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Archive for the ‘dancing’ Category

Rainy Day Thoughts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessed Be

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

October 31, 2014 Dancin’ and drivin’ the night away #shericonaway

<h2><em><strong><span style=” font-family: lucida sans; font-size:large;”> And a good time was had by all</span></strong></em></h2>

<span style=”font-family: lucida sans; font-size: small;”>A few of the “older crowd” put on our Halloween party duds and added another night of dancing to our schedule tonight. While the festivities started a bit later, there were no lessons to interrupt the fun, so I’d guess we got almost as much dancing in as on a regular night, and with far fewer bodies on the dance floor to get in our way.  All in all, the two couples, two single ladies and one single man made the very most of our dance time, and came away quite satisfied with this deviation from both ours and the club’s norm.

<span style=”font-family: lucida sans; font-size: small;”>Unwinding from dancing by driving to my daughter’s is becoming less novel these days.  I’m slowly starting to recognize land marks and points which mean x number of minutes left before I arrive.  Regardless of whether I leave from home or the dance hall, I’ve pared the trip, pretty consistenly, down to 2 1/2 hours.  Time goes even faster in the late evenng when traffic has thinned and the music from my CD’s (yes, some of us still use those!) keeps me occupied as I belt out the songs along with Terry and Jennifer and all of their friends.

<span style=”font-family: lucida sans; font-size: small;”>I find it interesting how the same amount of time can pass at different speeds, depending on what you’re doing.  For example, 10 minutes on any cardio machine (stairmaster, eliptical, treadmill, etc,) seems like a lifetime to me, but 3 hours of dancing or 2 1/2 hours of driving to see my daughter and grand furries passes like nothing.  The visits themselves, blow by even faster!

<span style=”font-family: lucida sans; font-size: small;”>Now, why is that?  Time is time, right?  In our reality, it doesn’t fold over on itself…or does it?  Could there be some weird time shifting phenomenon which causes time to pass more quickly when we are doing something enjoyable and more slowly when we’re doing something we consider a chore or tedious?  This is completely different from an earlier discussion aboiut time being stolen from us, a fraction of a second at a time.  I could easily be convinced that on the weekends I visit with my daughter, the days are really some fraction of the normal twenty-four hours.  There’s simply no way it seems to be over before it’s begun unless the time bandits are at work in their nefarious ways.

<span style=”font-family: lucida sans; font-size: small;”>I’ll bet this could be explained by those guys who’ve mastered quantum physics.  They’re likely to have the answers ready, just waiting for someone like me to ask.  If you ask me, it’s high time someone asked them to share what they know.  If they’re waiting until we’re ready for such world shaking revelations, I say, the time is now!  We need to know so we can figure out how to prolong those wonderful, joyous times and get past the chores, the sad times, the tedious stuff…much faster and  with less time dragging.

<h2><em><strong><span style=” font-family: lucida sans; font-size:large;”> Let’s hear it for more Disneyland time and less work time.</span></strong></em></h2>

<span style=”font-family: lucida sans; font-size: small;”>Although, I really should qualify that a little.  If you’re one of the lucky few who really love the work they do, then by all means, keep it in the “Disneyland” column.  And to be fair, for those who find Disneyland tedious, you can put that in your “work and drudgery” column.  Aren’t we lucky we can choose what to like and what to suffer through?

<span style=”font-family: lucida sans; font-size: small;”>I’m using the iPad with keyboard tonight, both because I’m on the road and because my daughter is between internet carriers at the moment.  As a result, I’m going to keep this post a little shorter as typing on this thing is just not optimum.  I brought my laptop along for the serious, NaNoWriMo writing which can just be checked into the website either when I find a Starbuck’s or when I get home.  Thinking back, I started last year’s effort a couple of days into it anyway, so though I <em>will</em> be writng this weekend (If I don’t, my brain will surely explode as it’s been ready for over a week!), the NaNoWriMNo site might not see ny progress for a couple of days.  Then it will appear that I went on a veritable writing binge in order to catch up!

<span style=”font-family: lucida sans; font-size: small;”>My gratitudes tonight are:

1. I am grateful that NaNoWriMo is finally here.

2. I am grateful for a truly delightful evening with a few of my dance friends.

3.I am grateful for a weekend of fun and froliic with my daughter as well as snuggles from my grand furries.

4. I am grateful for the over 13,000 steps I did, without even realizing I was moving that much!

5. I am grateful that moving a lot is getting so much easier

6. I am grateful for abundance: time, love,movement, inspiration, dancing, friendship, health, harmony, peace, forgiveness and prosperity.

<span style=”font-family: lucida sans; font-size: small;”>Namaste

And now for some shameless self-promotion: I’d love it if you’d visit my Facebook page at I’ve created this page as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” it or leave a comment! Thank you!

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