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Archive for the ‘Chaos’ Category

Choosing to Enjoy This Month of Chaos

You Say Chaos Like It’s A Bad Thing

I was thinking of the term “chaos” and how it can be seen as a negative where everything blows up and is destroyed, or as a positive whereby we’re shaken from our doldrums as pieces are tossed around and reassembled in unique ways we might never have discovered had we maintained the status quo. I’ve always had an affinity for The Tower in the Tarot because I saw it, not as destroying everything, but as a clearing of ground to rebuild on a stronger, more resilient foundation.

Sometimes, we have to shake up our lives to rearrange things for the better. And sometimes, the The Tower from the Spiral TarotUniverse does the shaking for us, either by pulling the rug out from under our feet, shredding our safety net, or putting us in a place where we have to make a choice whether we like it or not.

According to the Power Path School’s December forecast, creatives often weather chaos better than others, perhaps because we don’t define ourselves by a rigid set of rules. As a pantser rather than a plotter, I’m not only used to a certain amount of randomness in my life, but in fact, thrive on the unexpected plot twists and outcomes most of the time.

Setting Our Sights And Allowing

In some ways, I’ve trained myself to detach from the outcome. Instead, I toss my balls into the air, https://www.flickr.com/photos/jessicamullen/15936340893/in/photolist-qheUWa-6tvCyC-mfcahW-kF42vg-7aHRKn-dozSYs-upc1JR-5nU36i-6ZX1X8-9soFsZ-b6p5F2-dKgSFh-9soP3r-9GGyf-edzaxy-dKgQLq-4oLacT-9z49UC-aBS6db-kF5mTy-dbhFbp-83VBDF-JGdSxG-dKgR3q-dKbnZX-kF3i5M-kF2WWF-25sqyfg-kF3het-dKgU63-7121pw-dKbnLT-6ZXghB-7aMFFo-6ZXfye-a6G8a6-26PQPAR-ceZ3mw-7aF5cr-7aHRUn-kF3FwP-dKboVp-dKbj4F-3jqo8-dKbmgk-kF5cCu-dKgPvE-edzags-dKbjKc-dKbjtVoblivious to the force or direction of the wind, and trust they’ll fall exactly where they’re supposed to. If I’ve gained nothing else from the training, it’s a more stress-free life.

It doesn’t mean I don’t get thrown for a loop at times; a washer breaks down, a cat needs to go to the vet, I’m distracted and get caught speeding and have to pay a hefty fine. But now I don’t spend a lot of time stressing out over how I’m going to pay for it. If I have to put it on a credit card temporarily, I do it and do my best to avoid looking at the balance. I can only do what I can do, after all.

Meanwhile, I dream my dreams and set my goals, revisiting them frequently, not to try to control my trajectory, but to add details to make the outcome more real and emotion-packed. Then I turn it back over to the winds and allow them to toss the pieces around, breaking apart, rearranging, and ultimately building a better mousetrap than anything I could have cobbled together if left to my own devices.

Is It Fate, or Guidance?

Created with CanvaYou might ask “are you giving yourself over to fate, then; taking whatever you’re given, nothing more, nothing less?” The answer to that isn’t a simple yes or no. Imagine scattering colored chips across a map. some fall completely randomly, colors mixed up and in complete chaos. But some will fall in pockets of same-colored chips. Those formations are like a roadmap because they draw our attention by their seeming lack of randomness.

I look at my process as much the same. The places which seem to have some cohesiveness are pointing me towards the next step in my path; the next set of challenges I need to undertake in order to move closer to my goals. I could choose to ignore those signs and continue to drift around. That, too is a choice. Or I could pay attention and follow the path that’s laid out before me, trusting when I’ve accomplished the necessary tasks, another sign will appear showing me the way to my next set of challenges, meanwhile, bringing me still closer to those goals.

Listening to the Voices Within

In the process, I’ll likely fine-tune my goals as I get a clearer picture of the steps I need to take and the choices I need to make. But that’s the reason behind setting the goals and allowing the hows, the paths to show themselves to me. It means there are times when I’ll drift along, seeming to be riding a current not of my making. There are others where I’ll have to jump out of the current and dive head first into something I’m not entirely sure I can handle, but trusting help will arrive when I need it to keep me from going under.

Thus, I’m like the willow tree which bends and flexes in a storm, but doesn’t break though the wind flings it’s bows hither and yon. At times, I’m smacking myself in the face, or so it seems, because my limbs defy any attempt at control. Others, I stand still and unmoving, appearing to be waiting, but in fact, listening carefully for the next message, or quietly performing tasks which, to the outside world seem meaningless and mundane.

Embracing Opportunities to Accept Help

One of my biggest lessons has been learning to request and accept help. Only by following the trail of breadcrumbs will I find myself in situations where I have an opportunity to exercise what I’ve been learning. Only by practicing patience (another lifelong lesson) will I know when the time is right to ask and receive.

I had an opportunity to see those lessons bear some pretty wonderful fruit when my daughter, son-in-law and “adopted” son put together our 4th annual after-Thanksgiving feast. We all have our tasks to do, but in years past, I was the focal point for directing where things went and how they were placed. This time, I focused on my own responsibilities, gave instructions about what I wanted, and left it to the others to make it happen. The results were far better than the pictures in my head. Though I discovered later that as usual, I’d failed to put some of the food and drink I’d bought or made for the occasion out, nobody noticed the lack. Instead, everyone talked and laughed, and enjoyed each others’ company, which was the point of the event in the first place.

To the outside world, the four of us might have resembled a Chinese fire drill, running around, dodging furniture, and getting in each others’ way. But in reality, it was a finely tuned dance not unlike the wind tossing leaves into the air, to bring them down in beautiful patterns of brown and gold on lawns, roof tops, and sidewalks.

Breaking Down the Old, Rotted, and Obsolete

I’m looking forward to a chaos which will invariably knock down a few ancient structures leaving space to build stronger, more resilient foundations and structures in their place. The rigidity of my past has no place in my future. I’ll have enough to keep me busy stepping up to the next set of challenges without wasting time worrying about where to step next. I put my trust in the chaos which will clear a path for me when it’s time to move forward again. In the meantime, I am building my foundation and creating habits which will make me better able to weather the coming storms. Those storms are going to blow away a lot of debris which, even now, is cluttering my life and creating an obstacle course between me and what I need to do to make those dreams a reality.

Are You Ready to Embrace the Chaos?

How do you deal with chaos? Do you throw up your hands and look for someone or something to blame? Do you grab a shovel and a rake and start clearing the rubble so you can see what you have to work with? Do you work alone or grab a few friends to help make the job go quicker and the task seem lighter?

The way you choose to manage unexpected plot twists will determine your attitude and mood in the coming weeks and months. Of one thing I’m certain. The world is changing. The old, rigid, myopic ways which have been eroding slowly for decades are now being subjected to earthquakes and landslides which will either test their mettle or send them crashing down in a million tiny pieces. Only those willing and able to alter their course will ride this storm successfully. And by the way, bonus points for team work!

Immensely Grateful

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the lessons I’m finally learning; patience, community, asking for help.
  2. I am grateful for being able to look at the coming storms through the eyes of a child, wide-eyed with wonder, and excited about the possibilities.
  3. I am grateful for finally recognizing and appreciating what happens when I let go and allow others to play a part too.
  4. I am grateful for my community, my friends, my family. They teach me new things all the time.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, life, friendship, joy, peace, harmony, productivity, insights, inspiration, motivation, health, 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.

Order out of Chaos

A Blind Leap From Order to Chaos

A few years ago, I said good-bye to my last accounting job. I bid a not-so-fond farewell to Corporate America and took the first step towards following my true passion; writing. At first, I reveled in the lack of structure; the removal of specified times to rise and shine. I was grateful to be able to choose the times I worked, played, or imitated a sloth at random.

But old habits die hard and the need for at least a little structure in my life reared it’s ugly head (along with the need to actually be productive for a few hours each day). I realized I needed to set up specific days, if not times, if I wanted to create better habits for my health and finances.

These days, my alarm is set for 8AM (on the clock that’s still set 20 minutes fast to allow for snoozing). I have specific days for going to the gym, and specific workouts for each of those days. And one day a week is set aside (after going to the gym, of course) for running errands.

Structure With a Side of Chaos

Though the day is specific, the errands follow a somewhat flexible pattern. Somewhere along the way, I go to Sprouts for fresh vegetables and to fill my 5 gallon water bottle. My favorite stop, though, is at Trader Joe’s for berries, dairy, and to see what they’re cooking up for samples.

I realized today why it’s my favorite stop. No matter how crowded or chaotic the place might be, the employees are always friendly, helpful, and downright happy to be there (or else they’re incredible actors!) They cheerfully skirt the kidlets with what I consider the worst idea in retail ever: miniature shopping carts. They help people like me find something that’s right in front of their face without making us feel stupid. But most important of all, they share a little of themselves as they’re handing you a sample, totaling your purchases, or helping you find something. They even make waiting in line pleasant!

Trader Joe’s: A Model for Order from Chaos

Heaven knows a retail establishment of any kind encompasses a certain amount of chaos, but a grocery store, and especially one like Trader Joe’s could be a logistic nightmare—and yet, it isn’t. The one I frequent recently got a much-needed, and long overdue expansion when their next door neighbor in the strip mall they occupy moved out. For a couple of weeks, the ceiling looked more like my gym than a grocer. Some aisles were too narrow to push a cart through, as inventory was moved to temporary shelving while walls were moved and cases for frozen food, dairy, and produce were relocated.

Still, the employees maintained their usual happy demeanor, making jokes about the latest version of chaos in their world. Truth be told, I’m still trying to find my way around, though the expansion has been complete for a few months now. I finally remember the coffee is on the opposite end of the store, above the veggie burgers now. I’m still trying to remember where the larger containers of my favorite yogurt live. They’re not where I expect them to be, so I invariably stand in front of the case with a look of confusion on my face until the light bulb comes on and I see what I’m looking for just a little further to the left.

When all is said and done, I appreciate the changes they’ve made to my favorite store, especially as it has given me a few more choices in the process. I love choices, and most of the time, I love change too. I don’t always handle it as effortlessly as the staff at Trader Joe’s, but invariably, I’m grateful for the experience.

Finding Our Own Happy Medium

I started this post talking about structure vs. chaos, then went off on a tangent. (no surprise there). The truth is, I’ve learned these last few years that I don’t do well in a world of either/or. I need a certain amount of structure, but within that structure, there has to be flexibility as well. Not so much the flexibility to bounce back when everything goes to hell in a handbasket, though admittedly, I’ve had a few of those. More like the flexibility to end up on a client call in the morning which pushes back my trip to the gym by an hour or two. Or being able to work longer hours to get all my blog posts written and scheduled so I can go out of town for a few days.

I love being able to give myself a beach day in the middle of the week while most people are at school or work. Though I was eternally grateful there were a few kind-hearted men who rushed to my aid when I misjudged the street parking and got stuck in the sand.

Using My Skills

Years ago, I had a friend whose OCD went nuts when he’d walk into my office. Yet he had to admit I knew where everything was and could put my hands on anything he asked for. He dubbed my system “organized chaos”. In the last four or five years, I realize how apt the description is. My unique approach to things has also taught me how to make order from other peoples’ chaos, earning me another title from the same friend: “Queen of the books from hell”.

Maybe that’s why I love working with small businesses. In so many cases, the accounting is the last thing they want to deal with after managing the thousand and one details necessary to keep their business running. So by the time they realize it’s time to get help, those books and records are a rat’s nest I love to jump in and untangle. Once again, order from chaos.

Give Me Tools To Stay Organized So I Can Cut Loose

I never thought I’d need to use the techniques I learned in my years as an accountant to manage my own life. These days, I have goal sheets for each week and Trello boards for various parts of my business and personal life. I love my tools, and not just the big red toolbox-full in my garage.

The latest application to organize, compile, or schedule sends me into fits of ecstasy. A meet-up via Zoom spanning several continents is enough to make me swoon with delight. I love technology, even when it’s disobeying my commands, because I know from all my years fighting the limitations of accounting software that I will ultimately get my way.

Learning to work your way past obstacles is the key to managing change with grace and good cheer. If you ask me, as long as you approach each change as an adventure; as a mountain to climb and conquer, you’ll be as happy as a pig in mud. It’s not so much the change many people dread, but a new chapter to be written on your own terms. What could be better?

Choosing Our Own Personal Level of Change

Many people hate change. They listen to their mind which insists on maintaining the status quo, but also has no sense of adventure or challenge. They miss out on so many wonderful new things which necessitate leaving the preconceived notions behind and working with a new and unfamiliar set of tools. There is a place for people who are content with doing the same things in the same order for years on end, just as there’s a place for people who push the envelope every minute of the day. There’s also a place for those of us who are somewhere along the continuum, between the extremes. Some are innovators, some are maintainers, and the rest are a combination of both.

There are touchstones in my life; my home, my cats, my family, my friends, my dancing, and my weekly schedule. It’s because of those touchstones I’m comfortable going out on a limb or trying something completely outside my comfort zone. I know if my latest adventure goes south, I have someplace to retreat to, to lick my wounds, evaluate what went wrong, and jump back on the horse who threw me. Maybe that’s why I like a little chaos in my life. If nothing else, it makes me appreciate the places where I’ve created a semblance of order.

And Expressing Gratitude for it All

I am so very grateful for the people, places, and things in my life which make this unconventional way of living possible.

My gratitudes tonight are:

  1. I am grateful for the courage and desire to move past what I know and experience what I know will make me grow.
  2. I am grateful for opportunities to meet new people, try new things, and even reinvent myself.
  3. I am grateful for change. It makes life interesting and shakes up my world so I don’t become complacent…and bored silly.
  4. I am grateful for my writing which is an adventure in and of itself. I never know when a door might open or a possibility arise. But the people I meet along the way enrich my life in ways I’d never have imagined before I began this journey of faith.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; friends, family, health, beauty, inspiration, energy, love, believing in the impossible, new things to learn, growth, evolution, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She is available for ghostwriting to help your business grow and thrive. Her specialties are finding and expressing your authentic self. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author

You Say “Chaos” Like it’s a Bad Thing

Isn’t it Time We Got Back to Kindness?

Lately, I’m finding all sorts of reasons to hide posts from friends on Facebook. Between the usual (and this year, sometimes unusual) BS inherent to election years, the transgender issue and a score of other things people find to be passionate about, my drama-free zone is in jeopardy. I’m forced to exercise regular diligence to keep my news feed fun, friendly and inspirational.

In the last couple of days, I’ve seen a new villain appear; the anti-change proponent. These people are so set in keeping their own personal idea of the status quo that they’re trying to turn what to me seems obviously necessary change into a demon they call “Chaos”. But I ask you, if it weren’t for chaos, how would we be able to understand order? If it weren’t for chaos, how would we evoke massive change in a society which has become overly complacent and willing to be led like sheep to the slaughter?

“Chaos”: A Word Coined by Those Who Will Be Usurped by Change

Let’s face it, in order to make significant changes to ourselves, our surroundings, and most of all, widespread hatred, we have to shake things up a bit (ok, maybe more than a bit). For many, this is a terrifying concept. They want to know that one day will follow the next, predictable and ordinary. They’re the first ones to jump on the bandwagon like a bunch of lemmings when someone sounds sufficiently authoritative about how something new will turn their lives upside down.

But do they even look at the issue? Do they look at the authoritative body and check their facts? (Blackfish and Obama Care come to mind here). Do they take the time to understand what the change, the innovation really means to them, to their families? Or do they take the word of someone they don’t even know,  accept that it’s bad and start beating their chests and re-posting scathing reports which, if investigated would be found to have no basis in fact at all?

Let’s face it. Nothing really significant has ever happened without upsetting several factions. There is no way to please everyone, so why not look at the greater good? If you exclude one group, you open the doors to bullying. Then, how do you teach our children not to bully when the message they get is “don’t bully except…gays, transgenders, Democrats, Republicans, Muslims and homeless people”?

If you ask me, we need a lot more chaos right now. We need to shake people right out of their boots. We need to show them in full technicolor what their outdated viewpoints ;have created and are perpetuating.

Chaos Brings People Together

After the Northridge earthquake in 1994 there was a lot of chaos. Freeways were closed, neighborhoods were without power and water. And you know what happened? Neighbors who’d never even met were out helping each other. We were forced to think beyond the confines of our own, small worlds and actually care about someone besides ourselves.

After 9/11, the whole country and even people from other countries came out to help people who were complete strangers, often who they’d never see again. Out of Chaos came a sense of community, a sense of pride and concern for people in need, no matter who they were.

Well, here we are again. Hating people and making scapegoats of them, Putting up smokescreens to hide the real issues. Putting the fear of some nebulous, human-created god into people who won’t take the time to check the facts themselves, but instead, take the word of strangers that change is bad, no matter what that change might be.

Scapegoating: An Unsuccessful and Costly Tactic

As a Jew, I know what it’s like to be shunned or treated like our only path to salvation is accepting one of our own as the one son of god and savior (he was a rabbi for chrissakes; a teacher!). Otherwise, we’re not good enough to share space with those who’ve “seen the light”. And if you think the end of anti-semitism was after WWII, you’re living in a fairy tale. It’s simply become more covert. I can’t tell you how many times over the years I was told I wasn’t a whole person because I didn’t accept an ancient rabbi as my end-all and be-all. And because of my lapse, I wasn’t fit to be part of the lives of a bunch of judgemental, myopic idiots. (Thank you for that, by the way. In retrospect, you all did me a favor by kicking me out of your lives!) This week, the Muslims are the ones-to-be-most-hated. And for what? Different beliefs and a few fanatics. Open your eyes now as you could be next!

And by the way, for those Christians who were recently arguing that Messianic Jews practice Judaism, here’s a quote from Wikipedia. Note the part I’ve italicized.

Salvation in Messianic Judaism is achieved only through acceptance of Jesus as one’s savior,[8][13][14][15][16][17] and Jewish laws or customs which are followed do not contribute to salvation.[16][17] Indeed, belief in the messiahship, power to save, and divinity of Jesus, which Messianic Judaism professes, is the defining distinction between Christianity and Judaism.[18][19][20][21][22][23] Other Christian groups usually accept Messianic Judaism as a form of Christianity.[24]

So I say, bring on the Chaos. It’s long overdue. Force people to see past the pretty, well-coiffed lies to the ugly truth beneath.

Why Not Put as Much Effort into Embracing as We do Into Rejecting?

My point is, you’re not going to eliminate the differences, the uniqueness of various cultures and points of view by ostracizing, condemning or fooling yourself into believing they must be like you and can be like you. Even a man like Hitler, infamous in his insanity tried and failed to wipe out an entire culture with a little help from his friends. Yet that culture still thrives and, in fact produces far more than their fair share of scholars, Nobel laureates and and highly successful business people and philanthropists.

Why any rational person believes they can stop the progress of other cultures like the Muslims or gender identification that isn’t heterosexual is beyond my comprehension.

For a Real Laugh, Listen to the Original Pedophiles

And speaking of the gender issue, I nearly peed my pants laughing when I read someone’s post about how co-ed restrooms would encourage pedophilia. Good grief! Is that the best they can do? The most rampant place for pedophilia is the Catholic Church and has been for longer than we probably realize. Is there a more unnatural state than a man who has to remain celibate to keep his job? And yet, these same men are supposed to counsel couples who are getting married? Seriously? What is the basis for their knowledge? What do they know about the challenges of raising a child? They’ve taken their natural carnal instincts and stuffed them into a cardboard box, then left the box sitting out in the rain!

Winding Down and Getting to the Point

I make no apologies for this seemingly disjointed rant. In the last few weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing some of the hated ones first-hand, and know they are not the fanatics the propagandists want us to believe. In fact, they are better people than most of us, and are living beneath the shadow of the actions of a relatively small group of extremists.

I have friends and family who are homosexual or transgender, and for the most part, they are the most forgiving, accepting people I know. Once again, we could all stand to learn compassion and respect from them. Many of them face challenges we in our insular lives cannot even imagine, but they don’t judge.

Change is inevitable, folks, and if to you that means Chaos, then I would suggest you buckle in and get ready for a very bumpy ride. As for me, I’m looking forward to seeing some old social and political structures razed to make room for something new and better. We probably won’t get it exactly right the first time, and it will take time for the dust to settle and the benefits to become apparent, but I’m hoping we’ve learned from our mistakes and will be open-minded to the lessons we can learn from people who have suffered at our hands, yet never even considered laying blame. They’ve taken the moral high ground and learned that it’s our differences rather than our samenesses which make this a better, kinder, more compassionate and more progressive world.

I, for one, wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m sure I’ve offended a lot of people with this rant, but as I’m a proponent of this change you call chaos, it was inevitable. If you choose to comment, please follow the common courtesy of posting which goes back a number of years: “Attack the post, not the poster”.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for a world where we have the opportunity to learn from a diverse group of people.
2. I am grateful for the ability to check facts and sources, if we only take the time and make a little effort to do so.
3. I am grateful for places where differences are valued and celebrated.
4. I am grateful for the ability to hide hatefulness, ugliness and ignorance.
5. I am grateful for abundance; kindness, compassion, change, lessons, multi-cultural exchanges, gender acceptance, enlightenment, love, peace, harmony, health, philanthropy and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

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