I’m in love. Don’t worry, it’s likely just an infatuation with a 78-year-old man named James Hollis Ph.D. I first encountered his work a month or two ago and since then I’ve read articles and listened to every podcast and YouTube lecture from him I could find. Who is he and why am I infatuated? On the surface Hollis is a practicing Jungian analyst and depth psychologist, author of over 15 books, a public speaker, and the former executive director of the Jung Society of Washington D.C. What I find particularly attractive are the thoughts and ideas that he routinely illuminates—a big part of which is the examination of our lives as we mature and enter the second half of life. And in spite of the many distractions we all face, I can’t help but be captivated by the goldmine of introspection he offers for those of us who are drawn to greater self-discovery and awareness, along with other insights about the innermost workings of our psyche. [Read more…]
Happiness research by Harvard professor Daniel Gilbert teaches that most of us aren’t good at predicting how happy we will be in the future. Not only are our predictions based upon current feelings and events, they also flow out of our previous experiences—none of which necessarily explains what will happen, or how we will feel, far into the future. Instead, Gilbert recommends that we study and learn from those who are living the experience we say we want to mimic. Could it be that only the oldest of old living today can offer us clues about living a very long and happy life? That’s exactly what John Leland suggests in his new book, Happiness is a Choice You Make: Lessons from a year among the oldest old. For those of us who see a very long life as a gift we want to embrace, this book is a window into the wisdom of several elders with a great deal to teach.
I recently went to lunch with a friend I’ll call Carol. After chatting for over an hour I told her it was time for me to go because I needed to finish my weekly blog post. She immediately asked me, “So what happens if you don’t?” In other words, does it really matter that every week I spend a great deal of my time and effort writing and publishing articles here on SMART Living 365? Remember, I don’t get paid by writing this blog (other than the sale of my books). So why bother?
The simplified answer is that writing, and what I do with it for now, matters to me and I believe it is my purpose—or you could even call it my dharma. That in itself is more than reward enough. Serendipitously, a few days later I listened to a podcast that further explained how living our “dharma,” offers each of us a path to a meaningful, gratifying and on purpose life. From there I was reminded that whatever unique dharma we have, it’s best not to wait for retirement, or anything else, before finding and living it to the best of our abilities. [Read more…]
Remember back when you were a teenager and every thing that you did was either the beginning or the ending of the Universe as you knew it? The angst, the drama, the excitement, the thrill of life is usually never more vivid than during that time of such strong feelings and emotions. But as I shared in a previous post, I’ve had a couple of challenging weeks and it occurred to me over the weekend that I was severely “fun deprived.” In fact, it was four in the afternoon and I couldn’t even remember if I’d laughed once, let alone cracked a smile. That’s the exact opposite of feeling passionately alive. [Read more…]
Happy SMART Day Everyone!
In order to be happy and fulfilled, all people everywhere share one fundamental need regardless of their background, race, religion, education or any number of cultural differences—that one thing is “meaning.” When we have meaning, we believe our life has a purpose and that our being here matters. In other words, in order to live SMART every day, a sense of meaning is critical.
One of the champions for the value of meaning was a man named Viktor Frankl. As a three-year survivor of the horror of Nazi concentration camps, he eventually became an eminent psychotherapist. While many of Frankl’s fellow prisoners died in the camps, he believed that a key reason for his survival was the inner strength he derived from meaning.