During the month of August, my husband Thom and I are renting a home in the mountains about an hour from our primary home in the desert southwest. This is our first year in this particular dwelling and it has a number of features to enjoy like good wifi (of course!), a large wraparound deck looking through the trees, and a hot tub. One of the unexpected amenities is Alexa. Have you met her? On the surface, Alexa seems like an amusing and helpful addition to any home. But watch out! Not only is she extremely attractive on many levels, she also adds to the many irresistible distractions that technology offers us in our current world. [Read more…]
My husband Thom and I began living a more simple and sustainable life over ten years ago. In the beginning, the practice felt a bit awkward and required our conscious focus and intention to make the necessary changes. Gradually our actions became fluid and felt more natural. Most excuses and resistance simply faded away. Finally, after all these years I believe that our path to simple living is so deeply ingrained in us that it has become a habit that adds value to our lives every single day. Are we experts? Not hardly. But if we can do it, anyone can. So what if you’re just starting on the journey? My advice is to make the practice a habit as quickly as possible.
Here are three critical steps I believe are necessary: [Read more…]
Last night Thom and I attended a Jack Johnson concert at the Santa Barbara Bowl and this morning I woke up with a fun hangover. First, if you don’t know who Jack Johnson is and you love music, you need to look him up. Second, if you haven’t experienced a fun hangover in a while, maybe it’s time you indulged. After all, it’s SMART to occasionally push our boundaries and get out of our comfort zones. Doing something unexpected, out of the ordinary, and especially fun every now and then is a sure prescription for ongoing happiness and good health. [Read more…]
Like I said in my post last week, Thom and I are spending the month at the beach. Our primary excuse is to escape the heat of our desert home. But frankly, what we really needed is an experience away from the habits and routines of daily life. And because this works so well for us, I feel fairly confident that it just might be what we all need now and then to really appreciate the life we have created. Don’t believe me? How about I give you a few reasons why we find it so beneficial and you can then decide for yourself? [Read more…]
(originally titled: The Only Thing We Know For Sure Is That We Don’t Know Anything For Sure) Most of you who read my blog know that I am an optimist. I also believe in the power of positive thought. The way I see it, positive thought is different from positive thinking because just thinking of things doesn’t always affect them. But when you change your thoughts (or mindset) about things, it usually spurs the actions that lead to change. So imagine my delight when I came across the work of Ellen J. Langer who not only reinforces that idea about “thoughts,” but also offers research to support them. Calling on what she labels the “psychology of possibility,” Langer says that it “first requires that we begin with the assumption that we do not know what we can do or become.” In other words, the only thing we know for sure is that we can’t know anything for absolute certain. [Read more…]
Thinking is contagious. In other words, what we focus on and spend time mulling over in our minds routinely shows up over and over in wanted or unwanted ways. Worried about something? Chances are you will wake up in the middle of the night with those fears running through your head like a wild horse. Intrigued by something? Curious? Delighted? Without a doubt, you will find trails of those ideas leading in all sorts of interesting directions.
That’s why it was no surprise when I stumbled upon a newsletter called Positive Aging by The Taos Institute while surfing the Internet. There I found a newly released book entitled, Paths To Positive Aging—Dog Days with a Bone and Other Essays and I emailed and asked for a review copy. As hoped, this small book of essays generated all sorts of new ideas about aging that I found remarkable. And so it goes. [Read more…]
With Memorial Weekend right around the corner, I think a lot of people are making plans for summer vacation. I know I am. I’ve also read that people spend more time planning their vacations than they do their lives—but that’s another topic for another blog post. Then this morning I listened to another lecture by Abraham-Hicks and through the course of a question and answer period Abraham said, “You didn’t come to get it done.” Another way of saying that is, “It’s the journey, not the destination.” However, if you are anything like me, I need to be reminded over and over that the gift of today is reason enough for my life. What about you? [Read more…]
A big topic in my age group is retirement. About half of my friends are looking forward to it while the other half are already there. As for Thom and I, we see ourselves standing with a foot on both sides. We aren’t retired, but neither are we chained to our work. What makes us different from others hoping to retire soon is that we’ve embraced what I call rightsizing. Rightsizing is a process that any of us can do to come into greater alignment with our most cherished values and goals. On a practical level, rightsizing points to actions we can make at any age that will help before, and especially after, a person retires.
In case you are wondering, I am not a financial advisor. Most retirement “planning” comes from people who would like to manage your finances. That approach tends to put the focus on how much money you make, how much money saved, and how much you need in the future to maintain your current lifestyle. Rightsizing, on the other end, downplays money and instead puts the focus on what is most rewarding in your life.
My husband Thom had a rather cantankerous relationship with his mother. Bert, short for Roberta, had a very strong need for approval, especially from others. That led her to working every day to make Thom the perfect child. Unfortunately, the more she tried, the more rebellious he became. But even then, something she did do for him was to plant an extremely powerful seed in his mind. Ironically, rather than tell him directly, he overheard her saying it to a neighbor. That seed, that statement was, “Thom can do anything he sets his mind to.” Not only did that seed sprout and take root, it’s been a guiding principal in his life. And I’d bet, when you think about it, most of us live our entire lives based upon what we’ve set our mind to be, do, or have. Regrettably, many of us ignore the power of that set point as well as our ability to adjust it in a positive way by design. [Read more…]
Like most people my age I am increasingly interested in what leads to aging well and happy. I am also keenly aware of how different that is from many of the conversations my parents had in later years. Rather than go through a depressing list of “organ – recitals” that often characterized our parents and their friends, the new emerging conversation about positive aging is leading in exciting and interesting directions every day. One recent study from the Netherlands combines the idea of healthy aging to people’s hopes, plans, and wishes for their future. Could it be that having goals and planning for certain experiences can make us happier and more satisfied as we age? This particular study says yes. [Read more…]