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Archive for the ‘progress’ Category

Progress is Progress, No Matter How Small

Switching Things Up is Progress

September 11th came and went this year as it always does, along with the memories, the feelings, both repressed and expressed, and the knee jerk reactions. But then again, it wasn’t really the same at all.

In years past, when September 11th came along, I disconnected from social media and crawled deep into my self-imposed cave for 24 hours or more. Apparently, this is the year things were meant to change.

In the first place, it fell on a Wednesday which is a day I usually spend going to the gym and running errands. Sure, I could have moved things around, and probably would have in the past. This year, I didn’t feel it was important enough, so I got out of the house, perhaps a little later than planned, and soldiered on.

Losing Myself in a Crowd

I knew I wasn’t up for the more intimate group of dancers who meet at a friend’s house once a week but instead of slothing it in front of the TV, I got up, got dressed, and went to a larger venue where I figured I’d just blend into the scenery. Wearing uncharacteristic all black, I joined my friends on the dance floor, hiding in the middle, only to be called out by the DJ who’s known me for too long, but didn’t read my “I’m hiding” message in my black shirt and shorts.

The one thing I didn’t do was pretend I was fine. I also stopped saying it was the anniversary of my dad’s “death” in the generic sense. Instead, I said “it’s the 16th anniversary of my dad’s suicide”.

What I didn’t expect was so many have become used to me talking openly about suicide, that it didn’t shock so much as let people know I was feeling vulnerable. No one pushed or tried to be overly solicitous, but it was clear they were all there for me if I needed them. What an amazing and unexpected revelation!

Acknowledging and Releasing Old Pain

Slowly but surely, I’m revisiting and releasing old hurts, letting go of old baggage, and learning a lesson I missed growing up: how to be a friend, and attract my true tribe. Despite events of the last few months which are causing my ever-expanding tribe to gather in smaller pieces at a variety of venues, the emotional and energetic bonds we share are growing stronger. It’s clear to me now, time and circumstances don’t weaken bonds if they’re formed on the right foundation.

It’s become especially apparent as I revisit the rift with my blood family. It may be that “blood is thicker than water” but some blood is diluted by unseen factors. My family showed me unequivocably that they aren’t able to be there for me in times of trauma or strife. It isn’t a reflection on them as human beings. It’s simply the way it is. I’ve learned to not only expect but respect the dynamic—or lack thereof.

I was born into a family, but I see now, I was only there temporarily. It was a brief stopping point while I gathered a few of the tools and a lot of the traumas which would help me become the person I was meant to be. It’s been a long, slow process (I had to get past the desperation to be loved and accepted first), but I can see now it was a necessary step in my soul’s evolution.

Lessons Come in All Shapes and Sizes

Sometimes, I learn what to do and how I deserve to be treated from my various experiences. Other times, I learn what not to do and how I do not deserve to be treated. I’ve had many bosses who’ve shown me the wrong way to run a department or treat employees, just as I’ve had a few who showed me the right way.

Interestingly, it’s from a marketing group I’m in that I’m learning everything in life is about relationships. Even as a writer, I can’t operate in a vacuum. Not only do I get a lot of my topics from interacting with other people, I couldn’t grow my business without clients, and clients are always going to be other people.

Each step I take in dealing with my emotional traumas surrounding my parents’ suicides takes me further into the real issues surrounding my inability to form strong, lasting, functional relationships.

Relationship Building for Love or Money

I’m beginning to see my earliest lessons in relationship building came from my parents and blood family. I learned to hide my true self in what was ultimately a fruitless effort to fit in; to belong. It wasn’t until I endured the ultimate rebuff, and recognized it as such that I realized I was going about belonging in the wrong way. I’ve recently discovered positive indifference is an important factor, not only in whether or not I get a contract, but in establishing relationships too.

That doesn’t mean I go into social situations, guns a-blazing, acting like a jerk. Instead, it means spending time watching the interactions, observing the social protocol, and assessing how it makes me feel.

If it’s an environment where I feel comfortable engaging as my true self, I’ll probably stick around. If I feel like I have to stuff myself into an uncomfortable configuration, I’ll likely say a polite goodbye and move on. I don’t need to belong somewhere enough to pretend to be someone I’m not. 

The Epiphany of Authenticity

Learning there were people and places which would accept me as I am, and not Created with Canvaexpect me to be something I’m not shocked the hell out of me. It turned a lifetime of failed relationships upside down. It never occurred to me I was going about it wrong, trying to make people like me by being what I thought they expected. Instead of gaining the acceptance I craved, I came off needy, desperate, phony, and unapproachable.

People typically want to interact with others who are at least somewhat open and honest. Desperation is typically a turnoff, except perhaps to those who thrive on using other people. Thus, opening up, not only about my parents’ suicides, but about my own broken parts has catapulted me into both social and business environments which, at last accept me for who I am, and actually appreciate that crazy, messy person for her honesty.

Still Sharing Selectively But for the Right Reasons doesn’t mean I “bleed” all over everyone. I’m still selective about what and with whom I share, aside from my writing. I’ve recently discovered I can share more here because it’s still safe. I’m not subject to acceptance or rejection. I don’t feel someone’s distaste or disgust. If they don’t like what I’ve written, they typically won’t read any more, and that’s perfectly fine with me. I’m probably not writing for them anyway.

Those who come back; who read my posts regularly, and often tell me so are the ones I write for. They want to see the parts of me I’m still working on fixing; the imperfect parts I’ve come to accept and even appreciate; the successes when I overcome past traumas and conditioning. Why? Because they’ve been through their own share of crap. They deserve applause for their successes too. Most of all, they deserve to keep the messy, gooey parts they want to keep. And so do you!

Happy to Be Grateful

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for friends who “get” me, and who love me because of my imperfections.
  2. I’m grateful for the small bits of progress. Put them all together, and I’ve come a lot farther than I realized.
  3. I’m grateful for my current work environment. I work without the need to please anyone but myself and my chosen clients, without distraction other than my own monkey mind, and with the co-workers who suit me best; my furry family.
  4. I’m grateful for the support I’m getting as I learn to be more myself and less a facade.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, friendship, support, laughter, dancing, kitty love, perspective, ambition, guidance, peace, harmony, balance, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

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

October 27, 2014 On the home stretch #shericonaway #blogboost

Yet another door is about to close, just as a new one opens.

The Ultimate Blog Challenge is winding down, but that doesn’t mean my writing tasks will disappear. I’ve made some new friends this time around, and will continue following them to see where their journey takes them.

Meanwhile, once UBC ends, NaNoWriMo begins. I’m diligently reading some of the material I received concerning plot development, and though much of the terminology is familiar, much more is not. I’m learning a great deal, some of which will stay in my head during this first pass, but most will come into play once I begin the first revision…after November is over.

So what exactly is this “visualization” stuff? Does it really work?

I know you’ve seen it because, these days, it’s all over the net. “Visualize”. “Manifest”. “Laws of Attraction”. But when I was first introduced to these concepts, they had only just begun to leave the hands of the pioneers in the field who were disseminating these new fangled ideas, and you only heard about them in certain circles. These days, just about everyone has hear about them, and more and more of us are utilizing their principles, not only for the big things, but in our every day lives.

As I see it, by visualizing something or some condition you really want in your life, and doing so while feeling the high vibrational emotions you would be feeling if they already existed, you draw to you the tools and guidance you need to make the visions materialize. Not everyone has jumped on this particular train, any more than everyone jumps on any train or idea. But I’ve noticed that those who dissent the loudest are the ones who think that they should see immediate results on the big stuff.

Others, myself included, have learned that the larger things, no matter how you might manifest them, take time to develop. If nothing else, you may still have to read several signs and perform several steps before the larger manifestations occur. You see, even manifestation by visualization is a process.

Not only that, if you fail to recognize the signs and don’t align yourself or perform certain tasks when they need to be performed, like a train, you’ll miss your connection. Like anything else, visualization in the wrong hands won’t work. As I see it, the greatest opposition to manifestation of our visualizations is entitlement.

With entitlement, people just expect to be handed what they want without having to go to any effort, up to and including visualizing what they want while exuding the joy of already having it. If you can’t even be bothered to feel joyful, why in the name of all that’s good would the Universe waste time trying to give it to you? You wouldn’t recognize it for what it was anyway! The “entitled” don’t feel gratitude because they don’t understand the simple concept that appreciation attracts more of what you appreciate. They don’t even feel the need to appreciate what they believe they’re simply entitled to, for no other reason than that they inhabit a particular space in time.

I realize that in a perfect world, a wish for that brand new car or the perfect job or the perfect mate would be fulfilled immediately. But part of the perfection of our world lies smack dab in the middle of its imperfections. Part of those imperfections require us to actually learn lessons and acquire tools so we’ll know what to do with what we receive, and how to take care of it once it’s ours! Even the unenlightened would no more give a five year old a brand new car than they would have them raise a baby. Some things require a period of learning before being handed the keys to that Maserati.

Have you read about some of the people who’ve won big in the lotteries, but had never had money in their lives? Oftentimes, they’re bankrupt in a short time because nobody ever taught them how to handle money properly instead of just throwing it away. So, too, with families who were nearly destitute until “Extreme Home Makeover” gave them a brand new house. There are documented cases where they mortgaged their new house to start a business, but had no idea how to make it work, and lost everything.

We have to be just as prepared to receive what we envision. We have to respond to those clues which give us lessons to learn which will prepare us. Even the people in the Secret movie talk about their big dreams manifesting over time, even after they’ve forgotten about the visualization. They were working up to it the whole time, though they didn’t realize they were doing anything except living their life and facing some challenges and appreciating everything in their lives.

As I move along the path that my visualization of a writing career created, I move slowly at times, and more quickly at others. I recognize some lessons and overlook others for awhile until something draws my attention to what has been right in front of my face for weeks and even months. I’d certainly be further along had I paid more attention earlier this year, but in truth, am I not exactly where I’m supposed to be? Were those delays not put in place for a reason? Am I not more inspired and open to ideas because of the delays?

Looking at the chronicle of my progress.

I’m luckier than most. If I want to know where I was at a given point in time, I simply go back and look at what I was writing at the time. This isn’t just true of the 5 years of blogging I’ve done, but in the files of what I call “brain dumps” which I’ve done over the years, mostly when I was having trouble sleeping. It was there that I found my dream to leave accounting and concentrate on writing was already screaming loudly in my mind nearly twenty years ago. It’s there that I chronicle strange dreams or thoughts I can’t seem to get out of my brain. Even the fiction I wrote had an element in it which echoed those hopes and dreams.

So I know that even though the going this year has been slow, I am making progress and I am moving toward the manifestation of my dreams. Like anything else, I simply have to go through the process. I have to develop as a person, as a writer, as a Divine Being, before some of those things will fully manifest. But if I look carefully, more has already manifested than I realize when I only give my life a casual glance.

I encourage you to look deeper when you think your hopes and dreams are being ignored. The Universe is always going to try to give you something even better than you visualized, so maybe you just aren’t ready to recognize what is before you. When you are, get ready for one of those epiphanies, those “Aha Moments” I speak of so frequently. They’re all around you, just waiting for you to open your eyes. Embrace the possibilities!

My Gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the lessons which prepare me for all of the amazing things I’ve been visualizing faithfully.
2. I am grateful for all of the visualizations which have already manifested, and always better than my original picture.
3. I am grateful for my writing which gives me a reminder of how much I’ve received, and to offer up my gratitude for how blessed I am.
4. I am grateful for the improvements in my physical self. I’m already seeing small improvements in what I am capable of doing.
5. I am grateful that I have the time, the inclination and the means to prepare healthy meals for myself.
6. I am grateful for abundance: love, health, happiness, manifestations, gratitude, friendship, inspiration and prosperity.


October 26, 2014 A door closed today. #shericonaway #blogboost

Sometimes, we need a door to close for good to make us realize that our efforts were better spent elsewhere.

Today, I got word that a potential increase in my accounting work was not going to happen. Am I saddened by the news? For me, not really. For the other party, they’ve already made changes and moved on. The fact is, if I’ve learned no other lesson over the past year, it’s that I am infinitely happier when the amount of logical, uncreative accounting work is at a minimum. I don’t mind having a little of it in my life, if only to keep me sharp, but a heavy diet of accounting has the same effect on me as the half a baked potato I ate for lunch today. It makes me feel slow and heavy instead of how I feel when I’m eating healthier meals with lots of fresh vegetables. It’s OK once in awhile, but given the choice, I’d rather spend my time as I have over the last couple of days; studying and preparing for my next writing project.

Although I’ve had a much slower start (mostly due to my own need to just veg and move myself, body and soul, into a new place), the writing, the creating, even finding ways to help other people, is where I need to be, and where my soul has been starving for many years. There were, and still are, many things about industries which utilize writers that I needed to learn. I have plenty of trial and error ahead of me, but I do learn from my mistakes as well as from my ignorance. In the last couple of days, I’ve reassessed my plans, hopes and dreams and realized that I need to make some changes and jump over some obstacles. In so doing, I found new resources which are helping me get my momentum going in a forward direction again, and learning my limitations for absorbing the information.

I purchased a bundle from Writer’s Digest which contains webinars, ebooks and print books designed to help develop a plot before I just dive in and start to write. After watching one webinar and gaining some very surface-level insight, I tried watching another and just couldn’t stick with it. It was then that the epiphany hit me. I don’t need to use all of the resources, but only the ones which resonate with me. Poking around at the rest of the electronic information I’d received (the print books hadn’t arrived yet), I started reading one of the ebooks and had a major “Aha moment”. Even so, I have discovered that about 30 minutes of reading at a time, taking it slowly and absorbing as much as I can, is about optimal for me right now.

Once the realization hit with regard to my lessons in plot development, I realized that I could and should do the same with my copywriting class. Instead of agonizing over a section and an assignment which didn’t feel right or comfortable for me, I have decided to keep reading and set the assignment aside. I may come back to it after I’ve absorbed more information…and then again, I might not. But either way, I’m not going to allow it to halt my forward progress any more.

I’m adopting a kind of “so what” attitude about things which, in the long run, don’t matter. One of those things is the low income I’ll be showing for Uncle Sam this year. The last time my annual income was this low, I was a college student. Of course, the year isn’t over yet, and I believe that things can change in a single moment. But as of right now, I won’t be buying any private islands or flying first class to Europe…this year. (not that any of it was on my agenda anyway)

The book I’m currently reading uses a lot of theatrical examples as the writer (as did the presenter in the webinar I watched) talks about writing a book in three acts. As a result, while I was watching a couple of movies tonight, I found myself dissecting them as I’ve been doing with the books I read these days. It’s like learning a language by immersion. I find that if I take every day things and try to figure out how they fit in with what I’ve learned, I absorb more. Recognizing plot types is really no different than recognizing words in another language. Once recognized, you can start to use what you’ve learned.

I can see clearly now, the block is gone.

And so it begins. A shift in energy and a shift in perspective, and what was stuck is now unstuck. I don’t expect to see results over night (though it would be wonderful!), but will be overjoyed to begin seeing those baby steps moving forward once again. This year has been like returning to kindergarten to make my choices all over again, but different. If my life were a screenplay, there would be a point where I had choices to make, then the story would unfold in two directions, one the choice I took and the other, the choice I rejected. In my case, I chose a path with a guarantee of making a living instead of the one which would make me the happiest. But along the way, I gained life experiences so that when I decided to give myself a second chance, I had a whole lot more to work with.

I always have and always will believe that everything happens for a reason.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the choices I’ve made, and the ones I have yet to make.
2. I am grateful for epiphanies and Aha moments.
3. I am grateful that the clouds have cleared and I am able to see the path before me again.
4. I am grateful that for every choice I make, there are options. Some may be better than others, some may be of equal value, some may just be there to show me where I don’t want to go. But all give me an opportunity to weigh the pros and cons if I choose, or go with my gut if that suits me better at the time.
5. I am grateful for the challenges which face me in the months ahead. I believe that what I’ve accomplished in the last year has prepared me to forge ahead, fearlessly and better equipped.
6. I am grateful for abundance: choices, opportunities, knowledge, wisdom, challenges, life, friendship, harmony, peace, joy, health, love and prosperity.


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