I first heard about the practice of Ayurveda from Deepak Chopra back in the early 90s. Just as Chopra’s work became internationally recognized, we attended a three-day workshop and then read many of his books. But even though much of his spiritual and practical insights came from that five-thousand-year-old system of health and healing, I never really understood much about it. So when offered a review copy of a new book written by Acharya Shunya titled, Ayurveda Lifestyle Wisdom I was intrigued. I was especially attracted by the subtitle of, “A Complete Prescription to Optimize Your Health, Prevent Disease, and Live with Vitality and Joy. Clearly, Ayurveda sounded a lot like living SMART 365. [Read more…]
Lately, I’ve noticed how tempting it is to conform. When young and I had nothing to lose, it’s seemed easier to jump into new ideas feet first without thinking. Then supposedly, at the other end of life when our days are numbered, some people find the courage to live as outrageously as they’ve always wanted. But there, wedged in the middle, the unconscious agreement is often the willingness to stay stuck in a space you could call “comfortably numb.” There, cautiously hesitant to rock the boat for fear of uncertainty, many of us merely maintain the status quo. But is that living? Is living comfortably numb the best payoff for the gift of your life? While we obviously can’t return to our youth, we can and maybe should, seek ways to free our inner nonconformist in the days that lie ahead. [Read more…]
For as long as I can remember I have always encountered a new year with optimism and hope. Even when Y2K or the Mayan 2012 (remember them?) were on the horizon and then passed, I believed that any obstacle we faced in a new year could be overcome by either going over, around, or through the problems in front of us. Now here in 2017, we are faced with new and interesting challenges. But again, it is not my nature, nor the reality that I live in, to believe that optimism and hope are suddenly impossible. As I, and others far wiser than me have said, “Pain may be inevitable, but suffering is always optional.” With that in mind, I’ve spent the first few days of the year coming up with what I believe are ten ways to embrace more happiness and hope in the next 365 days. [Read more…]
A goal for most people I know is to live a well life. But what does that really mean? If we don’t pay attention, stay conscious and strive to be proactive, it’s likely that we are creating our life by default rather than by design. In other words, we end up reacting to whatever is happening in the world around us—in our families, our workplace, or with our health—and if it’s good, we are happy. But if any of those outward circumstances takes a nasty turn, we veer off track and end up in the bushes. Only when we consciously choose to design our life, can we claim the reality of a well life.
Fortunately there is help. A new book by Briana and Dr. Peter Borten titled, The Well Life offers dozens of ideas and practices to help us structure a life filled with balance, happiness and peace. Even those of us who have read hundreds of books on self-empowerment, spirituality and positive living can benefit by many of the suggestions offered in the book. And with a New Year just around the corner, who among us can’t use a few pointers to ensure that our design is a creation we hope to experience in the days to come?
Have you ever heard of the word, “hygge?” If not, it may be because you’ve never lived in Denmark where the concept has been around since the 19th Century. But in 2015, a prominent article written about hygge for the BBC website went viral and exploded across the U.K. and Europe. Now it is coming to the U.S. Why so popular? With a simple definition of “coziness” or “content togetherness,” hygge (often pronounced hoo-gah) just might be the perfect solution for anyone feeling the stress of the coming holiday or recent political events. Even better, hygge offers a possible path for those of us exploring living well and positive aging. [Read more…]
Several weeks ago I gave a talk hosted by the library here in La Quinta, CA entitled, “Local Author Series.” In an effort to promote reading, writing and greater community connections, I agreed to share some of the things I’ve learned after nearly 30 years of writing. But rather than just make it a show-and-tell all about me, I approached the presentation with the intention of helping others curious about writing and who might be looking for encouragement. After all, I believe like author and mentor Julia Cameron, that we are all innately creative. And what often leads to artistic success is mostly the audaciousness of not giving up. [Read more…]
During the last couple of years, my focus for creating a happy and meaningful life has shifted. Now, in addition to exploring ways to create the most positive life possible for myself and others, I’ve begun including ideas of how we can all age well and happy. And because I happen to believe very strongly in the power of our focus, along with the benefit of affirmations, I went in search of the best quotes I could find on the subject. Any of us who believe that, “what we think about, we bring about,” as well as “what we dwell upon we become,” might benefit by reading the following quotes on a regular basis.
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…]
I first read Julia Cameron’s The Artist Way back in the early 90s. I still have that original copy and freely admit how one part of it transformed my life for the better. Because of Julia, I started writing, by hand, three pages of random thoughts each and every morning and continue today nearly 25 years later. Those Morning Pages, as Julia calls them, have helped to make me not only the writer I am today but the person I’ve become. So when I discovered Julia had published a new book titled, It’s Never Too Late To Begin Again—Discovering Creativity & Meaning at Midlife and Beyond, I bought it and prepared myself to be re-inspired and potentially transformed. [Read more…]
I do my best here on SMART Living to stay away from politics. That’s not because I don’t have an opinion, but my intention here is to instead inspire and encourage us all to think and form our own opinions from a space of awareness, compassion and personal responsibility. With that said, it occurred to me that much of the divisiveness we see and hear these days originates in some fundamental lies that we may be telling ourselves. Those lies or untruths are quite common and perhaps by taking the time to shine some light on them, we just might find that we have taken a wrong turn somewhere along the line. Here then, are ten falsehoods some people tell themselves that keep them from being happy and SMART. [Read more…]