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Archive for the ‘expectations’ Category

May 11, 2015 Novel Completion = Writing Vacation

A Week’s Vacation Wasn’t in My Plan

I finished the draft of my novel last week. Even so, I didn’t plan to refrain from writing for nearly a week, but that’s how it played out. Granted, I spent several days at my daughter’s house and she kept me so busy that by the time we got home each night, I was too exhausted to think, much less drag my laptop out of its case, shlep a TV tray upstairs and plug the thing in. But here I am, sunburnt, surrounded by my cats and getting back into my normal routine; except that instead of writing, I’ll be editing and revising for the next few months. I might even keep the promise I made to myself to finish some of the projects that are already on my plate!

But first, I really must kvell. My amazing, talented, incredible daughter gave me the most phenomenal weekend ever. She cooked a delicious dinner on Friday night complete with chocolate lava cake. On Saturday, we went to a chocolate festival, a pow wow, the zoo and Old Town (yes, all in one day which began rather early for me!). Sunday started with brunch with Shamu followed by a day of wandering around Sea World (I swear, she kept running me around in circles just for fun!), riding rides, getting soaked by evil, hose wielding villains, watching shows, visiting with the animals, booping the rays, (did you know they’re really soft?) tasting some delicious food festival treats and meeting the executive chef behind it all. We finished the day with pizza and salad from her favorite pizza place, Pieology while watching a movie which never really lived up to the hype.

Once again, my normal schedule got all out of whack as I got moving earlier and went to bed earlier than normal (hence the void where my writing should have been). But all that is about to change! Once again, it is after midnight and I’ve set my fingers on the keyboard.

Making New Commitments to Myself

Now that the cruise is behind us and the best Mother’s Day weekend ever is as well, I am making a couple of new commitments to myself. First, I will get back on my three days a week or more gym schedule. Second, I will begin revising Frederick the Gentlemouse before embarking on the much larger project currently known as Sasha’s Journey. Third, I will either pitch or write blog posts for other people. I haven’t yet set myself a weekly minimum, but as time passes and I get a feel for the time required, I will do so. Fourth, I will start pulling up the disgusting carpet in my bedroom which has been the last holdout for a very long time. If further decluttering occurs in the process, so be it.

That should be enough to keep me busy for awhile. I’ve learned that if we put too much on our plates, we overwhelm ourselves and nothing gets done, or it gets done, but only half-assed. I aim for quality rather than quantity.

Expectations Ruin Holidays for Everyone

When my mother was alive, I referred to holidays at her house as “command performances”. She would invite us, but it wasn’t one of those things where you could beg off because you had other plans. Declining the invitation was not an option unless you wanted to hear about your lack of gratitude for months to come. Needless to say, I came to dread those occasions and, in hindsight, ruined my share of them with my own crappy attitude.

But some good did come of the experience. I endeavored to ensure that my own daughters never felt that they had to celebrate a holiday with me nor were they ever obligated to give a gift. With the exception of certain things like funerals, I’ve always believed that we should participate willingly or not at all. Then, you have my daughter, Heather.

Heather developed a love of celebrations. She will celebrate just about anything and when she does, she puts her heart, soul and creative talent into making it as wonderful as possible. I believe I mentioned that she’s been planning my 60th for at least five years! There are many memorable birthdays and Mother’s Days as a result of her celebratory nature. My personal favorite is still the multi-course breakfast-in-bed she and her sister prepared with the crowning glory of a microwaved grilled cheese sandwich (they were too young to use the stove unsupervised).

The common theme to all of our celebrations is silliness. There is always an enormous element of fun woven into the festivities. Whether its a weekend like the one just past or a party at our favorite dance club or anything in between, the parties are meant to please not only the person being feted, but everyone involved, and my talented daughter achieves this each and every time.

I have maybe two weeks before the celebrations begin again, this time for about a month as we have several things to celebrate. Guess I’d better get going on those intentions so they’re solidly in place before the insanity begins!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for a truly delightful weekend with my daughter and grand furries.
2. I am grateful that the sunburn I acquired from two days in the sun without sunblock (my own fault) is not painful. I’m also grateful that both my daughter and I keep aloe body butter in the house.
3. I am grateful to be embarking on a new part of my journey.
4. I am grateful for surprises. New things come to me fairly regularly now, and the challenge is in picking which ones I want to do first.
5. I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, exercise, sunshine, rain, creativity, motivation, inspiration, joy, health, harmony, peace, prosperity and philanthropy.

Blessed Be

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I’d love it if you’d visit my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel and my website, http://www.shericonaway.com. 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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October 6, 2014 When inspiration hits you, it’s best to pay attention. #shericonaway #blogboost

Don’t allow anyone to either choose your niche for you, or force you into a particular niche.

The inspiration for tonight’s post comes, surprisingly enough, from tonight’s episode of “The Voice”. At one point, Adam Levine told one of the contestants, essentially, that they were responsible for choosing their own niche, music-wise, or even for choosing not to be limited to a single niche. As soon as I heard his words, a lightbulb went off over my head. I recently experienced someone trying to tell me where my niche was for my current novel-in-progress, and even to dictate who in that niche I was writing to. My mind kept sending up red flags and saying “No, no, no!”. I agreed that something was wrong, and did, indeed, pull back, but until now, I couldn’t quite put words to it. But the truth is, I have the right to choose which niche I’m writing to, and when I go through my editing process, I have the right to not alter it to fit someone else’s idea of my niche, including the language I use and the scenes I set.

But in life, it’s a lot more than that. As children, our parents have expectations of us. At first, it’s simple things like keeping our room clean, doing our homework, brushing our teeth and getting good grades. As we get older, it might be college or a particular trade. This is the point where many of us rebelled because we are not our parents. Our hopes, dreams and desires are our very own, and we need to be allowed to follow them. If we fail, it’s our own lesson, and if we succeed, well, we will hopefully be very happy we followed our own heart.

As my kids grew up, and especially my daughter, Heather, they thought that I expected them to want what I wanted for them. Aside from wanting them to get an education, I really wanted them to test their own wings and find what brought them joy. Heather has finally realized that she doesn’t need my approval on the direction her life takes. Or, rather, she’s learned that she has my approval, no matter what. I may not agree with the choices she makes, but I respect the fact that they’re her choices, and her lessons. It is simply not my place to dictate what she should and should not choose. When she asks for my opinion, I give it, but knowing her as I do, I’ve learned to qualify it with “this is only my opinion. Whatever you choose to do will still be fine with me.” Old habits die hard with her, and even in that, I try to respect the fact that they do by making every effort to assure her that I am not trying to tell her what decisions she should make.

Recently, this give and take has led to some pretty productive brain storming sessions, especially when it comes to new flavors for her cakes and cupcakes. She has become a lot more likely to bounce things off of me, knowing that I respect her skill and expertise, and am just tossing out things she might want to consider…no strings attached.

I was raised a little differently. I had to learn for myself that if I disappointed my mom, so be it. I still needed to do what I felt was right for me. In fact, she’d be pretty horrified by the path I’ve been following for the last few months. At the very least, she’d insist that I was irresponsible. But as I’ve long since ceased to view my life in accordance with her standards, I’m much happier for it, and figure I’m allowed to be foolish now and then, because if I fall down, I take the responsibility for both the fall and for picking myself back up again. 

Whether it’s an artistic niche, a life path, or any of a multitude of major decisions we’ll make in a lifetime, the most important thing we can all learn is that the only person we need to impress, the only person we need to keep happy, the only opinion that really counts…is our own.

Throughout our lives, we are ultimately responsible for one person, and one person only.

There are a lot of people out there who think that it is their mission in life to change other people for the better. It’s not that their heart isn’t in the right place, it’s just that they’re misguided. It isn’t their job, their responsibility or their right to decide what’s best for me, or you, any more than it’s our right to decide what is best for them. As parents, we guide our children for a little while. We give them tools to help them make better decisions. But when all is said and done, the decisions about their life path belong to them. Whether they choose one niche or five niches or no niche at all, our only job is to love and respect them, whatever they do.

While having our Human Experience, we Divine Beings (that’s all of us, by the way) are tasked with learning a great many lessons. The most important one of all, if you ask me, is acceptance. The people we love should never feel that they need to justify their decisions to anyone but themselves. That is a gift we can give to them; that acceptance of their choices. Trying to control other people would be like trying to control a body part. You wouldn’t insist that an arm perform the functions of an ear. So why expect another human being to live their life in accordance with your talents, values and experiences?

For now, let’s all just try to be more accepting. Maybe once we’ve gotten good at it, we can work on erasing the term and the associated behavior of “Judgement” from our vocabulary.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for inspiration from unusual sources.
2. I am grateful for learning to accept people’s differences. Doing so opens up my life in unexpected and fabulous ways.
3. I am grateful for the red flags I’ve learned to recognize. They keep me from bad situations like self-doubt.
4. I am grateful for busy, productive days.
5. I am grateful for abundance: inspiration, joy, health, happiness, friendship, love, acceptance and prosperity.

Namaste

Be sure to check out (and even like!) my author page at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel  Thank you!

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