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How to Still Believe in Fairy Tales

  • Today I went to see the movie Frozen with my nephew.

 

  • In the early part of the movie the princess gets engaged to a prince that she just met because they instantly fell “in love.”

 

  • This was when I turned to my nephew and said incredulously, “Engaged?! They just met!!” His answer was simple, “This is a fairy tale.”

 

  • Then I realized I was applying the real world to a fairy tale. I was using my experience in the real world of failed relationships, divorces all around me, and unhappy marriages as my basis.

 

  • When I was a kid I wouldn’t have questioned this plot point in the movie. In kid world, all things are possible.

 

  • When we become adults our worlds become less fairy tale and more stark reality.

 

  • Is this always a good thing? Sometimes it’s good to keep a little bit of hope against hope and believe in the unbelievable in our workaday adult lives.

 

  • It doesn’t hurt to sprinkle a little fairy dust here and there.

 

 

Caroline

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Your Secret Hiding Place

Everyone Needs a Hiding Place

When you were a kid you had one. You used it every time you wanted to get away from your parents, siblings or just to avoid chores. You need one now too. Probably even more urgently than when you were younger.

  • Mine is a little corner of my favorite Starbucks where they have an electric outlet right behind my chair to plug in my laptop, a window view for the sun to warm my back and a clear view of the counter so I can jump up and grab my drink when it’s ready. (I’m sitting there now)

 

  • I don’t know why, but this is where I’m most productive with my writing and feel at peace. 1 hour at Starbucks = 5 hours of failed writing attempts at home.

 

  • My apartment is perfectly quiet and I have a desk all to myself where I can work as long as I want. Unfortunately the call of the TV, cell phone, email, Facebook and the refrigerator call me with their individual siren songs.

 

  • If you were a fly on the wall watching me try to write at home you would fall of the wall laughing.

 

  • I get up at least 5 times every 20 minutes to do whatever is unimportant.

 

  • The other day, I left my manuscript and decided that I simply must empty the half empty trash cans and throw them away. Ten minutes later and I was checking my email, watching my all my friends’ snowman photos on Facebook. Then I went back to work for 10 more minutes, only to stop again because I was suddenly curious where the concept of snowmen came from and decided to Google it, since, of course, you can Google anything.

 

  • It’s amazing how much you can Google in a given day if you want to distract yourself badly enough.

Here’s the mystery:

  • I can Google at Starbucks, check Facebook, email, make phone calls and even jump up to the counter every 10 minutes and order something new like a crazy person. But I don’t.

Why?

  • Maybe because I have a deep respect for my hiding place. I don’t want to offend it with trivial distracted activities.

 

  • Perhaps it’s because getting here in time to grab my favorite seat before someone snatches it is a gift. I appreciate that gift and want to spend my time wisely.

 

  • It’s my set time allotted to myself-which is why I respect it.

 

  • At home, I don’t need to fight anyone for that seat. It’s there whenever I need it and that’s probably why I take it for granted. I misuse it with fake, wasted, internet surfing and a million breaks to straighten, organize, make my bed, alpabetize my credit cards, and refold towels. All in the name of wasting time and avoiding the task at hand.

 

  • If you ever came to my place while I’m writing and see that it‘s spotless, and everything is in order, it means I’ve been wasting time. Scold me.

 

  • If you come to my place while I’m writing and see a mess, papers everywhere, the dishes not washed, the bed unmade and my hair disheveled but I still look happy, that means I’ve been a good girl. Give me a cookie. Then I will kick you out so that I can write some more.

 

Note: Nothing makes a writer more insane than someone who tries to disturb that writing time with a phone call, repeated texts or an ill-timed visit.

  • Don’t take it personally. You are wonderful. It’s being in what I like to call, “The writing zone”, that can make any writer crazy when it is disturbed. We often behave like lions who just found out that someone was trying to hurt their babies. Our baby is our writing time. It’s a precious gift in this busy world.

 

  •  It’s like we are Smeagol from Lord of the rings and you are the trespasser trying to take our “Precious” away. Be careful. We may bite ;) (and yes, I actually took the time to look up the correct spelling of Sméagol. I Googled. Can’t help it.)

 

  • Do you have a hiding place that you go to? What hobby or dream do you cultivate there?

 

  • If you don’t have a hiding place, you need to get one. The louder and messier your life is, the more you need one. It will keep you sane. You will get back in touch with yourself, your purpose and what you are meant to do.

 

  • Your hiding place makes it possible for you to endure the crazy world we live in. You are better equipped to handle the rest of the world outside of your cozy hiding place.

 

When you find it, you must protect your time there and guard it with your life.

Caroline

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How To Listen To Yourself

 

  • Staying true to yourself is the most challenging thing you will ever do.
  • You have people coming at you from every direction. Your family has their set of expectations of who they want you to be. Even some of your friends may be used to seeing you in a certain way. Even society will try to tell you who you should be.
  • It’s hard to keep listening to your own voice above the fracas of the outer world.
  • Keep trying. Don’t let anyone tell you how to live your life or who you should be. If something doesn’t feel right to you then don’t do it. Don’t listen to “them”. Listen to you.
  • 5 years ago I bought a house because everyone around me said, I “should” want it. I “need” to own something. It was “time”.
  • Everything inside of me said it was not time. It was not a good decision for me. Somehow all the outside voices drowned out my inner voice of reason.
  • Soon, I found myself also thinking that I needed to own a home. I forgot the fact that I wasn’t ready to own.
  • I take the responsibility for my decision. No one else is at fault.
  • This year I sold the house and I’m happier than I’ve been in 5 years. Selling also went against the advice of many in my life, but this time I didn’t listen to them.
  • I realized I spent much of my life listening to others and not myself in every area of my life. Luckily I can still save myself and my future.
  • Do you do that? If yes, what can you do to change that? It’s fairly simple to do it. You just have to listen and pay attention to yourself. Then you must ignore everyone else.
  • Don’t waste your life doing what others want you to do.
Caroline
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Run and Hide From Negative People

  • You know how there are people in this world who are just brimming with positive energy? You’ve met them as your friends, acquaintances or even strangers in an elevator who always manage to make everyone smile and feel good about life.
  • They are the ones who seem to have a glow about them. Spending just 5 seconds with them can turn your Monday morning at 8 am mood right around.
  • Then, there are the people who are the exact opposite of all of that.

 

  • I recently had an encounter with someone I barely know who is the opposite of a ray of sunshine. 5 seconds with her and your happy mood can fly out the window and suddenly your mind is racing with all kinds of sad and gloomy thoughts.

 

  • She is not a bad person. She is smart, successful and seems kind, but for some reason she always carries a cloud of doom and gloom with her.
  • Every encounter I’ve had with her has cast a shadow on the rest of my day. She is a glass is half empty person who wants to share with you the details of why that glass is empty and how it will never be full no matter what you do.
  • Every time I see this person my instincts tell me to head for the hills.
  • I once made the mistake of telling this person about my plans and dreams and she shot back with a pleasant smile and casually said they will not come true.
  • Lesson I learned: Don’t share your dreams with everyone, especially the Debbie Downers of this world.
  • They don’t need to know about your life. Learn to recognize who they are and do your best to stay away. Run if you have to. Who cares if you look silly. You have your dreams to protect. You have your mood to protect too.
  • Don’t let anyone, no matter who they are, cast a dark shadow on your day, your week, your year or your life. Learn to cut these people out of your life or at least don’t tell them a thing about your plans.
  • Sometimes it’s good to keep your life a secret to certain people. They will think you are mysterious, or even weird. Let them think whatever they want.
  • Go find that person who is a ray of sunshine instead. They usually have cookies ;)

 

Caroline

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Why Kids Are Smarter

Situation:  The moment your 11 year old nephew easily comes up with the perfect title for one of your books when you spent longer than you care to admit wracking your brain for one.

  • You should have seen the look on my face.
First I was….

Then, when I had some time to recover, I was…

  • It actually makes perfect sense that a child would have an amazing imagination.
  • This illustrates my point that children often have a better perspective than we do and their imagination is untainted with the worries and cares that often plague adults.

 

  • The point is that they can tap into their creativity with more ease than most adults.
  • My advice? Next time you have a creative dilemma, go ask a kid. They have an insight most adults have to fight for.

 

  • Actually any time you have any type of dilemma, it doesn’t hurt to ask a kid. You never know what crazy, yet wise thing they will have to say.
  • We often have too much brain clutter where our worries and responsibilities take up too much space in our minds and they leave very little room for our imagination to develop or be heard. It makes it harder to tap into our imagination.
  • Most kids don’t have that problem.
  • Oh and I’m crediting my nephew in the book :)

 

Caroline

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How To Stop Worrying

 

How much time do you spend worrying? One hour a day? 24 hours a day? Isn’t it exhausting?

Problem: Most of us worry too much over things we cannot control. Even if we could control them, worrying would not help the situation. Some of us worry so much that it interrupts our sleep, appetite and makes us cranky. People often flee from the worrier to avoid hearing about their worries.

 

  • In my day job (dentist), I see people walk into the office visibly carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders. In most cases I notice they have been grinding their teeth into oblivion while they sleep.  ( you can tell by looking at their teeth. I promise I don’t secretly go to their houses and check while they are sleeping.)

 

  • When I tell them they are grinding their teeth and need a night guard, they wonder why.
  • We put too much pressure on ourselves.

 

  • I did it for years and every day I still fight the urge to worry. I came to the point where enough was enough.

Fact: We are not meant or built to handle excessive worry

  •  Eventually you will get to the point where you just can’t take one more hassle piled onto the top of your mountain of worries and you will  decide to say, “oh well”.
  • Saying, “Oh well” does not mean you don’t care. It means you are done worrying and tormenting yourself to the point that you turn into a ball of stress that cannot be unraveled.
  • The same thing goes for the dreams you are chasing. Don’t stress over your dreams. They are your dreams for a reason. They are meant to happen. Let them happen. Worrying will only hold you back from realizing your dreams and your life purpose.
  • Many of us are natural worriers. We are good at it. When we don’t have something to stress over in our life, we panic and call our friends and ask them what’s going on in their lives so we can fuss and fret over their problems. We all have better things to do.
  • In the end worrying will prevent you from moving forward. You end up in a worry spiral where you are spinning around in a circle until you are dizzy and fall down.

 

  • Resist the urge to worry and fret. It is a complete waste of time.
Try this out:
1) Make a list of all your worries, even the silly ones. In fact make sure you put the silly, ridiculous worries down too. Then read them back to yourself out loud.
You will realize most of your worries fall into 3 categories:
a) They sound foolish
b) They are highly unlikely to happen
c) You stressing about it is not going to change or prevent anything.
2) Get out of your own head

Every time you feel you are going to spend an unhealthy amount of time ruminating, and pontificating over something you have no control over or something where worrying will not help the situation (which is everything), slap yourself in the face to snap out of it. (Not too hard though…and not in front of other people)

Then, go and do something else. Anything else is more productive than spending time worrying.
Taking a walk always helps.
       
  • Walking always clears the stress from my mind and helps me see things from a better perspective.
  • I don’t want to make a night guard for you….okay if you need it, of course I will. I just don’t want you to be another teeth grinding statistic….
  • Look at this cat. This is a random cat that sat at my feet. It was a Wednesday. He was not thinking about his problems. Be the cat…except don’t scratch people and hiss at them when they walk by, or walk under their legs when they are at an outdoor café.
 And here is an obligatory Miami water view for your stress free viewing pleasure.
Caroline
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  • Our bad habits can be barriers to our dreams.
  • For some it’s procrastination: the art of putting things off. Some of us have mastered this until it is a true work of art. Lose it. It is not a beautiful painting,
  • For some of us, it’s constantly ignoring our inner voice. It’s a bad habit. A good habit is listening to your heart and doing what it tells you to do.
  • For some of us, it’s letting ourselves get distracted and falling off course. We live in a loud and busy world. We have to try harder to minimize the distractions.
  • Whatever habit or habits you have that are blocking your progress towards your dreams, make it a priority to try hard everyday to get past them.
  • Your dreams are worth the trouble.
As for me, it’s a daily task for me to push past my procrastination, insecurities, excuses, and distractions to get myself to move forward a little each day. Hey, if I can do it, you can do it.
Caroline
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How to not resent your day job while you pursue your dreams
It doesn’t matter if you are a doctor, lawyer, work at the saw mill, or burger king. If you are actively pursuing a dream that has nothing to do with your day job you will begin to resent that job.
When we decide to go after that dream we either ignored or left behind, our daily job may still have to be a necessary part of our lives until our dream takes off.
So until that day comes how do you manage your feelings about the job you don’t love?
The Problem
You make the decision to be brave and change your life and pursue a dream. Then you realize with each passing day that although you still need your job, you begin to see it as nothing more than a time and energy suck. It becomes nothing more to you than an annoying daily drudgery that pulls you away from what you really want to do. 
The Solution
 
Change your view. Sounds easy in print but changing your view and keeping that view is going to be a daily task. It’s like flossing. (Oh that’s right, no one flosses.. Sorry that’s my day job trying to come through in this post ;) ) Here is what you can do: 
  •  Alter your perception and see your daily job as a temporary financial helper to get you to where you want to be.
  • Sometimes you have to tough it out in your day job for a while until your dream takes off and pays the bills.
  • Soon you will see your daily job as a stepping stone to where you want to be instead of a road block.
  • Remember, the more you view your job as an annoyance, the harder it will get to go everyday and the negative energy will hold you back from reaching your goals.
  • Set time aside every day to pursue your goals.
  • Get rid of unnecessary time and energy wasters in your life and use that time for your dream.
  • This change in time management will give you more time to do what you want to do and you will feel better about your life.
  • Days when I didn’t give myself time to write made me very cranky at my day job. Once I got rid of the time suckers from my life I was more calm at work because I knew I had more time to pursue my goals.
  • Keep reminding yourself that this situation is temporary. Your dream will come true and your day job can change if you want it to.
  • It is a blessing to have a “regular” job you go to and a dream you are working on. It is also a blessing to have the option to let that job go when your dream keeps you financially comfy and cozy. That day will come.
Until then be patient.
Caroline
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The Problem: 

You decide to change your life and go after your dreams. Almost immediately after you tell your family, friends, and the UPS guy, suddenly you are bombarded with an avalanche of unwanted advice from every man, woman, child and the occasional window washer that you don’t know what to do with. 

  • Don’t despair. We all go through it. I’m going through it right now.

 

  • I will give you some survival skills to help you wade through the muck of unsolicited advice and how to hear your own voice above the noise.
  •  Most of us are incredibly good at telling other people how to live their lives…or at least we think we are.
  • When you decide to change your life you will soon experience what I like to call, “the 2 cents dilemma”. This is a where everyone you know sees you are having a problem and decides to give you their 2 cents on what you should do regardless of whether you want their opinion or not.
  • Those of us who face a challenge in life or reach a crossroads where we need to make a decision about our careers, hopes and dreams and which way to proceed often end up feeling confused about which way to go.
  • This confusion and sense of uncertainty is normal so don’t beat yourself up. The problem is this moment of confusion does leave you open and vulnerable for everyone else to swoop in and try to fix things.
  • They mean well, but sometimes 200 different opinions coming at you from every direction can be too much for even the strongest person to handle.
So what do you do?
The Solution:
Let people say what they want and then do whatever is right for you. This is your life, not theirs. You know you better than they know you. You have the best answers. Listen to that little voice inside of you and never let anyone talk you out of your dreams. When you are 80 years old and look back on your life you don’t want to say, “I wish I took that chance.” 
  • When I reached that point in my life where  my life had to change and my career path with it, it opened me up to a lot of people I cared about with unsolicited advice that always started with, “I think you should do” or “If I was you I would…” What came next always made me cringe. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like others telling me how to live my life.
  • Everyone has a different opinion. If you listen to everyone, soon you will be too exhausted and confused to move forward.
These are just a few of the phrases you will hear when you tell others that you want to change your, so-called “responsible” and “stable” life and chase after your “crazy” dreams:
1) “But you spent so much money on school! It’s going to go to waste!!”
    ( a good answer would be that it’s better than ruining the next 50 years of your life by doing something you don’t love)
2) “Maybe you are just tired. Take a vacation”
(Fine. Go on your vacation. Your hopes and dreams will still be there when you get back. You can run but you can’t hide)
3) “Maybe you just need to get married. If you were married you wouldn’t feel this way”
   (Yes, because married people have no hopes and dreams and are dead inside? I hope not! Marriage is great, but it doesn’t fix your life)
4) “You are going to ruin your life. How will you pay for food?”
  ( I’m not even dignifying this one)
5) “No one is happy, everyone is unhappy with their lives so just let it go.”
   (Wow. Sad that some people have deluded themselves into believing this lie)
  • An uncomfortable fact: Many people are too afraid to change their own lives for the better and are uncomfortable with you changing yours.
What to do?
Listen to advice from others because they will talk whether you want them to or not and in the end, do what you want to do. Go with your gut. You know that quiet little voice inside of you trying to be heard? Yeah. That’s the one you should listen to. (even if that little voice disagrees with your parent’s advice. They made their choices. Now you make yours.
Hey, it’s your life. Not theirs.
Caroline
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When you love to write

Writing is the air that I breathe. When I can say that with complete honesty, then I know I found what I’m looking for.
Today I read an excerpt from The Diary of Anne Frank. I think I read her book when I was in grade school, but it was too long ago to remember the details. I never realized she wanted to be a writer!
How silly of me since she wrote in her diary every day. As writers, we love to express ourselves through the written word. It pulls us out of our own heads and onto the page.
Here is the excerpt she wrote that described how she felt about writing.  Her words echoed in my heart:
Wednesday, April 25, 1944
“I finally realized that I must do my schoolwork to keep from being ignorant, to get on in life, to become a journalist, because that’s what I want! I know I can write …, but it remains to be seen whether I really have talent….
And if I don’t have the talent to write books or newspaper articles, I can always write for myself. But I want to achieve more than that. I can’t imagine living like Mother, Mrs. van Daan and all the women who go about their work and are then forgotten. I need to have something besides a husband and children to devote myself to! …
I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those I’ve never met. I want to go on living even after my death! And that’s why I’m so grateful to God for having given me this gift, which I can use to develop myself and to express all that’s inside me!
When I write I can shake off all my cares. My sorrow disappears, my spirits are revived! But, and that’s a big question, will I ever be able to write something great, will I ever become a journalist or a writer?”
— Anne Frank
What is your passion in life??
Caroline
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