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Archive for the ‘kindness’ Category

Express Your Opinion With Kindness

Whatever Your Opinion, Be Kind

kindnessSome people feel the need to rant, or to meet every opinion that contradicts theirs with an argument. I’ve decided I need to let them rant or fume, but save my own sanity, and refrain from adding my opinion to their rant; which often means fuel to their fire. It’s taking me a long time to learn I don’t need to push my opinion on others, and especially when we are on opposite sides of an emotionally charged issue. Neither of us is going to change our view by being shouted at, preached at, or browbeaten, so why engage at all?

Each person has their own wants, needs, beliefs, and desires. They won’t all match yours. Be kind. You can’t possibly know all the reasons someone else believes as they do, any more than they can be privy to yours. I’ve learned through a few hard lessons the best thing to do is disarm your own triggers, and recognize when someone else’s are armed and ready to fire. In most cases, their battle isn’t yours to fight anyway.

Once upon a time, I dove into every fray with cannons ablaze, ready to fight for what I perceived to be the underdog. In at least 95% of the cases, I learned after I’d been bruised and battered myself that I’d been manipulated, and I dove into someone else’s fight with the sketchiest of information. It took several repetitions of the same lesson before I realized it wasn’t my job to fight someone else’s battles, or to succumb to their entreaties and altered perceptions about how they’d been wronged.

Picking My Battles on the Road to Compassion

I have strong opinions of my own about some topics, while others leave me feeling detached, battlesor worse, scratching my head in confusion. Learning to sit back and wait until I see a more complete picture, or, if it’s important enough to me, doing my own research has kept me out of many battles I wasn’t meant to fight in the first place.

Sure, there have been people who attacked me for remaining neutral, mostly because they were of the mistaken opinion everyone should believe as they did, and respond with equal parts outrage and chest pounding. Those who became abusive in the bargain are now history as far as my life is concerned.

As I continue adding years to my stay in this form (for which I continue to be grateful), I become more aware of what really matters. It isn’t joining every battle, or even those of the people I love and respect. The best way for me to show them my love and respect is to be supportive quietly, and to show as much kindness as I can to everyone—especially the ones I disagree with.

Leaving Regrets Behind While Taking the Lessons to Heart

Trust me, I’m no angel, and I’ve been unkind my share of the time. In my 6 1/2 decades, I’ve hurt share of people, and try to see those episodes as lessons rather than adding them to a list of regrets that will only keep me from doing better next time. Of the many things I’ve jettisoned over the years, my own duffel bag full of regrets is the one I’m happiest to be rid of. It’s a heavy load I could never possibly fix or change, so it’s only purpose was to weigh me down, and slow my forward progress; sometimes bringing it to a standstill until I remembered to drop the heavy stuff.

It’s not that I don’t have people I’d apologize to if I were ever to encounter them again, which is unlikely, but I’ve learned to recognize my own unkind behavior as lessons I needed to go through. Most of all, they’re in the past. They happened. I may have been guilty at the time, but in all likelihood, most of the people I harmed weren’t permanently affected, and have long since forgotten not only the event, but the person involved. Of course, there is one exception, but she not only remembers the times I was unkind, but also some of my better moments I, myself had forgotten.

It’s been decades since I threw a block at a classmate, or said mean things to a fellow middle schooler. In hindsight, I know I was an unhappy child myself who was often verbally berated by both family and peers. I didn’t know how to do anything but pass the unkindness I experienced on to someone else. I certainly didn’t understand the behavior could stop with me. How many children and teenagers do?

Impacting the Ripples You Make

In truth, it took me several decades to finally learn how much power I had to shift the script, and in fact, how much I was responsible for doing exactly that; for my family, for the people I’ve wronged in the past, and for those who will cross my path in the future. I’m even doing it for people I will never connect with in person. In short, I’m changing the ripples I create by my own actions.

As I travel down life’s path, following some existing trails, and forging a lot of new ones, I realize how little kindness there was in my life for about 2/3’s of it. I probably could have changed things sooner, but I had to break free of a lot of the choices I’d made based on my own skewed perceptions. I had to heal some of the damage, but more importantly, learn there were better ways, and especially, better people I needed to allow into my life.

All in all, I think everyone has choices. You can be kind or not, as you see fit, or as your experiences dictate. It isn’t going to change what I believe I need to do, nor how I act upon those beliefs. I may comment on the occasional post when I think someone is being particularly unkind, or thinks shaming is OK, but I also respect the fact that they’re operating from their own set of paradigms. I don’t know what their life is like now, nor what they’ve had to endure, or compensate for up to this point.

Guidance by Affirmation live by a lot of adages and affirmations these days:

  • I am Enough
  • What Other People Think of Me is None of My Business
  • There’s Always Something to be Grateful For

To name a few. But the one that really keeps me, and the things I say and do in check is:

  • Until I walk in your shoes, it’s not my place to judge what you do or say, and why you do or say it.

I can have an opinion, and in many cases, I do. Shouting you down, trying to change your mind, or making you feel bad about it isn’t my job, and it really isn’t my right either. If I can’t express my opinion with kindness, I’ve finally, after many missteps, learned to keep my mouth shut—most of the time anyway.

Recognizing My Blessings With Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for the mistakes I’ve made and the lessons I’ve learned.
  2. I’m grateful for the healthier habits I’ve been forming, mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
  3. I’m grateful for the friendships I’ve formed since I learned to be kinder, and less hard on myself.
  4. I’m grateful for choices: we don’t have to stick to the path we fell onto by default, and sometimes we tread that path so we learn what we need to to make significant changes.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, joy, friendship, kindness, compassion, lessons, dancing, fur children, acceptance, understanding, peace, balance, harmony, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light


About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a Holistic Ghostwriter, and an advocate for cats and mental health. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward

Kindness is Not Overrated

Learning Kindness While Isolated

Sometimes you get so caught up in all your duties, responsibilities, and self-imposed challenges you forget to be kind; to your family, your friends, people you encounter at work or while running errands, and most of all, to yourself. In the limitless agenda you set for yourself, you barely leave room to breathe much less, for taking time to be kind.

You don’t mean to be short with the cashier, or snappy with your child but you set expectations so high that even at your most superhuman, you can’t possible accomplish them all, much less, do them well. So you get frustrated; angry, and in the process, you forget how to simply Be. You lose sight of the fact that you could actually accomplish more, and even do a better job of it if you stopped rushing around like a headless chicken.

COVID has, in some ways, done us all a favor. It’s forced us to stop the crazy, pointless rushing around, and spend more time with the people we love, be it physically or virtually. Social lives are conducted in living rooms, on patios, in garages, and dens instead of in restaurants, clubs, and bars. Families are being forced to get to know each other, perhaps for some, more deeply than ever before.

Taking the Opportunity to Evict Your Demons

Some are struggling worse than ever because isolation is forcing them to face their demons on without the masks they’re used to wearing in public; without the shielding of other people that takes them, albeit temporarily, outside themselves. Those demons have been waiting a long time to be acknowledged, and will do their best to consume if they’re not faced head-on, acknowledged, and defused.

As someone who stuffed and avoided her demons for decades, I can assure you, this is the worst possible scenario, though if approached with the right attitude, it can also be the best. I used the distractions of work, social gatherings, and an endless list of responsibilities to hide from mine. Even so, I was isolated in all the ways that counted; my only real community was my daughters. I neither asked for nor was I offered support from the people I saw while dancing, my fellow band moms, or the parents of the girls’ teammates when they played soccer or ran track.

Thankfully, something woke me, not only to what I was avoiding, but to what I was missing as well. It didn’t happen overnight, and it was, at times, a pretty painful process, but I’ve learned, little by little, to start being kind to myself by allowing my demons to have their say, to acknowledge them, then let them go. I’ve learned what they have to say isn’t really true, but the result of people and situations as I stumbled through life which made me doubt myself.

I’d created a system of false beliefs I had to face down. Above all, I needed to learn to form relationships with people who could help me recognize the lies those demons told. In the process, I learned to recognize when others were struggling with their own demons.

Kindness Begins With You forgiveness, kindness has to start with yourself. Until you can be kind to yourself; quell the anger and hurt you’ve carried inside for years; maybe even decades, you can’t be truly kind to others. In the first place, kindness has to come without reservations or expectations of something in return. In the second, it has to come from a heart that’s truly open. As long as you’re beating yourself up over imagined past transgressions, you’re locking the door on the part of your heart that knows how to give unconditionally.

I grew up believing love was expressed by teasing someone unmercifully. Until I became a parent myself, I was usually the target of the teasing, and my family was expert at going for the jugular. I grew up believing I was fat, wasting my talents (whatever they were), and a disappointment to everyone. I carried that burden long into my adulthood, and unknowingly practiced the same behavior with my children.

Not all the time of course. I vacillated between the cruelty I’d learned from the cradle, and being overprotective. Neither extreme was healthy for me or my daughters. Once I started facing my own demons, and treating myself with more kindness and respect, I recognized the way I’d been mistreating  my own children, and was horrified.

A Second Chance to Be Kinder

I could claim I didn’t know any better, and in some ways that’s true but it’s no excuse. I see the times I sent my daughter Heather off in tears, or worse, gave her the silent treatment when she displeased me, and I cringe in horror. I hope and pray she learned from my mistakes, and will see that horrific family pattern end with her generation. I would rather her children grow up knowing only kindness, compassion, and even a little patience (something both Heather and I struggle with).

The Universe has blessed me with what I consider a second chance. The community which now embraces me has yielded many wonderful examples of loving kindness, compassion, and a level of love and caring I never saw growing up, nor in my ill-fated, and short-lived marriage. In fact, if I’m honest, leaving my ex was the first kind thing I did for myself. It was the first step in learning to face my demons, even if it took nearly a decade to take the next, and frankly more cataclysmic steps. In deciding to end the marriage, my primary thought was: “Life is too short to be this unhappy”. And yet, I’d lived in a state of unhappiness and even misery most of my life without even realizing it. From the examples I’d been set, it was not only normal, but the best I could expect.

Everything comes to you in right timing, or so I’ve come to believe. I try not to look back at all the years I struggled before I awoke, and at all the people now who are suffering and struggling through pain and misery. That they express their pain in the form of hate and cruelty is part of their own path, and not mine to change or judge.

Turning Crisis into Opportunity

COVID is giving so many a chance to be kinder and more compassionate. For many. this could be the cataclysmic event that gives them a chance to turn around, face their demons, and tell them to get lost. But so many others will get stuck and succumb to the lies. If you’ve learned to face your own, you can’t help but recognize the signs and symptoms. Exercising the kindness you learned when your own feet were to the fire is essential now. It truly is your responsibility to help those who struggle, and above all, to avoid responding to the outward cruelty and hate with unkindness of your own, unless your goal is to add fuel to the fire. If so, you’ll only become part of the inevitable forest fire, consuming everything and everyone in your path who doesn’t wield the sword of kindness and the shield of compassion.

Everyone has a choice. Love or hate. Kindness or cruelty. Abuse or compassion. Look carefully at what you’re giving yourself, and take this time of forced isolation to make a few course corrections. Look into the mirror and see where, and how you can treat yourself better. From there, it’s but a baby step to treating those around you with equal kindness and respect. Call me an idealist, but I believe all humanity has a stronger propensity to kindness than cruelty. It’s about breaking old, outworn patterns and replacing them with those capable of withstanding time’s ultimate tests.

Using Gratitude to Fuel Kindness

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for the people and circumstances that have taught me kindness is a simple thing.
  2. I’m grateful for all the good, hard looks I’ve been allowed, or forced to take at myself. May I continue to look closely and make more changes for the better.
  3. I’m grateful for friendships closer than I ever thought I deserved, much less would see in my lifetime.
  4. I’m grateful for laughter, for tears, for honest, unfettered emotion.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, friendship, community, heartbreak, connection, kindness, compassion, opportunities, inspiration, motivation, dedication, peace, balance, health, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light


About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a Holistic Ghostwriter, and an advocate for cats and mental health. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward

When Life Gets Harder, Try a Little Kindness

Recognizing Selfishness; Replacing it with Kindess after day, I see people making disparaging remarks about other people’s behavior. They make the remarks from their omniscient positions. with complete information as to the other person’s motives, challenges, and choices. Or so they believe. At a time when we need as much compassion and kindness as we can muster, making snap judgements and decisions about someone else’s lack of consideration is becoming a sport of Olympic proportions.

I don’t claim to be innocent, but I do try to catch myself, and succeed a large portion of the time. I realize the person doing the judging may have family members on the front lines as medical personnel, truck drivers, grocery clerks, and such who are putting themselves at risk to keep the rest of us fed and healthy. They may have a loved one who is immunocompromised, making them especially sensitive to those who are out and about for no reason they can see, and worse, without wearing what they consider mandatory protective gear.

What most of us won’t see is the father who’s putting himself at risk seemingly unnecessarily because his job is unavailable and his kids are hungry, or at risk of losing the roof over their heads. We don’t see the person who is grocery shopping for aging parents, and may have to drive 50 miles one way to ensure their parents are taken care of because moving them into their own home isn’t an option.

Everyone Struggles in Some Way

There are so many scenarios which explain why people are on the streets or highways during a when we’re supposed to be staying home for the sake of everyone’s health and safety. The choices many have to make are difficult, yet often obvious too. As one of the lucky ones with a full freezer, a roof over my head, and an internet connection, I try really hard to put myself in the shoes of those who, to my untrained eyes, seem to be putting the rest of us in danger of a longer quarantine period. I don’t always succeed, but at least I’m learning not to jump to conclusions often enough to meet my daily exercise requirements.

I read somewhere recently that when someone does something unkind or hurtful, it’s because they’re experiencing their own pain or fear, and are mired within it. I’m sure that’s true of those who are quick to judge as well. They have their own fears and pains which they can’t get past in order to look at others kindly. Instead, they focus outward to someone who, in their minds deserves some of that fear and pain.

Put Aside Fear for Your Own Health’m not going to say it’s easy to put aside our own pain and fear, much less the frustrations many are beginning to experience as the quarantine period drags on, and the number of people infected rises. I will say some of the most rewarding experiences of my life have been those which required me to raise the bar a little higher, and more importantly, to be a better person than I was used to being.

Things will be challenging for everyone for awhile. You’ll continue to have your freedom limited, and do without many things you thought you couldn’t live without. If you haven’t already, you’ll ultimately know someone who gets sick—maybe even someone who dies from COVID-19 or complications thereof. Acting as some omnipotent judge and jury over other peoples’ behavior isn’t going to change the ultimate outcome.

Call me idealistic, but I believe showing each other love, compassion, and understanding will; if only to bring our hearts together instead of pitting them against each other. Let’s look for a minute at what compassion is not. I choose to believe everyone means well, but sometimes taking care of yourself and your family blinds you to the plight of others.

Making a Case for Compassion

I believe Compassion is not:

  • Selective
  • Judgemental
  • Only for those each individual might deem “deserving”
  • Cultural
  • Religious

I believe Compassion is:

  • Sometimes challenging when our family and friends are at risk
  • Backed by love and hope
  • Equal opportunity
  • Something we have to work at applying liberally and non-selectively
  • Available to everyone

I have to stop myself time after time, whether it’s because someone is acting in a way I think is irresponsible, inconsiderate, or reckless, or someone else is speaking judgmentally about another’s behavior. It’s probably easier for me to jump on my soapbox when I think someone is being unkind, yet I know intrinsically they are speaking out because they believe they have to for the sake of someone they love.

To Fight, To Defend, or To Support

Heaven knows I’ve defended my children unnecessarily over the years. I’ve gone to bat for them on many occasions, only to find it was unwarranted for one reason or another, and often unwelcome by the recipient. In the end, the only behavior you can control is your own. The only consequences you suffer are the ones attached to your own actions.

One of the best images I’ve seen is THINK:

  • Is it True?
  • Is it Helpful?
  • Is it Inspiring?
  • Is it Necessary?
  • Is it Kind?

If everyone stopped to ask themselves these questions before speaking (or posting on Social Media), it would go a long way towards ensuring each person speaks from a kinder, more loving place. It would give people better things to do than bash political candidates, hate on a group that’s different from their own, or blame others for their current situation. You’d find more people reaching out in understanding, recognizing when someone was struggling, yet doing the very best they could, and would open up all sorts of opportunities to give back, or better still, pay it forward.

In the process, I honestly believe we’d continue healing our poor, mistreated planet. Getting into the habit of being kinder and more sensitive to each other has a snowball effect. Soon, you’re noticing the flock of butterflies I saw today, or hearing the birds singing, or even seeing rainbows. Best of all, you realize how beautiful the world really is when things and people are allowed to bloom and grow without expectations or restrictions. Can’t we give it a try?

When All Else Fails, Try Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for the little things; sunny days, butterflies, birds singing, and children laughing.
  2. I’m grateful for opportunities to get outside and play in the dirt.
  3. I’m grateful for a slower pace, even if it’s only temporary.
  4. I’m grateful for connections that are challenged to get more creative, and more consistent.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, compassion, kindness, understanding, sensitivity, acceptance, forgiveness, joy, health, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a Holistic Ghostwriter, and an advocate for cats and mental health. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward

Should We Allow Greatness to Stifle Our Kindness?

One Man’s Greatness…

A question was raised in one of my LinkedIn groups regarding using “Make America Great Again” as a catch phrase for non-political marketing efforts. My response had to do with knee-jerk reactions from people on both sides of the fence. In retrospect, I suppose the people who’ve bought into the phrase and what it’s come to represent would be prime candidates for whatever a company was selling. However, I think it would alienate those who believe the phrase has been nothing more than a diversionary tactic aimed at pitting people against each other and hindering unification and working towards a common good.

Granted, marketing isn’t my strong suit, but over the years I’ve assimilated some of the basics. In my opinion, platforms, campaigns, and slogans with a “Get on the Bandwagon” message are geared towards those whose primary goal is to belong or be accepted by a group they find attractive. People who tend to eschew conformity are likely to look at something like that and walk away in disgust. They’ll look beneath the surface and find it crawling with greed and a self-serving agenda.

Is Belonging Really Worth Fighting For?

Granted, a large slice of the population still believes they need to belong, and to so requires behaving as expected. Small wonder, that cross-section is also stressed out, angry, and exhausted. Trying to fit a mold of someone else’s making is a constant battle in which you’re always trying to paddle upstream.

I’m speaking from experience here. I spent far too many of my formative and productive years trying to belong somewhere. In the end, I was a complete failure because I couldn’t keep up an act that never fit my personality or purpose. It was only after I broke my own chains and began to honor my own truth that I found myself belonging exactly where I was supposed to.

My friends these days, and even my business associates are typically off-beat and go against the traditional grain. They’ve learned that in looking out for themselves, they end up making things better for others as well.

Stress Begets Stress I was angry, frustrated, and feeling left out, my negative energy wound itself into everything I did and everyone I touched. In some cases it meant I was further isolated, but in far too many, it meant dragging others down with my crappy attitude. Once I stopped trying to please people, and to find an environment where I thrived, I began to uplift others rather than drag them down.

Even in school, we’re taught to play the game, get along, and do what we’re told even if it makes no sense whatsoever. I’ve heard kids in Middle School can be the cruelest of all to those who fail to conform, but where did they learn it? We’re not born to be exclusionary.

Watch two- or three-year-olds at play sometime. They may fight over a toy, but rarely will they exclude someone for being different. They’re curious, accepting, and learning who they are. It’s not until they’re part of a larger group under the tutelage of a single adult, or an adult with a helper that they start to encounter the concept of conformity.

Teaching Children Being Like Everyone Else is Rewarded

We’ve been taught from early childhood that cookie-cutter behavior is good, and different is bad. The message comes through loud and clear in expectations that are set when we enter the school system (emphasis on “system”).

  • Sit quietly at your desk and do the tedious, repetitive work
  • Wait your turn to use equipment on the playground
  • Choose sides, and make sure you create the strongest team
  • Do things in the proper order. Don’t jump ahead even if you’ve already figured out the in-between steps.

Sound familiar? I know my precocious young daughters were at odds with the rules they were forced to follow; the slower progress made by some of their classmates when they were ready to move on to the next lesson. One of them began to shut down and go into her own imagination rather than allow boredom to decay her mind. It led to many confrontations with teachers and administrators, some successful, others clearly futile. Teachers, too have been forced into conformity in too many cases.

Marching Beneath a Frayed and False Flag

And now we have thousands sporting MAGA shirts, hats, and other paraphernalia, believing it means more than some political agenda designed to make us not only conform, but ostracize those who don’t.

But it’s up to you. Do you want to let someone else decide what you read, watch, and wear? Will you get on that treadmill in which you spend thousands to have the perfect body; the perpetually youthful face? Are you content to hate those who march to their own drummer, even if you don’t understand why? Is their nonconformity a slap in the face; an act of defiance you desperately wish you were brave enough to take too?

Sure, being unique isn’t always the easy road. In fact, it can be incredibly hard and lonely at times. Far easier to find comfort in a crowd where you blend in and don’t have to make too many decisions. When the piper starts to play, you can follow the crowd over the cliff knowing you always did what you were supposed to; never stood out, never made waves.

A Place for Everyone and Everyone in Their Place

Like anything, there’s a place for everyone. We do need those who follow instructions and don’t try to improvise. There will always be tedious, repetitive jobs that need to be done. Many of those, though have already been mechanized, rendering a lot of humans obsolete. Mere Humans can’t perform those repetitive tasks as efficiently, or as consistently as a robot or machine. They need breaks for meals, rest, and to relieve themselves. And they can be stirred into rebellion over seemingly minor infractions.

There are also those who genuinely don’t want to have to make decisions; don’t want to risk making a mistake. They’d rather have someone guide them and give up a certain amount of freedom in order to avoid failure.

In my mind, that’s it’s own kind of failure. Failure to live up to one’s potential. It’s a choice unto itself. I respect the right of many to make that choice, even as I feel sad for what they might have been were they willing to take a few risks; to fail a few times and pick themselves back up to try again.

We Need More Kindness, Less Greatness I don’t respect is those who take advantage of the ones who are desperate to belong; to fit in. They’re the villains in the piece. They thrive on slogans masking battle cries. It’s in their best interests to gather people behind a cause they don’t truly understand, and which isn’t even in their best interests.

Are we really Making America Great Again? Or are we creating a populous of conformists who’ve convinced themselves someone else is acting in their best interests. Are they ignoring the evidence before their own eyes as they rally to hate who they’re told to hate and revere those who have already sold them down the river?

I’m with those who’ve altered the phrase a bit. Let’s Make America Kind Again.

Grateful for Examples and Lessons

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for the choices I’ve made and the bruises I’ve earned along the way. My road may be rockier, but I have the satisfaction of knowing my decisions, successes, and failures are my own.
  2. I’m grateful for diversity. There’s so much we can learn from people with different backgrounds, outlooks, and beliefs if we stop to listen rather than beat into submission.
  3. I’m grateful for learning to belong without losing myself.
  4. I’m grateful I’ve found a group of friends; a community which values uniqueness.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; friendship, community, support, individuality, joy, peace, health, harmony, balance, philanthropy, and prosperity for all.

Love and Light


About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and an advocate for cats and mental health. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward

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

Wallowing in a Pit of Despair? Try Gratitude.

Finding My Way Back Home

For the last 15 years or so, I have made immense progress in turning my life around. I am no longer the angry, defensive creature I had become through long years of tragedies, disappointments and, what I considered at the time to be poor life choices. I’ve learned that everything I’ve done and everywhere I’ve been had a purpose and came together in making me the person I am today.

But sometimes, pieces of my former self rise insidiously to the surface and if left unchecked, threaten to undo all of the work I’ve done. The trick is recognizing it before it sets me back years.

This morning when I woke with the prospect of cooking a huge pot of chili and spending the afternoon with anywhere from 50 to 100 people, the negative thoughts and the desire to crawl back into my hole and pull it in after me became almost overwhelming. Thankfully, years of training myself to do otherwise proved stronger, and I realized I had all the tools I needed to turn this around.

I looked back over the last couple of weeks and realized I’d become angry over stupid things, reactionary, and downright hateful. And truth to be told, I couldn’t dig a hole deep enough to escape the real problem anyway, so fixing it is a much wiser choice. It would also go a long way towards alleviating the constant, if relatively manageable pain I’ve been in since December, helping lower what has clearly become an upwardly spiraling stress level (thankfully, the every-other-day migraines have eased off!), and the resulting sleep deprivation.

Conquering the Demons Within

The answer to my problems, both real and imagined can be summed up in a single word. Gratitude. Sure, I’ve remembered to give thanks for all of the little synchronicities in my life, and, on what has become the rare occasion I actually sit and write a blog post, list a handful of gratitudes. But I’ve been missing the big picture. I’ve been allowing the “don’t haves” to smother the “haves”. No wonder I’m suffering the consequences. My face is meeting my palm rather violently at the moment.

Instead of rambling on about this or that, or detailing the things I won’t be doing from here on out, I’m dedicating the rest of this post to as many gratitudes as I can conjure, because, really, that’s why this blog has evolved; that’s why it is no longer “Surviving and Beyond”, but “Leaps of Faith”. For the last month or better, I’ve been giving it a great deal of lip service, but failing to follow through in my thoughts and deeds.

Reminding Myself of What the Universe Already Knows

Without further ado, here are some things for which I am grateful in this crazy, beautiful, sometimes insane life I’ve been given this time around:

  1. I am grateful for sunny days.
  2. I am grateful for rainy days.
  3. I am grateful for the fur babies I fall asleep with every night and wake to every morning.
  4. I am grateful that I have already lived nearly a year longer than my mother did.
  5. I am grateful for the people who pointed me towards the path of positivity and offer daily reminders.
  6. I am grateful for the lessons I’ve learned, the ones I am still mastering, and those which await me further down the road.
  7. I am grateful for the pains in my body which remind me that I’m being allowed to age and that I need to get up and move more, stretch more and love my body more.
  8. I am grateful that I’ve learned to recognize when I’m wandering away from my true path.
  9. I am grateful for the tools I’ve acquired which help me get back on track.
  10. I am grateful for signs and head slaps from the Universe which remind me to stay positive and hopeful, and get my attention when I start to forget.
  11. I am grateful for all of the wonderful examples I’ve been given: people who have conquered their own demons and retain the kindness and compassion I strive to achieve and embrace as part of my being.
  12. I am grateful for changing my career path to the one which fuels my soul.
  13. I am grateful for remaining positive despite setbacks and challenges which I know are intended to test my commitment.
  14. I am grateful for those setbacks which force me to seek alternatives and remind me that my path will never be straight and smooth. Easy paths don’t offer much in the way of inspiration for writing.
  15. I am grateful for successful completion of my three novels and Frederick the Gentlemouse and for the strength and tenacity to publish and market them.
  16. I am grateful for the stories inside me that are yet to be told.
  17. I am grateful for opportunities to mentor, coach or otherwise support other people.
  18. I am grateful that I’m learning to Stop, Look, and Listen more; not necessarily while crossing the road, but while interacting with other Divine Beings having a Human Experience.
  19. I am grateful to my daughter for encouraging me to start this blog when I got stuck in the middle of writing my first book about family suicide. Not only has writing about it eased my pain and brought more compassion into my life, it has connected me with others who have had similar experiences.
  20. I am grateful for the people who read my blog, my website and even my comments on Social Media. You touch my life and make it a better place. You’ll never know how much that means to me, nor how much it makes me strive to be a better person.

I could go on and on with this, but I’m already feeling better, just for sitting down and doing it. I’ll likely continue the list off-line. Listing my gratitudes has dragged me out of far deeper holes than the one in which I currently find myself. It is probably the single most powerful lesson I’ve learned in the last few years, and one I need to spend more time doing. Maybe that’s why the Universe sat back and watched me slide into a well of negativity for a little while. Like the stretching I now do every day to reduce the physical pain, the physical act of listing my gratitudes turns the inner pain around and shows me how much joy and beauty I have in my life.

Thank you for being a part of my process…my path.

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!

August 3, 2015 Pain: Nature’s Productivity Killer

At Times, We Need a Reminder to Appreciate the Simple Things

In the last couple of months, I realized that I take a lot of things for granted. Things like being able to sit down at my computer and type for as long as I want to. Like doing my daily chores without having to think about lifting something without pain. About even smaller things like washing my hair.

These are just a few things I found difficult while my shoulders and neck were out of whack. There are so many more things I do on a daily basis which were difficult if not impossible without suffering excruciating pain. Thankfully, it was only temporary and it forced me to adopt better habits in order to prevent a recurrence. It also made me realize that some people I know are in such pain all the time with little or no relief. So regardless of my higher than normal pain threshold, there is still a point where I will take the drugs and sleep the day away until the condition passes.

But what if it didn’t? Would I be as able to carry on, enduring the pain like some people do? I was flattened by a temporary situation, limited in my daily activities. It was only today when I was able to do that one, last task I’d been putting off that I really came to realize how lucky I am. My pain stops. My independence is secure. In fact, I can get my lazy butt to the gym again and regain the muscle tone I’ve lost. My pain was not chronic. It ran its course and moved on.

When I look at my To Do list for the last week or so, there are far less gaps and far more added tasks than I had for the previous month. As that last task was checked off today, I knew I have a lot to be grateful for and that I need to spend a lot more time expressing that gratitude, not just in words but in actions.

An Act of Kindness is the Ultimate Expression of Gratitude

I’m reminded of my friend, Karyn, who stopped in the middle of a conversation to get up and offer assistance to a man on crutches; who was kind to the salesman who showed up at her door, despite the fact that she wasn’t interested in what he was selling. She does these things without a second thought, in fact, they’re simply second nature to her. With all I have to be grateful for, her actions inspire me to be a better person too.

Pain may have killed my productivity for a few short weeks, but it reminded me how lucky I am and how much I need to show it. That is a lesson and a reminder I needed.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful to be back to full functionality.
2. I am grateful for lessons that remind me to be more compassionate.
3. I am grateful for the many friends I have who set wonderful examples.
4. I am grateful that I’ve resolved several issues and increased my workload in the last week.
5. I am grateful for abundance: love, work, people, compassion, kindness, painlessness, peace, harmony, productivity, health, prosperity and philanthropy.

Blessed Be

I’d appreciate your taking a moment to visit my Facebook pages at and . 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!

February 20, 2015 The good, the bad and the ugly

Delayed reaction to my own unkindness

Tonight as I sat here working on the Holly Lisle writing course I began this week I was reading about how feeling can be a hindrance as much as it is a help to a writer, when my mind started to wander. Where it wandered now makes me cringe as in all of my efforts to be kinder, I failed myself last night. I can justify my behavior until the cows come home, but when the dust clears, I still failed myself and treated someone unkindly. My reasons might have seemed justified at the time, but there are many other ways I could have handled the situation rather than rude behavior and trash mouthing the woman. Some of my reasons certainly had to do with the way I’d been treated, but most had to do with the treatment of others.

What I realized as I tried to focus on the words in front of me was that I am not responsible for the feelings of my friends. I can care about them and be there to listen if they need someone to talk to while they work through their pain, but I can’t fix anything for them, and being rude to someone on their behalf, or in my twisted belief that it’s on their behalf is, to put it simply, stupid. It only makes me the small, nasty person.

More and more, my lessons smack me right between the eyes

I am in a bit of a quandary as to how to calmly explain to this person that I am really not interested in friendship, but my reasons would be filled with my own perceptions, which she is certain to attempt to refute. She is also an expert at playing the victim (another part of my reading tonight) and I have a knee-jerk reaction to victims which, again, is anything but kind.

So I’m doing what I often do when faced with a problem I can’t find the solution to: I’m writing about it. Granted, in the past, my mental gymnastics occurred in the privacy of a Word document stored on my personal computer, but I’ve learned that quite often, something which challenges me has challenged others as well, and though they might not have a solution for me, simply sharing my humanness shows others that maybe it is OK to be human and make mistakes and do unkind things now and then. Maybe it’s OK to not be perfect and to fret over things we can’t really change, or that are truly somebody else’s problem instead of ours. And above all, it is OK to care about our friends and take issue when we believe they’ve been treated badly. Even if it turns out that we’re completely wrong in how we see a situation, it’s simply part of being human and learning as we go.

My Lamaze teacher told us “Baby’s don’t come with a manual. You just have to learn as you go.” I think this applies to life in general. Our parents and our teachers try to give us some tools to help us along the way, but in most cases, it is up to us to exercise the trial and error method until we find what not only works, but what feels right to us.

Not everyone will set themselves a goal to be kinder, and it is not necessary for everyone to do so. Someone who is here to experience life as a murderer or a pedophile isn’t likely to count kindness as a necessary attribute.

I know I may lose a few people here so let me just qualify this by saying that everything I write in my blog is from my own belief system. I am not trying to convince anyone that my way is the right way, much less the only way. It is simply the one which works for me.

Our goals and aspirations change throughout our lives (or I hope they do!). I know that I could have cared less about kindness as I was trying to make my way up the corporate ladder, back when I actually believed that it mattered and that it was what I truly wanted. If you are lucky enough to have an epiphany at some point in your life, though, you can expect your goals and aspirations to change, at least somewhat, because that epiphany is going to change how you look at things forever more. Mine in particular made me take a good hard look at my career and ask myself “Why am I really doing this? Is it fulfilling in any real way? Is it feeding my soul?”

When the only answer I could come up with was ‘Well, it pays the bills and allows me to have more stuff’, I knew it was time for a radical change. Admittedly, I was fortunate enough to have some resources to carry me through for awhile, but there’s nothing like a dwindling bank account to make you think and rethink a radical life change.

But I leapt in with both feet and a heart filled with Faith in a positive outcome, and though I’ve had a million second thoughts, I have not yet looked back and asked “What was I thinking? Why did I do something so stupid and reckless?”

What I have said on many occasions is “I’m so glad I had the guts and the resources to make a dramatic change in my life and follow my passion. Life may not be perfect but I am so much happier with myself and everything in my life right now, that if I were to have the chance to go back, I’d make the same choice again.”

Each lifetime is a work in progress

I look at each day as an opportunity to do better, accomplish more, be a little kinder and add another goal to my list. I don’t expect to get it all right the first time, but it’s not really about the destination anyway. It’s about the people we meet and the mistakes we make and the lessons we learn and the adventures we take which really makes it all worthwhile. The fact is, before I dove off the deep end, my life was dull and bland. I took no risks and followed the same old pattern week after week. Now, every day is an adventure, and a clean slate upon which I can write, both literally and figuratively.

Adventures are amazing. I recommend them highly. Don’t wait until you’re too old and tired to test your own limits!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the mistakes I make. Without them, I would never learn anything.
2. I am grateful for adventures with no guarantees. It is me who makes them succeed or fail, and if I do fail, I do so gloriously and dramatically.
3. I am grateful for chocolate. Sometimes, it just makes things all better.
4. I am grateful for my weird schedule. I am not a morning person so I do all of my fiddling and fussing during the day to leave my nights clear to write and study.
5. I am grateful for abundance: mistakes, lessons, differences, successes, failures, adventures, inspiration, crazy dreams, friends, kindness, love, joy, happiness, health, peace, harmony and prosperity.

Blessed Be

October 19, 2014 Common courtesy isn’t so common. #shericonaway #blogboost

What ever happened to teaching our children manners? Are people so self-involved that they don’t even realize that their behavior is as bad as bullying?

Tonight, I am beside myself, though it involves a situation which does not directly affect me. The pure poorly disguised malice involved has forced me to drag out the soap box again.

Recently, a support group sponsored a Halloween party which included costume contests for the children and adults in attendance. Finalists were selected by the organizers, then put to a popularity vote to be shown by applause. (already, I’m fuming because I find this method to be completely barbaric. It has nothing to do with the time, thought and effort a person puts in, nor to their creativity, but instead, focuses on how many friends and family members are in attendance.)

One individual who was chosen as a finalist had come alone. When it was time for the popularity vote, not a single person had the good grace to even offer a courtesy clap! Where were these people raised? My guess would be a refuse pit overseen by Fraggle Rock’s Trash Heap.

Although I’ve attended my share of functions which utilize this popularity contest style vote to select contest winners, I have never…let me repeat myself…I have NEVER seen anyone forced to stand there in silence when the MC asked for votes for their effort. Frankly, if it weren’t for low class, the members of this “support group” would have none at all. To blatantly humiliate a new member in front of both adults and children sends the worst possible message. Yet, I guarantee that these would be the first people to complain that one of their precious children was being bullied at school.

If we want our children to be treated with respect, we must teach them what that looks like…and the way to do that is by example

Our world is full of whiners and complainers, ready to put the blame for their less than perfect lives on anyone but themselves. They treat friends and strangers alike like crap, then wonder why people treat them disrespectfully. Wonder why they aren’t getting the job or the car or the recognition they believe they deserve.

The reality is, if you want someone to treat you with respect, don’t sit around waiting for it to happen. You need to show them some first. You need to put yourself out there. And yes, there are times when you are going to get crapped on. It hurts and it sucks, but it also teaches you to recognize who really can both give and receive respect and who is respectfully retarded. Sadly, there are a lot of people who just don’t understand the concept. Some are worth trying to teach by example, but unfortunately, many are just lost causes.

I raised my daughters to treat everyone, at the very least, politely. I advised them that they were going to meet some people who were just unpleasant, unhappy people. The best you can do is to be cordial, and spend as little time in their company as possible. Responding in kind by being nasty and rude only lowers yourself to their level.

Every group, club or organization I’ve ever known has a core group of people who do all of the work.

The rest are good for support at best and lip service at worst. If you’re part of that core group, you learn to recognize newcomers who are destined to be part of the “worker bees” and do your best to make them feel welcome and appreciated. If you don’t, they’ll find someone more deserving to give their time and effort to. At the risk of stating the obvious, humiliating a potential worker bee in front of a group of members is guaranteed to see them taking their business elsewhere, and there is never a shortage of deserving organizations who would love to have a dedicated volunteer.

To paraphrase a quote from “Pretty Woman”: You folks depend on volunteers, right? Remember the person you humiliated? Big mistake! Huge!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the lessons I’ve both taught and learned regarding respect. It paves the way for so much more.
2. I am grateful that the people I know and associate with will always be kind, courteous and compassionate with newcomers who don’t abuse the privilege. Even then, basic courtesy will always win out.
3. I am grateful for all of the people who have been taught the common courtesies. They are far from dead, despite evidence to the contrary.
4. I am grateful that I can avoid humanity when I need to, as I still lose patience with rudeness and cruelty. (just another lesson I’ll be repeating ad infinitum, ad nauseum.)
5. I am grateful that we all have outlets and can vent when we need to. Life isn’t always fair, but we always have someone who loves us and to whom we can turn when we’re battered and bruised.
6. I am grateful for abundance: compassion, kindness, friendship, love, health, harmony, peace and prosperity.


October 5, 2014 Keeping our focus on the positive.

Here I sit. The Late Night Blogger. Unlike Jimmy Fallon or Conan, I don’t have a guest star to share my stage. I don’t really claim to be an expert in anything New Age like Spiritual Awakening or Marianne Williamson’s “A Course in Miracles”.

Uh oh. There I go down that path again! How many times have I told people to focus on what they do have? To give their attention to what they have accomplished? Yet, here I am, droning on about what I don’t have. And there, my friends, is my topic for tonight. As is quite common, I sat down in front of my computer with no clue as to what I’d talk about tonight. The UBC prompt didn’t really get me excited, which left me to my own devices. (dangerous under the most controlled of circumstances!) Yet I had every confidence that by the time I’d either sat for a few minutes or typed with no real path or purpose in mind, something would come to me, and it did.

Always remember that you are a work in progress.

None of us are perfect, and if we ever reached perfection, we’d be done here. There’d be no more goals to set, nothing to strive for, heck, not even a reason to get up in the morning! That isn’t to say that you won’t have days when you don’t actually accomplish something. It just means that as humans, we always want to improve something.

I’m not talking about the way we look, per se. Even weight loss and body toning is about being healthier, in my opinion. It’s about being better at what we do. But in the process of improving ourselves, of learning new skills, of being a better person, because we are works in progress, we’ll fall back into old ways sometimes, like my failure-face focus, at the beginning of this post. When we do revert like that, it doesn’t mean we’ve failed. In fact, like what just happened to me, it’s an opportunity to remind ourselves, not of how far we have to go, but of how far we’ve come!

Look back at the person you were five or ten years ago. Are you really the same person now? Have you made no changes, grown no stronger or kinder or smarter in some way? Of course you have! Unless you’re one of those people who, like a pebble in the sea, just lets the world push you hither and yon without any real desire to have a say in the matter, you evolve…you change…but most of all, you improve!

Sadly, most of us, at one time or another, do ourselves a serious disservice by comparing ourselves to someone else. I’m reminded of the years my daughters ran track. I always told them that it wasn’t about how they did against the other kids. It was about doing better than they had the last time; in short, making improvements to themselves based on their own performance, not someone else’s. How can we use someone else’s yardstick when we are not them? We have a different history, different goals, different challenges to overcome. Which brings me to my favorite Dr. Seuss quote:

“Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

We all need to remember that “You” is someone pretty amazing, and should never be the one we treat with the least amount of kindness. (Admit it. You’re guilty of exactly that at least some of the time! I know I certainly am!). We need to look at ourselves in the mirror, and I mean, really look at ourselves. Just stop for a minute while you’re washing your hands or putting on makeup (I’d recommend against doing so while brushing your teeth. There’s something rather off-putting about a reflection that’s foaming at the mouth!). Look at the person in the mirror and say something like:

“I really love you!” or
You are looking particularly gorgeous today! or my personal favorite
You are beautiful, sexy, sassy and delicious!”

Because if you can’t make yourself smile and feel good about you, nobody else can either. Tell yourself the truth now. Don’t you deserve to feel beautiful (or handsome), special, talented and worthy? Is there not some quality about yourself of which you are particularly fond…proud, even?

I just got an amusing visual of walking into a restaurant while in the throes of self pity and self trash talking, and since it’s bouncing around in my head, I have to share.

WAITER: “May I help you, Miss?”
ME: (standing in front of the podium, chin resting on my chest, mouth turned down at the corners to merge unattractively with my chin)”Um, yeah. Just one.”
WAITER: “Oh, yes, I see. Pity party for one. I’ll just put you over here in the corner so your sniveling and whining don’t annoy my other customers. Unless you’d rather just take it to go so you can wallow in the privacy of your own home?” (he gets a very hopeful expression on his face with his last words.)

My point is, self-pity doesn’t look good on anyone, and I haven’t met too many people who want to listen to someone speaking unkindly of themselves. Even if you’re feeling lower than a possum’s belly, why not pretend yourself into a better mood? What’s that, you say? I’m taking a hint from a song in “The King and I”. I’ve always loved the part when
Anna sings:

Whenever I feel afraid
I hold my head erect
And whistle a happy tune
So no one will suspect, I’m afraid

While shivering in my shoes
I strike a careless pose
And whistle a happy tune
And no one ever knows I’m afraid

The result of this deception
Is very strange to tell
For when I fool the people I fear
I fool myself as well

I whistle a happy tune
And every single time
The happiness in the tune
Convinces me that I’m not afraid

Make believe you’re brave
And the trick will take you far
You may be as brave
As you make believe you are

You may be as brave
As you make believe you are
I think it is a very good idea, mother, a very good idea

Yes, it is a good idea, isn’t it
I do think I shall never be afraid again

The result of this deception
Is very strange to tell
For when I fool the people I fear
I fool myself as well

I whistle a happy tune
And every single time
The happiness in the tune
Convinces me that I’m not afraid

Make believe you’re brave
And the trick will take you far
You may be as brave
As you make believe you are
You may be as brave
As you make believe you are

Although the song talks about bravery, couldn’t finding our happy, positive self be approached in the same manner? I know a lot of people who put themselves together and show up with a smile on their face no matter how rotten they feel, or how rough a day or week they might have had. One friend was in a lot of pain for the better part of this year, yet, if you didn’t look too closely at her eyes, you’d never know anything was wrong. Even in the hospital after surgery, her makeup was on, her hair was fixed and there was a smile on her face. She’s the selfie queen and took a lot of pictures. I now use her as a role model. Not so much that I have my makeup and hair perfectly done, and all of the jewelery and such she feels incomplete without, but the fact that she does put on a happy face, no matter what.

In fact, now that I think about it, she and a couple of other friends who are equally classy and put together have had either health or personal issues this year, but to see them or talk to them, you’d never know it. Because they don’t act like their world is turned upside down, they seem to recover a lot faster too.

Before this post becomes a novel, I’ll leave you with a final thought. Positive attracts positive and negative attracts negative. You can choose what you want to attract.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful that my life is filled with positive people.
2. I am grateful that I’ve learned to treat myself with as much kindness as I would anyone else.
3. I am grateful that I can now recognize when I’m heading down a path which will only drag me down, and turn it before it goes too far.
4. I am grateful for my friends who set such impressive examples.
5. I am grateful for abundance: friendship, positivity, happiness, joy, love, motivation, inspiration, health and prosperity.


You can also fine me at  Stop by and “like” my author page.  It will be where I chronicle my journey from mere writer to published author.

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