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…]
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…]
My husband Thom and I love to travel almost as much as we enjoy rightsizing. But the two ideas are not mutually exclusive. In fact, because we rightsized our lives some years ago, we can now travel more and in better form than ever before. So, if you’ve always dreamed of traveling more, but never seem to have the time or money, perhaps what you need is to rightsize your next trip.
First, I must recommend that you rightsize your entire life. What do I mean by that? If you are new to this website and unfamiliar with rightsizing, here’s a short definition: Rightsizing is taking the time to focus on what really matters to you and brings you happiness—and at the same time reducing and then eliminating everything that brings you down and sucks the joy out of you. [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…]
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…]
Open any magazine aimed at women over 30 and you are sure to see advertisements promoting the latest in anti-aging. Then as the years go by, it is nearly impossible to avoid the constant barrage of commercials claiming to have the secret to avoid ever getting old. Yet, if we pause for a moment before spending our hard-earned money, we know that the only real way to prevent aging is for our lives to end. Face it. Eventually, the longer we live, the older we will get. Perhaps instead of fussing about how we look, or thinking we can live forever, what we truly want and crave is something that makes each day of that journey rich and meaningful. Fortunately, such an elixir is available to us all and doesn’t cost a dime. That magic potion is to find and live a purposeful life. [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…]
Last night Thom and I sat down to watch a new Syfy thriller on television. Although the reviews were promising, after about a half hour of watching things blow up, people dying, and young-twenty-somethings behave in idiotic ways, we turned it off. After all, what was the point? That question has been on my mind after finishing a book entitled The Point Is by Lee Eisenberg. The author believes that how we answer that question should help each of us make sense of birth, death and everything in between. And maybe, just maybe, answering it on a regular basis could assist us in living SMART and making the most of every precious moment of our lives. [Read more…]