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Archive for the ‘#gratitude’ Category

Disastrously Divided: Fighting Over Children

Who Gets Hurt in The Latest in a Long Stream of Media Circuses

https://www.flickr.com/photos/anjanettew/6403432755/in/photolist-aKRgt2-SW6Tpz-aiwjpE-2roSq8-eYvBsv-aitE22-62vpoG-aKRh9P-Ltrvn-SGoc7Y-RDAmrU-5zVATm-aiwr3y-5ZSjkR-aKRhRe-aiwtYL-5RKLfM-aiwjN5-4qhAU-2BSrM-D9oFJ-SSunqf-aKRgdp-9ZjZi-5NT7ct-V6Tptw-p2iPEF-6oGXpe-2BSi8-devDRA-aKRg1B-5QMJk9-RDBEvh-SmcMzW-5cYUjK-6q42SV-dGZkyF-SGi7Ao-D9rdq-32cYZm-6NCz6F-q9zAh-SW6PD8-Smepeu-5wH6uw-4gNwCz-8smt2-eYH1n7-6CfSRN-5wCMe8As the plot thickens, we are now fighting over children. A subject where there should be no division, only compassion. Yet here we are, arguing over whether or not it’s right to rip children from people fleeing a miserable existence in their own country where there’s no guarantee their children will see tomorrow, much less adulthood.

A few thoughts and questions on the arguments being put forth.

  1. People in the military are there by choice. Our armed forces became strictly voluntary in 1973.
  2. People in the military know where their children are, and that they’re safe, even if the parent is risking his or her life for their country.
  3. Separation of immigrant children from their families has been going on to some degree for years. Why is it suddenly a hot button now?
  4. Blaming another administration (especially the wrong one) for a law being on the books makes no sense. How many laws are on the books which are never enforced?
  5. The current administration isn’t the first to separate children from parents crossing the border illegally. But they are doing so on a larger scale, and including those who went through the proper channels to legally seek asylum.

Looking for Answers and Maybe a Consensus

With my trusty Google in hand, I took to the internet to see if I could find some actual facts on the https://www.flickr.com/photos/kalexanderson/6054732942/in/photolist-ae36ah-eqPW1q-L1Q3B-5QQMpk-s1tF3N-6GVQf-f424M2-f4gixW-HWp9-f4giWE-bmB3u-hQtZaX-vqi5Y-9ZpF9d-5cY5jG-3h7PV-oyKd1N-oyJY3E-oRcKnb-oyKfEW-ppKsPd-v4Hxm-ayysuZ-dz8cC8-oyKDkp-8hx9Rr-8mb6gc-Ugw4zp-9CUkLz-5y14tD-8pfwZ8-T2Wwmx-T2UHak-T2TTXV-KiF33-T2Rnjp-U2ACbj-SZ5uRw-QM8Sd1-9nqxGa-aego8D-TFtUtS-4tUY4M-nKNhv-2QkAmT-UcUAnC-MHXb4-8DzWpB-oMZHy1-bmBakmatter. Of course, every site is biased in one direction or another, though some, like CNN do their best to sugar coat it, and not always in the best interests of the truth (which we all know is heavily influenced in each of us by what we already believe).

The liberally biased Vox.com published an article recently entitled “The Trump Administration’s Separation of Families at the Border, Explained”. Though some of the points have been argued on both sides, I found item 6 particularly interesting as it addresses Trump’s contention that his actions are justified by a “bad law passed by Democrats”. According to the article, the legislation in question was passed by George W. Bush in 2008. The article goes on to state:

The decision to charge everyone crossing the border with illegal entry — and the decision to charge asylum seekers in criminal court rather than waiting to see if they qualify for asylum — are both decisions the Trump administration has made.

Hard as They Try, CNN Can’t Ride the Fence

https://www.flickr.com/photos/shan213/13959398126/in/photolist-RwnZWa-ayQgu1-amXuij-9KZfif-bJsTcF-dmiwBx-4LwPZS-ngxyJ3-amXunq-83AkxT-5nmCvL-ajRRF1-p726Pa-8hXzrj-WYoqBq-b3XtLV-gtT43-g2PFEr-ayVLip-6AUTqf-dZMYA2-b3XnVr-dMLMcs-dPtAeM-dC9uL-W1398F-5zxVfC-W13cbK-b3XsLF-WYowof-d5HvmS-ax8DQJ-RsJuww-bsRwtU-ni7c-S7xRBk-qHFZg7-W13cvT-7YXYc7-4geuqc-ax8Sof-SVd9Lv-4yeamM-cx5tVs-dPzfsJ-cYzr1J-SAoCFu-VdeFR1-ax5YN8-4o3RtnCNN reports on the affects on children separated from their parents in their article “Doctors saw immigrant kids separated from their parents. Now they’re trying to stop it”. The doctors agree the children are impacted both psychologically and physically by the forced separation—not only while separated, but for the rest of their lives. Health issues they can look forward to as a result of toxic stress response activated by separating children from their parents include heart disease, cancer, and morbid obesity. And that’s after they have dealt with developmental issues. The article explains:

“Toxic stress is prolonged exposure to hormones such as cortisol, epinephrine, nor-epinephrine — fight or flight hormones — and then inflammatory hormones. In a very young child, that disrupts brain development.”

Though cases of toxic stress were seen occasionally during the Obama administration when illegal entrants were incarcerated and separated from their children on a much smaller scale, Dr. Julie Linton says the situation is much worse today and is quoted in the article:

“Now it’s a systematic policy to create the same kind of trauma that, before, I saw really on a case-by-case basis,” she says. “Now we’re systematizing something that we know is incredibly harmful and incredibly cruel.”

Physical and Emotional Damage That Impacts a Generation

This doesn’t even consider the fact that immigrants become fearful of any kind of authority, and won’t https://www.flickr.com/photos/runneralan/32724941891/in/photolist-RRMT74-6DwkhT-mn2ueR-praHMn-poE7ny-cMWBX5-p9cGrq-gckz1F-XoMUbp-aRvTXP-Yhagij-aq2WXA-RgmYmq-Ym4RBY-RTx6hf-5ujqmL-bLa5KB-6e6Rxw-9pPmRV-9mh7tA-47Pq2r-bXiZD2-Ym1BeA-QB3yPx-pXTtfR-mWzfG-oEtGe9-74ttmn-6xwnNe-ggVW8u-Xr7zxy-7XLQzt-7b4ujW-6Pt6Pf-5tjJ5u-pHB5v8-5YnBFP-pFwjP2-5YnDWZ-86xbJR-a2yeA1-jnW8yW-5EQi3z-UadXR7-Tbdnpp-24tXtuQ-RFyjEr-dALBpA-pKjx3a-dtDRfoseek help if a child becomes ill for fear of deportation. But it’s not just the families themselves who are at risk. According to Dr. Marisa Azaret, chief psychologist at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, their friends are impacted as well. She’s quoted as saying:
“When your best friend is worried that their father is going to be deported, it’s disrupting a whole generation of our kids.”
It seems the medical profession, and especially pediatricians are weighing in heavily on this, with the American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Physicians, and American Psychiatric Association 
all speaking out about the long-range effects of the Administrations wide-spread, and somewhat indiscriminate separation of families without regard for those who actually follow the law and enter the country legally under the existing amnesty laws.

Even Faux News is on Board This Time

https://www.flickr.com/photos/pvsbond/3477570009/in/photolist-6iispB-cTMR4f-F6qtRL-g25gqj-qnk8ek-721gcK-cTMNFu-gszkkM-cApCff-9nMRgW-orFCmu-asgdxf-9vgqRN-cTN4BU-ntm7Vj-iWoqWL-ruYcaN-hmuAUt-qDJY7g-4cyLgM-bbnbtT-bsTjtB-cTMMhE-boFaev-cTMNrQ-pC6YNZ-eMYwJ4-cTMScQ-cTMQKm-drV5oA-7Rfktm-9iQTqr-cTMNyY-8Hjoex-FzhCh2-9FuTL1-9HqAtM-cTMN3o-RWF1nm-cTMMxq-g2646E-qnjDfp-qnbDUh-5ht2kg-dK3zmi-drV2rE-cTMNbG-9ZxLax-gcrehS-cTMNiYI tried to find articles with very definite conservative leanings and opposing viewpoints but when high-profile Republicans like Senator John McCain are distancing themselves from the Administration, and speaking out against the policy; when States are implementing policies to keep from sending National Guard troops to the border to help with this inhumane and horrifically skewed interpretation of the law, the conservative news sources are either eerily silent, or in agreement with their more liberal counterparts, at least insofar as the basic facts of the matter.
Even Fox News, notorious for it’s conservative leaning is surprisingly consistent with other publications, even citing the act which is being used to justify the widespread internment of over 2,000 children who have been separated from their families. They, too, attribute the law in question, not to the Democrats, but to an act during George W. Bush’s Presidency.
A 2008 anti-trafficking statute dictates that certain minors must be taken out of immigration detention within 72 hours.
Their article, “What Trump’s ‘zero-tolerance’ immigration policy means for children separated from families at border” sticks mainly to widely agreed-upon facts without trying to justify the Administration’s policy. Instead, the author of the piece, Kaitlyn Schallhorn confirms the refusal by a number of Governors to send troops. It also shares quotes, not only from previous First Ladies, but from the current one, expressing, at the very least, dismay over the President’s policy.
And yet, does anyone else’s hair stand up when even Fox isn’t defending the President on this one?

Summing it Up, From Where I Sit

To say the Executive Order recently signed is acknowledgement the policy is ill-conceived is, in my opinion, yet another example of the sheep mentality sweeping our country. It’s a band-aid at best, and a poke at our mass delusions at worst. One thing is for certain, the masses and our beliefs and expectations are being tacitly ignored, and in a number of ways, used against us.
Events like the plight of migrant children are smoke screens for passing legislation like cuts to Medicare, https://www.flickr.com/photos/hinkelstone/14083404483/in/photolist-nsv8uF-dyff3V-eRNQ3r-2SRA4B-Z1HTxs-7uaXoM-eXadgK-pv6LAU-98w4Bo-7ePk2-T17pHx-dV9bSY-5cjDFy-XdTTEV-Ujv7CZ-XdTTEz-sKeKjh-dYtAar-TjQUT5-VdJr6p-eXacwn-mTUZwr-7ueYmA-eXnia7-7ueT7G-7ueSsY-df6ikz-7ueVLY-7ub3uF-Rskkry-88u5MQ-7ub2b4-eXasKZ-Rskkxf-7ueUqw-bAjZJV-98jg4H-HuRcNP-eXmDDE-7uaXWc-eXnmfu-JqVt6c-TMZP6Y-eXmC6f-5qzWuK-mTWK9q-VZDzw2-Vr2jq2-7ub7mZ-e7aVWKbut more, for transferring more and more resources, rights, and privileges to the elite at the expense of the common people. How long are we going to continue allowing this to happen, jumping on emotional bandwagons, and failing to dig into the emotionally charged issues before reacting. How long are we going to let ourselves be distracted while we’re being screwed?
I’m not saying we ignore the issues or stop caring, but that we need to look for the reason something suddenly becomes the most important thing in the world. We need to look behind the curtain to see what we’re being distracted from seeing. We need to recognize and protest a political agenda which cares nothing for the voters who still believe they actually have a real say in who we put in office.

Now, More Than Ever, We Need Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the freedoms, at least for the moment, which allow me to research topics like this. I may not have gotten all the answers I came for, but I can continue to dig.
  2. I am grateful for a mind that things, a skepticism that keeps me looking beneath the surface and reading between the lines, and the courage (or maybe recklessness) to talk about it from a different perspective.
  3. I am grateful for a working environment that molds to my own pace and rhythm, and includes a clowder of stress-relieving felines.
  4. I am grateful for the many people in my life who love and care too much about others. They are part of the heart and soul which will ultimately bring more love and less hate into a very troubled world.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, family, friendship, multiple sources, Google, curiosity, awareness, consciousness, inspiration, motivation, dreams, peace, harmony, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She specializes in creating content that helps 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

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Self-Sabotage and Healthy Habits

Understanding Why We Self-Sabotage

I’m a procrastinator. The more my mind sees a task as disrupting my life, the more likely I’ll do everything in my power to avoid it.

Still, over the last couple of years, I’ve managed to temporarily shut my inner procrastinator down to set some incredible habits which are now non-negotiable:

  • Make the bed every morning
  • Go to the gym 3 times a week
  • Eat healthy meals (most of the time)
  • Write my morning pages every day
  • Clean the kitchen before I go to bed every night

To some, these might seem pretty easy. They’re things a “normal” person would do without thinking twice. But for me, they’ve taken time and tenacity to build into habits I am no longer willing to break, except on rare occasions, and usually with good reason.

Getting Past the Blocks to Completing My Memoir

My biggest obstacle these days is the rewrite of “Forgotten Victims”. I start each day with every intention of picking it back up again, but, until yesterday, hadn’t been able to bring myself to do it. I realize it’s merely another obstacle I must conquer, but to do so, I need to grab hold of the ladder and put my foot on the first rung.

Instead of just sitting my butt down, opening the file, and starting, I used the time, when not contemplating my navel or playing games on the computer to psychoanalyze myself and my lack of motivation.

Getting Out of Our Own Way Towards Setting New Habits

Every new habit we set out to establish was daunting at first. It’s easier to make excuses, or worse, analyze our reasons for avoiding the thing entirely than to dive in and do it.

Years ago, I had an employee who tried my patience excessively. Every time I’d ask her do something a little different from what she was used to, she’d spend two hours whining and complaining about what I was asking her to do, and making excuses for why she couldn’t. Eventually, she’d do what I asked, in about 1/10th of the time she’d spent complaining about it.

I see a little of her in myself when I do everything in my power to avoid something, whether it’s going to the gym (which nowadays I am excited about instead of dreading), cleaning house (I still hate it, but I hate walking barefoot across gritty floors more), marketing my business (still trying to figure that one out, but building relationships in the meantime), or working on one of my five (yes I really do have five going at once) writing projects.

Focusing on Our Accomplishments

So why is it I can conquer the menial, boring, passionless tasks, but when it comes to what I really love, my passion projects, I am continually mired in excuses and, let’s be honest, an Everest-sized mountain of self-doubt? With everything else, I learned long ago to look at what I have accomplished rather than what I have left to accomplish. Where am I losing sight of it with my writing which I truly love?

With that in mind, let’s take stock. What have I already accomplished writing-wise?

  • Consistently writing 3 blog posts a week
  • Completed several writing projects for clients
  • Wrote and revised over 103,000 words for “Sasha’s Journey”
  • Wrote over 90,000 words for “A Dubious Gift”
  • Wrote over 70,000 words for “Hannah’s Chair”
  • Wrote over 70,000 words for “Forgotten Victims”
  • Re-wrote an entirely new first chapter for “Forgotten Victims” which I LOVE!
  • Re-wrote 4 more chapters (as of 6/6/18) for “Forgotten Victims”
  • Wrote 4,500 words for “Frederick the Gentlemouse”

Not to mention what I wrote during my years as an Accountant

  • Wrote volumes of detailed desk instructions
  • Wrote procedures for an ISO 9001 project
  • Wrote Cost Volumes for government RFP’s (Requests for Proposal)
  • Wrote countless responses to management, government agencies, clients, and more

My mind is especially blown when I realize I recently started the 6th 200-page spiral notebook of Morning Pages, and have filled the better part of another with writing prompts. And let’s not forget more than 1,200 blog posts for my website and blog site.

Do More, Think Less

The point I’m making (more for myself than anyone else) is when I didn’t waste time making excuses or talking myself out of moving from the safe, boring place in which I was currently sitting, I did some amazing things. In fact, from the day I swore to my daughter I couldn’t possibly write 50,000 words in a month, and did it with words and time to spare, I have consistently overachieved—as long as I got out of my own way and didn’t over think it.

Therein lies a problem many of us face. We see, not the first step in a journey, but the entire mountain we believe we need to climb. We allow the part of us that hates change (and maybe exercise too!) to fill our heads with negative self-talk, excuses, and fear. And for what? So we can remain in the rut we know we hate forever? How dumb is that? Yet every one of us is an expert in self-sabotage.

That doesn’t mean many aren’t wildly successful. Just because you develop expertise in something doesn’t mean you have to pursue it. Sometimes, we need to learn everything about a particular topic or behavior pattern so we understand what’s needed to overcome it or conquer it.

It Isn’t Always Necessary to Know Why

A few days ago, I was talking to Linda Clay about my lack of motivation to finish “Forgotten Victims” and she started throwing out questions to help me figure out why I was self-sabotaging. When I finally picked it up and started re-reading so I could start re-writing, I realized something really important. The time I was spending trying to figure out why I wasn’t writing was keeping me from writing! (cue light bulbs, fireworks, and neon banners blazing across the sky)

I suddenly realized it isn’t always about understanding why you’re avoiding something. Trying to figure it out is adding to the list of avoidance measures you’re using. Sometimes you have to stop overthinking the reasons behind the problem and get back to the business of doing what you do best. In my case, remembering that I could be the most amazing writer on the planet, but if I never finish and publish anything, none of my lofty dreams will ever bear the fruit I seek.

Our minds will do just about anything to maintain our status quo. It’s safe. It’s known. It requires little effort. But it’s also boring as hell. Our amazing brains atrophy from disuse just as our muscles do when we do nothing but sit in front of the TV all day. We need to scramble those brain cells. Keep them moving and stretch them in new and different ways.

Between you and me, a healthy, challenged body is nothing without a healthy, challenged mind. Is it time to stop asking “why?” and start asking “why not?” Each of us has to answer that question ourselves, but if you’ve been stuck in a rut too long like I was, I can pretty much guarantee it’s time.

A Gratitude a Day…

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for a mind which, despite the odds, thrives on being challenged.
  2. I am grateful for new people and ideas which are coming into my world these days. Whether or not they ever know, they challenge me to strive to be the very best me I can.
  3. I am grateful for finally breaking the writing block that kept “Forgotten Victims” from becoming a reality.
  4. I am grateful for people who continually encourage me even when they don’t know exactly what it is they’re encouraging me to do. They know the what is less important than the why.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; perseverance, motivation, inspiration, encouragement, role models, support, entrepreneurs, friends, family, my cats who are there to encourage and sometimes distract me from myself, peace, harmony, love, happiness, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She specializes in creating content that helps 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

Promise in the Sunrise

The Phoenix and the Sunrise

The Sun card in the Spiral Tarot is an image which has always uplifted me, but it wasn’t until I’d faced yet another spell of darkness that I realized the image is essentially a Phoenix. As I mulled over my epiphany, I thought about what the Phoenix represents and how the Sun really is a Phoenix every day. It rises every morning, bringing with it promise and hope of a day we can use to be the best of ourselves, spreading joy, love and hope to others. At night, it sinks into the sea (or at least it does where I live), to rise again the next day.

We have only the moment at hand to be and do our best; to spread kindness, to take another step on our path towards our dreams and goals. Tomorrow isn’t promised, and yesterday is no more than a pile of ash. For me, life is truly the Phoenix/Sun, but for a little while, I lost sight of it.

Seeing the Lessons Life Brings Us

Life brings us reminders, both subtle and intense to help us learn and grow. Unfortunately, it’s too easy to get caught up in our thoughts, our daily struggles, and the trouble and strife in the world where we live. When we get caught up, we lose sight of the wonder and beauty waiting patiently until we stop, breathe, and be in the moment. It’s easy to forget we’ve handled whatever life threw at us all our lives, or how pointless it is to worry about something until it’s actually here and requiring our attention.

I, for one need little reminders. Not just the ones the Universe sends me, but those I create myself, like a picture of the Sun card posted above my computer to remind me each day is a brand new gift for me to open and show my gratitude. Or a picture of myself as a young child as a reminder to speak and think kindly to the woman I am now.

Remembering to Breathe

You’d think because I no longer punch a time clock or work according to someone else’s arbitrary definition of a work day I’d be more likely to take time to stop, breathe, and look around at the wonders of my world. Yet too often I still crawl deep inside myself in not-so-blissful oblivion of little things like how each day is a rebirth, a renewal, and an opportunity to start all over again.

Last weekend I visited my daughter and son-in-law who live about a 3 hour drive away. As I typically do, I made the drive down late at night after dancing in order to miss the traffic. Needless to say, there’s not a lot to see while driving through the pitch-black night so it’s easy to focus on one of two things: being in the moment and enjoying the peace and quiet of a solo drive, or my mind ticking away at a million and three things I want or need to do.

Though I’d planned on leaving in the evening (which in hindsight would have been harder as I’d be driving into the setting sun), plans changed and I embarked on the return journey mid-afternoon. The first thing I recognized in the first half hour was it is an incredibly beautiful drive. The route I take goes through miles of open spaces dotted here and there with cities and mega malls. Even the 20-mile stretch where one city blends into the next, the mountains are still visible from the highway.

Staying in The Now

This time, I made a conscious decision to focus completely on getting home safely, paying attention and being in the moment. Every time my mind tried to drift to all the “shoulds” in my life, I gently pulled it back into the moment. Maybe it was a cloud that looked like a crocodile with it’s mouth wide open, or a particularly beautiful stand of trees marching atop a buff and green hill. Either way, I was immediately back in the moment, or what Eckhart Tolle calls “The Now”.

The funny thing about being in “the Now” is you don’t really notice time passing. Small delays are a chance to relax and enjoy the scenery. Most of all, you get where you’re going and are a little surprised to find you’re already there, and more, that almost 3 hours has passed though it seems like no more than moments. In short, watching the time and trying to calculate when you’ll get from here to there makes it seem like forever. Enjoying each moment for itself makes those moments seem to fly by as one blends into the other.

Clothed in Kindness

What really surprised me about the drive is after I told myself it would take as long as it took to get home, I encountered very few delays, and each one was fairly short, at least given the amount of time it took me to reach home. Highways which typically carry too many cars were almost empty. Events which normally have drivers on either side stopping to gawk were barely a blip on everyone’s radar. People were considerate about allowing others to merge and change lanes, even in places where they’re suddenly trying to navigate 3 or 4 lanes in order to make an interchange.

Was I just seeing what I wanted to see? Did I have a bubble of kindness around me because of the attitude I adopted when I embarked on my journey? I don’t have the answers to those questions. All I have is gratitude for a safe, uneventful trip. That’s enough for me.

We can look at our world and see a series of challenges, trials and tribulations, and more than our share of failures. We can also look at it as a single moment in which we choose to experience joy and connection. Either way, we’ll get what we expect.

Breaking the Cycle of Worry and Anticipation

Like many people, I spent a lot of years feeling like I was fighting an uphill battle; at work, at home, with life in general. I was essentially in a holding pattern. Not sinking very low (at least I’d managed to get through that cycle), but never rising very high either. My attitude of resignation was equivalent to putting a cinder block on my head and removing my ability to look up and out of the cave I’d built myself.

Breaking free of old cycles hasn’t been easy, and if I’m honest, has come at the cost of some things I once believed important. I still have days when I slide back into old patterns and let worry and woe overtake me. But I’m also able to recognize the reminders all around me to appreciate the moments and allow things to come to me in their own time and manner.

Worry, like anticipation makes whatever we believe is coming seem monstrous. We imagine the best or the worst instead of allowing perfection to unfold in its own way, and often miss those amazing moments because we’ve geared ourselves up to expect something else. At those times, I remind myself to look to the sunrise for guidance and inspiration. The sun doesn’t rush to rise any more than it does a swan dive into the sea rather than await the gentle slide downward each evening.

Stop and Watch the Sunrise

We can learn a lot from watching the sun rise and set, or a flower slowly open its petals to the sun. Everything happens in its right and proper time. By remaining quiet and alert, we are in the right place and mindset to clearly see the next step in our journey and take it without hesitation.

Today, what I’m working on may not generate income in the foreseeable future. This might be a time to build a foundation, or even erect a couple of walls of the structure I’m creating for my new life. Tomorrow, I might put in 18 hours on client work, or 12 on a proposal for a new client. Or I could just take the day off and go to the beach and write. I don’t know when I lay my head down at night what the next day will bring. I don’t even know when I get up and start my morning routine. I only know I need to be aware and awake so I’ll recognize the clues when they appear.

Staying in the flow takes practice as our nature insists we push things along. We’re in a society which thrives on instant gratification and becomes anxious and frustrated when forced to wait. Yet the most valuable things in life are those we don’t rush, don’t push, but instead, wait patiently, taking our baby steps, and allowing ourselves to be amazed as they unfold.

May we allow our child-selves to emerge and see life through eyes of amazement.

Finding Gratitude Everywhere

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for life’s little reminders.
  2. I am grateful for my child-self who reminds me to wait, watch, and be amazed.
  3. I am grateful for my moments of darkness because they give way to moments of intense light and beauty.
  4. I am grateful for my quiet time for contemplation, creation, and revelation.
  5. I am grateful for abundance: love, joy, light, beauty, new experiences, wisdom, lessons, friendships, peace, health, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She specializes in creating content that helps 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

Breaking Blocks Impeding Our Success

Our Mental Blocks Can Be Broken

While writing my morning pages today, I thought about an exercise I did yesterday afternoon to try to release my money blocks. Immediately, I got a vision of a huge cinder block, one of many, really, which had been chained to me for as long as I could remember. In the vision, I saw the chains being removed and the blocks falling away.

It occurred to me that our blocks, money or otherwise, are equivalent to those cinder blocks because, in their own way, they weigh us down and prevent us from moving, not just forward, but in any direction. We are, in essence, held in place by the weight of the blocks we carry.

Getting in Touch With What Stands in Our Way

It was suggested I sit outside yesterday and just make a list of the blocks and beliefs which keep me from asking for compensation equivalent to the value I provide, to not just see the “bad” or “negative” aspects of those thoughts, but also how they’re doing me good as well. Three or four pages later, I had a list, but I had also started writing about why I can ask for fees which are on the same level as men I’ve come into contact with over the years who had similar skill levels and experience, but in some cases, a lot less talent than me. I realized when I thought about it that what they were charging 5 years ago for their services was as much as 5 times more than what I charge today! And do you know what? I couldn’t think of a single reasonable excuse for harboring such low expectations.

In fact, I didn’t even feel the usual “but you don’t have your CPA license” dogma come into the equation. Why? Because I’m not looking for clients who need audit or tax advice. I am providing business services either acquired through my years of experience working for various companies, or knowledge acquired through reading or talking to other people who have some knowledge I needed. Either way, I have as much or more justification for charging at least equivalent rates to the men who were contracted by previous employers to perform a task which, at the time, was outside my scope, or simply above and beyond my part in a project and not achievable even with the number of hours I had available.

The only differentiation here is that they were men, and were hired by men who had no qualms paying other men so much more than they would pay a woman. But it’s my fault as well, because I didn’t insist on being paid what I was truly worth. Over time, it was reflected in my work because I was less and less willing to go above and beyond with my efforts when my employers were unwilling to go above and beyond with my compensation the way they did with the men in the company’s employ, both as salaried employees and contractors. Yet the end result was displeasure with myself for lowering both my expectations and my deliverables.

Leaving Our Doormat Mentality Behind

Yes, in some ways, we woman are part of our own solution, but there are a lot of paradigms we have to shift in order to make that happen. In many ways, I believe that starts with ourselves. Once we convince ourselves and our female employers of our true value, and start achieving it, the flow can be broadened to encompass the more resistant males. They’ve grown accustomed to getting away with paying women less. Women have accepted less just so they could get a job. We’ve allowed men to “jew” us down, believing their lies that they can get the job done by anyone with our skills at half the price, or that this job is the best one we can get. Our shortsightedness makes us focus on the immediacy of making enough to feed, house, and clothe our families, instead of on the long-term implications of a job that allows us only to get by.

Years ago, I left a job because I was given the option of a demotion and cut in pay, or a lay off. I knew there had been a lot of collusion between management and my less-than-competent male co-worker for such a ridiculous offer to be made, so I chose the obvious response and took the layoff. Surprised at my decision, the manager said to me “But you need this job.”. I looked him square in the eye and said “I need a job. I don’t need this job.”

Taking Responsibility for Our Own Undervaluation

I laugh when I think about it because I took some skills they needed with me when I left, and for a couple of weeks, various members of their staff called me at home asking where things were. I finally had to threaten legal action if they didn’t stop calling and harassing me, as the calls had degenerated into accusations of misconduct and even theft. It was the first time I took the long view instead of the short one, and in fact, it was my former employer who failed to see they were being played by a man with the ethics of a junkyard dog. (In fact, he cooked the books for a law firm with somewhat shady business practices until the authorities clipped their wings, leaving him jobless.)

What I’ve always known, but clearly shoved to the back of my brain was that, as a woman, I have historically allowed men and frankly, other people as a whole to determine my value. I laid down and accepted their meager pittance of an assessment because the work I do doesn’t provide an obvious return on their investment. Of course, part of the problem is my lack of a certain body part too. For some reason, value to a company has a connection to something which typically has no true impact on the work being done!

I’ve been very good at making excuses for undervaluing my work. Whether it’s lack of a particular license or education, or failure to be visible to a market which would see the value in what I can offer, I have, for decades, stood in my own way. The worst part of it is, I know I’m not alone. Over the years, I’ve worked with many women who worked 10 times harder than men in equal or even higher level positions, yet were paid on average about 75% of what the men made to do the same job. We’ve accepted smaller raises and excuses which, had we known it, were not passed off to the men in the company. The truth is, we got the minuscule examples of recognition so the men, and all-too-often, the company owners could justify walking away with more.

Sure, it used to be that a woman’s income supplemented that brought in by the man of the house. But those days are long past. Women make up a huge percentage of primary wage-earners these days, and as such, struggle to give their families the same level of comfort as their male counterparts.

Destroying the Blocks Built On Our Lies

Before this turns into a full-on rant about wage equality, I’m going to try to return to my original train of thought, and that is the blocks we set for ourselves. Whether it’s money, visibility, or anything else we want to achieve, we get in our own ways too often by telling ourselves fat, ugly lies.

Lies like “I don’t deserve it”, or “other people are better at it than me”, or “I don’t have enough experience”, or the granddaddy of them all “I’m not worthy”. As you read those words, try to imagine them as giant cinder blocks. Now that you have the image, what’s stopping you from putting the damn things down? Where is it written that we’re supposed to carry cinder blocks around? They were meant for building, not dragging. They were also meant for knocking down when the structure they support no longer serves its original purpose, or has become weakened by age and environmental factors.

Now, picture a stack of those blocks with a giant wrecking ball crashing through them. As the ball connects with the blocks and bits of gray stone go flying in all directions, imagine the feeling of freedom you get when those blocks are neither standing in your way or needing to be dragged. They’re simply gone just as the energetic, emotional, mental ones can be if you give them a physical presence, but just long enough to feel the satisfaction of smashing them down, or better still, blowing them up like they do outdated hotels in Las Vegas. Plant the dynamite, and BOOM! A decades-old structure is reduced to a pile of rubble in a matter of moments.

The stories and lies you’ve been telling yourself deserve the same fate. Sure, it’s a simplistic approach, but maybe one or two can be leveled so you can get to the ones which are more pernicious.

When the Waiting is Over, Get Moving

Over and over, I’m reminded of a book I read last year by Sue Monk Kidd called “When the Heart Waits”. She refers, throughout the book to the idea of a caterpillar going into a cocoon where it waits for its body to reform, then emerges as a butterfly. The body of a caterpillar is limiting, but it’s a good place to grow and learn. Eventually, we all have to shed the confines of our learning self to come into our magnificence. There is no particular time limit on it. We all emerge from our cocoon in our own time.

In my case, it took me over 6 decades. I know it is exactly the right amount of time for me. I cannot measure my life by anyone else’s, nor do I any more. (Aside from the afore-mentioned monetary value for services. But even there, it’s not so much a measurement as a realization that I’d been measuring myself in inches rather than yards.)

There comes a time when each and every one of us have to take stock and make changes. Sadly, far too many wait until they’re on their death bed to do so. Fear will hold many back from emerging from the cocoon. Fear will drive others to leave because they don’t want to be stuck there for the rest of their lives. I am the latter. How abut you?

Reflections and Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the people who are coming into my life to help me remove old, tired, out-dated blocks to emergence from my own cocoon.
  2. I am grateful for the ability to craft a blog post even when I start without a single viable idea.
  3. I am grateful for friends who are honest with me rather than trying to tell me what I want to hear. What I need to hear is far more valuable.
  4. I am grateful for the busyness which is characterizing 2018, even in the first month of the year. It bodes well for my many plans and adventures.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; words to write, ideas to flow, people to meet, opportunities becoming successes, acquaintances becoming friendships, hardships becoming lessons, encouragement, love, joy, challenges, health, harmony, peace, prosperity, generosity, and philanthropy.

Love and Light

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She is available for article writing and ghost writing to help your website and the business it supports grow and thrive. Her specialties are finding and expressing your authentic self. 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

One Man’s Tool is Another’s Weapon

Tools: Using Them for the Good of All…or None?

Tools. What do you think of when you hear the word? A rake? A hammer? A shovel? Or perhaps something mechanical like a lawnmower or a washing machine?

The word can be applied to pretty much anything that helps us do things more simply, more quickly, more efficiently. How about computer software? Antibiotics. A pencil. A laser.

Any or all of these in the right hands can make our lives better, both on an individual level and a global one.

But in the wrong hands, tools can be altered or abused and used to do harm.

I know what you’re saying right now. How can a simple pencil cause harm? Have you never heard the old saying “the pen is mightier than the sword”? How many lives can be unalterably changed by words written and published which mis-state facts so convincingly as to turn nation against nation; brother against brother? Or on a smaller scale, who hasn’t at one time or another been hurt by someone’s thoughtless and uncaring words penned in anger or unwarranted hatred?

There have been times when garden implements were taken up as weapons when nothing else was available. Drugs can be altered, software can be hacked. And lasers can be used to kill as easily as they can be used to heal or create beauty.

Money: The Ultimate Tool or the Ultimate Weapon?

Do you know what else is nothing more than a tool? Money! That’s right, the almighty buck! Before there was money, people traded things for things. All money really did was simplify the process.

OK, not “all”. It also creates a gap between the “haves” and “have nots”. It makes people do awful things to get more of it. Some are even convinced that a certain amount of dollars (or euros, yen, Bitcoin, or whatever your currency) will make them happy. It also serves to emphasize our lack mentality.

And yet, it’s no more or less ridiculous than saying having enough hammers, or bicycles, or toothbrushes will make them happy! The only way any kind of tool will bring you happiness is by using it to accomplish something.

Accepting the Myth of Scarcity

Take a moment to think about that statement. As long as we believe there’s not enough of something to go around, we give it additional value as a scarce commodity, and it takes on a life of its own. With regard to money, we allow those pieces of paper and bits of metal to mean more to us than love, compassion, community. What began as a tool is now the master.

When we value a thing above our humanity, we give those who have more of that thing undeserved power. While some will continue to use their abundance to do good, there will always be a few whose intentions are, well, not so good.

Throughout history, we’ve had people who came into power, in part because they had more of something, typically money, than others. In too many cases, they were poisoned by that power. Their minds craved more, and when they got it, it was never enough. For some inexplicable reason, they felt they had to control everything and everyone around them. Inevitably, they and the world they’d built came crashing down around their feet.

Too Much of Anything Can be Deadly

Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to be too rich or too thin. Just as King Midas ultimately destroyed what he loved the most, those in our world whose main goal is acquiring more ultimately corrupt themselves and lose their most important possession—themselves. Unfortunately, in the process of acquiring stuff and killing off their own humanity, they take countless others with them.

Some of them are partners-in-crime, sacrificing their own humanity for what they don’t even realize is a fleeting moment of power. But most are victims; perhaps followers at first until they are sucked into the machinations of the aspiring gods, only to be chewed up and spat out when they are no longer useful. Too often, they drag their bruised and broken bodies back to where they came from, and look for someone else to blame for their ignorance and stupidity.

We see it time and time again, yet as a whole, humanity fails to learn from its most monumental mistakes. Whether it’s money, technology, land, or some other commodity, he who holds the most, also has the most to lose, and eventually does if they use what they have solely for personal power. But they never fall alone. They always take the masses with them, who may have had little to lose, but also nothing to gain. When the walls come crashing down, it is they who are left naked and exposed, easy prey for the next idiot with aspirations of grandeur.

Humans Got Us Into This, Our Divinity Can Get us Out

I’m enough of a dreamer that I still see a time when the veil of ignorance is lifted. A time when those who would misuse the tools mankind has created for their own personal gain are no longer able to gather followers as mindless as a flock of sheep who accept their lies and subterfuge as gospel. I believe there are enough people who use those tools for the good of all to arise and quell the ugliness of these inhuman humans.

But first, we have to find a way to overcome generations of ignorance and blind obedience which has sucked far too many people into the dark depths where thinking is discouraged and allowing emotions alone to separate truth from lies is the norm.

I truly wish I had a solution, as it seems pointless to continue staring at a blank wall without having some idea of how to get around it. The only thing I know for certain is that beating people over the heads with opposing viewpoints serves to make them grasp their misbegotten beliefs closer to their breasts.

Time to Stop Beating a Deaf Horse

Fighting something automatically generates resistance because change is, to many, terrifying. Pushing to convince someone that the sky is blue when they’ve been taught since birth it’s orange will have but one outcome: they will stop listening to anything you say on any subject.

Sure, I know what does NOT work to stop some from misusing the miraculous tools we’ve created, and others from following them blindly. I just haven’t found out what DOES work yet. With many minds working to find it, I can only have faith that the solution will ultimately be found, and the tools we’ve created will be returned to their rightful place, their rightful purpose. Only then will we stop being controlled by the tools and those who would misuse them for the sake of their own power.

Finding Gratitude in Everything We See, Say, and Do

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful I was taught to think with my brain while engaging my heart to keep me human.
  2. I am grateful for opposing viewpoints as they make me look more deeply at both sides of the equation.
  3. I am grateful for my faith in the humanity and divinity within us all. For some, it might be more deeply buried, but it’s there, if we can only free it from artificial, self-imposed bonds.
  4. I am grateful for the ability to write. It makes me think, and hopefully, allows others to do the same.
  5. I am grateful for abundance: love, friendship, knowledge, wisdom, guidance, opportunities, challenges, lessons, setbacks, successes, dreams, goals, problems and solutions, peace, harmony, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She is available for article writing and ghost writing to help your website and the business it supports grow and thrive. Her specialties are finding and expressing your authentic self. 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

My Computer, My Mask

Breaking the Mask

https://www.flickr.com/photos/katsexagesima01/3612047773/in/photolist-6vbFXK-7mfHK5-82q4rd-7Ku82r-7xTufQ-7xTvNm-noV2nx-8v7yLg-7xTtxw-b5JoM-awiDbx-74ofjQ-4xTEyL-aFUvSc-2nJqV-pnUS3J-UZSY-KSCvY-q54hFw-74jkL8-57r2Za-rXWSV-RAqoKt-wCAn3-74jkCt-459Ltf-8VkKtr-jrTTpy-7Mx4vz-9gJ6Hm-q2BAZF-A1eTBs-4sLmnj-7hJteh-nDn5BQ-98W5r7-4oJBHP-FUYqD-66WsR1-aaLTe-9gF1wt-7AibaD-cof4ks-bKGrY-7pamwZ-9yY17Q-2QEkGc-qtnpn9-qUrb5H-5EB1gvI write a lot about authenticity. I even get up on Facebook Live and talk about it and myself quite openly. But after attending a conference where people got up in front of a live audience and talked about their lives and their struggles, I learned a really difficult lesson about authenticity and openness. Writing in a blog or even doing a live broadcast is just another kind of mask.

Even when I get responses from people, the dialogue is after the fact when I’m safely behind the wall. They can’t touch me or see me falter. They (or perhaps I should say you) don’t see my insecurities and vulnerabilities laid out on the table. Any tears I shed or frustrations I express are hidden from your eyes. In other words, I’m still safe.

A Prison of My Own Making

In some ways, I still believe I need that protection, that safety net, the barrier between me and thou. But in others, it has become my prison, my place of disconnection, my lonely isolation. It is real, but only to a point. When I close my door behind me, there’s no one to hold me when I hurt, celebrate with me when I triumph, or just sit quietly sharing the moment. I am, for all intents and purposes, alone.

Even in a crowd, my invisible barriers soar to the skies. with only a few do I show what’s behind the curtain.

When the Time Comes to Step Outside

Yet lately, it’s becoming harder and harder to keep that curtain in place, to hide the tears, the pain, the sorrow, and the fragility. My emotions are closer to the surface, reflected on my face, in my posture, and in the tears that spill despite my best efforts to contain them.

It seems I’m being kicked out from behind my walls, at least in certain cases and places. Yet I scamper back behind them to write stories like this one, or to talk to my own face while recording a video. The more I fight it, the harder it becomes to feel safe and protected. The more I try to stay behind my walls, the more uncomfortable I become. I’m feeling edgy and discontented. I want more, but it scares the shit out of me. I take baby steps outside which turn into giant steps whether I like it or not.

I’d say mysterious forces are at work to push me into another dimension of my life, but I know better. They’re the same forces which ended jobs, relationships, and other situations for me at just the right time. They are my own internal butt kickers who know when I’ve sat in one place for too long and need to move before I grow roots and try to stay where I no longer belong.

A Move is a Move, No Matter How Small

It isn’t necessarily about moving physically (I’ve lived in the same house for over 30 years). It’s about evolving, growing, expanding who I am into who I’m meant to be. Sometimes, the steps are small and manageable like the initial steps we take while learning to walk. Other times, like now, they’re huge, frightening, and meant to turn my safe, cozy world on its ear. Times like now when I’ve become blase about the little 2- and 3-point earthquakes that rattle my world and the Universe decides it’s time for an 8.7 bone rattler.

I don’t know what tomorrow is going to bring, and I’ll be honest with you. I’m terrified on several levels. But at the same time, I’m excited about what the latest upheaval will bring with it. I’ve lived through my share of them, and in all honesty, it always turns out better than I expected or imagined. This time will be no different, and will probably be even more amazing because my fear levels are off the Richter scale right now.

Easy Steps are Stepping Stones, Not a Place to Rest

I’ve discovered that opening up to people via Facebook Live is just a walk in the park for me. It was the natural progression from what my friend Lucia calls “raw Sheri” in my writing. I even broke down in front of a stranger yesterday and don’t feel completely humiliated and ashamed today. Granted, I declined when she asked if she could hug me. I wasn’t ready to go into full melt-down in front of her and a room full of strangers. But perhaps that time will come.

In the movie, The Grinch, there’s a scene where tears are falling and he says “I’m leaking.” I feel like I’m leaking too, but the salty tears are the outward manifestation of the leak, not the leak itself. I’m leaking humanity; something I’ve kept bottled up most of my life. Sure, I’ve been letting it out a little at a time for the last couple of decades, but my cracks are widening and I can no longer seal them back up as I used to. I no longer want to be on the outside looking in.

Am I ready to come out from behind the last of my walls, take off the last of my masks? Changing the name of this blog is probably my answer. I changed the name because it felt right. But I think it was that inner voice telling me it’s time to walk the talk instead of just paying it lip service.

Embracing What’s Uncomfortable

I sit here now, typing these words, feeling anxious, afraid, and close to tears (which seems to be my natural state of late). Dylan seems to sense it as he rarely leaves my side when I’m home lately. His comforting presence slows my rapidly beating heart and gives me a place to go when the fear overwhelms.

Still, I look forward to long talks and sharing my red Adirondack chairs. This is not a time for isolation. My new word is “community”. My goal is to recognize the one I already have and to build and expand on it. I’m ready to open myself up to new experiences and people, and new ways to strengthen my wilting finances. My new motto (or one of them) is “Why think outside the box? There is no box!”

“Don’t Just Do Something. Sit There.”

I heard something from one of the speakers yesterday which made me stop and think. He said “Don’t just do something. Sit there.” How often have we been told the opposite? Sometimes we really need to get off the hamster wheel and spend time simply being. We need to take time to pause and reflect; to allow all of the experiences and thoughts we’ve been having to swirl around and put themselves together in ways they won’t find if we’re busy pushing the pieces around.

What I’ve been doing lately isn’t working, or at least it isn’t working well. I’ve been pushing the pieces around, but the resulting patterns are simply variations on what I’ve always known. It’s time for me to allow new patterns to emerge, and to not toss them away simply because they’re unfamiliar.

I’m taking time this weekend to simply sit there and allow the ideas to form without my interference. Who knows where I’ll be next week, but life is an adventure, if we’re willing to accept the challenge.

Sitting Quietly in Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for discomfort.
  2. I am grateful for fear.
  3. I am grateful for the bloodletting that comes with lowering walls and removing masks.
  4. I am grateful for the community I’ve failed, to this point to recognize and appreciate.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; challenges, lessons, friendships, dreams, goals, spirit, love, tears, honest emotions, peace, health, harmony, prosperity, and philanthropy.

Love and Light

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. She believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She is available for article writing and ghost writing to help your website and the business it supports grow and thrive. She specializes in finding and expressing your authentic self. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information.

Giving the Blog a Facelift Again

In Search of Authenticity

Once again it’s time to change the face of my blog to reflect the changes I’ve made in my life. The change comes because I’ve discovered how valuable it is to show the world our authentic selves. How many times do we get ourselves in trouble by trying to be someone who is not in alignment with our soul? I don’t mean the times when we fake it til we make it, but when we pretend to be someone we’re not for the sole purpose of fitting in. To quote Dr. Seuss “why fit in when you were meant to stand out?”

To say it’s been a rough couple of months for me would be overstating the obvious. Yet it seems I’m not done with the latest series of Universal kicks in the ass. Yes, folks. We’ve gone way beyond head slaps at this point and I’m being seriously challenged to remain upright instead of throwing in the proverbial towel. To put it bluntly, at 62 years old I find myself in the unenviable position of needing to either rejoin a less-than-welcoming job market or somehow manifest some seriously lucrative freelance work. My friend Lucia told me last night that I know what I need to do. My response was to update and publicize my resume, though I know she meant I need to get past my fear and distaste and start pitching like a maniac.

The Ugly Side of Job Sites

Naturally, as soon as I made my resume public on LinkedIn, Indeed, and Careerbuilder I was inundated with emails from insurance companies looking for salespeople and franchise brokers looking for investors. I have to laugh as I would never have made my resume public again if I had money to invest in a new enterprise, much less something which is ultimately benefiting corporate America!

I’m waiting for the influx of employment agencies who have no intention of sending me on a single interview but would love to put me in their inventory to molder on the shelf. I expect a reprieve until Monday when they’re back at their desks.

Open the Window and See the Opportunities

In Neurogym’s winning the Game of Money, the first recording tells a story about walking across the desert, realizing you’re thirsty and have no water, and feeling a little desperate until you trip over a cactus and realize sources of water have been there all along. You just failed to notice or recognize them. I’m doing my best to remember that those cacti, those opportunities really are there. I simply need to alter my focus so I’ll see them for what they are.

To do that I have to avoid both wallowing in my misery and fear, and step a few more paces outside the comfortable and familiar. After all, I know what I’ll find there; more of the same. And yet, I went dancing tonight (against my better judgement), and tried desperately to hold it together. Needless to say, all it took was one person asking “are you OK?” and I failed epicly. But to my surprise, I learned that it’s the next step in living my authenticity. After a lifetime of being strong and independent, I’m still learning not only how to be vulnerable, but that I’m allowed to be vulnerable. To hear my friend Judy tell it, the Universe is going to continue kicking my arse on this one until I stop fighting it and just let myself need other people.

Vulnerability and Independence are Not Mutually Exclusive

This may not seem like anything world-shaking to most of you, but for me, it’s scary as hell to have to depend on someone else. Though I know on a conscious level it doesn’t mean I have to give up my independence, on an egoistic level, my entire being is on high alert, flashing red lights, sirens, and throwing every safeguard I know at what it sees as a security breach. How can I possibly impose on anyone? They have their own problems to deal with. They don’t need to listen to me whine about mine, right?

To hear Judy tell it, I’m dead wrong on this one. This is where I learn to accept help, be it human or Divine. This is where I get the wake-up call that I can’t do it all on my own, no matter how tough and independent I think I am. Until I walk this walk, I can talk all I want to about living authentically, but until I expose that naked underbelly of vulnerability, I’m just another woman behind the mask.

When Our Dreams Scare Us Silly

I had a dream a couple of months ago that I was alone and close to starving. Most of my cats had died because I couldn’t afford to take them to the vet. It’s hard to accept that it wasn’t a premonition of Toby’s death even though I know spending more money on his care would have been unlikely to prolong a quality life for him. But a part of me lives in fear that since I’ve learned how much worse off I am financially, others will experience health problems to make my premonition a reality.That, above everything else would be most likely to have me giving up on it all, so of course, I can’t let that happen. All the more reason to increase my awareness of those lurking opportunities.

Taking Another Leap Outside My Comfort Zone

Still I’m looking forward to the 1000 Speakers Academy I’ll be volunteering at next week. There’s nothing quite so uplifting and inspiring as spending time with successful business owners who are passionate about what they do. And it might be just the place to not only help others but allow someone to help me too! Stay tuned for updates on that!

In Loving Gratitude

My gratitudes tonight are:

  1. I am grateful for my friends who are willing and able to help the Universe kick my butt when I need it.
  2. I am grateful for my lessons in vulnerability, even if I’m learning them, kicking and screaming the whole way.
  3. I am grateful for a young man named Adam who gave me such a high energy, fun, silly West Coast Swing tonight that it chased the blues away completely! (Some people dance WCS sexy and classy, and some of us are more of a Lucy Ricardo meets Mae West) Never again will I berate myself for not being the smooth, classy dancer I see other women being. My Authentic self is just perfect.
  4. I am grateful for being the silly, fun, sometimes irreverent with I am. Not everyone appreciates that in me, but then, I don’t need to please everyone either.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; health (me and my family, both human and furry, friends, and acquaintances too!), dancing, vulnerability, authenticity, inspiration, motivation, Universal butt kicks, friendship, love, giving and receiving, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. She believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She is available for article writing and ghost writing to help your website and the business it supports grow and thrive. She specializes in finding and expressing your authentic self. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information.

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