Lately I’ve read a number of blog posts that discourage writers from giving any of their work away without payment—in other words, writing for free. These other writers feel that if a writer writes something without being paid for it, they diminish the value of the work for all other writers. And while I agree that every type of artist is wise to honor and value their gifts and contributions, that doesn’t mean that the only means of payment comes in the form of money. In fact, looking back over my own experiences, many of the payments I’ve received for my work came in a variety of forms and fashion. As creative artists of any type, let’s never forget that value means something different to each of us, and compensation doesn’t have to look like money. [Read more…]
I usually stay away from politics here on SMART Living, but for an obvious reason healthcare is on my mind this week. But let me be clear, I don’t think that healthcare is or should be a political issue. Instead, our health and its care are two issues that touch every single human on the planet—including those of us who practice simple living or minimalism. Unfortunately, with all the blogs I follow—everything from minimalism to personal growth to spirituality—no one seems to be talking about this very all-encompassing concern. So, hopefully, by bringing this important subject out into the light we can recognize how vital it is and arrive at more conscious, aware and responsible actions for our future. [Read more…]
“Wherever you go, there you are.” ~Jon Kabat-Zinn
By now it is probably obvious that I love to travel. But what you might not realize is that I also love coming home. It wasn’t always that way. Years ago I was constantly scheming up ways to get out of town. Naturally, the more exotic the location the better—but I really wasn’t that picky. Above all, I longed to escape to the open road and the infinite possibility that it held. When I finally had to come home it was more like a punishment, or at least the penalty that must be paid until the next adventure came along. Then somewhere along the line my thinking started changing—until now I am as happy returning home as I am packing my bags to go. So what’s different? Ultimately, I’ve come to believe that coming home after any length of time provides a huge mirror into a person’s life. What we think is important, what we feel we have to be and do, and even who we think we are, are all reflected in the thoughts and images of what we must return to after we’ve been away. [Read more…]
“We get too soon old and too late smart.” ~Pennsylvania Dutch proverb
I read many online blogs and a large portion of them are about minimalism and simple living. That’s wonderful because I believe there is richness to simple living that goes far beyond having less stuff. I also think that since I’ve been embracing it more and more, my life has become happier, less stressful and far more meaningful. But something I’ve noticed is that the vast majority of blogs about minimalism are written primarily by those in their twenties to thirties. And while I’m psyched to know that young adults are embracing the lifestyle, I also believe that maturity offers a perspective that should not be overlooked. In fact, it is often those who have lived through multiple choices and experiences that have the most to offer others. That’s why I thought a few perspectives from midlife should be included in any discussion about minimalism or simple living.
“The only thing that really matters in life are your relationships to other people.” ~ George Vaillant
Those of us into simple living or minimalism knows that identifying and eliminating any thing superficial and nonessential in life is critical. In fact, the television show “Hoarders” illustrates weekly the extreme burden that too much stuff can bring to a person’s life. But I’ve just come to realize that there is something that actually should be hoarded—and that “thing” is a friend. Actually, an abundance of research now shows that finding, keeping and appreciating friends is good for our physical and mental health, good for our occupations, good for our creativity, will add years to our life, and enrich our experience in every way possible. If we are willing to accept that as true, then understanding the science of friendship is one of the most important actions each of us can take to create a life of happiness, meaning and purpose during our time here on earth. [Read more…]
With all the talk of minimalism and simple living on the Internet these days I am still constantly surprised to see how many interpretations there are. I’m also seeing lots of confusion. I think that’s because most people are attracted to certain people who are writing about the subjects without concern about what either of those labels really mean. And while I’ve stated numerous times that I don’t believe myself to be an “expert,” I do feel the topic is not only valuable—but deserves explanation and exploration. For if SMART Living 365 is a way to fill our lives with meaning, purpose and happiness, then knowing about ideas that help that manifest is important to the journey. [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…]
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. [Read more…]
One of my favorite authors is a man named Parker J. Palmer. Parker comes from the Quaker Tradition which embodies such a genuine depth of spirit and connection that I am always interested in what he has to say. With a background in education, spirituality, community, and leadership his latest book is Healing the Heart of Democracy.” And while politics may seem a strange bedfellow to spirituality or even SMART Living, the manner in which Parker approaches the topic is relevant to every single subject I ever write about. Ultimately, every one of his themes leads to a greater experience of the whole.
Happy SMART Day Everyone!
In case you didn’t know, Thom and I have been real estate brokers for over 25 years. Never a good “salesperson,” I soon began writing about real estate rather than selling it. On the other hand, Thom specializes in investment and commercial properties with a big emphasis on properties that are “green” and sustainable. A recent aspect to the energy-efficient real estate industry is “smart technology” for buildings and now even cities. But even though there may be an advantage to such technology and focus—it leaves out a critical ingredient. In order for anything to be truly SMART—people and their motivations must be included in the equation. [Read more…]