“Living simply is not about living in poverty or self-inflicted deprivation. It’s about living an examined life where one has determined what is truly important and enough…and then just let go of all the rest.” ~Duane Elgin
While I don’t consider myself an expert or authority on minimalism or simple living, I do recognize the value of focusing on aspects of the practice. That’s right, I consider minimalism or simple living to be practices that lead to a more happy, balanced, and meaningful life. But because there are so many rewarding aspects to the practice, and so many juicy benefits to share—I’ve decided that a focus on each one as an individual “tip” would be helpful for myself—and perhaps you as well. So to start with, I wanted to come up with best benefit of them all. And I couldn’t do it! The truth is that since I started practicing a more simple approach to life—the benefits keep showing up. That’s when I decided that the primary SMART Minimalist tip is to let you know that simple living offers more benefits than you can imagine—and the only way to start experiencing them all is to just begin discovering them for yourself. Continue reading
Hi, I’m Thom, Kathy’s partner in life,
Starting today, and in the weeks to come, I will be sharing some of my photography with you on SMART Living 365 and a linked Tumblr account.
Inspiring words and photos have always uplifted my soul…and what I plan to share are my attempts to mix my photography with words in ways that will shift your mindset and help to create a more happy, peaceful and meaningful life—365! We’re calling this series “SMART Photos by Thom” and you can see all my pictures at any time by going to the link under the photo. Oh, and please feel free to let me know what you think in the comments under each post. Thanks!
Click on photo to enlarge. For more photos go to: SMART Photos by Thom
“To be nobody-but-yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody but yourself – means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight- and never stop fighting.” ~ E.E. Cummings
Don’t think you have worthiness issues? Never struggle with feeling good enough? That’s impossible according to author and speaker Brene Brown. Over the weekend I came across this woman’s work and it got me thinking a lot about how even the most confident among us still struggles with feelings of vulnerability. According to Brown, the only ones of us who don’t feel at least a little vulnerable are sociopaths without the capacity for empathy. In fact, Brown believes that, “Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage.” So what do you do when you aren’t feeling good enough or worthy of love, happiness and success in your life? Fortunately, Brown offers ten powerful practices that can lead to greater courage, confidence and self-acceptance for each of us.
“The only thing that really matters in life are your relationships to other people.” ~ George Vaillant
Those of us into simple living or minimalism knows that identifying and eliminating any thing superficial and nonessential in life is critical. In fact, the television show “Hoarders” illustrates weekly the extreme burden that too much stuff can bring to a person’s life. But I’ve just come to realize that there is something that actually should be hoarded—and that “thing” is a friend. Actually, an abundance of research now shows that finding, keeping and appreciating friends is good for our physical and mental health, good for our occupations, good for our creativity, will add years to our life, and enrich our experience in every way possible. If we are willing to accept that as true, then understanding the science of friendship is one of the most important actions each of us can take to create a life of happiness, meaning and purpose during our time here on earth. Continue reading
“…study after study shows that happiness precedes important outcomes and indicators of thriving.” ~ Shawn Achor
As a long-time student of happiness and well-being I had no choice but to buy the book, The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor. Of course the truth is, I did have a choice—just like every single one of you. But as a major focus of the book explains, even though most of us realize we can take steps to improve our ongoing feelings of happiness, and grow a “happiness advantage,” we still sometimes avoid it or resist it altogether. The reason we avoid this type of thriving, and what we can choose instead is well worth the time to explore. Continue reading
“…celebrating is one of the best ways to pause and remember this one, wild, precious and amazing life we have been given.”
I know I have mentioned more than once that Thom and I have been married for 35 years. That’s a lot of Valentine’s Days! And in spite of what you may be thinking, Thom has always resisted them. His argument is that Valentine’s Day—along with several other holidays throughout the year, were all manufactured to manipulate us into buying stuff. I, on the other hand, see those very same holidays as a great excuse to CELEBRATE something special. So keeping in mind that a major focus of SMART Living is to provide clarity and awareness about all things that affect our lives on a daily basis, how do you view celebrating holidays? Continue reading
Have you ever asked yourself what would happen if aliens ever found our planet and began monitoring our TV networks? Thom and I have asked ourselves that question—especially after hearing about reality shows like “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.” But even if those aliens only tuned into our news channels and programs, what do you think their view of the human race would be? Unfortunately, the day-to-day hostility and aggression frequently viewed on those programs would likely be enough for any alien to determine that our species is egocentric, violent, and highly competitive. In fact, if you watch much TV news at all, the average person would probably be tempted to think the world is a very scary place and that any minute something horrible could happen. But is that true? Are we really that egocentric and violent? Or are we actually much more compassionate and empathetic than we sometimes believe? Maybe exploring those questions is one way to find out why we struggle to get along in this day and age. Continue reading
Got Bills? Maybe it’s time to rightsize your finances!
Last week, after publishing my article on Rightsizing vs. Downsizing, a discussion came up while talking with friends at Happy Hour. I could tell from the direction of the conversation that even though everyone agreed that going debt free was a wonderful element of rightsizing and simple living, most felt it was out of reach for the average family. That was a great reminder that rightsizing isn’t just about the size of your house, your car, or your credit limit—instead, rightsizing touches every area of your life including (and maybe especially) your finances. In fact, once a person learns to manage their money—both expenses and income—rightsizing the other areas of life will come more easily. Down the line a person can eventually achieve the ultimate goal of rightsizing, which is to live a life that uniquely fits and brings the greatest amount of peace, contentment and joy to that individual and family. Continue reading
Every New Year most people talk of resolutions. Unfortunately, most of the talk is about how resolutions don’t work and end up causing more frustration and discouragement than any type of help. The thing is, I’m fairly certain that unless we focus on what we do want and what’s important to us, we likely end up with a year that looks similar to the one before, or worse, one that is significantly less fulfilling. In fact, without such clarity we’re like a person starting out on a journey with no purpose or destination in mind, or an airplane taking off without navigation. So rather than eliminate resolutions altogether, I came up with a new W.A.I (Welcome-Accept-Intentions) of looking at hopes and dreams for the coming year so that we may be better able to enjoy the journey for the next 365 days. Continue reading