Dancing outside my comfort zone

Archive for the ‘challenges’ Category

Alone for a Reason

Alone Again, Naturally

I woke today after an exceptionally good night of dancing feeling strangely…icky. The lingering joy which usually greets me when I wake was replaced by a dark, writhing pit in my stomach. Thankfully, I have my normal morning routine of writing three pages of thoughts longhand. I don’t think I’ve ever needed it more than I did today.

It took me two pages to come to the realization that everyone I know has some sort of support group close by. It might be a loving and devoted spouse, or kids, or a close circle of friends; often it’s a combination of things. Meanwhile, I’m alone. If something happened to sideline me for a while, I really don’t know where I’d turn.

Life’s Challenges Come at Just the Right Time

But before you start thinking “Oh, poor Sheri”, let me get to the second part of my realization. Those people are all going through some kind of trauma or difficulty in their lives right now. It might be an aging parent, a death, the spectrum of an empty nest, issues with a child, injury, or some other disaster. But having that support group means they aren’t facing the roller coaster of emotions alone.

I, on the other hand, got my traumas and disasters over with early, while I still had at least a couple of people around to help me get through them. One child did her middle-of-the-night disappearing act over 10 years ago, setting off a chain of events which would ultimately have us leading completely separate lives. The other lived with me until shortly before her marriage. Even so, she stayed in the area another year or two. When she moved away, I may not have had a support group, but I had a life which kept me busy, and that’s nearly as good.

My parents both passed when I had work, the girls, their activities and a dozen other things to keep my mind occupied. Eventually, I even went back to my long-neglected writing. In their own way, they even inspired, and continue to inspire my writing in ways they never were able to do while alive.

Turning Bitter Fruit into a Tasty Treat

Instead of crawling into a hole and feeling sorry for what I don’t have, I see an opportunity to be more. My performance on the compassion spectrum can still use a lot of work. I still see people as strangers and tend to be territorial when it’s not necessary or even kind. I still take small snubs personally without taking into consideration the challenges my friends and acquaintances are doing their best to navigate. I see the support group and ignore the obstacles which need extra hands to clear away.

I’m reminded of the story of the coffee, the carrot, and the egg. The carrot when boiled becomes soft and flexible. The egg becomes hard and unyielding, and the coffee makes the water better. I find I want to be the coffee but am struggling in my efforts, often making the water bitter instead.

Yet it’s mornings like this when I experience my greatest revelations; my purest insight into my purpose for being in this particular lifetime. It’s the things I struggle most to learn; love, compassion, patience, supportiveness, understanding, acceptance, forgiveness, I’m here to not only exhibit, but encourage in others. I may be a long way from learning what I need to know and embrace, but I’m a lot closer than I give myself credit for, especially given what I started with.

Being the Grown-up in My Relationship With Myself

My inner child continues to fight to be the center of attention. My biggest challenge is in teaching her she needs to give first. It’s her selfishness which leaves her out in the cold while others enjoy the warmth of hearth and home. It’s her unwillingness to recognize others are struggling with their own demons which has left her teased, shamed, and ostracized over and over again. And it’s the fragility she has covered over with a seemingly impermeable shell which makes it difficult for people to get to know her soft side and see how much she really has to give.

I was originally going to post a piece about fears which I wrote between dance classes yesterday, but when I woke this morning, this topic seemed to be the more important of the two. The fear piece will be waiting for the right moment, but today, compassion seemed to be more timely.

It might be in part my monthly response to the Full Moon. I do tend to react more physically and emotionally these days than I recall doing in the past. Maybe it’s because I’m post-menopausal, but I think that’s coincidental more than causal. (as I write this, I realize I started it at 11:11 on 6/11. The coincidences in my life keep pointing in the same direction. I also finished it at 1:11!). Or maybe it’s that I have time for introspection and self-reflection and am not exactly satisfied with what I see.

Where I Am and Where I Am Not

Putting aside where I am on my career path. Ignoring for a moment the many things I can point to that I don’t have. My personal development has a long way to go, which is pretty daunting when I admit how many decades I’ve had to work on it.

Even after writing several pages of self-revelation this morning, I still have the knot in the pit of my stomach. Though some of the darkness has lifted, I’m clearly not where I need to be right now. I’ve shown a marked lack of compassion in the last week or so, and I’m ashamed of myself. My inner child really needs a good shaking right now to stop feeling sorry for herself and focus on being a better person.

Thankfully, today is a new day and a new start. It’s up to me to make the most of it.

And finding a Reason to be Grateful

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful I have a new day to make positive changes.
  2. I am grateful for the mistakes which make me see what I still need to learn.
  3. I am grateful for the friends I do have who accept my flaws even when I, myself don’t.
  4. I am grateful for the energy to dance for hours and sleep the sleep of the innocent, even if I wake feeling not-so-innocent.
  5. I am grateful for abundance: lessons, friends, energy, health, happiness, inspiration, motivation, Universal head slaps, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

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!

Lessons Catch Us Unaware

Life: An Endless Chain of Lessons

If you’re doing more with your life than staring at a wall, you’ve likely experienced your share of lessons. Some of them are pretty obvious and come as a result of something you actually set out to accomplish. More often than not, though, the lessons have a way of finding you. This is especially true when it’s a subject you’ve revisited multiple times, yet have yet to quite grasp the concept. One of my personal favorites is patience. (In case it isn’t evident, the last comment was laced with a liberal dose of sarcasm. I, for one could use a sarcasm emoji!)

Since I seem to be uniquely resistant to this particular lesson, the Universe has seen fit to hit me with another opportunity to get it right when I least expect it, and typically, at the worst possible moment. Put me in a store with 3 screaming children when I’m in a hurry, have a blazing headache and haven’t eaten in hours and I guarantee my patience will be tested yet again. Seriously, who could be expected to assimilate the lesson under those conditions. Never let it be said the Universe lacks a sense of humor! I only hope it will avoid taking me into a situation where I learn patience or suffer serious physical harm.

Lessons in Camouflage

As I believe I am both a component of the Universe as well as it’s entirety, I feel it’s in both our best interests to protect my physical self, at least for as long as it is required to learn the lessons I came into this lifetime expecting to learn. That does not, however, preclude increasingly painful lessons along the way. Perhaps that’s part of the plan?

Although I’ve come to the conclusion painful lessons are often the most memorable (after all, who really wants to revisit an experience akin to being smacked in the head with a bat?), I am beginning to wonder if, in some cases, it’s truly about learning the lesson, or if the pain itself is the real lesson? Are we meant to experience a certain amount of struggle and strife in order to make us stronger and more resilient? Is that strength a critical component of our virtual tool box?

My perspective on life lessons is constantly evolving, but this is the biggest breakthrough I’ve had in a long time. To realize that sometimes the experience of the lesson is the real lesson is mind-blowing. So many times, I’ve wracked my brain looking for the lesson in the painful experience, completely missing the fact that the painful experience in and of itself was what I needed to learn. The real lesson, then wasn’t patience, or kindness, or compassion, or some other admirable quality. It was, instead resilience.

Finding the Blessing in Disguise

One of the most powerful lessons I’ve learned over the years is that seeming catastrophes are always blessings in disguise. They occur when we’ve become so attached to something, someone, or a situation that we fail to recognize when it’s time to let go of the old so we can evolve. We stifle our own ability to enter the next iteration of our life because we’re holding too tightly to what we know. No matter what our relationship to change is, there’s a time in every life when change has to occur. Most of the time it’s in baby steps, but periodically, we need a 1994 Northridge earthquake- or World Trade Center-size upheaval to shake us right out of our boots and into a new reality.

Even when these upheavals are strictly personal, the effect is the same as those occurring on a national or global scale. We are forced to re-evaluate what we need to keep and what we need to leave behind. These events might be brutal and painful like a nasty divorce or loss of a loved one by suicide or accident. But they can also be dangerously subtle like rising dissatisfaction with a job situation. Dangerous because the longer we ignore the signs, the more likely we’ll have the situation taken out of our hands.

Changing for the Better in Spite of Ourselves

I can honestly say I never left a job which no longer served my best interests at the first sign, or even the 10th. In fact, in most cases, I stuck it out until the situation was taken out of my hands in one way or another. And yet, in hindsight, I left at exactly the right time because the circumstances surrounding the parting of ways was a critical component of the lesson I needed to experience. It was especially scary when I had two young daughters to support, but I can look back now and see that I always managed to pull through. That, too is part of the lesson. I’ve always survived whatever I was dealt.

Granted, I have not been given some of the challenges I see others face: developing a terminal disease, watching parents age, sicken, and ultimately pass on, homelessness, or a multitude of other life-lessons. But those are not the lessons I came here to experience. At least not this time around. But the people who are faced with different challenges than I am simply get a collection that’s unique to them.

Recognizing Our Own Brand of Resiliency

Though family suicide is far more prevalent than even I had come to believe, I am uplifted not only by the stories I’ve been privileged to share, but by how many different ways people demonstrate their own resiliency. In the process, one of my major upheavals broke me off from a group of friends who chose to expend their energy complaining about their lives instead of changing them. Though it left me adrift and alone for a time, the conditions I, myself had put into motion by looking at the world through more positive, grateful eyes ultimately led me to friends who faced their challenges in a healthier manner.

From my newer circle of friends, I’ve learned that life will deal you some seemingly crappy hands just to force you to step up and accept the challenge. I learned I’m not the type to crawl into a hole and pull it in after me no matter how many times I wanted to do just that in the years following my divorce and my mom’s suicide. Somehow, I always found a reason to keep going. I always found a reason to keep trying. I found it in myself to find another way when the old ways no longer worked.

Not only did I find out I was resilient, I found out how to make that resiliency work for me. But most of all, I started learning how to ask for help; how to be vulnerable at times. And guess what? There wasn’t a single time when I actually shattered into a million, irreparable pieces.

Yes, some of life’s lessons can really kick the crap out of you. But getting to the other side with most of your pieces intact is the greatest gift I’ve ever been given. And it’s one I give myself over and over again.

From My Eternally Grateful Heart

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for my resiliency.
  2. I am grateful for the opportunities I’m given to learn, even the less obvious lessons.
  3. I am grateful for inspiration which gives me not only an endless stream of Facebook Live topics, but an ever-growing list of blogs waiting to be written.
  4. I am grateful for being a constantly evolving being. Stagnation has never been my comfort zone.
  5. I am grateful for abundance: love, friendship, lessons, experiences, opportunities, joy, sorrow, pain, healing, vulnerability, and strength. It is only by experiences both sides of the coin that we become whole.

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!

 

Photo Courtesy of Lucie Provencher via Flickr

The Tarot Card pictured is The Tower from the Spiral Tarot

Mistaking my Way to Perfection

Finding Hidden Opportunities

I was playing a computer game last night when I made a move which had me kicking myself. Dang it! I should have moved there! I thought to myself. But a couple of moves later, I discovered the move I thought was a mistake had actually set me up to complete the round with a higher score than I’d have gotten if I’d made the “right” move earlier.

It occurred to me that life is the same way. What we believe to be a mistake often turns out to be the best thing we could have done. It’s the wrong turns we make which often lead to the most amazing discoveries. How many hours do we spend beating ourselves up over what we believe is a mistake, only to find out later that it was truly a blessing in disguise?

When my daughters were growing up, I used to tell them to look for the lesson instead of labeling themselves a failure. Things which seem like a disaster at first are nearly always opportunities they’d have missed had everything gone as planned. Oftentimes, those opportunities are only meant to appear when things look the most bleak.

Whether it’s a job I lost or didn’t get, the ending of a friendship or an ending of another sort, I’ve learned that if I wait a bit, I’ll see what that ending left me open for, and find I’m grateful for the ending because had I stayed where I was, I’d have missed something much better.

Letting My Course Be Altered

Even now, more than 2 years into my leap of faith, I’m finding opportunities I wouldn’t have dreamed of 2 years ago. Sure, I haven’t published that book yet or managed to monetize my blog writing very much, but as I’m being pushed out of my comfort zone and out into the world more, I’m exposing myself to opportunities which aren’t even on my radar yet. The hours I spend at home alone are getting shorter and the places I’m going are becoming more interesting and diverse.

I’m doing research into topics I had not, until recently ever written about and digging back into my memories for lessons and techniques I never expected to use. I thought I wanted to sit in my version of a garret and just write and research without much human contact. Instead, I’m filling my calendar with events where I have to walk up to strangers and ask them questions–questions which might once have been off-the-cuff but now require some advance research and planning on my part. Each step I take outside that old comfort zone leads to more steps which take me even further away from where I once dwelled in hermity comfort.

Life is changing and yes, it’s scary, but it’s also exciting. This week, I started Level 5 of John Assaraf’s “Winning the Game of Money”. Am I noticing major changes? Not that I can see. However, I am accepting opportunities to expand my horizons and I have finally gotten back to editing “Sasha’s Journey” so maybe, just maybe, it is making me move, if nothing else. As many of the events I’m attending as Press attract a lot of wealthy people, maybe it’s simply giving me the opportunity to feel more comfortable in their presence for the moment. And maybe that’s what I need right now to help break down any barriers I have to finding wealth myself.

For now, my calendar is filling up and I’m going to have to manage my time better in order to fit in time for writing and editing my novels, writing blog posts and researching and writing the articles for all of the events I have scheduled over the next few months.

Setting Goals and Making Plans

Being busy also means moving more and sitting less which will support one of the goals I wrote down this week; to get healthy and fit. Somehow, all of the pieces I need to achieve the 13 goals I’ve already recorded and the others which will follow in the days and weeks ahead of me are coming just a bit faster than I can manage easily, but at the right pace overall. What I’m trying to accomplish right now doesn’t require a lot of deliberation, it requires action. Giving me less time to think about it or waffle, or even talk myself out of things I find uncomfortable is a good thing, and part of the overall process to reinvent myself right now.

In short, I’m pleased that things are changing a bit too fast, and though I’m running to keep up sometimes, I can always use the extra cardio. I’m excited about the future as I haven’t been in months, and I finally see myself accomplishing a lot of those scary things I set out in my ignorance to do. Those things are only the tip of the iceberg as they came from my limited imagination and experiences. As both expand, those dreams will, of necessity, become loftier and more exciting. It’s a marvelous time to be alive!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the things which expand my consciousness.
2. I am grateful that the baby steps I’ve been taking to get out of my comfort zone are getting larger and more diverse.
3. I am grateful for the people who are pushing me, pulling me and otherwise helping me leave what comes easily behind in favor of what makes me grow.
4. I am grateful for the brief respite I had while I was sick as it may be the last one I have for the rest of this year.
5. I am grateful for abundance; lessons, knowledge, opportunities, friendship, love, peace, harmony, health, imagination, 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!

Making Lemonade

Whew! What a ride!

I’ve managed to slide into mid-week fairly unscathed despite a few challenges life decided to toss my way. But the week wasn’t without some loveliness as well.

On Monday, I received two new books from one of my favorite Authors, Debbie Macomber which I’d won in an online contest. I spent the better part of a day which didn’t even begin until noon reading Last One Home, a story about a woman who had left her family behind at 18 to marry what she thought was the love of her life. Instead, he was a manipulative abuser who cut her off from family, friends and even acquaintances. The story chronicles her struggles climbing out of the hole he’d buried her in, alone, broke and with a young child to raise. Reaching out to the family she’d left behind forced her to see that the damage her husband had caused went beyond just her and her child.

Sometimes, the Universe Intends for our Choices to go Awry

As women, we make our share of poor choices but it’s how we rectify them which really tests how strong a foundation we had to begin with. Many of us don’t see how strong and capable we are, settling for someone who is far less than we deserve. The lucky ones like me finally hit a point where we realize we truly do deserve better. We do whatever it takes to fix our lives. We know we’ve truly succeeded when we learn to love the person who may have gotten buried under a lot of crap, both of our own making and from those poor choices we allowed into our lives.

Fortunately for me, unlike Cassie in Ms. Macomber’s book, I left my own abusive relationship with a means of supporting myself and my children and no visible bruises or scars. Many women aren’t so lucky. The existence of the many shelters and safe houses for women and their children to escape abusive men is evidence of this. But what about those who either aren’t strong enough or who lack either means or opportunity to leave their own version of hell, or never get the chance? Kudos to Ms. Macomber for highlighting the organizations which not only provide shelter but also moral support for women to escape their abusers and the fear they lived under for so long. But even more for emphasizing how helping others sort out their own lives benefits the giver as much as the receiver.

Always on the Lookout for Ways to Give Back

She also piqued my curiosity about Habitats for Humanity. At one time, my daughter and I considered helping with the construction of a home in our area, but other commitments got in the way. Though I don’t know that I’d be much help these days (it was once pointed out that I paint more with my belly and boobs than with a paintbrush) I’m sure there are other things I can do to help them or another organization in my area. I made an effort awhile back to get involved with neonatal care for a cat rescue, but was met with scheduling conflicts for all of their required training sessions. As I believe things happen for a reason, I can only assume that I was being “saved” for something else.

Macomber’s Cassie reminded me that the best way to improve your own life is to give of yourself to someone else. She took what she’d learned during her own struggles to help others. I know that writing about my own healing processes has given others something to think about, but I’ve only really covered two traumatic life events, and they were basically related. Maybe it’s time to speak out about how I ended up marrying a man who was as wrong for me as he could get and who I stayed with longer than I should have. Or how it took me years to recognize and embrace the lessons I learned from the experience. Or how I learned to tell my daughters that he did the best he could with what he had as he, himself was broken.

I will never regret the two beautiful daughters he gave me, albeit less than willingly, but I’m grateful that I was finally able to crawl out of the hole of self-loathing which was already in place when we met. It’s unsettling, to say the least, to realize that had I just loved myself more, I would never have even noticed him. I see now that his real purpose in my life was to give me another tool I’d ultimately need to learn to love myself. Funny how that works.

Each Lesson Shortens the Learning Curve for the Next

As I continue the journey I set upon when this lifetime began, I find it takes me less and less time to figure out the lessons which are embedded in the challenges I face. I know now that we never, ever make wrong choices. We do make choices which have less-than-desirable outcomes. However, in truth, we needed to make those choices because we needed the outcomes to teach us a lesson. Without that particular lesson, we might still be fumbling around trying to find our way, all for lack of an essential virtual tool.

If I’ve learned nothing else in the 60 years I’ve been on the planet this time around, it is to be grateful for every challenge and setback I’ve faced. (You’ll notice, I don’t use the word “Failure” here). Each one taught me to look at things from a different angle or to step back and regroup. Sure, there’ve been more than a few face-palming moments but if I’d truly been at the point where I should have known better, I wouldn’t have needed the lesson, now would I?

So the next time you’re chastising yourself for a mistake you think you’ve made, try taking a step back and asking yourself What did I learn from this experience? Was the outcome sufficiently painful that I won’t be likely to repeat this particular act of misdirection? If you can answer the first question honestly and the second question in the affirmative, then the experience was both necessary and valuable. But be warned, if you struggle to answer the first question and waffle on the second, you will have the opportunity to revisit the lesson again…multiple times if necessary…until you see the lesson and internalize it for future reference.

Life doesn’t give us lessons to sour our mood but to quench our thirst when things heat up.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for every mistake I’ve made and every lesson I’ve learned from them.
2. I am grateful for the friends I’ve made and the ones I’ve lost along the way. Some were meant to be here for a season, others for a reason, and a few, even for a lifetime.
3. I am grateful for lights at the end of the tunnel.
4. I am grateful for synchronicity.
5. I am grateful for abundance: life, love, lessons, joy, challenges, successes,dancing, writing, playing, working, peace, hope, 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 31, 2015 Life Between Universal Head Slaps

I believe the Universe is warming up to deliver a humdinger of a head slap. Why do I say that? In the last month or so, it has seen fit to reintroduce people into my life who were last seeing during a very difficult time period when I was making a lot of poor choices and behaving in a very negative and self-defeating fashion. And it isn’t the same time period. As of tonight, I’ve seen three of them.

The first instance was very positive and friendly, showing me that despite my poor behavior, there were some good times, and good memories.

The second was more like a leech seeking to re-attach itself if I wasn’t able to make it clear I was no longer that person. Fortunately, after a month of intermittent encounters and behavior on my part for which I’m not proud, I seem to have sent that particular less-than-stellar portion of my life back into the past where it belongs.

My latest encounter was only from a distance, and given certain circumstances, wasn’t entirely unexpected. The parting of the ways I experienced with this particular individual was instigated by his recently-deceased wife. In this case, I saw no real reason to make contact. I couldn’t say with sincerity that I was sorry for his loss, and maybe that’s the point. His appearance was a reminder that it’s high time I just forgave the woman. We’d both moved on and hadn’t had any contact in at least a dozen years. We moved in different circles and even the smallest of ripples didn’t intersect. Before that head slap comes, I guess I need to work on that forgiveness; both towards her and for myself. I certainly contributed to the situation by being stupid and unnecessarily vulnerable. It also occurred at the end of what I think of now as ‘the years of negativity’. Shortly thereafter, I was introduced to “The Secret” and began eliminating negative behavior from myself and negative people from my life.

You Win a Little and you Lose a Little

Looking back on those years, since the Universe insists, I carried around a lot of unnecessary baggage. Through a series of events and some much-needed guidance, I finally realized I had the ability to put things down. I didn’t need to schlep every single bad decision and every single tragic life occurrence around with me forever. I simply needed to take the lesson from each experience and let the rest go. I also found during those years that the Universe didn’t bother giving me head slaps; perhaps because I was beating myself up more than enough without any outside assistance. Instead, I was given a lot of opportunities to learn to love and appreciate myself. Believe me, back then I was a very slow learner, but even the tortoise gets to the finish line eventually.

What I’m trying to say in my usual meandering fashion is that we need to look around at what is coming into our life now and then because oftentimes, it is something we need or a lesson we need to learn. If we’re already indulging in self-flagellation, the Universe won’t give us more of the same, even if it feels like that’s what we’re getting. The Universe knows that we’re going to attract what we put out there so it isn’t even necessary to pile more manure on someone who is attracting manure. It takes little effort to become an expert shit-attractor.

It’s only when we’ve learned from those wrong turns and detours that we start to receive some challenges; not to drive us backward but to make us stronger and more certain of our path, perhaps even to get us to open up to options we’ve discarded because they seemed to be too difficult. Forcing us into a detour means we have to figure out how to make the sub-optimal work instead of just taking the easy road. Step out of that comfort zone and try something that makes us think quickly, maneuver better and even get out of our own way.

So in spite of the frustration at having to field some old manure, I know it is in my best interests and is preparing me for a new and interesting detour which will take me someplace I’d never have gone had the road I was on remained smooth and easy.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for life’s challenges as they give me the opportunity to explore new places.
2. I am grateful for my imperfections as they give me reason to strive to be better.
3. I am grateful to be getting back into the edits of “Sasha’s Journey” and to have set myself a goal to finish before NaNoWriMo. So I have another 292 pages to edit before November 1. I didn’t think I could write 50,000 words in a month either, and now I’ve done it twice!
4. I am grateful for my friends and family who, whether they realize it or not encourage me to go farther, do better and be a kinder, more compassionate person.
5. I am grateful for abundance; love, encouragement, inspiration, motivation, freedom, happiness, charity, peace, harmony, 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!

June 18, 2015 Strange Messages

Sometimes it Seems That What I See of the Universe Bears a Remarkable Resemblance to the Norse God, Loki

I know I’ve said it on numerous occasions, but once again, I seem to be the butt of the Universe’s jokes. My little corner seems to find it highly amusing to slap me around and see what I’ll do. I can honestly say that it’s never the same way twice which, if nothing else, keeps life interesting. For those who are unfamiliar with Norse Mythology, Loki was the god of mischief. He was the trickster and the one most likely to turn the tables at the most inconvenient possible moment.

How does it relate to me, you ask? Well, let me explain. I had finally figured out how and where I wanted to take my freelance business. I’d explored copywriting, but found that it was too much like sales for my tastes. Then I looked at straight blogging, but the cold pitching left me, well, cold, and the sites where I did find work paid peanuts. Yes, I have some posts to add to my portfolio, but that’s about it. Finally, I realized that I could build on my small accounting business by marketing it as Virtual Assistance and offering not only accounting but blogging, social media management, payroll, email management and just about anything one might expect from a talented and experienced office staff.

So there I was, connecting with other freelancers, updating my website and LinkedIn to reflect the new plan, promoting my Facebook page for the accounting/virtual assistance business when what should happen? Not one, not two, but three offers of potential full- or part-time work and all three were purely accounting and financial! What makes it worse is that a couple of months ago, I actually considered getting back into accounting in someone else’s office and my stomach clenched. That was enough for me to realize that a step backwards was not where I needed to go.

So why does the Universe see fit to toss such opportunities in my lap? Is it saying Give it up. Your dreams are never going to see the light of day! or is it, instead, a test of my resolve to pursue the life of my dreams? Is it simply a challenge to follow through with what I want and continue to have faith that I am only temporarily depleting my resources. Is it a challenge to continue on the path I began a year and a half ago despite any concrete evidence that it will be successful?

Challenge Accepted

For now, I’m going to treat it as a challenge and continue to pursue the dream. My personal Loki will have to accept the fact that I never thought the dream would just be handed to me because I’m a nice person, but would require a certain amount of sacrifice and even more faith in my success. If I were going to let a couple of set backs push me back into the corporate world doing something I’d grown to dread, I would have thrown in the towel at least 6 months ago. It seems the Universe needs a bit more convincing before it accepts that I deserve to chase my dream.

All I can say is “stick around”. My dreams of a writing career, a successful Virtual Assistance business, and several acres on which to grow fresh fruit, rescue cats and host writer’s retreats will all come to pass. I don’t need to know how or when or where. Just that I will keep returning the lobs and responding to indications which either push me forward or let me know I need to alter my course a bit.

Why Ride the Monorail When You Can Have the E Ticket Ride?

I’ve never taken the easy path or the one others thought I should take. I am certainly not going to do so now. I love my wild, crazy, unpredictable and sometimes frustrating life. I enjoy setting my own schedule and being able to switch gears without having someone complain that their needs aren’t being met. Does that mean I won’t listen to people who might present an opportunity I hadn’t considered? Not at all. But I reserve the right to accept, decline or modify once I’ve listened to their pitch; which is pretty much the same opportunity I give to others when I’m doing the pitching. Life truly is a dance. Sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow and sometimes you line dance so you can do your own thing! If I wanted it to be the same thing every day, I’d still be working for someone else.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the opportunities that are coming my way.
2. I am grateful for the power of choice.
3. I am grateful for evidence that I’m presenting myself reasonably well on my website and social media.
4. I am grateful for the natural remedies which are causing improvement in my muscles and joints every day.
5. I am grateful for abundance: opportunities, choices, challenges, lessons, love, joy, friendship, peace, health, harmony, 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!

May 31, 2015 One Door Closes

Sometimes, it Takes a Good, Swift Knock on the Head

It took someone at my crit group’s none-too-subtle, sotto voce comment today to finally make me realize what I’ve been doing wrong. I have been spending far too much time looking at other peoples’ work instead of focusing on my own. So I came to a rather difficult decision, but one I believe is long overdue. For now, I am going to study and write, not necessarily in that order, and leave it to others to offer suggestions to other people. I’ve learned a lot from the group, but I’m talking too much and listening too little so I’m no longer an asset, either to the group or myself.

My intention is not to run away forever. I simply need to re-evaluate my priorities and, most importantly, work on writing, editing and revising my own efforts. Even the blogging for others could possibly take a back seat for awhile, partially because I’m feeling discouraged with how long it takes me to write what will be, if anything, an $8 post, and partially because I just haven’t worked up the courage or the confidence to pitch to strangers. I even got turned down when I offered editing/proof reading services free of charge to someone who really needs it! (I subscribe to a newsletter which is always filled with misspellings and incorrect word usage. It has now filtered into the site’s blog posts and social media posts which makes the writer in my cringe.)

Suffice it to say that between the subtle put down which for some stupid reason had me a little teary-eyed once I was alone and the fact that I can’t even seem to give away my services, it’s time for me to crawl back into my hermit hole for awhile. I even went so far as to do some minor revisions on the memoir I had decided to fictionalize. If that’s not spinning my wheels in the wrong direction, I don’t know what is!

Avoiding the Pity Party Train

I am not one to sit and feel sorry for myself. It accomplishes nothing, makes you unpleasant to be around and is the most unproductive life form on the planet. It all comes down to the advice I gave my daughter recently, and myself almost daily: Don’t focus on the things you have not accomplished. Instead, congratulate yourself on the things you have. Even if the only things I’ve managed to do are to get up, make the bed and brush my teeth, at least I didn’t spend the day in bed feeling sorry for myself.

So this is me, pulling myself up by my bootstraps (which is a real trick considering my feet are bare), accepting the constructive criticism, regardless of how it was delivered, altering my routine again, taking the lessons and moving on.

I think it’s fitting that this comes as we are changing months because it’s as if I’m starting the month of June with a bright, clean, white piece of paper in front of me and a handful of colored pens so the picture I paint will be as bright and shiny as I could possible want. Doing so alone means that I don’t have to listen to anyone complaining about me coloring outside the lines or painting my picture in a way which might offend their sensibilities. I promise I will be as courteous about their creations.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for lessons, no matter what kind of package they might come in.
2. I am grateful for beginnings, for hiatuses and even for endings. They all serve their own purpose.
3. I am grateful for failures as they make the successes that much sweeter and teach me what is working and what is not.
4. I am grateful for the successes of my friends and colleagues. They’ve all worked hard and deserve those moments in the spotlight.
5. I am grateful for abundance: lessons, setbacks, challenges, journeys, love, friendship, joy, heart breaks and heart heals, peace, harmony, health, prosperity and philanthropy.

Blessed Be

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