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Living in the Moment: The Power of Being

I Read, Therefore, I Am

This post was written to compliment an earlier Facebook Live video which can be found here.

As a lifelong, avid reader, I am constantly expanding my horizons through books I both seek out intentionally and those which get my attention in any way they can. Those crafty little devils have been known to confront me by facing cover forward instead of spine out on a bookstore shelf, but the more aggressive little buggers have even been known to drop fortuitously upon my unsuspecting skull. While acquiring knowledge through osmosis would be an interesting trick, my experiences must, for now, still involve moving my eyes across a page or screen.

I’ve traveled to many far-off places, both real and imaginary. I’ve learned new skills and learned of others I want to pursue. All between the pages of a book.

That is not to say that I don’t leave my own four walls and actually experience things first-hand. But quite often my interest is initially piqued by something I’ve read.

Expanding My Horizons One Book at a Time

While my personal library is a long ways from the meticulous organization of those found in most cities, schools and universities, I’ve made an effort in the last couple of years to isolate a few like-minded tomes. At the moment, that means one shelf devoted entirely to books on writing and related subjects. I also have a shelf filled with books on self-help and spiritual matters. The latter leaves things wide open as it encompasses everything from Tarot and Kabbalah to Spirituality, Laws of Attraction, and natural healing.

This shelf in particular has been extremely life-changing. The books here have allowed me to find my own version of Spirituality which needs only work for me. It has been vital in my quest to be kinder and more compassionate, and in the process of both healing from my parents’ suicides and showing me how to use what I’ve learned to help others.

The latest book in my perpetual journey was Eckhart Tolle’s “A New Earth: Awakening to your Life’s Purpose”.  Of the many books I’ve read even recently, this was the first which had me nodding over each page, wearing that “aha!” glow on my face. Many times, I’d read a few pages, then set the book down so I could think about what I’d read. Many times, I read the same passage over several times to make sure I gleaned everything I could from the words on the page.

If pressed, I’d have to admit reading the book was a spiritual journey for me, and one I wouldn’t have been ready for  a year ago. The book came into my hands at exactly the right moment.

A New Perspective on the Often Reviled Ego

From Mr. Tolle, I learned a completely different meaning of “ego”, and one which resonates more fully within me. My ego isn’t a single entity as I’ve come to believe, but all of the voices inside me which get in the way of simply Being. It’s the list-makers, the forward planners, the memorializers, criticizers, and more. In short, they are all of the voices which keep me from living in the Now.

Those voices are always either rushing me into the next 50 moments, or they are lingering in the past, holding on to things which may have helped form the me in the Now, but which are no more. The only moment I have the slightest amount of control over is this very one, the one I’m in as I type these words. I can no more change the next moment right now as I can any of the moments which are already gone.

Though I won’t always succeed, I’m working on making my Now the very best it can be. That means silencing the memorializers; cutting the critics off at the pass; telling the dreamers to let the dreams be without worrying about timelines, and most of all, telling the list makers to put it on the calendar and then let it go.

Because the memories will always be there. The chores will never stop mounting. The dreams can’t be stopped. But worrying about them can. We can live in each moment, even if that moment is taking something off our To Do list. We can embrace the miracle that is our body floating in an energetic sea of endless possibilities. And when we get up and do, it will be because, like the book telling me to open its cover and fall into its depths, it is the exact right moment to be in that moment of doing.

Being: The Ultimate Self-Indulgence

There is a special kind of freedom which goes along with giving ourselves permission to live each moment by itself without interference from all the moments past or yet to materialize. I believe we move towards our dreams that much faster and with less resistance when we allow the journey to move at its own pace. Our journeys are no less delicate than the transformation of a caterpillar to a butterfly. We, too can damage our wings if we try to rush the process.

So how do we know whether we’re going at the right pace or trying to force things? We trust in our feelings. If the process feels smooth and comfortable, we’re allowing things to unfold in the proper time. If we feel stressed, angry, uncomfortable, or otherwise resistant, it’s because we’re trying to go somewhere we’re not yet ready to go.

Now, when I feel the need to just pause, reflect, listen, or simply be, I honor that request because this moment won’t come back again. I allow myself the opportunity to treasure each moment like a single drop of rain dripping down my window, or a single grain of sand I find on the shore. Separate and unique, yet also an integral part of the whole. Just like you and me.

True Being Makes Us Grateful for Each Moment

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the moments.
  2. I am grateful for the things I learn when I’m just still.
  3. I am grateful for the times of solitude which are a perfect counterpoint to the moments of frenetic activity. Each in its own time.
  4. I am grateful for celebrations of life, of love, of birth, and even of death. Each in its own time.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; joy, celebration, Being, peace, harmony, love, 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!

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Confessions of a Book Addict

A Book Once Bought is Never Wasted

I am a hopeless book buyer. I come alive between the shelves of a bookstore, searching for hidden gems, and books which leap off the shelf as if summoned by some inner quest. The result is shelves overflowing with books, many of which I’ve yet to read.

In the last couple of years, I’ve had some of these books suddenly tumble from a shelf, as if magnetized by either a need or a readiness to embrace what lies between its pages.

It happened again yesterday when Sue Monk Kidd’s When the Heart Waits fell into my grasp, answering a quest I was unaware I’d begun. At first, I was put off by the overtly Christian direction she discussed in the introduction, but knowing it’s arrival in my hands was no accident, I turned to Chapter 1 and began reading.

Soon, I was engrossed in her words and saying “oh yeah!” to myself with every other sentence. I discovered, like many authors, she writes from what she knows, not from the traditional doctrine I’ve come to associate with Christianity in particular and organized religion as a whole. Her journey has taken her down many roads and the fullness of her experiences comes through in how openly she discusses her own challenges and lessons.

Learning the True Meaning of Waiting

I have to admit, I don’t even remember buying the book. I can’t even tell from the tag where I might have purchased it. It doesn’t really matter. What matters is it made it into my library and waited patiently until fate, circumstance or some other force deemed the time right for me to find answers in its pages.

In the first couple of chapters, Ms. Kidd talks about the value of waiting, comparing the process of a caterpillar waiting in its cocoon until the time is right to emerge as a butterfly. I realized as I read (part of the time, in the middle of a crowded restaurant where I easily tuned out the noise of other diners and wait staff) that the time between quitting my job in December of 2013 and now has, in it’s own way been my period of waiting. In that time, I’ve tried many things as a means only to earn money. I’m not ashamed to admit most of them have failed. What has worked, surprisingly enough is when I allow work to flow to me; allow myself to be open to whatever the Universe has in store for me. Only then am I brought together with people who are important to my own spiritual development, and thus, my growth and success.

Life by the Numbers

Talking to friends last night, we got on the subject of year numbers. When I quit my job, I was coming to the end of a “4” year and embarking on a “5” year. Creative Numerology provides the following regarding a “4” year:

Whatever you want to happen, you have to make it happen. A strong Will is needed. However, it is in the 4 year that we realize that our Will is not free at all because we have repressed it with a limited vision of our potential. 4 can make you feel restricted and boxed-in by circumstances that really are ‘beyond your control’, and knowing how you feel is the only way to know what to do next. It is from your feelings that creativity is born and, thankfully, your experiences along the down-to-Earth 4 year road will make emotional denial almost impossible.

I can attest to the fact that I did a lot of soul-searching and talking to people in my healing class before taking what was then, and remains even in hindsight a huge leap of faith. I left a comfortable if stagnant life as a corporate controller to enter the blinding uncertainty which accompanied following my passion as a writer. Three years later, a look at my finances would render this experiment/experience a dismal failure, but is it really? I’m happier, healthier, have 3 novels in progress, have resurrected my memoir and a children’s book I wrote years ago. I’ve expanded my knowledge on a variety of subjects and joined communities of people whose thinking complements mine. My stress level is lower and I’ve released over 20 pounds. How is this a failure?

Creative Numerology’s explanation of the “5” year includes the following paragraph which certainly defined my choices in 2014:

Regardless of what is happening globally, the world is opening up for you now, and is inviting you to experience it to the fullest. Yes, experience itself is what is on offer this year. In order to receive it, and in order to retain your freedom, some mistakes may have to be made. Remember that a mistake becomes experience when its lesson is learned and not repeated. Allow your mistakes to evolve into expertise. Alexander Graham Bell, for instance, invented the telephone by mistake. He was actually trying to invent a hearing aid. One of the biggest mistakes you could make this year is giving up on something before you have given yourself the opportunity to experience it in a state of freedom. You do not always have to lose what you have in order to get what you want. Guilt, disguising itself as fear, makes you feel this way.

Reflection and Appreciation

I certainly had my share of false starts in 2014. That was the year I tried AWAI’s copywriting course and after several months of slogging through it, I discovered it just wasn’t for me. It was also the year I completed the NaNoWriMo novel I’d begun in 2014; the novel which has now been revised a couple of times and will soon be picked apart and spreadsheeted to make sure the flow, the characters, and the energy really work. It was the year I began my second NaNoWriMo, A Dubious Gift which I’ve yet to either revise or spreadsheet. And it was the last year I did any real work for my former employer.

It was a year of learning what didn’t work; a year of trying hard to accept that doing something just for the money was doomed to failure, yet continuing to try until my ego was bloody from the effort. But it was also a year when I was able to discard many unworkable options.

From 2014 until now, I have certainly spent a lot of time waiting. Waiting for inspiration. Waiting for something to hit me which would actually be revenue generating. Waiting to understand my true passion. Waiting to figure out which book I should endeavor to publish first.

Emerging from the Cocoon

But mixed in with all of the waiting, I found my own essence. I continued to learn about accepting the actions of others without judgment or personalization. I learned that my parents followed their own path, inexplicable to me, but necessary to them. I learned that sharing my struggles to understand, to forgive, to accept, and to heal would actually help me achieve all of that and more. And it would allow me to do what had, up to that point, escaped me. I was able to help others struggling with the same kind of trauma and let them know they weren’t alone in all of the emotions they were feeling. Nor were they ever to blame.

All of this waiting may have drained my financial resources, but it has been filling my spiritual reservoir at a steady pace. I have not always expressed my passion and now I see there are times to simply allow it to flow. So many times I had an idea for a blog post but neglected to jot it down somewhere, and it never came to fruition. I see now those things were simply meant for my personal growth and not for sharing.

So I say to you now, in the immortal words of Simon and Garfunkel: Slow down, you move too fast. Got to make the morning last. Just kickin’ down the cobblestones. Looking for fun and feelin’ groovy.

There is a time and a season for movement, and there’s a time and a season for waiting and resting and listening. All too often, we honor one and not the other. The result is not just imbalance but a failure to be the whole and complete person we were meant to be. If you need a little help finding the power to control less and be more, I highly recommend Ms. Kidd’s book, Where the Heart Waits.

With Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:
1. I am grateful for serendipitous book falls.
2. I am grateful for the time I’ve spent waiting.
3. I am grateful for friends who have the right words at the right time to guide me on my journey.
4. I am grateful for missed opportunities.
5. I am grateful for abundance; epiphanies, knowledge, resources, friendship, dancing, fat release, joy, love, passion, purpose, peace, humor, harmony, 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!

August 9, 2015 Books, Books and More Books

Getting Lost Between the Pages, or Losing the Pages

I have what I would consider an impressive collection of books. booksSo many, in fact, that I don’t even know what I have sometimes. My shelves are overflowing despite the fact that many are stacked 2 and 3 deep and 2 high. My daughter took a lot of her books when she moved into her own place, including both sets of encyclopedias, yet still, my shelves runneth over. bookshelves-cornerBecause of my propensity towards obtaining more and more books, I have, on occasion, purchased duplicates. Which brings me to my next sub-topic.

Finding Lost Treasures

Many times, I will purchase a book, read a couple of chapters and find I’m not able to get into the book, at least at the moment. I’ll put it aside, often with a page marked with a sticky note or receipt as if, when I pick it up again, I’ll start where I left off instead of at the beginning.

A couple of days ago, I spotted one such book on what I’ve dubbed my Spiritual Shelf. It contains books on Tarot, all of my decks, Angel Oracle cards, books on Kabbalah, and various books on laws of attraction and the like. At one point, it also included some of my books on healing but when I rearranged my shelves to open one up for my growing collection of books on writing, some of the healing books ended up there as the Spiritual shelf was exploding.

But I digress. Looking up at the shelf which sits right above my monitor, I spotted Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now shining like the proverbial beacon at the back of the shelf, laying across my kabbalah collection. It was one of those books I’d bought on someone’s recommendation, read a chapter or so and just couldn’t get into it. But that was then and this is now. I removed the Starbuck’s receipt from the last page I’d read and started at the beginning…and could not put it down! Suddenly, this book I struggled with the first time around was resonating so strongly that I just had to devour the words as our local coyotes would devour an unattended chihuahua.

Not only did I consume the words, but the exercises just worked, resonated, blossomed inside me. Out of curiosity, I checked the date on my ‘bookmark’. It seems I’d purchased a venti latte to drink with my book on September 22, 2010, nearly 5 years ago! It isn’t as if the book has been hidden away, either. I’ve arranged and rearranged the shelf it was on numerous times in just the last year.

To Every Book, There is a Time, a Season and a Reason

I’m sure I’m not the only bibliophile who purchases books she doesn’t read for years. I’ve learned that I have to be in a certain mindset to read different kinds of books. Sometimes, I want something really deep and insightful, others, something light, easy and fun. Still other times, I want something suspenseful and filled with plot twists and edge-of-your-seat moments where I can’t read the words fast enough. There are also times when I want to lose myself again in one of my old favorites, which is why my collection grows. I don’t give my books away because I know that I will want to read many of them again someday, or share it with a friend who shares my taste (or one of them as I have so many).

There are authors I’ve read over a dozen times like Potok, Heinlein, McCaffery, Lackey and Roberts, and others who were just a phase and whose books I actually gave away like Danielle Steele and all of the Harlequin Romance novellas. I know just where to go depending on the kind of reading I want to do, though sometimes, it requires digging through my collection to find what I want.

That, in itself is an adventure. Many is the time I’ve found something I forgot I had and stopped searching for the book I originally wanted to sit and read a long-forgotten tale. I’ve tried to put all of my favorites in the front of the shelves where they are easily accessible, but to be honest, I just have too many favorites. I’ve threatened to catalogue my collection many times, but then I look up at the shelves and gasp in dismay. Just the idea of taking all of them down to see what I have is more overwhelming than facing a cluttered house worthy of a hoarder.

Allowing Old Ways to Reign

So I comfort myself that between my bookshelves and the ones I have on Kindle, I’m not likely to run out of reading material any time soon, yet still, I buy more. I can’t help myself. It’s a passion and and obsession, but one I don’t choose to cure. When the world gets too annoying or my writing is stuck or I just want to take a trip to someplace new, my books will take me there, even when my own imagination flounders.

Do you have a collection you wouldn’t part with? Do you add to it despite the fact that you already overflow the allotted space? What is it that makes your heart sing and your mind happy?

My gratitudes are:
1. I am grateful that my obsession is one that builds rather than destroys my mind.
2. I am grateful for new discoveries of old purchases.
3. I am grateful for the time to stop, listen and read.
4. I am grateful that my life has a balance of mental and physical energies.
5. I am grateful for abundance: books, love, friendship, dancing, brains, mental acuity, energy, meaningful work, generosity, kindness, compassion, 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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