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…]
The end of 2013 marks two and a half years of blogging at SMART Living 365. From a statistical perspective it is an excellent reminder that perseverance is one of the best qualities a writer can bring to her craft. At the end of 2011 I had barely 50 email subscribers and a handful of feed subscribers. Now two years later I want to thank the thousands of readers who have stopped by and made SMART Living a part of their lives.
With that in mind I went through and looked at my top posts during the previous 30 months. With so many new followers I’m assuming many of you may have missed some of them. As usual they reflect some angle of what I consider a SMART Life. And always my goal is to share ideas that will help us all live a more happy, peaceful and meaningful life. Here they are: [Read more…]
Yesterday was my weekly volunteer day for the local branch of The Ophelia Project. I’ve been involved in this organization for a year and a half and it is an opportunity to mentor and meet regularly with local disadvantaged teenage girls looking for extra support. As you might imagine it is valuable for the girls, and a rewarding experience for me. But yesterday I knew we’d be short-handed with a lot planned for our 90-minute meeting, and I was feeling a bit anxious. Before I even left the house I was running lists through my head to insure that everything would be handled, and found myself thinking what a relief it would be when it was all over. Then something clicked in my head and I realized that this was exactly what I wanted to be doing—in fact I’d actually gone out of my way and signed up for the opportunity. But instead of relishing in the current experience, I was worrying over details and longing for it to be over. In other words, I wasn’t “here”—I was somewhere else.
Last week my post talked about three challenges that I think stand in the way of many of us living gratefully each and every day. What occurred to me from some of the comments and other conversations I’ve had during the week is that there are a number of people who aren’t convinced that we should live either gratefully or happy every single day anyway. What’s interesting to me after all the research I’ve done over the years about creating happiness, is how closely the reasoning to avoid gratitude on a daily basis appears the same. That led me to explore some of the more common myths that exist for happiness—and observe at how those same myths apply to living thankfully 365. [Read more…]
A couple of weeks ago Thom and I had lunch with a long-time friend I’ll call Bob. After a great meal our conversation turned to health and successful aging as it sometimes does for people in midlife. We all agreed that we were extremely fortunate to live in an area where we can observe people well into their 90’s who are vibrant, active and younger in mind and heart than many people half their age.
Next we talked about the importance of living each day as a gift, never taking a moment for granted, and fulfilling our bucket list while we were all healthy and financially able. That’s when Bob joked that he recently had dinner with a woman in her late 80’s who had a different take on the idea. She told him very emphatically that she was done with the idea of a bucket list. At her age, she was working on her F*^k It list! And while we all laughed at the spunk of Bob’s friend, that declaration got me thinking.
Sure, it’s healthy to have a bucket list containing all the goals and dreams we hope to accomplish during the remainder of our lives. But maybe a F*^k It list is good as well. After all, at a certain age we should be both willing and able to let go of anything that drags us down and holds us back from living a happy and content life. So, after some time thinking about it—here are a few things I’m putting on my F*^k It list that perhaps might convince some of the rest of you to make such a list as well. [Read more…]
I took this photo in May of 2013 in the amazing town of Mostar, Bosnia. Twenty years ago this country was torn apart by war–including this famous bridge–and many people died. It is a good reminder of the cost of war on many levels–and that even after such an event, peace can be achieved. Of course, the SMART choice would be to work for peace prior to any conflict.
Click on photo to enlarge. For more photos go to: SMART Photos by Thom
This post is added to the Bloggers For Peace monthly challenge to promote peace on the internet. You can find more posts (and quotes) about Peace HERE.
“Doubt everything or believe everything: these are two equally convenient strategies. With either we dispense with the need for reflection.” ~ Henri Poincare
Ever had a conversation with someone and realized that no matter what you said, there was no way your companion would grasp what you were trying to say? One time I was talking excitedly to my nephew Mark about some studies I had recently uncovered about how our minds work. In complete seriousness Mark stopped me and said, “Studies, oh you can’t believe studies like that.” In that moment the conversation ended before it began. With that said, if you are convinced that life is finite and there is no heaven or any kind of existence beyond the physical, chances are good that nothing I can write will make any difference. But, if you are open to some ideas that are intriguing, it might be valuable to read a bit about the ongoing debate of life after death before completely making up your mind. [Read more…]
By now you’ve probably noticed that Thom and I like to do as much traveling as possible during the heat of our intense summers here in the desert. However, even though the majority of our travel is to both scenic and temperate locations, this last week we traveled homeward to attend a conference. That’s because even though we love to travel, oftentimes travel and exploration of the furthest frontiers of inner-space can be the most stimulating of all. As Marcel Proust said, “The real voyage of discovery consists, not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” And I happen to believe that the only way to get those “new eyes” is to stay curious, open and search out and discover new ideas. [Read more…]
“Freedom is from within.” ~Frank Lloyd Wright
One of the perks of staying in our rental condo in Baja, Mx is being able to enjoy a lovely infinity swimming pool and hot tub overlooking some cliffs on the Pacific Ocean. Last night as the sun was setting, Thom and I put our suits on and walked the short distance to enjoy a soak. After settling in we were soon joined by three young men and a woman. (Did I mention it’s a big hot tub?) Over the next hour or so we talked about many things, but a big part of the conversation was about freedom. And because the U.S. is celebrating our independence day this week, I am naturally reminded that freedom is one of the greatest gifts available. But just because most Americans have many advantages related to freedom, that doesn’t always mean that we are all free to experience them equally or fully. What then does freedom really mean if we aren’t free to express, experience and enjoy our lives in happy and meaningful ways on a regular basis? [Read more…]