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Archive for the ‘choices’ Category

Fears: They Can Cripple or Inspire

Even Dreamers Have Fears

Whether it’s fear of a living thing; spiders, snakes, dogs, bears, fear of something physical; heights, crowds, flying, germs, or something intangible; success, failure, ridicule, exposure. We all have something which stands in the way of doing anything we want to do or being anything we want to be.

The major difference between those who go on to achieve their dreams and those who don’t isn’t lack of fear. It’s learning how to overcome or manage them. But it’s also learning how to use them to our advantage. In fact, learning to listen to our fears can sometimes save our lives.

We accumulate our fears in many ways. Some may be taught to us by our parents. Others may be the result of a frightening experience. Still others come when we make an effort to do something different and we are somehow shamed or humiliated for our trouble. Some may even have no discernible basis, yet they’re no less real than all the others.

Managing Our Fears

I’ve learned to ask myself questions whenever I encounter a roadblock in my life. The first is Am I stuck because I’m afraid of something?

But fears can be tricky little devils. Quite often, thee first time or two I ask the question, I’ll get an immediate denial. But if I keep asking, the denial grows weaker, more hesitant.

Our minds are conditioned to be resistant to change but this resistance isn’t as strong as we might believe. If we keep questioning and prodding, the affinity for sameness will falter. When it does, we need to ask the next question, What am I really afraid of?

Don’t expect the answer to come readily though. The protective instinct still has a few tricks up its sleeve. We might get a vague or generally unhelpful answer. The truth when we finally get to it might actually be a confusing conglomeration of fears which over time have coalesced into one massive excuse for maintaining the status quo.

How Our Fears Keep Us Stuck

But “status quo” or “comfort zone” are just fancy ways to say “rut”. I for one have gone out of my way to move on when I’ve found myself in a rut, regardless of whether the condition is due to outside influences or of my own making.

As might be expected, those of my own making are far more difficult to break free of. The mental resistance to coughing up the real reasons and fears which keep me in the self-made rut is often the work of a master brick-layer. Chipping away years of masonry quality excuses is a major challenge all by itself. But the mind has another weapon at its disposal. That weapon is pain.

Built into those solid stone walls filled with our experiences is all the pain, both real and imagined that we accumulated with those experiences.. When we demolish one of the layers, the pain is released and sometimes even relived. If we take a step back and observe without entangling our emotions, the pain doesn’t last. Doing so, however, requires a conscious effort we don’t always employ during the demolition process. More often, we attack the walls, yanking down bricks and flinging them, willy-nilly, behind us.

Stopping the Pattern of Pain

Far too frequently, part of the lesson we were meant to learn was short-circuited by the pain so we actually have to experience the lesson and the pain again. Only then can we release the pain and the fear it hid within its prickly womb.

So, what is strong enough to make us relive the pain and release the fear?

For me, it’s passion. It’s dreams so vivid I can feel the excitement and replace the fear-based pain with success-based euphoria. I imagine myself with those dreams already fulfilled—where I’m living my passion. I feel the energy of the places I visit and live, the people who are part of my life, the things I’ve accomplished to make at least part of the world a little better. It all becomes as real as my excitement and joy over living my dreams.

Making Sure We’re Headed in the Right Direction

But imagination can take us in the other direction as well. I wrote this post out long hand a few days ago, so I had to search through the collection of notebooks which litter my office, my purse, and random surfaces throughout my house to find what I’d written. In the process, I came across a story I wrote some time ago, detailing a worst-case scenario where I had never succeeded. I’d become so destitute I’d sold my furniture and books, but was still unable to come up with the money for vet bills to save my beloved cats. I won’t take you down the miserable path I’d detailed on 9 pages of college-ruled paper, but the picture I painted was the antithesis of my dreams. It was a picture of a woman alone, friendless and destitute who lived on only for the sake of the 3 remaining cats.

By the time I finished reading what I’d written, tears filled my eyes. But I also faced a harsh reality. I have a choice. I can face my fears, do some really uncomfortable things and manifest my dreams, or I can continue to refuse to do what’s necessary, hope for the best and, if not be quite as pathetic as the story in my dream, still find myself paring my life way back and having to make some tough decisions where future expenditures are concerned.

Keeping Our Choices Real

Life is always about choices, and how we deal with our fears is one of the biggest because it can mean the difference between living our dreams or our worst nightmares. Does anyone truly wish to live their nightmares? Yet many don’t realize they do so because of their own choices.

I don’t know about you, but I have some fears I need to drop kick into oblivion. I don’t know quite how I’ll do it, but I know I’m asking for help, which is something I don’t normally do. Sometimes, the first fear you have to conquer is the fear of being a burden.

Start by Being Grateful

My gratitudes tonight are:

  1. I am grateful for the things I find that remind me or shake me out of my complacency.
  2. I am grateful for choices.
  3. I am grateful for my friends and family who wouldn’t abandon me as my imagination sometimes believes.
  4. I am grateful for the lessons I’ve learned and those I’m still learning.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; lessons, friends, love, joy, dreams, fears conquered, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

The accompanying Facebook Live can be found here.

 

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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Another Lesson About Friendship

There Comes a Time When the Only Thing to do is Make Use of the Only Truly Effective Form of Therapy.

I’m a solitary person. I’m more likely to withdraw into myself and write my problems out than seek the help or counsel of someone else. Tonight, that meant sitting in the bar where I dance, writing nearly 1000 words in the Notes app of my iPhone.  Ice Cream Therapy

I’m a very direct person. If I don’t like something someone is doing and it’s someone I care about, I’ll usually do my best to communicate my feelings. I limit the proverbial “cold shoulder” to three circumstances: when the other person is so emotionally engaged that anything I say would only escalate the problem, when I’m so angry that I’m likely to just spew venom(in which case I’ll likely address it later when I’ve calmed down enough to at least make an attempt at being reasonable), or if the offending party is someone I don’t care about.

This attitude has come back to bite me on more than one occasion. Sometimes it’s because I expect my friends to be honest with me while they fall back on social niceties and remain silent, but all too often I just misread the relationship and what I thought was a friendship was just an acquaintanceship from their perspective, making me as disposable as the packaging on the Lean Cuisine they had for lunch.

Such seems to be the case yet again. Admittedly, I did behave badly. I’ve apologized and tried to make amends with everyone involved. Things are pretty much back to normal with those I did consider acquaintances but the ones I considered friends are wearing fake smiles and taking pains to keep their distance. I’d like to say it doesn’t hurt and that I don’t care but there’s no point lying to myself. It does serve to remind me why 60 years in this body has taught me to be very sparing about opening my heart, even in friendship. I’m not one who is able to take friendship lightly, nor do I successfully protect my heart on the increasingly rare occasions when I give it.

It just baffles me that people can act like they care until you make a mistake and earn their disapproval.

But the Universe saw me for the overly trusting, heart-breakingly sensitive soul I am and gave me a passion which can be followed without a lot of human interaction. Instead, I can stand on the sidelines watching other people interact, and yes, play those social games I never learned, by my own choice. They become characters in my stories or part of the landscape in the articles I write while I again try not to be fooled into bringing my heart out of the bubble wrap where I’m reminded to keep it every time it gets stomped into a bloody mess.

Hope Springs Eternal

I guess in some ways I’m a romantic. I keep hoping I’ll find friends and maybe even a partner who will care enough to protect and nurture my heart instead of treating it like garbage. But after 6 decades, my hope is waning. Like Tinkerbell, I desperately need a reason to keep believing; keep hoping; keep loving without reservation. But for now, I’ll stuff those hopes down until they smother and focus on living my own, personal, private passion. For that I just need to dream and write. No messy human contact necessary.

And yet as I let the unhappiness fade I remember the choice to be happy is mine alone. I can choose to allow the insensitivity of others affect my mood or I can flip them a mental bird, wish them a nice life and get on with mine. It still means going it alone but I’m in great company. I know for certain that the company I’m keeping would never abuse my heart and wants only a life of joy and fulfillment for me. I guess there are times the Universe dumps sadness into our lives so we can fully appreciate how wonderful, how bountiful our life truly is…and how overrated most people’s idea of friendship is.

The Silver Lining Inside the Latest Cloud

And yet, as I get busier  doing the work I love, it occurs to me that perhaps endings are simply a part of freeing up more of my time. People can be a distraction and I create enough of those without any outside assistance.

And I remember one of the few biblical quotes I really like:


To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

My personal brand of therapy has led me to conclude this is simply a time for me to be solitary and tend to things which need to be tended.

There Will Always Be Gratitude

What would a blog post from me be without gratitudes. I can always come up with at least a few, and I won’t disappoint you tonight.
1. I am grateful for life’s lessons even if I repeat the painful ones more often than I’d like.
2. I am grateful I’m comfortable in my own skin…and my own company as there are times when it’s the best place for me to be.
3. I am grateful for the people who teach me what friendship is not.
4. I am grateful for my writing. It’s my friend, my solace, my sanity, my therapist and my passion.
5. I am grateful for abundance: lessons, life, limitations, aspirations, motivation, writing, opportunities, stepping outside my comfort zone, peace, harmony, health, joy, 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!

Evolution: The Person, The Blog

A Time to Restore Order

I’ve been thinking a lot about the direction (or lack thereof) of this blog lately. I’ve come to the conclusion that in some ways, it’s time to return to the original, underlying premise when I began writing publicly and believe that is truly where my heart is.

What this means is in the coming weeks, I’ll return to my focus on personal challenges, growth, positivity and inspiration. The topics may not be Google search-worthy, but the truth is, I love sharing what I’ve learned (even the painful parts) and inspiring others, if only by assuring them they’re not alone.

I’ve also learned that inspiration is a two-way street. The people I inspire invariably inspire me as well. You could say we create a mutual inspiration society, and my most heartfelt desire is that the inspiration and supportiveness continue to spread. We’re all in this together, folks, and not one of us is getting out alive!

Knowing Which Trees to Shake

One of the best ways to get past a traumatic event is to talk about it, but it’s not always that simple. Upbringing, societal standards and embarrassment are exacerbated by our very real fear of being judged. As open as I’ve been here, there are things even I am not ready to discuss openly; things I’ve experienced, choices I’ve made which would rain too much havoc on my head to broach right now. And that’s a choice in and of itself.

We all make choices every day and one we choose most often, I believe, is to hold our tongues. Just as we wouldn’t come out and bluntly tell a friend “You look fat in that dress”, there are many times when things are better left unsaid. It might be to spare someone’s feelings or simply to avoid someone’s hot buttons to prevent unnecessary arguments. Either way, as adults we have learned to be tactful and not just blurt out whatever comes into our heads (there are, of course, exceptions to this and the results of their absence of tact is the basis for some rather interesting drama).

The most obvious topics are religion and politics. I’ve learned through some painful experiences to be extremely cautious about the first. People can be quite dogmatic about their beliefs and contrary to my own viewpoint, think what they believe is the one, true way. Rather than screaming “Bullshit!” in their faces, I’ve learned to bite down very hard on my tongue, smile and walk away. Such people will never, ever admit that we all have a right to our own beliefs and that ours is just as valid and meaningful as theirs. What astonishes me most is that some religious circles still hold fast to, and continue to propagate such an egocentric concept. But it explains a lot about the continued existence of religious persecution.

Politics, on the other hand, is such an unholy conglomeration of social, moral, religious agitation-inducing nonsense fueled by a desire to distract everyone from the real problems…the elephant in the room, if you will that to attempt to debate any of the issues is, to me, about as satisfying as trying to find the end of a tightly wound ball of string without the slightest opportunity for a successful outcome.

Taking the High Road and Keeping the Peace

So for now, I will continue to share the inspirational and the painful, the cheering and the sobering while carefully avoiding anything which would give way to heated, emotion-based discussions where nobody wins.

As always, I’m grateful to those of you who continue to visit and even, on occasion, share your own thoughts and experiences. Without you, I might have stopped writing this blog years ago. But here I am, 7 years later, still writing somewhat regularly, and it’s all because of you.

My gratitudes tonight are:

  1. I am grateful to be regaining my focus.
  2. I am grateful for friends, old and new.
  3. I am grateful for lessons I’ve learned, lessons I struggle with and lessons yet to arrive.
  4. I am grateful for opportunities the Universe gives me to help others. They’re beginning to appear in unexpected ways, and make me glad I asked.
  5. I am grateful for abundance: love, friendship, sharing, caring, kindness, compassion, health, peace, 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!

Rainy Day Thoughts

Looking out my window at the rain-drenched street, the late-afternoon sun casts a glow making the neighborhood appear almost magical. Though the drenching we’ve received in the last two days will make but a small dent in our drought-ravaged state, the parched earth, nonetheless, offers it’s own words of gratitude to the dark, looming clouds.

It was easy today to read or study or meditate; a cat or two always nearby. The rain beat a staccato rhythm on my roof, punctuated periodically by thunderclaps, resounding like tympani, emphasizing the downbeat. Yet the almost non-stop downpour elevates my mood. Not because we so desperately need it but because I’ve always found the sound of rain soothing. It’s a sound we humans cannot duplicate via faucet or fountain; its arrhythmic rhythm following its own beat; playing its surreal tune.

Can you hear the music in the raindrops? Can you feel the beat as they bounce off the sidewalk or tap on your window? Do you heed their call when they tap out “Come out and play!”? Or are you more focused on getting the kids to school relatively dry or making what you know will be a challenging commute? Are you too busy, too stressed to stop and just listen to the rhythm of the rain?

One of the many things I gained when I slowed my life down was the luxury of listening to the rain and even heeding its call. Even a downpour while I’m loading groceries into my car just makes me laugh. I turn my face upwards, lapping up a drop or two, then stomp purposefully in the puddles just because I can.

I believe growing old, at least mentally, is a choice. It happens when we choose to let go of our childlike enjoyment of the little things because we feel the need to be responsible. Yet in reality, we can be selectively responsible and still retain that childlike enjoyment.

Maybe that’s why cat and dog videos are so popular these days. You can, for the few moments the video plays, revel in that devil-may-care attitude. But why not take it a step further? Embrace it. Be it. Dance in the rain or sing a happy song. Cut loose and realize what others might think of your behavior is really not your concern. They’re going to react as they do regardless of your behavior. So you might as well make yourself happy, right?

Back when I did have to commute, I taught myself to embrace the delays. They gave me a few more minutes of alone time when I could sip my coffee and smile at my fellow commuters. For those few extra minutes, I was disconnected from phones and computers and people who needed something from me. Those were moments of pure bliss. But those were also days when I worked in a job that was sucking my soul so periods of disconnectedness were golden.

Though I’m rarely stuck in traffic these days, on the rare occasions when I do find myself crawling along the Southern California freeways, I use the time to imagine or create or just sing along with the radio or CD. I’m still learning to release the things I can’t control, but for the most part, traffic jams are no longer a cause for stress. But then again, I can choose to stay home when the roads are a mess.

Someone asked me recently if I could continue to survive financially if it took me a little longer to get a few writing or VA gigs. I was pleasantly surprised to admit that the simplifications I’ve made in my life in the last couple of years along with some fortuitous reductions in outflow mean I’d actually be OK for quite some time.

As I felt some of the pressure flow out of my system, I felt confidence flow in. Thanks to an ever-increasing network of positive, supportive people, I’m gaining much-needed skills for promoting not only the work I’m doing now, but the books I will be publishing over the next couple of years. These things took time to build. Relationships have been a process. This isn’t something I could have accomplished in less time than it’s taken. There’s a lot to be said for being a work in progress.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the people I’ve met, the challenges I’ve taken, and the growth I’ve enjoyed.
2. I am grateful that I’ve simplified and downsized my life. It’s a much better fit now; like a comfy pair of well-washed jeans or loose-fitting sweats.
3. I am grateful for each and every opportunity I’m being given to learn, grow and give back.
4. I am grateful for my own personal forums on which to share my thoughts, lessons and ideas, and for the people who read them and offer feedback.
5. I am grateful for abundance; friends, fellow travelers, lessons, challenges, successes and failures, laughter and tears, dancing, love, joy, health, peace, harmony, philanthropy and prosperity (and that piece of property overlooking the beach where I’ll live, love, thrive and offer other artists a place to retreat and follow their own passion.)

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!

A Grain-Free Week

Switching it Up

A month or so ago, a friend and I became accountability buddies. We checked in regularly, logged our food and exercise and kept track of the pounds. It went well for a couple of weeks, maybe more, and I did drop about 9 pounds. But lately, that’s changed and I’ve gone back to the old “up three, down two” game. My blog writing pitching took me to some paleo sites so I started looking into what changing to that kind of diet entailed. As previously mentioned, it isn’t for me.

What I did realize was that the last time I dropped a good amount of weight, over 30 pounds to be exact, I not only checked in with MyFitnessPal regularly, but I cut out most grains. For me, that’s doable in the short term or perhaps, in sprints. So for the last week and a half, that’s exactly what I did.

I’d like to say I got immediate results, but I think your body and even your eating habits have to acclimate to the change. So it took about a week before I started seeing a noticeable change; not only in weight but in energy. The protein-rich diet fills me up without bogging me down. I’m sleeping better than I was, too! In just over a week, I’ve dropped about 3 pounds, which thrills the heck out of me.

Making it Work During the Holidays

Spending Christmas with my daughter and son-in-law will be challenging. Her house is redolent with her Christmas baking frenzy this time of year, and now that she’s learned a few more tricks in her culinary arts classes, she’s become even more creative. However, she is also incredibly supportive. Didn’t she start learning how to convert recipes to gluten-free because I found the gluten was irritating my stomach after awhile? She’s already stocked up on plain yogurt so I can enjoy my usual breakfast instead of reaching for something grain laden.

Though she won’t give up grain for her or her hubby, nor would I expect them too, she has come up with alternatives for me. Heck, I may snag one of those pumpkin pancakes with Christmas breakfast, but will fill up on the eggs and fruit or whatever other non-grain alternatives there might be. And she’s making sure dinners can be eaten without pasta or rice if I so desire.

All in all, I deem this experiment a cautious success. I’m also counting on my daughter’s usual pattern in which I accumulate between 16000 and 18000 steps per day during my visit. Even if I only manage to keep the grains at a minimum while I’m there, I suspect I’ll avoid the usual bulking up which usually occurs Christmas week.

Setting up for my Next Sprint

Better still, no matter how good or bad I am this week, I’ll be ready to do another week or two sprint with no grain. If I can do about 2 weeks on and one off, I can see me setting a pattern because the two weeks I’m off of grains will get my body accustomed to doing without. If I eat a moderate amount during my week off, I’ll be able to tell just how much makes me feel sluggish and how much screws with my sleep and meditation patterns. If that amount is small, it will simply make it easier to give it up for longer periods of time.

Not Quite Paleo

Giving up grain of all kinds is a huge step for me. I’ve actually given up starches almost entirely. I’ve had potatoes a couple of times, but aside from that, it’s been protein and fresh fruits and vegetables. Snacks include yogurt dip and veggies, almonds and dried cranberries, though even those have slowed down as my body stays full from the increased protein. I don’t however, see a day when I’ll give up dairy or legumes. I love lentils in my turkey-pumpkin chili and my fat-free yogurt and honey in the morning is a quick, easy, no-brainer to get me going. Yes, I may start pre-making the egg casserole I used to take to work, but it’s not going to be a daily or even weekly change. Too many mornings, all I can stomach is that 1/2 cup of yogurt. It isn’t until after noon, and sometimes 2 or 3 before my stomach is ready for anything heavier. But at least I know myself.

Many of us realize we need to change our eating habits to something healthier, but there’s no point in changing to something which has no appeal. You just won’t stick with it unless you’re some kind of masochist who gets off on torturing yourself. When I was pregnant with my twins, I saw a nutritionist and the first thing she did was to ask me what foods I liked and which ones I didn’t. She wasn’t about to help me design a meal plan containing foods I disliked or omitting everything I liked. Nearly 30 years later, I still take her words to heart.

Living in a Land of Plenty

I am very fortunate in that I love fresh produce, and even luckier still that I live in an area Harvest box 11-18-14 view 2where it is abundantharvest box 11-4-14 12 months a year. You can bring me to tears with a nice bunch of broccoli or cauliflower, a bucket of brussels sprouts or a lovely member of the squash family. My daughter has even taught me new and different ways to enjoy these wondrous treats. That very love and abundance is what makes this new path easier to tread. No rice? No problem. I’ll just eat more of this lovely veggie with a little bit of chicken stir-fry. No bread? Let’s throw a few more veggies in the pan and scramble them into a fluffy pile of eggs. Stir fry nearly done 10-22-14

Do I feel deprived knowing I’ll have to pass on the pizza or sushi? Not really. In fact, many times there are versions of sushi which are riceless anyway. Have you ever tried a hand roll without rice? Very tasty! And if I really want pizza, I’ll just wait for my off week. If I still want it by then, so be it.

Leaving Behind a Life of Constrictions

Two years ago, I left behind a life of waking with an alarm to go do a job which built up someone else’s nest egg. I left a world of someone else’s rules and rush hour and being around people even when I didn’t want to be. I’ve made a lot of changes over the least two years, some good, some not so good. I’ve established some healthy habits which have fallen by the wayside, perhaps to be picked up again in the future…and perhaps not.

But I have learned that if I make changes to my life that don’t make me happy, I’ll find a way to undermine those changes or just wander off in search of something new. And yes, I’ve done both. But eating is really easy. I love to eat, I enjoy cooking and find more of the healthy foods appealing than not. Realizing that I need a specific time frame to go off track was the missing link, though. If I lock myself into a week or a couple of days or whatever, I’m more likely to say during the weeks I’m supposed to be diligent “Nope, that has grain. You can’t have it this week, but give it a few more days and you can indulge if you even want to by then.” And for now, that’s enough.

How do you keep yourself on track with those healthy habits you form? Are you just one of those whose internal motivation is enough, or do you have to make deals with yourself so you’ll do what you know is best anyway? Do you hold the results up like a mirror so you can easily see how following those habits has improved your life? I’d love to hear what works for you.

Tonight’s gratitudes are:
1. I am grateful for fresh produce year-round.
2. I am grateful for small successes.
3. I am grateful for the things which motivate me.
4. I am grateful for new opportunities and ideas which help me make necessary changes to my path.
5. I am grateful for abundance: success, motivation, inspiration, support groups, cheerleaders, friends, family, joy, love, dancing, bliss, peace, harmony, health, happiness, 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!

July 18, 2015 Musings From a Mind Drugged out on Dance

A Body Satiated With a Night Well Danced is Fertile Ground for a Pondering Mind

I sit here unwinding and pleasantly exhausted from a night filled with the laughter of friends and an overdose of dancing. While my body sinks gratefully into the chair, my mind jumps up like a kid on a sugar high, dashing hither and yon. It ponders the events of the day, of the week and how so many things, so many people are simply connected.

The spiritual community has, for many months now, been both vocal and consistent in the prediction that many souls will choose to leave this year. Though we’ve seen many celebrities move to that great stage in the hereafter this year, many of those who left were simply old and tired. They’d been practicing their craft, entertaining the masses for decades, so their passing in their 80’s and 90’s wasn’t really much of a stretch.

So too is it true that, despite the seeming coincidence of three friends losing a parent in the last week, old age and failing bodies is still the logical explanation. Though my parents are long gone, many of my friends are spending a large portion of their time caring for aging parents these days, knowing that they won’t be around forever, and treasuring whatever time they might have left.

My question would encompass the younger, healthy people who die tragically like the four Marines felled by a terrorist earlier this week or a child killed by a drive by shooter; a young mother killed in a car accident or a kazillion other accidents and heinous acts which take the lives of people who seemingly had so much left to do with their lives.

Who Can Really Say Whether It Is Accident, Choice or Fate?

Yet, I must ask myself, Is it possible that even those killed tragically chose that time, that place to send their soul on a new journey? For those who are new to my blog, or only read the occasional post, you may not be aware that I’m a firm believer in choices, including those which determine time for what we humans call ‘death’. I also believe that our souls take many journeys, and perhaps not all of those are human, nor are all of them taken on Earth. I cannot provide proof for my beliefs any more than a religious person could prove to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that there exists a being they call ‘God’. Some aspects of our Faith, our Belief System can be proven (or disproven) scientifically, but the question of where our souls go when our human body expires is, thus far, not one of them.

Ergo, if we can’t prove for certain where the soul goes, how can we prove whether or not it leaves a body by choice, by fate or by accident? I do enjoy debating this with friends of different belief systems, but only those who agree that we are not trying to convince each other, or prove our own beliefs, but simply share and give each other new ideas to ponder. To be honest, part of the development of my own beliefs came from opportunities to compare and contrast those of others without pressure to conform. In fact, there are probably nearly as many ideas from my Spiritual but not Religious friends which fail to resonate as there are from those who follow a particular religion.

Everyone’s Beliefs are Right…For Themselves

Though I truly believe that whatever a person believes is right, as long as they understand that it may not be right for me, I’ve gotten myself in trouble a few times with this viewpoint. I’ve encountered those who feel very strongly that their beliefs are the only right way. My first reaction to this is to try to argue with them. WRONG! Just because they believe theirs is the only way by no means affects me or my beliefs. They can think they know what’s best for me from now until the end of time, but in reality, they don’t get to choose what’s right for me anyway, so why belabour the point?

You want to call on a deity you’ve named ‘God’ and insist that he guides you and takes away your problems if you let him? Great. I’m happy that works for you. You want to call it ‘prayer’ when you send thoughts of love, comfort and healing to someone? Perfect! I call it something else, but the end result of both our thoughts is the same.

The concept of souls moving from place to place, body to body is certainly not shared by everyone. I have friends who subscribe to the “one soul, one body” concept wherein the soul and the body will be reunited at some specified point in the distant future. That seems a little morbid to me, but who am I to say they’re wrong? It’s certainly simpler for them as they don’t feel the need to ponder the question of accident, choice or fate like I do.

For now, I’ll send healing energy to those who have lost a loved one, knowing that they’re sad, regardless of how or why the loved one passed. Grieving is a normal human process and, like Sadness from the movie ‘Inside Out’, it serves a purpose. It allows others to reach out and offer comfort and it builds bonds. It’s also something most of us, at least by the time we reach a certain age, can certainly relate to.

I don’t have an answer to my question yet, and the year is still unfolding in all of its crazy glory. I think it will take at least a tiny glimpse of why those choices are purportedly being made before I can reach any conclusions which will satisfy my constantly enquiring mind.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the people in my life, whether they be like minded or offer a completely different perspective.
2. I am grateful for choices and for diversity. I no longer feel weird being different. I simply revel in my own personal uniqueness.
3. I am grateful for body numbing nights of dance which get the mental juices stirring.
4. I am grateful for the lovely, lengthy downpour and the cosmic light show we enjoyed today.
5. I am grateful for abundance; love, dancing, friendship, ideas, laughter, joy, health, happiness, peace, harmony, choices, 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 20, 2015 Sometimes, the Best Thinking Spot is…

A Writer’s Mind is Constantly in Motion

We all have places or activities which get the creative juices flowing. Whether it’s taking a walk or going to the gym or showering; it’s where we can just let the daydreams flow and the ideas leapfrog over each other in a melee of imagination. For me, that place is the kitchen. When I’m chopping vegetables for a stir-fry or tossing everything-but-the-kitchen-sink into my Ninja; loading the dishwasher at the end of the day or giving the place a real deep cleaning; the kitchen is where I am so comfortable that I don’t really need to focus on what I’m doing. This can be a dangerous thing at the best of times, but right now, while I’m pitching blogs, trying to figure out where to start with the re-write of Sasha’s Journey, gearing up to get the rest of the way through Holly Lisle’s How to Think Sideways course or tossing around ideas for this year’s NaNoWriMo, I’m as easily sucked into the maelstrom of ideas as the fruits and veggies I throw into the Ninja get sucked into the blades to be chopped, mashed and whirled into something which no longer resembles the raw ingredients.

Even what I’m working with can offer inspiration. Yesterday, I was trimming brussels sprouts to steam for my lunch when I was struck by an errant thought. Since I was allowing my mind to meander anyway, I let the thought unfold. I realized that not only have my eating habits changed, but how I prepare my food has changed as well.
Rarely do I use the microwave to steam vegetables any more as I’ve discovered they taste a lot better when I put them in my handy dandy steamer. In most cases, the difference in cooking time is negligible and more of the nutritional value of the food is retained by avoiding what we have come to call the ‘nuking’ of our food.

Even more interesting is my recent propensity for throwing a lot of raw veggies and fruits into the ninja, many of which I’ve never before eaten, much less, consumed raw. In fact, with the encouragement of a friend who has been using this process for awhile, I have been tossing a lot of things in there, peel and all. (although after today’s experiment, I will go back to peeling my oranges as I’m not overly excited by the tang the peel added to my smoothie).

Raw Foods: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

There are a lot of diets out there, most of them fads, which tout this or that to the exclusion of everything else. I believe that the raw food craze is just one of those. Essentially, most of them have merit, but to eat one thing, or follow one preparation to the exclusion of all else is, in my opinion, short-sighted. Humans are omnivores which means we eat everything. Why would we function better on a diet of all one type of food. Even more, why would we function better on a diet which was eaten by ancestors with a far more active lifestyle than we’ll ever see?

The human diet has evolved, partly as a result of new techniques we’ve learned like farming and pasteurizing, but part of the evolution has to do with lifestyle. I’m not going to go into some of the mistakes we’ve made in the process of learning to feed ourselves more efficiently here. That’s a post for another day. My concern is for diets which focus on one thing like the low carb diets or the raw food diets. I’ve tried the first and have added parts of the second to my normal routine. The first works for a time, but frankly, if you are somewhat active, you’re going to feel the lack of carbs after awhile. As far as raw foods go, once every couple of days is sufficient for me right now, unless I decide I want a full body cleanse.

The up side and the down side of raw foods is that your body has to work a lot harder to digest them because you haven’t broken anything down through the process of applying heat or some other means such as vinegar. It’s up to your body to take all of that fibrous material and figure out how to use it. Believe me, it’s a very tasty form of cleanse, but I would advise against any long trips after such a meal. I’m told that your body eventually adjusts, but not only have I received no definitive answer on the time frame but I’m sure it varies from person to person and with whatever else might be in your diet.

Variety is the Spice of Life

From my layman’s point of view and my personal experiences, I continue to defend the position that the best diet for humans is one with variety. Meat, dairy, grains, vegetables, fruits, fats and even sugar in moderation. What I do find unnecessary are the additives and replacements which are put into our foods, both obviously and sneakily. You aren’t going to convince me that artificial fat and sugar or high fructose corn syrup are useful and necessary parts of our diet. Nor will I ever trust anything which says ‘enriched’ on the label. My first question will always be: What valuable nutrition did you remove before enriching it with chemicals and hormones? My liver and the rest of my body prefers the real deal, if it’s all the same to you.

For now, I’ll finish my raw food smoothie and go to my second favorite thinking spot, perchance to resolve some of my own burning questions. I leave you with today’s gratitudes:
1. I am grateful that I can choose what I fuel my body with.
2. I am grateful that I can resolve most health issues with homeopathics, exercise, heat or ice and a foam roller.
3. I am grateful for choices in all areas of my life.
4. I am grateful for dancing which brings me joy, puts me in good company and gets me out of the house on a regular basis.
5. I am grateful for abundance: choices, friends, joy, happiness, community, love, peace, harmony, kindness, compassion, health, prosperity and philanthropy.

Blessed Be

I’d appreciate your taking a moment to visit my Facebook pages at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel and https://www.facebook.com/HLWTAccounting . Please also drop by my website, http://www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

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