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…]
As many of you know, I am active on Facebook—most of the time. I enjoy it and not only does it help to spread the word about my blog and my books, I also find it fun to connect with people, stay up-to-date with family and friends, and to learn about things around the world. Even more importantly, I have a mission to share positive and inspiring news with others to remind us all that there is always more good in the world than not. But lately it’s been hard. About half of all Facebook posts these days are about politics. And while I do not tolerate hateful or violent remarks, I still find the tone of many to be fearful, angry and defensive.
So what does a SMART girl do? Some people just swear off of Facebook altogether, which is certainly one alternative. Instead, what I did was sit down and come up with ten things I believe can help me, and anyone who is interested, get through the next four months and stay sane. While they are not excuses to put our head in the sand and resort to “magical thinking,” they do help to keep us focused on those things we believe deep in our soul, rather than anything or fear and fight. [Read more…]
Like most baby boomers or people who grew up in California, I am very familiar with the statement, “Accepting what is.” A product of dozens of spiritual, philosophical, and psychological perspectives, this phrase is offered as a solution to overcome the trials and tribulations in both our individual lives and the world around us. The problem is, when things in the world seem rather painful, upsetting, and sad, or when our personal lives are in the tank, accepting what is feels not only unhelpful, but flat-out sucks. How can any of us “accept what is,” when the world around us is crumbling? Could it be that the problem is more personal than it appears? [Read more…]
Ever been told to “cowboy up”? How about “It’s time to put on your big girl panties?” Ever been accused of having no emotion? Unfortunately, much of the time, we tend to equate these questions as either manipulation or heartlessness. But what if the sentiment behind these statements originates from the ancient Stoic philosophy? What if they contain powerful lessons that may benefit us all? In light of some of the recent events in our world, I decided to explore whether Stoicism and some of its greatest thinkers might offer some ideas we can use to live a good and SMART life.
First, a little history. Stoicism is a philosophy founded in Greece in the 3rd Century by a man named Zeno of Citium. With a strong emphasis on virtue, justice, duty and reason, the Stoics believe that a life of self-control and moderation is a path that leads to a good life. Three of the most famous leaders of the philosophy include Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus, and Seneca. In practice and intention, some people equate Stoicism to a more Western approach to Buddhism. [Read more…]
Cohousing isn’t a new concept. In fact, humans have been coming together in community for thousands of years to survive and thrive. What is new is that these days many of us have grown so independent and disconnected that we’ve forgotten why community is important in the first place. Maybe when we are young, busy, and focused on the needs of one’s immediate family, that isn’t so important. But eventually, if people begin to value experiences, relationships, and good health more than the stuff they accumulate and the accolades they obtain as they age, things start changing. That’s when being a part of a strong and vibrant community starts sounding more and more appealing. It’s also when the idea of cohousing may pop up as a solution. Is it a key to helping people age better? Those who have embraced it say, “Yes!” [Read more…]
The young couple who live across the street from me are selling their home. I’ll be sad to see them go because they’ve become friends and we’ve watched their son Timmy grow from a toddler to a boy. Where are they going? They’ve decided it’s time for a bigger house in a more affluent neighborhood. Of course, it’s hard to sit in judgment after doing something similar years ago. Still, I hope they never find themselves so pressed for time that they forget what gives life meaning, and instead becoming slaves to a big mortgage and extravagant home expenses. In other words, I hope they never find themselves house-broke and unable to do anything about it. [Read more…]
This week I will be out of town attending my first ever Blogging Conference. So when I recently read this article that Tom Sightings wrote for U.S. News Online explaining his view of rightsizing, I asked him if I could share it with all of you. I’ve always believed that rightsizing is individual to each of us and hearing different versions is helpful to us all. Thanks Tom for allowing me to share your perspective!
According to a survey by the Demand Institute, almost half of Americans between ages 50 and 64 plan to move within the next five years or so. Some baby boomers — especially those who have been renting all their lives, or who never moved up from their starter house – actually plan to spend more on their homes in retirement. But more often than not, the baby boomer move will involve downsizing – trading in the old family home for smaller digs, perhaps in a less expensive neighborhood. [Read more…]
Last weekend my husband Thom and I drove to Tucson, AZ to visit three thriving cohousing communities. As I wrote about in January, even though the concept of cohousing is still relatively young, it’s appeal is growing as others discover the benefits. Ever since I first heard about them, I recognized how many ways they mimic the advantages I find from rightsizing. After touring all three facilities, it is also evident that they embrace the core values of SMART*. Is cohousing a wave of the future? It likely depends on whether you value community, and if you see them as a path to living your values. [Read more…]
Like millions of other Americans, I first read The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz nearly 20 years ago. According to Wikipedia, the book sold over 5 million copies in just the U.S., was a New York Times bestseller for over seven years, and has been translated into 38 languages. Not a bad run for such a small book. But in spite its success, now might be a good time to update those agreements from a SMART perspective. After all, if life is continually changing as Ruiz says, then, “The best path to happiness is learning to change as rapidly as life does.” [Read more…]
Since turning 60, I’ve been increasingly interested in what it means to grow older in a vibrant and purposeful way. Much like my work with rightsizing, I see aging not as an inevitable loss or sacrifice, but instead as an opportunity to get to the heart of what really matters to each of us as living, breathing beings on this planet—and then sharing that with our community and the world. Plus, with so many of us nearing retirement age, and yet living many years after, isn’t is SMART to recognize that making the most of those years seldom happens by chance? So instead of merely growing old and waiting for the unavoidable, learning what makes us whole and happy is worthy of our attention. [Read more…]