I am proof positive that a person can be a semi-minimalist, anti-consumer, nonreligious, childfree person who lives in the desert southwest where it never snows, and STILL love Christmas. That’s because I don’t equate the holiday season with any of those labels. To me, Christmas is a time to celebrate the life I have been given and to share and generate peace on earth and good will to all people. And because so many others also celebrate the season in a somewhat similar manner, I think the vibration of joy, peace and happiness is amplified as many of us come together with the same perspective. With that in mind, I spent some time this week looking through hundreds of quotes about Christmastime in order to help me remember and share some of what I consider some of the best thoughts behind the holiday. [Read more…]
Have you ever noticed that when you pay attention and stay grateful for the little things in your life, most things seem to go well? As some of you know, since November 1st I’ve been participating in a gratitude challenge where every single day I write down ten-things–of-thankful (TToT) and post them on the SMART Living FB page. Now that I’m around 2/3rds through the challenge, it’s becoming obvious that most of what I list are little and routine pieces of my day. Gradually I’ve come to realize that when we recognize (with gratitude) those little things that happen each and every day, we just might be keeping them from becoming big things that lead to unhappiness. [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…]
If you only know me from my blog posts you might think I’m a very serious person who thinks way too much. Actually, I am one of the most upbeat, optimistic and happy people I know. While I do enjoy digging deep into subjects that catch my interest, I also love to laugh, dance and have fun as much as possible. Some of the best ways to do that is to listen to uplifting and happy music. With that in mind, I went through my itunes playlist and came up with fifteen songs that I believe make it impossible not to want to smile and offer the potential to lift your spirit this summer. [Read more…]
When I sat down today to make up my to-do list it occurred to me that this was going to be a very busy week. And to make matters worse, I had no one to blame except myself. For much of my life I’ve had trouble saying no to people, especially when it comes in areas I think are important. But as I’ve mentioned before, I recently read Essentialism—The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. Not only does the book focus on eliminating everything that is unessential in our lives so we can focus on what really matters, McKeown suggests that learning to say “No” is a critical and courageous step required to do just that. So for those of us on the path to simplifying our lives or those of us who want to live by design rather than default, it is very SMART to learn ways to say No from here on out. [Read more…]
One of my blogging friends named Bethany turned 35 a couple of weeks ago and she wrote a blog post listing 35 different lessons she’s learned during her life. After getting over the shock of realizing I’d been married longer than she’s been on the planet—I realized that with my wedding anniversary happening this week, I had learned a great deal during the last 36 years of marriage. With the hope that some of these might prove useful to others, here’s my list: [Read more…]
I usually stay away from politics here on SMART Living, but for an obvious reason healthcare is on my mind this week. But let me be clear, I don’t think that healthcare is or should be a political issue. Instead, our health and its care are two issues that touch every single human on the planet—including those of us who practice simple living or minimalism. Unfortunately, with all the blogs I follow—everything from minimalism to personal growth to spirituality—no one seems to be talking about this very all-encompassing concern. So, hopefully, by bringing this important subject out into the light we can recognize how vital it is and arrive at more conscious, aware and responsible actions for our future. [Read more…]
If you follow my blog you know that a couple of my recent posts feature the practice that I call right-sizing. What I hope you’ve picked up on is that right-sizing is actually a way of life—at any age—not just those entering retirement. For anyone just joining us, I define right-sizing as creating a life that uniquely fits and satisfies you and your family with the greatest amount of joy and contentment and the least amount of stress or worry. While the lifestyle offers tremendous benefits to those of us in midlife or contemplating retirement, every person who is interested in a more simple, meaningful, and happy life will benefit. The first post “Step One” focused on the consciousness behind a right-sized life, while “Step Two” got down to the nitty-gritty of finances. In this, the final step to right-sizing your life, I want to throw out a few random thoughts that can help to increase your understanding and awareness. Finally, I’m hoping that each and every one of you who reads this post will offer at least one small suggestion you already practice, or think will benefit you, so that we can all learn and grow together as we right-size our lives. [Read more…]
This photo was taken at Pebble Beach on the Northern California coast. The quote comes from a SMART Living 365 Facebook fan who came up with it when we asked for suggestions. Thanks Eema!
Click on photo to enlarge. For more photos go to: SMART Photos by Thom
It doesn’t take a genius or a scientist to know that music has the ability to lift our mood and make us feel happier. In fact I’ll bet every single one of us can think of a song that played at a pivotal moment in our lives and be instantly transported back to that time and place the minute it plays. Or I’ll bet you can remember a time when your all-time favorite song spontaneously came over the radio and you burst out in song and/or dance with a smile on your face. But if we all know music can make us happy, why don’t we use music more regularly to experience greater happiness and motivate our actions when necessary? More importantly, are we willing to consider that music might even alter the very chemistry of our bodies and positively influence our overall health. [Read more…]