About Me

My photo
I am an Entrepreneur and home business owner helping others to live their best life. I am a passionate world traveler. I've had many adventures through 33 countries and lived in 5. I love living life to the fullest and experiencing the abundant wealth and happiness that this amazing planet has to offer. Life is not a dress rehearsal so we have to play full out!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Ten Years in a Cave - the Resilience of the Human Spirit.

My travels around the world have allowed me to experience a different perspective on life. I have had the opportunity to meet and talk with many people from around the world who come from many different places. I have listened to many stories of survival, triumph, heartache, celebration, love and success that have brought many lessons to my heart and life. There are so many people and stories that have stayed within my soul for me to recall and draw upon when I need a simple reminder of how beautiful, bittersweet and magical this thing called life is. 

The resilience of the human spirit became so apparent to me on my travels through Asia. I have never met a more inspirational race of people. How often we complain here in the West of such trivial matters and how ‘bad’ we have it? I am completely guilty of this and writing this post today has humbled me and reminded me just how lucky I am. Life for most Asians, despite their ‘apparent’ lack of wealth is simple, humorous and carefree. It does not matter what hand they are dealt they pick themselves up, they forgive, get over it and make the most of what they have now so that they can improve their future. I miss the profound lessons these people taught me daily.

Craig and I traveled through Laos in Oct 2006. We followed the normal backpacking route but part way in decided to veer off track to have our own experience at Muong Ngoi, a small Laotian riverside village. It was quite a strenuous journey getting there on a hair raising bus ride followed by a small river boat - more like a canoe with a motor placed on it. Thankfully we stuck the journey through to our destination.

We arrived at the village and found several guesthouses at the dock but we decided to trek down to the end of the dirt road to give some business to the guesthouse at the end who would often miss out on the majority of the small number of tourists who filtered in.

We were greeted by the owner of the guesthouse, Nuang Jun,  who was gushing with excitement that we had come to stay. Her English was very limited but she immediately made us feel welcome. We could feel how much it meant to her that some farangs (foreigners) had come to stay and she really wanted to do everything in her power to make sure we were comfortable and had a good time. She began to feel embarrassed that she could not offer us more comfort than we would have received elsewhere. She had no electricity and little food to offer us and our accommodation was just a very basic wooden hut with an outside toilet and only scoops of cold water to dunk yourself with to have a shower.

For us this was not a problem, we’d stayed in much worse and for us we travelled for the experiences of the land and the people; not where we put our head at night. Anyway we loved the simplicity and peacefulness of it all. All we noticed was the amazing view we had of the picturesque, jungled mountains by the river and the warmth and happiness that radiated out from this kind lady.

Throughout the week we were to spend some time getting to know the family. Their 22 year old son, Gai, spoke perfect English and he became our guide and friend. He took us on treks through the jungle to visit nearby traditional hillside villages, where he taught us much about the history of the area and the customs of the people. He also took us fishing, traditional Laotian style. I spent the day in total amazement at how skillful he was and how easy he made it seem. I could not even cast the net out in the water let alone catch fish.

I loved spending time with Gai. Each minute was a reminder to me of how grateful I should be of all I have and not only that but a reminder of just what the human spirit is capable of doing and being. He was so determined to make his life and that of his family a success. He was really playing life full out and making the most of his not so fortunate circumstances.

Gai had only one arm. Even though I could see this whenever I looked at him, I always forgot as he could accomplish so much. He could do everything I could do yet better. He operated with total confidence, grace and reverence.  Gai was building a bar on the island. It was his dream and he spent every spare  minute he had bringing his dream together. He built everything himself. He sawed, and carved and hammered together every piece of wood.

He went away for months at a time to study in Luang Prabang, the city, and when he was home he would work hard to provide a good life for his mother. He was a good, loving and kind son. Every spare moment he had when he was not doing this, he would be working on his bar. The bar he was building was to provide foreigners with a place to socialize, drink and hang out. He envisioned his little village prospering with the increase in foreign visitors to the place and he wanted to make it one they would remember and return to.

He designed a beautiful, tranquil garden and his central focal piece of the bar was his prized possession- the big shell of an American missile, which stood proudly at the entrance to the bar. On the shell was the name of his bar. Our family lived in the mountainous regions of Laos; a place that was heavily bombarded during the Vietnam War. We learned about all of this on one of our last days there in the village. We sat down with the family to have a delicious yet simple meal by candlelight and by the light of the thousands of stars that lit up the dark sky.

The mother, in her broken English, began to tell us her story. She was only a young girl , 8 years of age,  when the Vietnam War started. The village lived in constant fear of the continual planes that flew over head, dropping their bombs of hatred upon a land of people they did not know; people who were oblivious to the world beyond their rice fields and fishing nets; people who knew nothing of the reasons for the war and who only wanted to live in harmony with the land and with each other.

To escape the devastation and fear, the whole village moved to live inside the caves of the nearby limestone mountains. For 10 years they lived in that dark, damp, cool cave; daring to venture out only at night time under the cover of darkness to tend to the fields so they could eat and survive. They had no light and little food. Many of their fellow villages died when they emerged from the caves at certain times of the day to satisfy their most basic needs.

For 10 years they lived in that cave together. The mother of our family met and married her husband in that cave. She entered it aged 8, and came out when she was 18, married and pregnant with her first child. Take a moment to stop now and think of your last 10 years. Think about all you have done, everything you have experienced. It's a lot right? Now think about that period of time; it's a long time right? So just imagine for that length of time you lived in the dark, depths of a cave, and that was all you experienced; terrified that if you stepped out for just a glimpse of sunshine and food to eat, you could be blown to smithereens.

I'll never forget the silent stillness I felt that night as I listened to her story. Words could never describe how it moved me, yet at the same time removed all thoughts from my mind. I felt such a deep love and respect for the courage, strength and power this lady possessed. I felt so small and undeserving in her presence. I felt that as a Westerner, even though in her eyes I had so much, in essence I had so little.

The story did not end there. She then went on to tell us about her son Gai and what we already suspected to be the truth. When he was eleven, he was out playing in the mountains, nearby the village, when he picked up a shiny piece of metal to examine it out of curiosity, and it exploded in his hands.

He spent 2 months in the hospital recovering. His mother was so grateful that he was alive and she did not lose her precious baby to that war that had already taken so much from her. He lost his arm, and took a lot of shrapnel in the belly and eye and bares these horrific scars with no shame or anger.

I did not sleep much that night. In the stillness of the night my mind played over and over again their story. I pictured it in my mind and tried to imagine what life was once like for them living in a cave not knowing if each day was to be their last. I couldn't imagine how someone could experience such tragedy yet be so forgiving, so grateful, so peaceful, so warm and loving and eager to make these foreigners have a memorable stay in their simple home. We essentially were their enemy but to them it did not matter.  How could they want us around, let alone want to please us? How could they be so forgiving? My small mind could not comprehend the magnanimity of their character. I could only learn from it and hope that I could only ever possess a small amount of the depth of their love and forgiveness.

As I finally drifted off to sleep I saw Gai proudly showing off his prized possession- his 6 foot bomb casing that stood in the front of his bar as a testament to his human spirit. It would always serve as a reminder to him of what he was capable of. That no bomb could ever stand in his way or change his destiny. He was bigger and more powerful than any bomb- it could take away his arm, but it wouldn't take away his sense of purpose, his courage, his ability to dream and achieve, his sense of forgiveness, and the peace he felt in his heart.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Michael Jordan's thoughts on failure

You can fail a hundred times as long as you can succeed once. Listen to the words of Michael Jordan on failure. He became the best at his game and one of the best sportsmen ever because of his failures.
It is because we fail that we succeed...

Friday, August 21, 2009

Does your Past Equal Your Future?

There are many that tout the catchphrase '”Your past does not equal your future,” myself included. There is a certain amount of truth to this statement but there is also a part of this that does not hold true which I would like to explain to you today. The truth of this phrase can imprison you or it can set you free.

Your Past Does not Equal your Future

What this means is that you do not have to have the same life that you led in the past. You can change it. You can make your future bigger, brighter, happier, wealthier, poorer, sadder, and so forth.

You can in fact make your future anything you want. You are not defined by your past mistakes. Just because you made bad investments, cheated on your spouse, stole from your co-workers, spent time in prison etc does not mean this is all your future will hold for you. You can make the decision to not let the past define your future any more.

Your Past Does Equal Your Future

However you can continue to have the same tomorrow as you did yesterday. I’m sorry to ruin this positive affirmation for you. And if you spend your days chanting this affirmation in the hopes that things change you have been misled. In order to successfully change your tomorrow’s you must understand the hidden truth to this affirmation.

Your past will continue to equal your future for as long as you continue to ignore the past and the lessons that have been there for you. All the trials and tribulations in your past have existed as an avenue for a lesson for you to learn, so that you may grow, in order to do whatever it was that you came here to do. If you refuse to face your past, it will continue to relive itself in your future, until you face the truth of whatever it is you need to acknowledge and learn. So in that respect your past will always equal your future.

Set Yourself Free From the Past

It is time to sit and face the demons of your past. Acknowledge whatever it is that you have done and whatever it is that has happened that you don’t like or are afraid of. Ask it why is it here? What has it come to teach you? Ask for the lesson to be shown clearly to you? and then listen…

Will you like what you hear? Probably not and you will find it could be very painful but the truth shall set you free. Your life will not change and you will not be able to create a brighter tomorrow unless you do this. Ask yourself ‘Does it really matter?' ‘Does whatever is hiding there in the shadows really matter?’ Does it really define you as bad or as a loser or evil? Is this who you really are?

The answer is no. You are a divine being having a human experience. This is the one constant in your life. The one thing that will never change is the divinity of you that exists in your core. This is all that matters. Your past choices and mistakes should not be taking an active role in your future. They are there to help you on your journey. You are not a ‘bad’ person because of your past. You may have made bad choices but it’s not who you really are.

When you face the reality of this truth you will be able to forgive yourself and move forward. You will see with total clarity that your past does not matter; that your past really does not equal your future.

The question to ask your self now is ‘Do you really want to continue holding onto the past?” Is it worth it? Do you want to keep reliving your pains of yesterday?….

…. Because you know, you can easily let go of it, if you choose to!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Be Yourself

My advice to you today is that no matter where you are or what is going on for you, turn the speakers up real loud and just sing with passion to this song. I love it! The message of the song is so powerful. It doesn’t matter what is going on for you right now you just have to Be Yourself!

To Be Yourself Is all that you Can do!

Your soul chose you for this Earth journey. You are perfect for whatever it was your soul came here to learn and be. Your soul needs you exactly as you are- so just be yourself!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

When you're ready to quit just do this....

No matter what it is you want to do with your life or what goals you have there is bound to come a moment in time when you just want to quit. The realization of your goals takes time, effort and sacrifice. There are lessons to be learned along the way and parts of your character that need to be developed. There are things you have to be willing to give up to get where you want to go.

When you are going through this journey you will be faced with challenges- it's all part of the character building process right? It's often difficult to have to give up something in return for what it is you want to achieve. It often hurts and feels like it's just not worth the effort.

Without realizing it we often want to cling onto what we already know. It's a world that is safe and comfortable and so when it comes to having to release that we slip into the world of fear and so turn our back on our goals and the reward that lies in wait for us.

This is when what we want appears to be too hard to get, and for many reasons of our own creation, we begin to see how it can't and will not work for us. It's best that I get out of here and return to what I know best. Even though it's not what is best for me, it's what I know best.

These are the moments that are character defining. These are the tests that the Universe sends us to see if what we want is really what we want. Because if it is we will push through the desire to quit. The only way you can ever fail at your goal is to quit. If you break down these walls you will breakthrough to the achievement of your goals and it will be all the sweeter because of it.

It took me some time to come to this understanding. I was great at finding ways for things not to work. I got caught in a vicious cycle of things not working for me. I now see with such clarity it was because in a moment of weakness and fear I quit. There were many areas of my life that flourished and these were the areas where I rose to the challenge, was prepared to give up something to get what I wanted and just kept working towards the realization of my goals.

I have since learned the secret to success. When you are at that moment in time when you want to quit, the one surefire way to survive this and guarantee your success is this.....

... don't quit.

Just recognize you are in that place of fear, acknowledge it by telling yourself that this is all that is happening to you and affirm to yourself that no matter what you will not quit.
Repeat the mantra- Okay so today you've got me beat a little but I"m going to win in the next moment because no matter how bad I feel right now, I am just not going to give in.

You goals are worthy enough, be willing to release the fear to move forward.

The next very important thing you need to do to seal the deal and progress forward is to put one foot in front of the other. It can be as small as a baby step or it can be a giant leap; whatever your fragile state feels comfortable in doing. Just one small step forward and you will have defeated the fear and the desire to quit. You will begin to feel empowered and more like the winner you were born to be.

That step can be as simple as making a phone call, sending an email, journaling your current experience, rewriting or affirming your goals, visualizing what it is you want and reflecting on your why- the reason you are doing what you are doing.

You'll soon realize that it is your thoughts and your fears that are bigger than the problem or challenge, and that is easily overcome by recognizing this, not quitting and taking one simple, baby step forward. The law of inertia states what is moving will keep moving no matter how slowly.

Here is a great video that sums up the idea of never quitting no matter what odds are stacked up against you. These people could have quit at these turning points in their life. Imagine what would have happened had they given in to their fears.

Monday, August 10, 2009

If Today was Your Last Day….

My best friend gave me the best advice
He said each day’s a gift and not a given right
Leave no stone unturned, leave your fears behind
And try to take the path less traveled by
That first step you take is the longest stride

If today was your last day
and tomorrow was too late
Could you say goodbye to yesterday?
Would you live each moment like your last?
Leave old pictures in the past
Donate every dime you have?
If today was your last day

Against the grain should be a way of life
What’s worth the prize is always worth the fight
Every second counts ’cause there’s no second try
So live like you’ll never live it twice
Don’t take the free ride in your own life

If today was your last day
and tomorrow was too late
Could you say goodbye to yesterday?
Would you live each moment like your last?
Leave old pictures in the past
Donate every dime you have?
Would you call old friends you never see?
Reminisce of memories
Would you forgive your enemies?
Would you find that one you’re dreamin’ of?
Swear up and down to God above
That you finally fall in love
If today was your last day

If today was your last day
Would you make your mark by mending a broken heart?
You know it’s never too late to shoot for the stars
Regardless of who you are
So do whatever it takes
‘Cause you can’t rewind a moment in this life
Let nothin’ stand in your way
Cause the hands of time are never on your side

If today was your last day
and tomorrow was too late
Could you say goodbye to yesterday?

Would you live each moment like your last?
Leave old pictures in the past
Donate every dime you have?
Would you call old friends you never see?
Reminisce of memories
Would you forgive your enemies?
Would you find that one you’re dreamin’ of?
Swear up and down to God above
That you finally fall in love
If today was your last day

I so love this song by Nickelback. Read the words carefully, especially the highlighted parts, and make it your reality. Live each day like it’s your last. You’ll find it’s a total blast!

Leave a comment in the box below saying what you would do if today was your last day….. (and then go do it)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Stay on the Rails No Matter What

As a child I loved to immerse myself in Golden Books. I loved the little stories and pictures and would read them over and over again. I held on to most of them and now delight in sharing them with my daughter.

Little Golden Books are just that as they contain within in them little Golden pieces of wisdom. Who ever knew as a child that the words of a golden book held such priceless lessons that could teach us how to live a rewarding, successful and fulfilling life.

I re-discovered some of their pearls of wisdom just yesterday when I was reading to Kalyra the book ‘Tootle.’

Tootle is a baby locomotive who attends a school for engines so he can learn how to be a big locomotive. He attends many classes but the most important is ‘Staying on the Rails No Matter What!’ His instructor is adamant that the trains will never be any good unless they can get 100 A+ in this course. They can afford to ‘spill the soup pulling the diner’ and ‘turning the milk to butter now and then’ but if they come off the rails they fail!

Tootle wanted to be the NY flyer; the fastest train around. He began to work very hard to learn all he could but as time went by he kept getting distracted by all the fun things in the meadow and he would get off the tracks to go play.

Tootle had the makings to be the fastest train on the rails but he just couldn’t stay on them. Despite all his skills and deep desires he just could no help being enticed by the meadow. He began to fail ‘Staying on the Rails No Matter What’ and he was just going nowhere. His dream to be the NY flyer was getting further from becoming a reality.

The people of the village came up with a plan to get Tootle back on track and out of playing in the meadow. Tootle knew he always had to stop at a red flag and so the villagers hid in the meadow and at every turn of Tootle’s playing they held up a red flag and Tootle stopped.

He began to feel frustrated and disappointed in the meadow. How could he have any fun when he constantly had to stop? All the fun was gone and he found himself going around and around in circles. He couldn’t understand why the meadow was such a fine place to begin with and he longed for a green flag to help him get moving again.

Eventually he saw his teacher holding a green flag on the tracks and Tootle raced to get back on track. “This is the place for me” said Tootle. “There is nothing but red flags for locomotives that get off their tracks.”

And of course Tootle then went on to become the famous ‘Two Mile a Minute Flyer!’

What a profound message this story holds for it’s reader. Think carefully about it’s message and how it applies to your life at this moment.                                                                                      

What is it that is in the meadow distracting you from become the ‘fastest train around?’ How do you see these eventually turning into red flags? 

Distractions such as TV, facebook, wii, eating, playing, gossiping, non-productive tasks etc don’t help you to stay on track. Sure they are fun for awhile but eventually you’re going to get lost in this maze of red flags that just keep stopping you from getting to your destination. Pretty soon the fun will be gone and you will be frustrated, longing for a way out.

How are you going to get back on track and Who is going to help you?

Sometimes we need the help of a community and leaders to help us get back on track. Tootle’s community recognized his power, saw he was having difficulty staying focused on his goals and living up to his potential, and so they devised a plan to help show him the cost of his distractions and to get him back on track to becoming great.

My business has phenomenal success because it is founded on this principle. The community of people I work with in my business and the training I receive have taught me how to stay on track, ignore the diversions of the meadow and power on to be the best that I can be. There is always someone waving a green flag to help me just in case that meadow becomes too enticing.

It doesn’t matter how talented you are or how much you say you want something, if you don’t commit 100 A+ to staying on the tracks no matter what then you just aren’t going to go anywhere!



Tuesday, August 4, 2009

You Won the Race- What a champion!

The majority of everyday people I come across lately seem to be stressed and unhappy. Whatever the superficial reason may be, the underlying cause, in truth, stems from feelings of worthlessness and self-loathing. Let's face it we all have those moments when we feel like failures, that we are less than and will never amount to anything or ever achieve greatness.

For so many of us we proceed through life with this burned out feelings of failure and 'less than' the person next door. Our faith and our belief in our greatness seemed to disappear the moment we were born. How quickly we forget that the true essence of ourselves is one of a victor; a champion; someone who beat the odds to live and succeeded in a monumental form.

You are a champion! You already won the greatest race of your life! How did you forget your greatest achievement yet? Without it nothing is possible. You won the race to life. You won the race! The act of your breath is testament to the fact that you possess all the qualities of a champion.

You are reading this right now because you beat the odds and got to the egg first. It is in your genes, you were truly born a champion. It's up to you now to harness that power that got you here and apply those winning characterstics to the life you won the right to live. You don't have to worry that you don't have the skills and talents to be a success in whatever it is you choose to do, because you already have them. It gave you life- you just allowed these innate strengths and abilities to stay dormant for awhile. Well it's time to wake them up and get racing again!

How did you win the race?

1) Determination: You kept your eye on the egg. Your focus never faulted. You knew where you had to go and what you had to do to get there and you never once stopped swimming. You never thought about losing. Failure was not an option and so you acted accordingly.

2) Persistance and Perseverance: When the millions of other swimmers started dropping off like flies around you, you never once allowed them to drown you under. You didn't stop to gossip and whinge about how difficult it was. You were just as tired as they were, but you knew if you just maintained your pace and kept swimming you were in for a good chance of getting to the finishing line. You didn't necessarily swim the fastest, you just had the stamina needed to stay till the end.

3) Inner Guidance: So at this stage of the race, you had no eyes to show you the way. You had to rely on your intuition and guidance to help you find the way. You had faith in a greater power to help propel you to the right place.

4) Courage: It took courage to start the race in the first place. It was a hard and strenuous journey with only one winner out of millions. The odds of winning were very slim but you had the courage to step up to the plate and start swimming. Many of your competitors didn't even make it out of the gate- the fear got too much for them.

5) Growth and Trust: You started off small, you didn't know anything about what would happen to you if you did win the race. When you finally won you didn't stop growing. You kept feeding yourself with nourishment and you grew into something amazing and wonderful. The innate skills you possessed helped you to begin and then you allowed nourishment to flow to you from those, who from this stage on, were in a more knowledgeable position to help you grow.

6) Perfect Timing: Not only did you have to have the stamina and strength to finish the race first. You had to have perfect timing to arrive at the exact moment in the cycle of life when the door was opening for you. Your timing is divine, it always has been. Do you understand the power you possess from this alone? You beat the millions of other sperm and you got the timing absolutely perfect- in the right place at the right time. This is a miracle in its purest form. You are a miracle maker!

7) The loudest Yeeha!: It was this that started the race for you and it was this that ended it. When you arrived at that egg you had to celebrate the loudest, for the egg to let you in. That was the secret password. You had to shout loud and clear that you were ready for this, you wanted life, and you were so grateful for the opportunity. The doors then opened and you started this amazing journey you find yourself in right now.

You won the race. You beat the odds. You deserve the victory.

Your reward was life-Go Live it! What are you doing with your life? Are you celebrating and making the most of that reward or have you forgotten the sweetness of it and what it took to get you here in the first place?
You fought hard for this life. Don't waste all the talents that got you here in the first place. Make those other swimmers feel like they lost to a more deserving competitor. You are a champion, it is what you were born to be! All you need is within you.

You began as a champion, draw on these strengths that have always been within you, and continue to be a champion.

As Featured On EzineArticles

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Nike says it best.....Just Do It!

I've been thinking lately of how I could put together a list of success principles based on my travel achievements. I've lived a pretty adventurous, courageous and successful life travelling the globe. You don't do that unless you possess certain qualities and character traits. I wanted to put together something as to how anyone could apply these same principles to other aspects of their life and achieve the same success. Success principles work no matter what avenue you use them for.

I sat down to think about it and put some ideas together when I reached a blank. I thought I would come up immediately with a list I must have had to get me travelling around the world but no list came. I reflected deeply on all the countries I visited, all the experiences I had, the people I formed friendships with and I said to myself "Okay Caroline, how did you do it? How did you have these incredible adventures to 33 countries and live in 5? What was it about you that gave you the ability to do all that?"

My response was "I just did it!" 'I just did it". There is no other answer. Sure there were many other qualities and character traits that gave me the ability to have the experiences but none of them really mattered unless I stepped on to that plane and did it. People always said to me how lucky and brave I was and wished they could do the same. But I never could quite understand where they were coming from because I knew they could do the same. For me it was easy, luck played no part, I just did it. I just stepped on the plane and went and never looked back.

I knew what I wanted and I took ACTION!

Did I possess many strong success traits before I did it? Probably not or none that I was aware of. I was young and immature and didn't know anything about anything. All I knew was that I wanted to travel and so I just did it. I just hopped on that plane and went.

Did I have a lot of money? No I turned up in London with no home, no job and a couple of hundred bucks. That didn't matter, I knew what I wanted and so I just did it!

Did I have much experience? No! It was the first time I had lived away from the safety and security of my parents. My first experience living on my own was in the city of London, knowing no one, with no money. Experience didn't matter, I just did it.

I didn't have support either. I was on my own but I found a lot of support and made great friendships after I just did it!

Did I develop strong character traits along the way that helped me to continue my journeys and grow as a person? Absolutely! I wouldn't be who I am today had I not travelled. It shaped me as an amazingly, strong and confident person. Would I be this person now if I never took the action toward my dream in the first place? No! Thank God, I just did it!

What is it in your life that you want to do or achieve? What is it that is holding you back? Lack of money or experience?- irrelevant. Lack of friends or support?- irrelevant. Wrong timing? No strengths, skills or talents? All irrelevant. You can find a million reasons why you can't do it but that's not going to get you what you want and shape you to be who you want to be. You've got nothing to lose but everything to gain. All that matters is what you want.

Nike said it the best- 'Just do it!' Those 3 simple words speak so much about the call to your action. Just take the first step. All the rest will come later. You're missing out on a wild, fun ride because of your inability to take action. Just do it and success will find you!