Last weekend my husband Thom and I attended a lecture by a young man named Timber Hawkeye. By his own definition, Timber is a religion-less Buddhist with a mission to awaken, enlighten, enrich and inspire. Not only does he offer a refreshing and practical approach to spirituality, he also talks repeatedly about creating a more simplified life. On the drive home, Thom and I began talking about how these two philosophies share a few things in common. From there, we came up with the Four Noble Truths of Minimalism as a way to remind and connect with the core principles behind a more simple, practical and grounded life. [Read more…]
Is Life Supposed to Be Fair?
Do you feel life is fair? How we answer that question says more about us personally than we usually realize. Several weeks ago when I was researching the qualities of good relationships, I discovered a line of thinking that suggests that unless our relationships feel fair, they are headed for trouble. And if that’s true, does any time we feel that we’ve been treated unfairly ultimately mean we are headed down a troublesome path? Chances are, yes. [Read more…]
Tai Chi – The Path To A Moving Meditation On Life
Thom and I toyed with meditation on and off for several decades until we finally committed to a daily practice a little over four years ago. Then a couple of months ago Thom suggested we take a tai chi class together, and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that tai chi is considered to be a “moving meditation.” In many ways, the experience of tai chi manages to broaden, deepen and enhance what we are already doing. But even more surprising, is how the practice of tai chi can help any of us create a very SMART, happy and harmonious way of life—365. [Read more…]
How Do You Live If Heaven Is Real?
As some of you know, I wrote a blog post last summer after hearing a author named Dr. Eben Alexander speak at a conference. His book, Proof of Heaven raised a number of questions in my mind that I wanted to explore. That post attracted more readers than any other I have written in the last three years so I know lots of people are interested in the topic. Then last weekend Thom and I went to the new movie, Heaven Is For Real to discover if it offered any further proof of the concept. But instead of answers, it raised even more questions about the idea of heaven that I think each of us could benefit from answering for ourselves. And the biggest question of all is, “How would your life be different if you really believed Heaven were real?” [Read more…]
A Variation on A Bucket List—The F*^k It List!
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…]
Beyond Suffering—What The Buddha Teaches About Tragedy
Something about Buddhism always bugged me. Of course, it wasn’t Buddhism itself, but what I heard. What stood out and bugged me was essentially the statement made by the Buddha that, “Life is suffering.” Not only did I not believe it, I thought the whole of Buddhism revolved around that negative idea. Rather than look deeper, I resisted the thought as though I could control the Universe and keep suffering away from either myself, or those I love. Flash forward about 30 years. Now I not only understand a great deal more about Buddhism, but I also agree that suffering can and does happen every day to scores of people all around the world. In fact, after a tragedy like what happened at the school in Connecticut or recently in Paris, how is it possible to think for a minute that suffering isn’t real? Of course, the lesson taught by the Buddha doesn’t stop there. Instead, the Buddha explained that freedom and peace lie in a space beyond suffering, and that liberation is available to us all. [Read more…]
Are You an Innie or an Outie? —Spiritually Speaking of Course!
Happy SMART Day Everyone!
Do you know whether you’re and innie or an outie? While those terms usually refer to a belly button, they apply even better when you are asking about a person’s spirituality. In other words, is your spiritual life inner-directed or outer-directed? And it doesn’t really matter what religion you practice. If you live your life based upon what others tell you to do, be, have or care about—even if that “other” is a spiritual leader of sorts—then you are outer-directed. If you instead listen to your own soul—especially in matters of the heart and spirit—then you are an innie. A huge part of living SMART 365 is learning the difference and then following the still, small voice within. [Read more…]
In Defense of “Happy Holidays” for One & All!
Happy Holidays everyone! For those of us who are aware of the abundance of holiday celebrations that occur during December around the world, it’s easy and SMART to admit how appropriate that greeting is for us all. It means no disrespect to anyone, and instead acknowledges that different people experience different ways to find meaning in their world. In fact, even if you have a favorite way to celebrate, acknowledging with love, kindness and compassion the diversity among us, just might be the most spiritual and enlightened way to celebrate and enjoy the season. [Read more…]
Resilience—Do you break, bruise or bounce when stuff happens?
Drop a light bulb on the floor and it shatters. Drop an apple and it bruises. Drop a hard rubber ball and it bounces back—good as new. What about you? Every single one of us experiences a variety of events every day. Some experiences are smooth and pleasant, some merely okay, and others downright tough. While most of us can sail easily through the good times—whether we shatter, bruise or bounce during the tough times are as individual as we are. We all know a few people who are amazing at bounding right back. Others—not so great. The good news is that with the desire, every one of us can improve our bounce-ability quotient. [Read more…]
Nature Does More Than Heal—It Actually Makes People More Kind
“I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority.” ~E.B. White
A few weeks ago I posted about how it was “SMART to Spend Time in Nature.” That’s because there are dozens of scientific studies that now prove that not only is it healing for the body, it is also extremely good for our mental health to experience time in the great outdoors. Since writing that blog, I have since discovered that not only is it good for us physically and mentally—spending time in nature also makes us nicer and more generous people.