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Archive for the ‘accomplishments’ Category

3 Years: Taking Stock

Looking Back: What I Planned vs. Where I Actually Am

In less than a week it will be 3 years since I quit my accounting job to be a writer. Though I’ve earned a bit of money, it hasn’t been nearly enough to stop my financial resources from bleeding out at a frightening rate. And most of the earnings have been made by doing what I left; accounting work.

So what went wrong?

For starters, I’ve let fear coupled with laziness and overlaid with procrastination halt my progress. Though I’ve started several projects,, both in writing and self-improvement, my follow-through is lacking. I have 3 unfinished novels, the self-help/memoir I began in 2009 awaiting completion and the children’s book I started 25 years ago, also begging for attention. I’ve published one short story on a blog hop. And that’s it. That’s all I have to show for 3 years of supposed writing efforts. The trouble is, too much of that 3 years has been spent doing anything but writing or pitching or preparing to publish.

Facing Some Difficult Choices

So where do I go from here? I realized this morning that I have but a few months left before I either have to start selling my stock, or get a real job again, which will be challenging simply because I’ve aged another 3 years and am, for the most part, an undesirable new employee in an environment full of new graduates and fresh ideas.

I’m forced to take a good, hard look at myself, my motivation, and the likelihood I’ll actually achieve those lofty goals I set when I was 10.

Can I achieve those goals? I’d have to say yes.

Do I have what it takes to actually go after them so I can achieve them? On this one, I’m uncertain.

Am I willing to give them up right now? This one gets a definite no. I am not ready to give up, but I’m going to have to commit to acting like a writer each and every day. I have to commit to writing that outline, to perfecting that pitch, to throwing my work under the bus wheels of my critique group, and really listen to what they have to say. Most of all, I have to accept the fact that there will be rejections, and thicken my skin some more.

Keeping it all in Perspective

Nothing I hear or see is personal. I know that on a conscious level, but will future rejections, or worse, being ignored, shake or even shatter my resolve?

Only if I allow it, I know that. But what makes me believe I’m strong enough to keep from being overcome? What makes me think I’m strong enough, when an entire nation was just overrun by greed, bigotry, corruption, and hate?

Do I even still believe I deserve to succeed?

I’ve been telling myself for awhile that there’s enough to go around; enough for everyone. And yet, publishers reject at least 99 out of 100 manuscripts. They probably don’t even read thousands more. I’m having huge doubts about being able to stand out from the crowd these days. I’m allowing myself to give up before I’ve even tried because I’m feeling average; ordinary; unremarkable.

Time to Sink or Swim, Fish or Cut Bait

3 years is a long time to tread water, and at the rate I’m going, it won’t be long before I start to sink. Yet, I know I’m the only one who can truly prevent that, either by becoming a stronger swimmer or by building a boat.

Boards are my words, the tools, my imagination and persistence. Both have been at a low ebb lately. In fact, for the entire month of November, I wrote very little. For the first time, I started NaNo and failed to follow through after the first couple of days, the first couple of thousand words.

Friends: My Lighthouse in the Storm

I’m questioning whether sticking with my critique group is in my best interests, when in reality, I’m doubting my value to the group far more. light-of-love-and-joy

In my moment of deep despair, a friend sent me a Facebook message which couldn’t have come at a better time. It only proves something I often forget. Love and inspiration will always be there for me when I need it most. I simply have to open my heart and my mind and accept the gifts.

I see that encouragement like this which always comes at the right time is what has kept me going for the last 3 years. If I give up, not only do I let myself down, but also so many who have offered love, support, and encouragement while I’ve struggled to find my path. Maybe, just maybe, I’ve changed directions once too often already, but I still have time to get myself back on track. I still have time and resources to keep from failing myself.

Starting Over: A Little Wiser and a Whole Lot Humbler

So today, I start outlining Forgotten Victims so I’ll have an outline ready when I narrow down my prospective publishers. Today, I start to organize the years of random thoughts and feelings, the advice I give others who’ve lost a family member to suicide.

Today is my new beginning.

Above All, Remembering to be Grateful

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for friends who know just when to encourage and just when to kick my butt.
  2. I am grateful for my writing which never fails to help me sort things out.
  3. I am grateful for the last 3 years. I’ve found myself, lost myself and found myself again, but have learned that I still have a lot to discover.
  4. I am grateful for the opportunity to share my struggles and help others with theirs.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, inspiration, motivation, self-sufficiency, opportunity, hope, dreams, faith, peace, harmony, philanthropy, success, and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

Photo credit: Dawn Huczek via Flickr

Corralling the Monkey Mind

Cheetah on My Mind

Lately, my mind has been performing a constant series of mental gymnastics. It makes it especially difficult to sit down and put words to page as they flit by so rapidly, even my speedy typing can’t keep up. It took me three days to settle it down enough to produce a 1000 word post about the last event I attended with my photographer friend. Was it my best quality work? Maybe, and maybe not, but at least it got writ.

On several occasions, it crossed my mind to add a post to my blog as well, but the very idea of sitting down and typing actual words sent the monkey into a screaming hissy fit of hysterical screeching and flinging of poo. (not a pretty sight, I assure you!)

I’m not really sure what allowed the furry fellow to settle down enough to let me work, but I got a good 3 hours worth in today and now, here I sit, putting more words to screen. Perhaps it’s the daily meditations. I actually completed 12 weeks of listening and have re-started at Level 1 of WTGOM. Meanwhile, I’ve reached Level 4 of WTGOWL and am slowly but surely releasing fat, thanks in part to a healthier diet, but aided and abetted by NEAT (a concept which says I must get up and move every hour more than just my regular bathroom visits), increasing time spent moving with the music and encouragement of my Wii Fit and of course, the incredibly supportive Neurogym Weight Loss community. With their help, I’m learning to stay on track, cheer my victories and accept the now very minor setbacks with an honest look at the behavior that caused them. No guilt and no blame makes it much easier to get back on track and discourages the binge eating which accompanies self-flagellation.

We and We Alone Are the Creators of Stress

As I sit here, monkey mind is still dashing off in many directions, further complicating my ability to hold a thought long enough to transfer it from brain to fingers. I’m thinking about the interview I’ve yet to turn into an article and questions I need to prepare for the next one. Then there’s my daughter’s graduation, a commitment I’ve made to a local wild animal rescue and the list goes on.

I was reading an e-book about recharging and how we cope with stress today. As I read, I saw how many things I’ve released over the last couple of years which should have brought my stress level down to nothing. But, in some ways, I guess I’m a modified version of a Type A personality as I seem to bog myself down with things I need to do, should do, want to do…and so on. In reality, there isn’t that much, but I’m finding even article writing isn’t simply a matter of looking at my notes and letting words fly. I tend to find, as I write, that I’ll find something I need to check on the net in order to make the article as perfect as I can. Then my mindfulness clock goes off and I know I really should get up and do squats or something.

If that wasn’t enough to rekindle a fire under my stress responses, I’ll suddenly remember something I forgot to do which means jumping up and doing it before I forget it again. Now, I’m further behind on all of my shoulda, coulda, wouldas.

Loving Myself, Warts and All

Ultimately I remember to just stop, breathe and give my little inner monkey time go gather his toys and his blanket and settle down for a nap. Because we really are in charge of that crazy, erratic, seemingly intractable mind running relay races in our head. We can stop our own insanity without shouting ourselves hoarse. All we have to do is stop, relax, take a few deep breaths and allow ourselves a moment or two to just be without accomplishing anything or making lists or berating ourselves for our shortcomings. In those few quiet moments, we can also add a couple of “I love you just the way you are”s. Because in those moments we give ourselves several times a day (or should be if we aren’t already), there is no judgement, no recrimination, no blame and no guilt.

Those moments of pure self-love calm the mental monkey because he feeds on our sense of uber responsibility. Giving ourselves permission to be less than perfect; to only accomplish as much as we reasonably can in any 24 hour period, to eat one small wheat and preservative filled cracker; to be what we really are, and that’s an imperfect but perfectly lovely human being.

Who Knew Letting Go Was the Real Solution?

Funny, when I stopped fighting the mental gymnastics, the words began to flow. When I stopped trying to figure out why a particular article was stressing me out, the answer came like a flashbulb going off. When I stopped worrying about what to write in this blog post, 800+ words found their way from my fingers to the screen. When I let go, everything began to flow smoothly again. Why do we make something so simple seem to difficult?

For those of you (and you know who you are) who are fighting with your own monkey minds as you push to get just one more thing done before you drop into bed at 2 or 3 or 4 AM, I challenge you to do three things: 1. Breathe 2. Let go 3. Give yourself permission to be imperfect. Because you know what? You’re much more beautiful when you’re just you.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for learning to love myself as I am and not like some heavily retouched picture of perfect womanhood.
2. I am grateful for the lessons I’ve been learning and the conclusions I’ve reached while meditating to the WTGOM and WTGOWL audios.
3. I am grateful for the books and articles I’m reading that are written by people who, like me aren’t perfect.
4. I am grateful that I finally finished something I started and, in fact, started over with a new plan in place.
5. I am grateful for abundance: love, friendship, self-love, joy, productivity, creativity, motivation, words, peace, harmony, health, philanthropy and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

July 6, 2015 20 Things I’ve Accomplished Despite a Gimpy Shoulder

Positivity is Like Marriage: If You Don’t Put the Effort in, It’s Destined to Fail

As I wait impatiently for my shoulder to return to its normal, healthy, burden heaving self, it’s been very easy to sink into the doldrums of self-pity and anxiety over things left undone. The latter is compounded both by my tendency to be a hermit and my reticence over asking for help. Through it all, though, despite a certain languidness brought on, first by the pain and later by the effects of the muscle relaxers and occasional pain pill (I try to use those sparingly), I realized this morning that I’ve actually managed to accomplish more than I realized. In an effort to both inspire myself and raise the level of positive energy in my house, I’m going to share the week’s accomplishments.

  • My cats have not missed a single breakfast of wet food.
  • I did two loads of laundry
  • I’ve made the bed every day
  • I’ve cleaned up the kitchen every night
  • I’ve emptied, cleaned and refilled the litter boxes
  • I’ve scooped the litter boxes (almost) daily
  • I’ve picked up my weekly produce box
  • I’ve used a free weight to exercise my arm several times a day
  • I’ve taken the trash out
  • I’ve gone dancing on all of my regular dance nights
  • I’ve brushed my teeth and taken my vitamins (almost) every day
  • I’ve done my daily meditations
  • I’ve done the monthly work for a client
  • I’ve sent out a couple of pitch letters
  • I’ve run the dishwasher and put the dishes away
  • I’ve done my monthly billing
  • I’ve written at least 2 blog posts per week
  • I’ve learned how to use the mouse with my left hand
  • I cooked myself a yummy 4th of July dinner.
  • I’ve put the laundry away as soon as it was done instead of leaving it in the dryer for daysSomething I’ve learned since trading in my negative attitude several years ago is that just knocking a task off of your To Do list, no matter how lazy, crappy, or otherwise unpositive you might feel raises your vibration. There’s no way around it. You just can’t feel bad about completing a task. That’s part of the reason I keep a To Do list on my computer. That way, I can look back on those days when my mood is dour and say Why, look at that! I made my bed every single day and blogged 4 times! I meditated daily and kept the litter boxes clean! I guess it wasn’t such a bad week after all! I guess this is what they mean by living an attitude of gratitude. When you find enough little things to be grateful for, suddenly, you have a big load of gratitude to boost your mood and make you feel like you’re living a worthwhile life.

    Real Wealth is Never About How Much Money or Stuff You Have

    I’ll be the first to admit that having enough money to pay the bills, fix up the house, take care of the animals and give money to charity is nothing to be sneezed at. That doesn’t mean you can’t make do with what you have, or do something to improve your situation. I’ve spent more time than I care to admit uttering those hateful words “I can’t afford…” only to realize that I’m attracting that lack and de-motivating myself. It’s doing things like going over my list of accomplishments and focusing my attention on what I can do and what I do have that I can stuff those motivation sucking thoughts back into the garbage where they belong.

    Paying Homage to My Leap of Faith

    I took a leap of faith a couple of years ago, trusting in myself to do what was necessary to make something of my writing; to make a career that would make me happy and fulfilled. Allowing myself to even think lack thoughts is to say I have no faith in myself, and if that’s true, then I should be combing the job boards for gainful employment instead of continuing to make writing my sole source of sustenance, both physical and emotional. Do I dare lose faith in myself? Do I dare stop trusting that the Universe is on my side and willing to help me attain my goals? Do I dare give up without giving it the old college try? If I do, I might as well just cash it all in and admit to a life of little worth. I’m not going to do that!

    In life, there are setbacks, and it’s how we respond to those setbacks which determine the person we really are. For me, giving up is not an option. I’ve always been a fighter, even when it wasn’t necessarily in my own best interests. Why change that now? In each and every case, it’s eventually worked out for the best. A door may have closed, but a better one eventually opened, and I moved further along my own, personal continuum. Perhaps the gimpy shoulder was just another reminder that I can either give in or do whatever is necessary to improve my situation. Guess which one I’ll choose.

    My gratitudes today are:
    1. I am grateful for the challenges and setbacks which test my convictions and commitment to my goals.
    2. I am grateful for the ability to turn my attitude around with just a little gratitude and self-congratulations.
    3. I am grateful for my alone time. It gives me an opportunity to work through the crap and figure out what’s really bothering me.
    4. I am grateful for the appetite suppressing tendencies of the muscle relaxers while my activity level has been lower than normal.
    5. I am grateful for abundance: challenges, lessons, setbacks, thinking time, kitty nurses, extra sleep, love, joy, kindness, compassion, friendship, peace, harmony, health, prosperity and philanthropy.

    Blessed Be

    I’d appreciate your taking a moment to visit my Facebook pages at and . Please also drop by my website, and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

June 30, 2015 What Did and Did Not Happen Today

According to My To Do List, Every Day Has its Share of Accomplishments

Every day has something to show for itself, but some simply have more than others. Continued pain in my shoulder and arm are reducing the amount of items I check off right now. I could allow this to stress me out, but that would only serve to exacerbate the pain, so I choose to focus on the accomplishments instead. Since the escalating pain was not responding well to homeopathic remedies I was forced to take an uncharacteristic approach last night and retrieve the very dusty bottle of vodka from the upper regions of my cupboards and chug the resulting concoction of vodka and cranberry juice. The up side is that I slept, but the downside is that I didn’t awaken until 11 AM.

Necessity is sometimes a mother, and she really rang my chimes today. I succumbed to her by making an appointment with my doctor for the sole purpose of obtaining muscle relaxers and pain pills. Though certainly not my favorite option, the crabbiness from sleep deprivation was becoming unbecoming. Though I see my doctor’s nurse practitioner only when absolutely necessary, she did remember that if I’m complaining of intolerable pain (a level of 8 or above), a normal person would be at a level 25, and would long since have been in her office begging for drugs while writhing on the floor in a pain-induced state of insanity. At the moment, they’re still only effective if I sit perfectly still and do my yoga breathing, but I’m hoping that by tomorrow, the stranglehold my shoulder muscle currently has on the nerves will have lessened to a slightly more tolerable level.

Of course, making an appointment with my doctor was fraught with its own brand of peril. It seems that Blue Shield, in its infinite wisdom only updates the website the doctors use to determine eligibility when they bloody well feel like it. According to their site, my coverage had terminated last November due to unpaid premiums. It would have been nice if the doctor could have accepted a screen shot from my insurance website showing that my premiums were up-to-date, but of course, that would have been far too easy. I do understand that the doctor doesn’t want to risk being forced to chase after me at a later date to get paid for their services, but does it really have to take Blue Shield 30 minutes to search their system to determine that my coverage is still in place and paid?

One would hope that the trials and tribulations would end at that point, but I had one more hurdle to jump (good thing it’s my shoulder and not my legs!). I got one prescription on paper and one was sent over to my local Von’s. When I went to retrieve them about 30 minutes later, the one which was sent over hadn’t come through yet. Fortunately, half way through my call to the doctor’s office, it finally showed up. Lesson learned. Get all prescriptions on paper from now on.

Without further ado, here is what did happen today:

  • Teeth got brushed
  • Vitamins got swallowed
  • Produce box got picked up (though I had to take the scenic route because half of the road was blocked off.)
  • Meditation was done
  • Dishwasher got unloaded
  • Kitchen got cleaned up
  • Bed got made.
  • Refilled ink cartridges got picked upThough it may not seem like much, I consider it a huge accomplishment given the level of pain and sleep deprivation. Unfortunately, typing on the computer is one of the least comfortable activities so this will be short and sweet as I’m waiting for the meds to kick in.

    My gratitudes tonight are:
    1. I am grateful that the end of pain is in sight.
    2. I am grateful for my nurse kitties who have been especially attentive today.
    3. I am grateful that I won’t have to again resort to alcohol to sleep.
    4. I am grateful that I got the name of an accupuncturist since my insurance doesn’t cover chiropractic or physical therapy.
    5. I am grateful for abundance: health, harmony, peace, love, friendship, philanthropy and prosperity.

    Blessed Be

I’d appreciate your taking a moment to visit my Facebook pages at and . Please also drop by my website, and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!


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