I keenly remember my mom working a garden in several of the homes she lived in later in her life. One was little more than rock and gravel patch of dirt, yet she managed to harvest a few tomatoes and zucchini in spite of the inhospitable ground. And while I always enjoyed the taste if she had any extras, my life was far too important and fast paced to even imagine having the time or interest. Now here I am so many years later, spending time nearly every day nurturing tiny green plants in my care. Though it’s taken a while, I’ve gradually come to realize that many of the hidden benefits my mother harvested from her garden went far beyond the obvious. In fact, after reading up on the benefits of gardening I’ve come to realize that this simple action might be a cure for what ails many people, as well as the planet herself. [Read more…]
The phrase, “you create your own reality” has been part of the Western vernacular for at least several decades now. Originally a statement promoted by those with a more progressive perspective on life, the idea behind the phrase is now commonly found everywhere from books, to television, to popular music and in movies. But while I’ll admit that it is empowering to think I influence my world, and easy to imagine that your reality can be very different from mine, obviously that doesn’t mean I can fly just because I want to “create that.” So what does the statement really mean? Is it true? And if yes, how does that lead to a SMART and happy life? [Read more…]
It’s probably obvious that I spend a lot of time thinking about how all of us can get and stay happier on a regular basis. Fortunately I’m not alone in this quest because there are hundreds of books and lots of other websites devoted to this topic as well. My last post explained why I think leaning towards happiness is so important. Today I thought it would be helpful to provide even more information about growing and sustaining our happiness based upon the science behind how our minds work. Fortunately I’m reading a new book called, Hardwiring Happiness that helps do just that. [Read more…]
The Internet is full of posts, articles and photos of people who are embracing a more minimal lifestyle and promoting the Small House Movement. Just Google if you’re curious. One guy has remodeled a trash dumpster and now calls that home. Others are living in RV like structures with only 200 to 300 sq. feet. Even though some of these homes are adorable and decorated to make the most of small spaces, there is only a minority of us in the U.S. that will ever embrace that lifestyle for any length of time. But that doesn’t mean that the focus on a small (er) home isn’t worth promoting. In fact, my experience has convinced me that it was one of the best moves we ever made. [Read more…]
A musician friend named Rudi Harst wrote a song titled, “Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda.” It’s both a catchy tune and a great reminder that feelings of regret can hold us back from living a happy and fulfilled life. But I suspect that one reason why the song makes us laugh and wince at the same time is because we all wish on some level that we could do one or two things differently, that we’d made at least one other choice along the line, or that we’ve neglected to do something we wished we had. Still, what I’ve discovered over the last couple of days is that regret isn’t one of those negative emotions like fear, shame or jealousy that has little or no redeeming value. Instead regret can serve as a signpost for pointing out choices and changes that can help us lead a SMART and happier life—365. [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…]
For the last two years I have volunteered for a local organization called The Ophelia Project where I mentor teenage girls enrolled in high school. While not well known, I first learned of the organization from another volunteer named Sandy who told me how much she loved the experience. She explained that although it was an eight-month long commitment per year, adding up to about 12-15 hours a month, the time spent was some of the most rewarding things she did in her life. Right after that conversation, I got in touch with the director of Ophelia and signed up. [Read more…]
Last week I noticed a very suspicious looking blemish on my cheek, and I started worrying. I was especially nervous because when my mother was my age, she developed skin cancer under her right eye. Then several years ago my sister Ann had an angry looking sore on the back of her leg that wouldn’t heal for months. Even though hers turned out to benign, the experience made for some anxious times. So it didn’t require much imagination on my part to convince myself that my blemish could require a big chunk to be cut out of my cheek, scaring me for a lifetime. Or worse.
Finally, after waking up in the middle of the night with worry on my mind, I called the dermatologist. Although he couldn’t see me for a week, I realized that I could continue to allow fear and worry to control my life for the following seven days, or I could do something else. But isn’t that choice something we all face every day in this thing called life? Fear and worry? Or peace and happiness? We decide. [Read more…]
I’ve never been a big fan of New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve been around long enough to know that most of the time they might seem like a good idea on January 1—but they seldom have the power to make it through all 365 days of the year. But what I do believe is that you and I have a great deal more influence on what happens in any given year than we give ourselves credit for. And much of the time that influence can be consciously directed to create both a fantastic year, and a fantastic life. If you would like to experience the “best” year of your life, I invite you to consider the following ideas that you can use to do just that! [Read more…]
Last week Thom explained that he was going to discontinue his weekly photo posts and instead post only when inspiration struck. Guess what? He took this photo of Kloe in the last couple of days and was inspired to share a message of peace with all of us for the coming new year. Happy New Year everyone! May 2014 be filled with peace, love, happiness and good for everyone!