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Archive for the ‘attitude’ Category

Badass by Attitude, Not Physique

Learning by Watching

Going to the gym 3 times a week gives me a lot of time to think. At the moment, I only use the strength training equipment as my daily walks and dancing give me plenty of opportunity for cardio. If I get really bored, I can always clean house!

Resting between sets, I look around and see the usual complement of men flexing, hoisting, and performing the rituals which make them a community in their own right. Though fewer in number, women form part of this community as well, though more often than not, in their own, smaller circles.

Certain ones seem to keep a similar schedule to mine and range from beginners to serious body builders, and everything in between. At one time, I would look around and compare myself to others, both favorably and otherwise, but have learned it’s a losing proposition either way. Now, I look to pick up new ideas for my own workouts; nothing more.

Earning the Right to Wear the Attitude

It’s hard not to notice those who are serious about their physical fitness though. attitudeNot only are most of them both lean and muscular, but they carry themselves with an attitude that says loudly and clearly: “Mess with me and I’ll turn you into a human pretzel without breaking a sweat!”

Still and all, their air is not so much aggressive as unapologetically confident. They’re not looking for a fight. They simply have nothing to prove—to anyone. When I see the word “badass” bandied around in so many women’s entrepreneurial groups, this is the image I see; not the skinny young woman leaning against an expensive car bragging about how she’s making 6 figures. In my mind, money (especially the fake kind) doesn’t make you badass. You only find that when you are genuinely self-confident and need no outside validation in order to feel and believe in yourself.

Needless to say, I cringe whenever I see the words “badass business babes” appearing on my news feed. In my mind, it’s the “Emperor’s New Clothes” version of business success. When a woman uses these words (and I have to say, I don’t see it used by women of a certain age, so perhaps it’s a generational thing), my mind says: This woman is seeing herself as she wants to be, not as she is.

Walking the Talk the Right Way

badassNot that this is a bad thing. Many follow the “fake it ’til you make it” doctrine. Somehow, I don’t think the intent behind that premise is to tell the world a bunch of lies in the mistaken belief they’ll buy something from you and make your declarations true. If you’re going to fake it ’til you make it, I believe the answer lies in having a genuine attitude of gratitude for what you already have, who you are, and the endless possibilities at your disposal.

I guess I class the people who use this phrase in with the ones who believe in cold calling. They’re the same ones who will send you a friend or connection request and upon acceptance, send you 12 inches of spammy sales copy in a private message. To me, that’s a clear message they are NOT uber successful, much less selling something I’d want or need.

One Woman’s Spam is Another’s Sales Style

I broached the subject of the spammy messages in my favorite Facebook group, https://www.flickr.com/photos/ekilby/16654251449/in/photolist-rnFoJn-apL7G5-8dGq5W-3w8Ke-8hXDgU-jghTD-88g1hy-5TtJq-4HTyY3-bKMwoD-gmMGf-8SggFs-aR1use-9QsYh-6Lego9-dHJajk-6Uqg5T-HBz66U-6wBgGs-6EMd2b-3i2FAx-RdqC6h-aBYCYg-8cSZJL-eSGonX-3i1qEx-ov2XaG-eSTPh3-6KYT7T-dg1bo-3i2hPa-YC8cK9-3i1vc4-f9zQVL-79EZcb-6KYSRe-josrJ-imGePS-josiC-joscd-3i6Gk9-6LbHPt-jore9-9ZD8oy-5cot6h-2un1k7-jorVf-jorbz-4H1Zbr-7GDbMJGorilla Army Nation (Getting Sales Without Being Salesy) after accepting a friend request I had doubts about. My doubts were confirmed with an immediate (if not premature as it came in before I accepted the friend request) message that began:

I’m reaching out to you because we work with thousands of clients and companies over the past 14 years to achieve their goal in their business.

What made it worse is, she mentioned a group which I stopped following months ago, and am not even posting in, which means she trolled the member list and pulled my name out of her…hat.

I’m a fairly transparent sort these days. I write a lot about my opinion on various sales processes regularly on my website in posts like Removing Desperation from Your Playlist   and How You View Relationships Makes or Breaks You.

As both posts are fairly recent, and are linked to my Facebook business page as well as LinkedIn, a cursory investigation into who I am and what I represent would bring them up for someone truly interested in learning about me as a prospective client. In all honesty, I’m not likely to do business with someone who isn’t, either as a consultant or a client. The people I choose to work with from either position are those who want to build relationships, not just get a quick fix and move on.

Doing Right by My Clients

Created with CanvaThe nature of the business I’ve chosen to build depends on getting a real feel for the person I’m working with. They have to know, like, and trust me enough to emulate their beliefs and style in a believable fashion. I have to understand them and their message on a fairly deep level in order to do that. I’m willing to put in the time it requires, but only for someone I know is as committed as me to that type of business relationship. It definitely isn’t for everyone, which is a good thing, or there’d be too little of me to go around!

One thing I detest is thinking I’ve shortchanged a client. If I do, I’ll eventually get up the nerve to reach out and see what I can do to fix things so they at least feel they got what they paid for, if not more.

Long ago, in the early days of my working life, I often heard “It’s not personal, it’s business”. That concept was fine when I was a cog in a gigantic wheel or working behind the scenes where client contact was limited to billing and payments. Still, there were a lot of facades in those days. Showing your real self; your vulnerability was almost a kiss of death.

A Warmer, More Honest Business Model

I’m grateful the hard, cold, impersonal days of doing business are behind me, but replacing them with “badass” doesn’t sit right either because in my mind, it’s merely another facade. It keeps business relationships impersonal where clients or customers are nothing more than dollars and cents on a P & L or numbers on a pipeline.

With all that said, there is definitely a place in the business world for self-proclaimed “badass business babes”. It just isn’t in my world. I prefer self-confidence that’s real and developed over time, and business relationships that aren’t forged on sleazy practices, subterfuge, and worst of all, disrespect.

Some might consider me part of the badass tribe because I do carry myself with confidence most of the time. That confidence was hard won, but its foundation is honesty and forthrightness. It can also be misconstrued if viewed from the outside without taking a look behind the curtain. Not all are brave enough to take that step.

Many who say they’re “badass” are easily discouraged or intimidated, at least from where I sit watching, listening, and taking notes.

Leading Off With an Attitude of Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful I don’t need labels to make me feel confident.
  2. I’m grateful for the hard lessons I’ve had which make me who I am, without the need for false advertising.
  3. I’m grateful for the people I’m connecting with and building relationships. They are my long-term and my future.
  4. I’m grateful for a world where many different business models can survive. You have to find what feels most comfortable to you, then embrace it wholeheartedly.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, joy, vulnerability, authenticity, opportunities, inspiration, motivation, support, friendship, dancing, community, harmony, peace, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

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 Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward

Attitude: The Ultimate Motivator

Analyzing My Attitude

As I recently embarked on a new version of my lifelong weight management journey (courtesy of Julia Cameron’s “Writing to Diet”), I tend to think about it more than usual. Being the analytical sort, I take it apart and put it back together in various configurations. In one scenario, I look at how others treat their less-than-perfect bodies. Let’s be honest, here. I’ve never met a woman who couldn’t find something she didn’t like about her body!

Still and all, I find those who are more successful focus more on changing one thing, and it has nothing to do with food or exercise.

Re-assessing the Messages I Send Myself

You’ve probably seen a lot of meme’s and posts lately dealing with how people https://www.flickr.com/photos/jobber1/36197048070/in/photolist-X9BkiG-6zNVTx-9WcJ3G-dSakbx-dSammr-9TBa8u-6ezpVp-4BqdWY-VXtGBZ-rmenXX-qCVBCH-ebSPFY-on6uCz-7jht6-n98ro-VTXW6M-a1XWoX-aEZ3ZC-GAd7om-aETqXe-5YRvvk-dSfWbY-KEWxyD-7N2mv7-s8WVRA-97x2ND-9FZG7n-kv3uih-7dAKBM-Usjf3C-emcpAz-3EXMtA-U3SSPP-gQb96B-6QtXTY-o36uJj-iwvCcv-54dBjc-opbQb3-7NxyBo-7G7U6q-cS6eML-9FXQcH-ojrwjj-SUbPcQ-7MNAUc-Ee2qD-jZRnbY-a355px-cS691Nrespond to the messages they receive. Whether you tell a child she’s smart or dumb, she’ll more often than not meet your expectations.

Humans like you and me grow up on the outside, but there’s a part of us which will always be that child who’s easily influenced by expectations; both internal and external. When we tell ourselves things like:

You’re a mess. You need to clean up your act.

or

You’ll never lose the weight you need to. You’re a fatty who can’t control her eating.

or

You gained back 3 ounces. Might as well go scarf that gallon of ice cream. You’re a failure.

In one sense, you’re ripping away at your own self-confidence, and in another, you’re giving yourself permission to keep failing—to keep disappointing the most important person in your life—YOU!

Self-Improvement is the Ultimate Goal

One of the requirements for the new self-improvement program I’ve embarked upon (and yes, I see it as self-improvement rather than weight loss) is to take a 20-minute walk every day. As it happens, I’ve been trying to get into the habit of walking daily for months without success. Somehow, though, when Ms. Cameron wrote about it and offered examples from students who’d followed her plan successfully, I came up with my own plan to make it work.

I know myself well, so getting dressed and out the door had to be a first-thing-in-the-morning task, or it would get put off the way my gym workouts were until I created a plan. If you’ve been following me for the last year or so, you know I’ve been incredibly successful at meeting my 3-day-a-week gym goal, because I assigned myself specific days with their own specific workout. (Monday; legs, Wednesday; chest and triceps, Friday; back and biceps).

As a result, I’m stronger, leaner, and have more energy. I also know it’s not enough, because I wasn’t sticking to my healthier diet so my weight was going up and down like a yo-yo. I’d like to believe at least half of the poundage I reacquired is muscle mass, but who am I kidding? Indeed, a part of it might be, but my clothes were fitting tighter again, and contrary to popular belief, they did not shrink in the wash!

Motivation According to Plan

In order to make the daily walk work with my schedule, I had to put it after writing morning pages and feeding the cats (tasks I can’t move around any more than I already have!), and before coffee and my usual yogurt and blueberries breakfast. Trust me, when coffee is the reward for getting my sneakers on and heading out the door to walk for a mere 20 minutes, little if anything gets between me and that walk!

Now, I could tell you I motivate myself by looking at the too-high numbers on the scale or the ample figure in the mirror and berating myself, but not only would I be lying, I’d be doing you a gross disservice. The truth is, I look at the numbers on the scale and, even when they go back up a bit, I look at my excel spreadsheet and see how many pounds I’ve released over time rather than what I regained over a day or two. It reminds me how much I’m capable of, and that there will always be setbacks.

Positive Reinforcement

I also look myself in the mirror and notice the positive changes. I tell myself how proud I am of those changes, and the effort I made and continue to make. I recognize the effort and forgive the imperfections.

Sure, I’ve changed my eating habits a lot. I eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, and less sugar and flour. I try to track every bite that passes my lips, though with more success some days than others. The question remains, how was I able to turn a life of sloth and often depression into one where the weight is coming off, albeit slowly, and my energy is increasing, not so slowly.

The answer is really a single word: Attitude. Changing my attitude and appreciating my smallest wins turned everything around, and gave me the drive and desire to add new things like daily walks to my routine. Attitude makes me stand straighter and taller, suck in my belly without having to remind myself, and make better food choices.

Ask Not “What Can I Eat?” But “Am I Really Hungry Now?”

It’s taught me to ask myself when my stomach growls at 10 PM if I’m truly hungry, and if so, will a small slice of bell pepper be as effective (if not more so) in silencing the dragons than some sweet or salty snack (for the record, the answer is always yes these days).

I listen to friends complaining about the way they look, or some flaw nobody notices but them. That was once me, and while I focused on the flaws and the failures, my progress was limited if not negative. I had to learn to love myself as I am, at any given moment.

Seeing Myself Through Less Critical Eyes

That doesn’t mean I have to stay in the place I spent so much time beating myself up over. It simply means that each stage of my progress is good and praise-worthy. Wherever I find myself is better than someplace I was at some point in the past.

The changes might not be visible to anyone else, but like everyone, I have laser vision when it comes to myself. I know the frame I live in once carried 20 or 30 more pounds, and that those pounds were pure fat. I know I’m starting to see collarbones I haven’t seen in decades, and silly as it may sound, it makes me dance with joy. Does anyone else notice the faint hint of bone at my neckline? Doubtful. But what anyone else sees has nothing to do with my attitude towards myself—unless I let it.

The Only Opinion That Matters is Mine

If you ask me, the biggest mistake you can make is to allow anyone else to influence your attitude towards yourself. I did for a very long time, and am working on fixing the damage it did.

I’ve also learned no matter how much I’ve shored up my attitude, people and things can still shake it. Still, it’s up to me to remind myself of one of my favorite quotes:

What other people think of me is none of my business.

Whether you’re struggling with your weight, building a business, reaching a goal, or simply giving yourself permission to succeed, I’ve learned it will continue to be a struggle until you can tell yourself with complete confidence that you deserve to succeed at whatever you want to do. The rest is just logistics.

Supporting Myself With an Attitude of Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful I’ve learned to love myself as I am, and not some pie-in-the-sky image of perfection.
  2. I’m grateful I’ve learned to set new goals, and to find a way to achieve them instead of talking myself out of trying.
  3. I’m grateful for new adventures.
  4. I’m grateful for dreams fulfilled. It means I get to dream new dreams.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; joy, love, self-confidence, attitude, friendship, inspiration, motivation, new experiences, peace, health, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, 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 Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward

Another Lesson About Friendship

There Comes a Time When the Only Thing to do is Make Use of the Only Truly Effective Form of Therapy.

I’m a solitary person. I’m more likely to withdraw into myself and write my problems out than seek the help or counsel of someone else. Tonight, that meant sitting in the bar where I dance, writing nearly 1000 words in the Notes app of my iPhone.  Ice Cream Therapy

I’m a very direct person. If I don’t like something someone is doing and it’s someone I care about, I’ll usually do my best to communicate my feelings. I limit the proverbial “cold shoulder” to three circumstances: when the other person is so emotionally engaged that anything I say would only escalate the problem, when I’m so angry that I’m likely to just spew venom(in which case I’ll likely address it later when I’ve calmed down enough to at least make an attempt at being reasonable), or if the offending party is someone I don’t care about.

This attitude has come back to bite me on more than one occasion. Sometimes it’s because I expect my friends to be honest with me while they fall back on social niceties and remain silent, but all too often I just misread the relationship and what I thought was a friendship was just an acquaintanceship from their perspective, making me as disposable as the packaging on the Lean Cuisine they had for lunch.

Such seems to be the case yet again. Admittedly, I did behave badly. I’ve apologized and tried to make amends with everyone involved. Things are pretty much back to normal with those I did consider acquaintances but the ones I considered friends are wearing fake smiles and taking pains to keep their distance. I’d like to say it doesn’t hurt and that I don’t care but there’s no point lying to myself. It does serve to remind me why 60 years in this body has taught me to be very sparing about opening my heart, even in friendship. I’m not one who is able to take friendship lightly, nor do I successfully protect my heart on the increasingly rare occasions when I give it.

It just baffles me that people can act like they care until you make a mistake and earn their disapproval.

But the Universe saw me for the overly trusting, heart-breakingly sensitive soul I am and gave me a passion which can be followed without a lot of human interaction. Instead, I can stand on the sidelines watching other people interact, and yes, play those social games I never learned, by my own choice. They become characters in my stories or part of the landscape in the articles I write while I again try not to be fooled into bringing my heart out of the bubble wrap where I’m reminded to keep it every time it gets stomped into a bloody mess.

Hope Springs Eternal

I guess in some ways I’m a romantic. I keep hoping I’ll find friends and maybe even a partner who will care enough to protect and nurture my heart instead of treating it like garbage. But after 6 decades, my hope is waning. Like Tinkerbell, I desperately need a reason to keep believing; keep hoping; keep loving without reservation. But for now, I’ll stuff those hopes down until they smother and focus on living my own, personal, private passion. For that I just need to dream and write. No messy human contact necessary.

And yet as I let the unhappiness fade I remember the choice to be happy is mine alone. I can choose to allow the insensitivity of others affect my mood or I can flip them a mental bird, wish them a nice life and get on with mine. It still means going it alone but I’m in great company. I know for certain that the company I’m keeping would never abuse my heart and wants only a life of joy and fulfillment for me. I guess there are times the Universe dumps sadness into our lives so we can fully appreciate how wonderful, how bountiful our life truly is…and how overrated most people’s idea of friendship is.

The Silver Lining Inside the Latest Cloud

And yet, as I get busier  doing the work I love, it occurs to me that perhaps endings are simply a part of freeing up more of my time. People can be a distraction and I create enough of those without any outside assistance.

And I remember one of the few biblical quotes I really like:


To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

My personal brand of therapy has led me to conclude this is simply a time for me to be solitary and tend to things which need to be tended.

There Will Always Be Gratitude

What would a blog post from me be without gratitudes. I can always come up with at least a few, and I won’t disappoint you tonight.
1. I am grateful for life’s lessons even if I repeat the painful ones more often than I’d like.
2. I am grateful I’m comfortable in my own skin…and my own company as there are times when it’s the best place for me to be.
3. I am grateful for the people who teach me what friendship is not.
4. I am grateful for my writing. It’s my friend, my solace, my sanity, my therapist and my passion.
5. I am grateful for abundance: lessons, life, limitations, aspirations, motivation, writing, opportunities, stepping outside my comfort zone, peace, harmony, health, joy, 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, www.shericonaway.com 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!

Wallowing in a Pit of Despair? Try Gratitude.

Finding My Way Back Home

For the last 15 years or so, I have made immense progress in turning my life around. I am no longer the angry, defensive creature I had become through long years of tragedies, disappointments and, what I considered at the time to be poor life choices. I’ve learned that everything I’ve done and everywhere I’ve been had a purpose and came together in making me the person I am today.

But sometimes, pieces of my former self rise insidiously to the surface and if left unchecked, threaten to undo all of the work I’ve done. The trick is recognizing it before it sets me back years.

This morning when I woke with the prospect of cooking a huge pot of chili and spending the afternoon with anywhere from 50 to 100 people, the negative thoughts and the desire to crawl back into my hole and pull it in after me became almost overwhelming. Thankfully, years of training myself to do otherwise proved stronger, and I realized I had all the tools I needed to turn this around.

I looked back over the last couple of weeks and realized I’d become angry over stupid things, reactionary, and downright hateful. And truth to be told, I couldn’t dig a hole deep enough to escape the real problem anyway, so fixing it is a much wiser choice. It would also go a long way towards alleviating the constant, if relatively manageable pain I’ve been in since December, helping lower what has clearly become an upwardly spiraling stress level (thankfully, the every-other-day migraines have eased off!), and the resulting sleep deprivation.

Conquering the Demons Within

The answer to my problems, both real and imagined can be summed up in a single word. Gratitude. Sure, I’ve remembered to give thanks for all of the little synchronicities in my life, and, on what has become the rare occasion I actually sit and write a blog post, list a handful of gratitudes. But I’ve been missing the big picture. I’ve been allowing the “don’t haves” to smother the “haves”. No wonder I’m suffering the consequences. My face is meeting my palm rather violently at the moment.

Instead of rambling on about this or that, or detailing the things I won’t be doing from here on out, I’m dedicating the rest of this post to as many gratitudes as I can conjure, because, really, that’s why this blog has evolved; that’s why it is no longer “Surviving and Beyond”, but “Leaps of Faith”. For the last month or better, I’ve been giving it a great deal of lip service, but failing to follow through in my thoughts and deeds.

Reminding Myself of What the Universe Already Knows

Without further ado, here are some things for which I am grateful in this crazy, beautiful, sometimes insane life I’ve been given this time around:

  1. I am grateful for sunny days.
  2. I am grateful for rainy days.
  3. I am grateful for the fur babies I fall asleep with every night and wake to every morning.
  4. I am grateful that I have already lived nearly a year longer than my mother did.
  5. I am grateful for the people who pointed me towards the path of positivity and offer daily reminders.
  6. I am grateful for the lessons I’ve learned, the ones I am still mastering, and those which await me further down the road.
  7. I am grateful for the pains in my body which remind me that I’m being allowed to age and that I need to get up and move more, stretch more and love my body more.
  8. I am grateful that I’ve learned to recognize when I’m wandering away from my true path.
  9. I am grateful for the tools I’ve acquired which help me get back on track.
  10. I am grateful for signs and head slaps from the Universe which remind me to stay positive and hopeful, and get my attention when I start to forget.
  11. I am grateful for all of the wonderful examples I’ve been given: people who have conquered their own demons and retain the kindness and compassion I strive to achieve and embrace as part of my being.
  12. I am grateful for changing my career path to the one which fuels my soul.
  13. I am grateful for remaining positive despite setbacks and challenges which I know are intended to test my commitment.
  14. I am grateful for those setbacks which force me to seek alternatives and remind me that my path will never be straight and smooth. Easy paths don’t offer much in the way of inspiration for writing.
  15. I am grateful for successful completion of my three novels and Frederick the Gentlemouse and for the strength and tenacity to publish and market them.
  16. I am grateful for the stories inside me that are yet to be told.
  17. I am grateful for opportunities to mentor, coach or otherwise support other people.
  18. I am grateful that I’m learning to Stop, Look, and Listen more; not necessarily while crossing the road, but while interacting with other Divine Beings having a Human Experience.
  19. I am grateful to my daughter for encouraging me to start this blog when I got stuck in the middle of writing my first book about family suicide. Not only has writing about it eased my pain and brought more compassion into my life, it has connected me with others who have had similar experiences.
  20. I am grateful for the people who read my blog, my website and even my comments on Social Media. You touch my life and make it a better place. You’ll never know how much that means to me, nor how much it makes me strive to be a better person.

I could go on and on with this, but I’m already feeling better, just for sitting down and doing it. I’ll likely continue the list off-line. Listing my gratitudes has dragged me out of far deeper holes than the one in which I currently find myself. It is probably the single most powerful lesson I’ve learned in the last few years, and one I need to spend more time doing. Maybe that’s why the Universe sat back and watched me slide into a well of negativity for a little while. Like the stretching I now do every day to reduce the physical pain, the physical act of listing my gratitudes turns the inner pain around and shows me how much joy and beauty I have in my life.

Thank you for being a part of my process…my path.

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, www.shericonaway.com 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!

Rainy Day Thoughts

Looking out my window at the rain-drenched street, the late-afternoon sun casts a glow making the neighborhood appear almost magical. Though the drenching we’ve received in the last two days will make but a small dent in our drought-ravaged state, the parched earth, nonetheless, offers it’s own words of gratitude to the dark, looming clouds.

It was easy today to read or study or meditate; a cat or two always nearby. The rain beat a staccato rhythm on my roof, punctuated periodically by thunderclaps, resounding like tympani, emphasizing the downbeat. Yet the almost non-stop downpour elevates my mood. Not because we so desperately need it but because I’ve always found the sound of rain soothing. It’s a sound we humans cannot duplicate via faucet or fountain; its arrhythmic rhythm following its own beat; playing its surreal tune.

Can you hear the music in the raindrops? Can you feel the beat as they bounce off the sidewalk or tap on your window? Do you heed their call when they tap out “Come out and play!”? Or are you more focused on getting the kids to school relatively dry or making what you know will be a challenging commute? Are you too busy, too stressed to stop and just listen to the rhythm of the rain?

One of the many things I gained when I slowed my life down was the luxury of listening to the rain and even heeding its call. Even a downpour while I’m loading groceries into my car just makes me laugh. I turn my face upwards, lapping up a drop or two, then stomp purposefully in the puddles just because I can.

I believe growing old, at least mentally, is a choice. It happens when we choose to let go of our childlike enjoyment of the little things because we feel the need to be responsible. Yet in reality, we can be selectively responsible and still retain that childlike enjoyment.

Maybe that’s why cat and dog videos are so popular these days. You can, for the few moments the video plays, revel in that devil-may-care attitude. But why not take it a step further? Embrace it. Be it. Dance in the rain or sing a happy song. Cut loose and realize what others might think of your behavior is really not your concern. They’re going to react as they do regardless of your behavior. So you might as well make yourself happy, right?

Back when I did have to commute, I taught myself to embrace the delays. They gave me a few more minutes of alone time when I could sip my coffee and smile at my fellow commuters. For those few extra minutes, I was disconnected from phones and computers and people who needed something from me. Those were moments of pure bliss. But those were also days when I worked in a job that was sucking my soul so periods of disconnectedness were golden.

Though I’m rarely stuck in traffic these days, on the rare occasions when I do find myself crawling along the Southern California freeways, I use the time to imagine or create or just sing along with the radio or CD. I’m still learning to release the things I can’t control, but for the most part, traffic jams are no longer a cause for stress. But then again, I can choose to stay home when the roads are a mess.

Someone asked me recently if I could continue to survive financially if it took me a little longer to get a few writing or VA gigs. I was pleasantly surprised to admit that the simplifications I’ve made in my life in the last couple of years along with some fortuitous reductions in outflow mean I’d actually be OK for quite some time.

As I felt some of the pressure flow out of my system, I felt confidence flow in. Thanks to an ever-increasing network of positive, supportive people, I’m gaining much-needed skills for promoting not only the work I’m doing now, but the books I will be publishing over the next couple of years. These things took time to build. Relationships have been a process. This isn’t something I could have accomplished in less time than it’s taken. There’s a lot to be said for being a work in progress.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the people I’ve met, the challenges I’ve taken, and the growth I’ve enjoyed.
2. I am grateful that I’ve simplified and downsized my life. It’s a much better fit now; like a comfy pair of well-washed jeans or loose-fitting sweats.
3. I am grateful for each and every opportunity I’m being given to learn, grow and give back.
4. I am grateful for my own personal forums on which to share my thoughts, lessons and ideas, and for the people who read them and offer feedback.
5. I am grateful for abundance; friends, fellow travelers, lessons, challenges, successes and failures, laughter and tears, dancing, love, joy, health, peace, harmony, philanthropy and prosperity (and that piece of property overlooking the beach where I’ll live, love, thrive and offer other artists a place to retreat and follow their own passion.)

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, www.shericonaway.com 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 https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel and https://www.facebook.com/HLWTAccounting . Please also drop by my website, http://www.shericonaway.com 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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