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Archive for the ‘change’ Category

Adaptability: Going With the Flow

Adaptability Makes Change Flow Smoothly

Life changes. People come and people go. Friendships blossom. Some seem to bloom and grow while others wither and die; often inexplicably.

Perhaps we’re changing and fail to see it. Or maybe circumstances change. We move, or find a new interest, or find alternatives when a place or event becomes unavailable. Maybe it’s simply a life event; births, deaths, marriages, new jobs, big moves. We all experience them, like it or no. The only way to avoid change is to wall ourselves up in a cave and never come out. Even so, we’d change as we age, alone and cut off from the rest of the world.

Change is inevitable. We have two choices: adapt or fight it. Most of us, by the time we reach adulthood, have discovered the futility of fighting it. We’ve probably exhausted ourselves fruitlessly on more than one occasion trying to hold onto something which has served its time. But letting go and opening ourselves up to new possibilities is hard. It’s scary.

Like it or Not, We Must Move Out of Our Comfort Zone

Stepping out into the unknown; leaving our comfort zone; allowing ourselves to be immersed in https://www.flickr.com/photos/philleara/7246573430/in/photolist-c3mzPd-djJiUe-oajKtQ-djJjmv-djJjLR-oapGkZ-djJjb9-djJj5F-cntb2u-7Y2xWm-cntayf-c3mLB3-n329S-7XYhYD-cntbhs-TCrSUz-gg7DZE-gg7XMV-6Ak5ks-9a2C7g-djJjz6-cntb85-rCKS6-cntag1-azBhou-3oXQYc-cnta8q-cntaL7-ocbPjv-oa7hn8-fJm576-baRPgp-7Y2xp7-8ommnm-bA1QHR-cnt9j1-dmywKj-7Y2x7b-4vwAew-aAPJwq-oa7iJB-cnt9xu-2FtNgi-gunWiW-hLgWLK-e4kv6P-2FtPvB-9GPQLh-4vsuDF-baRMyvnew things can be, for some, a frightening and daunting experience. The smart ones (and also the successful ones) learn to not only adapt, but to embrace those moments when you feel like you’re free-falling. They thrive on the adrenaline rush of not knowing how or where they’ll land, or even if the landing will be safe, or leave them broken and bruised.

For those people, a life without change is as frightening as it is for people for whom change is something to be avoided at all costs. They can’t imagine a life full of mind-numbing sameness where everything is predictable and expected.

Most of us, I believe, fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. We sometimes struggle to leave our cozy, predictable existence to try something new; a restaurant, a vacation spot, a new group of people. Yet when we do take a leap and broaden our horizons, we’re usually pleasantly surprised at the outcome, and thus, encouraged to spread our wings even further.

Adapting Doesn’t Have to be Complicated

For me it’s been as simple as going to new places to dance, and to dance differently than I’m used to. My typical hangouts provide a mix of two-step, line dances, couples dances, and a smattering of West Coast Swing and Nightclub Two-Step. I’m comfortable with the mix, and if I don’t get to do the occasional WCS or NC2, I’m not terribly disappointed. Those dances are not what draws me to a club or lately, someone’s in-home studio.

But as my options narrow and I start hanging with a younger, more adventurous crowd, I find my willingness to leave my comfort zone (especially since I have people willing to go with me) increasing. In fact, I’m often the one to suggest someplace new.

To my utter and complete surprise, I looked back at the last few weeks and realized I’d spent far less evenings alone than was my wont. I’d ventured further out, stayed later, and picked up a couple new tricks along the way. Though I’m not ready to go to the newer places alone yet, I suspect even the minor resistance will soon disappear, and I’ll find my way to the new venues whether alone or with friends.

Adapting Happens When We’re Not Even Looking

In short, I’m adapting. Circumstances have changed. Options have, at least temporarily disappeared, and the amount of dancing I get in a single night has lessened. I’ve convinced myself more nights will bring me back up to my usual levels, and find it easier to win the argument when my brain tries going back into hermit mode.

Life does that. It gives and it takes away, forcing us to adjust to new circumstances whether we like it or not. Forcing us to grow into better, stronger versions of ourselves.

But there was a time I fought it, and fought it hard. I stayed tucked cozily inside myself, little realizing I’d locked myself in with some pretty voracious and unpleasant demons. They gnawed away at my guts, and I responded by becoming an angry, unpleasant human being. There came a point when I didn’t even like my own company.

Help Comes When We Need it Most

Even so, there were people who found me tolerable, and because they took the time to look beneath my crotchety surface, found something worth saving. Maybe they saw someone who reminded them of their former self. Maybe in our own broken way we created a support group, helping each other build the ladders out of our own pits of despair. Whatever the reasons, and however they found me, I’ll always be eternally grateful that the Universe saw fit to find people to help instead of giving up on me as a lost cause. I know I’d pretty much given up on myself by then.

So many people at one time or another find themselves in a place they neither want or know how to get out of. They convince themselves it’s the life they deserve and slog through each day with no real interest in anyone or anything. They spend their days at jobs they hate, and their nights in front of a computer or TV, disconnected from the world; disconnected from themselves.

Maybe life beat them down every time they stuck their nose out of their shell. Maybe they developed a misguided belief they didn’t deserve better. Or perhaps they simply feared what they didn’t know and couldn’t control. So they surround themselves with sameness, boring, destructive, stifling, and eventually, crumbling. Sameness can’t be maintained indefinitely so at some point it either falls apart, often devastatingly, or the person behind the self-made walls lives an illusion far-removed from reality.

Offering Gives Others a Choice, a Role in Their Own Lives

We can’t force others to adapt to change any more than others forced me. We can, however offer tools and support even if they’re rejected repeatedly. Like me, there will come a time when one of the tools resonates, and a willingness to at least try overcomes the fear of change.

The people who kept offering me tools in spite of my constant resistance are heroes in my eyes. They may not have changed the world, but they changed mine. We all have within us the ability to change a single person’s life for the better if we’re willing to accept their resistance and even rejection for awhile.

We can’t do it for the gratitude as that may never come. I know I never thanked the people who gave me my first leg up out of the darkness. We have to do it because it’s an integral part of our humanity. We’re not here to fix each other, only to fix ourselves; to be the best us we can be. But we can be there for those who are having trouble making the changes alone, and simply need a friendly face, a listening ear, a light in the darkness.

Will you be someone’s light?

Gratitude Isn’t Time-Sensitive

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the people who saw something in me worth saving.
  2. I am grateful for opportunities to pay it forward and offer someone else a tool they might need to escape their own darkness.
  3. I am grateful for the lessons I’ve learned, the bruises I’ve earned, the successes and the failures. They’ve made me stronger, more resilient, and more willing to adapt when my world gets turned upside down.
  4. I am grateful for friendship. They have changed over the years. Some have come, many have gone, but all have left me a better person.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, caring, compassion, friendship, joy, dancing, community, opportunities, inspiration, motivation, peace, health, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

And special thanks to Danae Thomas who offered me the first of many tools, and months of support to help me start climbing out of my own pit of despair.

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

Starting at the End

Starting is Easy. It’s the Finishing Part That’s a Constant Challenge

Created with CanvaDo you have projects you start over and over, yet never seem to reach the end? You pick them up with energy high, getting past milestone after milestone, until you run out of steam, far from the finish line.

Cleaning is my albatross, or one of them. I typically start by taking out the sandboxes one by one to clean and refill, vacuuming and mopping floors as I go. I’ll usually get at least the bathrooms and one of the bedrooms done before my energy or attention wanes before I stop short of what I’d intended to do. Sometimes, I even get the living room and kitchen done if I have a particularly good burst of energy, or am into the music playing in my ears while I work.

The one room which, aside from vacuuming and maybe some mopping, gets little of my attention is my bedroom. I’ll de-fur all the furniture in the living room several times before thinking about indulging in some deep cleaning or de-cluttering in that very personal space.

Switching it Up

I realized I leave it for last because it’s a room people don’t typically see. My bedroom and office are at the back of the house and are mostly places where I spend my alone time, so they need only be clear enough for me to do what I need to, right?

This week, I decided to switch things up and am rather pleased with the results. I’ve been wanting to pull up the rest of the carpet in my room for quite some time, but the limited space in my barrels and the amount of energy required to not only pull up the carpet and padding, but detach the tack strips from the floor were often more than I wanted to expend.

Inspiration Trumps Procrastination

But with Thanksgiving looming and a house full of people on the near horizon, I decided it was time to Created with Canvakill the procrastination bug and, as Nike says, just do it. But I didn’t stop there. Once the pieces of carpet sufficient to fill the trash can were removed and the tack strips safely out of reach of the cats, I took a look at the nightstand I’d moved in order to remove the carpet it sat on.

I’d had a bunch of crap on top of it serving no real purpose so I put it all away. I pulled out the wood cleaner and a rag and gave the top, front and sides a good polishing before putting only what was necessary back on top. But now the dresser and the other nightstand looked messy and unkempt beside my newly cleaned nightstand.

The dresser was a special challenge because the dust bunnies behind the mirrors had given birth to several litters since I last saw fit to move everything and clean. Out came the rag and wood cleaner, and I set to organizing and de-cluttering the rest of the wood surfaces in my room as well.

Inspired by the End Result

https://www.flickr.com/photos/sonjalovas/4037482727/in/photolist-79M9Xa-5Gjd5S-eRC2r-71MjKg-fNKbK9-eDXif-cikYGJ-aUh67n-5Gyukb-bkcDiF-97nmjZ-abBz1d-8dVozC-bkgY21-2krwz2-6WZCBb-eTwN23-8vfmQg-bUWvwD-7nyjDz-b2QuMD-63dgyi-aVYczD-4qfrPa-4YBCLw-4tDfAm-hDA2k-8oJ5Xe-mLbU1-m1QVG-8kpaLs-5D1s4V-5yWi1N-ehJ8b3-7eoY4L-7KtRuF-4fihb8-35iwDU-7K2zY-7BKizh-5JM3At-zfgm2o-4qjvXA-7TxL2h-9pvokV-9VD3Hb-7KsvQ6-e1Yp1A-9VAoRV-2N7twUEvery time I walk into my room, I feel not only a sense of accomplishment, but a sense of openness and freedom I hadn’t realized was missing in my life. It started with clearing the accumulation of clothes and junk on my director’s chair a few months ago, but with each newly cleared surface, the momentum and the desire to continue increases.

Sure, I have a lot more to do to get the house ready for visitors, but I feel like starting at the end has been more motivating than anything I’ve done or any plans I’ve made up to this point. It’s as if I’ve proven something to myself, and in the process, shut down a few of those voices which were giving me excuses to leave things as they were.

Battling Our Innate Resistance to Change

Change is a good thing, and it comes in many forms. Whether it’s switching up the order of your https://www.flickr.com/photos/jfolsom/5931303869/in/photolist-a38tZP-dmn34H-a7FwQm-antZ2h-bwzwuR-5stPPH-6EsqoX-T4qUgL-4hmxbh-8MJPmb-fEFoSF-kCt71i-2ikr4t-8MF532-WNwMjy-8tMnKX-fEFoGg-fEXXd7-afuD1a-8MEuUF-95Mr5j-dySrRf-bfNhFR-9oSxoh-5WgF4Q-8MHZfC-7VroTL-9PiLGB-oaW3YQ-K4CQFx-8YSrLp-mSLwB-7VqeAh-5hfnTx-KfhXca-e3u44f-99b5UG-7BeZaD-8MHAVw-kAEoL3-6qZ9C6-5thpD3-ai9p7Z-9gCot5-o8bKtB-5W8sPu-85jA66-6PCR9M-bJ7tue-97oqD4cleaning ritual or getting work out of the way so you have space for more. It might be writing a month’s worth or blog posts or three, scheduling social media posts, creating a price list, or working through lessons you’d put on hold.

Whatever is holding you up, sometimes starting from the part you least want to do is the way to clear the blocks. The thing you’re putting off is standing in the way of accomplishing many other things. It’s an excuse. A safety net. How many times have you told yourself I can’t do this until I do that. But “that” never gets done. Great, now you don’t have to do anything else.

It’s taking procrastination to a new level because you’re creating an excuse for not doing all you can to move towards your dreams. You’re putting the brakes on before you ever get started.

Starting with the Least Appealing

https://www.flickr.com/photos/funnybusiness/3503946843/in/photolist-87XXr1-87XZPQ-6kCDjB-2M1zdU-21ukmo7-o6vHsS-87ULKc-87XTkL-87Y3bu-87UGPM-87Y4kq-2EeDrw-7fF1mf-87Y8QS-9MnMAZ-DpnEKh-7kNkRC-87UZma-87Y5qASo for once, start at the end—with the pesky, unpleasant thing you’re using as an excuse to keep you from shining like the star you are. Get it out of the way for once and for all. Leave room for the things you get done without a second thought, and the end will become, not that onerous task you’ll do anything to avoid, but a beautiful, clear space you can fill with anything you want.

More and more, I hear about how de-cluttering your space de-clutters your mind. I stand before you as living proof it’s true. The more spaces I’ve cleared in my office, my bedroom, my garage—all over this place I call my home, the more clear I become on things which are important to my future.

The Proof is in the Pudding…er, Unblocking

I’ve written more in the last couple of months than I have in the last 6. I’ve set a schedule to finish the re-write of my memoir. I’ve pulled up carpet I’ve been looking at for at least a couple of years. I’ve removed the dust of ages.

But most of all, I’ve become clearer about who I want and need to serve, and how I’m going to go about doing that. I had to clear a lot of crap to get here, and the clearing is far from over. Some of the roadblocks are finally gone, though. There will certainly be more, but I’ve proven to myself that if all else fails, I can start at the end and clear the block first. After that, moving forward is a great deal easier to accomplish.

Check out my Facebook Live where I talked about turning things Inside Out and Backwards.

Growing the List of Gratitudes

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for more cleared spaces in my home.
  2. I am grateful for a plethora of tasks still to be accomplished.
  3. I am grateful for a new perspective I found by starting at the end.
  4. I am grateful for deadlines and schedules which I can and will honor.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; ideas, insights, support, friendship, joy, love, extraordinary life, health, harmony, peace, 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.;

30 Minutes a Day to Retrain Your Brain

Finding 30 Minutes at the Beginning of My Day

Lately I’ve discovered if I hit the ground running first thing in the morning, I get a lot accomplished. This may sound counter-intuitive to you morning people out there, but my normal day has, for the last few years, run from 9 or so in the morning to anywhere from 1 to 3 the next morning. But as my productivity window seems to be changing, I figured I need to change my sleep schedule as well. I’m learning it’s not as easy as it looks.

I started by setting my alarm for 8 after having spent nearly 4 years rising whenever I felt like it, and leaving the alarm in the off position where it almost didn’t want to leave. That worked OK for a while, and I even trained myself to stop hitting the snooze a bazillion times. Finally, I was getting pretty consistent about getting up between 8 and 8:30 so I thought OK, that worked. Let’s try for earlier.

Trial and Error to Effect Change

I’d like to say I’m happily rising between 7:30 and 8:00 consistently, but I seem to have shot myself in the foot. My brain says, oh, don’t worry. Your clock is 20 minutes fast, so it’s barely 7:00. You have plenty of time! Unfortunately, “plenty of time” has meant sleeping until 9 the last two mornings, at which point I fly out of bed scattering cats and pillows hither and yon, trying to make up the lost hour or so I lost when I outsmarted myself.

Sometimes, we need to do more than try to fool ourselves into changing our habits. Before a habit can truly be changed, we have to want to change it, not just consciously, but to the depths of our subconscious too. Clearly I missed the boat on this one.

Working With Our Natural Resistance to Change Instead of Against It

Never one to give up without a fight, especially when it’s with my own change-resistant brain, I’m taking it back to the drawing board. First, I have to recognize all the advantages of getting my day started earlier.

  • There’s more day in which to get things done (psychologically speaking)
  • I get to the gym earlier and often find it less crowded which means I get my workout done quicker. Voila! Even more day!
  • More day means more inclination to take time to make healthier meals.
  • Starting earlier means I’ve gotten more done in time to get ready to add another night of dancing.
  • Many of my potential and current clients are out of state, and would appreciate earlier con-calls.

All in all, I can see no real disadvantage to starting my day at 8 instead of 9. I know I use up the first hour feeding the cats, writing my morning pages, putting my contacts in and fixing my regular blueberries and yogurt breakfast. It still puts the earliest possible call at about 9:30, but for east-coasters, it’s still morning, if barely.

The Power of Intention

Intentions are powerful things. In fact, when we set a good one, it’s awfully hard to ignore. When I’ve truly wanted to get up early, I’ve had no trouble doing so (though it gets tougher when it’s still dark when I want to get up). Like other habits I’ve set and kept, the secret is in the intention setting, more than anything else.

Sure, I break my pattern now and then, like skipping back and shoulder day so I can actually vacuum and mop the entire house instead of just the rooms where the cats make pigs of themselves. I still end up making up the gym day about 95% of the time, if for no other reason than Jewish guilt.

Did I mention how effective Jewish guilt can be, even with ourselves? I can honestly say I’ve guilted myself into a fair number of better choices simply by asking “do you really need to do that?” Sure, it’s only effective part of the time as I long-ago trained myself to be somewhat resistant. (An overbearing Jewish Mama will send you one of two ways. Into a life of angst and guilt, or one of independence and guilt resistance. I chose the latter.)

Still, like anything else, we need to pick our battles, even with ourselves. This one however, is one I’m determined to win. My evidence lies in those days when I do jump out of bed by 8, and am at the computer working by 9. My productivity levels are unreal on those days, and I truly want more of them.

Adjusting Our Expectations to New Circumstances

My plan is to use the morning hours for client work, then after lunch and meditation, jump right into my own writing; not only these blogs, but the much-delayed completion of my Life Torn Asunder re-write. I was going great guns for a while, but lost my momentum. I believe getting myself on a better daily schedule is the solution to that particular weighty problem. And believing is the first step to manifesting.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/158790927@N08/25811269728/in/photolist-FjRveS-9bdN4K-dKT3m8-anLPS8-G2jGGP-666Dfo-9m3HTB-2ybGf6-9iiWLY-25XfULY-7a6uQa-U9eETw-7DiPVT-p9S65F-e2GNW6-vQhq-4X1zBQ-21j28Rw-aThcrK-RtCD8e-JQymgD-4tNbf5-pHEbRM-6Spn3F-q6BKxR-dFUcvG-pRv5H1-a83xB-3BDEC4-51zVdg-qDXFZQ-ZxzHMW-5QUcWa-sRkDaA-nwfiJe-D2A2dy-6mzNAb-51EaCE-dH2iC3-51zW7R-qy8Bsg-2fiQNc-4rnFvK-cGPQZG-jKU2zx-rpgXY4-oUjEqW-6AiPdn-8GTCLG-9VrnVKRe-setting my alarm to gain 30 minutes might seem a small thing, especially to the people I know who are up at 5:30 every morning (the night owl in me shrinks from rising at that hour as if I’d  looked in the mirror and seen a shriveled, ghoulish face instead of my own). Yet for me, it’s a giant leap out of the comfort zone I established after leaving my day job.

Setting our own hours is a luxury for the work-at-homers. But it’s easy to fall into habits of sloth and procrastination. That’s what happened to me, and it’s long past time to reverse the process. I may never be up at 6:30 or 7 on a regular basis again, but I also have no commute. I can still be working at my desk by 9, and even at my slothiest, I can’t call that a bad thing.

Several Small Steps Equal One Giant Leap

I mention baby steps a lot because most of the grand accomplishments in our lives take time. We obtain a degree in our chosen field one class at a time, and one semester (or quarter) at a time. We learn new skills step-by-step. And we change habits little-by-little. It’s far easier to set and reinforce a small change than a large one, and easier to fake out the change resistance in our brains if we don’t make the first few leaps too grand.

Once we’ve made the mind feel comfortable, and maybe even complacent with the changes we’re making, we can take a few of those bigger leaps. Then again, maybe not. If we’re getting where we want to go with the small ones, and we can make 5 or 10 small ones in the same time and with less effort than 1 giant one, is there really any reason to leap when we can step just a little further than comfort allows?

Knowing When to Leap and When to Build a Bridge

Don’t get me wrong. There is a time and a place to suck it up and jump off that cliff. But after you take that giant leap, you need to regroup and take smaller ones for a while until your brain stops whimpering and cowering like a beaten puppy.

What small steps can you take to gain an extra 30 minutes in your day without cutting out something important or sending your brain into a tizzy?

Finding Gratitude Every Step of the Way

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the lessons I’ve learned which help me adapt to change more easily.
  2. I am grateful for slowly adding more productive time to my day.
  3. I am grateful for the freedom to find my productive sweet spot, and capitalize on it.
  4. I am grateful for the support and encouragement I’m getting these days, just by showing up and asking.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; freedom, joy, encouragement, friendship, an expanding social life and network, newfound marketing skills, peace, health, 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. 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

Viewing Change as Opportunity

Fighting Change is a Losing Battle

Change is inevitable. The only way to avoid it is to sit in one place your whole life with your hands folded in your lap, enjoying the excitement of a catatonic state. Even then, changes will happen in spite of you. Days pass, seasons change, dust gathers, people move through or around you. Viewing change as a threat hobbles and restrains you as no shackles or chains could ever do.

Many people see change as threatening, even risky. They close their minds to the possibilities of stepping out in the world and trying something new. They work their steady, boring job day after day, eat the same foods in front of the same TV shows, lamenting every cancellation or summer hiatus.

Here’s to Those Who Take Leaps of Faith

Then there are the adventurers; the ones who climb the mountains, challenge the jungles, toss away what no longer excites them to try something completely new and unproven. When they succeed, they do so on a global scale. When they fail, they do so with no less fanfare, then pick themselves up and face the next challenge.

Most of us fall somewhere between the two, maybe plodding through that boring job while we set up something better in the background. One day, we get fed up with the rat race and make a grand if poorly thought out exit. What keeps us going is the years we spent making what  the adventurers might consider piddly changes and minor challenges. For us, though, they were a giant leap outside our comfort zone and no less risky in our world view than the scaling of Everest or the Himalayas, or jumping from a helicopter onto a mountain covered in freshly fallen snow.

We All Face Fear. It’s What You Do With it That Matters.

To say any of us who takes a chance on ourselves never experiences fear or panic is ludicrous. It’s not that we don’t experience it. We simply move through it until we get to more stable ground before launching ourselves into space again.

I used to think I wanted a completely peaceful, stress-free life; a life where all my needs were met and I felt safe and secure all the time. But a life like that gives you no reason to try; no reason to get out of bed in the morning. Those challenges, set-backs and downright scary times are what keeps our blood flowing, our adrenaline rushing, and our hearts crying out for yet another E-ticket ride.

Change is in our blood, whether we realize it or not. We do ourselves a huge disservice by settling for life in a rut of sameness. We slowly die inside when we don’t allow our inner adventurer to take a few chances, experience new things, discover new places.

Conforming Sucks Your Soul Dry

CGI did a short film called “Alike” featuring a young boy and his dad. Daniel Martinez Lara and Rafa Cano Mendez did an extraordinary job of demonstrating how we need the curiosity and nonconforming characteristics we took for granted as children. Losing them turns us into a grey shadow of ourselves who simply plods through our days with no inspiration or motivation.

Change is the color in our palette, the rainbow in our sky. It’s walking into a cloud of bright orange butterflies and delighting in millions of tickles as they brush across our skin. Without change, we’re incomplete. We ignore the most amazing, creative, ecstatic part of ourselves.

I encourage you to ask yourself this: Is being accepted worth losing your humanity? Will people like you less if you’re true to yourself?

If you ask me, losing yourself to be accepted means you’re making an effort to be accepted by the wrong people. The right people will flock to you like those butterflies I mentioned as soon as you stop trying to be someone you’re not, and worse, someone you don’t even particularly like. In the immortal words of Dr. Seuss:

I Am Grateful for My Adventurous Spirit and So Much More

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the courage to take the leap of faith that brought me to where I am today.
  2. I am grateful for the changes I’m making to allow people to help me as I’ve been blessed to be able to help others.
  3. I am grateful for the opportunities that arise when I get out of my own way.
  4. I am grateful for finding my tribe; people who accept me for who I am, not for who I try to be.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, opportunities, courage, fear, challenges, lessons, risks, rewards, blessings, gifts, joy, adventurers, peace, harmony, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

Read Miss Pelican’s Perch’s version of today’s writing prompt.

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. You can also find her on Facebook here Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author.

When Your Subconscious Speaks, Listen!

What’s Changed?

How often have you noticed the impact a seemingly small change makes in your life? It could be something you changed consciously, unconsciously, or by random happenstance. Yet the results are the same. Once the change occurs, things are never quite the same.

Recently, I began experiencing something I never had before, and even now, would be happier to have never gone through it. I started having panic attacks over things I’d been doing for years without incident. The first time I really noticed it was when I was washing my hair and got suds in my ear. My reaction to the impact of a temporary hearing impairment was so distorted and out of character, it only served to make me panic even more. Ultimately, with the soap cleared from my ear and my eyes open, I began to calm down. Yet why was I suddenly experiencing this heretofore unknown feeling? What had changed?

I looked at my world and tried to locate the inciting moment. Yes, there had been a lot of turmoil in recent weeks between plumbing issues, visits with my kids, concerns over getting my business running at the level I wanted and, let’s face it, needed. But nothing new seemed to have arisen.

The Crutches We Adopt

Suddenly, I glanced at my right wrist which had been empty for a week or so. Could it be? Was it something so simple?

Several months ago, my daughter and I had bought negative ion bracelets at a fair. I’d been wearing mine non-stop until just recently when I burned my wrist and the bracelet was rubbing against the burn. I removed it to allow the burn to heal.

When I’d purchased the bracelet, the draw was an improvement in my balance, and it seemed like it was working until I removed it and saw no difference. So I hadn’t been in any hurry to put it back on.

But there’s more than one kind of balance in our lives. Apparently, in me, the bracelet had more impact on my internal balance than I’d realized. Without it, my anxiety levels rose at the subconscious level so they went unnoticed for a while. But the incident in the shower made me take notice and start looking more closely at how I was handling those minor setbacks and concerns since removing the bracelet, and I didn’t like what I saw.

Needless to say, the bracelet went back on my wrist right away. Thankfully, the burn had healed by then with a little help from some aloe vera gel and neosporin.

Some might see this as a crutch, and it certainly is to some degree. Yet the need for it wasn’t planted in my brain. Instead, it appeared all by itself.

Navigating the Environmental Minefield

We are all impacted by our environment in one way or another, and we all develop ways to cope with those influences. Whether you’re impacted by the phases of the moon, the electronics in your home and office, the moods and emotions of the people around you, or something else entirely, you’ve found ways to manage them whether you realize it or not. We all have times when even our copying mechanisms fail us. We overreact to things that wouldn’t normally phase us. We avoid a situation entirely because it is suddenly physically, emotionally, or mentally painful. In extreme situations, we shut down and barricade ourselves behind our walls.

However we manifest those failures, and whatever sets us off, it’s part of what makes us human. We are diamonds-in-the-rough, learning as we go. We stumble and, hopefully, pick ourselves up and try again. Sometimes we even reinvent ourselves. In my case, I’ve spent nearly 4 years doing just that, and am still trying to find the right formula. But each wrong turn, each backtrack brings me closer to the person I want and need to be.

Using the Bumps in Our Road to Reassess

Some of those backtracks guide me in my search for a coach and mentor who will help me get past my own blocks and fears. In the process of searching, I’m learning to recognize what I’m doing that’s getting in my own way. I may not know how to fix it when I recognize it, but at least I can see it’s there.

When I started feeling annoyed instead of happy for people who were succeeding either as a writer or VA, I knew there was an underlying issue I needed to address. Part of it was envy, but the real issue was the underlying reason for that envy.

What came to me wasn’t very pretty, nor was it easy to admit. I felt like a failure. While others were finding success in both of my chosen fields, I was still floundering. So I started doing what I usually do when trying to sort out a problem. I made lists of why I was failing:

  • I wasn’t clear on what I wanted to be and do
  • I wasn’t putting in consistent effort to be whatever it was I wanted to be
  • I was letting myself be lazy
  • I was allowing myself to procrastinate
  • I wasn’t putting time into letting people get to know and trust me
  • I was hardly writing anything except my morning pages
  • I’d let my eating habits crash and burn
  • I wasn’t keeping up with my workout routine any more.
Making Sense of it All

When I put it all together, I realized I wasn’t feeling very good about myself, overall. No wonder something as simple as taking off a bracelet sent me into a downward spiral!

My point in sharing all this is two-fold. First, as has been the case for most of my life, writing something down helps me work through it and find the underlying problem. From there, I can begin to search for a solution. Second, I want to share how important it is to look at what’s showing on the surface and dig deeper to find the real symptoms and causes which brought things to the surface in the first place.

The human brain is both complex and amazing. If the popular myth is to be believed, we only use about 10% of our brain. However, neuroscientists disagree, as evidenced by an article published by Eric H. Chudler, PhD. on his website, Neuroscience for Kids. That isn’t to say all of the neurons in our brains are firing every minute of every day. But throughout our day-to-day life, every part of our brain is engaged at some point or another. Dr. Chudler isn’t alone in his viewpoint and cites several other articles which corroborate his belief. Frankly, it makes a lot more sense to me than the 10% theory.

Tapping into our subconscious is one of the ways we utilize the other 90%, and I’d imagine not everyone listens to theirs given the number of people who claim no memory of their dreams. (I can’t even imagine waking in the morning with no memory of my nocturnal travels!)

So my path is set and my journey continues. You may have noticed a sudden increase in the frequency of my posts of late. That, my friends, is the tip of my iceberg. Stay tuned for more.

Gratitude Makes My Day

I’ve found it’s hard to be completely down if I remember the blessings in my life. I remind myself when I go to sleep at night, whenever something happens to make life easier, and of course, right here. Do you have a daily gratitude practice?

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the gift of writing I was given. It has helped me in immeasurable ways even as it frustrates me.
  2. I am grateful that I can look at myself reasonably objectively and see where I still need work.
  3. I am grateful for dreams that tell me I’m heading in the right direction even if it doesn’t seem like it right now.
  4. I am grateful for the influence and example of friends and new acquaintances. There are some truly amazing people out there with traits I’d do well to emulate.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; opportunities, motivation, inspiration, gifts, love, friendship, joy, innovation, reinvention, peace, harmony, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

The Facebook Live associated with this post can be found here.

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. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information.

Change the Outside to Change the Inside

A Small Change Sets the Snowball In Motion

We can measure our progress through life by the changes we have made. Some of those changes are intentional, and others are thrust upon us. The effect is the same, but different.

When changes are thrust upon us, we’re like flotsam in the wind. We can choose whether we grab onto something and hold tight to what was, let the wind toss us where it will, or take an active part in mapping our course around the obstacles and against the wind. All too often, these occur when the Universe gets tired of waiting for us to get off our butts and move. I can point to at least a couple of job lay-offs which did just that for me.

Intentional changes give us more control. We choose when to make those changes, how much to change, and what direction those changes will take—to a point. We’re still subjected to external conditions beyond our control, and our ability to switch gears mid-stream will still be tested. But at least we get to choose the starting point.

Turning Dissatisfaction into Opportunity

Lately I’ve become dissatisfied with my current environment; not only physical, but emotional and mental as well. Thankfully, I’ve finally evolved enough to realize I had to make a change, even if it was a tiny one. As I’ve already mentioned a few times, it started when I emptied the last remaining box from the remodel-from-hell. Suddenly, most of what was currently in my control from that little fiasco was gone.

That single act was the snowball which gathered speed along with a few more unneeded items, and started making significant changes in my world. Soon, the box filled with oversized clothes I’d packed up a couple of months ago finally found it’s way to the Samaritan Center. The pair of red Adirondack chairs moved from the sidewalk in front of Lowe’s to my front porch (with a little help from my daughter and her Prius).

Synchronicities began to occur. I’d grabbed some paint chips when we bought my weed whacker (still waiting for a little less heat to actually be used) thinking I’d paint the living room someday. But when we took a wrong turn coming home from the fair grounds and ended up at the beach, I noticed the water matched my paint chip. The next step in my journey began. I was finally ready to make a major change to my environment.

Simple Pleasures

Not only is my living room now a lovely shade of sea green with a deep turquoise accent wall, I got to spend more time than usual with my daughter, working on a project that made us both happy. I’m also one step closer to making my half demolished living room look more inviting both because of the new paint, but also because it inspired me to clear the piles of books on sofa and table.

Replacing the single white plastic chair  on my front porch with two more comfortable red ones gives an outward symbol of my desire to  invite people to share my space. The sea green walls reinforce my dream of one day having an estate overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The beachy red chairs will make the transition nicely. To an outside observer, these hardly seem like steps in the right direction. If you consider that changes begin, not with an act, but with our mindset, the impact of these seemingly small changes is huge. I’ve created a daily reminder of my love of the ocean and how much it figures in my long-term dreams.

I wake every morning to the clean, refreshing color of the walls feeling both soothed and invigorated when I see them as I walk towards the kitchen. Even the china hutch got a face lift since it had to be moved to paint. I took the opportunity to lovingly handle the memories it contained, and have since had an opportunity to use some of the wine glasses with a friend.

A Little Means So Much

These fairly small acts have done something for me I’d failed to achieve any other way. They made room for what I’ve been struggling to attract: people, work, abundance. Until it was cleared, I hadn’t realized how much I’d blocked because of stuff that reminded me of a failure in my life. I hadn’t let go of the pain that failure had caused to find the valuable lessons it gave me. Until I did, I could only see the room, quite literally as a place of muted colors.

My life won’t change overnight. What I did was to find a starting point for making the changes. I got past the overwhelm of having too many things needing repair or change and just picked a spot. Places I’d never even noticed became visible once I’d opened a little space; a chink in my self-imposed fort.

If You Want to Manifest, Create Some Space

Everything is related. When you open a space, you start manifesting. If you want to attract someone into your life, you need to make space: a drawer, a closet, the way you make your bed up. When you clear out a box, a business opportunity might appear like more than one has for me.

Part of the reason we fail to move forward is the firm grip we have on our past. Once we realize we won’t drown if we let go of those irrelevant lifelines, we realize how much we enjoy traveling a little bit lighter. So many of the bricks we’re carrying around are added weight rather than anything we need to shore up a shaky foundation. In fact, sometimes that shaky foundation is the best place for us to be because it forces us to find our balance in other ways.

What Will You Change to Open Space for Manifesting?

What about you? What do you want to bring into your life? What is taking up space in your life or home that is no longer needed? It could be physical, emotional, or something else entirely. What one thing can you release or change to bring your dream one step closer? Stretch your imagination on this. Step out of your comfort zone as far as you can. For me, it was a box of Tupperware. For you, it might be a piece of furniture, an old tent, or even a relationship that’s no longer serving your greater good. Whatever it is, I’d love to hear about your journey and how you made it work for you; how you got yourself back on the road to achieving your dreams.

Join the Gratitude Brigade

Of course, all of these changes would be for naught without gratitude. The Universe gives us more when we show appreciation for what we already have. We express our joy for the people, places, and things in our life and that joy attracts more that makes us joyful.

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful to my daughter for helping me make some much-needed changes in my physical environment.
  2. I am grateful to have finally left the pain of some lessons behind.
  3. I am grateful for the new manifestations in my journey.
  4. I am grateful to be making my way towards my dreams one baby step at a time.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love friendship, clear spaces, joy, peace, harmony, opportunities, help, dreams, inspiration, health, family, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light.

 

You can find the associated Facebook Live Video here!

 

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. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information.

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

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