Every summer my husband Thom and I rent a house up in the mountains about an hour from our home. We do it mainly to get out of the summer heat of our desert environment. But behind the more obvious reason is that it connects us to feelings of beauty and nature that we can’t get sitting at home in front of the computer in our air-conditioned house. So, when I happened upon an article that offered an even better reason why our yearly sojourns have become so important, I wasn’t surprised. It turns out that being in nature, and finding and experiencing an ongoing sense of awe and wonder, is critical to our feelings of happiness and wellbeing. Oh, and besides that, it also makes us nicer people to be around. [Read more…]
SMART Thoughts on Birthdays, Blogging and BFFs!
Last weekend I attended my first ever blogging conference. In many ways, it was my birthday gift to my blog. At the end of April, I will be celebrating the 5th anniversary of SMART Living 365. But what does any of that have to do with you, my dear readers? Just like with so many other SMART topics, when we think about it, we can learn and grow from any situation we experience. Even better, when we open our minds and our hearts, there is a good chance we can also have a fantastic and fun time. With that in mind, I jotted down a few things I learned over the weekend that I thought might prove SMART for us all. [Read more…]
10 Signs of Sustainable Happiness
Is your happiness sustainable? I’m not talking about that rush of pleasure we get when things turn out the way we hope and expect. I’m also not taking about the giddy experience we get laughing with friends or the thrill of accomplishment that overtakes us when we get what we want. To me sustainable happiness is the sense of good and wellbeing that comes in the middle of the night when you are alone with your thoughts. It’s a deep and sustaining sense that you are doing what you are supposed to be doing, where you are supposed to be doing it, at exactly the right time in your life. And the good thing about finding it is that regardless of what is happening in our lives or circumstances, we can still count on it comforting us when the going gets tough. [Read more…]
30 Christmas Quotes To Get You in The Holiday Mood
I am proof positive that a person can be a semi-minimalist, anti-consumer, nonreligious, childfree person who lives in the desert southwest where it never snows, and STILL love Christmas. That’s because I don’t equate the holiday season with any of those labels. To me, Christmas is a time to celebrate the life I have been given and to share and generate peace on earth and good will to all people. And because so many others also celebrate the season in a somewhat similar manner, I think the vibration of joy, peace and happiness is amplified as many of us come together with the same perspective. With that in mind, I spent some time this week looking through hundreds of quotes about Christmastime in order to help me remember and share some of what I consider some of the best thoughts behind the holiday. [Read more…]
Five Big Ways My Marriage Differs From My Mother’s
This week Thom and I celebrate our 37th Wedding Anniversary. Whew! It’s strange to think that I’ve been married longer than many people I know have been alive. It’s even weirder to think that when we met all those many years ago I had the foresight to know that Thom was the one. Not just one, but THE ONE. Obviously, my life as I know it would have been dramatically different with any other man, Plus I would probably be much different than the person I now know myself to be. In the big picture, I’m sure there are several reasons why we’ve lasted while so many other good people haven’t. But one thing I know for sure is that my marriage to Thom differs tremendously from both my parent’s marriage and that of my in-laws in a couple of very distinct ways. And perhaps that offers some clues to others who would like to create a marriage of a lifetime.
Fifty Things I’m Grateful for Today
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…]
Exploring The Frontiers of Inner Space
By now you’ve probably noticed that Thom and I like to do as much traveling as possible during the heat of our intense summers here in the desert. However, even though the majority of our travel is to both scenic and temperate locations, this last week we traveled homeward to attend a conference. That’s because even though we love to travel, oftentimes travel and exploration of the furthest frontiers of inner-space can be the most stimulating of all. As Marcel Proust said, “The real voyage of discovery consists, not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” And I happen to believe that the only way to get those “new eyes” is to stay curious, open and search out and discover new ideas. [Read more…]
Renting Vs Owning—And Other Thoughts On Impermanence
“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…]
2014–Reflections on Life, Simple Living and Happiness
At the end of every year I have a habit of going back and reviewing things that worked well in my life in the last 365 days. I think it’s useful to explore the actions, mindsets and understandings that have enhanced my well-being and happiness—and recognize those that didn’t, so they can be modified And because a big part of living SMART 365 is staying conscious, awake and aware—this practice might prove valuable for all of us. I’ll start by sharing a few ideas that increased the quality of my life in 2012. [Read more…]
Simple Living vs. Minimalism—What’s the Difference & Which Are You?
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…]