Rip off the mask, tear down the walls. Show the world my beautiful, vulnerable self!

Archive for the ‘comfort zone’ Category

Fear Has it’s Place, But No Voting Rights

Stuffing Down Fear is a Recipe for Disaster

Many of us see fear as something we must stuff down in order to move forward; to get past the things which scare us silly and hold us back from achieving our dreams. But stuffing anything down is a recipe for disaster, be it fear, feelings, or those warnings our gut gives us when something really isn’t right.

After going through the volcanic disaster of decades-old stuffed-down feelings expressing their displeasure with their long confinement, I’m less inclined to stuff anything down any more. But what do you do when fear paralyzes you and prevents you from moving into your rightful place in the world? If you can’t stuff it down, what do you do with the darn thing?

Acknowledge and Release

Recently I saw someone say of fear that they acknowledge it lovingly and give it its place in the mix., when it comes to deciding how to proceed, their fear doesn’t get a vote. I rather liked the analogy, and have adopted it for my own, as well as applying it to the feelings I used to mercilessly cram into a small box deep inside my psyche.

It’s ironic that I refused to acknowledge my own, yet told my daughters over and over that their feelings were their feelings. They had no on/off switch (their father used to tell them “you shouldn’t feel like that” as if it was something they could control). What is fear really, but one of those unquenchable feelings?

Initially, fear is in place to protect us from harm. As we grow older, what constitutes harm changes. Our minds take comfort in sameness, so anything that threatens to alter our life or patterns is seen as a threat, and the fear missile is launched. Once launched, the mission can’t be aborted, but it can be redirected towards a benign target. If we catch it early enough, we might even be able to halt the launch, shut down the engines, and put the missile back into storage. It’s still in the warehouse, or maybe even on the launching pad, but for now, the countdown has been halted.

The Key to Gaining Mastery Over Our Fears is An Early Warning System is a matter of both practice and awareness to keep our fears in their rightful place. Shutting them down, stuffing them into a box, or inuring ourselves to their effects is never the right choice. There is a time and a place for those fears to launch; to send out the flares, the red flags, the sirens, and the flashing lights. There are times in our lives when we will be in real danger, unless of course we wrap ourselves in bubble wrap and find a cave to live in. In that case, we’re not really living, so if you ask me, why bother? Life is interesting with a little danger in it. For some who thrive on adrenaline rushes, the amount of danger required can be significantly higher. They’ve clearly mastered their fears better than most.

We all have different levels of fear tolerance. Some of us might be fine with jumping out of a plane, but changing jobs sends us into a panic attack. Others might find moving from one country to another exciting and exhilarating, but the idea of dating puts them in a cold sweat. We are all different and unique, and as such, our fear tolerance isn’t a single level, but situational.

Even so, our evolution as a Human Being (emphasis on the “Being”) depends on gaining mastery over our fears so we can grow and progress.

Fear and Our Comfort Zone

Someone recently said to me “fear is what gets us out of our comfort zone”. I disagree. I believe fear is what keeps us there. It’s our mind telling us: “You don’t want to go out there. There might be goblins, or wolves, or other scary things. Stay in here with me where it’s safe and warm, and you know who’s in here with you.” If you ask me, being stuck in a box with a scaredy-cat is far more frightening than braving the unknown. But I can only speak for myself. I’m also not going to go jump out of a perfectly good plane, but I have friends who do and love it. I suspect I’ve taken risks they’d never even consider.

Still, we ignore fear to our own detriment. There are going to be times when it saves our bacon, even while there are many more when it would hold us back if we let it. Which is why I like the idea of acknowledging it while denying it a say in the decisions we ultimately make about ourselves and our lives.

It’s a lot like a brainstorming session you might have at work. A lot of ideas are thrown out on the table. Some will clearly be unworkable. Others will seem unlikely, but not worth casting away without further discussion, and some will be divvied up right away for further evaluation. I see fear as part of the second group. They may be unlikely, but are worth considering as there may be some merit, if only to remind us to proceed cautiously with eyes and ears wide open for possible pitfalls on a route chosen for innovation and new horizons.

Finding the Right Mix

When we temper fear with our desire for change, we get a healthier version which is caution. A mountain climber uses this refinement when she tests a new hand- or foot-hold before putting weight on it. We back up our computers and save our files somewhere that’s more protected from crashes because of that caution. Still, we don’t allow it to determine our next move. It’s simply built into our process to protect the progress we’ve made so far.

The caution exercised as a result of our fears makes recovery from failure quicker because the damage is minimized. Think how much longer it would take to implement changes if we were back to square one every time we failed. If you ask me, we have our fears to thank for the shorter, less painful falls.

Think of it this way. The parachute would never have been invented had we expected planes (especially the early ones) to remain in the air and land safely 100% of the time.


For more on Fear, check out my Facebook Live

Gratitude; Our Strongest Ally

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful I’m coming to terms with my fears without letting them freeze me in place.
  2. I am grateful for the people who help me overcome my fears and continue moving forward.
  3. I am grateful for opportunities to test and release my fears.
  4. I am grateful for the new horizons that have opened up since I stopped allowing my fears to vote.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, life, freedom, opportunities, mentors, coaches, friends, encouragement, lessons, joy, peace, harmony, 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.

Creeping Nostalgia

Letting the Mind Out for Spontaneous, Unfettered Play

After one of the busiest weekends in longer than I can remember, I finally found some down time, and my mind took the break like a kid who explodes out the classroom doors on the last day before summer vacation.

At last it was free to do what it does best; run amok. No line dances to try to memorize or two-step patterns to concentrate on. No trails to navigate, conversations to follow and participate in, memories to share. What’s an ADD brain on freedom to do?

One Thought Leads to Another in Typical Non-Linear Fashion

I tried turning on my Rascal Flatts station on Pandora in a futile attempt to corral it a bit. Not one of my better ideas. Each song made me more nostalgic. When “The Rose” came on, I felt tears pricking my eyes. It was the perfect song for my son-in-law’s grandmother who passed a couple of days ago. Elizabeth was the sweetest, most amazing lady I had the pleasure to know, even if it was only for a few short years. Through more than her share of life’s tragedies and heartaches, she was always cheerful, peaceful, charming, and witty. She left a lasting mark on everyone she met.

The one song and her memory made every subsequent song bittersweet, which struck me as odd because many of the songs on this station aren’t really nostalgic. But memories are funny things. So often, a song, a word, a person; unrelated yet somehow fitting sends us down a path of old experiences. Friends who’ve come and gone. Trips we’ve taken. The mistakes we’ve made…and the triumphs. It all comes rushing back like yesterday once more.

All We Really Need is Love to Make Us Better People

It all comes back, eventually, to love. The love I’ve felt but never expressed. The love I’ve yet to experience. The love I’m only now learning to open my heart to. And the love that’s been there all along, had I only crawled out of my shell to see it.

So I sit here listening to song after song, feeling just a little sad, and not entirely sure why.

Do I feel like I’ve missed out? If so, as the saying goes, I ain’t dead yet. I still have time to live my life and experience the things I think I’ve missed.

Do I feel I could have done more? See above.

Do I regret the unkind thoughts I’ve had and words I’ve spoken? That I can change. And should. And will.

I realize that part of what makes life good, gives us memories which give rise to the nostalgia is the sharing, the reaching out; but more, allowing ourselves to enjoy new experiences.

Comfort Zone Be Gone!

After making some enormous changes a few years ago, I settled back into a life so predictable you could have set a calendar by it. It’s no wonder my blog posts were few and far between for awhile. Life in a rut leaves nothing particularly interesting to impart.

Something inside me was clamoring for adventure, apparently. In the last few days, I’ve booked a cruise a year from now, spontaneously went to a day long dance event, and, the piece de resistance? I’ve agreed to start increasing my hikes until I’m ready to hike the Grand Canyon with some friends. Was it only a few weeks ago that a 3 mile hike on the flat path along the wash was enough to exhaust me? Or when 2 nights a week of dancing was plenty, both for the exercise and the exposure to people?

Is this blast of nostalgia for the comfort zone I’ve so casually kicked to the curb of late? One final good-bye to the person I was before embracing who I’m becoming?

Maybe in a small way, I’m wishing I’d let this person emerge years or even decades sooner. But as with everything else, I know this is exactly the right time. Along with the nostalgia, the questions, and even the edge of sadness is a great, heaping mound of gratitude.

Grateful for So Many Gifts

My gratitudes tonight are:

  1. I am grateful for friends who are leading me away from my comfortable but boring life.
  2. I am grateful for adventures and moving into areas I’d never have believed I’d be navigating.
  3. I am grateful for patience and encouragement; skills my friends these days possess in abundance. May I learn from them and give back the same to others.
  4. I am grateful for my ADD brain which travels to parts unknown on a regular basis, but never leaves me bored or without thoughts and questions to ponder and pursue.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, intelligence, friends, new experiences, reminders of my own imperfections, joy, health, happiness, peace, harmony, inspiration, 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, 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!

Adventures on Horseback: Riding Outside My Comfort Zone

Sometimes I Feel Like the Universe’s Private Play-Toy

Last weekend was a roller coaster ride in the truest sense of the word. After an especially challenging hike on the beach, I treated myself to opening weekend of Beauty and the Beast. Leaving the theater with a happy song in my heart and a tummy full of food which would surely thwart my plan to reach bathing suit size by summer, I walked to my car with thoughts of froyo and the excerpts I needed to critique forcing the library-to-drool-for out of my head.

Unfortunately, as it often does these days, the Universe had other plans. When I reached my car, the minor problem I’d been having with the driver’s door was suddenly no longer minor. In fact, I couldn’t open the door at all. What might have been a slight inconvenience turned into a gymnastics act requiring me to climb into the bucket seat on the passenger side and maneuver around so I could close the door behind me while executing a rather awkward back flip over the center console into the driver’s seat. Froyo was out of the question as I was unwilling to perform the maneuver anywhere else where there might be witnesses. Instead, I drove home where I closed the garage door before executing the move in reverse, to the amusement of my garage cats.

I said a thousand thank you’s when I discovered the service department at the dealership was open on Saturday, and promptly sent off a message rescinding my reservation for the critique group meeting Saturday morning. Though a couple of people offered me a ride, it would only have solved the immediate problem, and still left me essentially without transportation for the rest of the weekend. I opted instead to take the car to the dealership where I knew they’d give me a loaner.

And the Horse You Rode In On

The crit group meeting was long over by the time I’d dropped off the car, so I stopped to run an errand. That’s where my weekend took a major right turn for the better. A friend texted me asking if I wanted to go horseback riding with her. She has two horses and enjoys some company when she takes them out for a ride, even if that company has not been on a horse in decades. Fortunately, her mare, Catania, is a sweet lady who more than compensated for my lack of skill.


We spent an incredible two hours wandering the trails in a gorgeous park nearby. Although I’d hiked it’s trails on one side of the mountain, the area where we rode was entirely new to me…and incredibly beautiful. Everything was emerald green from the recent rains and the horses forded several streams swollen to unusually high levels and flowing over moss-covered rocks. Although treacherous for the unwary, the horses knew exactly how to get safely across. They wanted a dunking no more than we did!

Catania and Cambiano

Catania was really good about being on a lead rope behind her son, Cambiano, knowing instinctively that her inexperienced rider was best NOT left to her own devices. I did, however, release my death grip on the saddle as I became accustomed to her rhythm.

By the time we got back to where the trailer was parked, my tush was more than ready to leave the confines of the unfamiliar seat. I’m not ashamed to admit that my dismount was about as graceful as the earlier gymnastic performance required to get in and out of my car, but it did the job and I reached the ground in one piece. Isn’t that what counts?

I got home with just enough time to eat a quick dinner (thank goodness for my freezer meals!) and get ready to go dancing. I did have to endure a thorough sniffing from all of the cats to whom the smell of horse was entirely foreign, but a few skritches assured them the woman beneath the unfamiliar smell was still their loyal servant.

Memories of Trails Past

The next morning when I attempted to sit at my desk, I discovered an oddly pointy spot in my chair which I’d never noticed before. It was situated directly under a very delicate part of my tush necessitating the strategic placement of a large pillow to cushion my nether regions. Though the pain soon dissipated, I discovered that the after-effects of one’s first time in the saddle after a decades-long hiatus are a traveling circus of aches and pains. One area stops hurting but the aches just move on to the next spot.

When I sat on the floor to do my post-workout stretches, it took everything I had to not moan loudly when I tried to stretch my outer thighs. The only thing that saved me from embarrassing myself is the lengths I go to to keep a low profile while I’m at the gym. It never was and never will be my idea of a social club. I put my earbuds in my ears, crank up Pandora and move from machines to free weights to the stretching area being careful to avoid eye contact. When all else fails, I peer intently at my phone where I’m diligently recording exercises, weights and reps on MyFitnessPal. It’s actually proving to be useful for reminding me what I did the last time, and when I need to increase the weights I’m using.

Today the aches are all but gone and I’ve done laundry so my jeans no longer smell horsey. More’s the pity, really as I can understand why people find it so addicting. Horse smell is like no other and speaks of outdoors and freedom, even if only for a few hours. We covered far more ground in less time than I could possibly have done on my own two feet, and trust me, I wouldn’t have been fording those streams! Some of them were pretty darn deep! And to be honest, I experienced far less discomfort afterwards than I expected!

Giving the Comfort Zone a Much-Needed Boot

Stepping outside your comfort zone can take many forms; quitting a job to follow a dream with no idea how you’re going to continue paying the bills when the resources dwindle, hiking in unfamiliar places, making new friends, even opening up a heart long held safe inside a protective box. This time, it was getting on a horse for the first time in ages. I’m learning that with each step I take outside my comfort zone, the next one gets easier. I’m starting to look forward to the next adventure, whatever that might be.

Finding Gratitude Around Every Corner

My gratitudes tonight are:

  1. I am grateful for the courage to take those leaps of faith.
  2. I am grateful for friends who offer new experiences.
  3. I am grateful for adventures yet to come.
  4. I am grateful for the lessons, experiences, and opportunities that make life interesting, challenging and even a little scary at times.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, challenges, new experiences, a healthier body, increased strength, opportunities, lessons, friendship, peace, harmony, 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, 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!

Mistaking my Way to Perfection

Finding Hidden Opportunities

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

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

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

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

Letting My Course Be Altered

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

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

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

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

Setting Goals and Making Plans

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

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

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

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, 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!

Putting it All in Perspective

Challenge or Opportunity?

A couple of months ago someone came back into my life who had been a brief but painful interlude during a time when I was making a lot of poor choices and spending a lot of time struggling; a time before I learned to think positive thoughts and allow. He showed up at a place where I go to be social, to hang with my friends and follow one of my passions, dancing.

At first, I was polite, but tried to make it clear he was my past and not particularly welcome in my present. Though he seemed to take the hint at first, his efforts to regain my attention were pitifully awkward, much like the man himself. Eventually, when I had resorted to simply ignoring his presence, he went away again, leaving me heaving a sigh of relief.

Yet, the incident has been on my mind. Why am I suddenly being forced to confront a very painful, best-forgotten time in my life? Last night, the answer came when I least expected it, and this morning, more answers came, unprovoked. When I left it to recede to the back of my mind, it seems I allowed the answers to come.

The epiphany last night was both comforting and inspiring because I was reminded that though the times were tough and I did some really stupid things, I got through it, played the cards I was dealt to the best of my ability and became stronger for it. I also found “The Secret” and “Laws of Attraction” not long afterwards and started changing my life for the better.

The second epiphany came this morning and followed a train of thought which began last night. A couple of new men have wandered into Borderline in the last week. One is a little geeky and awkward but adorable in his geeky-awkwardness. He can’t dance a bit, but that doesn’t stop him from trying his best, and I have to applaud him for it. Watching him talk to people and generally interact with the room, he reminds me of a cheerful, clumsy puppy who’s never met a stranger. I look forward to watching him blossom and smooth out some of those klutzy edges.

The second one is more self-confident on the outside, yet he stands on the sidelines drinking his beer and hardly interacting with anyone at all. My initial guess is that he’s in that group of men who are either recently divorced, in the middle of a divorce or recently out of a long-term relationship. In other words, wary and gun-shy, but fair game for those women who are aggressive, needy and don’t take no for an answer. I hope for his sake that one of the confident, self-assured type befriends him before that happens; someone who, like me, is comfortable in their own skin and doesn’t need someone else to validate them, but who, unlike me, can just walk up to a strange guy and start a conversation without being awkward.

Which really leads me to the actual epiphany. Between the 3 completely disconnected men and their entry into my world, albeit from afar, I realized that though my self-confidence and self-esteem have improved greatly, I’m still awkward around strangers, both men and women alike. In that regard, I’m too much like the man from my distant past; pitifully awkward.

One Plus One Equals Ninety-Seven

If I put the two pieces together, I realize that the message is a sort of encouragement. A kind of “You’ve got this, girl” with an added “Don’t be afraid. What’s the worst that could happen? And what’s the best?” kind of affair. I’ve even been given the opportunity to start slowly because the geeky awkward one will be an absolute joy to encourage. In the years I’ve been country dancing, I’ve seen my share of guys who started out clumsy and unsure and ended up being great dancers and a lot of fun to boot (pun intended). Call me a sap, but I find a guy who’s not afraid to make a bit of a fool of himself oddly endearing.

The other will be hard for me to casually approach, though I know I can count on some of my friends to smooth the path if he keeps showing up. There are a couple of women, one of whom I’ve known for over 20 years who simply have a knack for welcoming new people and making them feel comfortable. Once they’ve smoothed the way, I find it easier to be friendly and easy too. And yes, I know I need to get past that before my first book comes out. Getting out into the world and talking to strangers has to be more comfortable for me by then.

Fewer Blog Posts, More Lessons

This has been a week of getting out into the world, learning new things and getting some of the tasks I had handled and off my plate. My writing has suffered some. This is only the second post this week for me, though I wrote 2 for a client. But I’ve met with some people about possible work, gotten up-to-date on client work and even managed to edit a couple of chapters of Sasha’s Journey. And my own journey continues with surprises around a few turns. It keeps life interesting if nothing else.

So How Are You Going to Step Outside Your Comfort Zone Today?

My gratitudes today are:
1. I am grateful for the lessons the Universe sends me and the little prompts it gives me until I see the whole picture.
2. I am grateful for opportunities to step further from that comfort zone I wallowed in for so many years.
3. I am grateful for my friends and the examples they set.
4. I am grateful for dancing as it has helped me breach that comfort zone with a common bond I share with many others.
5. I am grateful for abundance: love, music, dancing, money, friendship, joy, lessons, opportunities, challenges, health, harmony, peace, philanthropy and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages at and . Please also drop by my website, 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!

April 2, 2015 Passover Musings: Where Did my Heritage Go?

A Friend Had to Remind Me that Passover is this Weekend: It Makes me Sad

When Mom was alive, we always did Passover dinner at her house. Back then, I failed to appreciate the time, the effort or the meaning behind it, and often felt like it was a command performance I really didn’t want to attend. After her death, my daughters and I honored the holiday with my Dad by attending Passover dinner at a local deli.

Flash Forward Eleven Years

We’ve had one Passover dinner since Dad’s death in September of 2003. My daughter was taking a class which covered both religion and other Spiritual practices and was required to visit different places of worship, so we attended a Passover dinner at a local temple. But that was several years ago, and as she now lives about 3 hours away, getting together for the holiday is somewhat impractical.

Despite the fact that we’ve never really practiced our religion, we have tried to keep at least some of the traditions alive. Sadly, Passover isn’t one of them, but I’m suddenly feeling that it should have been. While my daughter has plans to go to a deli in her area for a traditional Passover dinner (sans ceremony), I know of no place which still does it around here and it’s too late to get tickets for the one at the temple, though frankly, I am not inclined to go by myself.

The Loss of Another Piece of my Past Plays a Melancholy Chord on my Heart

It isn’t really the idea of not eating the traditional food, nor have I even participated in the ceremony (aside from the temple) since my paternal grandmother died when I was a child. It’s more the thought that a beautiful part of my family’s heritage is fading into oblivion, at least with my branch. Then it occurred to me: I wonder if there is a way to observe the holiday by myself. There are solo practitioners of Wicca, so why not of Judaism?

As it has been my experience that you can find anything with a Google search, I tried “Can Passover be celebrated solo” and found just one post with suggestions for solo Passover celebrations. As most of them aren’t really solo at all, I gather that Jews who want to observe the holiday, even if they are far from home, find a way to do so.

I Was Once Called a Goysiche Jew. It Seems the Title Fits

In truth, I consider myself a Jew by culture, but not by religion. Does not practicing the religion make me less of a Jew? I know only that, right now, I feel very disconnected, but that isn’t necessarily entirely due to lack of religious affiliation. I work from home so I don’t see too many people on a regular basis. This alone affects my sense of community. Add in a Spiritual practice which does not require the participation of others along with my introverted nature and what is left is an individual with few real, strong human connections.

Another Chicken and Egg Story

The gist of the matter is that my alone-ness for Passover is not the malady at all, but just another symptom. Red ButerflyThis is a malady I, alone can cure, but it means yet another leap outside of that comfortable little cocoon I call my comfort zone. I take reminders like this very seriously, as emotions are a strong indicator of both things we do right and things we need to change. Mine are clearly telling me that I’ve been a caterpillar long enough and that there’s a butterfly inside of me who really needs to spread her wings and fly now.

My gratitudes today are:
1. I am grateful for my emotions which alert me to things I need to work through.
2. I am grateful for my writing which gives me an outlet to work through things my emotions target.
3. I am grateful for my studies which teach me how to improve my posts, where to find the resources and how to safely and legally use those resources.
4. I am grateful for my dancing and my crit group which keep me from becoming a complete hermit.
5. I am grateful for abundance: resources, opportunities, friendship, challenges, lessons, health, love, harmony, peace, joy and prosperity.

Blessed Be

And now for some shameless self-promotion:
I’d love it if you’d visit my Facebook page at and my website, 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 credit: 033e eye of the tiger watching you via photopin (license)

January 23, 2015 And the beat goes on

The last few days have brought a new dynamic, not only to my writing but to my life as well

As those who follow me regularly know, I officially became an Accelerated Copywriting dropout this month. I hoped it would shake things loose and it has, but not in quite the manner I’d expected. However, if I learned one thing from my A.R.T teacher, it was to set my intentions with broad strokes and allow the Universe to fill in the details

In the meantime, I got back to work on my second NaNoWriMo effort tentatively titled “A Dubious Gift”.   But this was only the beginning of how the Universe began to lead me, step by step, to start living like a Writer.

An opportunity to join a local critique group showed up on my list of Meetups, so of course, I joined.  I also ran across a Facebook group called Insecure Writers Support Group or IWSG for short.  I signed up for that too, little knowing that I would then be matched up with three other writers to help  each other reach that Writer’s Holy Grail, publication.  I was fortunate enough to be matched with three amazing ladies who all seem to be on the same page.  We created our own group and plan to do brainstorming and share both struggles and triumphs along the way.  But the best part is, I shook the mothballs off of my 2013 NaNoWriMo effort for their reading and critiquing enjoyment ( though I expect that my ‘child’ will be taken apart quite drastically before this is over.  But at least it will become more than a box of pages for Scrappy Doo to rest his scrawny self on when the hard, unforgiving wood of the shelf beneath my office window ceases to meet his exacting standards for feline comfort.

Meanwhile, in other news, my daughter who has been the driving force, not only behind the original inception of my blog but also my first NaNoWriMo has finally agreed to start her own blog which we’ve agreed to associate with this one.  So stay tuned to this location for the launch of Heather’s Culinary Adventure, a blog filled with recipes and lessons learned as she travels the road to a degree in Culinary Arts.

All in all, through communications glitches (I lost about 75% of this post and had to start over), travel, business requirements and just the day to day stuff we all have to do as part of being human adults, the process of reinventing myself from that initial leap of faith continues.  In fact, that one significant step has led to more steps outside of that once familiar place called my comfort zone until, lo and behold, that place has expanded beyond anything I could have imagined, much less recognized a year or so ago.  I would venture to say that it was one small step for my Human self and one giant leap for my Spiritual, Divine self.

My gratitudes tonight are:

1. I am grrateful for the people who encouraged me to take that initial step.

2. I am grateful for the opportunities the Universe keeps placing in my path.

3. I am grateful for the people I’m meeting along the way on my new journey.

4. I am grateful for my daughter who has been so very supportive and uncritical as I find out who I need to be on this new journey.  She thinks I don’t appreciate it, but I do, more than she realizes.

5. I am grateful for abundance: love, sharing, worig, writing, people, places, things, ideas, new adventures, health, harmony, peace, happingess and prosperity.


Blessed Be


October 14, 2014 When our comfort zone becomes a rut #shericonaway #blogboost

This image or one like it has appeared on my Facebook page repeatedly, 

posted by  me or another of my friends. It always gives me pause when I see it, but today I realized that there’s more to it than meets the casual eye.

Our comfort zone was never meant to be our permanent residence.

Just as the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results, a comfort zone becomes a rut when we fail to realize that it’s time to change things up, break down a wall or two, and move forward.

Most of us don’t watch the same movie or read the same book over and over. We look for something new which will entertain and maybe even surprise us a little. So why would we choose to do the exact same things, day after day, year after year? I don’t know about you, but the very thought of living like that scares the hell out of me! I’d die of boredom if my life was that predictable. I’ll even admit to this while my legs and abs are screaming in pain more than 24 hours after my last trip into the unknown. Would I do it again, knowing I’d spend the next couple of days walking like an arthritic old woman? Hell, yes! It was fun. It was different. It changed up a tired, old routine, and maybe even gave me that extra motivation I need. I’ve put it on my calendar for the next few weeks, but may still change it up by doing a yoga class or pilates with a different instructor on a different day.

It’s like these produce boxes I’m getting. Today’s is absolutely amazing as you can see. Harvest box 10-14-14
This week’s box sent me off to the web to find a recipe to make use of this wonderful array of veggies! I got three ears of multi colored corn, two leeks, the biggest head of cabbage I have ever seen, cucumbers, jalapenos, oranges, carrots, green beans, green leaf lettuce…all things I know what to do with…more or less. But I got a couple of things which are new to me as well; fennel and rainbow chard.

I searched the net for cabbage soup, read and discarded quite a few from different sites. Finally, I clicked on one which was billed as a vegetable minestrone (as my mind said “Aren’t they all?”) which used a large quantity of cabbage. I’d have never even thought of using cabbage in minestrone! But I can use the chard instead of spinach and I still have zucchini left over from last week. New, different…amazing!

Sorry, I got so excited about my vegetables that I completely jumped the track, topic-wise. Let me take a deep breath so I can get back to the topic at hand.

Actually, my topic change is the point. When we leave the old, beaten path, we find an excitement we lack when we do the same things all the time. Much as I love seeing my friends, even dancing on the same nights in the same place every week isn’t always what it used to be. Breaking it up when I miss nights to go see my daughter helps, but the feeling that I need to venture out and do some different things is getting stronger all the time.

I think I’m outgrowing my comfort zone

Have you ever watched a snake shed its skin? It wiggles and twitches, pauses for a bit, then wiggles and twitches some more. It’s a lot like trying to get out of a pair of tight jeans that are soaked with sweat after a night of dancing. But once the skin or the jeans are shed (depending on your species), the feeling of relief and freedom is indescribable.

I know that, for many people, change is scary, but I’m not saying that those steps have to be giant leaps. They can just as easily be baby steps. The trick, like everything else in our lives, is to just get moving. A body in motion stays in motion, so once you get going, moving out of your self-imposed rut we generously refer to as “The Comfort Zone”, you’ll find that a little taste, like one potato chip, isn’t nearly enough. You’ll dip your hand in that bag called “Life” over and over until, one day, you see someone living your old life and you can no longer remember why you wanted to stay there so long!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful that I’ve learned how much I like living where the magic happens.
2. I am grateful for opportunities to leave my safe little rut and spread my wings.
3. I am grateful for new tastes, new places, new people, new experiences and new feelings.
4. I am grateful for the opportunity to share my thoughts, whether with a few or many, in hopes that I, like so many do for me, will inspire at least one person out there to truly live their greatness.
5. I am grateful for abundance: opportunities, flavors, people, places, surprises, friendship, love, joy, health, harmony, peace and prosperity.


September 29, 2014 New experiences

New experiences will make me a better writer.

In my continuing quest to not only make myself a better writer but to make myself write more, I tried something new again tonight. I joined a group which calls itself “Shut up and write”. The premise behind it is that everyone shows up at a specified place and time, chats a bit, then writes for an hour. Afterward, it seems, they just go on their merry way. The one person who was there tonight was rather lovely, but during our pre-writing conversation confirmed impressions I’d had about a previous foray into new experiences.

I had doubts about being able to accomplish anything with all of the people around and the loud music, but I’m willing to try anything once. I came armed with an idea for a short story to contribute to a pre-Halloween horror story campfire a friend and fellow writer is hosting. At the end of the hour, I had over 800 words, and felt I’d completed the first draft of the story! Somewhere along the way, I just tuned out everything around me and was completely focused on the tale I was trying to weave. In short, when I gave my subconscious the go-ahead, it took me write to that zone in which I write so abundantly.

Re-reading it when I got home, it definitely needs work, but I got the basic idea down and can work on the details in the next couple of weeks. Overall, this one will be an experience I’ll definitely repeat.

Practice makes perfect, so writers must write…and write…and write…

I know I have to add a lot of things to my repertoire in order to improve my craft. Finding a good group with whom to share the critiquing process is high up on that list. However, first and foremost, I must write and write prolifically. It may seem that the hundreds of thousands of words I’ve blogged, the nearly 100,000 words (more actually if you count recent revisions) I’ve written for my novel, not to mention another 30,000 or so on other creative projects would be considered prolific. But as far as writers go, I’d venture to guess that’s just a drop in the bucket. Ultimately, I’ll be counting the words I’ve penned (typed just doesn’t sound the same, does it?) in the millions at least. But I’ll never get there if I don’t start writing a lot more than I’ve been lately! I’ve fallen off the wagon, writing-wise and penned very little other than the everlasting gobstopper of a first novel.

If dreams are any indication, my imagination is positively chomping at the bit to get ideas on paper.

The vividness and detail of my dreams has been escalating for the last few months until now, I have several highly entertaining dreams every, single night. I really do need to put a tape recorder next to my bed! Story ideas are simply tripping over each other in a mad rush to be heard, their real goal, for me to remember and commit them to some permanent medium. Too many are gone by the time I finally drag myself out of bed in the morning.

Speaking of dragging myself from bed, I had an epiphany of sorts this morning. I had to be up early to get to a doctor’s appointment. As I went through my forgotten routine of rising and heading straight for the shower, I didn’t think much of it, but just let muscle memory guide me through the normal tasks. As I dressed before making my way to the kitchen to dish up everyone’s daily dose of wet food, an errant thought popped into my head which I think must be heeded.

This thought, this tiny little voice, said to me: “This getting into the shower as soon as I get up routine feels pretty good! I’m clean, my contacts are in…I’m ready to face the day, before coffee!” As the shock wore off, I realized that, like the pan full of the week’s dinner and the pre-made salads, some parts of my old, work-a-day routine actually worked for me! In fact, I am finding that I missed some of that structure!

Even more, I think that lack of structure is what has been keeping me from writing as I should. It’s been keeping me from finishing the copywriting course, and it’s been keeping me from becoming the Author I need to become! How’s that for a serious “Aha moment”???

Slowly but surely, I am reacquainting myself with routine. Slowly but surely, I’m leaving the house on almost a daily basis for one thing or another. In so doing, I realize that I was not following that immortal guidance: Get up. Dress up. Show up. Even if showing up just means sitting down at my computer and writing instead of playing a game or surfing the net. Someone has to set some expectations, and as I look around, the only one in my life who can do that now is me!

High on my list of expectations is to try new things until I find what works best. But also high on that list is to get myself into healthy, productive routines which move me further and faster on the path I’ve set for myself. Motivation is a wonderful thing!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for “Aha Moments”.
2. I am grateful for new people who help me learn more about my craft.
3. I am grateful for challenges from friends which make me step further out of my comfort zone.
4. I am grateful for today’s productivity, and look forward to even more tomorrow.
5. I am grateful for abundance: motivation, imagination, dedication, time maximization, new experiences, harmony, peace, love, health and prosperity.


September 15, 2014 I wrote, I edited…now what?

There was a time when I would write and write, keeping my precious babe safe within my own arms, and perhaps, those of a select few. That moment has passed.

So I wrote the first 50,000 words of the novel in less than 30 days. I wrote the next 18,000 words in the next couple of months, then spent about 6 months editing, fleshing out, and reworking the rough draft into about 98,000 words. Now what?

In truth, I took a few weeks off, visited my daughter a couple of times, read a number of books by some of my favorite authors, and just took time to breathe. But one can only sit and breathe for so long before it’s time to get back onto that superhighway we call life and make something amazing happen!

Movin’ on with a little help from my friends.

Very gently, I began soliciting readers who might give me constructive criticism, not so much on grammatical issues, but on content, flow and whether I have something going for me, or need to return to the drawing board. Slowly; possibly due to my own hesitancy about baring my baby’s soul; I found people who were willing to read and critique my work. But I think the real turning point has come in the last few days. First, I found a friend of my daughter’s who has been doing some editing and was willing to take on my “child”. But the real opportunity to get the heck out of my comfortable, safe, rejection-free mausoleum came tonight when I finally bit the bullet and attended a Read and Critique with a local writer’s group. They had some great advice while refraining from ripping the whole first chapter to shreds. I also got a taste of what each of them was working on, and definitely felt like the new kid on the block! But as I tell new dancers, we were all beginners once! One lady offered to read the first three chapters and be brutal, if need be, which, right now, I really do need!

As I know that this is the right direction for me to take at this point, I’ve already RSVP’d for next week’s session, and am going to block it out on my calendar for awhile. This is a group of people who were once where I am, and who are encouraging not only the experienced, published writers, but those like me who are just starting out. Not that I haven’t written for most of my life, but until my blog, the bulk of it was for my eyes only.

Fledglings must learn to fly, and the first step is usually pretty frightening!

I know that if I’m really going to make a go of this massive career change, I have to leave the nest, the comfort zone behind, gather my courage, leave my ego, and just take those first stumbling steps which will ultimately send me airborne! Surprisingly, it wasn’t as nerve-wracking as I’d suspected, sharing even a small piece of my “baby” with strangers. I realized that they’re not out to smother her or my desire to write, but to help me make her stronger, better and above all, more marketable. I’m sure they’ve all certainly made their share of false starts, and are willing to share what they’ve learned with others. Heck, I may even learn that I’ve categorized it incorrectly, and that will also be helpful. I will be the first to admit that there’s far more about the publishing industry that I don’t know than that I do. (Although I did get a very nice complement about my editing skills). Now, I have the opportunity to learn what works, what doesn’t, how to find a publisher for my particular type of work, and who knows what else?

If it sounds like I’m very excited about this next phase, I admit, I am. But I’ll also have to admit that I’m very pleasantly surprised. I wasn’t sure what to expect tonight, but it was an excellent beginning to a new learning experience. Even better, at least three of the people who where there have published, and I will be able to read what they’ve written and sold! How great is that?

Even more amazing than my experience tonight is that I managed to stay on topic for quite a long spell before the ADHD kicked in. It does happen occasionally, when I’m really excited about something. The hyperactive energy is channeled into my excitement, I guess.

As one thing led to another, I mentioned that I was an Empath, because it was an explanation as to why a particular piece resonated with me. Speaking with the author of the piece afterwards, she revealed that she, too, is an Empath, and asked me what I’m doing with it. I had to admit that my one foray into healing wasn’t entirely successful (though it did give me the courage to quit doing work that was sucking me dry in favor of work I loved, even if it wasn’t fiscally responsible in the short term). I realize that the place, the time and the question were put before me intentionally, and will end up devoting considerable to finding a better answer to the question, even if it means leaving my comfort zone in yet another direction.

Both information from my daily Tarot readings and just gut feelings lately have indicated rapid and massive changes. I think what I’m seeing right now is just the tip of the iceberg as to what those changes will be and more, where they’ll be taking me. If only my memory and my fingers can keep up with my imagination. In fact, I’ve already decided to do the NaNoWriMo challenge again in November!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for opportunities which turn out even better than I would have imagined.
2. I am grateful for successful people who are willing to help others find that success.
3. I am grateful for new learning experiences.
4. I am grateful to have found people to edit my first work.
5. I am grateful for abundance: health, happiness, love, motivation, imagination, guidance, hope, health, harmony, peace, meaningful work and prosperity.


Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: