Become an Explorer in Your Life. Just Say Yes!

When you say yes to a possibility you get to grow, you get to move beyond the labels that define you

There’s a great improv maxim, just say yes, which is really about when you’re on stage with another improv player, you don’t want to say no to all their ideas because then your scene sucks and nothing happens.

If you keep saying no, nothing happens.

It’s pretty basic, right?

Writing and life are like that, too.

I’ve done some absolutely weird things in my life–things that you would never imagine me doing because they aren’t very ‘me’ things. I’ve been a volunteer firefighter, done stats for a college football team, dressed up like a lobster and danced for a mile, spoken to hundreds of people, been a gymnastics coach, rock climbed, been a church secretary, poetry editor, regular newspaper editor, swam with sharks.

I can’t tell you how many times people laughed at me when I was a sports reporter and they said, “You? You’re a sports reporter?”

Apparently, I don’t present as a sports reporter.

Anyway, I did all those things because when you say yes to a possibility you get to grow, you get to move beyond the labels that define you. You get to say something other than no.

The best things that I’ve said yes to are the things that scare me just a little or the things that make other people laugh when I suggest that I might do it.

“Ha! You’re going to be an emergency dispatcher. Yeah. Right.”

“Ha! You’re going rock climber? Whatever. You’ll die.”

“What? You’re going to run? You always twist your ankles. Ten miles. Ha! No. You’ll die.”

And it’s the same thing with our stories, too. Not only am I a big advocate for living the biggest, weirdest life you can, but I’m a big advocate for writing all the different kinds of stories you want to write. Try new genres. Try short works. Try long works. Try it all.

A year or so ago, I went into a bookstore and the woman who has worked there said, “You used to be so scared, so timid. I like seeing you not so scared anymore. You’d hide behind the stacks.”

Here’s the secret: I still get scared, but I have too much living to do to let that fear hold me back.

Say yes.

Say yes to things that make you a tiny bit afraid.

Say yes to things people don’t expect you to do or be or care about.

Say yes to making new friends and exploring new places.

Say yes to pushing yourself a little or a lot beyond your expectations.

Don’t let anyone else define you. Only you get to define you, okay?

So define yourself as someone who explores, who lives, who says yes.

HEAR MY BOOK BABY (AND MORE) ON PATREON

On one of my Patreon sites I read and print chapters of unpublished YA novels. THE LAST GODS and SAINT and now ALMOST DEAD. This is a monthly membership site (Hear the book chapters – $1/month, read them $3-month, plus goodies!). Sometimes I send people art! Art is fun.

On this, my second site, WRITE BETTER NOW, you can do a one-time purchase of a writing class or get two of my books in eBook form or just support our podcast or the dogs. It’s all part of the WRITING CLASS OF AWESOME.

It’s a super fun place to hang out, learn, read, and see my weirdness in its true form.

And I’m starting up a brand new, adult paranormal set at a Maine campground. You can read the first chapter here.

almost dead book by carrie jones
almost dead book by carrie jones

LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK AND FIND OUT HOW WE CAN.

And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE about cats on Tinder and other bad advice click here.

Our first episode of LOVING THE STRANGE is here. It’s about loving places for no logical reasons.

The visuals for our podcasts are all on Carrie’s YouTube channel. You can like and subscribe there, too!

HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast and our new LOVING THE STRANGE podcast.

We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. 

Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!

Thanks so much for being one of the 257,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

Love Your Way Through It

We don’t need to be in love or to even feel love in order to make another feel loved or cared about, we simply need to remember that the most powerful love is the love that we give to another, without expectation of obligation or return.

 This morning I realized that it has been exactly one year since we traveled as a family.

This week is a school break week here in Maine and last year at this time Carrie, myself and our youngest daughter, Kittiey, drove to Georgia to see our oldest daughter, Emily, who was in the Army and stationed at Ft. Benning at the time.

After spending a couple of days with Emily we drove to Florida to spend the remainder of our vacation and see my family.

Shortly after returning from that trip, Carrie and I managed to spend a weekend in Portland Maine for her birthday. Since then, none of the three of us (Emily is currently isolated at Tuck University getting her MBA.) have traveled more than forty miles away from our house.

Both of those trips out of the house were for specialized dentist appointments and other than those joyous trips to the dentist, none of us has gone more than twenty miles away from the house and all of these trips are for curbside grocery pickup at the nearest Walmart. Curse you for this involuntary hermitic existence COVID-19! 

While it may seem as though I am complaining, and I am a little bit because we all love to travel and see new people and places, complaining is not what this blog is about.

It is about love, the miraculous fact that while we are in constant contact with each other (Kittiey is 100 percent remote learning), we all still love each other and nothing has drastically changed in how we feel about each other, unless it is a deeper understanding of patience.

To me, that is a testament to the power of love!

After all, love is the mother of all things good; kindness, empathy, compassion and understanding. Honestly, I am a little surprised by our success in continued friendship through this last year and I am supremely happy about the results!

For those of you who may have suffered far more than anyone should ever have to, I offer my greatest condolences and wishes for better times.

Even without COVID-19 the world faces a myriad of disasters every day and somehow humans have always managed to survive the unthinkable forces working against us.

Why?

Because we are capable of loving one another.

We are capable of being compassionate and empathetic to one another. We are capable of respecting one another.

We don’t need to be in love or to even feel love in order to make another feel loved or cared about, we simply need to remember that the most powerful love is the love that we give to another, without expectation of obligation or return.

We must simply remember and realize that love is the greatest gift and the greatest investment! Always, love your way through it.

Shaun


LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK AND FIND OUT HOW WE CAN.

And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE about cats on Tinder and other bad advice click here.

Our first episode of LOVING THE STRANGE is here. It’s about loving places for no logical reasons.

The visuals for our podcasts are all on Carrie’s YouTube channel. You can like and subscribe there, too!

What Makes Someone Great? Sometimes It’s Just Love

hat’s the way love should be. It should be something that solids you up, that makes you throw your arms open, makes your eyes sparkle, something that spreads and spreads and stays in the present tense.

 

I’ve been lucky enough to be a fill in dog walker for someone who has A.L.S. this week and it made me think of my friend, Jerry Kauffman, who died of A.L.S. in February 2008.

I still think of Jerry in the present tense even though it’s been years, but I still adore him and that is the sort of thing that doesn’t go from present tense to past tense because of something like death.

            That’s what Jerry Kaufman taught me. He taught me that the good things – love, adoration – they endure.

            Jerry was not a perfect man. He could be almost too loud sometimes. He could be brash some other times. That was part of his enthusiasm, his style. He always knew what he believed and sometimes what he believed struck people in a bad way. That’s not why I adore him, but it’s part of why I admire him. It takes an immense amount of courage to always loudly and bravely state what you believe and what you think is right even when no other person agrees with you. And then to sometimes change your opinion after you’ve done that.

It’s something I wish more people could do, could feel safe to do, that their egos could allow them to do.

            But the reason that I adore Jerry is because he adores his wife, Jacqui.

            Jerry’s adoration of Jacqui stays in the present tense, too. Something like death never changes that.

            The first time I met them I was doing an article for WERU’s newspaper/bulletin. I drove down to their house in Surry. I was in my twenties.

I was really, really shy.

I parked my Subaru, listened to the sounds of dogs yipping and stared through the darkness at a house lit up from inside with absolutely golden light, trying to brave myself up enough to go inside.

            Then Jerry flung open the door.

            The first thing I noticed was his hair. There was all this hair, wild, dark, curly, like a lion’s mane. 

            I may have stepped back.

            But Jerry wasn’t good about letting people step back. He stepped forward bellowing, “Hello! Hello!” and pulled me into a hug.

            Then I noticed Jacqui, his wife. She too had amazing hair, amazing in a beautiful way. But the best thing was her eyes.

            Writers always talk about people’s eyes sparkling, but Jacqui’s really did. They sparkled brilliantly reminding me of the warm golden lights of their house. Then I looked at Jerry’s eyes. They were sparkling too.

            “The great love of my life,” he said, gesturing towards her.

            I knew right then, absolutely, without a doubt, that what they were sparkling about was each other. They loved each other more than any couple I have ever met. It made me sigh with happiness. It made me smile. It made me want to be just like them.

            It’s about twenty years later and now I am a lot closer.

            It’s about twenty years later and now I love a man more than I could ever imagine. It’s the kind of love that Jerry and Jacqui have.

            It’s about twenty years later and Jerry has died so many years ago already.

            I know, I know absolutely without a doubt that a lot of people think Jerry is a hero for dealing with A.L.S., for making himself into Stem Cell Man (his adopted superhero name) and approaching illness with a vitality and humor that most people never show when they are healthy.

            But for me, Jerry and Jacqui Kaufmann are heroes for loving. It’s rare that you find people so willing to put all of their hearts, all of their souls, out there for the world to see. Every time Jerry saw my little girl, which was about once a year, he would throw his arms open, wrap her in a hug and tell her how beautiful and brilliant she was. That’s the way love should be. It should be something that solids you up, that makes you throw your arms open, makes your eyes sparkle, something that spreads and spreads and stays in the present tense.

            That’s why I adore Jerry Kaufman.

            That’s why I will always adore Jerry Kaufman, because no matter what else he did or what else he was, no matter what fights he faced or opinions he carried, he is someone who taught me all about that kind of love and how that kind of love is truly the essence, the joyous essence of a beautiful, beautiful soul.You can find out more about Jerry at his website. It has a lot of information about A.L.S., a place to donate, and a bit about Jerry and it was made out of love, not just for Jerry, but for the world.


LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK AND FIND OUT HOW WE CAN.

And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE about cats on Tinder and other bad advice click here.

Our first episode of LOVING THE STRANGE is here. It’s about loving places for no logical reasons.

The visuals for our podcasts are all on Carrie’s YouTube channel. You can like and subscribe there, too!

Finding a way past fear using love and death

Sometimes, when I am afraid of what might happen, of mistakes I’ve made, of mistakes I might make, I tell that fear that I know it’s there, but that I know I am there, too. And that’s okay. You don’t need to be fearless. You just need to be you.

Who we are is something deeper than the things that have happened to us. It’s an essence that you can feel.

There are two instances that help me describe that feeling—that soul knowledge of myself or someone else.

When our dog, Bethlehem died, she was just under two years old and a giant Komondor/Great Pyrenes mix. My husband (at the time) wouldn’t come with me to the vet for her final moments because he had to work and he said he couldn’t handle it. So I carried her 150-pound mass up these tottering wooden stairs to the vet’s office. Cars zoomed by outside. I struggled until someone pulled into the lot, ran up the stairs and helped me, taking her back legs so we can carry her inside.

            I’m not the physically strongest person and I couldn’t thank him enough for helping.

“My soul wouldn’t have been able not to help,” this random man said.

I’ll always remember that.

My soul wouldn’t have been able not to help.

He didn’t even have an appointment. He just saw us struggling and came.

            Bethy was our first family dog and adorable. Em, our daughter, adored her. She let us dress her fluffy self up as a ballerina, as a firefighter, she let cats sit on her back. She barked at any and all threats.

We all loved her so much.

She grew a cancerous mass the size of a football on her leg. It took two weeks to go from nothing to something massive, something that the vet said had already invaded her system. She faded so quickly.

            We had no choice, they said.

            So I made the appointment and after that man helped us up the stairs, I sat on the floor with her, holding her head as she stayed still on the floor, sideways. I cried silently. The vet’s assistant started to weep. The vet teared up.

And the moment Bethy was gone, the entire room filled with peace. It was as if Bethy’s soul had taken up the entire space.

I will always remember that feeling and cling to it when I doubt about things like souls and essences and life after your body is no longer useful.

            The other instance is a bit more chill. You know how sometimes you are only barely awake and you turn to the person you’re sharing a bed with and your brain can’t even form their name yet or you can’t even remember who they exactly are or look like, but you just recognize them there in the dark next to you?

            It’s like that.

            That’s what our souls are like.

            They are an essence, a recognition, a comfort, a realization. They can fill up an entire room and also speak to half-asleep brains in the dark.

            Sometimes, when I am afraid of what might happen, of mistakes I’ve made, of mistakes I might make, I tell that fear that I know it’s there, but that I know I am there, too. And that’s okay. You don’t need to be fearless. You just need to be you.

            Fear can protect us from actual dangers (like running into the woods at night when you hear a predator) or stepping in front of a bus. But it also can keep us from taking some more lovely chances and opportunities.

            And sometimes people in power use that fear to twist us into hating other people.

            Fear has got a lot going on.

            But love has got a lot going on, too. And that’s what you’ve got to cling to–the love part–even when the fear is calling to you to sink into its hollow. You’ve got to go for the love and the light and cling to it whenever you can.


LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK AND FIND OUT HOW WE CAN.

And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE about cats on Tinder and other bad advice click here.

Our first episode of LOVING THE STRANGE is here. It’s about loving places for no logical reasons.

The visuals for our podcasts are all on Carrie’s YouTube channel. You can like and subscribe there, too!


If you like what you read, please heart it below or share it, it means the world to this writer. x0- Carrie

Assumptions Suck in Books and in Real Life

Loving yourself and loving your way through it has a lot to do with forgiveness, but it’s okay to sometimes struggle with the concept of forgiveness, whether it’s about forgiving yourself or other people.

My husband is a tall, rugged white man. People look at him and assume that he played football, not just in high school, but college. Sometimes they assume he was pro.

            Those assumptions don’t stigmatize him, but that’s because he’s pretty lucky.

            We aren’t all that lucky all the time.

            But it’s important to look beyond people’s outsides and not make assumptions or to give advice like it’s absolute edicts. We all live in slightly different bubbles with different backgrounds and sometimes those worlds aren’t going to jive or mesh or even make sense.

When I was talking to him about some editing work I was doing on a self-help book, he looked at me and asked, “It must be nice for these people to be able to have the time and money to run off to a yoga or meditation retreat for three weeks.”

“I know, right?”

“Does this person think everyone can do this?”

“Kind of.”

            Both of us come from poor even though we aren’t poor now. Our parents were hard-working and our mothers were mostly single, but they didn’t have the ability to move beyond their economic brackets. His mom was derailed by lupus. Mine was derailed by diabetes and some bad decisions.

            The point is that both of them would have loved to have spa days and meditation and yoga retreats, chances to pamper their minds and bodies. But they were too busy surviving to find the money to spend on that.

            There are a lot of people posting Medium articles and blogs about how to balance work and life. They are often written by single guys in their late twenties. And it seems like they have it all figured out.

            And I hope that they do because that would be wonderful for them.

            But here’s the thing: Nobody else’s journey and circumstances are going to 100 percent work for you.

            Here’s another thing: Even your own methods and journey aren’t going to work for you 100 percent of the time.

            That’s okay.

            There’s no one path to love, to happiness, to success, or even to publishing a book, let alone writing it. There’s no one way that we are supposed to be. You’ve got to embrace that, embrace who you are and persevere.

Loving yourself and loving your way through it has a lot to do with forgiveness, but it’s okay to sometimes struggle with the concept of forgiveness, whether it’s about forgiving yourself or other people.

            It’s really good to try not to force other people to prescribe to your timetables about forgiveness. We all move at different speeds. That’s okay. We need to give ourselves and other people the space to determine their own damn pace.

            It’s important for us all to remember that our advice might not work for everyone and give space to our assumptions that it will. Not everyone who looks like a football player was a football player. Not everyone can practice self-care via a three-week meditation retreat. It’s okay. We are all okay.


LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK AND FIND OUT HOW WE CAN.

And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE about cats on Tinder and other bad advice click here.

Our first episode of LOVING THE STRANGE is here. It’s about loving places for no logical reasons.

The visuals for our podcasts are all on Carrie’s YouTube channel. You can like and subscribe there, too!


NEW BOOK ALERT!

My little novella (It’s spare. It’s sad) is out and it’s just $1,99. It is a book of my heart and I am so worried about it, honestly.

There’s a bit more about it here.

HEAR MY BOOK BABY (AND MORE) ON PATREON

On one of my Patreon sites I read and print chapters of unpublished YA novels. THE LAST GODS and SAINT and now ALMOST DEAD. This is a monthly membership site (Hear the book chapters – $1/month, read them $3-month, plus goodies!). Sometimes I send people art! Art is fun.

On this, my second site, WRITE BETTER NOW, you can do a one-time purchase of a writing class or get two of my books in eBook form or just support our podcast or the dogs. It’s all part of the WRITING CLASS OF AWESOME.

It’s a super fun place to hang out, learn, read, and see my weirdness in its true form.

And I’m starting up a brand new, adult paranormal set at a Maine campground. You can read the first chapter here.

almost dead book by carrie jones
almost dead book by carrie jones

Shaun Takes Over the Blog: Living With an Author, the Schedule Edition

This is Shaun, Carrie’s husband, and I’ve taken over the blog again to tell you what it’s like to live with a writer.           

So, having cohabitated with Carrie (the writer) for many years now, I have learned quite a bit about her work style and ethic. I have also come to know that individual authors have differing work routines and habits that, hopefully, keep them motivated and working but often vary greatly from one author to another. Some habituations lend themselves to greater success than others, just like in any other career.

Today I am going to give you a glimpse into what a typical day in Carrie’s life looks like, as far as earning money goes at least. 

            First, let me say that I know that everyone’s life is different. Heck, in our house every day is different and any particular day can go off the rails in a split second. I am not trying to promote any particular way of working. This is simply a husband bragging about his wife, mainly because she works circles around me, and I am amazed every single day.

Me last year before the masks.

THE CARRIE DAY

            Depending upon the day of the week, Carrie gets up between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. Sometimes 5 a.m.

She will awaken earlier if it is a running day and she will get up and run on the treadmill or outside when it is not cold. Because I am lazy, I usually get out of bed after her, however, by the time she is done running, I will have made her a glass of ice water and her morning tea.

As soon as she is done running, we have said our morning pleasantries and she has given me a nice tight and sweaty hug, she sits down at her computer and goes to work. If it is a non-running day, the routine is the same except she hasn’t earned her glass of ice water and only gets a cup of hot tea when I drag myself downstairs. And the hug is dry.

Giving Up Coffee

            As a sidebar, can I just say that I was a former coffee addict and even though every day is still an addiction struggle, Carrie was finally able to get me clean and now I drink hot tea every morning instead?

Total honesty compels me to say that on Saturday and Sunday mornings I do relapse and make us each a cup of Cuban coffee, but it is more of an enjoyment of the sugar-laden espresso-like goodness rather than a caffeine fix. Regardless of my relapses, I will sing the praises of switching from coffee to tea and how much better my body has felt for the past year or so because of it. You should try it if you are a coffee hound!

Back To Carrie’s Day

            So, yes, Carrie literally goes right to work after she has awoken (or awoken and run) and she works diligently. A good portion of her days now are spent editing other author’s work or coaching other writers and I have watched as she has changed her work schedule over the years to find the best fit for herself.

For twenty-five minutes, and she actually uses a timer so that she doesn’t get too engrossed in what she is doing and lose track of time, Carrie will work and then take a five-minute break.

Unfortunately for her, she usually does other types of work on her five-minute break and that is okay if it makes her happy because the real purpose of the five-minute break is to get out of her chair and move around so she doesn’t get “dead butt syndrome.” Occasionally, she will do something that she enjoys on her breaks, such as visiting her dungeon art studio and painting in tiny, happy spurts.

            Of course, this regimented schedule also has its caveats. I mean what parent can make it through the day without parenting? Sometimes these parenting breaks can really put a damper on your work flow. Regardless of whether it is a happy interaction or a stressful one, they can discombobulate the flow of information through your brain and your state of mind in general.

Heck, right now as I write this she is upstairs visiting with the seventh grader and most likely doing some general life counseling. If you have kids, you have to make time for them!

The To-Do List Of Awesome (By Of Awesome I mean OfHell)

This brings me to another thing that Carrie does every day, she makes a to-do list. She actually has more than one going at any given time and they include yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily lists. These lists are how she stays on track and tries not to forget anything. My favorite is her daily list, which she prepares the night before and I get a big kick out of watching how it morphs during the day depending on how things go. Not being a list-making type of person, I am truly amazed by how she utilizes and manipulates them in order to get everything done when it is supposed to be done.

            Her most favorite worktime activity is being able to work on her own stories, which, sadly, she doesn’t get to do nearly enough. Daily, she attempts to have enough time at the end of the day, which for her is well after dinner, to enjoy her true passion of writing, and I love it when she does. The change in her personality is palpable and she is so much more carefree and happy. Plus, it means she can occasionally submit a new book to an agent or self-publish one online.

Speaking of which, she will be publishing the sequel to one of her most recent books, The Places We Hide, soon and we will be sure to give you plenty of warning before it comes out. In the meantime, if you would like to purchase any of her previously published books, read older blogs (written by her and much more interesting) or if you need some authoring or editorial help, you can find links to all of those services are below in the HANG OUT WITH US section, but also, just peruse the tabs above.


In short, my points are thus:

  • Be disciplined in your work ethic and utilize tools that help you to be more efficient. Always make time for family.
  • Always leave time in your day to spend a bit of quality time with yourself doing what you love
  • And most importantly, love your way through it.

Success will find you!

May you best wishes come true for you!

Shaun

LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK AND FIND OUT HOW WE CAN.

And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE about cats on Tinder and other bad advice click here.

Our first episode of LOVING THE STRANGE is here. It’s about loving places for no logical reasons.

The visuals for our podcasts are all on Carrie’s YouTube channel. You can like and subscribe there, too!

HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast and our new LOVING THE STRANGE podcast.

We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. 

Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!

Thanks so much for being one of the 257,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!


Love Your Way Through It

Compassion and empathy makes you stronger. You don’t need to walk through this world with a big stick, scream from a bully pulpit or sermonize with fear. Empathy and kindness for even those who hurt you—or those who try to hurt you—only makes you stronger.

It’s really easy to get all wrapped up in status and ambition, to fall into the syndrome where you think the grass is always greener everywhere except your lawn, to be jealous at other people’s accolades or family’s or looks or luck.

            Shakespeare said that comparisons are odious. And that long-dead white guy was right.

            Comparisons make you feel like poop.

            I know that a lot of people try to make themselves feel better by comparing themself to others and find the others lesser.

I’ve had people do it to me all my life. I bet you have, too.

My husband before Shaun was a hospital CEO in a small, local hospital. I was volunteering to decorate for one of the hospital’s two annual fundraisers. I was up on a ladder wearing my favorite Snoopy shoes and jeans, hardly hospital CEO wife clothes, but good stuff for climbing ladders, hauling tables and putting out poinsettias.

My hair was its natural color and in a lopsided ponytail. I had no make-up on.

I’ll never forget these two wealthy ladies about two decades older than me loudly saying, “What does he see in her?”

            I tottered on the ladder a bit and the person helping me knew that I heard. It would have been impossible not to hear.

            “Don’t listen to them. They have miserable small lives and they’re jealous. Just jealous shrews,” the helper said.

            She might have been right, but it didn’t matter right that second.

I heard their words and for a moment they hurt me, but then I just felt so sad for them. How lonely their lives must be if they had to say that about me. How sad.

All I could do was love them when I thought about the hurt that they must have had inside of their hearts.

            Neither of those women probably even remember that moment, but I do, and I also remember that I made a choice.

            I could have luxuriated in that hurt instead of acknowledging it, seeing it, and then letting it pass through me.

            I could have lashed out at them and matched their pettiness with my own.

            But instead I chose empathy. I had the luxury and safety of doing that because I’m secretly pretty secure in who I am. I love myself even when I suck. I chose to love them when they sucked, too.

            A translation of Dhammapada verse 223 makes it so that  Buddha once roughly said, “Silence the angry man with love. Silence the ill-natured man with kindness. Silence the miser with generosity. Silence the liar with truth.”

Some translations use ‘overpower’ rather than ‘silence.’

Overpower the angry man with love.

            Love your way through it.

            Compassion and empathy makes you stronger. You don’t need to walk through this world with a big stick, scream from a bully pulpit or sermonize with fear. Empathy and kindness for even those who hurt you—or those who try to hurt you—only makes you stronger.

Let’s all be strong together, okay?


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast and our new LOVING THE STRANGE podcast.

We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. 

Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!

Thanks so much for being one of the 257,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!


LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK AND FIND OUT HOW WE CAN.

And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE about cats on Tinder and other bad advice click here.

Our first episode of LOVING THE STRANGE is here. It’s about loving places for no logical reasons.

The visuals for our podcasts are all on Carrie’s YouTube channel. You can like and subscribe there, too!