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

Archive for the ‘goals’ Category

Who Defines “Dress Up”?

“Get Up, Dress Up and Show Up”: Who Sets the Rules?

I see it all the time. People saying that in order to succeed you must “get up, dress up and show up”. It wasn’t until today as I got ready to do some writing that it occurred to me, the whole thing is open to interpretation. I realize the person who wrote it was likely a corporate type and meant at least business casual, but what if that doesn’t work for me or others who live outside the societal middle ground?

After running errands today, I came home, ate lunch, did my meditations and listened to a short webinar as part of my daily commitment to studying something daily. As I got ready to honor another commitment, writing something every day, I looked at what I was wearing, red cotton shorts with a zipper and button closure and a nicer cotton shirt when it hit me: it wasn’t what I was comfortable writing in.

A Unique Concept: Comfort Over Style

The reality is, while writing, comfort is the key for me and that means a pair of loose-fitting, elastic waist workout shorts and an even looser fitting (especially since my recent fat release) sleeveless men’s t-shirt sans bra. Maybe some folks are more productive when they’re dressed to the nines, makeup on and every hair in place, but my creativity flows more freely when the clothes I’m wearing are unobtrusive and my hair is tucked up on top of my head in either a scrunchy or a loose bun held by one of my million and three hair clips.

It must be true, as, before I knew it, I’d written nearly 300 words just on the topic of comfortable work attire. Granted, it’s not the project I intended to be writing, but it does get my creative juices flowing and satisfies my requirement to write something daily. And as I’m now comfy, it will allow me to finish the project I started yesterday, but got too bogged down in details to finish. Note to self: write first, research after and fill in the details.

Turning to Face the Sun Again With Words Inscribed vs. Typed

Now it’s a day later, the article I needed to write is done and launched into cyberspace. While I still have a couple more to go, the change of attire did, indeed have the desired effect. The blocks lifted, the words flowed and I got the job done leaving today free for the more mundane aspects of life.

I’ve also found, as I live this writer’s life for what it’s worth, that I have to set aside time to just do laundry, pay bills and do the bigger household chores. On those days, or during those times, I don’t seem to get much writing done, though as part of my steps to my goals, I’m hoping to change that. The funny thing is, since I committed that particular step to paper using a pen instead of a keyboard, it seems to be manifesting more easily. I don’t know why and I don’t know how, but I can say that I’ve done some form of writing every day since I wrote the words “write every day” on a yellow legal pad.

I’d put those same words on a list in a Word document more than once, with limited success. This time, it seems to be worming it’s way into my brain like the ink blot that forms when you leave a Flair pen open on a piece of paper. It seeps into my brain’s nooks and crannies like nothing created on a flat screen every could. The words are flowing and yes, the need to put them down is, for me, like a junkie’s need for a fix. I have to let the words out of my head and onto a page else they’ll engulf my entire being.

My Other Self Feeds on Vocabulary

It doesn’t matter if it’s a blog post of random thoughts like this, a more defined project like an article for one of the events I attended, or further edits to one of my existing books, as long as I’m writing. I know, too, that just this post won’t quell the stream. I’ll open at least one more document before my head touches linen tonight. I’ll pen or edit more words until this demon inside me is satisfied that I’ve, indeed, written something today. It’s as if each day brings an increasing need, an increasing quantity required to satisfy the being which has been dwelling silently, seething, waiting for the tiniest crack to allow it to work its way to the surface and take over control of this body, this mind, these fingers.

This other self who’s been thrust deep down inside, building up momentum for the opportunity it’s finally seeing to take over, to write, to spill all of the dreams that have occupied my slumber. They come into my waking self full-blown, ready to morph into a story, a bit of prose… maybe even a novel. The time has come and the reasonable, responsible person who pays bills, does laundry and even, at some point, earns a living is being thrust aside.

An Awkward Kind of Balance

My two sides have been fighting for longer than I realized, resulting in a push-me-pull-you kind of existence which changes frequently, but has made little progress. It’s clear now that one or the other has to take the lead, but up to now neither was strong enough to force the issue and neither was willing to relinquish control.

The dreamer, the creative issues an evil laugh as she shoves the practical into a wooden chest, slams down the lid and turns the key in the lock. It’s my turn now! Stay put for awhile! I’ll let you out when it’s time to edit or when I run out of underwear, whichever comes first!

How do others find middle ground between the practical and the creative? How do they bridge the gap allowing both sides to live together harmoniously. How do they find a way to balance both sides, taking the best each has to offer and minimizing the flaws? My sides (and I’m only assuming there are but two) do not know how to compromise. They are all or nothing kind of people. Always fighting for control, always keeping me off-balance. Yet somehow, it works.

Perhaps that’s why so many turn to alcohol, drugs or some other kind of addiction. Which leaves me to wonder: what’s my addiction?

Still, There’s Always Gratitude

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful that my writing has begun to flow again.
2. I am grateful for goals and steps. Now I just need to figure out how to incorporate a timeline to complete the circle.
3. I am grateful for serendipity which brings me together with people I might never connect with to create a beautiful synergy.
4. I am grateful for a curious mind which takes me on many journeys. I may start and stop when I lose interest, but somehow, I always return to the ones which are important.
5. I am grateful for abundance: love, joy, inspiration, motivation, support, friendship, acquaintanceship, peace, health, 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!

Expected and Unexpected Changes

A Lesson A Day Keeps the Doctor Away

There are two things I’ve learned while occupying this meat suit. 1. Life is about change. If you’re not changing, you’re neither living nor progressing. 2. Large changes occur as a result of a lot of smaller changes which act as the building blocks for the larger ones.

So for the past few months I’ve been retraining my brain to recognize the small changes and more, the opportunities to make those small changes as I move from one day to the next. All too often, I’ll start doing something, only to realize that my actions are the result of a bunch of those small changes.

Take for instance, the slow but recognizable progress I’m making to release a large quantity of fat. The first step was to start altering my eating habits and the way I look at food. The second was to get into the habit of moving more than simply my hourly forays to the bathroom. Suddenly, I have more energy, more focus and I’m feeling overall, much better than I have in awhile. I stretch, take deep breaths and allow things to flow instead of creating little road blocks in myself. In the midst of it all, we have to start looking at ourselves differently; not as someone to be ashamed of, but as who we really are inside, beneath the layers, both physical and perceptual,  we’ve built to protect our soft, marshmallow centers.

Celebrating the Effects of an Improved Outlook

I look in the mirror and my skin looks clearer, my face isn’t quite so pudgy and I smile at the woman looking back at me as if sharing a private joke…and maybe we are. Last night while watching a movie on Netflix, I pulled out the nail polish remover to clean up the printer ink which had exploded all over my hand. One thing led to another and I ended up polishing my nails for the first time in months.

It may seem like a small thing, but it’s just another step in self-care. If we’re not happy with ourselves, we’re not going to go the extra mile to make ourselves look good on the outside, right?

Getting It Done, One Goal At A Time

One of my innercises today suggested writing down three goals for the day. Today, I had my 3 goals in my head, but never wrote them down. Tonight, I’ve written the three goals for tomorrow on a sticky note, and am considering doing this every night before I go to bed. I’ll stick it on my monitor so I see it before I check email or any of the other things I do when I first sit down at the computer. I could actually make a sticky note with 3 goals for each of the next 3 or 4 days, but that locks me in and doesn’t allow for changes which might occur between now and then. So, for now, setting my goals the night before will suffice.

In truth, I feel really good about today. Although the only real exercise I got was putting out the trash and fighting with a recalcitrant hose, I did my innercising and finished the article for the chef I interviewed. I’m pretty pleased with the result, and not nearly as nervous about the next two interviews now. I’ve come up with both an interview style and the resulting article style which works for me, and bears little resemblance to what I’ve seen written by others. Now I’m just waiting to see what the publicists and PR people think. If getting other chefs to talk about themselves is as easy as the first one was, there shouldn’t be a re-run of the pre-interview stomach churning, nerve-fest, which is a real relief! As usual, the anticipation didn’t even come close to the reality. The reality was much better!

At the Forefront of My Mind: How Do I Get More Clients?

Although my pitching chops still need exercising, I’m noticing more and more opportunities and passing them on to my photographer friend. But at some point, I’m going to have to pitch someone myself. Meanwhile, I’m keeping my eyes open for opportunities which have more substance than the cold pitching I tried earlier this year and yes, failed miserably. From those failures I learned a few things. The most important was to have a really strong vision of what I want to write about, and be able to communicate it clearly and with a sense of passion which will make the reader want more. Just as a novel needs a hook, so, too does a pitch if it is going to be successful.

Who Knew Becoming a Better Me Could be so Satisfying?

This self-improvement stuff really takes on many forms. As imperfect beings, we have plenty of room for improvement in all aspects of our lives: physical, mental, emotional…the list goes on and on. Can we ever really be too grateful? Or too kind? When it comes to good qualities, there’s always room for more.

I’m finding so much satisfaction in reflecting back on my day and being able to say: “I accomplished so much today. I’m proud of what I did. I’m proud of how well I took care of myself. This has been a very good day.” I look forward to many more very good days, and even, when the changes start to multiply, some absolutely extraordinary ones.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the changes that are occurring in my life.
2. I am grateful for productive days.
3. I am grateful for freedom from pain which leads to improved sleep.
4. I am grateful for the company of my furry supervisors.
5. I am grateful for abundance: change, lessons, opportunities, productivity, love, joy, kindness, compassion, health, peace, harmony, philanthropy and prosperity.

Blessed Be

Dream a Little Dream With Me

Asleep or Awake, the Universe Guides Me With Clear Intentions

I’ve been having a lot of dreams lately (and yes, I remember a lot when I wake up) involving people from my past. Sometimes they appear individually and others, like last night, in veritable hordes. Individually, I usually recognize the person, if not by face, at least by reference to something in the past to which they were connected. But when they’re in hordes, I often think The face is familiar. but I can’t put a name or a place to it.

Last night in particular, I kept wandering into groups of people, ostensibly from my past, but behaving in bizarre manners. In the first one I remember, I was directed to a conference room where I was supposed to meet with someone about doing some kind of contract work. Next thing I knew, the room filled up with people who seemed oblivious to my presence until I started babbling about irrelevant things. After receiving several pointed glares, I realized it wasn’t my inane commentary to which they objected, but to my bare feet propped on the table which I’d somehow managed to overlook when people started filling the room.

Without getting lost in a lengthy analysis or discussion about my vivid dreams, I just want to say that I’ve come to the realization I’m being guided to revisit the past for a reason: I need to clear and release all of my old baggage to leave my slate clear for all of the positive affirmations and life changes I’ll be making during the *infinitepossibilitiesproject.

Our Possibilities are Only Limited by Our Own Thoughts and Beliefs

Speaking of which, I haven’t posted the last couple of days’ #infinitepossibilitiesproject tasks because they were more experiential than documentable. But for Day 8, that all changed, and here is my personal version of the theme.

Day 8 Changing My Story

My life really blasted off in 2016 when I started looking forward instead of back, while enjoying one day at a time in the present. That’s when I just started writing whatever came into my head and publishing it on my blog with a link to my website. I covered everything from How-to’s to dream analysis to healthy eating to pets. My unfiltered approach began attracting attention as friends and followers started passing my posts around.

Soon, posts turned into short stories which required daily or weekly updates and I used the art of the cliffhanger to my advantage. If I happened to miss a day, I’d receive a slew of comments wanting to know what would happen to my hero or heroine next. Forget Watt Pad or any of the formal story posting sites. I created a following of my own and began inviting other writers to share their serially written stories on my site as well until volume reached such a level I had to create a website just for the stories! But the real icing on the cake came when my Hire Me pages completely exploded with requests for me to write for other people. The law of supply and demand forced me to not only raise my rates to an almost embarrassing level, but to hire other writers to work for me! I had my pick since many were already posting stories on my site, and I knew what they could do.

With the creative juices flowing so steadily, I finished all three of my novels in progress and hired editors and cover artists. On the advice of my Marketing Guru, I released them several months apart, offering giveaways of some of my short stories to attract attention. It wasn’t long before I had to start charging for the short story collections too, as demand got too high to keep giving them away. What came next was a whirlwind of book signings across the country, television interviews and finally, the cherry on top of my hot fudge sundae, an invitation to do a TED talk!

Sitting on the deck of the dream house I had built on an extraordinary piece of property overlooking a stunning piece of Southern California beach, I watch the sun sinking into the sea. Perhaps one of my writer friends has joined me for a cup of tea on a chilly autumn evening to share the day’s progress or just enjoy the silence broken only by the crashing of the waves. My cats have each found their favorite spot on lap, chair or floor to enjoy the peaceful camaraderie and a bit of attention after being somewhat ignored while I wrote all day.

Eventually, with the darkening sky, I stand up, stretch and head for my in-home gym to push muscles which my fairly sedentary life of writing would otherwise render less useful. Even several nights a week of dancing need to be augmented by pushing some heavy pieces of metal around in various ways to keep muscles and joints strong and limber. I feel my body moving freely through the motions and a rush of gratitude flows through me. Not only for the ability to move and lift at my advanced age {grin} but for how my passion for writing has given me the life I’ve always dreamed of and friends to share it with who truly appreciate the road I traveled to get here. I am so blessed.

I got a bit behind on Day 8, but made it up by getting a jump on Day 9:

Day 9 Choosing beliefs that serve me in every area of my life I wish to transform.
1. I am dedicated to my craft and to writing every day.
2. I attract people who inspire, promote and advance my career goals.
3. I crave foods which are healthy and inspire my creativity in the kitchen.
4. I have all of the resources I need to be successful, and to help others be the same.
5. There is more than enough work for all of us in every area we wish to influence and affect.
6. The Universe guides me, giving me stepping stones as I complete each lesson, leading me to the next lesson and accomplishment.
7. The world contains far more kindness and compassion than anything else. We are all inspired to help and support each other.
8. Marketing my books and stories is easier than I imagined, easier than it’s been to get the words down on the page and worked out to my satisfaction.
9. I am fearless. I know what I want and I know how to get there. I am my own best advocate.
10. One of my purposes is to help, guide and inspire others.

You Deserve Abundance

If you’re finding yourself in self-defeating thought, behavior or belief patterns, I recommend you check out Tut’s Infinite Possibilities Project. I can attest to the fact that I’m feeling stronger, more inspired and more powerful with each new day. In fact, a few more days of all of this incredible positive energy and I might become rather a PITA about it. I will try to keep my soapbox firmly tucked away as I know that like everything else, it’s not for everyone. But if you’re inspired at all by the accounts of my experience, you might want to take a few minutes and just listen to a couple of the videos.

Before this becomes a novella, let me leave you with tonight’s gratitudes.
1. I am grateful for all of the people who spread love and positivity.
2. I am grateful for the opportunity to encourage and inspire others.
3. I am grateful for the many people, things and circumstances which are flowing into my life to inspire, to uplift and to help me find my true purpose.
4. I am grateful for things that make me twitchy because those are the things that make me take action and move closer to the life I imagine while adding more details I hadn’t even thought of.
5. I am grateful for abundance: love, inspiration, friendship, motivation, positivity, kindness, compassion, health, beauty, 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!

November 6, 2014 Getting serious #shericonaway

Setting goals and not quitting until they’re reached.

Five days in and I was already 1300 words behind. Something had to be done! After dancing tonight and a little unwinding, I told myself that I would continue writing, no matter how long it took, until I reached at least another 2,000 words.

I’m happy to say that a little bit of self-flagellation was wondrously effective. I wrote 2303 words tonight and the same number of words tomorrow will put me back on schedule! The stupid thing is, I know I can knock out 2,000 words a night if I just focus! I have to allow my subconscious to drive the story instead of agonizing over each word with my logical and much less creative brain.

It was tough going for awhile, but once I got past the first 1,000 words, the rest started to come more easily. Yes, I can DO this!!!

Of course, the crazy writing sprees mean shorter blog posts (or in the case of last night, so short they’re non-existent). But I promised to keep you updated on my progress, and even, time permitting write something for the CSA blog about my culinary escapades. But this week, with me arriving home from my daughter’s on Monday and her arriving here last night, about the only program I’m sticking to religiously is going to the gym.

OK, now that you’ve picked yourself up off the floor, let me assure you that I’m neither joking or on drugs. I really have been to the gym every day this week except Monday (after driving for 2 1/2 hours I gave myself a pass) but I also plan to go tomorrow. For some reason, I’m starting to enjoy the sweating and am further encouraged by my friend, Stacy, who has now joined my gym, is getting me to at least one if not two pilates classes a week, and has designs on getting my ample tushie into a spin class in the near future. Yikes!!! But it’s all good.

Combining regular exercise with healthier eating is making my body very happy and kicking my energy level into overdrive. Not to mention, making my FitBit sing several days a week with glee as I reach the 10,000 step mark (for today, it hit over 11,000 by the time I sat down to write!).

I could easily go off on another tangent here, but if I want to keep my promise to myself, I must get some sleep though 6 hours or so seems to be doing it these days.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the healthy habits which I really seem to be enjoying this time.
2. I am grateful for time spent with my daughter.
3. I am grateful for friends who both encourage and push me.
4. I am grateful for my kitties who keep me company while I reach for the stars.
5. I am grateful for the setting of goals as it gives me something to reach for on my way to the stars.
6. I am grateful for abundance: loving, living, energy, writing, imagination, inspiration, friendship, harmony, peace, acceptance, forgiveness, health and prosperity.


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!

November 4, 2014 Weekly yummies and writing like a demon

The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get!

A 1667 daily word average can be rather daunting under the best of conditions, especially when you miss a day at the beginning. But who am I kidding? Last year I started late, finished early and was still working full time while trying to tie everything up for my imminent departure. This year should be easy, right?

Well, not necessarily. Add in trips to San Diego, visits from my daughter, my personal insistence on getting to the gym at least three times a week, chores, cooking and the weekly box of yummies to find recipes for. The truth is, right now, I’m busier than I ever was while I was working full time! And I haven’t even hit my stride yet.

Thank goodness for those healthy yummies or I know I’d never manage to keep up the pace. Here’s this week’s offering: harvest box 11-4-14
It consists of: 1 Romanesco
1 bunch Easter Radish
1 Romaine Lettuce
1 bunch Arugula
1 pound Broccoli
1 bunch Purple Carrots
1 Fennel Bulb
1 Leek
1 Fuyu Persimmon
1 Kabocha Squash

It’s funny because, on my way to pick it up, sweaty from my gym workout, I found myself craving a nice salad. I had some ingredients in the house, but the radishes and Arugula filled it out nicely. I enjoyed the persimmon while waiting for my dinner to cook (orange cauliflower and kohlrabi from last week) and I have to say that it was rather pleasant. Not what I was expecting, and I’m not sure I’d actually buy them, but it was interesting. Getting to try all of these new veggies is a lot of fun for me. Last time I got a leek, I believe I put it in soup, but I could see it in a stir fry too.

I’m not sure about the fennel, though. I gave it a good sniff today and it really does smell like black licorice. As I can’t even sneak up on the stuff, I don’t know if the fennel will go over well. But my daughter is bringing the textbook from her cooking class with her so maybe we can find a way to prepare the fennel so we will both enjoy it. (she detests black licorice too).

I’ve been writing and writing and writing…

The story temporarily titled “A Dubious Gift” is coming along fairly well despite the fact that I skipped a day of writing. I’m only about 996 words shy of the goal for today, and although it doesn’t feel like it’s flowing, I managed over 2,000 words tonight. As I suspected, it won’t be long before I’m right where I need to be…and then some.

I’m finding, this time, that I’m being even less concerned about flow and continuity, not even putting in chapters. I’m just writing as the words see fit, not even knowing where I’m going until I get there. The story is truly going to be as big a surprise to me as it will be to my readers! But 18 pages compared to the well over 300 which is what became of my first NaNoWriMo novel still seems daunting right now, despite the fact that about half of that came from my revisions. The good part is that when I put in my word count, it tells me how many I have left. Watching that number come down truly is exciting!

Stay tuned for recipes from this week’s Harvest Box. I’ll be consulting with my culinary expert when she arrives tomorrow night.

Until then, my gratitudes are:
1. I am grateful for all of the things I accomplished today.
2. I am grateful to again have a deadline.
3. I am grateful that, no matter what, I manage to sit down at my computer each night to write.
4. I am grateful for motivation.
5. I am grateful for the encouragement I’m getting to keep plugging away without concern for remuneration. It’s doing what I love and loving what I do that matters right now.
6. I am grateful for abundance: inspiration, friendship, love, harmony, peace, imagination, dedication, health and prosperity.


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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