Several months ago Thom and I went to see the movie Birdman. The plot, the symbolism, the acting, the humor and cinematography all create a movie with enough going for it to have won the Academy Award for Best Picture of the Year. But while all the elements made for an entertaining movie experience, what attracted me most were the questions it raises about the universal quest for relevancy. After all, don’t we all want to believe our lives matter? Don’t we all want to grow older thinking we’ve achieved something of distinction? And if yes, what steps are we willing to take to insure it happens? [Read more…]
On Friday, February 20th, all around the world thousands of people came together to write, tweet, sing, paint and speak out in the name and practice of compassion. The idea started a couple of months ago when several bloggers were sharing ideas of gratitude and began wondering what would happen if they gathered a 1,000 (or more) voices together to write about compassion and focus on the good in the world. On that day, compassion and #1000Speak showed just what can happen when thousands of us come together for good. And at the core of that compassion, I can’t help but believe it all boils down to the spirit behind the word Namaste’. [Read more…]
At the end of 2014 and just like last year, I thought it might be interesting to do a review of some of the things that occurred here on SMART Living 365. Lest you think this post is all about blogging and has little to do with you, please keep in mind that it is SMART for all of us to look back occasionally to see what we have faced and overcome, what we’d perhaps like to do differently, and how that might impact the future. So, with three and a half years of experience behind me, here are several things I learned and experienced during the past year. [Read more…]
As most of you know Thom and I have been mainly self-employed since we got together over 37 years ago. Fortunately, we are currently more financially secure and wealthy than we’ve ever been throughout our lives. Are we rolling in money? Not hardly. But not a week goes by that we don’t hear how so many others are stressed about money, how difficult are these economic times, and how financially things seem to be getting worse everywhere in the world. So what makes me feel so good about money these days? It’s probably because Thom and I take a money SMART approach to our finances. [Read more…]
A well-known study done in 2008 by Brandeis University reports that 90% of Americans believe in prayer. In fact, according to medical centers across our country, prayer is consider the most commonly used “alternative medicine” practiced. But what does that really mean? Are we all thinking, feeling and practicing the same way? Hardly. In fact, I’m fairly certain that the prayers I practice are very different from the prayer that you say or do—if you do. But if 55% of our country’s population say they pray every single day, who or what are they praying to, what are they experiencing and what do they expect as a result? Obviously the power, mystery and variety of the practice deserves more discussion.
With that said, I’d better point out that I am not religious at all. I do consider myself spiritual—actually a spiritual being having a human experience—but what I sometimes call God is likely very different from how you define It. Fortunately I don’t need you to agree with my definition of All-That-Is to receive the full benefit of my understanding. By the same token, I hope you don’t need me to agree with your definition for you to receive your benefits as well. [Read more…]
Two weeks ago I was walking my dog Kloe down the street near the house we rent in the mountains every August. Gawking around and enjoying the beautiful day, my left foot slid on some gravel and twisted violently to the left. @#$&! To compensate, I jerked to the right and slammed my right knee into the pavement scraping away the skin. Double *&%#$! I sat there for a minute on the side of the road assessing the damage. Gradually I managed to get myself standing and hobble home.
It hurt—both the ankle and my knee. But what hurt more than anything were the thoughts flooding my mind at the same time. How could this happen? Thom, Kloe and I had spent the previous week scampering up the side of steep and slippery mountainsides without a bit of trouble. During the week before we had clocked in at probably 15-20 miles of mountain terrain. Health-wise I felt as good as I had in the last ten years and both of us were getting in shape for our upcoming trip to Southern Mexico in September. How could something so stupid and unnecessary happen? Right from the beginning I allowed the pain in my foot and knee to spread to my mind—that’s where it became suffering. [Read more…]
As we all know by now, actor Robin Williams died by suicide earlier this week. Sadly, his passing comes on the heels of other departures by famous people like Maya Angelou, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Shirley Temple and Paul Walker to name just a few. And while death always catches our attention, sometimes it also causes us to catch our breath—especially when it strikes those we consider too young. Yet the truth is, we don’t know these people. Our only connection to them comes from highly filtered stories from the media. So what is it that triggers the widespread mourning that so many feel when tragedy hits our celebrities? Here are nine reasons I found that might help to explain the phenomenon.
As some of you know, I wrote a blog post last summer after hearing a author named Dr. Eben Alexander speak at a conference. His book, Proof of Heaven raised a number of questions in my mind that I wanted to explore. That post attracted more readers than any other I have written in the last three years so I know lots of people are interested in the topic. Then last weekend Thom and I went to the new movie, Heaven Is For Real to discover if it offered any further proof of the concept. But instead of answers, it raised even more questions about the idea of heaven that I think each of us could benefit from answering for ourselves. And the biggest question of all is, “How would your life be different if you really believed Heaven were real?” [Read more…]
Yesterday I read an article about the coming season of Lent. It’s not something I’ve ever observed or celebrated before, but certain aspects of the ritual appeal to me. That got me thinking. Regardless of where a practice comes from, who says we have to be religious to learn and benefit from them? And even if we consider ourselves completely non-religious, we all routinely practice habits and other traditions, every single day. So why not mix the two ideas together into a powerful way to experience greater wellbeing and happiness? With the Lenten Season beginning next Wednesday, let’s consider whether a variation on the tradition can help us to be more mindful and eliminate a couple of bad habits at the same time. Interested? [Read more…]
Just about every day I read a post on Facebook or one of the many blogs I follow about getting older. And while many of them poke fun at the experience, most of the time the posts subtly (or not so subtly!) talk about the drawbacks to aging. But, when you think about it, every single day each of us is getting older—and thankfully so! Consider the alternative. So instead of thinking of life as a gradual decline, maybe it is time to start thinking of how life gets better as we go along—and that the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. And even though I’m not facing a significant birthday for several months, I decided a good way to prepare was to start focusing on the benefits long before the day arrives. [Read more…]