This morning I listened to a podcast created by author and speaker Byron Katie about overcoming our fears. I realize that writing about fear isn’t always popular. In fact, some people are adamant that they don’t have any fear to begin with. But I’m convinced that much of the current anger, outrage, hatred, and denial coming out of the news, on social media, and in conversation, is grounded in fear. So, when Byron Katie applied her “work” on a willing participant in the aforementioned podcast around the subject of current events, the foundation of fear was evident. I found her solution helpful. And perhaps because it so applied to some of my own shadow thoughts, I thought today was a perfect opportunity to bring them out in the open.
A common practice for bloggers and other lifelong learners is to pick one word to focus on as an intention for each new year. For some reason, the word “flexible” or flexibility popped into my mind within the first couple of days of 2018. Ever since then I’ve been playing with the idea. Like buying a new outfit, it’s important to see if your word fits you—to see if it has a hold of you. Now, with January quickly coming to an end, I decided it was time to reveal my word for 2018 to the world. Plus, I want to invite any of you who haven’t yet picked a word, to join me in allowing one word to mold your life in a more positive and SMART way for the remainder of the year.
With Thanksgiving behind us, those living in the U.S. can expect to be swamped with messages of consumerism for the next 34 days. In fact, Black Friday, which many retailers have named as the most heavily shopped day of the year, is today. If you are anything like me, even with the best of intentions it’s easy to be mesmerized by the glamor of things being advertised everywhere—even when we know better. But rather than give in to the impulse, I instead decided to sit down and write out a few simple, but important, ways I want to stay rightsized over the coming holiday season. If you could use some help with your resolve, please check out my list and add some of your own suggestions in the comments below. [Read more…]
This week SMART Living 365 introduces you to Lynne Spreen as our last guest blogger before returning from our trip. I am a friend as well as a reader of Lynne’s blog Any Shiny Thing. On her blog, Lynne often writes about positive aging and other SMART ideas that I find valuable. Thank you, Lynne, for filling in and sharing these great ideas.
In 2007, a billboard in my town advertised a new housing tract that featured two master bedroom suites, available in their biggest model. It sticks in my memory because I was appalled. Who would buy a house with two master suites?
This was just before the Great Recession, a period of real estate excess when people were buying way too much house and, in some cases, flipping homes like pancakes. [Read more…]
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…]
Do your thoughts determine how you age? The answer is “Yes” according to Professor Ellen Langer. During the last forty-five years, this Harvard social psychologist has studied the way our mindset affects both our health and how we age. At the core of her work is unifying the mind and the body rather than how the conventional medical and psychological world typically treats each as separate. Langer is convinced that a unity offers a far better understanding and hope for making positive change. Fortunately, her studies provide us with plenty of science to back up her assertions. [Read more…]
Ever since reading Why People Don’t Heal—And How They Can by Caroline Myss, Ph.D. back in the late 1990s I have been a fan. No matter how many times I read her work, or listen to a lecture she gives, I am always inspired. Myss continually fills in the blanks in many of my thoughts about how to stay healthy and happy from a psychological and spiritual perspective that is often absent in so many conversations. This last week I found a recent TED Talk she gave at the Findhorn Foundation. In this short talk she presents five choices that she has observed in her long career that she finds essential to living a long and healthy life. Surprisingly so—it isn’t the big choices that make the real difference, it’s those little daily ones that matter. [Read more…]
My husband Thom had a rather cantankerous relationship with his mother. Roberta had a very strong need for approval, especially from others, so she expected Thom to be the perfect child. Unfortunately, the more she attempted to control his inquisitive behavior, the more rebellious he became. But a very helpful thing Roberta 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. Of course, 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…]