Don’t let your fear make you into a monster.

I’m releasing a book today and if you could buy it? That would be great.

But that’s not what this post is about.

This post is about memory and fear and being unapologetic in your joy and your fear.

It begins with fear and memory.

Sometimes, other people seem to remember my life better than I do. I’m not talking about Facebook posts here either—those tiny little moments that are forever embossed in the narrative of a social media life, tiny moments that strung together help define me even if I don’t always remember them.

But they do help me remember.

I see the images on ‘memories’ on social media and think, “Look, I was fitting people into wheelchairs in Belize, in Panama. Look, here is where my marriage almost broke apart but didn’t. Look, here is when I stopped. Just stopped. Oh, a pretty sunset. I must have started again or pretended to.”

But there are other kinds of memories that often don’t make it onto social media.

There are things I deliberately don’t remember—usually bad things—those painful moments that I push into the back of my head so that they aren’t they main things defining me and I only bring out to help other people (hopefully).

Robin Williams has said, “The things we fear the most have already happened to us.”

Which doesn’t quite explain my mom’s phobia of birds, but does explain so many other things and choices that we make as people.

But the Williams’ quote does make me wonder why we are so afraid, especially us writers.

Failing just means nothing changes.

Success? That’s where the unknown happens.

We become so used to shrouding ourselves in doubt and fear that we don’t realize that we can shed those things, but also? We don’t realize that we can put on new clothes, new positive emotions.

We don’t have to bond with each other in collectives of despair and mutual fear, but we can reach out and up, and lift ourselves and others into something good, something brave, something that isn’t full of fear and doubt, but bravery.

How cool would that be?

I grew up in a family full of fear. My mom was afraid of birds, swimming, bridges, closed in spaces, big open spaces, bugs, dead animals, storms, miscarriages, eventually cats, so many things—too many things. One of our big family stories was how when my sister was a toddler she was terrified of grass. She’s worked her way through that, thankfully. And my mom worked her way through moments that she didn’t want to remember. They were both brave even when fear seemed overwhelming.

But what was cool about my family—especially my extended family full of steps and halves and diversity—is that when something awesome happened? Almost everyone celebrated. There was no jealousy, just joy. There was hardly any “that should be me,” only “look at you go!”

So often our insecurities make us want to tear down the joys of others, even the tiniest of happiness. And that? That’s what matters. That’s what drowns us and our own creativity and propensity for joy.

We all know someone who is a bully even as a grownup, always looking for angles to pull others down. And no, I’m not just talking about people on Twitter, but people who elate in other’s miseries. Usually? Those people are bullies, blowhards and buttheads (I wanted to use the swear word there) because they are so insecure and riddled by fear that they last out.

That doesn’t make it hurt any less when they lash out at you, but you don’t want to be like them, you know? Don’t let your fear make you into a monster.

We need to spend less time pulling people into our own fear and insecurities and more time lifting people up into bravery and light.

One of my acquaintances was having a miscarriage once and was trying to get to the hospital, walking, because it happened during a walk around town. Panicked, she called another of our mutual friends who was out of town. And then they called me.

I have lost babies. Not many people know that.

I was on massive bedrest for five months for Emily (the baby who made it) to try to keep her inside me long enough to increase her chances. Pregnancy is a scary place (and joyful one) for me.

When I drove my acquaintance to our local hospital, cars were blocking intersections, tourists were yelling at locals and vice versa and in my car the unthinkable, the harrowing, was happening. It was terrifying. The fear was all over her beautiful face, in the shake of her voice, and there we were moving through all these happy families, all this joy and chaos and in my little car something very big was happening very quietly.

I was grateful and lucky to be there for her as she endured those horrible moments with such grace, and I am grateful and lucky to be there for anyone’s tragedy and celebration because it means that I was there. That I am there.

That’s what we have to be.

There.

Despite the fear.

Despite the worry.

Despite everything.

And when we are there in the moments of our lives and others’ lives, we can choose to react with fear or with compassion, with jealousy or with joy. We get to define that in our choices over and over again, and we damn sure aren’t going to be perfect each time, but what we can do? Is try.

Try to be unapologetic in your joy, in your success.

Try to take off that shroud of fear.

Try to stand with people as they fight for things that matter.

Try to be unapologetic in your moments, in other moments, to be there, to truly be there.

Try to live bravely, to create bravely, to love and mourn and sing bravely.

We can do this. Our past sorrows and fears are there, they can be remembered when we feel strong, but we get to choose how and if they define us in the moments that we are living now. That’s pretty powerful stuff. You are pretty powerful stuff!

NEW BOOK ALERT!

INCHWORMS, the second book in the DUDE GOODFEATHER series is coming out September 1!

A fascinating must-read suspense from New York Times bestseller Carrie Jones.

A new chance visiting a small Southern college.
A potential love interest for a broken girl obsessed with psychology.
A damaged group of co-eds.
A drowning that’s no accident.
A threat that seems to have no end.

And just like that Jessica Goodfeather aka Dude’s trip away from her claustrophobic life in Maine to try to get an amazing scholarship to her dream school has suddenly turned deadly. Again.

You can buy it here!

Find Your Couch, People!

On Thursday, my co-podcaster, Shaun, and husband guy, takes over the blog.

He’s adorable. I hope you’ll read what he says even if he does occasionally sound like a surfer dude from the 1990s or Captain Pontification. And no, we don’t always agree. 🙂

And I did not freaking fall asleep on the couch today. I was there for five minutes, so he is a lying liar who lies.

best podcast ever

It is 3:35 in the afternoon here where Carrie and I live. It is quite hot for our part of Maine, which is on the coast and usually runs a bit cooler than the inland areas and my phone is telling me that it is 84 degrees. Not horrible, but hot and humid enough to make a person want to just lie down on their couch for a minute after working for eight hours already with a guaranteed two hours of work left in the day.

Yes, Carrie just laid down on our couch, “for a minute.”

I don’t blame her one bit! If anything I am a bit jealous because I still have to write this blog, mow our lawn and produce dinner. Okay, I will be honest and tell you that our lawn is small and  dinner will be pizza from a place just down the street. I will even drive to pick it up when it is literally a three minute walk! Despicable I know, but I had to flesh out my remaining to do list items a bit, because she still has real work to do.

Anyway, Carrie is on the couch, supine.

I am very happy for her because she, honestly, works very hard, every day! I am not exaggerating at all, she does.

I am concerned about her though.

You see, Carrie and our couch have a very special relationship. Every time she lies in the arms of the couch it does something to her. Something special I suppose. I mean, why else would she fall asleep almost immediately? It must be something better than whatever I do when we lay down in bed at night and she has trouble falling asleep.

Okay, perhaps a tiny bit jealous.

Actually, as a most incredibly loving husband, I am happy for her! I am happy that she has a place to go where she can actually relax and free her brain from the woes of the world. Maybe if I wrap myself in smooth and supple leather before bed at night she will be able to sleep like this next to me.

My real point here is that everyone should have such a place!

Find your couch, people! Find that place where you can relax so much that even the constant text notifications on your phone don’t rouse you from your repose.

You deserve it!

You need it!

I am going to go mow our lawn now. Hopefully I will remember to awaken Carrie before her 4:30 Zoom meeting with a client.

Peace be with you folks, y’all deserve it. And, as always, remember to Love Your Way Through It!

Shaun 

NEW BOOK ALERT!

I just want to let everyone know that INCHWORMS (The Dude Series Book 2) is out and having a good time as Dude competes for a full scholarship at a prestigious Southern college and getting into a bit of trouble.

Here’s what it’s about:

A fascinating must-read suspense from New York Times bestseller Carrie Jones.

A new chance visiting a small Southern college.
A potential love interest for a broken girl obsessed with psychology.
A damaged group of co-eds.
A drowning that’s no accident.
A threat that seems to have no end.

And just like that Jessica Goodfeather aka Dude’s trip away from her claustrophobic life in Maine to try to get an amazing scholarship to her dream school has suddenly turned deadly. Again.


What would you do to make a difference?

After his best friend Norah was almost abducted, Cole Nicholaus has spent most of his childhood homeschooled, lonely and pining for Norah to move from best friend to girl friend status. When birds follow him around or he levitates the dishes, he thinks nothing of it—until a reporter appears and pushes him into making a choice: stay safe at home or help save a kidnapped kid.

Cole and Norah quickly end up trying to not just save a kid, but an entire town from a curse that has devastating roots and implications for how exactly Cole came to be the saint that he is.

Can Cole stop evil from hurting him and Norah again? And maybe even get together? Only the saints know.

From the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of the NEED seriesSaint is a book about dealing with the consequences that make us who we are and being brave enough to admit who we love and what we need.

BUY NOW! 🙂 I made a smiley face there so you don’t feel like I’m too desperate.

The cover. Creepy, right?

You can read an excerpt right here.

Stopping Doomsday Thinking

A lot of great clients and students that I’ve worked with have what I like to call Doomsday Thinking. I’m pretty sure I didn’t coin that phrase.

What is doomsday thinking?

It’s basically catastrophic thinking.

In Psychology Today, Toni Bernhard J.D. writes, “The term refers to our irrational and exaggerated thoughts: thoughts that have no basis in fact, but which we believe anyway.”

Those thoughts become so big and so distorted that we get anxious.

I am a pro at doomsday thinking

I basically had these kinds of thoughts until last year.

Those negative, spiraling thoughts can become so big, so huge, that it’s almost impossible to be happy about who we are, what we’ve done, what we will do, or our life.

We forget there can be good outcomes too.

Instead, we think about all the bad potentials and build them up like super stores, giving them so much space in our thoughts that they take over.

The why is it always me syndrome.

One of my most brilliant and adorable relatives does this all the time. She gets stuck on a highway coming home from work because of a traffic jam and thinks, “Why does this always happen to me? The universe hates me.”

When in reality, she’s not alone in that traffic jam, right? It’s almost self-absorbed to think that the frustrating things are out to get you and only you.

Or, we get rejected when we send our book to an agent and think, “This is impossible. I will never get published. I am doomed to suck forever. I give up.”

When in reality, you don’t suck at all. Writing is subjective and that particular agent just wasn’t for you.

Change happens.

In doomsday thinking whenever something bad happens, we assume that this is the way it will always be. It isn’t.

The world is chaos and full of change.

I just was texting with one of my friends the other night and I wrote, “I bet Five-years-ago Steve would never have imagined this.”

The this was good stuff happening in his life. And he hadn’t. He hadn’t predicted any of it.

We’re all like that. I didn’t imagine I’d be where I am five years ago. That’s because change happens. Even the bad doesn’t stay always bad. We can’t predict the outcomes and all the variables even when we think we can.

Here’s the good thing about change

Since things change, it means that you don’t need to stay stuck forever. And you don’t need to stay in those negative thought patterns forever either.

Why not? It’s pretty easy to lean into your internal critic, right? But you don’t have to. You can stay calm. You can take chances and make choices and shut them up.

We all have inner critics, but we also need inner cheerleaders

I used to imagine my inner critic as John Wayne (the dead movie star/cowboy). He was so harsh on me. Always telling me to work. So, I created an inner cheerleader who turned out to be the Muppet, Grover. Yes, from Sesame Street. My brain is a weird place.

John Wayne and Grover would duel it out for supremacy in my head.

Weird! Weird! I know. But by giving an identity to that negative voice/inner critic, it helped me to recognize that doomsday thinking and shut it down so that I could take chances and risks and do things.

Allow yourself to treat challenges and projects like you’re playing

Another thing that helps is giving myself a chance to play and fail. You can do this, too.

Find something you’ve wanted to do. Start a blog? Make a video? Learn to paint? Ride your bike every morning? Make it something that excites you.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Give yourself a time frame. I have 30 days to do this! That sort of short timeframe.
  2. Schedule time into your day/week to do it.
  3. It helps if you have an end project. So, tell yourself what your end product will be.
  4. Do it.

By giving ourselves a product and a timeframe, we give ourselves a chance to try things. It doesn’t seem like a forever-worry that way and it usually shuts up our doomsday thinking and John Waynes a tiny bit.

You’ve got this. I believe in you. You need to believe in you, too.

xo

Carrie

BE A PART OF OUR MISSION!

Hey! We’re all about inspiring each other to be weird, to be ourselves and to be brave and we’re starting to collect stories about each other’s bravery. Those brave moments can be HUGE or small, but we want you to share them with us so we can share them with the world. You can be anonymous if you aren’t brave enough to use your name. It’s totally chill.

Want to be part of the team? Send us a quick (or long) email and we’ll read it here and on our YouTube channel.

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?

Email us at carriejonesbooks@gmail.com


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 263,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the strange and adorably weird things people say?

And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about fear setting and how being swallowed by a whale is bad ass.


And Carrie has new books out! Yay!

You can order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

best thrillers The People Who Kill
The people who kill

It’s my book! It came out June 1! Boo-yah! Another one comes out July 1.

And that one is called  THOSE WHO SURVIVED, which is the first book in the the DUDE GOODFEATHER series.  I hope you’ll read it, like it, and buy it!

The Dude Goodfeather Series - YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones
The Dude Goodfeather Series – YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones

TO TELL US YOUR BRAVE STORY JUST EMAIL BELOW.

What Did You Do When You Were Eight? Do it Now. Be Happy.

So, at dinner last night, Carrie introduced me to this little crumb of life coach theory. She asked me what my three favorite things were to do when I was eight years old.

I looked at her like she had three heads and asked her how she expected me to remember such information at my age.

Of course, she hates it when I deflect her questions with another question in an effort to stall or just change the subject, but I hate having to think about myself in an introspective way.

However, she was dead set on me answering this question and not letting me get away with my techniques of conversational derailing. I answered her. I answered her because I pretty much knew the answer and I love her and didn’t want to disappoint her yet again.

My answer was that I loved to read, run around in the woods collecting forest creatures that have no business being pets for the sole purpose of making them pets, and I loved to fish.

Carrie was not surprised by my answers and went on to tell me that these things are what I am supposed to be doing now. These things are what would make me happy if I was able to just do them for the majority of, or a good portion of, my adult life. She, as always, is right.

Nothing would make me happier than to be able to run around in the woods looking for Bigfoot or to be fishing all of the time. Reading can be accomplished on the days when the weather is not conducive to outdoor activities.

But how can this be possible as an adult I asked her. Her response was that the things we loved to do most often when we are of a semi-independent childhood age are what we should do all of our lives to maintain our best lifestyle. The lifestyle that makes us the most happy and content.

I looked at her with a face that she knew meant, “this is impossible, woman.” I have too many responsibilities to ever be able to do that. Knowing me as well as she does, she went on to explain that this is indeed the trap. The responsibility trap that keeps a majority of us from doing what we really want. The trap of social expectations!

We don’t really have to live to make as much money as we can. We don’t really have to live to live up to someone else’s expectations. What we should be doing is living to live the best life that we can, for us.

I REALLY need to start doing the things that I love to do! I need to take my own beautiful and loving wife’s advice and start doing more of what makes me the happiest. So does she.

Don’t waste your life away not doing the things that you love people!

And as you do those things, remember to always Love Your Way Through It!

Shaun

THE BEAUTY OF NOT FITTING IN. LOVING THE STRANGE

Loving the Strange
Loving the Strange
THE BEAUTY OF NOT FITTING IN. LOVING THE STRANGE
/

This week’s episode is called THE BEAUTY OF NOT FITTING IN. And one of the big aspects of understanding that is understand what it is to feel belonging.

According to harleytherapy.com, a counseling site from the UK.

“Belonging is defined as feeling part of a group, whether that is a familya set of friends, or a workplace.”

They quote psychologist Abraham Maslow, who worked on human motivation and created a ‘the Hierarchy of Needs’ models, saying that he “saw ‘love and belonging’  as so important he placed them third only to our basic ‘physiological needs’ like food and shelter, and ‘safety needs’ like employment and good health.””

So feeling like you belong is important, but it’s also a way a lot of us feel and there’s a certain freedom and beauty in not belonging.

Over on heartstories, writer Crystal Gronto says

“Feeling like you don’t fit in with the crowd teaches you to see and appreciate differences in people.  It teaches you empathy and compassion for others who are on the outside.  It gives you eyes to see things that the crowd, can so easily miss.”

Tiny Buddha’s Anne Bechard writes:

“Everybody tries to fit in because they desperately want to feel at home wherever they are. But fitting in will never get you home. Fitting in is about trying to adapt to a world that’s not your own. You don’t belong there.

“Belonging is about inhabiting the world as the real you. And the hard reality is that you’ll never fit in where you don’t belong. Here’s what it actually takes to truly belong where you’re meant to be—even if you don’t seem to fit in anywhere.”

Writer Marianne Cantwell has made a life work out of telling people that ‘weirdness is your edge,’ and ‘your hidden advantage.’

We look at people with a million followers and have perfect hair and smiles and speaking styles, but those people often didn’t start like that or felt like they belonged or felt comfortable who and where they were.

She said often, “they were the different ones” who didn’t fit in. She looked to her own identity as an empathetic, very sensitive person, who didn’t fit in the business world, which was a bit more straightlaced. And once she adapted and adopted that, she began to be successful.

All over the web there are tiny stories about Famous People Who Didn’t Fit In

  • Anna Wintour – who was allegedly fired for being too edgy is now a fashion editor at Vogue
  • Oprah – who was allegedly fired for being too emotional when reporting is now Oprah!
  • Taylor Swift once said: “I remember when I was in school, the whole reason I started writing songs was because I was alone a lot of the time. I’d sit there in school and I’d be hearing people like, ‘Oh my god, this party that we’re going to is gonna be so awesome on Friday. Everyone’s invited except for [Taylor],”
  • Lady Gaga – wanted to be Boy George and often talks about not fitting in when she was in school
  • Zayn Malik – has spoken a lot about not fitting in and feeling bullied
  • Hunter Hayes – cried himself to sleep because of not fitting in and bullies.

Over on the https://www.learning-mind.com/dont-fit-in/ it talks a bit about the good things that matter about not fitting in.

1. Finding your tribe is more important than ‘fitting in’

2. Learning what makes you happy is more important than trying to fit someone else’s idea of a successful life

They write,

“It sometimes takes great courage to stop and think about this path and decide what elements we truly choose for our own lives. If we define accomplishment as having these things, we limit what success can be for us. Perhaps success for you is having an afternoon each week to paint, or hike in nature. Or maybe it is having a great circle of friends who really ‘get’ you and where you truly fit in.”

3. Aim for a meaningful life

“Much of our focus on outward signs of success such as making money or shopping might come from an underlying fear that our lives are meaningless. Viktor Frankl, the Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor, said that ‘When a person can’t find a deep sense of meaning, they distract themselves with pleasure.’”

So, ask yourself, what is meaningful? Does this thing that I’m doing right now mean something to me?

 

4. Choose to serve your own values rather than society’s

We grow up in families usually and those family’s praise some things and others? Not so much. One family might think competitive sports are the bomb. Another family might not. Even if your own family you could have those divisions. Those systems of attention and reward push all certain ways, so it’s good sometimes to step back and think, “Holy crap. Am I only a writer because of this thing that happened to me in second grade or because my mom praised it a lot?”

Do I play softball because my mom did? Do I art because the only thing my dad praised me for was that?

As they say on learning-mind.com,

“And countless studies have shown that materialism doesn’t make us happy anyway. I’m not saying that having a steady job or buying nice things is wrong, I’m simply suggesting that you question everything and act upon your own desires rather than society’s expectations.

“When you choose to do the things that serve you, rather than politicians, big businesses, and even family and friends, you will being to live a more authentic life and discover a deep sense of belonging that can never be found by merely fitting in.

That feeling can come from abusive relationships, medical issues, and trauma, but sometimes it comes from a lack of confidence or belief that who you really are is unworthy, which is why we’re going to talk about some awesome stories from Buzzfeed compilation by Allie Hayes about dumb things people do even when their smart.

Look, we all have moments of dumb and weird. It’s better to just embrace that stuff and be the person you were meant to be, the person you are, and be proud and joyful that there are things about you that make you beautiful and unique and so shiny.

OTHER LINKS MENTIONED

https://www.buzzfeed.com/alliehayes/dumbest-thing-smart-people-have-done-reddit


BE A PART OF OUR MISSION!

Hey! We’re all about inspiring each other to be weird, to be ourselves and to be brave and we’re starting to collect stories about each other’s bravery. Those brave moments can be HUGE or small, but we want you to share them with us so we can share them with the world. You can be anonymous if you aren’t brave enough to use your name. It’s totally chill.

Want to be part of the team? Send us a quick (or long) email and we’ll read it here and on our YouTube channel.

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?

Email us at carriejonesbooks@gmail.com


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 263,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the strange and adorably weird things people say?

And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about fear setting and how being swallowed by a whale is bad ass.


And Carrie has new books out! Yay!

You can order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

best thrillers The People Who Kill
The people who kill

It’s my book! It came out June 1! Boo-yah! Another one comes out July 1.

And that one is called  THOSE WHO SURVIVED, which is the first book in the the DUDE GOODFEATHER series.  I hope you’ll read it, like it, and buy it!

The Dude Goodfeather Series - YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones
The Dude Goodfeather Series – YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones

TO TELL US YOUR BRAVE STORY JUST EMAIL BELOW.

Continue reading “THE BEAUTY OF NOT FITTING IN. LOVING THE STRANGE”

BE BRAVE FRIDAY – BEING BRAVE FOR A DOG AND YOURSELF

On BE BRAVE FRIDAYS, we share other people’s stories (unedited) to build a community of bravery and inspiration.

Please let us know if you want to share your story with us and we’ll read it here and post it on our social media and website.

This life is too short to not be brave. We can do this together.


This week it’s Carden’s story that Shaun reads on the coast of Bar Harbor, Maine.


Carden’s Brave Story

Hey Carrie and Shaun!

I thought I’d love to share my story of being brave today! It fits the today’s “dog” theme, too.

So, today I went to the Can Do Canines campus, a service dog organization here in Minnesota, to do a walking evaluation with different dogs.

I was born with spastic cerebral palsy that effects muscle tone in my legs, and causes me lots of trouble with balance and walking comfortably.

Today was a BIG day for me, because up until now Ive been waiting for a mobility assist dog for up to 2.5 years — the first organization I applied for ended up not working out.

But Can Do Canines has gone much smoother.

Going in today I felt nervous, but also very, very excited! I’m a dog lover at heart, and getting to meet these dogs (even though they were already matched with their forever homes) made things feel that much more real. Then came actually walking with the dogs.

I felt a RUSH of anxiety because I had no clue how to walk a big dog, much less the commands and timing of getting the dog to walk forward with me, say “good doggo”, ya know, all that good stuff. It was SO NEW and different and also a little scary.

I felt somewhat in over my head, like “how am I going to be able to function and have a healthy relationship with a dog? How do I learn all these commands? How do I remember commands and to praise consistently? How how how?”

— a lot of it was fear of not being good enough. A good enough student, a good enough handler, a good enough person in general. Internal frustration bubbled up to the point where I wanted to throw down the leash and call it quits. But something else in me knew I could come through.

And then, just like that, I suddenly heard a voice in my head go “aahhh SCREW IT!” and I didn’t feel nearly as anxious!

I took some deep breaths, took some sitting breaks (it was a lot of walking), and made sure to look into the eyes of the 3 dogs I had “tried out”.

All I need to do right now is to focus on the task at hand: walking briefly with a dog to see which harness, height, and handle feel like the best fit for me….thats all. Of course new things, even things I’m looking forward to and that can help me live a more healthy life, can feel scary. But it won’t ALWAYS be scary. Having compassion for myself, and the new dog at my side that I just met minutes prior, helped me push through and enjoy my time much better!!


Carden, we are so proud of you and psyched that you’re getting a dog. You two are going to be amazing together. We know it.

BE A PART OF OUR MISSION!

Hey! We’re all about inspiring each other to be weird, to be ourselves and to be brave and we’re starting to collect stories about each other’s bravery. Those brave moments can be HUGE or small, but we want you to share them with us so we can share them with the world. You can be anonymous if you aren’t brave enough to use your name. It’s totally chill.

Want to be part of the team? Send us a quick (or long) email and we’ll read it here and on our YouTube channel.

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?

Email us at carriejonesbooks@gmail.com


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 263,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the strange and adorably weird things people say?

And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about fear setting and how being swallowed by a whale is bad ass.


And Carrie has new books out! Yay!

You can order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

best thrillers The People Who Kill
The people who kill

It’s my book! It came out June 1! Boo-yah! Another one comes out July 1.

And that one is called  THOSE WHO SURVIVED, which is the first book in the the DUDE GOODFEATHER series.  I hope you’ll read it, like it, and buy it!

The Dude Goodfeather Series - YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones
The Dude Goodfeather Series – YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones

TO TELL US YOUR BRAVE STORY JUST EMAIL BELOW.

  • Carden Levi Olsen

Love Your Way Through It

On Thursday, my co-podcaster, Shaun, and husband guy, takes over the blog.

He’s adorable. I hope you’ll read what he says even if he does occasionally sound like a surfer dude from the 1990s or Captain Pontification. And no, we don’t always agree. 🙂

best podcast ever
Shaun Farrar

So, I have decided that the problem with the world today is a lack of love and compassion for other human beings. Of course, by “today” I mean almost since the beginning of humanity, but the issue seems to be getting more exacerbated every day. This could also be interpreted as an overabundance of hate but since I believe that love and compassion can always win over hate, I think it is appropriate to say that we need more love and compassion in our world!

I cannot even fathom what drives some of the hatred in our communities or what motivates people to try and change history in an attempt to make their viewpoints the correct ones. I can guess, and if I was to do so, I would say that the biggest motivators are power, greed and for some ignorance, or rather a lack of educating oneself beyond the beliefs that they were taught while in an impressionable state.

Being human brings with it the fault of imperfections and I, being very much less than perfect, often times find myself rushing to judgement or adopting a poor attitude without much thought. However, as time ages me and I write more of these “Love Your Way Through It” blogposts, I do find myself trying much more often to put myself in other’s shoes and to not be so immediately judgmental, condescending or angry. This emotional slowing down actually makes me feel better as a human and more mature.

I have a hard time being mature sometimes!

My point is that we are all human. We all make mistakes. We all need love, compassion, empathy and acceptance as an equal to any other human. Please try to remember that spreading hate has an emotional cost to everyone, spreading love has no cost and the emotional benefits are endless!

Have a wonderful day full of love and compassion and remember to always Love Your Way Through It!

Shaun      

BE A PART OF OUR MISSION!

Hey! We’re all about inspiring each other to be weird, to be ourselves and to be brave and we’re starting to collect stories about each other’s bravery. Those brave moments can be HUGE or small, but we want you to share them with us so we can share them with the world. You can be anonymous if you aren’t brave enough to use your name. It’s totally chill.

Want to be part of the team? Send us a quick (or long) email and we’ll read it here and on our YouTube channel.

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?

Email us at carriejonesbooks@gmail.com


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 263,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the strange and adorably weird things people say?

And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about fear setting and how being swallowed by a whale is bad ass.


And Carrie has new books out! Yay!

You can order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

best thrillers The People Who Kill
The people who kill

It’s my book! It came out June 1! Boo-yah! Another one comes out July 1.

And that one is called  THOSE WHO SURVIVED, which is the first book in the the DUDE GOODFEATHER series.  I hope you’ll read it, like it, and buy it!

The Dude Goodfeather Series - YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones
The Dude Goodfeather Series – YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones

TO TELL US YOUR BRAVE STORY JUST EMAIL BELOW.

You Lucky Duck

We are who we are and we choose how we live and how are lives work out. That is the bottom line really

On Thursday, my co-podcaster, Shaun, and husband guy, takes over the blog.

He’s adorable. I hope you’ll read what he says even if he does occasionally sound like a surfer dude from the 1990s or Captain Pontification. And no, we don’t always agree. 🙂

best podcast ever
Shaun Farrar

Do you believe in luck? Do you believe in karma? Do you believe that bigfoot is really an alien being in a less than carefully chosen disguise?

Well, if you have an interest in any of these topics, you should start listening to Loving The Strange, a live podcast that Carrie and I do every Friday evening at 7 o’clock Eastern Standard Time. We love doing it and if you listen, we hope that you will love it as well!


Luck, what is it? Is it a predetermined experience that is so wonderfully timed or fortuitous that we think that it can’t possibly be natural and therefore must be attributed to some supernatural force that has blessed us in a timely fashion? Is it something that we bring about ourselves due to how we think and how we act in our daily lives? Is it sheer coincidence of an occurrence during a time when we are so down that almost anything with a positive lean seems impossible?

I don’t know the answer to those questions, and I am not going to bother researching the philosophical definitions or musings of luck. I don’t really need to for the purposes of this blog because, in my worthless opinion, we are all lucky. Luck is not a singular or a repetitive happening in our life, it is our life.

We are ALL lucky!

We are lucky to be here.

We are lucky to be who we are and exactly how we are born.

I know that some of us were born with seemingly everything against us. I also know that some of those people have made the very best of their lives and have complimented other people’s lives with abundant positivity during their life, even if it was extremely short or extremely hampered by some obstacle of physical or mental acuity. We are who we are and we choose how we live and how are lives work out. That is the bottom line really.

Tragedy of the greatest kind has befallen many and they have dealt with it and decided to turn it into a positive moment or opportunity. There really are no excuses, we are all human and we all choose to deal and spread love and kindness or we choose to wilt and die off. Choose to spread love and kindness people! Choose to be somebody else’s good luck! Choose to take a chance that any random kind act that you perform can be somebody else’s good luck for the day!

Peace people and remember to always Love Your Way through It!

Shaun

BE A PART OF OUR MISSION!

Hey! We’re all about inspiring each other to be weird, to be ourselves and to be brave and we’re starting to collect stories about each other’s bravery. Those brave moments can be HUGE or small, but we want you to share them with us so we can share them with the world. You can be anonymous if you aren’t brave enough to use your name. It’s totally chill.

Want to be part of the team? Send us a quick (or long) email and we’ll read it here and on our YouTube channel.

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?

Email us at carriejonesbooks@gmail.com


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 263,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the strange and adorably weird things people say?

And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about fear setting and how being swallowed by a whale is bad ass.


And Carrie has new books out! Yay!

You can order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

best thrillers The People Who Kill
The people who kill

It’s my book! It came out June 1! Boo-yah! Another one comes out July 1.

And that one is called  THOSE WHO SURVIVED, which is the first book in the the DUDE GOODFEATHER series.  I hope you’ll read it, like it, and buy it!

The Dude Goodfeather Series - YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones
The Dude Goodfeather Series – YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones

TO TELL US YOUR BRAVE STORY JUST EMAIL BELOW.

It not just about thinking positive; it’s about doing positive.

We’ve all heard that if we just think positively everything will be better.

We have journals and lists that we create every night or morning of how we’re blessed.

Then there’s the mantra, “Change your thoughts, change your life.”

And sometimes when I see these things I get a little ragey because it isn’t always that easy. It’s hard to always think positively when your dog has just died or you’re in a war zone or your being hurt.

We’re all allowed to be a little ragey sometimes or sad or gleeful or even covetous. That’s because we’re human, but it’s also because of something even more important that we all need to remember.

WE ARE NOT OUR THOUGHTS.

We can think, “I am Jesus” all day long but that doesn’t make us Jesus. We can think, “I am Beyonce” or “I am the president.” But it doesn’t make us so.

What makes us who we are?

The things we do.

I have a friend who does one act of kindness after another, who cares passionately about the people she loves. But people can annoy her sometimes. Injustices REALLY annoy her.

And after she has a judgement-free rant, she’ll say, “I’m so awful. I know! I know!”

But that’s the thing.

She’s not awful. She’s amazing. She’s one of the best people I know. And that’s because who she is isn’t just about her thoughts. Who she is stems from her actions, her choices, her decisions.

When she needs to persist or overcome, she doesn’t give in to her thoughts of doubt, her insecurities, or even her anger. She acts. She makes a difference.

How cool is that?

Yes, it’s important and super healthy to have a positive outlook. But it’s not always possible, and when you don’t achieve that? It doesn’t make you bad. If you think you’re bad, then you’re just going to end up in another negative thought spiral.

You’re too awesome for that.

And you can’t sit around waiting to be happy, hoping that this will be the day where you aren’t in pain, or someone isn’t a troll, or the basement doesn’t flood. You have to make the choice to be happy and take the actions that help you feel that if that’s what you want to feel.

You can think about changing all the time, but actual change come from doing the work, the actions, making the choices and going for it.

You can do that.

So, how do you do that?

DO THINGS

Acting/doing/participating in something takes you away from negative thoughts and thrusts you into the action, gives you focus. People in Asia and Europe have talked about the flow state for a long time. People in sports tend to call it being in the zone.

But it’s a place, and damn it’s beautiful.

To get there though, you have to do the action. That might be running, writing, painting, climbing, figuring out a theorem, creating a blog post, but it happens because you are doing an action. Do the things.

PUT YOUR THOUGHTS IN THEIR PLACE

Really. This isn’t new either, but it works. When you feel that negative thought spiral coming on, call it out. Say, “Yo. Negative thought. Just because I forgot to close the bedroom door before we made the sex and forgot my avo and Aunt Rose Marie were coming over does not mean ‘I am so stupid.’ It just means I was so in the moment that I forgot to close the door.”

You’ve got to try to see those negative thoughts for the bullies they are and sometimes all they need to chill out is just to be noticed.

I have wicked social anxiety. It’s like a weird kind of stage fright. And the only way for me to battle it is to just act right through it. So I get in the car and drive to the party and tell my negative thoughts that nothing horrifying will happen and my actions won’t make people go to jail. I go to the board meeting. I do the live podcast. I buckle up and stare down the negative thoughts and once I’m doing the actions? It helps tamp down the anxiety. But if I hesitate? That fear builds up and up, gaining so much power that it’s a vicious battle to tamp it back down.

And I love people. I love the joy of public speaking. I love moving people and inspiring them in person, right? So, it’s almost like my fright is excitement gone terribly wrong. It’s almost like a part of me thinks, “Who am I to get to do this? To be this happy? To have people listen to me?”

For a kid with a speech defect (and now an adult with one), that’s a pretty amazing thing. Middle-school Carrie would have never imagined it.

Pay Attention To The World Like A Tourist or a Poet Would

I know! I know! Poets and tourists don’t seem to go together, but they both search for experiences and explore their worlds.

A Roman emperior, Marcus Aurelius, would detail the world like the best of writers or artists. Ordinary things became extraordinary under his pen.

Noticing things is an action. Seeing things is a gift. Empathy and understanding can be byproducts of observation. Be present. Don’t overlook the ordinary. You’ve got this.

BE A PART OF OUR MISSION!

Hey! We’re all about inspiring each other to be weird, to be ourselves and to be brave and we’re starting to collect stories about each other’s bravery. Those brave moments can be HUGE or small, but we want you to share them with us so we can share them with the world. You can be anonymous if you aren’t brave enough to use your name. It’s totally chill.

Want to be part of the team? Send us a quick (or long) email and we’ll read it here and on our YouTube channel.

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?

Email us at carriejonesbooks@gmail.com


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 263,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the strange and adorably weird things people say?

And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about fear setting and how being swallowed by a whale is bad ass.


And Carrie has new books out! Yay!

You can order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

best thrillers The People Who Kill
The people who kill

It’s my book! It came out June 1! Boo-yah! Another one comes out July 1.

And that one is called  THOSE WHO SURVIVED, which is the first book in the the DUDE GOODFEATHER series.  I hope you’ll read it, like it, and buy it!

The Dude Goodfeather Series - YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones
The Dude Goodfeather Series – YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones

TO TELL US YOUR BRAVE STORY JUST EMAIL BELOW.

 

You don’t have to be perfect to be awesome.

 Look.

You don’t have to be perfect.

Here’s the harsh truth:

You’re not going to ever be perfect to everyone.

 That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to evolve, to care, to succeed, to be awesome, it just means that you can let your quest for perfectionism pull you down into despair.

When I was a little kid, I would sometimes be afraid to draw things because I would have to erase the mistakes every time I made Snoopy’s head a little wobbly.  That only happened when one of my older siblings laughed at my drawing, told me it looked like crap, and to go put my head back in a book.

Now, I don’t care too much about drawing Snoopy perfectly. I just explore with form and e texture and color and those positive and negative spaces.

Here’s another not so harsh truth:

Every day is an opportunity to live.

That’s right. Each day we get is a day we probably have to work and deal with people, but it’s also another day to just get out there and live, to live each moment and think, “Holy poop. What’s going to happen next.”

When we worry too much about how we look in our bathing suit, we lose the opportunity to jump in a Maine lake with our friends.

When we worry too much that our book’s copyediting won’t be perfect, we lose the opportunity to share our story.

Our perfectionism about our work, our body, our minds, our selves keeps us from playing, from joy, from wonder, from living in the damn moment and living beyond that moment.

When your life goes a bit out of control? That’s when your perfectionism really does you in. You have to cultivate the playfulness inside of you that allows you to spend each day as an opportunity that you can approach with curiousity and wonder and maybe even joy.

I know! I know! What kind of wildness is this? Joy?

Yes, joy.

When you feel stressed because you feel like you aren’t good enough, try approaching yourself and the problem differently. Applaud yourself for every little victory you have the way we applaud toddlers for taking their first wobbly steps, first full word, first full sentence, or even first time they make it to the potty.

Allowing ourselves to approach ourselves with wonder and acceptance is really an amazingly strong and brave thing.