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Archive for the ‘#believe’ Category

Showing Yourself Gratitude: Who Knew?

Start Your Gratitude List With You

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

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

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

Your Are the Most Important Person in Your Life

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

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

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

Rerouting the Complain Train

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

How about:

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

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

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

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

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

How Can You Flip Your Own Life?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gratitude Equals Love

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

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

Where Do You Need Help?

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

Showing a Little Gratitude for Me!

My gratitudes today are:

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

Love and Light

 

About the Author

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

Awakening From Oblivion

Living a Life of Oblivion

https://www.flickr.com/photos/augustbrill/5025448773/in/photolist-8E5JQv-bj2Q3-buZES-NosS3S-bE9C2-8NP6x3-oKBJYc-7yxvUJ-4eRexw-28mE1ch-5tW6Kf-f2JEoo-acCwSd-eajL56-paxFhz-4cv8b7-7yxvw5-7D7azC-ofd2U1-4jX86v-cLpNW-7yxvPb-7yxvS7-6hKsj7-7ytH5n-6ZkEpv-nxKqWs-pz4SNk-8HDCce-gT2U3W-7AkeTX-5hzA7T-5hDXEh-fjpMeq-ceoQ2-5hzAiF-51qGYK-ceoza-51qFRM-9vkmV9-5v6EqD-ceoGA-51uTs5-51uSJo-8NP6zA-51qEZx-7zy4Hg-ceoKc-ceorH-w9TTqAll my life, I’ve been accused of being oblivious. Not when it matters to someone else, but when it might matter to me, were I to recognize it. Typically, it revolves around men and dating. I think it has a lot to do with the low self-esteem I grew up with and the hard knocks I’ve taken over the years when I let my heart engage with a single human being.

I’m fine when it comes to engaging with friends and family. But even that took a lot time to recognize, expose, and feel safe doing. I don’t typically recognize when a guy is interested, mostly because, quite frankly, I still have trouble believing anyone would be; could be.

As a teenager, I was sucked in too many times by people saying “so-and-so likes you” only to find out they were playing on my innocence, and waiting to laugh when I got hurt. Needless to say, I’m less than trusting of those words even with my friends. Still, I can’t point to a single time when even those words from well-meaning friends turned out to be true.

Well-meaning Friends Don’t Always See the Whole Picture

Recently, two friends at different times and different places mentioned they thought someone was interested in me. As he’s someone we all see fairly regularly, I put out some feelers after telling both women he is friendly to a lot of the single women, which he is. Men in the dance community have a lot of choices, or can choose not to choose and just enjoy us all on the dance floor and at social events. It soon became clear they were mistaken, but unfortunately, it left me feeling rather disappointed.

The sad truth is, no one has shown an interest in me that way in decades (at least not that I was aware of). I admit I allowed myself to get a little excited about the prospect, knowing it was likely merely a mis-perception on the part of both my friends.

Humans Are Designed To Need Other Humans

It made me realize no matter how long we’re alone and how used to being alone we think we https://www.flickr.com/photos/iloveverdi/3816601106/in/photolist-6Pg5xm-gXawN1-bt4Hc6-o2zcEa-azqZX-dJJhWM-6Ghmz-dNWyTM-ah2ZCu-QhPTfW-9dJCYV-622yhY-J4a6AF-7b2eAR-awE9H6-6oZ7Rh-9dJC7t-d1cvX-9dJD9i-5UjRJq-5XU2Rr-a2AfUR-oCn4R5-dG1exP-7v3uXe-a2DbBA-4Q9psQ-92LhSw-quw5BF-qBKHg-9ikFaq-dbsGFY-4crP6A-U1TCwS-4cMu4S-92Li2d-Hoqu6W-aCibYr-WsU5m8-FqXn4e-Mp16Ah-NpUkH9-4XiwbG-RauRDh-252gqR3-YkGU4C-Lo1Xin-bmUifC-9dMGhq-b3pS1Kare, it doesn’t take much to shake our world and knock us off that flimsy pedestal of independence. Humans were designed to want and need other humans, a condition I avoided for a long time. Until the last few years, I really didn’t connect with anyone.

Sure, I had friends, if you could call them that. We saw each other dancing, and there were even times I got together with some outside of dancing. But there was never a connection, and those “friendships” wilted and died easily. I’ve come to recognize they weren’t really friendships at all, but rather, friendly acquaintances. They certainly weren’t people who’d miss me if I was gone, or check on me to see if I was OK. Then again, I wasn’t inclined to do so for them either.

Moving Through Uncharted Territory

https://www.flickr.com/photos/bellayet/8902404261/in/photolist-eyF9CD-2xn5QZ-8hpV2H-5srNL9-eyJMuh-eyF6pF-eyFGGB-8htaPf-49tB1t-c7MEkW-295uHRT-J34G1E-7VqaY4-eyHWQ3-7VqaqZ-eyFtcV-8rj3uZ-eyJwQh-aMdnLH-7Vqeua-eyJuEE-7VtrxY-49tB8P-eyEXbR-eyJhrj-7Vtrsd-7VqcUK-empKfP-eyEPeD-7Vqe7F-5srShj-7Vqf36-nWe6z3-8Sn78P-65W5RC-fDuG3c-8Ytfoc-7pK9rq-rDwaU9-LDCsyF-6aA4j5-38821k-9y1GNY-4X4rny-aJh7Rv-c7MEk1-8Sbpz9-2dWK5zU-fuj8Yj-bwwXMvMany people are raised to keep their hearts open and to connect with others. For people like me, it’s like traveling to a foreign land where you don’t speak the language or understand the culture. You have to step carefully and learn the rules as you go. Sometimes you get knocked down hard and others, you meet people who ease you in gently. I’m learning those are the ones who are meant to be your tribe.

We can’t even reach the borders of that country until we’ve done deep internal work on ourselves. It begins with deciding we’re not going to live in isolation any more, and likely comes after some kind of tragedy or trauma. For me, it took quite a few, and several years of working on myself before something finally broke down my door and invited me to come outside and play.

Trauma and Tragedy: We Either Connect or We Isolate

I don’t think I’m any different than anyone else in having lived through a series of tragedies and traumas. The details may differ, and the way I learned to handle them is certainly unique to me, but everyone faces challenges. Even the major earthquakes I’ve seen affected people in different ways. I was fortunate to have been far enough from the epicenter in both cases to be spared any major damage to body or property. But I know many people who weren’t spared, and who had to deal with the aftermath.

Those who had others to depend on managed the emotional side of the tragedies far better than those who, like me believed they could and should depend on no one, and tried to slog through the mire themselves. Looking at those people from my former perspective, I can’t even imagine how they got through it all without breaking into tiny pieces themselves. Some didn’t.

Healing Ourselves As We Grow

But the more we change and grow, the more we find pockets of ourselves which are slower to adjust and adapt. For me, it always comes down to confidence. Whether it’s stepping into the fact that I am an expert in my field (not THE expert, but AN expert), or believing I deserve a loving, supportive, joyful relationship with a man, I still have doubts, fears, and a whole lot of that scared little girl getting in the way of my progress.

Fortunately, I am learning to step into my expertise with the help of my coach, Linda Clay. But I’m also getting a lot of positive feedback for my writing and the topics I choose. It all serves to remind the scared little girl she’s come a long way and learned many things which need to be shared for others who might need to hear them.

Alone Again, Unnaturally

When it comes to a mate, a life partner, or whatever you want to call it, I’m still on the schoolyard feeling alone and left out. I know deep down inside, I still don’t believe I deserve to have someone like that in my life. I still don’t see I have enough to offer someone that they would choose me over the multitude of other choices. In short, my insecurity fuels my inadequacy and I remain alone.

I joke it would take a guy practically hitting me over the head with a sledgehammer to get me to acknowledge his interest, but it’s not entirely a joke. I would need to be pretty darn sure he was honestly interested in the real me, and not someone he thought I was before I’d crack open the door and allow him to begin the long, slow process of earning my trust. In my experience, most people don’t want to put forth that much effort when there are others willing and able to meet them halfway.

I know when I talk to my friends about this, they are both saddened and disbelieving. I envy the courage they have in giving one man after another a chance to be their “one”. They seem to heal quickly from disappointments and are soon ready to move on to the next one.

Judging by Past Experience

I don’t heal that fast. But a lot more gets wounded each time I get dumped on my ass. The pain goes deeper than anyone else can see or imagine, and I have to go back to square one and heal things a step at a time.

Granted, I haven’t had the opportunity in a very long time, so it’s possible my healing process has sped up a bit. But without the courage or the opportunity to find out, I can only look at the past where a broken and withdrawn me attracted men who could and would never truly give me what I needed, nor allow me to do the same for them.

I think my biggest fear now is attracting someone who is not only as open and Conscious as I’ve become, but as vulnerable too. Getting hurt is bad enough, but hurting someone else; someone I care deeply for would be the ultimate pain.

And so, I convince myself to continue to walk alone.

No Matter What, I Always Have Something to be Grateful For

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the friends who’ve helped me step out of my old world and into my new.
  2. I am grateful for a much more active and diverse social life, and a willingness to do and try some new things.
  3. I am grateful for the ability to see where I still need help learning and growing.
  4. I am grateful I’m starting to question the voice that tells me I’m undeserving.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, joy, community, dancing, writing, inspiration, motivation, opportunities, exercise, health, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

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

Hidden Demons of Self-Sabotage

Removing the Tendency to Self-Sabotage

Most of us are guilty of self-sabotaging behavior at one time or another. It’s human nature to try to protect the position we’re in from the unknown. Whether we’re waiting for feedback on our writing or a proposal, a new job or client, or even a budding friendship or romance, we often find ourselves self-sabotaging without even realizing it.

Too often, we try to fend off disappointment by convincing ourselves beforehand that we’re somehow unworthy, under-qualified, unlovable, or harboring other such mucky, ugly-feeling thoughts. To that I say, in the immortal words of Tim Conway: “STOP THAT!”

You are worthy. You are lovable. You are qualified. You are perfect just the way you are. The fact that something you’re waiting for either doesn’t come through, or is delayed has nothing to do with you! There are a million and seven reasons why you don’t get picked, or in all too many cases, wait longer than you anticipated. Shake it off. Go for a walk. Clean the house. Go to the gym. Immerse yourself in something you love. Do whatever it takes to shove those negative thoughts back into the void where they came from, and out of your head.

Learning to Expand Our Own Reality

I’m not telling you to fill your head with fairy tales and nothing but happily-ever-afters (though doing so without getting too deep into the hows, whens, whys, and wherefores isn’t a bad thing either). I’m saying every time one of those negative thoughts starts to creep in, you fill the spot it’s trying to occupy with something better, something that will lift you up rather than dragging you down. If you can’t find anything yourself, call one of your favorite cheerleaders. Even hermits like me have more than we realize!

By now you may be wondering why this topic came to the top of my list of blog ideas. Like you, I have my moments when that scared little girl who lives deep inside wants to ensure she’s not disappointed yet again if the Universe decides not to grant her dearest wish. That’s when I grab the jaded, world-weary adult by the throat and say “Really? Are you going to let her get away with this? After all the times our disappointments turned into triumphs? When every disappointment turned out to be a blessing in disguise? When you know full well passion and positivity bring what we want and need every…single…time???”

My inner adult spends a lot of time daydreaming and doing her best to live in the moment, but there are times she’s hopelessly out to lunch and lets the child within take the wheel for a little too long. The adult has learned that though life may not always seem fair, things always turn out the way they’re supposed to, and get there more quickly if we don’t turn into a whiny 5-year-old while we’re waiting for most of the ducks to stop wandering around aimlessly and line up in at least a semblance of a straight line. (I have learned to never expect perfection before I move forward. I’d still be sitting on my arse doing nothing, and would certainly not have 5 books in various stages of publication readiness if I didn’t move until everything was perfectly aligned.)

Let’s Get Physical

The best way to get the adult’s attention these days is to do something physical: lace up my sneakers and hit the gym, clean the house (an adventure in itself when my ADD joins the mix), rake leaves. Anything to get my mind out of my head and into my body for a while. Focusing on something physical still allows my mind to wander, but now it’s not wallowing, or fretting, or expecting the worst. Instead, it’s seeing something accomplished or, as it did today, finding I needed to sit and write some thoughts that came up when Nelly Negative stopped getting her way.

Coming up with a blog topic is a win all across the board for me, since I’ve committed to a completely manageable two posts per week. So far, I’ve managed to write and pre-schedule posts about 5 times out of 8 as a result of my mental re-directions. Invariably. changing the direction my thoughts want to take brings up a talking/writing point. I get the first few paragraphs written (or the first 1000 words or so), then get back to whatever I was doing that took me out of the “woe is me” mindset.

Don’t Let the Prospect of Change Dull Your Sparkle

As I’ve mentioned an a few other occasions, change is scary, and our inner child will fight tooth and nail to maintain the status quo unless we assure her the change will bring some new adventure which, while exciting and a bit scary, will be the most fun ever. Of course, if we want to convince said child, we must first believe it ourselves, and not allow ourselves to be derailed by those flickers of doubt swimming at the edge of our consciousness.

While listening to a video today, the speaker said something I found very profound. He said “I’m not asking you to believe, because that lets in doubt. I’m asking you to be open to the possibility.” I never thought of it that way before. More often, I’d do my best to at least suspend disbelief, if not try twisting my mind until it believed what it might not be able to see, feel, or touch. By simply being open to the possibility, we remove action from the mix, and become a receptor. We no longer unconsciously throw up blocks because we’re not actively involved in allowing or disallowing a concept to take root and grow.

Being Open to Possibilities

As you go through your day, bombarded with opportunities to change how you think or feel about the world around you, I encourage you to take a few moments to simply be open to whatever thoughts, ideas, and opportunities arise. Release the need to judge them worthy or not, viable or not. Look at them impassively, and be open to the possibilities. You’ll gently and easily absorb the ones that cause a little glimmer of interest or feel like bottled potential. You won’t feel the need to fight with yourself or consider all sides of the matter, ad infinitum, ad nauseum until the opportunity passes. Sure, it would make your inner whiner happy that another scary change was averted, but what about your conscious self? Don’t they deserve a little adventure in their lives?

As I write that, a question pops into my head: “When is a rut not a rut?” and the answer comes loud and clear. “Never! A rut is always a rut. No magic ever happens there.”

The comfort zone is the biggest and most tenacious rut we fall victim to. I use the word “victim” intentionally, because the comfort zone is the biggest block to progress, to a happy and fulfilled life we’ll ever run into. It does its best to thwart ideas which lead to those scary leaps of faith and trying something new without any guarantee of a positive outcome. Yet nothing worth having is without an element of risk. Even as a child, we took those risks and most of us have lived to talk about it.

We crossed streets alone, without the benefit of Mom or Dad’s hand. We learned to ride a bicycle or roller skate. As teenagers, we learned to drive a car. And the list goes on. If you were to sit down and write down all the things you do today which were once scary and foreign, you’d be amazed at how often you took a chance on the unknown. So why stop now?

Taking a Moment for Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for all of the opportunities to step out of comfort and into magic.
  2. I’m grateful for the ability to either calm or silence my inner child and her misgivings.
  3. I’m grateful for opportunities that make my stomach drop 10 stories, and my mind soar with the possibilities.
  4. I’m grateful for the scary moments when I have to tell myself whatever happens will be exactly what I need, even if it’s not exactly what I thought I wanted.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; opportunities, lessons, challenges, friendships, roller coaster rides, riding the crests and the troughs, love, joy, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She is available for article writing and ghost writing to help your website and the business it supports grow and thrive. Her specialties are finding and expressing your authentic self. 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 at Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author

I Ain’t Dead Yet AKA There’s No Crime in Looking

Self-Improvement on Our Own Terms

Though I haven’t been as diligent as I’d like, I truly enjoy my forays to the gym. I stick my earbuds in my ears, fire up one of my Pandora stations and go through my weight routine in the privacy of my own mind. Rarely if ever does anyone try to engage me in conversation. I guess my Leave me alone. This is MY time. message comes through loud and clear.

Discouraging engagement doesn’t mean I’m not aware, however. Quite often, I’ll watch someone who clearly knows what they’re doing to get ideas to improve my own routine. But occasionally my gaze (and mind) wanders to things which are for the benefit of nothing more than my appreciation of art.

At those times, my gaze strays to a well-toned body which happens to pass within my limited line of sight, not with lustful intent, but merely in open appreciation of the time and effort which went into a certain life-like sculpture.

Beauty is in the Eyes of the Beholder

I’m very particular about what catches my eye, however. The muscle-bound types who are unable to touch their own noses for their bulky triceps and shoulders do nothing for me. Even if I were inclined, I just don’t find them approachable.

Instead, my gaze (and OK, perhaps a little voyeurism too) is drawn to either the finely sculpted but reasonably sized or, more often, to the works-in-progress. I have a particular fondness for people, and non-gender specific, who are clearly making an effort to improve their health. They’re not frequenting the gym to attract attention or expand their social circle. They’re simply there to make a change in their own life, their own health. I have great admiration for the people who are there week in and week out, making small changes which eventually lead to huge improvements.

Our Flaws are Our True Perfection

As a diamond-in-the-rough myself, I know those long-term benefits come with the tiniest of steps in the right direction. They come with no small amount of back-sliding as well, but along with it, the drive to succeed even if they have to cover the same ground dozens of times before they begin to see obvious improvement.

The last few years has been a series of “two steps forward, one step back” events for me. In some cases, the backward progress has even outweighed the forward, yet I’m further along than when I began, and for that, I’m grateful. I realize there are times we need to re-cover old ground because we haven’t quite mastered the lesson. Or someone comes into our life who shows us a better way around a rather tenacious obstacle. Either way, once we’ve overcome the obstacle, we have an even more impressive array of tools at our disposal when we’re ready to climb the next mountain. The view from the top of our latest mountain and the road we need to travel to reach the valley below seems a little less daunting.

Learning from those Who Come Into Our Lives for a Reason

It isn’t only the tools we obtain along the way. It’s also the people. If we allow it, our team grows with many of our encounters, and we gain much-needed skills and knowledge in the people who become part of our expanding circle.

For many years, I believed to the depth of my soul that I had to make it on my own. I believed asking for help was a weakness. It took a lot of stumbles, long, lonely nights, and a failure to achieve my highest expectations to realize I was never meant to do it all alone. I was never meant to have every ounce of knowledge and every skill-set necessary to become my very best self.

In the years I’ve spent blogging, connecting with people online, reading self-help books, and delving further into my own spiritually, I’ve learned many long-overdue lessons. The biggest of those has to be that allowing people to see your vulnerabilities doesn’t make you weak at all.

I’ve learned instead that showing your vulnerabilities (within reason, of course) actually attracts people to you who have expertise in areas you don’t. They are there to reach that jar on the top shelf or help  build the scaffolding that will support you in building my structure higher. Maybe they’re there to simply offer encouragement or hand you another nail. But without them, it would take me much longer to achieve your goals.

Better Together

It took me spending a lot of time spinning my wheels to realize it’s OK to ask those around me for assistance and to accept the offers which might come unasked. Admitting I was better for their help came slowly, but it has come, and now I’m able to rejoice in recognizing what I traveled an overly hard, but self-inflicted road to learn.

When I look at those well-toned, sculpted bodies around me at the gym, I am, in part looking at what I could become if I stopped trying to go it alone and ask for help, maybe not with my physical efforts at the moment, but with so much of what I want to achieve; my writing, my eventual speaking, building my business. I’ve been struggling along for quite some time now, neither failing miserably nor succeeding remarkably. The small amounts of progress I see encourage me to continue trying even when the failures and their implications stare me in the face.

Balancing the Equation

I may not be world-class like Stephen King, Nora Roberts, or J.K. Rowling, but the operative word here has to be “yet”. That “yet” is predicated on my willingness to ask for and receive help, and in fact, I’ve seen more progress in the last few months because I’m no longer worried about appearing weak. Instead, I draw strength from those who find my words relate-able and who aren’t put off by a misguided illusion of perfection. As I said to my favorite mentor today, I’ve dropped the veil. What lies behind is neither as weak nor as scary as I’d let myself believe.

Dropping that veil has given me two gifts: the opportunity to give, and more important, the ability to receive. Some find the person behind that veil inspiring or helpful with some aspect of their lives. Others find her able to fulfill their own need to give back from their own well of experience. Contrary to my years of self-deception, we need to be on both sides of the equation. It’s called Balance, and like so many out there, I’m still working on finding mine. Sometimes I’ll find it for a little while, but then I start to wobble one way or the other and go sliding down into an extreme again.

The difference these days is I know when I’ve slid, and more, I know what balance feels like. Better still, I know I like what balance feels like and am better equipped to find my way back. I’ve learned the lesson from the people I’ve allowed into my life. Without them, I’d still be hanging off the edge of my personal cliff, struggling to climb back up on my own.

Barbra Streisand summed it up best: “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.”

Amen!

Remembering to Acknowledge and Appreciate the Help and Guidance

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for my friends and how much they’ve taught me about being human.
  2. I am grateful for the times the Universe forces me to slow down; even if it’s another ear infection.
  3. I am grateful for work that keeps my mind alive and agile.
  4. I am grateful for the many lessons I’ve been and will be given. Each one makes me stronger in some way, even if some appear as a willingness to be vulnerable.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; lessons, love, friendship, joy, challenges, successes, visibility, encouragement, peace, harmony, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She is available for article writing and ghost writing to help your website and the business it supports grow and thrive. Her specialties are finding and expressing your authentic self. 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

Celebrating Your Exceptional Self

Letting Go of Limits on Being Exceptional

We are all exceptional. Yes, even you. You bring something to the world nobody else does. Sometimes it’s hard to find it, mired as we are in the business of living.

The trouble is, we’re encouraged, not always gently, to fit in from an early age. Being different made you a target for teasing, bullying and abuse in many flavors. You either toughened up or conformed if you could. Some of us simply built walls around our authentic and far more interesting selves and hid the light we were meant to shine.

Reality Today Was Once Someone’s Impossible

Where are the ones who bullied and teased now? Are they doing extraordinary things? Are they taking chances or leaps of faith? Are they daring to be different? Probably not. They’re probably a member of the cube jungle, going to a meaningless job every day, tapping a keyboard and pushing paper. They have their 2.5 kids and their mini van, or maybe their kids are grown and they babysit their grandkids so their kids can have a night out. They’re hooked on “Survivor” and “Real Housewives of Wherever”. In other words, they’re boring!

Last week, I heard a lot of people talk about being comfortable and how it is just another name for a rut. Whether it’s the 9-5 job that bores you silly, yet you stay because of the regular paycheck and 401(k), or the people you never meet because you go to the same places on the same days every week (yes, I am guilty of that one!), or the lessons you don’t learn because you reject anything that isn’t in your wheelhouse. They’re all ruts. Pleasant ones, maybe, but still ruts.

One of my favorite quotes from “Alice in Wonderland” is:

Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast!

Frankly, that’s not a bad idea. Her point, though, is that once you’ve believed those impossible things, they become possible. For example, I believe I am a New York Times best-selling author. Have you seen my books? Perhaps you’re just not looking hard enough!

Believe in Yourself and You’ll Do the Impossible

The first step in being your extraordinary self is believing—not that you can, but that you already are! Who do you want to be? What do you want to accomplish? Where do you want to go? As Dr. Seuss said:

Oh, the thinks you can think!

As I write this, I did a Google search to make sure I’m quoting correctly, and on the first page of the search found not one, but two links to of my own previous articles. This concept is clearly not new to me. If you’d like to see where I was on this subject about 6 months ago, here’s the link:  “Oh, the Extraordinary Thinks You can Think!”

You see, I’m no stranger to leaps of faith, any more than I’m a stranger to hiding my extraordinary self under a bushel basket. Sometimes, you have to feel the pain of denying your authenticity before you’re willing to endure a little discomfort to be true to yourself. People won’t always support you or even be nice about the choices you make, but is what they think about you really your business?

Why Limit Yourself by What Others Believe About You?

You can’t control what people think of you or how they react to what you do or say, so why waste your time and effort trying. Living your life to please others is, in the first place a losing battle, and in the second, a guarantee that you’ll be everyone’s doormat, and make yourself miserable in the process.

I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t put on this planet to be miserable for 80 or 90 years (maybe even more). I was put here to learn lessons and do great things. At 62, I’m still learning lessons, and I don’t feel I’ve done anything great when compared to the likes of Mother Theresa, the Dalai Lama or any of the world’s great humanitarians. But why would I compare myself to them? If you judge a fish on its ability to fly, the fish will be judged a failure. Go ahead and be the fish, but excel at what is within your own reality. You needn’t be brilliant like Stephen Hawking, or have Carrie Underwood’s musical talents. And don’t even try to say you’re not in their league!

You’re as good as they are at what you do best. It’s the only thing that matters. You have to believe in yourself, even if that means believing impossible things at first. Eventually, the impossible becomes not only possible, but your new reality.

And don’t stop with just one thing. Once you are what you believed impossible yesterday, believe something new. Being extraordinary doesn’t have limits, rules or guidelines. You’re only limited by your ability to believe!

For Heaven’s Sake, Find Things in Your Life That Make You Feel Grateful

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful I’m an extraordinary being.
  2. I am grateful for my imagination and ability to believe.
  3. I am grateful for writing prompts that get my creative juices flowing.
  4. I am grateful for the increase in attention my Facebook Author page has gotten the last few days. One less impossible thing for me to believe!
  5. I am grateful for abundance, the ultimate in believing; love, inspiration, success, motivation, friendship, joy, attraction, ideal clients, sustainability, exposure, peace, harmony, health, prosperity, and philanthropy.

Love and Light

Here’s another post using today’s prompt, courtesy of Serendipity, Encouraged

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. She believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She is available for article writing and ghost writing to help your website and the business it supports grow and thrive. She specializes in finding and expressing your authentic self. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information.

 

Where Has All the Compassion Gone?

Acts of Violence Often Send Compassion in Only One Direction

As the world reels from yet another senseless act of violence, it’s easy to be angry at the perpetrator. It’s easy to cast blame and aspersions on his character despite the fact that prior to his most horrific and final act, most of us didn’t even know the man existed. And perhaps that’s part of the problem.

As human beings, it is inherent in our nature to need love. Yet so many live without such a basic part of life. So many never know the care, the nurturing, the kindness, the compassion that goes with a love which expects nothing in return.

Turning Adversity into Helping and Healing

Last week, I attended the 1000 Speakers Academy and listened to some amazing and talented speakers. Many spoke of the service they offered and how they help other people achieve their dreams. But several told stories of less-than-idyllic childhoods which ultimately led them to their current path, coaching others and helping them achieve their dreams.

Too many of those stories were examples of neglect, abuse, molestation and worse. I won’t lie. I came away from the experience exhausted on a physical, mental, emotional and energetic level. Yet my belief that perpetrators of heinous acts are some of the most desperately lonely, love-starved people on the planet.

I’m not going to tell you they don’t deserve to be punished for their acts, but I will say we need to look deeper into how they came to do what they did.

While many of the people I heard speak last week took truly horrible childhoods and used them as a launching point to help build a better world, too many who’ve experienced what they have simply become the next generation of abusers, molesters, and outright criminals. Their earliest imprinting taught them this behavior was normal.

Breaking a Cycle of Hate With Love

We can’t break the cycle of abuse, of criminal behavior if we don’t find it in our hearts to feel compassion for the child within. How often do you see a child act out, hitting, biting, or throwing a tantrum just to get some attention. Isn’t assaulting or even murdering someone just another example of that love-starved child acting out? Certainly the consequences are magnified as the child becomes an adult. The acts become larger as the need for attention escalates.

If the situation were different. If the perpetrators were taking out their lack of love on themselves as many do, how would our reactions differ? How do we respond when someone perpetually injures themself; when they succumb to the ultimate abuse and end their own life? Even then, we often try to blame someone else rather than looking at the victim with compassion, but there’s a huge gap between how we react to someone who injures or kills themself versus someone who takes others with them. Are they really very different in the overall scheme of things?

I implore you, the next time you hear of someone shooting a bunch of strangers in a crowd, or driving a truck into a peaceful demonstration or blowing up a train to take a step back and recognize that it’s a sad, lonely, desperate human being underneath the heinous act. It is a human being who lacks what so many of us take for granted; love and acceptance. Condemn the act if you will, but find it in your heart to show compassion for one of the most broken individuals our society has produced. I guarantee they didn’t ask for whatever happened to turn them into the monster you perceive them to be.

 

Please visit Light and Life for another treatise on compassion.

This post was inspired by a daily prompt found here.

With Every Heinous Act, It’s Important to Express Gratitude for All the Rest

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the reasonably normal childhood my parents gave me.
  2. I am grateful my life is filled with love and compassion, even when I’m too closed off to see it.
  3. I am grateful for a heart which can find compassion, even for the roughest among us.
  4. I am grateful for opportunities to be compassionate, especially in cases where it is the hardest.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, compassion, kindness, forgiveness, charity, philanthropy, social consciousness, peace, hope, harmony, prosperity, and blessings.

Love and Light

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. She believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She is available for article writing and ghost writing to help your website and the business it supports grow and thrive. She specializes in finding and expressing your authentic self. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information.

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