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

Archive for the ‘kindness’ Category

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.

October 1, 2014 Accepting the challenge to blog on a given topic #shericonaway #blogboost

Tonight’s UBC topic suggestion, “who do you admire?” is actually a subject close to my heart.

I often take time to talk about people I admire here, sometimes naming names, while others just admiring them collectively. I tend to admire people for a variety of reasons, but most often because they set extraordinary examples for me on lessons I struggle with.

One such lesson is kindness. Too many years of working in a man’s field and a male-dominated industry toughened a skin already the consistency of rhinoceros  hide from long years of single parenthood and the joys of trying to love alcoholics. Needless to say, my kindness quotient was so far into the negative, I didn’t hold much hope of ever digging it out. Despite my tendency to drift back to those tried-and-true ways when the going gets tough, several women in my life have shown by example that it is entirely possible to be a strong, independent woman, not of the doormat persuasion and still be kind.

Not only have these women developed successful careers, often in male dominated industries, but they’ve raised strong, confident, ambitious children and have loving, charming, supportive mates.

Some have even shown me that it is entirely possible to be kind to someone who irritates the snot out of you, smiling sweetly and making them feel special without losing a piece of yourself in the process. In fact, they seem to be more just by being kind when the inclination was to be rude.

As I’ve watched and learned the last few years, I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon. But let me set the stage, first.

Each of us finds ourselves in the position, every now and again, of having to contact customer service to resolve an issue with an account. Often it is the phone company, a utility company or a cable company, but it could be almost anything. Often, we’re already annoyed, if not angry when we make that call, and having to sit on hold listening to a perky voice tout the benefits of their product, at least for me, tends to set my teeth on edge. When a human finally answers the phone, my first hope is that English is at least their native tongue. Needless to say, by the time said human answers my call, I’m even more cranky than when I began. Here is where kindness plays a huge part. It would be very easy to take my irritation out on the first person I talk to, but frankly, those folks aren’t paid enough to be the recipients of rude or angry behavior. Yet, there was a time when I would shoot those messengers, and believe me, it doesn’t get you very far. In fact, even when I don’t shoot the first messenger, I can still get someone who will put me in hold hell now and then, simply because I didn’t like the answer they gave me, and asked for someone higher up the food chain.

I say this because I had an issue with Paypal this week, and the first person I got did exactly that. I am happy to say that when I called back today, the people I spoke to were much more willing to let me speak to someone higher up, and the second escalation gave me the results I wanted, if not a little more. (a little side note here, Customer Service people sometimes think they know everything, including what their bosses are and are not allowed to do. As an accounting professional, I tend to take issue with someone who tells me that their system is incapable of issuing a credit or reversing a payment. Sorry, ladies and gentlemen, but anyone with accounting background is going to know that it is all about permissions!) At any rate, the point I’m trying to make here is that treating those folks kindly and respectfully will usually make them more cooperative and likely to give you someone with more authority (or permissions, if you will) who can and often will respond positively to a reasonable request.

While my natural tendency would be to not-so-politely explain the hierarchy of permissions to one who told me that what I want can’t be done, I’ve found it far more effective to follow the examples of my much kinder friends, and remain polite and respectful, keeping comments like “Moron!” and “Imbecile! Stop wasting my time and give me your boss!” kept buried well beneath what might be a falsely calm exterior. That archaic saying “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” still holds true today.

I cannot even imagine being a customer service rep who has to sit on the phone all day and speak to angry customers who might just take out their ire on the first person they speak to. To me, that is like a hundred bad days all rolled into one. No matter how much training they receive in defusing a volatile situation, some of that has to hurt. People do remember how you made them feel far longer than they’ll remember what you said. So I’ve learned through a great deal of trial and error that I’d much rather be remembered as someone who was kind under duress than horrific over something rather inconsequential.

I think it’s pretty simple, really:

  • People respond best to kindness
  • People like it when you address them by their name (I learned this from a man I dated briefly. Most store clerks and cashiers wear a name tag. They address us by name, shouldn’t we return the favor?)
  • Everyone wants to be treated like they matter.

How hard is it to suck up our anger over a situation which it’s very unlikely it was caused by someone who is trying to help us resolve it? Those times when I did rake someone over the coals were, to say the very least, extremely unsatisfactory on all levels.

To the women who continue to teach me kindness, whether they realize it or not, I love and admire you all, and appreciate the example you set far more than you’ll ever know. Thank you so much, to Dezi, Judy, Lorna, Barbara, Leslie, Kay, Candy, and probably more than a dozen others who I may have lost track of, but know that the influence and the lesson remains. But for you, I would still be an angry, cranky woman who wondered why things never went her way, instead of a joyful, happy one who has everything going her way! All it took was a little kindness!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for all of the kind people who have been put in my path, in my life. I am a much better person for their influence.
2. I am grateful for interesting blog topics on a night when I didn’t have one of my own.
3. I am grateful for the process of writing which allows my mind to empty so it can slow down for a few hours each night.
4. I am grateful for my daughter who, despite the miles between us, is still very much a part of my life, and I, hers.
5. I am grateful for abundance; kindness, sharing, loving, growing, learning, joy, harmony, peace, health and prosperity.


Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: