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

Archive for the ‘balance’ Category

Best Laid Plans Work Best With Balance

Letting My Inner Child Call the Shots Occasionally

https://www.flickr.com/photos/carbonnyc/6144729060/in/photolist-3sXiiN-79cUTk-6VaBVG-GUsXeK-qnCm5H-d5XpoC-5Tvsgb-7x7Jhw-amZkSu-pXsfKM-5TopvB-5MF2XZ-dnqeiB-9C31Yv-28ku7Rg-9m5Cts-omGCDC-5T4qn7-e2xNUC-mfCeZT-6RVoAh-a3P2f7-urpka-nKtZgr-8LFLux-dsSyjE-9AzNx5-W4TpQJ-xXPgS-brRoHe-9T2kCn-edcZ3H-a4dWNc-2Frv8v-sBJeM-5MGjKv-5cGQ25-gMdeqC-bzzgF5-4zDj55-4Uaf26-91q2wz-GPmaw-6uvJCp-7viqdV-7YKDTv-6T4oiL-7g2xCc-MKA7BD-gg9bcdThis has been the week that wasn’t in so many ways. Plans went awry, electronics coughed up junk, and even my body repeatedly told me, in the unique vernacular of a toddler: “I don’t wanna!”.

In the past, I’d have been ranting and raving, struggling to catch up, filling my hours with half-assed efforts, and feeling lousy about everything I did. I don’t know if it’s age, experience, or finally acquiring a modicum of patience, but I take a less frantic approach to days and weeks that seem to take on a mind of their own.

In all fairness, I’m also better prepared for them since I have at least 2, and often 3 weeks of blog posts in the queue, and am usually ahead of schedule on projects for my clients. Maybe it’s simply holdouts from my days of working in an office where interruptions were the norm, and having something new and urgent tossed in my lap was commonplace. I learned to leave space in my schedule for the unexpected, and it’s a habit I see no reason to break, especially now that I work for myself.

Self-Care is More About Allowing Than Doing

Many people these days are talking about self-care. Suggestions are offered on https://www.flickr.com/photos/prestonrhea/5236270625/in/photolist-8YHfQ2-4X1dP6-P58XGS-dmtrwi-2pMKC-nC1YD-QxGsf-q4rWqa-8HeDZc-o8pVg-8mXR4g-o7nP7c-8jQqTQ-bPxsQc-dJusGN-78jLU7-98LY1P-dYGYNq-cgtYSu-cgu1F7-7rMJ9R-6z6KQA-6VuMG-6Jfxqk-4bbwMg-dmtxds-9Rf6xQ-v8gDMa-9PqETD-4MsUzv-ptUKap-a2BfLR-4UtU1B-4UtSun-5dBS8k-7eGxtr-7nUbqa-7nUbW8-fBZ3S4-5M1h3P-8DYirc-8E2uBh-6r2V98-7oFgff-7oBon2-7oBpbn-7oBoG6-7oFfRo-vPhUL-jk3BYphow busy business owners should make time to keep their own engine primed, so to speak. The ideas cover the gamut from physical activity, to healthy eating, to taking breaks.

If you ask me, the best thing you can do is listen to your body. If it’s hungry, feed it; preferably something healthy and nutritious, but if it occasionally asks for a treat, by all means be willing to break your dietary restrictions temporarily to indulge it.

When you feel stiff or out of sorts, get up and move. I’ve recently rediscovered how much a simple, 20-minute walk in the morning can re-set your day and your metabolism. Even if you do nothing more than get up from your desk to visit the bathroom or fix a meal for the rest of the day, that 20 minutes of movement and fresh air get your day off on the right foot (pun intended).

Above all, if you feel tired, or out of sorts, don’t allow guilt to creep in and spoil the nap, meditation, or down time in front of the TV. You work hard, and you take care of yourself physically. Your mind needs breaks too.

Finding Our Level of Peak Performance

Science has proven that we are far more effective and efficient when we’re operating at the top of our game. That means sufficient rest, exercise, and nutrition. But Corporate America counters those arguments, telling us to get the job done no matter what. As a result, you have offices full of people who are functioning at 10% or less because they can’t seem to shake the latest cold or virus.

If they could stay home and get over it completely without harassment from employer and co-workers, everyone in the place would stay healthier. Think about what circulates in those office air conditioners. You wouldn’t eat food with crap like that in it. Why do you willingly breathe the air?

Yes, I’m frustrated I didn’t get as much done this week as I’d planned, nor get to the gym my usual 3 times. But I did walk every day but one, and got what must have been much-needed rest, even if I didn’t realize it at the time. As I no longer keep a lot of junk food in the house, I couldn’t eat badly if I’d tried. My idea of cheating on my diet these days is Trader Joe’s dark chocolate, Yasso 100-calorie yogurt bars, and Harvest lentil bean snacks.

Did you know it’s harder to happily binge on healthier snacks? I didn’t either until I sat with a bag of lentil snacks, ate a few, and put the bag away—because I’d satisfied the craving! The truth is, you set your mind to “healthier” and your body follows. When you overwork, eat crap, and otherwise tell your bod you don’t care, it craves love and attention in the form of things we mistakenly define as comfort food. In other words, grease, sugar, salt, and carbs.

Using Setbacks as a Reminder to Take a Step Back

Unfortunately, you get stuck in a self-perpetuating downward spiral in which https://www.flickr.com/photos/paulhami/2993662670/in/photolist-5yxiBC-8U5hPD-3edYTu-4CUgRY-3zQatC-5vmZ5c-bu1dBi-aGGHJg-aGGHaR-BrnmAC-JDHRGr-aGGG6n-anNJMT-aGGJDF-nhi5kC-URiXsy-8TU5Uu-7RHX6n-dSUfp3-8pz3GG-ax1E17-Gf1oKW-5wx88t-66XiHU-7U9YpL-7fcpGE-6C7S53-6AEtio-8YbMjQ-587zbz-MiRWFF-5htVfK-onWKYE-edRR9q-9jX3Pw-oZ6LzR-8pRD6w-9eVxUz-axUgNW-F6D6yL-dbZeKc-4cLsjY-b8ppRD-FfTkWW-7Lsz4B-66Xk3Q-2zs3Zi-7Lxsep-kyFmeu-RNnFfMyour health suffers, and you accomplish less with more effort. Tell me something. Who does that on purpose?

I’ve learned when life offers setbacks, regardless of the source, the best thing to do is take a step back, relax, and give myself permission to get nothing accomplished if that’s what it takes to let the situation pass peacefully. Recognize I truly do have things under control and that there’s no meter running on the amount of stuff I’m supposed to get done in a given amount of time.

Even if there was, my normal work habits put me ahead of the game anyway. I suspect yours do too, but you may have gotten stuck in a self-destructive loop of overachieving. It may be as simple as working smarter, not harder, a lesson that took me a long time to master.

Working Smarter, Not Harder

Here are a few things I’ve put in place in the last few years which give me down time whenever I need it:

  • For clients I bill monthly, as soon as the work is done, I create the invoice and set up the email with delayed delivery. (Most email programs can do this).
  • Give myself more time than I know I need to complete a project to allow for delays both human and electronic.
  • Use the scheduling option on my blog and website to write my copy in advance.
  • Set up sharing on my website and blog to automatically publish to social media.
  • Pre-schedule a month’s worth of posts on sites other than my own.
  • Put all projects on Trello with due dates so I know exactly when things need to be completed.
  • Check Trello daily.
  • Put all regular daily activities on Google calendar with reminders.

Many of these might seem to you like no-brainers, but think of the stress you avoid when you don’t miss appointments; when you see what you have coming up, and how long you have to meet the deadline; when you see white space on your calendar you can use to accommodate the unexpected.

Leaving Space to Let Go

This week, I “lost” the better part of 2 days. I didn’t write any blog posts, or get work for clients done, or make progress on my marketing. Instead, I had time to take the breaks I needed, look honestly at what I’d done this week, and recognize it was more than I thought, and give some attention to my daughter when she needed to vent. All without stress or guilt!

I no longer beat myself up when plans go awry. Instead, I congratulate myself for having the space in my schedule to ride out the waves which bring production to a temporary standstill. In other words, I’ve found my balance.

Need Some Help Creating Space?

Are you feeling overwhelmed with too many things you have to do and not enough time? Did you know you don’t have to do it all? Would you like to take a task or two off your plate? Maybe it’s content creation, or perhaps it’s getting your books in order and creating a budget. If this sounds familiar and you’re ready to streamline your life and give your business and life space to grow and thrive, CONTACT ME and let’s talk!

Finding Gratitude in Everything

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the pace I set myself. It varies with energy level, mood, and circumstances, and is rarely stress-driven any more.
  2. I am grateful for my life outside the regular world.
  3. I am grateful for choices I made which, on the surface may still seem ill-advised, but which have given me a far better quality of life.
  4. I am grateful for options. Each day can be the same as the one before, but it can also be quite different. Either way, it’s my choice.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, opportunities, inspiration, motivation, projects, energy, choices, fresh air, sunshine, kitty love, family, peace, health, harmony, freedom, 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
 

Evolving Vision, Evolving Life

beach front property with gazeboSeveral months ago, I found a piece of property which almost perfectly matched my vision for my future. It happened to be on the coast between Ventura and Santa Barbara, so it was still within reach of the places I know and frequent. At the time, that was important to me. But things change.

Out with the old, in with the new

It’s been a couple of weeks since I went dancing at what was my usual hangout. In part, it’s because I was at my daughters for a few days, but I’ve been back for over a week and have no real desire to visit a place which, for many reasons, is no longer the home I used to feel so comfortable and welcome visiting.

Friends turned out to be acquaintances. Management no longer feels any sense of loyalty to regulars who’ve been there through good times and bad; some for decades. So I’m adrift. I put together a list of dances with the songs I like to dance them to with the idea of pulling up the songs on YouTube and keeping my hand in. But I have yet to put on my dancing shoes and tear up my living room, to the amusement of the cats. Instead, I’m looking for other amusements to occupy my time.

Learning who I’m meant to be

Sure, a couple of people have noticed and might even miss my smiling face, but I’ve come to the realization that, like so many others, I’m expendable. As I struggle to find my purpose and make a go of my passion, it’s a little disconcerting to find I’ve made such little impact. But then, maybe that’s not where I’m meant to make an impact in the first place.

On a conscious level, I know purpose doesn’t come from others. It comes from within. So I turn my attention inward, seeking a germ, a morsel of something which makes me feel that I matter. I ponder my options. Some look viable but don’t really feed my soul. Others feed my soul but I have yet to figure out how to make them viable.

Still, I haven’t come this far or weathered so many storms to stop searching for the rainbow. This isn’t the first time I’ve felt almost entirely alone and directionless. I’ve just found myself in a clearing which has no clear roads leading outwards.

One thing is clear, though. I no longer need to confine my dreams and aspirations to this one, tiny corner of the world. There’s nothing to hold me here aside from my home, and soon, I’ll be in a position to make my home, my living, my way wherever I choose; without borders, without boundaries.

The time has come to shed old people, ways and paradigms

It makes me think this is not a down turn at all, but a new kind of freedom, without the need to stay in a pattern which no longer serves me. When access to people and places is no longer important, my world opens up to possibilities I hadn’t even considered.

Yes, I want to live near the beach, but there are coastlines everywhere. The perfect place for me was hidden behind all of the things I thought I couldn’t leave behind. As they fade from importance, my horizons simply broaden and with that broadening come new opportunities, the magnitude of which I’d never even considered.

Once again, the Universe is forcing me to break free of old patterns and ideas. It’s forcing me to look at other possibilities which couldn’t occur as long as I was hanging onto things which had outlived their usefulness. I face the coming days with a new sense of excitement because I can now consider possibilities beyond the limits of my current geography.

It’s freeing, but a little frightening as well. The butterfly is truly emerging from her cocoon. Time to see how far these new wings will take me.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the freedom of my solitude.
2. I am grateful that I’m learning to recognize the difference between friendship and friendly acquaintances.
3. I am grateful for the new opportunities and possibilities coming into my life.
4. I am grateful for the new people and places I will be experiencing, though I can’t help but be saddened by what’s disappeared with the rose-colored glasses.
5. I am grateful for abundance: love, friendship, joy, health, philanthropy, prosperity, family, writing, publishing and expanding horizons.

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!

October 23, 2014 Time Zone Woes #shericonaway #blogboost

Best laid plans

I had a great idea for tonight’s blog post, but it was, at least initially, predicated on receiving permission to use someone else’s graphic and remarks. What I neglected to consider was that the person in question is in Australia, so the question I posted late this afternoon is experiencing a bit of a delay in receiving a response.

No matter. I shall proceed without the graphic and her lovely comment for the moment. Returning to a topic, minutes, hours or even days later is a trademark of the ADD/ADHD mind.

Alone time is vital to our health, but how many people struggle to find it, or just find being alone too uncomfortable to bear?

We’ve all seen those people. The ones who have to have someone around all the time. The ones who just aren’t comfortable in their own company. I find them difficult to understand as I just can’t relate. I revel in my alone time. I clutch it to my breast like a well used security blanket. I’d happily hibernate in my house, with the cats my only company, for days on end. The trouble is, too much of a good thing isn’t healthy either. Is there a magic formula? A chart into which we can enter pertinent data such as age, gender, living arrangements, location, etc. and receive a slip of paper telling us how much alone time we need to allow? How much time we should spend socializing?

Frankly, I don’t see it happening in the foreseeable future. There are far too many variables, personal individuality being the trickiest of them all. One person sleeps eight hours a night and wakes feeling refreshed, another person, given the same amount of sleep awakens feeling exhausted from too much sleep. That alone is going to skew the answers! So how do you figure out what your personal optimum levels might be?

Many might hate this answer, but the truth is, we have to do what too many people fail to: listen to your body. “I don’t see how my body is going to tell me how much socialization and how much alone time I need!” you might tell me with your arms crossed over your chest signifying that you’re not about to listen to my prattle.

I would calmly reply, saying that your brain and mind are a part of your body. When they are feeling stressed, the smart person listens and tries to determine what to give the body and brain to lower those stress levels; to stop the stress hormones from injecting themselves into our bodies willy nilly. The obvious questions would concern diet and sleep, but what about time spent alone, even if it is simply to contemplate the lint gathering prowess of one’s navel. What about time spent with other humans which doesn’t involve work or other responsibilities?

Just as exhaustion sets in as a result of sleep deprivation (along with other nasty side effects like hallucinations), so, too, can we experience disruptions as a result of too much outside stimulus or too little fun. Now I’m going to throw the “B” word at you again.

A life well lived depends on balance. Sometimes, we have to step outside of our comfort zone to find that balance, but the truth is, if we don’t step outside of it on our own, sooner or later, we’re going to be kicked out, and at that point, the likelihood of it being an enjoyable experience is pretty low. I relate it to the room cleaning scenario when you’re a kid. Either you can clean it by the second or third time your mom asks, or you can spend the summer grounded and performing far more onerous chores than simply maintaining the cleanliness of your own room. How many teenagers have tested this theory, and suffered the consequences? Let me be the first to tell you that being forcefully ejected from your comfort zone is a great deal more unpleasant than being grounded for the summer.

So give some thought to how happy you feel in your own company. If you’re about to achieve full Hermit status, your objective should be to spend less time alone. But if you break out into a cold sweat just because you are all by yourself for a few minutes, it’s time to learn how to be alone without the requisite panic attack.

Most things are not harmful in moderation, and may even be healthy. But anything taken to excess is bound to be harmful, if not now, eventually.

We all need to clean out our emotional closet now and then. Stepping into what is uncomfortable for you right now is a great way to make that happen.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for a soft bed to lay my over used and abused muscles on.
2. I am grateful that I’m learning to temper my hermit-like tendencies with the company of others. As many of my friends are ADD/ADHD, they understand how difficult it can be for me to open up.
3. I am grateful for the exhaustion which is quickly claiming me as it means that Scrappy Doo will have a tough time keeping me awake with his shenanigans tonight.
4. I am grateful for four days of use and abuse of my body because it means that I can stay home alone tomorrow and indulge my inner Hermit to my heart’s content.
5. I am grateful for abundance: health, happiness, joy, friendship, love, harmony, peace and prosperity.

Namaste

October 21, 2014 Balancing my inner Hermit. #shericonaway #blogboost

Life is all about balance. The better the balance, the easier it is to take the jumps when they arise.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. Everything in life requires balance. Like a tennis player balancing on the balls of her feet while she awaits a serve, we have to be ready to move in any direction, and if we’re unbalanced, that just isn’t going to happen.

I am one of those people who is completely comfortable in her own company. I could easily go for days on end without human contact. But I also know that this isn’t a healthy place for me to be, so, in spite of my chosen profession, I know that I need to make sure I get out into the world on a regular basis. I’m finding that joining CSA which forces me to go out every Tuesday to pick up my box, combined with getting back into my regular gym routine was one of those really smart decisions I didn’t even realize I was making. At this point, I’m getting out of the house at least three times during the week and another two evenings to dance. But the benefits don’t stop at even healthier meals and a body in motion.

And speaking of healthy meals, here is today’s Harvest Box full of some old tried andHarvest box 10-21-14 trues and a couple of new things to try. (the Kabocha squash was yummy, by the way!) I supplemented this week’s goodies with some fresh green beans, bok choy and bell peppers so I can make a colorful and tasty stir fry. I’ll pick up some seafood blend at Trader Joe’s tomorrow for the protein. I’ll also be enjoying more of my wonderful salads thanks to another head of lettuce this week. (Each week it’s a different kind, so I’m not likely to get bored any time soon!

Suddenly, I’m getting more done every day!

Who would have thought that adding at least three hours of workouts plus additional trips to buy food, not to mention the extra hours of food preparation would make me more efficient. But one look at my To Do list shows that is exactly the case. I’m getting more work done on my clients, spending more time getting ready for NaNoWriMo, more time on chores around the house and more work on self-improvement and copywriting efforts.

I’m definitely not caught up to where I should be after all of these months of being home and not having a heavy workload, but I’m making progress, and that’s what counts.

The changes and improvements are a direct result of finding balance between being alone and getting out into the world. Sure, I need a reason to go out, but out is out, right?

Where do you find balance in your life? Or, where do you need to find balance? What improvements can you see happening once you find that point where you’re ready for whatever life tosses your way? I would love to hear your thoughts.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful to be setting new habits.
2. I am grateful for the added balance in my life.
3. I am grateful that I seem to have forgotten how to rationalize missing a gym day.
4. I am grateful for increased energy, a decrease in the amount of sleep I need and an increased feeling of accomplishment.
5. I am grateful for abundance: happiness, healthiness, balance, self-confidence, motivation, accomplishments, harmony, love, peace, joy and prosperity.

Namaste

September 16, 2014 How much structure?

Though a simple, unstructured lifestyle may seem ideal, there is something to be said for a little definition to help make things happen.

Once upon a time, my life had a very specific structure. Five days a week, I got up at the same time, showered, dressed, did the usual morning things and went to work for eight hours. On Sunday nights, I made my breakfasts and lunches for three days, and on Wednesday nights, I made meals for the other two days. Laundry was done on the same day every week as was grocery shopping and other errands and chores. When November came along, I took the NaNoWriMo challenge, and sat down to write at the same time every night, until the task was complete.

In the months since I left my job as a Corporate Controller (fancy name for Manager of Accounting and Finance), I’ve seen that structure weaken until, in the last three or four months, it has really been non-existent. All of the day-driven tasks I’d settled into in the first few months had fallen by the wayside. Unless I had an appointment or it was a dance night, my days were one, big, loose, barren wasteland of laziness and sloth; but worse, little to show that I’d spent my day in worthwhile pursuits. It became what so many people teased me about; a full-time vacation.

Taking frequent trips to my daughter’s house didn’t help matters, though I did keep up with my daily writing tasks while there. It took me far longer than it should have to complete the first revision of my novel because I allowed myself to slip when I just didn’t feel motivated.

There comes a time when you have to take a good hard look at what you’re doing and realize that it just ain’t working!

I think my turning point was when I actually finished that revision and had copies made so other people could read it and give me their thoughts on what worked and what didn’t. Though delayed by a couple of weeks due to my visit to my daughter, and hers to me, I finally took stock and made some changes. The first was to revamp my To Do list so I can track my progress in completing weekly tasks. (Old bean counter tricks can actually be handy!)  The second was to commit to a Read and Critique with a local writer’s group. Though initially I only committed to one meeting, I felt so good about it afterwards that I made it a permanent addition to my calendar.

Though I’m refraining from working on the novel for now, I made the decision today to pull out the children’s story I wrote <gasp!> over twenty-two years ago, and start reviewing and revising it in preparation for next week’s meeting.

It hasn’t hurt my recent attack of motivation to re-acquire an accounting client and have the possibility of acquiring another. I now have tasks which need to be completed on a tighter schedule than I’ve enjoyed thus far, further necessitating a more definitized structure for my days. I have some reading I need to do, which I’m told will give me ideas on how to grab the reader’s attention. I have people I need to respond to with regard to improving my novel. And in order to facilitate the increased claims on my time, I’m reinstating my pre-made lunch program. Dinners will continue to be managed by making a large batch of something to be consumed throughout the week. This actually solves two problems for me: what to eat and how to eat more healthy meals. Grab and go, if I’m dependent on whatever is easy right now means a sandwich or something frozen, and I don’t really need either.

So what have I learned by going from one extreme to the other?

Always one to find the lesson in the ups and downs life brings me, I realize that, even if life becomes less structured, there are some things we do when we’re busy to make life easier that are just as useful when the structure in our life is self-created and self-motivated. Although I have the freedom to sleep a little later and do my chores and errands when I decide to do them, things still need to be done every week, every day, every month. I still need to follow a healthy lifestyle including diet and exercise. (My knees are happiest when I move around frequently in some fashion, be it choreographed or freestyle). I still need to move forward on the things which will help me become a published author, sooner rather than later. There’s a website to create, a copywriting course to complete, a Facebook page to maintain, and a plethora of other tasks I don’t even know about yet, which will ensure that the world is ready for me to join the literary world with a reasonable amount of success.

If it means I have to start setting my alarm and pre-making lunches, so be it. It is all just a means to the same end.

And so ends the days of wine and roses (or coffee and long naps).

Nobody ever said that being self-employed meant shorter hours and an easier lifestyle. As a writer, I find that I am a whole lot more than just the chief cook and bottle washer. I’m the “talent” and the personal assistant and any other job title which comes along in my quest for that golden ring; my name on the cover of a book that people actually buy and read! It took awhile, but I think I’m finally on the right track towards balancing my desire for a life which is lived on my terms and actually achieving the lofty goals I set over nine months ago. Tally ho and away we go!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for extremes as they help to find that middle ground which is what works best in the long run.
2. I am grateful for new lessons as they keep me growing and moving forward.
3. I am grateful for other people with fresh viewpoints who can help me clear the clouds away and get a clearer picture of what I need to do to achieve my goals.
4. I am grateful for days when I get a lot accomplished and feel proud of myself once more.
5. I am grateful for abundance: assistance, guidance, friendship, hope, love, beauty, happiness, health, motivation, inspiration, and prosperity.

Namaste

September 3, 2014 Time flies when you’re having fun.

Are you kidding me? It’s September already???

As I sit down to write tonight, I am stunned to find that we’re nearly 3/4 of the way through this year! Where did the time go? What do I even have to show for it? Now, I could go on one of those negative rampages and elaborate on what I have NOT done this year, but what good would that do? It might show me how much I have to do to catch up, but other than that, it would only bring me down. Instead, I really have to do what I always do, and focus on what I have accomplished so far this year. (and yes, my friends, it is list time!)

1. I have created, maintained and followed a To Do list all year.
2. I have completed the first draft of my book.
3. I have completed the first edit of my book.
4. I have cleared an amazing amount of clutter, including old records dating back as far as 1992!
5. I have stepped outside of my comfort zone on many occasions.
6. I have started developing a social life which does not involve my daughter.
7. I have succeeded in conquering the bureaucratic nightmare some would pin on the Affordable Care Act, but which is really perpetuated by the insurance companies who don’t want to get on board (in my case, Blue Shield) and have worked with the Department of Health Insurance to help make the system better.
8. I have ensured that my main man, Dylan, will not succumb to hyperthyroidism related maladies by taking him for treatment. As of the three month blood tests, he is completely cured!
9. I continue to build my virtual tool box by learning new lessons and reinforcing old ones.
10. I have moved my blog to WordPress in preparation for launching my website.
11. I have become much more consistent with my blog postings.
12. I have started a copywriting course.
13. I have maintained my accounting business, albeit on a smaller scale than I’d originally planned, though I trust that this has been for a very good reason.
14. I have adopted two new kittens after losing one cat who we knew was very ill, and one who surprised us.
15. I continue to exercise my right to set boundaries and have them respected.

This is hardly a complete list, but for me, it represents a lot of progress in a few, short months. That is not to say that I don’t have periods where I’m a complete hermit, sit around and read all day, and let some of the good habits I’ve formed slide for a bit. But by the time I reach the place where I need to be a hermit, believe me, I’ve earned it!

Everyone needs time to recharge their batteries now and then.

We all get worn down, and if we’re smart, we recognize it and do something about it. It really doesn’t matter what works for you; whether it’s just being alone to read and veg, like me, or it’s working in the garden, or doing volunteer work…it just has to be what recharges you! Too often, we run ourselves into the ground, at which point, it is a much longer way back to our normal, energetic selves. Learning to recognize when we need to check out for a bit of recharging is, I realize, a tough lesson when you’re trying to hold down a job, raise kids, pay the bills and do all of the things these endeavors require. But even taking an evening when you put the kids to bed and settle down for a bubble bath, a read and a glass of wine instead of your usual laundry, dishes and paperwork is enough to give you the recharge you need. Maybe it won’t fill you all the way back up, but it will sure prevent you from draining yourself completely.

When my girls were young, my recharging system was a night of dancing, and I took a lot of doses of that particular tonic until they got to high school. At that point, I had to drive them to practices and meetings and a multitude of other activities, and allowed myself to be shortchanged. What a huge mistake that was, as I got more cranky and more depressed as the days went on! It took long term administration of Vitamin Dance before I started resembling my former self. But in the process, I made some new friends, learned a lot of new dances, went on a couple of cruises, and even started doing things outside of dancing.

These days, my life is a lot simpler, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get overwhelmed and drained. Instead of running kids to activities, I’ve added 2 1/2 hour drives to see my daughter. Of course, I spend three or four days with her when I go, but it’s still shlepping. (and of course, I love our visits and getting to see all of my grand furries!). But in addition to a couple of nights a week of dancing, I get out for afternoons at the beach, concerts and Shakespeare in the park, and am becoming more open to trying new and different things.

The end result is exactly what I’d hoped for, and that is to be energized by all of the new, while making the old seem less old hat and more just a comfortable resting place before dashing off to something new again.

Life is all about balance.

The more balance we achieve in our lives, the easier it is to recover when we get one of the inevitable curve balls; the easier it is to take the lesson and leave the pain behind. But better still, the easier it is to expect good things, and to get them, more and more!

Every day, I get more proof that Joy and Happiness brings Joy and Happiness, while worry, fear, gloom, sadness…bring more of the same. This, in particular, took awhile for me to figure out because, as my kids will tell you, I’m the original Worry Wart. I had to work hard to train myself to believe that everything would work out perfectly…if only I’d get out of the way and let it!

It’s sort of like the nights like tonight when I sit down to write a post, thinking I have nothing in my head to say, and suddenly, I find myself where I am right now, with a post of over 1,000 words, and realize that I need to find an end point, before I put my readers to sleep!

Let me just urge you to allow yourself time to recharge your batteries, and to say to yourself, whenever you feel fear or worry taking over “Everything is going to work out perfectly. I just need to get out of the way and allow the perfect to happen!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for how everything in my life works out perfectly.
2. I am grateful for all I have accomplished this year.
3. I am grateful that my daughter got us tickets for Blake Shelton, The Band Perry and Neal McCoy for this weekend!
4. I am grateful for the friendships I have been blessed with this year, and look forward to seeing them grow stronger.
5. I am grateful for the health of my cats, and for learning to recognize things before they become serious issues.
6. I am grateful for abundance: health, happiness, joy, friendship, success, harmony, peace, kindness, love and prosperity.

Namaste

August 28, 2014 Social media…do you want fries with that?

When it comes to social media, it really is to each her own, these days!

As time has gone on, the different ways people perceive and use social media has created an ever-widening gap between me and those who are on my friends list; but I’m not alone in this. The discussions about de-friending or unfollowing someone because of the content they share on our news feed has been escalating, at least among the people I know. Here is what I’ve observed people sharing of late (in no particular order):

  • Family pictures
  • Health status
  • Relationship status/changes
  • Politics
  • Religion
  • Business promotion
  • Positive affirmations
  • Games, both, ostensibly in promotion of a cause, or just for fun
  • Observations of the world in general
  • Doom and gloom prophecies
  • Music appreciation
  • Selfies

We all have our own ideas of what is “allowed” on our news feed and what’s not, and the reasons for our choices don’t need to be explained. I’ve learned that if I unfollow someone, it doesn’t raise a glaring red flag, nor is it telling someone (erroneously) that I don’t like them as a person. It simply says “I appreciate your opinion, but I prefer that I don’t see it all the time on a place I go for fun and, sometimes, inspiration.” That being said, I’ve unfollowed people when posts become excessive in the following areas:

  • Health status, when there is an excess of posts complaining about conditions, yet failing to actually do something about it.
  • Politics
  • Religion
  • Business promotion (this one only when the posts become really excessive, so it doesn’t happen often)
  • Doom and gloom prophecies. I don’t really care whether these prophecies are based in fact or not. I simply don’t want to see anything which complains or blames without offering feasible solutions.

Again, if someone posts on any of these subjects now and again, I really don’t have a problem with seeing the occasional post on my news feed. It’s like anything else. Everything is fine in moderation (except maybe abusiveness or pure evil).

Most of my friends are pretty open and honest about what they do and do not like to see, and I try to respect that, at least insofar as anything I might post to their wall. I like to think that, with the exception of positive affirmations, I don’t post any topic in excess, but I am sure there are some who might see differently. (OK, so I may post more than my share of adorable cat pictures, but in my defense, I’m not posting a bunch of pictures of adorable grandchildren!).

One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.

The main thing is that we respect each others’ right to post what is important for them to share, knowing that there are polite and impolite ways to shield ourselves from the ones which might annoy or offend us. Heck, if we were all interested in exactly the same things, it wouldn’t be long before we’d just see the same posts over and over and over again, and, like a soap opera, we’d only need to check in every week or two to know everything that was going on! How boring would that be? As it is, some posts already go around for awhile, then, just as we think we’ve seen the last, someone starts re-posting them all over again! I can’t tell you how many times I’ll start reading something, only to realize that I saw it a month or so ago. It just goes to show that things travel more quickly in some circles than others.

For the people out there who are tired of my content, feel free to unfollow me; I completely understand. But if you unfriend me just because we have different viewpoints, we’ll both be the poorer as our world will become less diverse. Whether it’s meant that way or not, removing someone as a friend translates into an act of anger, whether  intended or not, and it’s often difficult to bridge the gap once it’s in place.

So to those who’ve let me know that they don’t appreciate or participate in some of the shenanigans, rest assured that I’ll try to remember to exclude you next time one goes around. But if, for some reason, I forget, please feel free to remind me before you just block me out of your life. I don’t set out to annoy or offend (though I will, on occasion post a rant with clear warnings!), but as a human, I do, on occasion, err, and once I either figure it out for myself or have it brought to my attention, I’ll always take ownership and do my best to make it right. (admittedly, I won’t always agree that I have been offensive or unkind. Like everyone else, I’m a work in progress, and my experiences have colored my perspective.)

Fortunately, I know that a lot of my friends are like me and appreciate the diversity as it allows us to bring each other lessons we might otherwise have missed, or at least, would have taken much longer to learn. But I think, over the last couple of years, we’ve all learned what social media can and cannot do for us, and have, for the most part, used it to connect, but after connecting, we all get out into the world rather than hiding behind our computers as the stereotypical user might do. It makes me wonder what the numbers are as far as users who think talking to people on the computer all day is real connecting vs. those who use the medium to reach out, but save the true connecting for social gatherings which actually require you to shower, dress and leave the comparative comfort of the four walls they call home…something to ponder.

My Gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for my friends in all of their wonderful, unique, sometimes quirky, but never boring, diversity.
2. I am grateful that I’ve reached the end of my current hermit stage, and that my friends care enough to be concerned when I’m not present, but understand when I explain why.
3. I am grateful that I have the ability to check out from society whenever I want or need to, but can just as easily check back in.
4. I am grateful for the amazing relationship I have with my daughter, and how much we continue to share, despite the distance in miles.
5. I am grateful for all of the abundance in my life; love, friendship, health, happiness, peace, harmony, prosperity and charity.

Namaste

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