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

Archive for the ‘creativity’ Category

Changing It Up To Enhance Creativity

Finding New Ways Out of Old Ruts

https://www.flickr.com/photos/35632217@N05/11141220045/in/photolist-hYvEyM-f3q2XF-WN7cAa-WC2tgo-VvU28y-VVCUnp-VZPPpx-X4hSbx-Xgdvnt-Xa18aU-X5F6Ba-WCiedS-VX3ngd-VZNKfH-XdNen3-X4eCyZ-WMPNM6-W32Dnn-W3cPuB-WYbJQU-VSPUyU-WcLFXu-WYe2r5-X65BN1-VVBR3a-WcJ347-Wy5z6h-WN6NEv-WwVjBd-VWVfpw-WXUkAj-WXTMcm-W36zBD-X27vox-VWWtgb-WC1Dp1-Wy6zs7-Wcye5A-WEfsVW-WDZxtd-VyyhgF-VZJ8T9-Xa1kuJ-WA8NKV-WcJi1w-psKV9t-XdCj1a-X66ds1-VywuMB-WigauPTonight I’m typing on my laptop in front of the TV where I’ve been binge-watching Hallmark Christmas movies while others celebrate Christmas with their families. It’s not that I lacked invitations, but I wanted to be alone, even as I wanted some company. I didn’t realize how much until I burst into tears when the last line of one of the movies talked about how the best family is the one we create with our friends.

It took me a long time to figure that one out, mostly because I spent too many years trying to be what others expected instead of myself. But that’s hovering dangerously in territory I covered a couple of days ago. ADD taking over my brain once again.

What I really want to talk about today is how changing our routine can open doors we didn’t realize were closed. My life and work depends on new ideas; plentiful and frequent. It’s difficult to maintain the momentum sitting in the same place at the same time every day. Sometimes, I need a change of scenery.

Making Dates With Ourselves And Our Creativity

For a while, I was trying to do some cafe writing at least once a week, typically on Fridays. But with the holidays and a bunch of other challenges, the practice has fallen by the wayside, much to the detriment of my idea generation.

Sometimes, a change of scenery is as simple as getting off the desktop and either firing up the laptop or picking up pencil and paper and moving to another room, even in a house as small as mine. This isn’t the first time I moved to my laptop on a TV tray in front of the television to get the creative juices going, and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

That isn’t to say I won’t soon be reviving my cafe writing practice as it yielded some interesting results in the past. Some, in fact, will likely find their way into what I’m starting to see as the memoir from hell, as I work on it in fits and starts these days, throwing roadblocks in my path with every opportunity. I’ve re-set the timeline for completion three times so far, and I’m already a few days behind on the newest one. But at least I’ve learned not to beat myself up about missing deadlines, nor to give up on myself. More than likely, I’ll get into another kind of binging; one which involves writing instead of dividing my attention between the one-eyed monster and games on my phone.

Picking Our Battles With Ourselves

For now, I’m focusing on the immediate which means, getting a couple of weeks ahead on blog posts (I’m currently only a week ahead and that makes me anxious), and researching alternatives to blood pressure medication. My latest two doctor’s visits were disconcerting at best, especially for someone who has always run a little on the low side.

I know part of the problem is the weight I’ve gained since my dance schedule has been disrupted, part is the amount of time I’ve spent sitting lately (also due to the challenge of finding places to dance), and part is clearly a level of stress I don’t typically see, but which has been exacerbated by a dozen different factors this holiday season. As I look back on this paragraph, I realize the temporary loss of my usual dance venue is having a huge impact on my overall health.

Some of it I can mitigate. I’ve increased the amounts of Hawthorne and Potassium I take daily. I’ve revised my shopping list to include foods high in potassium and low in sodium. I’ve reviewed the DASH diet to see what I should and should not be eating, and will be even more crazy about reading labels from here on out. And speaking of out, eating there will be severely curtailed because it’s so much harder to control what’s in my food if someone else makes it.

Life Is About Reviewing What Works, And Changing What Doesn’t

Sure, it means changing my lifestyle even more, but all for the better. I’ve gotten sloppy about my eating habits the last couple of months, and it’s reflected in the numbers on my scale. I’ve missed a few gym days too,. and that’s not helping. Using alternative dance venues means less 10,000 plus step days too. Again, the one habit I’ve broken in this area is beating myself up over my lack of diligence.

What’s done is done. We can’t change the past. We can change what we do now, and try, moment by moment, to do things differently as the future unfolds. Changing up how and where we do our regular tasks is one of the things which can have nothing but positive effects. One of the things I look forward to as 2019 unfolds is embracing more changes in my life.

One Person’s Distraction Is Another’s Focus

Typically, I write either in silence or with music in the background, but tonight as I pound away on my laptop keys in front of yet another cookie cutter Hallmark movie, I’m finding it’s as good at keeping my internal editor in her proper place as music. I’ve seen the movie before so it doesn’t require much of my attention. What it grabs is the part of me who would, if given the chance, pick away at my word choices, my spelling errors, and even the topic I’ve chosen for this post.

It doesn’t hurt that tonight’s selection is about a writer. I find I key into those in particular, despite the fact that Hallmark’s version of a writer is probably romanticized and unrealistic. Yet watching a story about another writer in a strange way inspires me to write. I can’t really explain why, but as it’s gotten me to drag out my laptop and start working on another blog post, I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. In truth, anything that gets me writing is a good thing as far as I’m concerned.

Using What Works Without Dissecting Why

It could simply be the power of suggestion. I’m watching a movie about a writer and, oh yeah. I’m a writer so why am I not writing? Since I don’t have a good answer to that question, I pull out the necessary accoutrements and let the words flow.

Sure the downside to working in a cafe, in front of the TV, or anywhere distractions can wind their way into my attention is that either some of what’s distracting me gets into my writing, or I stop altogether to give my attention to the distraction.

For the first, that’s why I edit what I write. For the second, the diversion is only temporary. I pull my attention back to the project at hand in a reasonable amount of time, thus finishing what I started, (I’ve learned I hate leaving an incomplete blog post. Now to transfer that lack of tolerance to the books I have yet to finish, as my daughter so delicately reminded me recently).

Goals Plus Gratitude Equals Success

Though I don’t make New Year’s resolutions since it’s far less effective than creating To Do lists and cards on my Trello board, I’m setting myself a goal for this year. I will seek and embrace more change in my life; look for opportunities to do things differently; take on challenges without nay-saying them for days or weeks before admitting it’s worth a try. My coach will give me ample opportunity to test this goal, and I hope to rise to the occasion. I do love a challenge!

My gratitudes today are:

  1.  I am grateful for a willingness to recognize how often I get in my own way rather than making necessary and interesting changes,
  2. I am grateful for the friends who have become my family, and who support me without question.
  3. I am grateful for opportunities to do things differently.
  4. I am grateful for a new year, and the chaos it will likely bring to my life. That chaos is overdue and a shakeup with the way I do things is a challenge I know I’m up to undertaking.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; change, challenges, opportunities, new dietary opportunities hidden as restrictions, cats to love, friends to share with, writing to expand upon, clients, inspiration, motivation, health, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

 

Love and Light.

About the Writer

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

5 Things You Shouldn’t Say to a Perfectionist

My daughter is an amazing chef, and especially a pastry chef. Amongst our friends and acquaintances, her cupcakes are legendary. Not just because they’re delicious, but because her creativity in flavors, fillings and design show no bounds. She’s also mastered the challenge of creating delicious gluten-free cupcakes and cakes that even the most hardened gluten-free resisters have embraced.

I’ve had the pleasure of countless hours of brain-storming with her on flavors, designs, colors and presentation. In fact, I even gave her the idea for a couple, most notably, her incredible Brandy Alexander cupcakes.

A couple of years ago, she entered her cupcakes along with a number of her other specialties in the Ventura County Fair and won several categories. In fact, some of her gluten-free offerings beat out the competition made with standard flour. This year, she’s taken her talents which, by virtue of 2 years of culinary arts studies have grown considerably, to the San Diego County Fair.

So far, she’s won First Place and Best in Division for her pickled pineapple, Second Place for her butter-flake rolls (standard), First Place for her Gouda Cheese and Third Place for her Feta Cheese (she’s nothing if not versatile!). But today is the real challenge as she’s entering three of her cupcake varieties
(also standard). This is where her highly competitive perfectionism really hits its stride.

This is the daughter I’ve seen knock out 6 or 8 dozen cupcakes, filled, decorated and frosted in what seems like a mere couple of hours. Yet, the 2 dozen she has filled and waiting in plastic trays for transportation await only frosting and decoration. And she is stressing out over that same 2 hours she has to do them. In fact, her groans of frustration are making their way up the stairs to her guest room where I sit typing out my pride in the work ethic which carries over into everything she does.

She has been baking and cooking since she was old enough to hold a spoon, and two years of study have really honed her inherent talent. But it’s also made her extremely critical of her own work. That being said, here are a few things I’ve learned to avoid while she’s in the throes of creativity (and staying out of her way goes without saying!)

1. Don’t worry. Nobody will notice that little goof.

When it comes to her own mistakes, Heather has eyes like a hawk. The slightest imperfection becomes, to her as hard to miss as Mount Rushmore. I’ve seen her pull the frosting off a cupcake repeatedly until it lays just right.

2. Relax. You have plenty of time.

No matter how much time she’s allotted herself and how many times shes done the same thing, she always thinks she’s running of of time. Needless to say, she typically finishes with time to spare, but that doesn’t mean she’s not stressing out the entire time she’s working.

3. That looks just fine.

Every woman on earth knows that “fine” is never a good thing, but even more so when discussing the appearance of something or someone. When used in reference to her baking, it is guaranteed to raise her stress level and have her reaching for the spatula to remove the offending bit which warranted a mere “fine”. “Fine” is the patronizing, “Bless her heart” of the English language, and should never be uttered around a woman perilously close to combustion. If she utters it herself, I’d recommend a bomb shelter…NOW! (“OK” or “good” are also words to avoid here. “Good” is in the same category as “average” and will never be tolerated!)

4. Stop and take a break. It’ll be fine.

First of all, when she’s already freaking out over time, telling her to stop working is like throwing gas on one of our infamous California brush fires. Second, see above for the perils of the word “fine”. The truth is, she works best under pressure anyway, doing her best work when she’s stirred herself up into a state of what most of us would consider insane stress. It doesn’t suck up her resources; it throws everything she has into high gear. In a weird way, it energizes her physically and creatively. Just stand back and be ready with coffee, water or an energy drink when she finally releases the energy that drives her. Mt. St. Helens is a child’s pop gun in comparison.

5. Stop and eat something. You need your energy.

She’s likely been working for hours, having gotten up well before the break of dawn. If she’d wanted to eat something by now, she would have. Hunger doesn’t even cross her mind while she’s creating. Think of the writer who subsists on coffee and snack food while pounding away at the keyboard for hours (something I, of course, know nothing about.) The nicest thing she’ll tell you if you persist is Go away! I won’t shock you with some of her more colorful expletives.

Above all, do not go into the kitchen or try to help while she’s running from mixer to stove to table. She has, however, trained her wonderful husband to be in there with her and stay out of her way. He likes to help by cleaning up after her, and frankly, what chef, baker or cook would turn that down? Having a personal dishwasher to clear away your messes as quickly as you make them is nothing short of a perfect world.

Creating Together, Separately

I’m just grateful that our worlds and talents keep us in different parts of the house. I can happily bang away at my keyboard (and even more right now with several writing projects clamoring for attention), close enough to offer an opinion on flavor, decoration or presentation, but far enough away to avoid flying elbows or setting off her temper by saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. (and she comes by that temper naturally, I’m afraid)

I’m looking forward to running all over town for two more days with my funny, creative, talented daughter. Life with her, since the day of her birth has been, and will continue to be an adventure I embrace with my heart and soul. She pulls me out of my comfort zone and encourages me to follow my own passion more than anyone else. She does it with words, but more, by example. The student truly has become the teacher.

My Heart Overflows With Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:
1. I am grateful for my daughter. She’s my child, my friend, my cheerleader, my butt-kicker and a shining example of living life to the fullest.
2. I am grateful for the overabundance of writing projects I have on my plate as it’s kicking my own creativity into overdrive. More words have come out of these fingers in the last couple of weeks than I’ve typed in a couple of months, and the flow continues.
3. I am grateful for weekends with my daughter to explore her new home town or try new things or just hang out on her front porch with a book and some mutual quiet time. Reading in close proximity has always been a source of contentment for us.
4. I am grateful for my friends, family and acquaintances who have been encouraging my daughter for the last few years. I know their praise, suggestions and enjoyment of her wares has helped her get past the frustrating times and makes her continue to strive for perfection and grander creations.
5. I am grateful for abundance: love, life, energy, humor, joy, inspiration, motivation, health, peace, harmony, philanthropy and prosperity.

Blessed Be

Corralling the Monkey Mind

Cheetah on My Mind

Lately, my mind has been performing a constant series of mental gymnastics. It makes it especially difficult to sit down and put words to page as they flit by so rapidly, even my speedy typing can’t keep up. It took me three days to settle it down enough to produce a 1000 word post about the last event I attended with my photographer friend. Was it my best quality work? Maybe, and maybe not, but at least it got writ.

On several occasions, it crossed my mind to add a post to my blog as well, but the very idea of sitting down and typing actual words sent the monkey into a screaming hissy fit of hysterical screeching and flinging of poo. (not a pretty sight, I assure you!)

I’m not really sure what allowed the furry fellow to settle down enough to let me work, but I got a good 3 hours worth in today and now, here I sit, putting more words to screen. Perhaps it’s the daily meditations. I actually completed 12 weeks of listening and have re-started at Level 1 of WTGOM. Meanwhile, I’ve reached Level 4 of WTGOWL and am slowly but surely releasing fat, thanks in part to a healthier diet, but aided and abetted by NEAT (a concept which says I must get up and move every hour more than just my regular bathroom visits), increasing time spent moving with the music and encouragement of my Wii Fit and of course, the incredibly supportive Neurogym Weight Loss community. With their help, I’m learning to stay on track, cheer my victories and accept the now very minor setbacks with an honest look at the behavior that caused them. No guilt and no blame makes it much easier to get back on track and discourages the binge eating which accompanies self-flagellation.

We and We Alone Are the Creators of Stress

As I sit here, monkey mind is still dashing off in many directions, further complicating my ability to hold a thought long enough to transfer it from brain to fingers. I’m thinking about the interview I’ve yet to turn into an article and questions I need to prepare for the next one. Then there’s my daughter’s graduation, a commitment I’ve made to a local wild animal rescue and the list goes on.

I was reading an e-book about recharging and how we cope with stress today. As I read, I saw how many things I’ve released over the last couple of years which should have brought my stress level down to nothing. But, in some ways, I guess I’m a modified version of a Type A personality as I seem to bog myself down with things I need to do, should do, want to do…and so on. In reality, there isn’t that much, but I’m finding even article writing isn’t simply a matter of looking at my notes and letting words fly. I tend to find, as I write, that I’ll find something I need to check on the net in order to make the article as perfect as I can. Then my mindfulness clock goes off and I know I really should get up and do squats or something.

If that wasn’t enough to rekindle a fire under my stress responses, I’ll suddenly remember something I forgot to do which means jumping up and doing it before I forget it again. Now, I’m further behind on all of my shoulda, coulda, wouldas.

Loving Myself, Warts and All

Ultimately I remember to just stop, breathe and give my little inner monkey time go gather his toys and his blanket and settle down for a nap. Because we really are in charge of that crazy, erratic, seemingly intractable mind running relay races in our head. We can stop our own insanity without shouting ourselves hoarse. All we have to do is stop, relax, take a few deep breaths and allow ourselves a moment or two to just be without accomplishing anything or making lists or berating ourselves for our shortcomings. In those few quiet moments, we can also add a couple of “I love you just the way you are”s. Because in those moments we give ourselves several times a day (or should be if we aren’t already), there is no judgement, no recrimination, no blame and no guilt.

Those moments of pure self-love calm the mental monkey because he feeds on our sense of uber responsibility. Giving ourselves permission to be less than perfect; to only accomplish as much as we reasonably can in any 24 hour period, to eat one small wheat and preservative filled cracker; to be what we really are, and that’s an imperfect but perfectly lovely human being.

Who Knew Letting Go Was the Real Solution?

Funny, when I stopped fighting the mental gymnastics, the words began to flow. When I stopped trying to figure out why a particular article was stressing me out, the answer came like a flashbulb going off. When I stopped worrying about what to write in this blog post, 800+ words found their way from my fingers to the screen. When I let go, everything began to flow smoothly again. Why do we make something so simple seem to difficult?

For those of you (and you know who you are) who are fighting with your own monkey minds as you push to get just one more thing done before you drop into bed at 2 or 3 or 4 AM, I challenge you to do three things: 1. Breathe 2. Let go 3. Give yourself permission to be imperfect. Because you know what? You’re much more beautiful when you’re just you.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for learning to love myself as I am and not like some heavily retouched picture of perfect womanhood.
2. I am grateful for the lessons I’ve been learning and the conclusions I’ve reached while meditating to the WTGOM and WTGOWL audios.
3. I am grateful for the books and articles I’m reading that are written by people who, like me aren’t perfect.
4. I am grateful that I finally finished something I started and, in fact, started over with a new plan in place.
5. I am grateful for abundance: love, friendship, self-love, joy, productivity, creativity, motivation, words, peace, harmony, health, philanthropy and prosperity.

Blessed Be

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

Mistaking my Way to Perfection

Finding Hidden Opportunities

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

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

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

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

Letting My Course Be Altered

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

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

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

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

Setting Goals and Making Plans

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

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

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

Blessed Be

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

Finding Inspiration Wherever it may Lurk

The Writer’s Dilemma

Time and again I see writers asking the same question: “Where do I find inspiration?” Sometimes, they put it a little differently, like: “How do I get my Muse to talk to me?” Either way, I don’t think the answers are as hard to find as we might sometimes make it sound.

For myself, I’m learning a couple of things. First, inspiration or your muse or whatever you choose to call it isn’t going to talk to you unless you are ready to listen. This means one of two things to me. Either you have to be sitting at the computer with your fingers on the keyboard ready to type what your Muse dictates, or you have to let your mind go quiet so the Muse or inspiration can strike. Maybe that’s why people say they get their best ideas while in the shower or answering the call of nature or anything else which allows them to just relax and be.

Aside from just planting myself in front of the computer and letting my mind go limp, I’ve had success with finding ideas, figuring out a direction for an article I need to write or even getting inspiration, full-blown, for my NaNo novel. Here are some of the things I use when my brain becomes muddled with everyday concerns or I’m just stuck in analytical, internal editor, everything is crap mode.

  • Meditation: Though not 100% successful, I try to meditate for an hour every day. Sometimes it’s 40 minutes, sometimes only 20, but my goal is an hour and I’ve learned to set a timer as there are days I could just float for the entire afternoon. In fact, a meditation the day before NaNo began this year yielded not only the concept for my latest endeavor but the title as well. It was also where I got the inspiration I needed to write an article about an event I attended a week or so ago.
  • Cooking: I love the way my mind can just drift away into its own world when I’m doing something menial like chopping vegetables for a soup or stir-fry. Generally, I just keep pulling things out of the refrigerator, chopping, measuring and putting them into bowls according to the order they’ll be added to the dish. It doesn’t take a lot of concentration so my Muse is free to cavort and dream. Of course, it means I have to stop mid-chop to either run to the computer or grab pad and paper to jot the idea down before it flits away again. Such was the case tonight while I chopped what ended up being 5 mixing bowls full of assorted veggies for my latest stir-fry concoction. Twice, I had to run to the computer and start blog posts; one here and one on my website, e’er I forget them entirely.
  • Dancing: One of my personal favorites. I draw my energy around me and seal that egg-shaped field which envelops my physical self. Dancing in this self-imposed bubble, there is no stress. There are no worries. I’m oblivious to the world and people around me and just for a few moments, release any concerns I might have about the outside world. Here is where the magic truly happens, and I’ve finally learned to carry a pad and pen with me at all times. Sometimes, it’s simply a characterization which comes to me because of someone I see. Other times, it’s a dialogue I’ve been needing for my current Work in Progress. Either way, it’s another inspiration I may or may not have known I needed.
  • Walking: Like dancing, this allows me to close myself off into my own personal bubble while remaining semi-aware of the world around me. (after all, I don’t want to walk into the path of a car, and even when fully aware, I have trouble avoiding tripping over my own feet, a crack in the sidewalk or even a pea-sized pebble.)To be honest, I go into a kind of fugue just grocery shopping sometimes!
Living in a World of our own Creation, as Writers We Have to Find our own Way

As writers, and frankly, anyone with a creative bent, we have to figure out what works to unlock our own inspiration. What works for me might simply frustrate someone else. I know people who relax best when their hands are in the dirt or when they’re sewing: both activities which frustrate the stuffing out of me. I tend to refer to it as shutting my mind down and allowing thoughts to meander through the empty space I leave, but that’s not really it either. Nevertheless, like matter which moves to fill an empty space, thoughts, too will swirl and coalesce when they find a welcoming vessel. Thus, all I’m really trying to accomplish is to make myself the welcoming vessel; the place where thoughts, ideas…inspiration can come to play.

Will You Share Your Thoughts?

I’d love to hear what works for you. What helps you let inspiration in? What do you do to declutter your mind? What activities do you find most relaxing? Most cathartic? Leave me a comment and share your thought processes.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful I’ve learned to allow.
2. I am grateful for discipline and lack thereof. A time for each.
3. I am grateful for community. Freelancers and writers seem to realize what so many do not: The Universe is abundant and there is enough for everyone. We don’t need to compete with each other at all. Instead, we support and encourage. Would that the world would come to this realization.
4. I am grateful for the network I’m building. I am meeting people from all walks of life because we share a common interest; a common goal. We all want to get out of the corporate rat race and be our own person, our own boss, our own motivator and the recipient of the bounty from our efforts.
5. I am grateful for abundance: community, friendship, camaraderie, love, joy, inspiration, motivation, progress, productivity, 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!

May 25, 2015 Going With the Flow of the Heart

Sometimes, You Just Need to Let Your Intuition Lead the Way

Today is not going as planned. I look at those words I just typed and think Boy, is that an understatement! My schedule for today was as follows:

  • Gym-Legs
  • Pitches
  • Meditate
  • Write Posts for BlogMutt
  • Dance at BL (Maybe)

I’ve already reconciled myself to the fact that item one has been moved to tomorrow. I tried something different today and did my meditation when I woke up…or should I say I tried to do my meditation when I woke up since Miss Munchkin chose that period of time to use my chest as a trampoline. I can only be grateful that it was the 8 pound cat rather than the 20 pound cat who required gymnastic practice this morning.

As for items two and four, well, let’s just say I gave them the old college try, but ran into issues. I perused the website for the company I’d planned to cold pitch but it just left me cold. No ideas, no inspiration…nothing. I looked at several others in the same Google search with similar results. Thinking I might just need a change of scene, I moved over to BlogMutt to try to find something to write about. Sadly, I ran out of steam before anything really caught my attention, though I am still reviewing one client’s website for inspiration.

Turning back to Facebook (believe it or not, I get a lot of my ideas from pages I’m following) I read a couple of posts shared by friends and one from Spirit Science. Though it didn’t trigger anything marketable, it made me see some things in a new light.

Seeing Immediate Success in Changes for the Better

As I read the article from Spirit Science entitled “What Science is Telling Us About the Heart’s Intuitive Intelligence”, I began to see how my recent actions to give myself a schedule were actually already yielding positive results.

I am no longer getting up in the morning and futzing around on social media for hours. I’m jumping into something productive, even if it is simply reading articles or reviewing websites for possible pitches. Even better, when I wandered into the kitchen looking for lunch, I followed my typical route, looking for something easy. But here’s the difference. Instead of pulling a frozen pizza or veggie lasagna out of the freezer, I pulled kale, a beet, fresh fruit and yogurt and threw together a smoothie. Strangely, it never occurred to me that the time to do so was less than the pizza or lasagna, and aside from a couple more dishes to wash, it’s actually easier! My old mindset kept telling me that it would take too long and be too much effort. I’m also ensuring that a fresh veggie or a salad accompanies any meal with meat, rice or pasta.

I, myself am a prime example of how small changes can have effects far greater than we might realize. Is this the Universe nudging me to take those baby steps? Maybe…likely…probably. I’ve gotten so used to the butt-kicking, head-slapping nudges that the subtle ones which feel like they were my own idea are quite the novel concept.

National Holiday or no, I Need to See Evidence of Productivity

As a freelancer or solopreneur, I don’t have a typical work schedule. Sure, I’m trying to give myself a framework now, but that does not mean I will ever return to the stereotypical nine to five. The very idea makes my gut clench. What it means instead is that time of day or day of the week or even national holiday is no excuse for spending the entire day napping or lollygagging. I try to only allow myself one day in 10, and often 12 or 14 to really just futz around and do nothing constructive. I see that happening less and less frequently as I get more into my schedules, my workouts and my writing.

The energy drain I’d been experiencing seems less and less apparent now. It’s as if I needed to restate my life’s purpose and then just get moving. Though I might not be following the schedule, per se, I find myself anxious to start working on revisions for Frederick the Gentlemouse. Since that is where my creative side wants to go, I see no reason to avoid indulging it (after I finish this post which insisted on being written now! of course). My heart (interesting that I read the Spirit Science article which I previously referenced today) is clearly taking the tentative daily structure and tweaking it to fit its own desires and ambitions. Who am I to argue with whatever makes my heart happy as, if the heart is happy, the brain and the creativity are also happy!

Listen to Your Heart and Find Your Happy

What I’m trying to say in my usual 10,000-words-or-more, rambling kind of way is that though our lives need some kind of basic structure or framework. Once we find something that works, our best option is to step back and allow our hearts to lead the way. Look at it like this: The beating of our heart is what gives us life. Our heart is our healing center (think Heart Chakra). The energy from our heart, when we are in a positive, loving, joyful place has the potential to heal not only our own ills, but also the ills of other people, animals, plants, and Mother Earth herself. Individually, the impact might be small, but imagine the impact of a thousand positive, loving hearts…a million…a trillion. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that most of us wish for peace on earth. I believe we can achieve it, one loving heart at a time. How many lives will you touch? How many hearts can you heal today? How many healed hearts will heal more hearts tomorrow? Wrap your head around that if you can.

My gratitudes today are:
1. I am grateful for the things people share on social media to inspire us.
2. I am grateful for the positive changes I’m making in my own life, and hope they will inspire others to also make changes to improve their lives.
3. I am grateful for the opportunity to increase the vibration on our planet in this human lifetime.
4. I am grateful for the lessons I learn from animals about love and acceptance.
5. I am grateful for abundance: the flow of inspiration, blessings, positive energy, changes which become evolution, love, joy, harmony, peace, energy, health, prosperity and philanthropy.

Blessed Be

And now for some shameless self-promotion:
I’d love it if you’d visit my Facebook pages at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel and https://www.facebook.com/HLWTAccounting. If you get a minute, 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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