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

Overcoming Adversity

Adversity is a Fact of Life

adversity barrierLife will always throw you curve balls. Though it might, at times, feel like you’re getting more than your share, those curve balls are lessons masked in adversity. You’re challenged to learn and grow in different ways each time you’re knocked out of kilter, and have to navigate an obstacle, or overcome a challenge.

Sometimes it’s a simple thing like a blocked road with clearly posted detour signs. You might reach your destination later than planned, but don’t have to figure out the route that’ll guide you safely, if not smoothly around the obstacle. Often, you’re challenged to either dig into your existing bag of tricks to navigate the obstacle, or you’ll need to create a new tool, or learn another skill.

Growth might at times be uncomfortable, or even painful, but each experience makes you stronger, wiser, and more creative. Adversity, and often the accompanying pain are the best teachers. While you’d likely never choose to learn as a result of adversity, there’s no doubt you either learn, or get knocked sideways by tougher challenges later on.

Learn the Lesson Sooner Rather Than LaterTool

There’s always a tool or skill you need to acquire at this juncture of your life, and refusing to learn isn’t an option. The Universe can be insistent. The more you ignore its messages, the more intense, and painful they become. I learned the hard way to pay attention, and heed the message the first time.

It would be great if you could learn all your lessons in your own time, but let’s face it, there are times it’s all you can do to get out of bed, much less willingly traverse a rough, peril-filled road. You have to get knocked out of your warm, cushy chair, incur a few bruises, and find your way back blocked before you’ll pick up your virtual rucksack, engage your brain, and navigate unfamiliar territory.

You more adventurous types will likely get up and moving faster, and with more enthusiasm most of the time, but still have your share of hard knocks to show for the progress you’ve made so far. Those who fear, and resist change have a harder time of it, most likely because they fail to heed the messages, and later warnings as they’re repeatedly tossed around. They’ll crawl back to the beanbag chair they call life, even if it means more pain and discomfort than if they heeded the warning it was time to move on.

Stagnation is Not an Option

comfort zoneDespite yourself, the world keeps changing. Going back isn’t really an option because what was no longer exists in the form you remember. Going back instead of forward also means you’re going to enjoy being tossed on your butt again sooner rather than later. Every time you try to crawl back to what was, there’s less of it to support you, until it’s no longer recognizable as the comfortable haven you remember.

Life wasn’t meant to be lived in your comfort zone. As time goes by, you’ll receive clear messages to leave what is to discover what you can be with a little effort in a new direction. You’ll find staying still less and less comfortable until you either move on willingly, or no longer have a safe, comfy place to return to, and must move on, enduring unnecessary pain and misery until you find another temporarily safe haven.

There was a time I believed growth and expansion were optional. In truth, if you don’t learn, grow, and evolve, the only other option is to slowly wither and die. If you spend your life sitting on the couch eating junk food, and watching mind numbing TV, both mind and body will eventually give up on you, and cells in both body and mind will atrophy until they no longer respond to requests to move or think. If you ask me, that’s a pretty terrifying way to leave this life cycle. I’d rather know I learned, grew, moved, and evolved up until the very last moment; the very last breath I take.

Keep Showing Upmeasuring stick

Much of the time, it might seem like you’re standing still, or fighting hard to keep ahead of the falling rocks. In truth, you’ve learned more than you know, and are stronger than you realize.

If you don’t believe me, take a quick look over your shoulder and see how far you’ve come, and how much smarter you are now than you were a few short years ago. You’ll be amazed at the enormous span of space and time between what was, and where you are now.

Not everyone is meant to change the world in a huge, significant way, but your contributions matter; maybe not to the entire world, or even a nation, but even your smallest ripples matter to someone, and make a difference in at least one life, and likely far more than you imagine.

Err On the Side of Authenticity

AuthenticityThe best advice I ever received was to keep showing up. It doesn’t matter if you show up in gym shorts, bare feet, and bare faced, or dressed to the nines, every hair in place, with your face perfectly made up.

In the last few years, I’ve leaned heavily towards authenticity. Only you know which extreme, is closer to your true self, and can make the adjustments which put you in the exact place where the true you comes shining through.

Being authentic doesn’t come easily. The world wants to beat down anyone who doesn’t conform; doesn’t play by those ever-changing, inscrutable rules which ensure failure no matter how hard you try to figure them out, and comply.

Tear Down the Walls, Make Your Own Rules

Tear down the Walls

Photo-Tim Green via Flikr

The reality is, the biggest rewards never lie in conformity. Only the rule breakers, the bravely vulnerable, the imperfectly perfect reach the mountaintop of their goals and dreams, where they get the opportunity to dream even bigger, and climb even higher.

The question is, are you brave enough to set rules of your own you actually understand and can follow? Can you forgo fitting in long enough to discover by being your authentic self, you’ll attract those with whom you fit in naturally, organically, and comfortably?

The best kept secret is as long as you keep pursuing acceptance by following someone else’s rules, you’ll always be an outsider without true support and friendship. The more you hide behind walls and masks where no one can see you are as flawed as they, the more those walls become your prison.

Make Friends With Adversity

Make Friends with AdversityEscaping your self-made prison will be painful at first. You’ll find yourself alone, battered, and bleeding, thinking you’ve reached the end, and may as well give up. Yet once those walls come down, and you admit you need help; that you don’t have it all together, your tribe will emerge from the sidelines where they patiently awaited the moment when you could either come out of the shadows or perish.

Adversity is, in truth, your friend. Often, it forces your hand, making you let go of outdated beliefs and see the world for the perfectly imperfect place it is. Striving for perfection when you don’t even know all the rules governing the concept is, as far as I’m concerned, an enormous waste of effort, and worse, potential. Adversity is an opportunity to break the mold, and allow your unique self to come out and play, and decide you’re never going back to the way things were.

Try it. I suspect you’ll enjoy it far more than you believe while hiding behind those dubiously safe walls, doing your best to conform.

Grateful for Every Lesson, Every Challenge

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for the adversity life has shown me, challenging me to be better, stronger, smarter, and above all, true to myself.
  2. I’m grateful for painful lessons which have taught me more than the gentle ones.
  3. I’m grateful for opportunities to step out of my own cocoon, and live life to its fullest.
  4. I’m grateful for the people in my life who love my imperfect self, and who relate to many of the challenges traumas, and successes I do.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, life, adversity, lessons, strength, tenacity, resilience, wisdom, knowledge, vulnerability, peace, health, balance, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Namaste

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a Holistic Ghostwriter, and an advocate for cats and mental health. 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 as Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author

Improve Health With Sustainable Habits

Healthy choicesLike many of you, I’ve gone through every diet, exercise, and health plan in the book. I’ve read the studies, looked at the charts, and kept my own records. I’ve logged every bite I put in my mouth, measured my food religiously, prepared batch meals I freeze in portion controlled containers, and fought frustration when the excess, unhealthy weight I carry refused to melt away.

When all was said and done, I learned the answer lies in two things:

  • What’s sustainable for you
  • Loving yourself completely, no matter where you are in your journey towards a healthier you

Like beauty, a perfectly proportioned body does not equal happiness. Some of the unhappiest people in the world have what society deems perfect bodies. But society sets impossible standards, if you ask me, and only feeds the diet, fitness, and plastic surgery industries, not to mention psychiatry. The constant battle to achieve perfection leads to people who are a maelstrom of conflicting, unhealthy beliefs and emotions who are chasing impossible goals.

Until you appreciate yourself for more than the pretty, outside packaging, you’ll never find the desire or sustainability to make permanent changes. You won’t be able to stick with something long enough to see noticeable improvements. You’ll bounce from one diet, or exercise plan to the next, certain nothing works, all the while, blaming yourself for each failure.

Unique You, Unique Health Plan

The truth is, nothing works for everyone. You are an individual with unique wants, needs, desires, and challenges. A healthy lifestyle isn’t a one-size-fits-all proposition. It has to be tailored to you, and you alone.

When I was pregnant with my daughters, I developed gestational diabetes, which is fairly common with multiples. My doctor sent me to a dietician who first had me go through a list of foods to determine my likes and dislikes. She then helped me develop a sustainable plan I could and would stick to, not only for my own health, but for the health of my babies.

It wasn’t perfect, and I fell completely off the plan after they were born, gaining back everything I’d lost and then some. I was in an unhappy marriage, had a terrible job with a boss who ruled by humiliation and intimidation, and wasn’t overly fond of myself either. So why would I bother to continue healthy habits after they would no longer affect anyone but me…or so I believed.

Taking Perfection Out of the Mix

Healthy HabitsOver the years, I tried to fix things, but only made things worse as frustration beat out a desire to be healthier, and I gave in to cravings that exhibited a life-long pattern of finding solace in food. It wasn’t until I found happiness in my personal life that I was able to release a significant amount of the excess weight, form healthier habits, and allow my journey to a healthier me to move forward as quickly or slowly as it would.

I haven’t achieved perfection in my daily habits, nor do I ever expect to. I have been eating a lot less every day, and rarely snack between meals any more. I also went from an average of maybe 2,500 steps per day to over 6,000 despite a job which tends to be sedentary. I find reasons to get up and move more often, even if it’s a trip to the bathroom, and a side trip to pick something up and put it away.

In fact, in the process of getting healthier, I’ve managed to improve my home environment too. Clutter no longer piles up until it becomes an albatross I can’t get rid of. I clear things up, or put them away as I use them. I sweep floors daily, clean the kitchen every night, and have a regular day to do laundry. I’ve also stopped making unnecessary trips to buy groceries and run errands, thereby giving me more time at home to keep things neater and more organized.

Reducing Physical Clutter

Clear Clutter to Motivate

Photo Courtesy of Elana Centor via Flikr

It’s amazing how a less cluttered environment feeds into my self-love, and ability to find and sustain healthier habits. When my kitchen, living room, and bedroom were full of clutter, and I had to move things just to sit down on the couch or prepare a meal, it was hard to get excited over doing something healthy. When everything is in it’s proper place, and I’m not tripping over my own chaotic mess, I’m more inclined to make choices that will help rather than hinder me.

What I’m saying is, creating healthy eating habits, embarking on a regular exercise routine, and sustaining them even when life kicks you in the teeth is far easier when you make improvements to your environment as well. A healthy lifestyle is, in fact, so much more than the right foods and exercise. Your mind, and your emotions have to be happy too.

Each of us has something that makes us happy, in body, mind, spirit, or all three. For me, it’s several things:

  • Dancing
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Community
  • My fur-kids

Find Your Happy Place

Happy PlaceDancing feeds two essential needs: exercise, and community. It’s also my happy place, and has been even when I danced in my own, personal bubble, connecting with no one. Of course, it does me far more good now, when I share the time, space, and energy with a warm, loving community.

There’s nothing I like better than to curl up with a book or my Kindle and read for hours. However, I’ve learned there’s a time and a place for it, and it’s not always the relaxing, rejuvenating thing I need.

Writing is my therapy, my outlet, my way to solve problems, and more recently, a way of connecting more deeply with other humans. I wrote for years for my eyes only, and was able to work through a lot of crap by dumping my thoughts and feelings onto the page without filters or fear of exposure. Once I learned to do the same while sharing those thoughts and feelings, an entire new world opened up for me, and brought with it joy, acceptance, compassion, and kindness as I’d never experienced before.

Know Yourself

Know yourself

Of course, nothing beats a nice, long snuggle with my cats. Their purrs, my hand stroking their soft fur, their antics as they chase toys, bugs, or each other never fails to heal a part of me, both physically, and emotionally.

Over time, I learned it isn’t any one thing which leads to the peace, joy, and self-love I lacked for most of my life. It’s knowing I needed a variety of things, not only because no one thing does it all, but because my mind and nature need variety or I fall into a rut, and get nowhere fast.

The key here is knowing yourself well enough to know what you need when. What heals you when you’re stressed out over work, family, money, or a zillion other life challenges? What heals you when you’re heartsick? What helps you recharge, and rejuvenate when you’ve pushed yourself so hard, you’ve depleted all your resources?

What Heals, Motivates

goalsFind those things. Use them. Create healthier habits around them. And above all, stop beating yourself up for failing to meet imaginary goals, especially when those goals are based on someone else’s standards. The only goals that matter are the ones fueled by your own hopes and dreams. The rest are just obstacles you either need to overcome, go around, or walk away from.

Whichever you choose, take the lesson, and leave the pain. Holding memories of the pain will only be an anchor buried in the sand, impeding your progress.

The Gift of Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for learning to love myself first and foremost.
  2. I’m grateful for the strength to leave public opinion behind, and set my own standards.
  3. I’m grateful for all the things in my life that help me cope with life’s challenges, to become the very best me I can be.
  4. I’m grateful for all the healing I’ve accomplished since I stopped trying to be an island.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, joy, health, happiness, freedom, friendship, community, dancing, my furry family, peace, balance, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Namaste

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a Holistic Ghostwriter, and an advocate for cats and mental health. 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 as Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author

Being Sleepless as a Normal Occurrence

Sleepless Mind

Photo-John O’Beirne via Flikr

If you’ve never experienced a sleepless night; a night when everything you tried to bring that blessed unconsciousness we all need to recharge and replenish is for naught, consider yourself among the lucky few. Whether it’s a sick child (human, fur, feathered, or scaled), challenges at work, pain, or any other life situation sending your brain into overdrive, the frustration of elusive sleep is often exacerbated by being frustrated.

From conversations with friends, I suspect the most common is a brain that refuses to shut down no matter how exhausted mind and body might be. It has to chew on something one more time, despite knowing it won’t be resolved until a later date or time, no matter how many times you dig your teeth in, masticating the poor bit of mind meat to a bloody, gelatinous pulp.

Still, the mind continues to chew as if your life depends on it, and no combination of teas and tinctures, meditations, or sleeping positions is enough to win the battle. Often, the longer it goes on, and the more nights spent with little to no sleep, the worse it gets.

Insomnia’s Hidden Demons

Demons

Photo – Ail Lee via Flikr

Fortunately, I’ve learned I’m able to find relief eventually, and more, an hour nap in the afternoon is often enough to refresh me after losing sleep at night. Recently, I also discovered my mind was rebelling from being forced into sleeping 7-8 hours a night as I worked on healing the recurring, herniated disc in my neck. Suddenly, it grabbed anything in sight to get me back on my normal schedule of 5-6 hours.

I realized there are times insomnia’s culprit is simply a change in your routine which may have been necessary for awhile, but has outlived its usefulness. You continue adhering to a new habit you’d set which was meant to be temporary, so your mind decides you need an extra round of gymnastics before it succumbs to sleep.

I’m not addressing those of you with chronic insomnia here, both because what I’ve discovered likely won’t apply, and because I honestly don’t have the knowledge or experience to speak intelligently on the subject. Though there have been times my insomnia seemed chronic, it always passes, and I resume my regular sleeping schedule once the primary irritation has passed.

Honoring the Messages From Monkey Mind

Monkey Mind

Photo-scott via Flikr

To be honest, insomnia isn’t always a liability for me. I’ve done some of my most prolific writing between 10PM and 3AM, when I had to be up for work a few, short hours later. I’d even have to admit there are times monkey mind is my friend, as one of the methods I use to find sleep is something I call a brain dump.

Often, the source of monkey mind, and the insomnia it creates is an unresolved problem I can’t seem to let go of when the house is quiet, and darkness blankets the world, softening its sharp edges. Letting my fingers do the walking over the keyboard, spewing anything and everything onto the screen is cathartic, and often leads to a solution, even if it’s to simply let things lay for a bit before making a decision at all.

Allow and Release

In many ways, life became both simpler, and more complicated when I left my regular job in 2013. I remember feeling a sense of relief at no longer being constrained by someone else’s often unfathomable expectations. The introvert in me rejoiced at being left alone without having to resort to a closed door, or a phone on DND.

Granted, being my own boss took a lot of getting used to, and raised it’s own share of insomnia-causing issues. It’s forced me to look at my life, and choices I’d made, or needed to make to actually achieve those wild, over-the-top dreams. In fact, the more off track I go, the more I’m troubled by insomnia. Coincidence? I think not.

In the end, I’ve learned to release a few things in my quest for a more regular sleep pattern:

  • A set bed time
  • A hard and fast time to rise in the morning
  • An inflexible work schedule
  • Falling asleep in the same place (like my bed) every night
  • A pre-determined number of hours of sleep I need every night

More Stress Equals Less Sleep

Stress and ChaosI’ve learned I’m less stressed, and more likely to drift into the unconscious realm if I don’t overthink it (sound familiar?). While I now take out my contacts, and brush my teeth earlier, I allow sleep to come when it’s ready instead of because it’s x o’clock. When I do have an especially early morning, I’ve found my mind will quiet itself earlier if I get out of the way.

I also learned worrying about the future, or regretting the past, and rehashing my own failings is a sure way to push sleep out of the picture whilst sitting on the couch yawning widely, and attempting to allow the monotony of late-night TV to lull me into some semblance of unconsciousness.

Instead, I tell myself I did the best I could with what I had at the time, and will do the same with any and all future events and challenges when, and if they come to pass. Anticipation of anything; good, bad, or indifferent has never been a friend, nor an ally in the pursuit of a good night’s sleep.

Honor Your Own Patterns

Float Downstream

Photo Credit-BLMvia Flikr

Sure, there are times, my head will hit the pillow, and I’m out like a light, but frankly, those times are rare. Most nights, I have to shift a couple of times to find a position where my body will relax and let go of the day’s tension, then allow my mind to wander where it will without trying to right any wrongs, or solve any problems.

Admittedly, the last part isn’t easy. Letting go and allowing the flow of breath, and life to go where it will is one of the most difficult challenges I, and many of you face. No matter how many times we watch things unfold exactly as they’re supposed to, it’s difficult to give up control and allow.

You won’t always like the way things unfold, but you’re deluding yourself if you think you can control everyone, everything, and every little detail. You might as well try to move a mountain with a toy steam shovel.

Stop Trying to Change the Past

DreamsOnce you recognize the times things don’t work out as you envisioned are opportunities to learn and grow, it becomes easier to release the tiller, and allow yourself to float downstream. Trying to navigate upstream is exhausting, and a losing proposition. You’ve already done everything you could there, and you can’t change what’s already done. Why put so much time and effort into trying to change the unchangeable; fix the unfixable?

Learn from it. Grow with it. Let it go, and make new memories. Allow yourself to dream, both asleep and awake. Most of all, stop fighting with yourself, and allow the spark to glow as high or low as it needs to. It lights your way even when it’s a mere glimmer, and sometimes, you don’t need to see into the shadows. You need to trust you’re seeing as much or as little as you need to at this point in time; on this leg of your journey.

Grateful for Sleepless Nights

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for learning to allow sleep to come naturally.
  2. I’m grateful for sleepless nights, as they make me appreciate the ones when sleep comes easily.
  3. I’m grateful for each day I get to open my eyes, and throw my legs over the side of the bed.
  4. I’m grateful for cat purrs which often lull me into a land where dreams come true with the snap of a finger of wink of an eye.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, dreams, joy, possibilities, opportunities, friendship, purrs, peace, harmony, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Namaste

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a Holistic Ghostwriter, and an advocate for cats and mental health. 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 as Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author

Being Authentic is Underrated

AuthenticIt’s easy to get sucked into someone else’s world view; someone else’s idea of what it means to live your best life. You want to fit in, to have friends, to feel accepted and included. The big lie is having to fit in with everyone. The offsetting truth is you can’t possibly fit in with everyone, and have the audacity to be true to yourself. In other words, be authentic.

Granted, there’s a big difference between fitting in, and getting along. I know a number of people who seem to fit in everywhere, but in truth, are simply able to treat everyone with kindness and respect. It doesn’t mean everyone is part of their circle, or they fit in with every crowd. They still have their own circle of friends with whom they can completely let their guard down and be their true, authentic selves. Everyone else sees the tip of their personal iceberg.

I spent decades buying into the lie of having to fit in everywhere, and as a result, I fit in nowhere. It was a lonely existence marked by failure, and ridicule, both overt and behind my back. To many, I was a joke; a parody; someone to point at and laugh because they believed themselves better than my pitiful self. I know now, it was an excuse to avoid looking too closely at their own imperfections and struggles to fit in.

Fitting In Shouldn’t Be A Struggle

Cofnormity Isn't an Asset

Photo-Carleton Thomas Anderson via Flikr

My greatest epiphany came when I gave up trying to fit any standards but my own; when I had the audacity to show the world my plain, unvarnished face without concern for whether they liked what they saw or not. Much to my surprise, the haters and ridiculers fell away; disappearing back into their own dark, lonely holes until they found the next target for their abuse. I found myself in a circle where honesty and authenticity were appreciated and respected.

I learned more people wanted and needed permission to be themselves. Not a written invitation, but acceptance by example. In embracing my own perfectly imperfect self, I learned to respect others as well, and to make a point of complimenting rather than finding fault. I began finding more commonalities than differences, more beauty, and more examples of self-love in those around me.

Some of the best examples of self-love, and authenticity come from the younger generation with whom I get to share the dance floor every week. They show up in clothes that make them feel good; feel comfortable without concern for what others think.

A Community of Inclusiveness

Inclusive Community

Photo-simonrumi via Flikr

It doesn’t mean they don’t respond gratefully to a compliment, but are able to ignore anyone who might find their choices questionable. Thankfully, if there are any, they tend to keep their opinions to themselves. If they didn’t, there would be quite a few who’d leap to the defense of the person they targeted with their bile.

I’ve learned inclusiveness isn’t a declaration. It’s in the words, actions, and behavior of an entire community. In a community where abuse is tolerated, or even encouraged, there exists an environment of intolerance and abuse. Authenticity is discouraged, and even punished.

In a community where everyone is accepted despite different beliefs, outer appearances, or even age, you’ll find a wide variety of styles, actions, beliefs, and viewpoints readily shared without fear of condemnation. You learn the only good use of a cookie cutter is for making sugar cookies for Christmas. Fitting in doesn’t mean fitting a prescribed mold.

Honoring and Respecting Differences

Mosaic

My friends don’t agree with me on everything, for which I’m eternally grateful. The people I see regularly have their own style of dress, core values, and world views. We agree on one thing. Everyone has the right to be an individual, true to themselves. They have the right to be their true, honest selves without being made to feel small, or wrong about who and what they are.

I suspect many were once like me; the object of ridicule no matter how hard they tried; forcing themselves into ill-fitting molds only to discover it was never enough for those they tried to connect with. Only when they, too learned to have the audacity to be authentic did the trajectory of their lives change.

Authenticity is the only real way to attract your tribe. Until people see you for who you are beneath the facade, and behind the masks and walls, they can’t possibly connect, or even feel comfortable around you. Twisting yourself into a pretzel in an ill-conceived attempt to fit in not only makes you feel tied up in knots and constricted, it makes the people around you uncomfortable too.

Those who respond to your efforts with ridicule, shame, and cruelty are clearly involved in the same misbegotten struggle as you. Their uncomfortable posture rubs against yours causing friction and discomfort on both sides. Small wonder you never find any commonality between you when you’re both so tied up in knots, there’s no telling where a free end might be.

Untangling the Misconceptions

Tangled Misconceptions

Photo-joseph.vernagallo via Flikr

You can live your life like a hopelessly tangled string of Christmas lights, never making connections, or finding your place in what seems like an unforgiving world. Or you can give up the pointless fight to be something you’re not, and accept the quirky, wonderful amalgamation of traits, qualities, and uniqueness that can stand on a tabletop; a shining beacon to all the other quirky misfits who are the perfect fit for you.

The people in my community are as different as can be. Looked at from a system of old beliefs that fitting in is our true purpose, we look like a pile of puzzle pieces from a dozen boxes, that can never be put together into a pretty picture. In truth, our differences are neither random, nor lacking in purpose. Instead, we complement each other, and create a beautiful mosaic which allows for new, colorful, ecclectic pieces, and is constantly flowing into different designs; a kaleidoscope of ever-changing beauty.

Each design is more beautiful than the last, requiring no rules or structure other than acceptance. I treasure the courage my friends and community demonstrate every day to be authentic, and to be different. I’d come to think fitting in was overrated. Now I know, fitting in by being your true, honest, authentic, vulnerable self is the greatest gift you can give yourself.

Grateful for Finding My Tribe

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for learning to drop the act, and be my authentic, vulnerable self.
  2. I’m grateful for the people who accept me as I am, expecting nothing, and giving me the greatest gift of all.
  3. I’m grateful for people who learned to walk away from societal lies, and find a better, healthier truth.
  4. I’m grateful for learning to fit in exactly where I belong.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, joy, friendship, acceptance, respect, compliments, smiles, vulnerability, authenticity, health, peace, harmony, balance, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Namaste

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a Holistic Ghostwriter, and an advocate for cats and mental health. 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 as Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author

Priming The Inspiration Pump

InspirationThere are different schools of thought when it comes to finding inspiration. Some believe you have to wait for it to strike, which as far as I’m concerned is about as likely to happen as the arrival of the elusive Godot. For others (myself included), the pump needs to be primed. There’s no hard and fast way to accomplish this priming, but it requires action on the part of the seeker.

For me, inspiration strikes from a number of sources. At times, it’s a rear I had whose memory I can’t shake. Sometimes, I get an idea while in the bathroom, be it brushing my teeth, taking a shower, or any other activity one might perform in that particular room. I suspect I could stand in front of the mirror, making faces at myself, and it would work as well as anything.

Many times, I have to exert physical effort to get that pump to dredge up an idea from the bottom of the well. That’s when I put my fingers to the keys and start typing whatever comes into my head until a viable idea erupts, and sends my fingers flying across the keyboard with wild abandon. Over time, and through much trial and error, I learned to throw the analytical side of my brain a bone to keep it busy while the creative jumped into the sandbox and started flinging sand which became words on the page.

Let It Flow

Flow of Inspiration

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Getting out of the way when inspiration kicks in is a key component for keeping it flowing, and making it more readily accessible. As soon as I start analyzing the words, or trying to edit what I’ve written, creativity throws a temper tantrum, then goes into a prolonged pout until I have the sense to let go of the reins and let it venture where it might.

My internal editor might get cranky, but I assure her she’ll get her turn once there are enough words on the page to edit; meaning the thoughts have run their course, and creativity is chasing squirrels before galloping into the next outpouring of words.

In short, each person has to find their own balance, and their own way of allowing creativity to flow into whatever medium they use to express their innermost thoughts and feelings. Trying to control the flow is as effective as turning off the faucet when you want a glass of water.

Granted, there are some who plot everything out before they begin. They need to have an idea of where things are going, and how they’re going to get there. I’ve learned I do better with the element of surprise. I love when my characters do or say something completely unexpected because it means I get to be caught up in the story as much as my readers will.

Bringing the Dream to Life

Embrace the DreamThere are so many conversations and scenarios I have in my dreams which, left to the analyst, never come out sounding or feeling the same way. Relaxing my diligence and attention to what hits the page or screen means I allow what I dreamt to manifest in something close to its original form.

I can tell you about a dream where an entire troupe of actors was under the age of 10. I can try to describe how they formed a single line, walking from place to place in perfect order. But until I get away from recounting what I saw from a cold, calculating place, you won’t see what I saw, nor experience the wonder I felt at seeing such small humans take to the stage with all the confidence and talent of their adult counterparts.

Your eyes won’t light up, nor your heart swell with joy when those wee troupers bring familiar characters to life in new, unexpected ways. Nor will your world view be knocked on its ear hearing the immortal words of Shakespeare spoken flawlessly by a mere babe. Laughter won’t bubble up from your gut when that same babe brings Horton and the Whos to life before your amazement-widened eyes.

Getting Out of the Way

Signs

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Typing these words, I notice WordPress saved them at 11:11:11. I’m gratified to find I’m not only on the right track, but have managed to allow inspiration its way for a few minutes without interruption or interference.

Yet I know as soon as I start struggling for words, or getting irritated by typos, I’ve started getting in my own way again. I allow myself to be distracted by outside noises, or a cat running his tail along my leg until, once again, the words can flow of their own volition, and a story grows seemingly of its own accord.

In truth, for as many people as there are allowing inspiration to arrive in its own space and time, there are an equal or greater number of ways it comes to pass. It matters not whether you create a framework in which your inspiration will blossom, or you indulge your inner child in a free-for-all of mud, paint, sand, and light. What matters is the allowing; the creation; the emotions bursting forth from your art.

Make it Relatable

JoyThere’s a mad joy in the creation, even when what you create contains deep-seated emotions which were screaming to come out, but held back until you were ready and able to feel them again, express them as needed, and release them into the ether.

They might be as playful as a child dancing in the rain, or as dark as a man in a demon-chased, alcoholic fog. With one, you’re sharing the obvious, while the other brings joy upon releasing those pent-up emotions. Either way, there’s a story to tell.

People relate to your story, whether you remind them of childhood innocence and elation bursting forth without provocation or reason, or bring forth dark, scary, turbulent times. Both are a necessary part of life, and emerge when inspiration strikes.

Share What You’ve Learned

Prime the Pump

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I’ve learned “write what you know” often means re-living old, impacted emotions so you can bring them out of the dark, scary place inside your mind, and into the light where their magnitude is manageable, and the fear factor is diminished.

Whether you’re writing, flinging paint, or expressing yourself in something physical like dance, or sports, letting inspiration flow without restraint creates a catharsis which not only primes the pump for future releases, but introduces you in all your authentic glory to yourself, and to anyone else who connects with what you’ve shared.

So please, prime your pump in any way you can, and let the feelings flow, through a character, a painting, or a scene which blows the emotion into something larger than life. Someone out there needs help seeing, feeling, and releasing their own demons, and needs you to help them prime their own pump, so the well of repressed feelings and emotions can begin to empty and clear.

Grateful for Inspiration

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for my writing, and for the lessons I’ve learned about priming the inspiration pump.
  2. I’m grateful for the people who encourage me to continue sharing the deepest, rawest parts of myself.
  3. I’m grateful for the ability to occupy my analytical side so my creative, feeling side can air her joys, sorrows, fears, and traumas.
  4. I’m grateful for another day to celebrate authenticity, vulnerability, and humanness.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; joy, sorrow, love, frustration, inspiration, motivation, vulnerability, peace, harmony, balance, healthy, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Namaste

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a Holistic Ghostwriter, and an advocate for cats and mental health. 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 as Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author

Perspective Matters

perspectiveIn this world of overthinking, and information overload, packaging has come to matter far more than it deserves. Advertisers and marketers know it, and tailor their messages to a particular demographic. They aren’t concerned with anyone whose perspective is different from the message they craft, as they’re unlikely to buy the product or service anyway.

You view things in the same way, whether it’s movies you enjoy, products you buy, or activities you engage in. Every choice you make is based on your personal perspective. That perspective is a mix of experience, upbringing, and yes, every trauma you’ve overcome, learned, and grown from—and those you’ve yet to overcome and heal.

The world is a teeming maelstrom of choices, messages, and stories crafted to gain your attention, and ultimately, your buy-in in one way or another. Some of those messages will inspire you to think or act, while others will make you shut down because the initial probe triggered something in your fight-or-flight mechanism that prompted you to flee without further ado.

Open Your Mind, Broaden Your Perspective

Open Your Mind

The hardest thing to do is shut down those automatic responses, and give the message (and the messenger) a chance to lay out their premise, and offer up their arguments. You’re especially likely to close and bar the door if the subject instigates an emotional response, be it anger, fear, outrage, or the like. By the same token, you’ll be more likely to listen if the emotion triggered is pleasant; joy, comfort, or peace, and the like.

The problem is, if you only pay attention to the pleasant things; the messages and topics you already agree with, you’ll never learn or grow, and you’ll never learn to listen to learn and understand, rather than to respond. You’ll also find yourself getting angry or irritated every time a subject you disagree with is broached. Worst of all, those unhealed traumas may remain unhealed for lack of tools needed to face and clear them.

Just as you’re advised to take a breath, step back, and even wait a day before responding to an inflammatory email, the same is true of listening to a message or opinion which, from the outside, appears to go against your beliefs. All too often, the problem isn’t so much the message as semantics. Words are powerful. They can elicit subliminal messages long before your brain kicks in and begins to analyze, accept, or reject.

Know When to Shut the Door, and When to Leave it Open

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I know for myself, there are certain words which elicit an immediate, visceral, knee-jerk response. My mind closes like a bank vault door at the end of the day, refusing to reopen until the perceived threat to my personal beliefs has passed. I deprive myself of what might be a truly insightful and inspiring message over a couple of words which might have, in days long past, caused me pain.

There’s a time to hyper-focus on details, and there’s a time to stand back and take a bird’s-eye view. I’ve learned if your first response is emotional, and frankly, illogical, you need to step back, take as many breaths as necessary to lower your heart rate and ire, and take a broader view.

Granted, there will still be times when you have to hide, block, or walk away from a message that’s intentionally inflammatory, much like walking away from the drunk in the bar who’s looking for a fight, and doesn’t care who they piss off in the process. But by learning to step back first, you’ll be in a better position to discern whether you need to open your mind and throttle back your emotions, or get out of Dodge before the situation explodes.

Running to Possibilities

Tear down the Walls

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Running from every conflict; every difference of opinion leads to a life of running away. It means sublimating your dreams, hopes, and goals every time you encounter an obstacle, or a difference of opinion. Yet those obstacles; those offering a different perspective, might be just what you need to get back on track after wandering off on a few unproductive side trips.

If you allow it, a different perspective might show you where you’ve been beating your head against a wall, or missing an obvious solution because you’d been stuck in a narrow, unwavering groove. The best solutions might not follow logic, or adhere to your world view, or core values. You might have to blow away a few heartfelt misconceptions to allow something completely unexpected to drift into your line of sight.

Contrary to popular belief, perspective can be changed, either by intent or circumstance. From personal experience, it’s a lot less traumatic to intentionally open your mind and listen to a different point of view than it is to get knocked forcibly off the high horse you’ve been using to ride roughshod over any opinion or world view different from your own.

Imperfect Perspective

World View

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No matter what you believe, or how you look at the world, your viewpoint is imperfect at best. You can’t possibly see each conversation or situation from every angle, nor prevent yourself from muddying the waters with your own experiences and beliefs.

That doesn’t mean they’re wrong. It simply means what’s right and sensible for you isn’t a fit for everyone else. The sooner you recognize your own imperfections, the sooner you can not only accept, but appreciate them in others. That’s when the light bulb goes off, and you allow yourself to contemplate scenarios other than the comfortable, safe ones of your own experience.

Growth Occurs by Embracing Change

Change

It might never occur to you the shortest distance to shore lies in rocking the boat, and even jettisoning what no longer serves you. Yet very little that’s worthwhile comes from following the safe, pre-cut path all the time. You have to break some rocks to build a dam, or as the saying goes, break some eggs to make a cake.

Sure, change can be painful. It doesn’t matter whether it’s physical, mental, emotional, or an update to your core values. Letting go of what worked, albeit imperfectly to travel in uncharted territory isn’t for the faint of heart. You have to be willing to stumble, fall, and accrue a healthy share of bruises and lacerations in order to break a new concept, idea, or paradigm open, and examine it for possibilities instead of only seeing reasons to fail.

So start small. Entertain something that’s only slightly outside your comfort zone. The more you practice, the easier it becomes to broaden your perspective, thereby increasing possibilities, and opportunities.

Grateful for New Perspectives

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for opportunities to expand my perspective.
  2. I’m grateful for the people in my life who contribute to my education and expansion.
  3. I’m grateful for a world where new perspectives are available as soon as you open your mind.
  4. I’m grateful for a mind filled with wonder instead of one that’s closed and locked from the inside.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, joy, opportunities, new ideas, healing, growth, expansion, evolution, peace, harmony, health, balance, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Namaste

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a Holistic Ghostwriter, and an advocate for cats and mental health. 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 as Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author

Create Your Own Stepping Stones

Stepping StonesLife was never meant to be a smooth, straight, paved road from birth to death. If it were, you’d never learn anything, and worst of all, wherever you went, you’d simply be walking in someone else’s footsteps. Though it might not always seem like it, every challenge, trauma, or obstacle life throws in your way is an opportunity to lay a few stepping stones, and forge a path that’s uniquely yours. How great is that?

You weren’t meant to live in someone else’s shadow, nor to mold yourself into something ill-fitting and uncomfortable. The world needs your viewpoint; your style; your perspective. There are more than enough sheep already. You weren’t meant to be part of the flock.

You might say it’s easier to just go with the flow, but is it really? Will doing so make you happy? Will it help you achieve your goals, hopes, and dreams? Or will it take you over a cliff with the rest of the lemmings who follow along unquestioningly until they cease to have a purpose of their own?

Leading or Following is a Choice

Rough travels

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Life isn’t a gigantic game of Follow-the-Leader. Instead, it’s more of a dance. “Sometimes you lead, and sometimes you follow”. There are times when you’re in control, and others when you seem to be tumbling down a boulder-covered mountain trying desperately to grab hold of something to stop your downward plunge, and stop adding more gashes and bruises to your already battered body.

Somehow, you manage to survive the worst of times, though there may be a long recovery period before you feel strong enough; confident enough to get up and give it another go. Meanwhile, you’ve added a few tricks and skills to your virtual toolkit so, though you might make mistakes again, they won’t be the same ones, nor of the same magnitude as the last time.

Admittedly, there are times you’re tempted to pull the covers over your head and give it all up as a lost cause; to let others make the mistakes so you can take the road they paved instead of suffering the bumps and bruises you earned while trying to make your own way. But where’s the satisfaction in that?

Blaze Your Own Trails

Road Less Traveled

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Yes, there’s a time and a place to follow the tried-and-true, but not as a steady diet. If nothing else, you deserve to have your own successes, and to blaze a few trails for others yourself. There’s nothing that inspires further trail-blazing more than to overcome an obstacle yourself.

It doesn’t mean you have to do it all alone. Asking for help is still participating in the end result. In fact, the stronger you are, the more you can benefit from, and appreciate the strength, skills, and talents of others. Past successes prove you can triumph. Sharing the glory means you’ve learned there’s even more strength in community than in being a solo act.

Every wall you knock down; every mountain you climb; every road you hack out of nothing gives you the material to create stepping stones you use to form the next path on your journey. Sometimes, the wall you knock down is even of your own creation; built at a time when you needed to focus without outside interference. Those walls have a purpose, but when it’s been met, they, too become obstacles to your next success, and need to be removed before you can move forward again.

Walls are Temporary Structures

Tear down the Walls

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Too many fall into the trap of building a wall and believing it needs to remain permanently. They end up stuck, not knowing how to get around, through, or over a structure of their own construction. Learning which structures are meant to be temporary, and which, permanent isn’t always an easy task, but is another step in your evolution.

Each time you determine correctly, you remove another obstacle, even if it’s one you can’t see. It might be something in your future that might have hindered had you not already learned to either demolish another temporary structure, or refrain from building one in the first place.

Remember. There’s no shame in backtracking, or in recognizing you’re not equipped to see a project through to completion alone. Sometimes, you have to get part way in before you see something is a dead end. Does it mean you’ve failed? Not at all! It means your mind is open enough to learn from the experience. It means you’ve gained enough confidence to admit you missed a sign or two, or failed to take some component into consideration that a few steps in the wrong direction made clear.

Mistakes Are Opportunities to Learn

Dead EndThere are no mistakes in life; only opportunities to learn. The path you forged which came to a dead end was necessary. It taught you what could and couldn’t work, if nothing else. It also might have taught you when to seek help from others, or even who to trust, and who to run from as fast as your legs could carry you.

You can’t learn and grow without a few bumps and bruises; without a few missteps. Sometimes the best lessons are the ones that teach you what NOT to do. The best teachers are the ones who misdirect you.

Over the years I’ve worked for a lot of bosses. Some taught me great skills, whether it was technical or leadership. Yet the ones who stick in my head are the ones who taught me what not to do; how not to treat staff, or how to pay attention to details.

Pain is the Ultimate Teacher and Motivator

Painful lessons

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The same is true of your own path. You learn more from what seem like failures than you do from the successes. Why? Because pain is not only a great motivator, it’s also an exemplary, and memorable teacher. What you deem mistakes or failures will stick in your head because they caused some kind of mental or physical pain (or both).

You don’t necessarily remember all the details leading up to the painful experience. Still, the remembered pain will make you think twice before traveling down that road again. If nothing else, it’ll remind you not to travel without some kind of protection or assistance.

Unfulfilled dreams, broken promises, trauma, failure, catastrophe all leave you with a shattered pile of rubble. You have two choices: backtrack until you find someplace safe, and try to stay there until you’re forcibly moved, or gather up the pieces, and use them as stepping stones to build a better, stronger, more adaptable path towards a new, and improved dream.

Nothing is set in stone. But the stones can be used and re-used, even if they’re ground into sand, and used to create the mortar holding the rest of the stones in place.

Grateful for All My Stepping Stones

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for all the rubble I’ve created that now serves as stepping stones on my revised path.
  2. I’m grateful for the painful lessons that remain and help keep me from making the same mistakes over and over.
  3. I’m grateful for the people who showed me what NOT to do.
  4. I’m grateful for the strength, resiliency, and tenacity I’ve gained in times of struggle.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; strength, tenacity, dreams, goals, progress, self-love, opportunities, gratitude, love, support, friendship, community, peace, health, harmony, balance, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Namaste

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a Holistic Ghostwriter, and an advocate for cats and mental health. 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 as Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author

Make Every Moment Count

Honor the Present Moment

Shine Your LightYou worry. You fret. You regret. When you do, you’re either living in a moment that’s already happened, or one that’s yet to come, and is full of both possibilities, and variables. So you’re not really cherishing the moment because you have no control over the outcome. Either it’s already happened and can’t be changed, or hasn’t happened yet, and can be altered by an untold number of probabilities; not all of which are within your control. Is it any wonder you’re stressed out, frustrated, and angry?

Modern-day philosophers are united in their understanding and advice; you only have the moment you’re in in which to live, and to change your trajectory if you see fit. What’s already happened is done and gone. Continuing to regret your own actions, be angry about someone else’s, or wish things had happened differently is an exercise in futility.

Think about a time when you took a leisurely drive through a scenic area. Perhaps it was the mountains, or maybe the beach. Whether you were driver or passenger, you weren’t thinking about the end of the trip. Instead, you were enjoying the scenery, the peace, and maybe even the disconnection from any worries or stress for the short space of time your drive lasted.

Peace Comes by Living Mindfully

consciousYou can find that same peace any time you want because it’s not about the scenery, it’s about disconnecting from all that came before or is yet to come. Learning to cherish each moment as the precious gift it is will not only give you the peace you deserve, but will make you better able to handle the curve balls life loves to throw you with a clear head, free of all the emotional upheavals you pile on yourself unwittingly.

When you react abruptly to something or someone, it’s never about what they said or did, but what you’ve heaped on your overflowing plate. You react out of anger, frustration, stress, and most of all, overwhelm. Somewhere along the way, you were convinced you had to resolve every problem in your life (and likely those of family and friends as well) all at once.

You bought into the societal misconception that letting something sit on a back burner for awhile was both dangerous, and a sign of laziness. The truth is some things are better after they’ve simmered or fermented for awhile. Others will resolve themselves if you stop interfering in their process. Not one problem; not one issue was ever resolved by worrying it like a dog gnawing a meaty bone. Yet many are made worse for excessive attention.

Everything Happens in Right Timing

Community

In many cases, you don’t have enough information to settle something in the here and now. You were meant to wait a little while until information you need becomes available, or better still, until someone who’s assistance you need is free to help you manage the load. You wouldn’t try to move a refrigerator by yourself without at least a dolly, if not another person too. What makes you think everything in your life has to be a solo act?

Community is one of the greatest inventions, in my humble opinion. Animals know it, and honor the concept. It’s humans who harbor the mistaken belief building a road, or conquering a mountain is meant to be accomplished alone. In refusing the share the glory, you’re taking a lot longer to get where you want to go, and when you do get there, you find you’re standing on the mountaintop alone with no one to share your success.

There are plenty of others who share your goals and dreams,, and are waiting for the opportunity to knock you off a mountain you scaled alone, and for which you have neither support, nor safety net. If you get out of your head, and allow others to help you build a community first, your position on the mountaintop will be more substantial, and easier to defend.

Many Minds Create a Firm Foundation

Many Minds

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Not only that, you’ll have the benefit of other minds with their own unique way of seeing things so improvements continue to happen, thereby strengthening your position even further. Giants like IBM learned the hard way failure to evolve, improve, and move into the future can, and will erode any edge you might have had by getting there first. Living on past successes, like bemoaning past failures insures future stagnation.

Keep your mind sharp by releasing emotional ties to the past, as well as hopes and fears for the future. Look at what’s in front of you right now. Allow your vision to be clear of constraints; what’s already been done, what you think can or cannot be done, and look closely at what’s in front of you. You’re more likely to see something you might have missed if your mind stayed cluttered with random nonsense.

I believe practicing mindfulness should be something taught to children from a young age. If children were taught they don’t need to hang onto old emotional ties and responses; to take the lesson, and leave the pain as it were, there’d be less need for coping mechanisms, and as a result, less need to heal from those coping mechanisms which rarely serve, but often hinder.

Change the Moment You Can Control

Old Baggage

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Understanding whatever happened in the past is done and gone, and can’t be changed is life changing. Knowing you don’t have to carry all the baggage around indefinitely is incredibly freeing. Would you rather scale the next mountain with an 100-pound backpack filled with every random thought, word, and deed you picked up along the way, or a 20-pound day pack filled with only the essentials for your trip? I know which one I’d choose.

I know there are many wonderful, precious moments I’ve missed because I allowed past hurts, memories, and coping mechanisms to stand in my way. I could add the missed opportunities to my pile of regrets, and once I would have. I know now, they only get in the way of my ability to live in the present moment; to live mindfully, carrying only the lessons in my virtual rucksack, and dropping the pain, what I mistook for self-protection, and worst of all, the walls and masks that did me far more harm than good.

Give yourself the chance to lighten your load, and to once again see the world with eyes of child-like wonder. The potential for wonder never changed. You simply did what you thought was growing up, but in fact, shut you down. It’s not too late, and the wonders are still there. All it takes to find it again is to live in the moment.

Grateful for the Lessons I Learned On the Way to Mindfulness

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for the lessons I learned which taught me to let go of everything that no longer serves me.
  2. I’m grateful for all the wonderful, amazing, inspiring present moments.
  3. I’m grateful for the walls and masks I learned to drop from my life.
  4. I’m grateful for the lessons which make for a much lighter load.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, joy, life, family, community, friendships, moments, peace, harmony, balance, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Namaste

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a Holistic Ghostwriter, and an advocate for cats and mental health. 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 as Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author

Light the Flame of Your Passion

Flame of PassionYou are an expert in some area. Sure, you might not be The Expert; the one everyone looks at for guidance on the subject, but you are an expert in your own right whether you realize it or not. If you’re looking for that area, start with something you’re passionate about.

Let’s be clear on something though. Not everyone can, or even should be a rocket scientist. Some of the people I most admire are experts at maintaining a beautiful home. Not only have they created an environment that’s both comfortable and beautiful, they know how to keep it neat, and welcoming with seemingly little effort.

As an inveterate slob, and one who’s lived most of her life in what I generously refer to as organized chaos, it’s a skill set that’s always eluded me. I may have improved with age, and have a neater, more organized environment now, but you’ll never see me on the cover of “House Beautiful”. Many of my friends would definitely make the cut.

It’s not simply decorating and cleaning either. Several have done their own construction; knocking out walls, installing windows and cabinets, and envisioning what they wanted before the work began.

Do What You Love, and Love What You Do

Cat Mask by Mely

That same ability to envision a finished product is inherent in my friend Mely, and my daughter Heather. Not only do they recognize and implement aesthetics in their physical environment, they’re able to look at a piece of fabric, and see a finished piece. Plus, they have the patience to constantly improve their own skills.

Often, expertise develops in new areas because of what you learned in others. Mely is a talented painter, so sewing for her is another form of art. Heather is a talented crafter, and loves creating in numerous mediums. For both, teaching themselves to sew was a short hop from what they already knew and loved.

You probably take your own skills and talents for granted, brushing off compliments by saying it wasn’t much, or you didn’t really put any effort into it. That’s the beauty of it! You do things effortlessly because they’re in your area of expertise. You branch out into other things naturally because they are a seamless progression from what you already love, and are good at.

Let Your Passion Fuel You

Fuelled by PassionOne of my areas of expertise is writing. I’m certainly not the go-to person for all things writing. I don’t offer courses on how to write better. But it does come easily to me, and for those it doesn’t, they see it as a talent they haven’t mastered. Not that I’ve in any way mastered the craft myself, but the ability to knock out 1000+ words in a short amount of time, or to research a topic, then write about it intelligently is something not everyone can do, nor frankly even wants to.

I get it, because I feel that way about sewing. I’d just as soon order my masks, pouches, and even clothing from the people who enjoy sewing. Or worst case, go to a store, or buy it online. The last thing I want to do is pull out my sewing machine, and figure out how to make those things myself. But ask me to sit at my computer for hours writing or researching, and I’ll be all in.

Often, what you’re passionate about fuels you. It brings you comfort, but also a feeling of accomplishment. More often than not, you take it for granted, assuming everyone can do it. Years ago, I believed everyone not only dreamed in color, but remembered their dreams. That belief was shattered in a high school Psychology class when I learned only about 10% of humans dreamed in color, and remembered it.

Stop Taking Yourself for Granted

The same is true for that talent; that gift you’ve been taking for granted. Not only is it a skill most people lack, but it’s something most people probably don’t even like doing!

Think about it. If everyone enjoyed sewing, there’d be no need for clothing manufacturers, or tailors, or mask makers. If everyone enjoyed creating a beautiful home, there’d be no need for interior designers, housekeepers, or maids. And if everyone enjoyed balancing their books, or writing, there’d be no need for accountants, bookkeepers, or writers.

For me, that’s the beauty of Humanity. You get to have unique skills and passions. You get to contribute to a beautiful life, by exercising your own passions, and asking for help in areas outside your own areas of expertise. Best of all, you get to learn new skills that augment or support your passions whenever you want!

Not an Imposter

Shine Your LightWhat I’m trying to say is (to use an old cliche), don’t hide your light under a bushel basket. Revel in your talents; your passions; your expertise, and allow yourself to build on them. Share those skills with others, whether it’s simply family and friends, or you build a business around it. How far you go is limited only by your imagination, motivation, and inspiration.

Don’t get stuck in imposter syndrome either. Sure, there will always be someone who knows more than you do, who dreams bigger, and who executes more elegantly. By the same token, there are many who look to you for inspiration, guidance, and expertise.

Just as you will always be ahead of some, and behind others on your life journey, so too will you be on your path to excellence. So read these next words very carefully. There is never a reason to compare yourself, favorably, or unfavorably to anyone else.

Shine Your Light to Encourage Others

Glow Like the Moon

Photo – Rachel Kramer via Flikr

No matter where you are, how much you know, how much you’ve yet to learn, and even, how much you’ve forgotten along the way, you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be right now. You are the expert on your own life, and in the areas that make you glow like a cloud-wrapped Full Moon.

Your glow lights the way for more people than you will ever know! Without you, there are many who would struggle, if not fail to find their own way. Just because you can’t see them doesn’t mean they’re not there. Do you really want to leave so many in the dark because you have yet to recognize how amazing you are?

Please, for the sake of all Humanity, let your passion and expertise light up the sky wherever you go. Be the sunshine of your own life, and let others light their own flame of passion by your example. When all else fails, encourage someone else to shine their light proudly.

Using Gratitude to Honor Self

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for finally following my own passion.
  2. I’m grateful for opportunities to learn, grow, and expand my expertise.
  3. I’m grateful for endless opportunities to write, read, research, and learn.
  4. I’m grateful for learning to let my own light shine, knowing I don’t have to have all the answers, or be the best of the best.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, joy, independence, inspiration, motivation, imagination, dedication, support, encouragement, joy, peace, harmony, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Namaste

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a Holistic Ghostwriter, and an advocate for cats and mental health. 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 as Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author

Flip Your Switch and Motivate

Kick Overwhelm to the Curb to Motivate

Clear Clutter to Motivate

Photo Courtesy of Elana Centor via Flikr

Do you have a To Do List? Of course you do! It may not be an actual, written list, but mentally, I’m guessing you have an overwhelming list of tasks, both large and small you think you need to get to at some point or other. If you’re like most people, that list gets longer and longer, as you add things faster than you can take them off.

All too often, you’re like a hoarder facing a house packed wall to wall with stuff. You stand there like a deer in the headlights, looking at your list and wondering where to even start. What will it take to motivate you? What can you simply get rid of?

Once upon a time, I was right there with you. I heaped a gazillion tasks on my own head, insisting each one was important to my health, well-being, and sanity. I’d look at the list and tell myself I had to do this, or I needed to do that. In the end, I’d often do nothing, and feel even worse for disappointing myself.

Change Your Mindset

Unclutter Your Mind

Photo-John O’Beirne via Flikr

The first thing I had to change was my mindset. That meant not only how I looked at the tasks on my list, but giving myself credit for whatever I got done each day, no matter how small.

Looking at the tasks on my list, I learned none of them were so critical, nor life changing they needed, or had to be done. Instead, I learned each and every task was a privilege, or even a reward for the many tasks I’d completed but never given myself credit for. For example:

  • I got to clean my house because I’d worked hard to have that house in the first place.
  • I got to do laundry because I’d not only earned the money to buy clothes, but I’d made the effort to go shopping to get those clothes.
  • I got to spend the day writing, because I’d created a lifestyle that allowed me to chart my own path.

I could go on, but I think you get the picture. The other part of this picture lies in how you look at your To Do list in the first place. Do you look at all the tasks you’ve yet to do, or do you stop and give yourself credit for all you’ve already done? Do you constantly look at how far up the mountain you need to climb, or do you glance back every so often to see how far you’ve come?

Take Advantage of the Gimmes

Make a ListIf you’re constantly looking forward it’s easy to get discouraged. The top of the mountain will always look so far away, it’s nearly insurmountable. But if you look back every now and then, you’ll be amazed by how far you’ve traveled, and will probably even get another burst of energy from the elation you’ll feel for the progress you’ve made.

Another little trick I’ve learned is to make a list of 10 things I’ve accomplished each day. On that list, I’ll always include 2 or 3 “gimmes’; things I do without even thinking about it because I formed a regular habit. Things like:

  • Making the bed
  • Brushing my teeth and taking my supplements
  • Sweeping the floors
  • Scooping the litter boxes
  • Cleaning up the kitchen
  • Doing my daily exercises

As you add regular habits to your day, the list of “gimmes” gets longer, and soon, you might even have all 10 of the day’s completed tasks done without a thought or backwards glance. If you’re like me, you’ve also found ways to complete those daily tasks more efficiently, and added a few weekly ones like laundry, or mopping as well.

Build a Plan One Habit at a Time

progress

If there’s one thing this recovering slob has learned over time, it’s easier to keep things up if you have a regular plan for completing each task in smaller chunks. And it’s easier to add more smaller chunks when you treat the tasks as a privilege instead of a chore. Admittedly, it takes some doing, and maybe even seeing a benefit to doing something every day. Here are a few that have helped me:

  • Brushing my teeth and taking my supplements every day allows me to feel healthier and more energetic. It also lets me bounce back from physical setbacks more quickly.
  • Writing a daily gratitude post allows me to raise my own vibration, and to stay out of lack mindset.
  • Sweeping the floors every day means I don’t have to walk on dust, sand and debris, and keeps me from grinding dirt and grime into the floors which makes them harder to clean.
  • Cleaning up the kitchen every night means I always wake to a clean, organized space, and always have clean dishes, and best of all, fresh coffee in the morning.
  • Writing blog posts 2-3 weeks ahead of time means I don’t have to scramble to get something up on time.
  • Doing daily Facebook Lives often gives me a topic for a blog post or two.

I’ll admit, every one of these tasks felt like a chore when I first started creating the habit, but as time went on, I learned to appreciate how much each one improved my life, my attitude, and my health. Best of all, they give me a great start on the day’s list of completed tasks, and keep my To Do list from overwhelming me.

Use a Ta Da List to Motivate

Busy

Photo-sammydavisdog via Flikr

In fact, I’m more likely to eschew the To Do list altogether in favor of a Ta Da list; a list of accomplishments. I’ve learned I don’t really need a list to remind me of tasks that need doing. I can simply look around me, and see what I need to do.

Unlike a shopping list which reminds me of things I need at the time I realize I need them so I won’t forget when I finally get to the store, my world is fairly simple. I can see what needs done, even if it’s something outside the physical plane. My monkey mind keeps the tasks needing attention circling like a juggler’s balls so I can pluck one out of the mix as time, inclination, and motivation allow.

Nothing kicks my motivation into high gear like giving myself credit for all I’ve done. Size does not matter in this case. In my mind, each task has the same value, so more completed tasks on my Ta Da list tends to inspire me to reach higher, and do more.

What I’m trying to say in my usual long-winded way is you increase your motivation when you feel good about yourself and what you’ve done. If you list everything you’ve accomplished each night, you’ll inspire yourself to keep up the good work. You don’t need validation from anyone else. Your own recognition, and a healthy dose of gratitude will do the trick. Try it for a week, and you’ll see.

Make Gratitude Part of Your Daily Habits

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful I get to do so many things that make my world brighter, happier, and fuller.
  2. I’m grateful for learning to flip the switch, and view my tasks and projects as privileges rather than chores.
  3. I’m grateful for the plethora of former chores that have become an integral part of my daily routine, and for how much they’ve benefited and improved my life.
  4. I’m grateful for an improved outlook, and how it’s kicked my motivation into overdrive.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; joy, motivation, love, determination, inspiration, dedication, project completion, opportunities, peace, harmony, balance, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Namaste

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a Holistic Ghostwriter, and an advocate for cats and mental health. 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 as Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author

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