Rip off the mask, tear down the walls. Show the world my beautiful, vulnerable self!

Living in the Moment Like a Butterfly

https://www.flickr.com/photos/jfolsom/5931303869/in/photolist-a38tZP-dmn34H-a7FwQm-antZ2h-bwzwuR-5stPPH-6EsqoX-T4qUgL-4hmxbh-8MJPmb-fEFoSF-kCt71i-2ikr4t-8MF532-WNwMjy-8tMnKX-fEFoGg-fEXXd7-afuD1a-8MEuUF-95Mr5j-dySrRf-bfNhFR-9oSxoh-5WgF4Q-8MHZfC-7VroTL-9PiLGB-oaW3YQ-K4CQFx-8YSrLp-mSLwB-7VqeAh-5hfnTx-KfhXca-e3u44f-99b5UG-7BeZaD-8MHAVw-kAEoL3-6qZ9C6-5thpD3-ai9p7Z-9gCot5-o8bKtB-5W8sPu-85jA66-6PCR9M-bJ7tue-97oqD4Have you ever sat and watched a butterfly fly? They flutter through the air carefree and unfettered, unconcerned by things like updrafts, or whether  their wings will support them. Unencumbered by thoughts of what the next moment will bring. Will I be eaten? Will I catch the perfect wave of air? Will I splatter against someone’s windshield as I whiz through the air in oblivious abandon? Will I meet up with my mates for a game of tag? Or join a game with a bunch of strangers?

Butterflies live for the moment. Heck they’ve managed to go from caterpillar, to puddle of goo, to a lighter than air flying creature, all by simply being themselves—being in the moment. Why sweat the small stuff at this stage of their life?

Humans could take a few leaves from a butterfly’s book. We spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about what’s going to happen in the next bazillion minutes, and when things don’t go as we planned we fret about what we perceive as failures for the next bazillion. To what purpose?

Making Plans and Battling Failure

Are we happy while we meticulously plan for outcomes beyond our control? Do we find joy in rehashing our perceived failures? Do we stop to admire all the beauty around us, or recognize how many things go right when we get out of our own way?

Sadly too many humans focus their attention on the one thing they feel went wrong, ignoring all the amazing and wonderful things going on right around them every single moment. We spend far too little time on all the things in our life that are going right if not downright amazing!

Taking a Tip From the Animals and Insects

I sat on my front porch one Friday night watching cars go by carrying people home from work and into the weekend. Butterflies played tag through the tree boughs while a handful a pigeons pecked the grass for bugs. My outside cats lay amidst the overgrown weeds occasionally wandering over for a skritch. They, like me were more interested in watching the birds and butterflies soaring overhead than interrupting the pigeons’ pecking, for a meal they neither wanted nor needed.

Birdsong filled the air as the sun sank lower and feathered families settled into their nests for the night. But for the occasional whoosh of a car or hoot of a train whistle, it was just me, the cats, and nature settling down for the night. I’d accomplished a few things during the day. Maybe not as much as I could have but enough that in my eyes, the day was a success. Sitting on my porch watching the butterflies darting through the sky, and listening to the birds performing their nightly ablutions was exactly where I was supposed to be. It was exactly when I was supposed to be too.

The Journey is the Purpose

Even for me, moments like this are rare. I’m still learning to appreciate the value of allowing moments to pass without a plan, without an objective, and without a specific purpose. I’m conscious of the need to simply Be, but like most humans, fall back into old habits that insist I must “do”; must accomplish something with each of my moments. In reality, allowing myself to just Be is often accomplishment enough.

When faced with a major project such as the latest revision of my memoir, my first inclination is to grab paper and pen and draw up a plan. Even general wisdom tells me I must draw a kind of map so I’ll know how to get from here to there. Then, without taking a breath or looking around for other options, I have to dive in with both feet and start producing…something.

But sometimes the journey IS the purpose. How and when I get there is what I’m supposed to discover along the way. Yet how many times have I mistakenly assumed responsibly for setting the path, and blamed myself when it all went to hell? My mistake wasn’t in how or where I directed the train, but in assuming responsibility for setting it’s direction and rate of speed in the first place. It’s a mistake I’ve repeated over and over again throughout my lifetime. I’d like to say I’ve learned my lesson, but know sooner or later I’ll go charging in again when my role is really to follow.

Learning to Let the Universe Drive

Perhaps it’s just age which has slowed me down; has made the destinations Created with Canvaless urgent. Perhaps taking the long way around is a bit of a guilty pleasure. Yet I’m finding as I do that. the long way around is getting me where I want to go just as quickly and a lot more easily than when I tried to force things or run the show.

The truth is, every time I tried to force the route, the speed, and the mode of travel, I ended up somewhere I really didn’t want to be. Over and over the Universe said “trust me”, and I replied “me do!” as I grabbed the wheel and drove myself off another cliff. Somehow the bumps and bruises failed to drive home to me where the real problem lay.

These days I have less stuff than most of my friends. I go to less concerts and take fewer trips. But I have something many of them don’t as they continue to chart their own courses and drive their own vehicles.

I have time to sit on my front porch watching the butterflies and listening to the birds with my cats who are far wiser than me in the ways of the world and the meaning of life. And sometimes when I do, a blog post or story writes itself—much like this one did.

Gratitude for Things Great and Small

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful I’m learning to slow life down.
  2. I’m grateful I’m learning I don’t always need to be the conductor of my life and journey,.
  3. I’m grateful for quiet evenings to listen to the birds and enjoy the butterflies at play.
  4. I’m grateful for my cats who love a good snuggle and nothing more.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; peace and quiet, joy, inspiration, appreciation, the little things, plans that make themselves, letting go, enjoying the ride, friendships that make me feel warm and loved, health, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity for all.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws , of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward

Reacting With Your Hot Button

https://www.flickr.com/photos/photofarmer/6257525038/in/photolist-awXsbJ-duQquY-dDiY1D-y5suB-ps5ehG-abz714-o2taeS-ps2G5B-q2jANC-8f15SS-qFjEaK-2TNJE-4JDoLu-dSd8Jk-33E8ba-Ld6UzH-3r5Xf1-9Fy3LS-6V5Qwk-7mK27x-Dqqgc-8iVeJ-5qbL6X-4A42Dv-km1PMr-5c69aT-6wpwbs-6obFPX-4ohi6S-MhvW-3jdEjA-VBYVHD-cHm9EG-5eUJSD-8jzSfk-8Bs1dE-fAT6Ze-8CdsnD-b1Fxi4-8h1ahY-58C1fa-67UbYu-8Ebapf-fJbG1X-AeCBj-MZTR4-62zkMw-fF4Nre-4Dfjiv-4c3tayOnce again, the world, and especially the US is in a turmoil over a hot button. This time, the button is (for the bazillionth time) abortion. Equally predictable is the fact it masks a much more insidious agenda: women’s rights and the current administration’s continued attack on Roe vs. Wade. Make no mistake. The decision in Alabama and elsewhere is nothing less than an effort to take women’s rights back to a time when women were nothing more than chattel, and of less value than a man’s livestock.

Forget the fact that the Human Race would die out in short order without women to continue bearing children. Ignore the fact that all the culling efforts in China to select for male children has led to a serious shortage of those women to give said males a way to keep their name alive. The simple and sordid fact is, men know women have the ability and the brains to be their equal or maybe more, and they’re resorting to underhanded tactics to bring them back to their knees, barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen.

Women in Power Are Being Manipulated Too

Yet, as the decision in Alabama indicates, there are women in high places who https://www.flickr.com/photos/125303894@N06/14365669046/in/photolist-nTrNV5-2f5PCUZ-28knBCQ-bSRpwg-hSnPyx-otGuDp-azqvRQ-D2QXQh-YVh4U5-8ZJcE3-26bTzFo-eeaBEi-occovQ-9i7bQ5-23CJvTx-rhV1XQ-26LZPM6-nrsG7K-bmnvub-8rRn4C-MZDGbT-HuqYEh-27342hV-HrkwAE-ehfTPF-2734sEP-LgusiG-272GRGH-25DqddG-25Dqn1m-Y2VH7U-LXKfra-LguvaJ-25Dqnoq-25DJuL5-2f1ci9J-25DqbXL-28povan-Lm2wcx-HkMrNJ-2dYUsVs-oaeobo-ZR9qTn-rtFBMa-24ZPYXp-R78K1f-Dymseq-24W5BDs-23CJCE8-21DkYfLare buying into this load of hogwash because the men behind the plan know how to push the hot button called “abortion” and blow it so far out of proportion as to spread rampant lies about late-term abortions which, for the record aren’t abortions at all. They’re Births! Never mind the fact that in the words of Planned Parenthood:

Generally, in the US, abortion is an option from very early pregnancy (somewhere between 4-6 weeks, depending on where you go) until about 24 weeks. Abortions are available later than 24 weeks only in rare cases for medical reasons. (bold and italics added)

I know I’ll take some heat over this reference, but as Planned Parenthood’s primary concern is women’s health, I’m more inclined to believe them than some of the more questionable sources out there.

Fake News Again!

https://www.flickr.com/photos/armenws/5837909811/in/photolist-9TSPcr-C3VGX-24FwY6-26x1rb6-5itLut-dhFGeP-pFWFZK-abNp5y-adf5z-hL7FHE-dhFHhY-dhFvph-dauvud-dhFwgW-dhFqWQ-dhFtAn-abeFZP-dhFDeu-dhFuoZ-dhFqbq-adhZR-abKzAD-adf81-abKx9R-bpTzDn-QVxKyY-abKyYK-9gERc8-anUgst-abeFCX-bzS7hf-abeGb2-2cYSbck-8GpCMm-abNm6Y-21Uy4Gb-4NKgmb-abNkTs-begshM-hRcioi-daKq9G-aUymi2-ZRYKoW-9tsYBM-abeFsx-bNLL6K-F2o45H-6MFFvx-9SsLVR-ZAWXwiUnfortunately, all too many are taking sides on the fake-news-fueled issue, failing to do their own due diligence (no real surprise there) and thinking legislation regulating what women can do with their bodies is a good thing!

Seriously! Let’s listen to science. At least the results are provable and replicable, which is more than I can say for what’s coming out of the mouths of the fanatics lately.

Still and all, people are taking to the streets, social media, and anywhere else they think they have a platform, and shouting their opinions to the hills without digging deeper into the hows and whys of the latest hornswoggling.

Manipulation Runs Rampant

Let’s look at a few possible reasons behind pressing one of our most emotion-grabbing hot buttons:

  • Who is the real power behind the throne, so to speak. In other words, who’s behind everyone jumping into an old, tired, yet still emotionally charged fray?
  • Where are the horrific pictures and videos they’re posting coming from?
  • Why do people react to words and pictures with fabricated captions instead of going back to the source to find out what those words, pictures, and videos really represent?
  • What do all of the emotionally triggered issues have in common when you trace them back to their roots?
  • What are the people behind them truly hoping to achieve?
  • How are they using fear and horror to manipulate others to act and speak instead of think?

When I was younger, I heard a suggestion to count to 10 before voicing anger. The point was, when your ire (or for that matter, any other highly charged emotion) is triggered, it’s unwise to let loose with your first reaction. As I grew older, and life got faster as a result of technology, the sentiment changed a bit, but essentially remained the same. If you want to respond to an email or call which set you off, it’s best to sleep on it before dashing off an emotionally charged tirade.

Acting Without Thinking

In this world of instant gratification, and yes, a proliferation of lemming mentality, people act out their outrage as quickly as it occurs. They don’t take a step back or look closely at what set them off to determine its validity. Their emotions are triggered and they react accordingly.

So we hate entire cultural groups for no good reason. We boycott companies because we’ve been told they mistreated someone from a group we support. Our police officers’ lives are in more danger than ever, and in some cases, they overreact as a result. After all, they’re as human as we are, even if they’re highly trained. You bombard a human with enough stimulation, most will still crack, regardless of training and extraordinary levels of control.

Missing the Point

We jump up and down about the attacks on Roe vs. Wade, the rights of women https://www.flickr.com/photos/ionics/6338284584/in/photolist-aE6nbG-49a2Xa-TLgW2Q-5wAD6N-HGKPP-8UV6CB-6Sg7YA-9QycpZ-6u4T3X-4sC9aH-5nXKzn-5grmh3-ane6BH-W9uq65-62rxQ-Kud31E-XtaBzZ-LdJuy-LdJvu-ePGUFv-aE6qsQ-LdYkF-8Kvnyj-RdeDP4-6Btbw-ekUyG-eSNDQT-ESpkfb-5U4HwZ-66XHwe-a9LTFX-bWTW3k-4YhDF-2qGQSu-5LpPj-4jpvK-vjdRaC-8L6p5A-6HFRB-5r1qA-4jpvJ-4joXu-5QDfE-7qEysG-4jpS4-24RfjoL-bEFCy1-4joXx-43zSs-2e9RpMMto make decisions about their own bodies, and more, missing the entire point, exactly as the button pushers planned. While the shepherd sleeps, the thieves run away with the flock. Except, in this case, we are the sheep.

What rights are we giving away willingly because this game of sleight of hand has us looking in the wrong direction? What are we accepting willingly because we’re reacting with our emotions instead of thinking with our brains. We’re forgetting to ask for the whole story instead of what a bunch of scared old doddering idiots want us to know? How much of our proverbial farm are we going to give away before we wake up and start asking questions? If we ever do.

How long are we going to argue with people who don’t listen before we realize how much effort we’ve wasted, and how much ground we’ve already lost?

Taking a Pause for the Real Cause

If you ask me, it’s in our collective best interests to:

  • Count to 10, or even 100 before reacting/responding to inflammatory stories or comments.
  • Sleep on it before mounting a campaign for, against, or anything else.
  • Dig deep. See what’s behind the comments, decisions, legislation, or campaigns of anyone who raises hot issues once, or repeatedly. Lift the curtain and see what lurks behind it.

All too often, things aren’t what they seem, and few in power have anyone’s best interests at heart but their own. I hate to say it, but in many areas these days, the admonition “Trust No One” is apt and good advice to follow. There are many who, if they told me the sky was blue, I’d go outside and check. Even then, I’d probably do some research about the sky and how we perceive the color. I might even look into colors themselves and what truly constitutes “blue”.

Being a skeptic in today’s climate, even with our own reactions is probably safer, wiser, and in the long run, more efficient. It will save hours of time spent following a rut-ridden path to nowhere fast. I’m taking the position, when all else fails to say “Show me the money”. Not in the usual sense, of asking for payment, but instead, to illuminate the sources behind the stories they want us to buy into. I’ll then be able to do my own due diligence and determine whether I think that source and the information it flings can be trusted.

Questioning Everything Beats Questioning Nothing

https://www.flickr.com/photos/plaisanter/5360979843/in/photolist-8RoeNN-9aJqwX-AHesP-5UZrfW-68j7nm-dKRkGV-dJJaMa-As42TB-78XnSC-6pdkW7-8ZY9dX-8a6tP5-5Ta4hu-noSffW-npbZV7-912e5s-SVpSMZ-jpmvv7-A8zQK-ED531-aiZvpP-6Pe3sh-5Gyyhx-o1WgXU-dJPB8S-rgDZSQ-ehkNmj-ehf44H-9fEBcv-iqqZBP-2bHrrf4-np9yEc-8Jjkj6-RSPQ6r-ehfaxV-912ehG-ehkN5w-TiroUZ-ehf3hD-8ZY9fi-dKWRNj-ehf96H-HPwJ8-cfnus7-9XWTbs-jUjHgu-5UV3xk-5UV3n2-5n8qDB-sskeNRAll too often, when emotions are triggered, I’m already taking the position the source is suspect and fueling it’s own agenda at the expense of the greater good. Then again, I fear the greater good hasn’t been a consideration for a very long time, and it’s supporters are being forced to put their efforts into keeping their own heads above water. The masses are being left without support or representation. History has shown us that turning large groups of people loose to fend for themselves after having their basic needs (food, shelter) provided for lifetimes leads to its own set of problems, both personal and social.

Still, lack of a transitional period gives the powerful reason to point at the failures and convince themselves they’d been right to try to maintain the status quo, ignorant of less obvious basic needs like human dignity. What’s needed instead is simply transition and support rather than casting people out to sink or swim in their hideously under-prepared state. Worse still when support is withdrawn without warning or preparation.

Teaching the Masses to be Self-Supporting

It’s like kicking a baby out of the womb and telling her she must now fend for https://www.flickr.com/photos/linasmith/3920553695/in/photolist-6YrS2n-XDiyeq-5Fkjbt-6a4ZHZ-8KT3ar-7CYE7f-aTVe2g-bRcANF-QNJvjp-8FMx6s-XG4XSg-XQczyE-5S3xnJ-6Jg13D-v9jE8-XQcirE-XQcg1N-XDiBym-aKYTHB-qmw6v-wFFwj-qa7de-tUTQP-qa7gd-XQcv4h-XUg1Wc-rhdSu-tUTW6-aKZ8Zp-5P9Gv2-aKYSdZ-aKYYeK-9tiEZz-aKYVie-5dFPhe-s5SJG-tUTNk-6RmSyD-6iFpQL-fcWq3p-brMQDz-qa7eE-s5SPp-x3Zh3-854v2D-aKYW7T-aKZ1Lx-5dLbJ1-7CUQZV-aWWxggherself. There has been no warning or preparation; no skills learned or even a basic understanding of what needs to be done. Those who ensured the masses could survive and even thrive are now mired in garbage-filled bogs, fighting for their own lives, unable to offer even a minimal amount of guidance or support.

Still, the masses think with their hot buttons, react to wildly exaggerated claims, and fight amongst themselves, just as they’re supposed to. They’re rats in a maze, changing directions with every new electrical shock. Mindlessly racing around, getting nowhere, until they collapse from exhaustion, little realizing they’re locked in an endless, unsolvable maze, dancing to someone else’s tune.

Created with CanvaIf you ask me, the world needs a pause button to give people time to catch up, breathe, stop reacting, and learn some of those critical skills so they can advocate for themselves and their peers. More, they deserve an opportunity to see the truth, and to properly dispose of all the garbage being flung. There’s still beauty and purpose underneath all the crap, but the chest-pounding, reacting, and internal fighting has to stop before we’ll see the flower pushing it’s way through the sidewalk crack.

Are you ready to give that flower space to bloom? I’ll bring the broom if you’ll grab a rake and help me clear the way.

Let’s Do This Together!

Are you struggling to wade through all the garbage that keeps you from reaching your goals? Would you like to help clearing the way? Maybe it’s content creation, or perhaps it’s getting your books in order and creating a budget. If this sounds familiar and you’re ready to streamline your life and give your business space to grow and thrive, CONTACT ME and let’s talk!

Start Clearing the Way With Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for my community. We have people who know how to navigate the sewer of falseness, and see where we’re being manipulated rather than led. We share research, and more, support each other.
  2. I’m grateful for setbacks which teach me I’m not alone in finding those who’d hold me back for their own gain.
  3. I’m grateful for strength to weather a setback, and with the help of my friends and community, get back up and forge forward again.
  4. I’m grateful for my butt-kickers who empathize, but don’t allow me to wallow.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance: love, friendship, support, community, lessons, challenges, opportunities, healthy, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws , of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward

Nostalgia in the Air

Drifting on a Wave of Nostalgia

Birthdays make me nostalgic. When another draws near, I seem to spend time revisiting memories, holding some close, releasing others. I listen to music from my younger days—songs that bring back simpler times.

I’ve created a couple of stations on Pandora which let me travel back in time, and let go of the things that stress me out;  things that bring on migraines when I forget to let go. I use the more upbeat “Blood, Sweat, and Tears” station when I’m active; cooking, working out at the gym, walking. But when I want to float on those waves of nostalgia, or find inspiration for my writing, I always turn to my “Simon and Garfunkel” station.

Whether it’s Peter Paul and Mary’s cover of Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” or something more upbeat, I sing along, or simply drift on the waves of music as familiar as my breath. Though I may not have a voice that will move masses, I find joy in singing along to the tunes that defined my youth.

Music for the Ages

If you ask me, the music of the 50’s, 60’s, and early 70’s is timeless, both for the words and the melodies. Even my daughters’ generation embraced the music of the Eagles, and Santana, as well as Queen, making it their own. The lyrics  from those years still have meaning—still move me and made me feel. I think they always will.

What they can’t do is bring back a time when my mom and I weren’t at odds over something. They can’t help me remember a time when we weren’t fighting, and when I ever felt good enough. It makes me sad those years didn’t come until after she was gone; that I didn’t learn to appreciate her or feel compassion until long after she’d left me. Or that I didn’t learn to accept and appreciate myself.

Remembering Old Feelings So I Can Let Them Go

https://www.flickr.com/photos/60740813@N04/34504735502/in/photolist-Uz4MJN-7H8hqz-r2covS-8wbGLH-8wcEVv-8weaum-8wcFMc-r2c6ww-r2iYrg-qmL3eU-8w9Dpr-r2jtjr-riJFWH-8wcT7A-8wcK8r-8wbRuV-8wcj84-8wanQx-8waPPT-8w9c4V-8w97ek-r2j3iV-riCAji-8w8skp-r2cTQq-8wfuwo-8waMUv-8wfDJJ-8wdgXY-qZq9cM-8wd2u3-8wfVzw-8wbq15-8w8bJP-8w9Wdc-8wcQdR-riF3r5-riJvW2-8wbTSq-r2cNH1-8wc6wN-r2d6wG-8wcM6o-r2jiHn-8wdexo-riJBiz-8bQ1eC-8wfeYo-riJJHV-8w9YqrFeelings of abandonment began long ago, when my sister was born. Maybe she truly was an easier child, or maybe my mom had just learned a few things about being a wife and mother. Either way, I became secondary. Though I’ve come a long way in the last few years, the songs make me remember the hurts still haven’t completely healed.

Songs like “Puff the Magic Dragon” still make me want to cry. Somehow, I feel the things I’ve lost more strongly when I hear it, probably because my first memories are listening to it when I was young enough to feel less abandoned and more loved. Before I believed I’d never be good enough; at least for my parents. Even so, the song made me cry from the first time I heard it. The reasons may have changed since then, but the tears still fall.

Opening My Heart and Mind and Recognizing My True Value

I listen to the songs from a different perspective now. I’ve lived through a lot—https://www.flickr.com/photos/gastaum/14490581818/in/photolist-o5u28y-YfsirJ-k8x7MM-bxbe69-W1rTYx-arWoEp-9hSaAd-ahFY4U-dUPFnv-cbTML-9dRrhQ-nNcDz4-W1scJn-6Q5kQB-aPHuVt-dF2PfA-qsan3a-9Q3GD-7puXf-ca3kUb-8Qnh5S-7EPcJ1-9RZQ7L-2jv27s-3ytNAS-4Ax3Vm-7P6ms6-fLeJCZ-9eA4z4-dUzmHi-dJ2ajE-4s4eeJ-9ZWATV-4Ax3K3-6459Qr-r7YPq9-7ZBske-3ypqPa-7yi435-9uRzwZ-kdLtng-2c5brCn-HLfJSP-qTk7jd-oSdAwv-pNeYXi-3fqAZV-5btNtn-72Kth6-V4V7jqjoys and sorrows, wins and losses. I’ve torn down walls I spent nearly a lifetime building, reinventing myself without masks or pretenses. Another birthday reminds me how far I’ve come. And I’m not done yet; not by a long shot.

I was never my mother’s child. By the time I was 10 or 11, I’d stopped trying. I spent years trying to be my father’s child, but failed there too, though I didn’t really accept my failure until recently. That’s when I realized the failure wasn’t really mine.

My dad wanted a son, but my mom didn’t give him one. Instead, his first born was clumsy, awkward, and unable to conform with any of his expectations. I wasn’t good at sports, nor particularly interested in working with my hands except to build sets for theater productions.

I loved to read and write, neither of which were of interest to him. I got my love of reading from my mom. The only thing I shared with my dad was a fierce independence. Right or wrong, I had to do things myself and spent a lot of years feeling like a failure.

Taking the Painful Lessons and Leaving the Pain

Now I can appreciate how much I learned, not only from my failures, but from my inability to fit in, even with my own family. Watching my mother struggle for acceptance from her own family, I didn’t realize I was, in my own way following her example. I tried to be what my dad expected, never realizing it was a lost cause. Worse, I never noticed how often he ridiculed and shamed me; how often he dismissed my efforts.

Somehow, it made me stronger, though it also made me shut down to love and affection. Unconsciously I realized I’d never really get the love and attention I craved from my family, and for years, believed it meant I wouldn’t get it from anyone. But times change. I learned some life lessons, and the biggest was I didn’t need to make anyone happy but me.

Breaking Free of Family Patterns and Finding Happiness

My family didn’t understand me because I was different from the start. But I finally learned I didn’t have to gauge my success or my worthiness by their expectations, or their inability to love me the way I deserve to be loved. The lack wasn’t in me at all. They did the best they could with what they, themselves had been taught. It wasn’t their fault I knew deep down I wanted and needed more.

My family holds on to old pain, to grudges, to anger. I never understood it, and never shared their need to, in essence, allow others to live rent-free in my head for years; even generations. Where they held onto pain, I learned to forgive. Where they had expectations, I learned to accept. Where their idea of love was criticism and abuse, I’ve learned love is building up and supporting the people you care about.

The songs might me sad. They might make me nostalgic. But they don’t make me wish I could go back and do things differently. They remind me of how far I’ve come.

Old Patterns May be Standing in the Way of Your Success

Are old memories and patterns weighing you down? Do you feel like you have to do it all instead of asking for help? You’re not less worthy because you recognize you can’t do it all. In fact, you’re more, because you realize you need to free yourself to do the things you’re best at. Would you like to take a task or two off your plate? Maybe it’s content creation, or perhaps it’s getting your books in order and creating a budget. If this sounds familiar and you’re ready to streamline your life and give your business space to grow and thrive, CONTACT ME and let’s talk!

Something to Be Grateful for Every Day

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for memories, both pleasant and not.
  2. I’m grateful for the lessons I’ve learned, even if I had to learn a lot of them painfully.
  3. I’m grateful for the gifts my parents gave me. In the beginning, it was strength, but in time, I’ve learned compassion too.
  4. I’m grateful I’ve finally learned I don’t need to be something I’m not in order to fit in. I’m perfect just the way I am. I needed to be me before I’d find those who accepted the real, honest me and not some fruitless attempt to be anything else.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, joy, acceptance, friendship, inspiration, motivation, words that flow as freely as a waterfall after a storm, feelings I can now allow to come forth without judgement or shame, health, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws , of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward

Going Through My Own Onion-like Layers

Healing after losing a loved one to suicide is a lot like peeling an onion. Some layers are thick and solid. They require time, patience, and some effort to break through. Others are thin to the point of transparency, but sticky and hard to let go of. Some layers will flood your eyes with tears while others break your heart; the memories so sweet you want to keep them with you forever.

When I began my own healing journey I was so naive. I thought all I had to do was learn to forgive my parents’ abrupt departure, accept their choices, release my anger, and get on with my life. I learned instead the process is a tangled web of inaccurate memories, a lifetime of habits and behaviors, often handed down through generations, but most of all, learning to accept myself, imperfections and all. I had to recognize and own my emotional and mental weaknesses. But the most important part of the process is learning to ask for help even if, for a while it feels like giving more than receiving.

Going Beyond Outdated Family Patterns

It’s about seeing family patterns that are long overdue to be jettisoned and recognizing it’s my responsibility to cut those cords. In the process I had to admit I struggle at times, and I had to share those struggles with others because we all need to know we’re not alone.

I’ve reached a point in my journey where I need to expand my reach. I have to become part of a larger group seeking to re-educate people, not only about suicide but our overall mental health, because the two are indelibly intertwined.

People need to be able to say “I’m not OK” without fear of repercussions or judgement. It needs to be as natural and accepted as admitting you have the flu, or gallstones, or cancer.

Tragedy Often Alters Our Trajectory

On November 7, 2018 a mentally disturbed young man took the lives of 12 incredible people at Borderline Bar and Grill before taking his own life. It was a place I called home; a feeling shared by many others.

As we continue to grieve the loss, both of our friends and family, and a place we called home; a place we believed to be a safe haven; a place where troubles and stress were left at the door, we embrace our extended family. Some who lost so much more; a beloved child, a spouse, a lifelong friend are setting examples for the rest of us for what love truly is.

Michael Morrisette lost his cherished youngest daughter, yet continues to encourage love, understanding, and more; social consciousness. He constantly offers opportunities he’s already taking to give back. Recently he introduced ChangeDirection.org (#ChangeDirection) to the Borderline family. They are offering resources to help us help each other and to educate people about the signs which show someone is in distress while doing their best to hide it. Most of all, they’re on a mission to change how our culture views and responds to mental health and mental illness.

People Who are Suicidal Need More than a Band-aid or a Phone Number

I’ve seen a lot of people and places claiming to be committed to helping those who have experienced a suicide as well as those who might be considering it themselves. Too often, I’m frustrated because their primary solution is to give you a number to call. In my opinion, if someone is desolate enough to be seriously considering suicide as an option, giving them a number to call, or posting an impersonal sign on a freeway overpass is confirming their mistaken belief that no one cares. It’s relinquishing responsibility to reach out to them ourselves.

One of the many lessons I learned in the last decade or so is how many times I, myself am not OK. Leaving me alone to figure it out might be what I say I want and need, but in reality, it’s probably the worst place for me to be.

I’m nowhere near the dark, tangled place my mom found herself, nor do I have the dreadful medical report my dad got a couple of days before he took his life. Still, I have been depressed enough to believe no one would notice if I disappeared, and certainly, no one would be the worse for it. Talking to friends who’ve been there as well, and some who’ve slipped into even deeper, darker waters, I’ve learned being alone only gives you more time to convince yourself the world is better off without you.

Giving of Ourselves

ChangeDirection.org recognizes the urgent need to reach out to those who are feeling hopeless and disconnected—before it’s too late. They offer tools, support, and guidance to help recognize when one of your own is tumbling headlong into a pit of despair, and needs help arresting their downward plunge. They recognize a person in that state has already decided they’re not worthy, and the last thing they’ll do is ask for help. Even if help is offered, they’re likely to decline over and over, unable to believe anyone really wants to help them.

June 9-15, 2019 is “A Week to Change Direction” which they describe as:

…a week of action, advocacy, culture change and fundraising for organizations, corporations, universities, communities, and individuals! Our aim is to increase knowledge, raise awareness and increase support for efforts that are working to change the culture of mental health globally so that all in need receive the care and support they deserve.

I hope you’ll join me, Michael, and everyone else who has lost someone as a result of unrecognized and untreated mental illness, or who is suffering themselves, or knows and loves someone who desperately needs to be able to accept the help we can all offer if we start being more aware.

Together We Can Turn the Tide of Suicide and Mental Illness

I didn’t have a village when I started the long, uphill journey out of the abyss not created, but exacerbated by my parents’ suicides. I only had 2 daughters who needed their mother, a stubborn streak that wouldn’t let me give up, and a penchant for writing.

In hindsight, my journey might have been shorter and more pleasant had someone reached out to me, but I might not have realized I needed to learn to both reach out to others and accept help myself. I needed to have the perspective of believing I didn’t deserve help to understand how important it is to keep trying when someone says they’re OK, though it’s clear they’re not.

I may not have had a village before, but I have one now, and being part of that village means taking what I’ve learned and using it to help others. Will you become part of the change too?

Finding a Powerful Tool in Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for the lessons I learned the hard way. They didn’t make me harder, they made me more compassionate and socially conscious.
  2. I’m grateful for the examples set by my daughter Heather. She is one of the most giving, socially conscious people I know, and I’m often ashamed I don’t do more when I see how much she gives.
  3. I’m grateful for the people who are my village now. They uplift me, and give me opportunities to practice what I’ve learned when it’s my turn to give back. They help me understand it’s OK to not be OK, and that they’re there for me no matter what.
  4. I’m grateful for people who demonstrate by their own actions how much we all can do to make things better.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; friendship, love, support, inspiration, motivation, peace, harmony, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws , of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward

Start Your Gratitude List With You

There’s a lot of hoopla and hype about gratitude these days, and for good reason. You’re grateful for things that make you happy, so focusing on gratitude means you’re putting your attention on things that make you happy. The more you focus on things that make you happy, the less you notice the ones that don’t.

It follows that as you’re busy focusing on things that make you happy, you begin to see only the ones that make you happy, and pretty soon, you see more of them. You can call it Laws of Attraction, or simply a shift in perspective. Either way, you start hard-wiring yourself for happiness and positivity.

But with all the time and effort you put into gratitude, what do you show appreciation for most of the time? If you’re like me, it’s probably things outside yourself; a beautiful day, a great parking spot, a safe drive to work, beautiful flowers in your garden. How often do you look in the mirror and say “I’m grateful for me?”

Your Are the Most Important Person in Your Life

Yet, who or what is more important and deserving of your gratitude? Why don’t https://www.flickr.com/photos/chrishuggins/4675505957/in/photolist-88ac2F-8LnEVQ-r3ZSnA-rkryn2-dEHqQa-buZGL5-9NXU2Q-uQd4Gi-8HtvkK-brtvSa-mc16EB-zKaXu-mayYKi-LpBQx-24Q2uC3-5fjkkg-eJzqz-di4zr7-di4Cts-9d5Zj3-9SKTfn-FCdjdz-f5wwhN-XjXzMf-9P5vA2-kVMXd9-47aeuC-zNAvV-dZ5cLv-5P5kRq-5z3cp5-7fRw8n-Ad6nP2-fjj4VF-nPSwLg-GUXa92-ERVZat-YW3tj5-sgc13A-xYkggi-SwjMJA-K74gKR-qod9ho-evhnbP-5mpBv5-v38BL4-26QXWnW-nCnBUo-JSkWR-88acaPyou take a deep breath and say “thank you for my lungs”? What stops you from pausing to listen to the steady beat in your chest and say “thank you for the heart keeping a steady rhythm inside me”?

If focusing on things that make you grateful attracts more happiness-inducing stuff, wouldn’t showing appreciation for our health attract more health? How about things like losing weight, or increasing your strength? Wouldn’t those things benefit from a little gratitude and positive energy too?

So many of my friends complain they can’t lose weight. They talk about how they lose a couple of pounds but it always comes back. How about if instead, on the days when the numbers on the scale decrease, you say “thank you for the pound I’ve released”. On the days when it goes the other way, either say nothing, or find some aspect to be grateful for anyway. I, for one am going to give it a try, and will share my progress over the next month or so. What do I have to lose, except those pounds which are slowing me down anyway?

Rerouting the Complain Train

https://www.flickr.com/photos/35661951@N05/3301911347/in/photolist-62MacZ-8Xg8JJ-99EED2-6ukkey-99cpQj-K3PSrh-hFEZv-eevrK7-4ET5Ga-eirkqh-4QxafM-5thv2Z-7D9KW6-77wGJ5-eeonnH-aDN8j3-kbDBEA-8B6bHZ-2GsUh2-5gqAf-cyMRGU-5tUx72-oVs2Rk-9RuAeo-eevDx5-GywZT9-cyMwjW-pmZbM-h3P17c-3cBFP2-eevzuC-q8iZiZ-5TsVGN-aDN3D9-WrrMWj-7x9jR6-j1kqp-gEroQ-cQ6Pt5-4sNRtz-nkKGAk-GywYMb-GywZYj-JCRyYq-9utXaK-7YriHP-6WDWPK-bjM3J7-FFmjJG-2NLBMLet’s not stop there. What else do you typically complain about? Not enough money? Too little work? Too much work? Increasing costs? Unfair treatment? How can you flip those so you’re showing appreciation instead of complaining?

How about:

I’m grateful I have enough money to pay my rent/mortgage.

I’m grateful I have some free time to do things for myself.

I’m grateful I have plenty of work as it makes the day go quickly. I have enough money for a vacation or maybe a massage.

I’m grateful I have options when my cost of living goes up.

I’m grateful for people who show me how I don’t deserve to be treated, and I’m grateful I can walk away from them and towards my friends who treat me right.

How Can You Flip Your Own Life?

These are a few examples, but with a little effort, you can find your own, as long as you focus on your own assets and qualities. When push comes to shove, who is your strongest advocate? Your greatest asset? The one person you can count on no matter what? Yet who is also the last person you think to thank?

Your heart allows you to live, pumping blood through your system to feed all your cells. Your lungs bring air into your lungs, oxygenating your blood and keeping you from suffocating. Your legs lift you from a chair, get you out of bed, help you run, skip, or dance. Your arms let you give and receive hugs.

But if you’re like me, it never occurs to you to thank your body, your mind, or yourself for the qualities and abilities that allow you to enjoy all the outside things making you happy.

Years ago I had a mantra I’d use in the morning to get my day started on the right foot. I’d look in the mirror and say: You’re beautiful, sexy, sassy, and delicious. It always brought a smile to my face which meant, no matter what happened during the day, I at least began with a smile.

Instead of a goofy mantra, let’s start the day with a deeply personal gratitude. I can use things like:

I’m grateful for my brain which never lacks for ideas when I sit down to write.

I’m grateful for my legs which carry me across a dance floor as often as I like.

I’m grateful for my heart. In fact, I LOVE my heart for pumping blood through my body, but also for being the source and repository for love.. 

I’m grateful for my hands with which I type the words my brain sends, but with which I also pet my cats, or touch a friend.

Gratitude Equals Love

To me, gratitude is another way of saying “I love you” I don’t know anyone who couldn’t use more love, and though what we get from others is marvelous, what you give to yourself is both limitless and powerful. You can change your mood with gratitude, uplifting when you were despondent. Imagine how much higher you’d fly if the gratitude you expressed was for yourself, your body, your mind, your actions, your—Presence!

So next time you feel compelled to express gratitude, start your list with things you’re grateful for that come from within. And when you’ve done so for a week, a month, maybe more, come back and share how it impacted your life. After all, success stories always inspire others.

Where Do You Need Help?

None of us has to walk our path alone. Where are you struggling to keep it all together? Maybe all you need is a sounding board? Perhaps, just a listening ear? Or would you like to take a task or two off your plate? Is it content creation, or perhaps it’s getting your books in order and creating a budget. If this sounds familiar and you’re ready to streamline your life, ask for help instead of trying to do it all, CONTACT ME and let’s talk!

Showing a Little Gratitude for Me!

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the woman I’ve become from the challenges I’ve overcome and the lessons I’ve learned.
  2. I’m grateful for my motivation which compels me to keep trying even when all indications say I should quit.
  3. I’m grateful for my heart; for the life blood it pumps, and for it’s capacity for love and compassion, not only for others, but for myself.
  4. I’m grateful for positvity. It took awhile to learn, but I’ve come to appreciate how much easier it’s become the more I practice.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; friendship, love, joy, energy, compassion, inspiration, opportunities, health, strength, peace, harmony, connections, support, community, philanthropy, and prosperity for all.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward

To Think Changes Began With Morning Pages

I don’t usually write or do much of anything besides going to the gym and running errands on Wednesdays, but for some reason I’m inspired to get the last May post written and scheduled a little ahead of time. Am I anxious to be in June? Not particularly. This year is going by fast enough without rushing into things.

I do find it amusing that after spending thirty years in accounting where we were always working on a month after it had ended, I’m now in a mode where I push myself to get as many weeks ahead as possible. Little did I realize when I flipped my entire career path on it’s head that the flip would involve more back flips, aerials, spins, and whoop-de-do’s than I could have ever envisioned. In hindsight, had I known, I might have run back to my safe but boring accounting job and never discovered that what I truly love to do is write; for me, for other people, for public consumption, and for my eyes only. It doesn’t really matter as long as I write.

The More I Learn, the More I Know I Have to Learn

I’ve learned a lot in the last few years, not the least of which is I have a lot more to learn. But I’ve also come to realize when I task myself with writing every day, whatever writing I might do counts. I used to think the days when I “only” wrote my morning pages were days when I did not write. But the truth is, every time I put my pen to paper and spew forth a stream of words, it’s writing.

Sure, the morning-pages-only days don’t necessarily result in something others might consider useful or productive. Yet the truth is, my creativity is oiled as soon as I get up. What I might do with it that day is anyone’s guess.

Sometimes, I get a blog idea or a chapter for one of my works-in-progress. Others, I simply get something off my chest which would otherwise weigh me down and prevent progress in any direction. And yes, there are days when what comes out is little more than a stream of words only loosely connected to a train of thought.

Working the Writing Muscle Any Way I Can

Whatever comes out of my mind and pen is exercising my writing muscle, which is the point of it all https://www.flickr.com/photos/matt_rogers/32072645186/in/photolist-QS9G29-7jFGWM-jSSXTn-gWnnAn-7jKzg7-k1Q3Ez-49HGS-JaXYoH-6HUNQF-7jFHgR-nQzqNh-fzUL6w-hx2nML-a4N44-Z3xc8b-6ef9HF-aEXdio-m2HqQt-bBKzg2-kbdf3P-5Db73z-b7AkyD-6zJzQw-7dEU9V-ZDftY1-fY9zv8-7pBPUc-bmfwto-7eXMSj-9NdNPm-8EVVBC-6JNLK8-6nNaux-c28A2C-9atUf8-7oMuuJ-9YvpG-vdJj7-ecCm-8LJzww-eEd6oi-BQX1p-XZKjij-k1Q1px-E6Miuc-6zrveY-j2kDUf-7vaq24-7fnH1m-dDHfZsanyway. There used to be days I’d bemoan my lack of inspiration, believing I had no good, creative ideas in my brain. By writing every day and not worrying so much about what comes out, I’ve learned the creativity is there. I just lock it up unintentionally at times. Writing what might to others seem like a bunch of nonsense loosens the clenched fist which holds those ideas hostage.

One of the best parts of writing morning pages is how it helps with my frequently vivid dreams. I have more than my share of WTF mornings when I wake from a dream that was both vivid and disturbing. By writing about it as soon as I get up, I’m able to sort through the craziness to see if there’s a message, or if the dream was meant only to get my attention.

Granted, there are mornings when I finish writing and haven’t answered that question. But there are plenty of others when I pull out the message I was meant to receive. Most of the time, the message is well-buried and miles away from the actual point of the dream. And because my dreams tend to jump around the same way my awake and ADD brain does, it’s often a jigsaw puzzle to pull out pieces which actually make sense and belong together.

Messages in Our Dreams

Our minds give us clues through our dreams. Of that, I’m certain. The clues may be completely nonsensical at times. They might just be telling us to be especially careful while driving that day, or there might be a repetitive number; a color that stands out for some reason; a name we don’t recognize, but which will be somehow significant in the next few days.

Once in awhile, I even get a precognitive dream. Once I dissect it, I might figure out I need to contact someone I haven’t spoken to in awhile. Maybe they’ve just suffered a trauma. Or perhaps we need to cross paths again for a singular purpose. Whatever the message might be, I’ve learned not to question, but to make an effort to understand, especially if certain details are stuck in my brain like the “Baby Shark” song when you unwittingly hit “play” on someone’s adorable Facebook post.

Starting the Day With a Clear Head

Mostly, though, when I’ve finished dissecting a particularly vivid dream, put down my pen, and gotten on with the rest of my day, I have nothing more than a clear head and the beginnings of a plan for how I’ll be spending the day. If I get an idea or two for blog posts as well, I consider it a bonus.

What I’m trying to say here in my usual convoluted fashion is I’ve put a lot of routines in place in the last few years; things which, in one way or another improve my life. I’ve learned to give myself credit for accomplishing those daily or weekly tasks, even on days when that’s all I get done. There was a time not so long ago when they didn’t get done at all. Things like:

  • Writing my morning pages
  • Making the bed
  • Cleaning up the kitchen before I go to bed
  • Going to the gym 3 times a week
  • Having at least 2 weeks worth of blog posts written and scheduled
  • Having posts for Medium scheduled, often a full month ahead

This list might not look like much to you or anyone else, but I know how much time and effort went into making these things happen consistently. I also know how much flexibility it allows me knowing if nothing else happens, these things are done.

Creating New Habits Gets Easier the More You Do It

I’m adding new habits to the list fairly regularly now, and often laugh at myself when I find a can’t not do some of the things which have become habits. As I de-clutter my home and my life, I both revel in the amount of clear space I have around me and rebel if I try to clutter things back up again.

When I started putting my shoes away instead of leaving a few pairs in the alcove next to my laundry hamper, I didn’t think a lot about it other than the convenience of not having to move them when I vacuumed. But lately, no matter how tired I am when I get home, I simply cannot kick off my shoes and leave them next to the hamper. I have to open the closet door and put the shoes on the rack. My mother must be laughing her butt off, assuming she’s watching me from wherever she landed. I know she despaired of ever teaching me to minimize the clutter in my house, much less keep it clinically clean the way she had to in order to keep her demons tamed.

Learning to Love a Certain Amount of Order

The older I get, the less patience I have for disorder. That’s not to say I don’t still have my share of chaos, but it’s more organized, and I no longer have all available surfaces covered with stuff. I’ve learned to love coming into my office and finding a clear space on my desk to work. Or going into the kitchen to find the counters clean and the sink empty.

Things others take for granted are novel for me, and I marvel at how much I’m learning to enjoy things like seeing my bed made up, the director’s chair empty, or dishes and clothes put away right after they’re washed. And to think it all started my morning pages. As I began to regularly de-clutter my mind, I found I had to expand the process and de-clutter my life as well. So to say my practice of writing 3 pages long hand every morning isn’t writing is, in my opinion, ludicrous.

Need Help De-cluttering Your Life?

Are you having a tough time getting everything done? Do you beat yourself up when your To Do list grows instead of shrinking? Would you like to take a task or two off your plate? Maybe it’s content creation, or perhaps it’s getting your books in order and creating a budget. If this sounds familiar and you’re ready to streamline your life and give your business space to grow and thrive, CONTACT ME and let’s talk!

Gratitude Helps Improve Your Perspective

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the practice of writing morning pages. It’s helped me see how much I really do accomplish.
  2. I am grateful for learning to clear the piles of stuff, and for recognizing when I need to do another purge. Clear space when and where I need it has simplified my life in innumerable ways.
  3. I am grateful for connections. Not a day goes by when I don’t communicate with at least a couple of friends. It might be one of us checking in on the other, or making plans to dance, meet for a meal, or plan an outing. Never being completely alone and disconnected is a new concept for me, and one I’m coming to appreciate more and more every day.
  4. I am grateful for friendship; true friendship. The kind where you’re there for each other, but not because anyone expects it. Because you’re exactly where you want to be.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, writing, opportunities, challenges, lessons, dancing, hugs, harmony, peace, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward

64 Years Old Today!

“When I’m 64 is Now!”

As I type the title for this post, my heart skips a couple of beats, and I gasp a little. I don’t feel like I’m 64, though really, how is 64 supposed to feel? It wasn’t long ago that 30 seemed old, and now, I’m twice that. In fact, my daughters passed the 3-0 mark a couple of years ago! I keep going back to the Beatles’ “When I’m 64“, and yet, other than the number, I find I don’t relate to the song at all.

There’s no one in my household who will “need me” or “feed me” now that I’m 64. That’s not entirely true. There are several felines who definitely need me; for food, for vet care, for attention, and most of all, for a warm place to sleep. But other than their unparalleled healing abilities, their resources are limited should I get sick, or worse, become incapacitated.

In those rare moments when I allow myself a brief wallow in self-pity, I’ll think about the time when my vision starts getting worse (thankfully, it’s been pretty much the same for the last 20 years. Not great, but correctable). I imagine a time when I can’t bend down to feed the cats, or lift the 5-gallon bottles of water into and out of my car. Those moments quickly become ones of gratitude for the vision which continues to serve me, and the strength which, rather than decreasing, is increasing from regular workouts I finally managed to give myself.

Down Time to Rest and Re-Charge

Sure, I have days when I want to sit around and read, play computer games, or watch sappy Hallmark https://www.flickr.com/photos/prestonrhea/5236270625/in/photolist-8YHfQ2-4X1dP6-P58XGS-dmtrwi-2pMKC-nC1YD-QxGsf-q4rWqa-8HeDZc-o8pVg-8mXR4g-o7nP7c-8jQqTQ-bPxsQc-dJusGN-78jLU7-98LY1P-dYGYNq-cgtYSu-cgu1F7-7rMJ9R-6z6KQA-6VuMG-6Jfxqk-4bbwMg-dmtxds-9Rf6xQ-v8gDMa-9PqETD-4MsUzv-ptUKap-a2BfLR-4UtU1B-4UtSun-5dBS8k-7eGxtr-7nUbqa-7nUbW8-fBZ3S4-5M1h3P-8DYirc-8E2uBh-6r2V98-7oFgff-7oBon2-7oBpbn-7oBoG6-7oFfRo-vPhUL-jk3BYpmovies. But lately, they come after I’ve exerted myself with hours of dancing, or walking, or cleaning. And after a couple of days of doing nothing, I’m ready for a day full of activities again. Sometimes, it’s just gym and errands, others, I’ll add a few hours of cafe writing followed by a night of dancing. All serve to keep both body and mind sharp and flexible.

Looking back at my mom before she passed at 59, she wasn’t sedentary either, though I think she suffered more aches and pains than me, if only because she allowed them to get in her way. I think at 59 she acted and probably felt older than I feel today. The only joy in her life seemed to be my daughters, and they weren’t enough to make her want to keep living. I’ve had moments when I wondered, too whether I had enough to make me want to continue. But those moments were years ago when I, too had yet to find joy in all the simple, amazing things in my life.

Finding Joy and Inspiration in Simple Things

created with CanvaToday, I look out the window and see a flock of butterflies (or whatever a bunch of butterflies flying together is called) and I’m child-like in my happiness over seeing the brightly colored wings fluttering in and out of the branches of the plum tree before continuing their journey to who-knows-where? I master a line dance and feel a sense of accomplishment, though I’ve mastered hundreds over the years. Each new view, each new lesson brings me infinite joy.

I’ve learned to commit to myself every day, whether it’s going to the gym, writing blog posts, working on a writing project for a client or myself, or making the bed in the morning. I don’t assign specific values to each task. They are all valuable in their own way and don’t need to be ranked in order of importance or joy quotient.

I’ve stopped looking at how many years it took me to learn how to find the joy in the simple things, or commit to myself. Instead, I show myself love and appreciation for having done it at all. I understand my journey is unique to me, and I accomplish things in a different order than anyone else. I’m learning to be less critical and more appreciative of the steps I’ve taken and will continue to take on my own unique journey. I’m learning the child-like wonder I feel when I see a butterfly or ten is ready and waiting for every new experience, and every old one that brought me joy before I learned to be critical and cynical.

Being the Joy and Inspiration

The greatest lesson of all, though, is learning to be the joy and inspiration. Learning my own joy https://www.flickr.com/photos/pictoquotes/23800751269/in/photolist-yra2iG-DU6XM-r2jkSH-riCwfg-Cgc59v-25ZjvpP-Esa7bs-r2dktE-riCRw2-r2d16w-r2cjid-riFdFJ-r2jiQX-riJKAr-rgrJ5N-rgrymj-riJtfk-rgrtto-qmXTaB-qmXTUx-r2dc7j-riFiwf-r2cN57-rgrAKs-qmKZtd-qmKx5b-riCoxT-rgrkmb-r2bRy1-r2bSiC-rgrjHC-qmKN63-r2iWTr-qZqbLz-Jmhu1f-riJk4R-riJgvD-JNiQ5F-6fCa3j-TSPptN-R2stHj-FBknvd-yBNSqL-JNjenn-JixL6D-rgrBXC-riJFkc-riJtrT-qmKAfu-riF5aLincreases from the simple act of spreading positivity knocked my socks off the first time I realized what was happening.

I knew I felt drained when friends wrote about feeling drained and discouraged. I also knew people responded positively when I shared inspiring messages or shared my own successes. It took awhile for me to also feel how my own joy increased simply by sharing positivity and success. I realized people don’t need the big things, like seeing a friend get a big promotion or a fancy, new car. They need the everyday things and the reminders that putting one foot in front of the other is an accomplishment in and of itself.

They need to hear they’re not alone in narrowing their focus down to what’s right in front of them instead of trying to tackle everything they place in front of themselves. Seeing someone else taking it one step at a time inspires them to be less hard on themselves. When they become more accepting and forgiving of themselves, they, like me find more joy in their lives. As my friends and acquaintances find more joy, more inspiration, more acceptance—so do I!

The Joy is in the Learning

Created with CanvaI’ve learned so much in my 64 years and am excited to keep on learning. Sometimes, though, it feels like about 90% of what I’ve learned has come in the last 5 years or so. In reality, the preceding years had their share of lessons. Many of them simply laid the foundation for the gigantic push I’ve felt in the last 5. Perhaps I took longer to lay my foundation than most, but then, I’ve followed a meandering path. I’ve visited a lot of places, but remained in few. I changed majors in college a few times, taking 10 years to actually earn a degree. Then I kicked my hard-earned degree to the curb, doing a 180 career-wise a little over 5 years ago. I couldn’t have done that without the places I visited, the lessons I learned, or the foundation I laid.

Long story short, I am exactly where I’m supposed to be right now, writing for myself and others, looking at finishing the works I’ve already written and writing new ones. I want to write some short stories and pitch them to magazines and websites, and I want to keep inspiring and being inspired. I’m very happy with my first 64 years. Very happy, indeed.

Learning We Don’t Need to Do It All Alone

Are you still trying to do it all? Are there things you either don’t do as well as you’d like, or simply hate doing? Would you like to take a task or two off your plate? Maybe it’s content creation, or perhaps it’s getting your books in order and creating a budget. If this sounds familiar and you’re ready to streamline your life and give your business space to grow and thrive, CONTACT ME and let’s talk!

Gratitude Fuels My Joy

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the experiences and lessons in my first 64 years, and look forward eagerly to whatever comes next.
  2. I am grateful for friends I’ve made along the way; for the ones I’ve kept, and the ones who moved on after leaving me with whatever they were meant to bring into my life.
  3. I am grateful for mentors, coaches, examples, and challenges. All have helped me grown into the best possible version of myself.
  4. I am grateful for love. I’ve learned it’s as essential as breathing.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; lessons, challenges, friendships, opportunities, cats, dancing, strength; physical, mental, emotional, spiritual,. and energetic, health, harmony, peace, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws , of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward

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