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Archive for the ‘perspective’ Category

I’d Rather be a Shepherd Than a Sheep

Yet Another Slaughter Makes the Sheep Bleat

With yet another school shooting in the news, people are once again taking to Social Media to voice their opinions and rant their usual rants, ad infinitum, ad nauseum. While I don’t fault any of them for being socially conscious, I am curious as to how those rants are any better (or worse, for that matter) than the standard placebo “our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims”?

Worse yet, is jumping on another bandwagon of anger and blame something they’re doing by conscious choice, or because they continue to allow themselves to be led like lambs to the slaughter by media and politics? Does anyone realize how much they promote the political demon’s divisiveness by their outspokenness on Facebook, Twitter, or whatever their Social media du jour might be?

Can We Listen to Ideas for Solutions Without Judgement?

In the last couple of years, I’ve seen and re-seen the same basic arguments for and against gun control. I’ve seen the same groups blamed, and the same groups defended.

Wake up everyone! The only way to solve anything is to join together, air all points of view in an environment of open-mindedness, and find the solutions we’re all missing while holding tight to our own skewed points of view.

In a healthy business environment, solutions are found with brainstorming. An effective brainstorming session will respect anything and everything offered without judgement. Once all ideas are on the board, they can be debated until the less viable are weeded out and you’re left with those most likely to succeed. There’s no guarantee those remaining will be the most conservative, the tried and true, or the least far-fetched either. All options have an equal chance of being considered.

Clinging Desperately to Our Own Sinking Ships

Sadly, we’re so busy hanging onto our deeply ingrained beliefs and values, we would rather cling to what’s not working than consider something completely outside our comfort zone which might. We are children with security blankets being manipulated by the adults in the room (and I refer to the manipulators as adults only in the loosest sense) to cling to those security blankets of ours at all costs. Like Linus of “Peanuts” fame, we’ll hold onto those blankets even if the building is burning down around us, or we’re flung into the ocean without lifeboat or paddle.

How long are we going to cling to the past and to tried and untrue values and solutions before we recognize the futility of continuing to fight with both friends and foes virtually, while watching our world go down in flames around us? And people wonder why I refuse to join the futility and the chest pounding.

Getting Beyond Our Ingrained Beliefs

That isn’t to say there aren’t some real gems of wisdom out there. Whenever I see someone suggesting we listen to those with opposing views and try to understand why they reached them, I want to stand up and cheer. Even more, we could try to understand why we hold the views we do? Is it habit? A particular wrong we can’t let go of? Tunnel vision? Or worse, is it putting our trust in someone just because we always have, so of course, whatever they tell us must be true?

I’m willing to bet we are all guilty of all these reasons, and more which make no logical sense. People on one side or the other are reluctant if not militantly unwilling to listen to why someone supports an opposing person or viewpoint. And god forbid you even suggest to some of them that they were subtly manipulated into believing the most far-fetched of notions. I get it. No one wants to admit they believed a pile of horseshit was a lush garden with wine flowing from the fountains. We don’t want to admit our opinions have no basis in fact, but came simply from being bombarded with fake facts created (supposedly) by sources we thought we could trust.

We Need More Watch Dogs

The title of this post might be a bit misleading given what I’ve already written, but does, in its own way still hold true. Though I have no desire to manipulate anyone or give them reason to believe whatever my version of the truth might be, I also have no desire to be led to the slaughter by all of the crap being published these days. There is absolutely no way of knowing any more whether an article or comment from a trusted source truly came from that trusted source. Groups like Anonymous who do have the talent and ability to dig deep into the source of those words and expose the actual voices behind them are likely so overwhelmed right now, both with flying under the radar and weeding through so much virtual manure that they’re barely scratching the surface.

Even if they did have the manpower and ability to keep doing what they’re doing without getting caught and stifled, we have all allowed ourselves to become somewhat complacent about believing those “trusted sources”.

Breaking Free of My Personal Paradigms

Despite my refusal to jump on the latest cause, I’m attempting to use my gift for words to debate, demand, and maybe even offer a viable solution. Yet I, too am somewhat hobbled by an ingrained belief system. I do find a kind of dark humor in the latest piece of idiocy attributed to our current commander in chief. Yet I also believe (whether accurately or not) that an awful lot of it is fabricated by people who are paid very well to do so. Why? Because it keeps the rest of the country (and even the world) fighting over the stupidity and unreasonableness while supporters cling even more tightly to their beliefs, despite the obvious insanity. Or at least it’s obvious to those of us in the opposition, right?

Today, it’s easy to explain away something we don’t want to believe by attacking the source of information. We can write off an entire argument by saying or thinking “I can’t possibly believe that. It came from a person or publication which, in my opinion, does nothing but lie”.

What Ever Happened to Honesty and Truth?

To misquote a country song, we’re searching for truth in all the wrong places. The trouble is, we’ve lost all sight and perspective for where truth can actually be found. I wish I could say I know where that place is, but frankly, I’m as baffled as the rest of the world. I’d also like to say I’ve not been influenced by the lies being spread like peanut butter on bread, but again, I’m baffled and confused. I will at times react instead of responding. I will at times accept something I read without doing my due diligence.

Laziness? Maybe. But I prefer to think of it as a time limitation. Who among us has time to check everything we see and hear for voracity? Who has time to research every supposed fact and still live their lives with balance and integrity? We all depend on someone or something to tell us the truth, and sadly, we’re all let down time and again.

Though you probably won’t see me out there leading the charge any time soon, I will remain in the shadows trying to make sense of it all and refrain from fighting with those I know and love. I disagree with most of them on at least one major point, but I no more have actual facts to refute their beliefs than I think they do to refute mine. And frankly, unless we can both discuss the matter rationally and objectively, the discussion runs the risk of devolving into an argument where nobody wins and everyone loses. I’m not willing to risk my friendships like that.

Without Friends, Being Right is a Recipe for Loneliness

It’s taken me decades of my life to learn how to truly have and be a friend. To allow the years I’ve spent learning to be open, honest and vulnerable to go up in a cloud of smoke because we believe different sources of information strikes me as the ultimate in stupidity. I love my friends, not because they believe exactly the same way I do, but because  they don’t. I can learn from what they believe as much as I can learn from the lessons they’ve mastered. If there’s one thing friendship has taught me, it’s to choose people willing to tell me what I need to hear, not what I want to hear. I’ve learned and grown so much more, and appreciate my amazing friends for their willingness and ability to tell it like it is.

Do people actually follow me (aside from the concept created by social media and blogs)? I doubt it. Do people agree with me? Maybe yes, maybe no. But it doesn’t really matter. I try to consider their points of view, even if they are as far away from mine as it’s possible to get. I try to respond rather than reacting, and when I can’t do so, to hold my tongue. Shouting my beliefs or my outrage from the rooftops will truly only reach those who already share my point of view. Those who don’t will either shut down, or try to shout back, increasing the breach already created by differing beliefs, and dividing us further. In that, I refuse to be a sheep, and easy pickings for the monsters among us who seek to swallow us whole.

Perhaps there is a bit of the shepherd in me, as I would lead with gentleness and understanding rather than by force. It’s a crazy world we live in. More like “Alice in Wonderland” than “Pollyanna”, but I choose to believe we can still navigate it successfully if we keep our heads and trust our hearts.

Finding Gratitude in Things Both Big and Small

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for my friends on both sides of the divides created by opinion and lies.
  2. I am grateful for the lessons I learn, some of which cause me to re-think the path I travel and the destination I see in the distance.
  3. I am grateful for my home and my cats. They are the touchstone and the balance I need to navigate a world where the rules change without notice and the road drops away when I least expect it.
  4. I am grateful for my writing. It is and always has been my friend, my therapist, my outlet, and my sanity.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; lessons, resources, advice, friendship, joy, opportunities, financial upswings, job offers, new clients, reassessments, new contacts, expanded horizons, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

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


Not My Usual Upbeat Post

Warning! Steep Downhill Ahead.

It’s been awhile since I’ve needed to post a warning at the beginning of a post, but, having decided to put this out in public instead of taking it off-line, I feel I owe it to my readers to warn them of impending doom.

Depression Sucks

There, I’ve said it. Depression is the worst place to reside, even for a brief span of time. To someone who is depressed, I don’t think there really is a brief span of time. Every moment seems endless and excruciatingly painful. Though I only have my own perspective, I think it’s even worse when the cause of your depression is your own thoughtless actions.

I didn’t expect to gain additional perspective into my mother’s life and actions this late in the game, but it seems the Universe decided I needed some. Mix together months of physical pain, the inability to sleep more than an hour or two at a stretch, financial worries, a shit load of fears, a feeling of being alone and disconnected from everyone and the unconscious lowering of shields necessary to an empath’s sanity and you have a cocktail for disaster. The other night, not only did I partake indiscriminately of that cocktail, I wallowed in it like a pig in mud.

Now, I’m left feeling embarrassed, mortified and even more isolated than ever before… and filled with even more compassion for my mom. I can’t know how physically isolated she felt despite what appeared on the surface to be a decent marriage and a large circle of friends, nor how much pain her arthritis and other physical ailments were causing her. But I am reasonably certain that, unlike me, she hadn’t found a way to crawl out of the emotional hole she was in. Her foundation was a lot less stable than mine in the first place, despite the clear messages she gave me about how much I disappointed her. I, unlike her, was able to reach a point where I knew the only approval I needed was from myself, and I worked very hard to give myself that approval…until this week.

My only saving grace right now is that the circle of friends I moved into while making a more positive, compassionate world for myself is more supportive and understanding than the me I am right now believes I deserve. My heart swells with gratitude over how blessed I am to have these people in my life. As I sit in front of my computer with tears flowing down my face, wiping off my reading glasses every few minutes so I can see the computer screen or a text on my phone, I realize the messages they send are a true testament to the changes I made. Although on one hand, it comforts me, on the other, it reminds me of how tenuous a hold I have on both the positivity and the friends I’ve been able to attract by working to become a better person.

Friends, Indeed

Yes, I admit I’m being overly dramatic in thinking that friends of this nature would be so quick to turn their backs on me. The truth is, though I’ve learned a lot, I haven’t learned to believe I deserve loving, compassionate, understanding friends who realize even the best of us have bad days. Sure, my bad day this time took on what to me appears to be epic proportions. One friend even pointed out in an incredibly kind manner that I seemed to have regressed back to the angry, negative person I’ve worked so hard to leave behind. Talk about a reality check!

When I think of my mom living every day in this dark, lonely, desolate place, reliving every word she said to someone and tearing herself apart, I want to cry anew for the lonely, disconnected, unhappy woman who saw no other choice but to end that life. And it scares the living daylights out of me.

Is it any wonder that the cats, and Dylan in particular have been especially attentive for the last month or two? They saw me going down that long, dark spiral and have been doing their best to make me feel loved, appreciated and needed. They recognized when it reached its peak last night. Dylan has been glued to my side ever since. He curled up with his head on my lap while I watched TV and slept with me on the couch until my shoulder relaxed enough to move to my bed. In hindsight, he helped me sleep longer than I have in quite a few nights (a whopping 4 solid hours!). When I moved to my bed around 5 AM, he followed and curled up around my head where he stayed until I got up about 9. Now he’s just sticking by me wherever I go.

Taking Control

Even during my worst years, I used to tell myself I’d allow no more than 24 hours to be depressed before dragging myself out of that hole and getting on with my life. Whether I really did or not is irrelevant now. Suffice it to say, it made me wallow far less than I might have. And it was pretty good advice.

Writing has always been my sanity, even when what came out sounded somewhat less than sane. It is my therapist and a place where I can pour out hopes and dreams as well as fear and misery, knowing that putting the words on the page are tantamount to pulling the plug in the bathtub and letting the water flow out. The words and thoughts are no longer crammed into my brain, fighting for space and clamoring for release. They’re out there and given voice.

In the years I’ve been meditating, I often make use of a phrase to still my monkey-mind: “Accept, Acknowledge, Release”. I believe that the writing is a physical manifestation of those words. When I write down the thoughts churning in my brain, I am indeed, accepting and acknowledging them. When I finish the document or post, I’m giving myself permission to release them and move one. Small wonder so many of us find writing therapeutic. Not only can we give voice to those dark, twisty thoughts, but we can acknowledge and accept ourselves, realizing those thoughts are not necessarily the person we are. There’s always the other advantage and that is to help us understand those dark emotions and make the characters in our books more three-dimensional.

Yes, this week has been a wake-up call for me. Though I’ve worked hard to be positive, allowing the challenges in my life to grow unchecked still has the power to undermine years of hard work. I’m just grateful that where my efforts to be positive have excelled is in attracting incredible examples of natural positivity into my life. When the reflection in my mirror becomes displeasing to my eyes, I need only look towards those I now consider friends to remember that the person I want to be really is still in there. I just need to re-focus my effort and re-adjust my perspective.

Depression might suck but even as it is necessary to remind me how fortunate I am to have amazing, loving, beautiful people in my life.

My gratitudes today are:
1. I am grateful for lessons which help me put things back in perspective.
2. I am grateful for the lessons which repeat when I forget to be kind, compassionate and positive. They remind me that I am still a work in progress, and that’s OK.
3. I am grateful for friends who don’t abandon me when I get ugly, but also don’t sugar coat things. There is a time and a place when I just need to be told I’m acting like an ass.
4. I am grateful for reminders that, no matter what, I need to accept and forgive. What my mind might magnify into a major slight might just be someone else’s bad day.
5. I am grateful for abundance: friendship, love, compassion, kindness, lessons, challenges, perspective, joy, peace, harmony, philanthropy and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

July 9, 2015 The Universe Says: You Need a New Point of View

When the Messages Get Most Insistent, it Pays to Pay Attention

For the last few days, I’ve actually accomplished quite a bit, but with the exception of a delicious batch of tzaziki and a much-improved shoulder, nothing I’ve done has yielded much in the way of personal satisfaction, forward progress or even material improvements. Even the one card Tarot readings I’ve been doing every day are reflecting the frustration and even annoyance at where I am and what I’m doing.

Today’s reading was especially pointed. From the Celtic Tarot, I drew the Page of Pentacles which depicts a young man standing on a hilltop before recently planted fields gazing at a golden coin. He’s not accomplishing anything, nor does he seem satisfied with where he’s at, however beautiful it might be. The cut card from this deck was Temperance, which depicts a woman pouring liquid or stardust or something into a stream while a rainbow gleams behind her. I always see it as a need for balancing my energy, but it also indicates a need to spend some time formulating and tempering my needs, desires and purpose so that they are stronger and more viable.

My Spiral tarot yielded the Ten of Swords in which a woman stands on the sea shore watching the sunset with swords piercing her skin, energy spasming around her body, and her arms raised in the stance of a victim. I saw this to mean that I was trying to fit myself into the molds and ideas of others instead of honoring my own dreams and purpose. The cut card was the Five of Cups which has been coming up at least every other day of late. It shows a woman chasing 3 golden chalices as they’re swept out to sea while two more sit calmly beneath a tree which blooms on the shore right behind her. The tree gives off a golden glow as if to say Look at me! Here I am! Turn around. Everything you need is right here.

Making Sense of it All

My meditation this afternoon was almost useless, aside from a few minutes with Scrappy Doo purring in my lap with his head resting on my hand. I felt loved and blessed, but no closer to finding my way. After I did the Tarot reading, I took my Poppy Jasper and Fluorite heart stones and lay backwards on my bed with my head on the body pillow and my feet on the decorative ones. Munchkin joined me with purrs and little meows as I contemplated the week so far and the messages the cards and the Universe are sending me. I realized that I need to get out of the house and into nature where I can clear my head and do some thinking.

Taking a Day Off to Get Back on Track

Tomorrow’s plan sprung almost fully formed as I lay backwards on my bed. I’ll load my blue backpack with a towel, sun screen, water, a sandwich, some fruit and a notebook and pen and drive to a beach which at least used to be less frequented by the summer sunbathers. I’ll walk for as long as I feel like it, then spread my towel in the sand and maybe take a dip in the ocean. Then I’ll sit with my notebook and pen (going old school for the first time in awhile) and just write whatever comes. It may be a story or just a brain dump, but I feel certain that by the time I turn my car towards home, I’ll have the answers I need and the direction which has been eluding me.

What’s in a Word?

I realized tonight as I was hanging with my dance friends that what I’m feeling right now is discouraged. If I take the low view, I have nothing tangible to show for the last year and a half other than mounting debt. Granted, I seldom look that far down, and have to admit that I have a completed first draft of one novel, a second draft of another and the beginnings of a third and a few great ideas for improvements on my children’s book. I also have 6 blog posts which have been published to sites other than mine, a website which is constantly being improved upon and hundreds of thousands of words of blog posts. If I go by what I read a couple of years ago about needing over 100 pages for a website, and assuming that each blog post represents 1 page, I have nearly 1000 pages now. Looking at things from this perspective, I have, indeed, done what I set out to do.

I’ve also established and maintained at least a few of the healthier habits I set out to add to my repertoire. The long and the short of it is, the beach day tomorrow has probably been a long time coming and is precisely what I need to get out of this lumpy, grumpy, cranky place I find myself now, and which is immensely uncomfortable.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful that feeling low isn’t acceptable to me any more.
2. I am grateful for friends who help me put things in perspective, even when things are falling apart in their own lives.
3. I am grateful for a full weekend of dancing and culture.
4. I am grateful for the love and entertainment value of my furry roommates.
5. I am grateful for abundance: love, inspiration, motivation, changes, peace, harmony, friendship, 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!

November 18, 2014 I trust my feelings, but sometimes I just don’t get their message! #shericonaway

Sometimes, I wish my feelings came with an instruction manual.

When I went to bed last night (way too late again as I simply had to watch the latest episode of Castle before I started writing) I had what I’ve come to know as “Anxiety Tummy”. You know that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach that you get when you’re worried about something very intensely? Like when you’ve interviewed for a job you really want and are waiting to hear if you got it. Or you’re waiting for the results of tests at the doctor. That sort of thing.

The only problem is, I don’t have anything like that happening in my life right now! The worst part is, I woke up this morning and my stomach was still doing somersaults.

What do you do when your body gives you messages you just can’t decode?

Our bodies are wondrous things and, if we pay attention, can really point us in the right direction (or send us running really fast the other way if we’re heading for disaster, also known as “a learning experience”.) Sometimes, we ignore those messages, to our own detriment, but at other times, like today, I just don’t know what I’m being alerted to.

When I went to sleep last night, I asked my guides for clarification, but if they gave me any, I don’t remember. I’ve sat quietly, trying to allow thoughts to just float into my brain which might explain this weird feeling. The only thing I’ve come up with is my upcoming income verification with Covered California. I wouldn’t think that would be enough to upset my stomach, especially after all I’ve been through with them over the last year.

One thing I have learned is that if I spend a lot of time worrying about what I’m worrying about, it only makes things worse and I get nowhere.

It really is true! Exercise helps put things into perspective!Harvest box 11-18-14 view 2

I opted to refrain from fretting and went about my daily business which, on Tuesday includes a workout at the gym and a trip to Underwood to pick up my veggie box. Call me weird, but I get very excited over things like artichokes and kale, both of which appeared in this week’s box. This week’s new veggie to try is a butternut squash. I’ve had it in ravioli, but little else so I’ll enlist my daughter’s assistance in determining what to make with it. We are both looking forward with gusto to another kale, potato and chicken sausage stir fry this week. I’ve also grown rather fond of the purple carrots which once again were part of the week’s yummy bounty.

Getting back to the point I was trying to make before I waxed eloquent over my veggies, is that going to work out was the best thing I could have done with regard to understanding my body’s signals. Not only did my chest and tricep workout loosen up my shoulder, not completely, but range of motion is much better, but I realized what was bothering me.

I was on track when I thought it might have to do with my Covered California renewal, but as it turns out, the real issue was only indirectly related, and goes something like this: I haven’t made as much money this year as I’d hoped, but to be honest, I haven’t put as much effort into the writing as I could have. BUT when I started looking at what I had accomplished rather than what I hadn’t (sound familiar?), I was pretty pleased. Conservatively speaking, if I say I averaged 30,000 words a month blogging, that’s 300,000 words just in this blog! Add to that the 30,000+ words I added to the novel I started last November plus the 29,000 I’ve already written this year…Do you see where I’m going here?

Now, add to the list the fact that I’ve gotten through two and a half chapters of the copywriting class (chapter 3 alone is over 300 pages) plus the first 10 or 11 exercises, and I’ve worked on two new clients’ books as well as spending some time for my former employer in the early part of the year.

On top of all that, I’ve done a lot of decluttering in my house this year, managed to keep up with most of my chores and improve my environment. All this, and I got away to visit my daughter at least a half dozen times this year.

Whew! Needless to say, anxiety tummy is a thing of the past, though my shoulder is telling me that a massage and energy session should still be part of this week’s agenda.

The moral of my story is, listen to the emotional signals your body sends, but don’t stress out if you don’t, at first, understand the message.

My gratitudes today are:
1. I am grateful for a system which reminds me to focus on what matters.
2. I am grateful for my workouts which do my body a world of good and take me away from things which used to tie me in knots.
3. I am grateful for my weekly box of fresh veggies.
4. I am grateful for the opportunity to focus on what I have done rather than what I haven’t.
5. I am grateful for caring friends who share life’s ups and downs, both theirs and mine. It is heartwarming to know that we travel life’s roller coaster in good company.
6. I am grateful for abundance: faith, love, joy, friendship, inspiration, accomplishments, health and prosperity.


And now for some shameless self-promotion:
I’d love it if you’d visit my Facebook page at I’ve created this page as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” it or leave a comment! Thank you!

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