to recognize? Plus, why is our desire for more such an important awareness for living a rightsized life?
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!
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” so begins Charles Dickens classic novel, “A Tale of Two Cities.” But that statement and the major themes of the story apply to most of the experiences of every person on the planet on a regular basis. Do we allow the tragedy, inequity and oppression of life’s circumstances to beat us down—or like some characters in the book, do we reach for resurrection and transformation? Even situations as routine or pedestrian as a colonoscopy offer us each of us a similar choice. It’s SMART to always remember that decision is up to us. [Read more…]