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

Archive for the ‘new experiences’ Category

Getting Out of the Rut and Making the Life You Deserve

Seeing Changes and Knowing They’re Good

I’ve been in my current human form for the better part of 61 years yet I’m beginning to realize that for the much of that time, I was simply plodding from one day to the next, having little impact on the world around me and accomplishing little. I’d fallen into the societal trap of working at a job which offers a decent living, doing repetitive things, be it work, play or chores and errands.

I’d like to stay I began to wake up over the last 15 or 20 years, and that would certainly be true, but progress, up until the last 2 or 3 has been decidedly slow. Sure, I watched “The Secret” a few times, read “Laws of Attraction” in several of its forms and practiced positivity. I definitely made some improvements to myself but nothing of any real significance. That is, until I started taking a healing class on the recommendation of my massage therapist.

That class may not have launched my career as a healer, but it made me take some good, hard looks at myself and my life, and frankly, I wasn’t exactly pleased with the naked truth. My life was boring and predictable, uncreative and unremarkable. 4 months into the healing course, I decided to trust my gut for a change and quit my boring and soul-sucking 9-5 accounting job to launch my writing career.

Anyone who follows this blog pretty much knows how that’s been going. I’m certainly putting a lot of words on screen, but except for articles I publish on the website of the photographer I’ve begun working with, publication is still an unrequited dream. My inner critic is still stronger than I’d like despite the compliments I do get on some of my pieces. My ability to actually finish something longer than a blog post or article is still shaky at best. But I am making progress.

Yet, in my own way, I was still plodding along in a predictable and boring pattern. I get up, I exercise sometimes, I do my errands on the same day every week and dance on the same nights in the same place. In short, my brain and soul were itching to break out of this self-imposed rut.

Learning to Ride and Thrive with the Changes

A couple things happened over the last 4 months to get me moving again. First, I got tired of chronic pain and went in search of both a diagnosis and a solution. The nearly 3 months of physical therapy has not only given me no small amount of relief but has me exercising more regularly and moving much more freely.

Enter my photographer friend, Jesse. Towards the end of last year, she hired me to write some posts for her website. After attending a couple of events together, she realized she’d rather put her efforts into taking photographs and avoid having to write the accompanying story so she offered the job to me. It’s a perfect match as we both get to do what we love, plus we bring different administrative and marketing skills to the table, creating a very effective synergy.

Body issues also served to remind me that I’m not in the best of physical shape, but in a chicken or the egg kind of scenario, I figured that stressing out over money was a huge factor. After attending one of John Assaraf’s Brain-a-thons, I signed up for Winning the Game of Money and became part of a community of ambitious, supportive people.

It was a no-brainer for me when John offered an 11-day weight loss challenge. I lost a few pounds, improved my eating habits, starting eating more of the veggies from my weekly box and between the two programs, was feeling a whole lot better and more energetic. Better still was the improvement in my sleep and the drastic improvements in my pain levels, strength and flexibility. The icing on the cake was when I won one of the two subscriptions given out for the Winning the Game of Weight Loss program.

I am now starting week 11 of the WTGOM program and week 2 of WTGOWL (technically, I spent about 3 weeks on Level 1 because of the challenge). I’m learning to say “releasing fat” instead of “losing weight” because losing implies that you’ll eventually find it again. As most people who’ve spent years of their lives dieting know, it’s often an endless cycle of losing some and gaining more. I didn’t get to be 233 pounds at my highest by accident, I assure you. Thankfully, the last time I “lost weight” I actually did manage to keep some of it off, but I’m a long ways from my healthy place. The difference is, this time, I’m more confident about getting and staying there.

Finding Someone New and Exciting, and That Someone is Me

But this isn’t really a testimonial for John’s programs, but a picture of my own evolution. The last piece is the afore-mentioned friend and photographer, Jesse. She’s dragged me along, sometimes kicking and screaming on her own quest to work with Food Network. To my surprise, and to the especial surprise of my inner hermit, I’m having a blast. While she runs around with her camera photographing everything, I’m in amongst the people, talking, asking questions and generally having a great time. I don’t know how this happened as I’ve always thought of myself as a loner and someone who just doesn’t do well with people. Maybe on some levels that’s still true, but I know now that it doesn’t have to stay that way.

I’m learning that when people see someone with a notebook taking notes, they’re curious. When they find out you’re a writer/journalist, many are anxious to talk and share.

This weekend, we attended what was publicized as a beer event, but also featured about 20 food trucks. But these weren’t just any food trucks! Each and every one of them was owned and operated by chefs…not cooks, but chefs. One of them was a collaboration of 3 who had recently left the restaurant where they all worked. Their exit took the executive chef, chef de cuisine and pastry chef, and ultimately one of the cooks as well. You know it’s not about the money when three high level chefs turn their skills to running a food truck! They have a passion and a dream.

And that’s where I’m reminded I do too, and that I’m not going to realize them by sitting in my house day after day, maybe pounding away at this keyboard. I’m not going to find it going out on the same nights every week to the same place and seeing the same people who may or may not care whether I’m there or not, and it doesn’t really matter either way.

I’m going to find it by, for now, helping my friend chase her dream because in helping her, I’m giving myself a gift I didn’t even know I wanted or deserved. I’m gaining confidence, learning how to get people to talk about themselves, feeling the passion from those who do have the sense to follow what their heart wants. And I’m stretching those writing chops of mine into unknown directions where I just have to fake it ’til I make it. Except I realized tonight, I’m no longer faking it. I’m really loving the new directions, the places we’re going, the people I’m talking to. This is my new adventure, and the best part of it is that I really don’t know where it’s going to take me, and it doesn’t matter!

GOYA (Get off your Ass)

Though I wouldn’t recommend quitting your 9-5 job like I did, without a real plan or source of income, I’d definitely suggest you take a good, hard look at what you’re doing with your life and how it makes you feel. If you have settled into a life of sameness, make sure that’s what you really want, and if it isn’t, start by making small changes. Most important, find people who align with what you really want, and help them chase their dream until yours comes around and smacks you in the face.

My gratititudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for my friend, Jesse who drags me out of my comfort zone on a regular basis.
2. I am grateful to John and the NeuroGym team who are helping me improve my health, my outlook, my ambition, my drive and how I’m spending my time these days.
3. I am grateful to the friends and family who cheer me on, egg me on and kick my butt when I need it. Without the encouragement, I would still be existing instead of living.
4. I am grateful for my writing skills and my constant efforts to improve them; sometimes by studying, but more often by just exercising the muscle in a variety of ways.
5. I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, inspiration, motivation, community, peace, harmony, healthy, philanthropy and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, www.shericonaway.com 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!

September 29, 2014 New experiences

New experiences will make me a better writer.

In my continuing quest to not only make myself a better writer but to make myself write more, I tried something new again tonight. I joined a group which calls itself “Shut up and write”. The premise behind it is that everyone shows up at a specified place and time, chats a bit, then writes for an hour. Afterward, it seems, they just go on their merry way. The one person who was there tonight was rather lovely, but during our pre-writing conversation confirmed impressions I’d had about a previous foray into new experiences.

I had doubts about being able to accomplish anything with all of the people around and the loud music, but I’m willing to try anything once. I came armed with an idea for a short story to contribute to a pre-Halloween horror story campfire a friend and fellow writer is hosting. At the end of the hour, I had over 800 words, and felt I’d completed the first draft of the story! Somewhere along the way, I just tuned out everything around me and was completely focused on the tale I was trying to weave. In short, when I gave my subconscious the go-ahead, it took me write to that zone in which I write so abundantly.

Re-reading it when I got home, it definitely needs work, but I got the basic idea down and can work on the details in the next couple of weeks. Overall, this one will be an experience I’ll definitely repeat.

Practice makes perfect, so writers must write…and write…and write…

I know I have to add a lot of things to my repertoire in order to improve my craft. Finding a good group with whom to share the critiquing process is high up on that list. However, first and foremost, I must write and write prolifically. It may seem that the hundreds of thousands of words I’ve blogged, the nearly 100,000 words (more actually if you count recent revisions) I’ve written for my novel, not to mention another 30,000 or so on other creative projects would be considered prolific. But as far as writers go, I’d venture to guess that’s just a drop in the bucket. Ultimately, I’ll be counting the words I’ve penned (typed just doesn’t sound the same, does it?) in the millions at least. But I’ll never get there if I don’t start writing a lot more than I’ve been lately! I’ve fallen off the wagon, writing-wise and penned very little other than the everlasting gobstopper of a first novel.

If dreams are any indication, my imagination is positively chomping at the bit to get ideas on paper.

The vividness and detail of my dreams has been escalating for the last few months until now, I have several highly entertaining dreams every, single night. I really do need to put a tape recorder next to my bed! Story ideas are simply tripping over each other in a mad rush to be heard, their real goal, for me to remember and commit them to some permanent medium. Too many are gone by the time I finally drag myself out of bed in the morning.

Speaking of dragging myself from bed, I had an epiphany of sorts this morning. I had to be up early to get to a doctor’s appointment. As I went through my forgotten routine of rising and heading straight for the shower, I didn’t think much of it, but just let muscle memory guide me through the normal tasks. As I dressed before making my way to the kitchen to dish up everyone’s daily dose of wet food, an errant thought popped into my head which I think must be heeded.

This thought, this tiny little voice, said to me: “This getting into the shower as soon as I get up routine feels pretty good! I’m clean, my contacts are in…I’m ready to face the day, before coffee!” As the shock wore off, I realized that, like the pan full of the week’s dinner and the pre-made salads, some parts of my old, work-a-day routine actually worked for me! In fact, I am finding that I missed some of that structure!

Even more, I think that lack of structure is what has been keeping me from writing as I should. It’s been keeping me from finishing the copywriting course, and it’s been keeping me from becoming the Author I need to become! How’s that for a serious “Aha moment”???

Slowly but surely, I am reacquainting myself with routine. Slowly but surely, I’m leaving the house on almost a daily basis for one thing or another. In so doing, I realize that I was not following that immortal guidance: Get up. Dress up. Show up. Even if showing up just means sitting down at my computer and writing instead of playing a game or surfing the net. Someone has to set some expectations, and as I look around, the only one in my life who can do that now is me!

High on my list of expectations is to try new things until I find what works best. But also high on that list is to get myself into healthy, productive routines which move me further and faster on the path I’ve set for myself. Motivation is a wonderful thing!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for “Aha Moments”.
2. I am grateful for new people who help me learn more about my craft.
3. I am grateful for challenges from friends which make me step further out of my comfort zone.
4. I am grateful for today’s productivity, and look forward to even more tomorrow.
5. I am grateful for abundance: motivation, imagination, dedication, time maximization, new experiences, harmony, peace, love, health and prosperity.

Namaste

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