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

Archive for the ‘#shericonaway’ Category

A Matter of Perspective

We See Family From Our Own Perspective

I ran into a fellow member of the dance community at our local county fair one night. We were reminiscing about the “good old days”. He told me the thing he misses most is the feeling of family that existed in the early 2000’s when there were parties and gatherings outside of just the dance venue. I listened but didn’t have much to contribute because I wasn’t part of the “family” he remembered during that period of time.

The truth is, I feel more of that family connection now, and have for the last 3 or 4 years, maybe a couple more. Before that, I didn’t have more than a couple of phone numbers, or connections on social media. I didn’t see any of my dance “friends” outside of our regular Thursdays and Saturday nights. I could probably count the people I called “friend” as opposed to “acquaintance” on one hand and have fingers left over.

I used to envy those who clearly had a connection that went beyond dancing. I saw people making plans, or coming in after having dinner together; sharing lives, holidays, vacations, and bonds I didn’t understand. From my perspective at the time, no one wanted to have that kind of connection with me.

I’ve since learned, to quote an old and tired relationship-ending phrase out of context, it wasn’t them, it was me. Many of those people were probably reaching out to me, but my rough, defensive, knee-jerk responses told them I was neither approachable nor amenable to sharing more of my life with them. After awhile, they moved on, leaving me oblivious to their efforts to include me.

You Have to First Open the Door

It wasn’t until I lowered my walls and offered up a bit of myself that things began https://www.flickr.com/photos/64738468@N00/25973076/in/photolist-3i7TE-fyVNaB-9aLW9G-4JgeJF-EUixt-pdT2Ek-63AteW-8vwter-bxo88F-cdcTPS-bVQBQg-5aG3Rc-6ktqzm-bxouRx-9NP8jK-drK3ho-cdcUgU-cdcX7q-cdcVCE-cdZyKj-BJPNDq-bxovfz-6knRQ4-fLRddW-9aHGR4-dKZQqf-bxo2tZ-cPQ6Sh-34jbLJ-pJefAw-6kt26u-8w3FD3-fLRas7-4RuNgv-cfEDAb-6XGTXx-adqDCb-RgBASk-fpsHxH-7eqpS1-ahPuom-269ugzb-cW79tG-6pwS4o-YrjQ9b-bo6Gr6-fq9GQm-fp2skU-6guFM-br7V4kto change. I let people see that much of my unconscious defensiveness was my way of hiding the pain I’d been taught never to let anyone see. The false set of beliefs I’d been given from birth said no one wanted to know I struggled with anything unless they were going to use it to take advantage of me. In short, my early education was as riddled with holes as Swiss cheese.

I developed a version of “normal” which was about as far removed from reality as that of anyone who’s grown up in a dysfunctional family. Granted, we all have at least a bit of dysfunctionality in our lives, but I’m talking about extremes.

For example, I grew up believing that having a few drinks every evening, and drinking to excess at social gatherings was normal. I didn’t share the desire exhibited by my parents and their peers, so I thought there was something wrong with me. It wasn’t until decades later I learned I wasn’t the one who had a problem. It was one of many reasons I didn’t fit in with my own family, and I’d learned to accept it as part of my reality.

Making Connections is a Learned Talent

Created with CanvaNot making real, deep connections was another part of my reality I believed was normal. My parents certainly had people I’d call close friends, but in hindsight, I think that closeness was simply a product of similar outlooks, and a common belief in self-medicating to escape a harsh reality. I don’t think they shared their vulnerability with each other, and frankly, they’d have been horrified at the suggestion. They wouldn’t have been comfortable on the giving or receiving end of something so deeply personal and honest. In their minds any raw emotions they shared while under the influence could be explained away by the alcohol.

The point of this post wasn’t to wander down memory lane and wake up the ghosts. It was to recognize how differently two people can see the same time and place. Borderline is probably medium-sized when it comes to bars; not a tiny, dark, hole-in-the-wall, but not a giant venue where thousands can gather on a busy night either. To be honest, for those of us who frequented it regularly, it was just right. (OK, so maybe we’d have liked a bigger dance floor, but for socializing purposes, it was perfect).

How each person views an event or situation is largely dependent on their own history. How you’re raised is, of course, a huge factor. You’re also influenced by painful, if not traumatic events. How you navigated those events, and the person you became once you’d healed (assuming you did), or established coping mechanisms affects not only how you see things, but how you interact with others.

Do You Build Walls or Bridges?

I know I’m not alone in building enormous walls, and creating coping https://www.flickr.com/photos/17367470@N05/34548761725/in/photolist-UCXrcB-ecCNUL-4zfgf6-dAnmf-ngJT8C-azZxsp-nqHgd-b6nZQ8-eM19w4-2cSiqbp-ax5dgA-27J7Psa-6LxpFR-2bRXjnz-pEj693-j4VCQQ-fmd2HZ-svmgQ3-2es7nPR-7AUKsG-GnaSGd-9KvniY-pzqY5Q-VkF76-25utPi9-aLKEgF-qa3JFd-7pVuMa-cMP8xf-K8vLgj-nEqYEz-JW6mY-fB5met-nqHga-aRccva-JWkte-aFcmuG-JW6n9-7Z3cY8-aLKvYc-AM33ua-5Jgt83-9hYUkR-cu1wuJ-9mTEYo-aR8L6v-28j4DAt-PBhbUU-emC61v-9yg7h6mechanisms which shield me, not only from the cruelties of life, but also from the things which bring joy, delight, and pleasure. The trouble is, while living in that seemingly pain-free place, you miss out on how a gathering place can take on the feel of a loving, accepting, non-judgemental family; something many of us weren’t fortunate enough to know.

Granted, I’ve met a few people in the last few years whose early lives make mine look look like summer camp. I’ve also learned it’s not about comparisons, but how you come through your own personal storms. Some learn to live better than they were taught. Others spend their lives huddled in a turtle shell, poking their heads out a little at a time until a painful moment sends them scurrying back inside where it’s safe—albeit desperately lonely.

Reaching Out to Those Who Instinctively Hide

Part of my purpose in writing posts like this is to hopefully reach some of those who believe as I once did that hiding away is the only solution. That avoiding pain at all costs is their only choice. I learned the hard way that you can’t hide from pain. You might avoid a lot of what could be inflicted by others, but you wall yourself away with your own demons. Often, that’s far worse than anything the outside world might inflict.

There’s a level of joy and comfort in human interaction that can’t be felt inside your own walls; inside your turtle shell. Sure, if you’ve never experienced it, you might say you won’t miss it. But I’m here to tell you, you do.

You miss it every time you see other people connecting, and know you’re not part of that connection. Your heart breaks a little more as you watch your friendly acquaintances plan get-togethers without you. The more you’re left out of opportunities to connect and bond, the darker your world behind those walls becomes.

Sometimes the Reward is Worth the Initial Pain

I won’t lie and tell you it was easy to break down those walls, nor that I’m Photo: David Derong/Iowa State Dailyanywhere close to finishing the job. It was, however, the best gift I ever gave myself. Coming out from behind those walls and becoming a true part of my community has brought me immeasurable joy. Just having people like a security guard at the fair remember me for my friendliness, even 2 years and hundreds of thousands of people later makes the pain of demolishing those walls worth it.

In conclusion, you don’t know how many lives you touch when you’re closed off from the world, much less, when you allow yourself to become an active participant. You leave an impression regardless. It’s up to you whether it will be one people remember fondly, and that brings a smile to their face and warmth to their heart, or one they remember as cold and off-putting.

Between you and me, I love knowing an encounter with me was pleasant enough for someone to remember years later, and that the memory brings a smile to their face.

Grateful for Every Little Thing Every Single Day

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful I chose a little pain so I could experience a lot of pleasure.
  2. I’m grateful for the positive impressions I’ve left on people in recent years.
  3. I’m grateful for the sense of family I enjoy with my community.
  4. I’m grateful for the opportunity to share the good, the bad, and the ugly of my own life, in hopes someone will relate and see they have choices.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, friendship, joy, community, music, solitude, insight, inspiration, motivation, health, peace, harmony, 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

Should We Allow Greatness to Stifle Our Kindness?

One Man’s Greatness…

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

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

Is Belonging Really Worth Fighting For?

Granted, a large slice of the population still believes they need to belong, and to https://www.flickr.com/photos/ctanderson/8730481504/in/photolist-eitZZb-an6tuQ-65kdGP-9SAkve-5VSyDR-kECd9-2bw8Wf-8swqBu-6KHHVp-pCfGS9-pEmg1p-8W5fec-569wMG-2aHujJW-aNt4fP-4qC9CB-9y6Z8V-dR5bin-pEmjvk-TdQPse-pEmeQt-pnUeiY-3QGAD6-8uZRyD-6bK3nQ-8YqGLh-pE7sy8-6mqs4-HKeg7r-6bEWmi-pz6wm1-4qC9CM-2bR8DJY-aNt4Z6-6bEWPi-6bK3dL-4Gpw5H-2crSXde-aEWSPf-24RPwkX-2dt9544-2aHuiAU-VoSUnu-WAfgde-VX4hKu-28mzfq9-27AfH6i-VX3FkS-XDykuG-LWoYM1do so requires behaving as expected. Small wonder, that cross-section is also stressed out, angry, and exhausted. Trying to fit a mold of someone else’s making is a constant battle in which you’re always trying to paddle upstream.

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

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

Stress Begets Stress

https://www.flickr.com/photos/armenws/5837909811/in/photolist-9TSPcr-C3VGX-24FwY6-26x1rb6-5itLut-dhFGeP-pFWFZK-abNp5y-adf5z-hL7FHE-dhFHhY-dhFvph-dauvud-dhFwgW-dhFqWQ-dhFtAn-abeFZP-dhFDeu-dhFuoZ-dhFqbq-adhZR-abKzAD-adf81-abKx9R-bpTzDn-QVxKyY-abKyYK-9gERc8-anUgst-abeFCX-bzS7hf-abeGb2-2cYSbck-8GpCMm-abNm6Y-21Uy4Gb-4NKgmb-abNkTs-begshM-hRcioi-daKq9G-aUymi2-ZRYKoW-9tsYBM-abeFsx-bNLL6K-F2o45H-6MFFvx-9SsLVR-ZAWXwiWhen I was angry, frustrated, and feeling left out, my negative energy wound itself into everything I did and everyone I touched. In some cases it meant I was further isolated, but in far too many, it meant dragging others down with my crappy attitude. Once I stopped trying to please people, and to find an environment where I thrived, I began to uplift others rather than drag them down.

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

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

Teaching Children Being Like Everyone Else is Rewarded

We’ve been taught from early childhood that cookie-cutter behavior is good, and https://www.flickr.com/photos/zstasiuk/5233040968/in/photolist-8YqGLh-pE7sy8-6mqs4-HKeg7r-6bEWmi-pz6wm1-4qC9CM-2bR8DJY-aNt4Z6-6bEWPi-6bK3dL-4Gpw5H-2crSXde-aEWSPf-24RPwkX-2dt9544-2aHuiAU-VoSUnu-WAfgde-VX4hKu-28mzfq9-27AfH6i-VX3FkS-XDykuG-LWoYM1-szBE63-QaiKyY-qaErNr-6bEWEt-9SAaTN-4zwkNy-4zs5WZ-d3ANqf-6bEW3t-4Sz24W-5LWEU-4v2xFd-aNt5QR-pE7nDi-oHvt8G-e245w-9KnAGq-dLiWh-a8NFHo-2G76NQ-VoTXrU-cynSsG-3wD6sf-ESQzmd-v4RcJbeing different is bad. The message comes through loud and clear in expectations that are set when we enter the school system (emphasis on “system”).

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

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

Marching Beneath a Frayed and False Flag

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

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

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

A Place for Everyone and Everyone in Their Place

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

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

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

We Need More Kindness, Less Greatness

https://www.flickr.com/photos/jkfjellestad/17408694382/in/photolist-swm7k9-5RUVz2-mJjTbx-5RZcQG-LaVetu-ehWSkL-mJjNaa-mJncXh-UQc1nx-mJkdTR-mJnhJS-UNopBe-TLtd22-UnTzSt-UKUNfQ-TvXc6r-UWzrjN-g9uykn-H7hkTY-27dmuiJ-dPKPg5-StARkr-H28Np7-TLyHW2-SasSyJ-ovj4Jg-TDQz2w-g9v3mc-H7rXSy-UWEf8E-qxwgcP-X7uFem-TyrPG7-g9uRij-g9vmqr-TLF3sZ-683YTJ-4DjRMh-5R69WX-eiwKNy-873BnY-787D4h-g9vKLK-UWGbnj-TytBPA-p92cJn-Ufcsfy-URnUfu-TrXPo4-UMmQvhWhat I don’t respect is those who take advantage of the ones who are desperate to belong; to fit in. They’re the villains in the piece. They thrive on slogans masking battle cries. It’s in their best interests to gather people behind a cause they don’t truly understand, and which isn’t even in their best interests.

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

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

Grateful for Examples and Lessons

My gratitudes today are:

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

Love and Light

 

About the Author

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

Catching up with Technology a Tune at a Time

Technology, a Tune, and the Gym

When I first joined a gym, music was delivered via a portable CD player and corded headphones. It wasn’t optimal as you had to be careful not to jostle the player or the CD would skip.

Over he years, I’ve evolved from the CD player to a variety of MP3 players, and finally to Pandora on my iPhone. Typically a little behind the times, I finally ditched the cord stuffed down my shirt and into the pocket with my phone and graduated to cordless Bluetooth headphones.

The first time I used them I asked myself “what took you so long?”. Not only is it easier to work out without having to worry about where the cord is hanging, but the sound quality and noise cancellation, even from an inexpensive set is light years beyond the standard set that comes with the phone.

Sure, I have to remember to charge the things, but my kleptomania cat, Pyewacket has made that easier. He can’t steal them if they’re plugged in. Granted, I’ve spoiled his fun a little, but he’s yet to run out of things to steal off my desk, dresser, and nightstand. He might have to be a bit more creative these days though.

Music for Focus

Music is and always has been a huge part of my life, though not so much making it as listening or moving to it. I typically have it playing in the background while I work. It doesn’t matter if I’m writing, editing, or doing accounting work. I need the music to keep me focused.

At the gym, it helps keep me focused, but also acts as a deterrent to other people there. With the plugs in my ears, they’re less likely to try and engage me in conversation. I know that sounds bitchy, but I consider my gym time to be much like my daily meditations and walks. It’s me time I don’t care to share with anyone.

What I mean is, I use my gym time to connect with myself. Maybe not in the same way as when I walk or meditate. While working out I have to pay attention to what machine or set of free weights I’m using, how many reps and sets I’ve done, and ensuring I’m using the right muscles. Sure, there are spaces of time between sets and when I switch stations, but often I use them to work on a piece of my writing.

Sometimes it’s a new blog post, others, it’s a tricky part in one of my books that didn’t want to flow properly. The combination of music in my ears and pushing my body to its limits is often a boost to my creative side, though don’t ask me why.

 A Late Bloomer to the Value of Music

Unlike my daughters, I didn’t discover how much music could help me focus until I was an adult. Then again, I didn’t have all the options available today, or even in the last 20 years for taking my music with me. Even the days of the Walkman or portable CD player involved dragging a couple of CD’s or tapes with me unless I wanted to listen to the same thing over and over.

Once I was able to connect to a music site like Pandora or Spotify, it not only simplified how I obtained my music, but gave me variety that wasn’t available with a tape or CD, without having to download music onto my own device.

Ultimately I realized I worked better with music whether in my home office or someone else’s. I was fortunate to have a private office in my last job where I could play music through my computer as long as I kept the volume at a reasonable level.

Music for Productivity

It’s funny though. Now that I am in a home office where there’s no one around to Created with Canvadisturb, I still find keeping the music at a low volume is most conducive to productivity. I’ve learned it isn’t really about the volume, or drowning anything out. It’s about having background noise so I can focus on what I need to do for longer stretches of time before getting twitchy and needing outside stimulus.

By the time my daughters came along with some of the same mental monkeys playing havoc with their concentration, I’d learned background music was the solution, and made sure they had access to it while they studied or worked.

As much as I hate housework, it’s a lot easier to get it done with Blood, Sweat, and Tears or Chicago playing in my ears and drowning out the vacuum! If it makes something I dislike doing tolerable, imagine what it’s doing for the ones I love to do. I know my writing sessions are longer with music playing in the background. I can stay put long enough to set up a month’s worth of Medium posts, bopping along to the Beatles, or another band from the 60’s and 70’s.

The Right Background Music for the Task at Hand

https://www.flickr.com/photos/willfolsom/7094471059/in/photolist-bNV25x-77UPSv-9tPRui-hY52Y-5RfP97-8iBJzZ-ffSKCZ-89DTEp-8MafAw-89DSMe-89H9JG-7fSeqV-dTPXDT-89H8x1-hQZfKq-89H7TY-89DT2i-89Hai7-63Qh4E-pnSKC-89H88L-vRpUr-89DUdH-89DTLt-9oEVmR-2w7XP-7gdck-5SNtVn-gtXnSa-aq8Vdg-5jK3c7-5FXzrT-9cNBdK-7iEieU-oK2nBU-7EKFFz-qz7Go-26Ys1Bk-5oFzFx-6upwHg-5uHBB8-6djGap-9NsAVB-2HW8-ohgAFe-7EKFAc-4BwGJp-29aXGWZ-nM4w1N-4gzvmcYou might think it’s nostalgia that caused me to set up both a “Blood, Sweat and Tears” station and a “Simon and Garfunkel” station on my Pandora account. The truth is, their music continues to inspire and uplift me today. Perhaps it’s the poetry in the lyrics, or the way you can hear each instrument and voice adding it’s piece to the song.

Perhaps it’s words I can relate to. But I don’t try to analyze or explain it beyond saying I like what I like.

What I know for sure is having the tunes playing in my ears is responsible for keeping me going to the gym 3 times a week, for helping me schedule a month’s worth of posts on Medium in advance, and for days when I write 2 blog posts, or several thousand words on one of my books. It clearly works for me, so I’m not about to mess with a good thing.

A Word for the Ones Who Prefer Silence

I’m aware some people work best in complete silence, and I respect that. We are, after all, unique unto ourselves. I can say working in complete silence, except on rare occasions drives me bonkers. In fact, when it is completely silent in my office, I’m usually talking a blue streak to myself or the cats, just to break the silence.

There is one place I’ve found I work best without music, but if I’m honest, there’s music, just not from a mechanical or electronic source. Every morning, I take about a 20-minute walk. I leave my headphones home, and though I carry my phone in case of emergency, it remains in my pocket, a silent weight reminding me I can get help if I need it (though thankfully, it’s unlikely).

Sounds of the Neighborhood are Their Own Music

https://www.flickr.com/photos/mikecogh/8225835927/in/photolist-dwTyrn-a3ks33-9mvXys-6ja1gb-9yrH2G-nDdzvx-XUYUcB-5mVAik-aGc4QM-rcaJkB-te2rAP-a7Uq98-3dzbhp-GAf1t-n7eEii-SdF6ND-NpW4QT-Nn4EE7-Q1PXro-6GmuAj-Nb8fd-aGc4LK-5rvjUB-9G5iLz-dViNns-47qcTR-8gCJx7-53s2we-8Amcx2-651TAL-e3ogb6-3Sf9H3-23Jx66D-4beknX-477UHP-Nb8cA-61cxQD-7htzF3-e3tWNL-58nCxm-e3ogk4-27FNZKJ-9NHU1S-i23hC-8Rg5Yu-5tzpF9-CvzijW-Ck2RtR-28aTBt3-MweagTInstead, I have either the cacophony of my own thoughts keeping me company, or better still, birdsong. There’s also the whoosh and whirr of people in their cars heading for work, school, or errands when I’m walking along one of the main streets, and the barking of the neighbors’ dogs as they announce the presence of someone disturbing their morning nap, or alerting their owner to a possible intruder.

Occasionally, I’ll encounter other people enjoying the quiet time in the morning when most people have already gone off to work or school. The heat of the day hasn’t yet driven them inside but it’s early for kids to be running around in the park, their laughter a cheerful counterpoint to the chirping and barking.

I love listening to the sounds of the day in the few minutes I’m out walking. I’ve even made a game of trying to get out early enough so I’ll be through the park before a train blasts through, wheels clacking on the rails and whistle piercing the air to warn people to keep the intersection clear while it passes. Even this is me time when I’m free to think my thoughts or not, move my body and get it primed for the day ahead, and practice “Being” instead of “Doing”.

Your Turn to Weigh In

What works for you when you’re diving into the day’s tasks? Do you get the chores out of the way first so you can do the things you later? Do you mix them up? Do you work in silence or does music play a major part in your productivity? If so, do you like it loud and raucous? Soft and dreamy? Jazzy? A mix? How do you get your engine primed and operating at peak performance? You are unique, so what works for you should be as well. Please share in the comments.

Gratitude Infiltrates Everything I Do

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for music (guess that one would be obvious from the post), and how delivery has become simpler over the years.
  2. I’m grateful for me time when I can do or not, but mostly be.
  3. I’m grateful for the technology that gives me choices, variety, and simplification.
  4. I’m grateful for the productivity I enjoy when I have music to motivate me.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, productivity, joy, friendship, dancing, kitty love, a stress-free life, music, incentives, opportunities, health, harmony, peace, 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

Time for Change Again

Riding the Winds of Change

created with CanvaI’m feeling somewhat alienated lately. Friends I once hung out with, laughing and carefree now gravitate towards others who share their need to frequently vocalize dissatisfaction with their lives, or conflicts with others. I want no part of it and as a result I find myself once again on the outside looking in.

Overall it’s a good thing. I’d rather steer clear of the whining and complaining. Perhaps things will shift and the negativity will run its course. Meanwhile, I’ll either have to find others to hang with until this cycle peters out, or revert to my normal, isolationist patterns.

Don’t get me wrong. I have no issue with friends needing to vent their spleen, and to find others who share their current mindset. There are times I’ve needed to do so myself, and am grateful people put up with me while I did. Right now, I know if I stayed there too long I’d start absorbing the negative energy and find fault instead of joy with my own life. Though I enjoy having a pack to run with, I’m OK being a lone wolf for awhile too. Perhaps I’m being pushed into being alone so I can spend more time working on my projects and business. I’ve always believed things happen for a reason

To Everything There’s a Time; a Season

A friend recently pointed out I have my own cycles. Sometimes I simply need a https://www.flickr.com/photos/sermoa/7289177616/in/photolist-c77Wy9-r361B6-7UmPsp-XGAjhz-64e9v7-2aA91KA-dgqyUQ-45XqnC-9QJ7eT-9QN5fS-sHuD2X-eYWQtB-fbDKCi-RX57Dd-21GaQYp-ap2UBy-2cqyUd9-4BaZUn-XR9iq1-649VdX-GEVNFE-37rTTS-8GD4Ct-21M2mrm-8PB966-kzYvK4-6Vje9y-4Hq3oP-izzeb3-ouihv3-NiJYj7-bua5Bm-iRQDZe-jpV8mm-gJX2L-R36JFv-23NUNNG-2cw7Nyt-2a4658R-npfQy2-RZFcen-M2YpLg-STMqAt-WKMNmd-29UnKjq-owijzY-f4WJBJ-96ELMg-p9Cein-T8HccTlong stretch of alone time. Nothing is wrong. I need to be alone to do some self care and work on me for a little while without distraction or interruption. It could be I’ve waited too long to indulge my inner hermit.

She must be indulged even if it’s simply a matter of taking a few days to lay low and get things done. Doing multiple loads of bedding has even crept into my dreams. It’s a not-so-subtle reminder I need to wash the sheets and comforters from both beds which usually requires 3-4 loads. I need to get caught up on blog posts again and schedule another month’s worth of posts for Medium. I also have to finish compiling blog posts for my opt-in E-book.

That doesn’t even take into consideration the rewrite I’ve had hanging over my head for a couple of months. Clearly, disenchantment with the energy the people around me are exuding means it’s time I got myself organized, which requires alone time. Either I make it for myself or the Universe makes it for me.

A Time to Build My Network, and a Time to Do the Work

I’ve learned we all have cycles we go through; ups and downs, highs and lows. I know I need time to indulge my social side, and time to be alone with my thoughts, dreams, and hopes. Times to look deep inside myself and decide which of the many paths laid out before me I want to take, and what I’ll have to do to make it happen.

Lately, I’ve given those hopes and dreams short shrift. I’ve done the easy stuff like writing blog posts (easy for me, anyway), and setting up posts for Medium. I’ve shirked the tougher stuff like putting together the E-book or starting to re-write my memoir.

The truth is, I only hurt myself when I take the easy road. Pushing the big dreams into a corner while I essentially play games with myself is cruel and unkind. I deserve better. Perhaps that’s why I’m so sensitive to my friends’ complaints. Except I know I have no one to blame but myself.

Nobody is turning my attention away from what’s important but me. No one is criticizing me, or throwing obstacles in my path. There’s nobody to suck my energy except my old fiend, procrastination.

Re-Focusing My Energy

It doesn’t mean I haven’t been taking care of business. The new web pages went live recently, and are performing well. I made doctor’s appointments I’d been putting off. I’ve made and consumed 2 batches of gazpacho, and have the ingredients for several other batch meals with which to re-fill my freezer.

Again, those are the easy things; the stuff I do without thinking about it. Some of it is actually therapeutic. In fact, I’m getting more exercise these days too! All good things, and I can’t complain. And yet, I know I can do better; accomplish more.

It all starts with a single step in the right direction. Maybe distancing myself from people who need to air their grievances, no matter how valid, is exactly what I need to do right now. Again, it’s no reflection on others, but a reminder I need to keep working on myself, even if that means more alone time than I’ve taken recently.

Turning Sloth into Productivity

https://www.flickr.com/photos/jessicamullen/15936340893/in/photolist-qheUWa-6tvCyC-mfcahW-kF42vg-7aHRKn-dozSYs-upc1JR-5nU36i-6ZX1X8-9soFsZ-b6p5F2-dKgSFh-9soP3r-9GGyf-edzaxy-dKgQLq-4oLacT-9z49UC-aBS6db-kF5mTy-dbhFbp-83VBDF-JGdSxG-dKgR3q-dKbnZX-kF3i5M-kF2WWF-25sqyfg-kF3het-dKgU63-7121pw-dKbnLT-6ZXghB-7aMFFo-6ZXfye-a6G8a6-26PQPAR-ceZ3mw-7aF5cr-7aHRUn-kF3FwP-dKboVp-dKbj4F-3jqo8-dKbmgk-kF5cCu-dKgPvE-edzags-dKbjKc-dKbjtVMore important is to use my alone time wisely. Too many Hallmark movies and evenings spent parked on the couch are starting to turn my brain to mush. Though my cats love the extended cuddle time, it isn’t going to benefit any of us in the long run.

I guess I need to step back and re-set every so often, re-evaluating my priorities, and reminding myself to keep the goals front and center. It doesn’t mean putting in an endless stream of 18-hour days (unless the muse strikes and I become oblivious to the passage of time). Those days and that mentality are behind me.

It does mean putting my butt down in front of the computer, my fingers on the keyboard, and doing the writing and revisions I’ve committed to doingfor no one else but me. It means giving my business the attention and effort it deserves instead of haring off on the next adventure in People-land. There’s a reason I can only handle so much people-ing before I need to disappear into my turtle shell for some R and R.

Once again, I am detaching for my own sake. People and places will still be there when I resurface, and I’ll appreciate them more for my absence, and for the time I take to move closer to my dreams. If some of them have moved on by the time I resurface, I’ll know it was a necessary migration for all concerned. It wouldn’t be the first time I changed my social environment, and it certainly won’t be the last.

Living for the Adventure and Wonder of a New Day

I’ve learned the only certainty in life is change, so I might as well embrace it. Fighting change only exhausts me. Swimming upstream may have been my pattern for awhile, but it doesn’t mean I ever got very far doing it. Give me a canoe floating down a lazy river instead. I’ll enjoy the scenery instead of fighting a losing battle to go back where I came from. If it had anything to offer me in the future, I wouldn’t have moved on in the first place.

Do You Need to Shake Things Up So You Can Bring Your Dreams Closer?

Are you trying to do everything, yet falling farther behind? Are you doing too much of what you hate and not enough of what you love, because you feel pressured? Would you like to take a task or two off your plate? Maybe it’s content creation, or perhaps it’s getting your books in order and creating a budget. If this sounds familiar and you’re ready to streamline your life and give your business space to grow and thrive, CONTACT ME and let’s talk!

 

Seeing Each Day’s Wonder Leads to Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for friendships and activities which fueled me, but are no longer the fuel I need to move forward.
  2. I’m grateful I’m ready to follow some of the changes that have been clamoring at my door.
  3. I’m grateful for my ability to be happy in my own company.
  4. I’m grateful I’m learning to put myself first and to accept that I have a right to expect commitment to myself before anyone else.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, friendship, possibilities, opportunities, losses, growth, space, motivation, self-sufficiency, peace, health, harmony, 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

Finding Balance in Unique Places

A New Kind of Balance

It used to be when I thought of “balance” it meant making time for relaxation and socialization in between work, commuting, and taking care of house and home. When I started working for myself full-time, I revised my perspective many times, trying to ensure I was putting enough time into my business and not so much into what I consider sloth. (watching endless Hallmark movies, playing games on the computer, and parking on Social Media)

With the loss of my regular social schedule consisting of dancing two nights a week, and not much more, I’ve had to reorganize my schedule and my life. To my surprise, it’s meant spending a lot more time “peopling” than I used to, and finding different places to dance. It has, however, come at a price. Some weeks, I’ll dance 4 or 5 nights. I may keep up this schedule for a couple of weeks until my introverted self screams for solitude.

Invariably, I’ll swing in the opposite direction, dancing 1, maybe 2 nights, and planting myself in front of the TV for hours (which, by the way, plays hell on all of my joints and muscles which have grown accustomed to moving more, sitting less when I’m not at the computer working).

A Social Calendar Needs Variety

As I’m learning there are alternatives to dance nights and locations, so too am I learning there are alternatives to dancing as a social activity. My first reaction was Whoa! Really? I can get out and do things with people where it doesn’t involve dancing? How can that be?

After the initial shock wore off, I found doing other things with the friends I’ve made through dancing is not only a viable option, but a necessary one. Dancing had become my go-to social activity; my reason for leaving the house and getting out among people. It was a place I could tune into the people around me, or go into my own little bubble of dance meditation. I could switch places at will with few the wiser.

As difficult as it is to admit it, I’d fallen into a dance rut, and circumstances have begun to shake me out of it. Changing locations was a good place to start, but as with everything else that’s needed to change in my life, the Universe started throwing things in my path, almost daring me to accept new and different experiences in lieu of a dance night.

Laughter Clears My Clogged Pipes

https://www.flickr.com/photos/chrishuggins/4675505957/in/photolist-88ac2F-8LnEVQ-r3ZSnA-rkryn2-dEHqQa-buZGL5-9NXU2Q-uQd4Gi-8HtvkK-brtvSa-mc16EB-zKaXu-mayYKi-LpBQx-24Q2uC3-5fjkkg-eJzqz-di4zr7-di4Cts-9d5Zj3-9SKTfn-FCdjdz-f5wwhN-XjXzMf-9P5vA2-kVMXd9-47aeuC-zNAvV-dZ5cLv-5P5kRq-5z3cp5-7fRw8n-Ad6nP2-fjj4VF-nPSwLg-GUXa92-ERVZat-YW3tj5-sgc13A-xYkggi-SwjMJA-K74gKR-qod9ho-evhnbP-5mpBv5-v38BL4-26QXWnW-nCnBUo-JSkWR-88acaPMost recently, I accepted an invitation to go to a comedy show. The club happened to be at a local harbor village where I was able to indulge myself in a bowl of clam chowder from Andria’s. I got to walk around and spend some quality time with a friend, drip ice cream all over myself, and best of all, laugh my butt off for a couple of hours. Needless to say, I’ll be repeating the experience sooner rather than later.

I’m learning there’s a lot more to balance than I realized. It’s not only making sure I move more and sit less, or put more time and effort into my business, and less into Hallmark movies and computer games. It’s about mixing it up and doing different things for a change.

More Time to Listen

I already do a little bit with concerts in the park and Shakespeare in the summer. It’s clear I need to revisit some of the experience I’ve let fall by the wayside, and let friends introduce me to new ones too. I need to go places where I can spend time talking, but even more important, listening.

Here, too, I’m finding some much-needed balance. My friends are wonderful, unique people who have life experiences with which I’m unfamiliar. Allowing them to share broadens my own horizons, and gives me new topics to explore; new things to learn.

Listening to the comedians, I marveled at their knowledge of a broad range of topics; their ability to grab from a deep well of material to respond to input from the audience while continuing to entertain and amuse. I realized their craft, like mine depends on seeing the world from different points of view. I can’t do that if I’m living in a bubble of my own experiences. I certainly can’t do it if I limit my experiences to what’s grown as comfortable as a pair of jeans I’ve washed hundreds of times.

Balancing the Old With the New

Balance also means bringing back things I’ve allowed to fall by the wayside; things like my twice-weekly “Live with Sheri and Friends” on Facebook. Since the Borderline shooting, I’ve been hit or miss about doing the live videos even though I’m usually out and about, dressed up and looking a bit less like an artsy, fartsy, hobo on the same nights as before (and often a few more). When a dance friend asked me why I hadn’t done a video in awhile, I realized my videos, like my blogs, were actually touching people even if I got no feedback to confirm it. To my surprise, people actually looked forward to my online ramblings!

I’m discovering balance is actually a moving target, and trying to go back to what was balanced for me several months ago is actually throwing me off-balance; much like trying to force a round peg into a square hole. I’m not the woman I was 6 or 7 months ago. Why would I think doing and saying the same things would still be a good fit? No wonder my neck has been out of whack, and the herniated disc has flared back up!

Giving Attention to My Energy Body

Several friends have pointed out lately that our bodies are a reflection of where our energy is going, or not going. I know that on a conscious level, but lose sight of it way too often. How much pain do I need to experience from migraines or herniated discs before I get the message my body is sending? I need to re-set my idea of balance!

Right now, it means writing enough new blog posts so I’m once again 3 weeks ahead. It means finishing the first pass of an E book I’ll be using for an opt-in on my website. It means accepting invitations for non-dancing activities. And it means getting back on the re-write of my memoir.

All of this means keeping my calendar up-to-date, and setting deadlines for my projects. It means saying “yes” to new and different things more often, and even finding a few to schedule myself. Of course, it also means getting back into the routine of doing Facebook Lives at least twice a week. Who knows? As I get caught up on other things, and out more in the evenings, I may even add a third night down the road. Or I’ll give you a Live in my normal, bare-faced, messy bunned self for a little variety.

Balance means keeping my options open and not getting stuck in yet another rut.

Feeling a Little Unbalanced?

Are you struggling to keep all of your entrepreneurial balls in the air? Would you like to take a task or two off your plate? Maybe it’s content creation, or perhaps it’s getting your books in order and creating a budget. If this sounds familiar and you’re ready to streamline your life and give your business space to grow and thrive, CONTACT ME and let’s talk!

 

Grateful for Reminders and Opportunities

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for friends who give me new opportunities.
  2. I’m grateful I’ve become more open to suggestions and even criticism.
  3. I’m grateful for laughter. It heals so much, especially when it’s shared with friends.
  4. I’m grateful for the times the Universe drop kicks me out of another rut.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; joy and sorrow, laughter and tears, solitude and community, friends who lift me up and allow me to return the favor, sunshine and clouds, peace, harmony, 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

Could We Survive an Apocolypse?

Could You Survive Without Technology?

Every day, people in “developed” countries become more dependent on technology. Computers replace pen and paper, even in classrooms. Microwaves and fast food replace good old-fashioned cooking. We get the food we eat from packages instead of the ground. Cell phones are replacing landlines.

But what will happen if we get a major sunspot event or geomagnetic storm that knocks out all our electronics? How many will be prepared to manage without the modern conveniences on which we’ve become so dependent?

Making Use of My Resources

I’m fortunate in that I can cook for myself, and still use my manual writing skills frequently. Unlike some of my friends, I don’t have a garden in my backyard where I could be growing a lot of my own fruits and vegetables. Heaven knows I have the space, but the few times I’ve tried growing things, the poor plants ended up dying of neglect. I can’t seem to remember to do things like watering and weeding regularly.

Still, if push came to shove, I’d find a way to use my ample ground space to grow food for me and other people too. And let’s face it, much of what comes out of the ground could be eaten raw if need be.

So many people in our society are ill-prepared for life without technology. They’ve never kept a set of books by hand or cooked a meal from scratch. They don’t know how to sew a button on a shirt, much less mend it. Worse, they’re used to getting instant responses. How would they fare if what we now refer to as “snail mail” was their only means of communication at a distance? The days it would take to send a letter back and forth would have them climbing the walls in frustration.

Learning to be More Self-Sufficient

https://www.flickr.com/photos/timquijano/6179927895/in/photolist-aq6KfX-veVW-2Lg2M7-aMYW9P-8BKnVH-FPZVGT-8nnv7V-4DMyEY-bWhRkq-71jk86-bVRXUM-7CiMkN-ca2vyu-cdhbFo-6Lt2io-QujiYK-njx6fU-8gLyR8-dpryBo-bbP6y6-cifvwf-9oL759-2sSSx-aMYV1X-9ZF8Hi-SLA7ho-5KWLqZ-6cdm59-5DkC58-aMZ1Kx-aMYZHa-afNBbh-bbLNKX-5TkA1a-8tSKgR-ixEkTc-9oGGGj-DDsP2-sasXwh-cGGasS-bfs4it-chgL9o-nqf3gr-9qEoMi-cgRNrL-a7m5wn-s8GWqk-zretW-nEy6rc-6XCCec/I wish I had some of the skills my friends have like remodeling a house with their own hands, or growing a lush garden to share with friends and neighbors. Because I still retain some of the manual skills I learned as a child and young adult, I suspect I’d adapt, but I’d sure as hell want to align myself with those who already have the skills I lack, and who could teach them to me!

I pride myself in keeping fit and active physically, even to the point of doing my own housework, though I hate it. I’m grateful I am still able to do it at all!

I look at people today, glued to their phones, posting selfies and statuses on Facebook wherever they go, constantly in touch with friends via text or Messenger. What would happen if their phones went dark?

Figuring Out How to Stay Connected

For that matter, what would happen to my own group of friends? We’ve become dependent on Social Media and our phones to organize gatherings, reach out to each other when someone has been unusually silent, or missing from events, and to share pieces of our lives. How would we keep everything going; everyone together without technology?

Considering sending fliers through the mail like we used to is an option, but a costly one. The price of a stamp keeps rising, though I haven’t seen an improvement in service. Email, Evites and Ecards has reduced the amount of things we send through the mail. Even a lot of our monthly bills arrive electronically now. Why invest in stamps, paper, and envelopes when you can send the document virtually free through a website or email?

Would we even have electricity, gas, or water without a computer somewhere making sure the distribution system is functioning properly?

Being Prepared in as Many Ways as Possible

https://www.flickr.com/photos/globalx/5532445369/in/photolist-stBjDL-9q2ee2-sascnH-stKKo8-9qTeg8-rrGAf6-davQFU-davQzq-ehE4fp-vZDkk-ehE5gz-sDb51U-sov316-CF2JMR-zeP1JLHere in California, we’re cautioned to have an earthquake kit. I wonder if it would be enough to withstand an extended halt to what we’ve come to consider “necessary services”. In 1994, I was without power, gas, and water for a couple of days. Other areas fared far worse. I managed OK by keeping the refrigerator and freezer closed and using my barbecue to heat food. The local Von’s was gouging people for drinking water though, charging $20 for a single gallon.

These days, I usually have at least 10 gallons of fresh water in the house, and more than 1 tank of propane. I even have some firewood for my portable fire pit, and a good supply of food, assuming the outage doesn’t last long and defrost the contents of my freezer. I have an ample supply of food for my furry roommates, and the ones who keep the rat population in check as well. (Their job might get busier depending on the kind of disaster). I’ve also learned to fill my gas tank before it drops below 1/4 of a tank.

I’m willing to bet I don’t have many of the recommended items for a crisis, and I definitely don’t have everything in one convenient place. Still, I feel like I’m better prepared than most. As long as I have books, writing supplies, flashlights, and batteries, I’ll manage OK even if I have to eat the contents of my freezer defrosted but unheated. Everything in there is fully cooked, so it wouldn’t be a health issue.

Ensuring My Community Will Remain Intact

How can we help each other prepare? How can we ourselves reconfigure our https://www.flickr.com/photos/hanuska/16371662835/in/photolist-qWH3YT-h3KDEM-ewdvhp-e9cCB-6Wf1h7-9iRoH2-89tR5w-89tQSA-7skA4b-7pBtca-49z4DU-6TNaBU-otqsxk-4KAQus-7vuw6o-8afGXv-6hw7Tk-APopNz-AL6QNw-s54FqX-NmuqLf-2ix4T1-pQjPE7-TxLjHh-67Je8b-dDzvwJ-67Jesh-2WQ4zq-8z2ufX-7vuwP9-z1sx5G-oc8Axy-a6br61-hw2FTF-p16gZp-dTB5hW-nZBebF-gmjmkX-pEum5b-pErusD-obWc5n-fcvgnp-pWGBhX-eJNrGA-54tbDb-H8SaT-dRtQeu-qATRHy-hRTeai-2m98eclives to be ready to shift gears should much of what we’ve come to depend on become unavailable for an indeterminate amount of time?

My words might sound alarmist to some, but many a science fiction writer has addressed some form of major crisis on Earth. Most of what was written in the early to mid-1900’s has come to pass in one form or another. Everything from rockets to Mars, to Big Brother observing us in our homes. So why not at least acknowledge our need to be prepared to lose the communication methods we’ve come to depend on?

As for me, I may be dusting off the bicycle that’s been collecting dust and spiderwebs in my shed, make sure the tires are still intact, and that I can still ride the darn thing. It’ll come in handy should I need to find alternate transportation at some point in the not-so-distant future.

Can I Help You Help Yourself?

Life is complicated even without contemplating disaster. Do you need help getting more in alignment with your goals? Would you like to take a task or two off your plate? Maybe it’s content creation, or perhaps it’s getting your books in order and creating a budget. If this sounds familiar and you’re ready to streamline your life and give your business space to grow and thrive, CONTACT ME and let’s talk!

Recognizing All I Have to be Grateful For

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful I can still walk a good distance and take care of my own needs.
  2. I’m grateful I’m both able to cook and enjoy the process.
  3. I’m grateful I’ll never be too old to learn new skills.
  4. I’m grateful for my morning walks which not only get my blood moving, but work out any kinks I acquired while lying prone in my bed.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; joy, friendship, energy, inspiration, support, motivation, dedication, peace, health, harmony, 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

Will Depending on Electronics be Our Downfall?

Electronics Free

https://www.flickr.com/photos/matt_rogers/32072645186/in/photolist-QS9G29-7jFGWM-jSSXTn-gWnnAn-7jKzg7-k1Q3Ez-49HGS-JaXYoH-6HUNQF-7jFHgR-nQzqNh-fzUL6w-hx2nML-a4N44-Z3xc8b-6ef9HF-aEXdio-m2HqQt-bBKzg2-kbdf3P-5Db73z-b7AkyD-6zJzQw-7dEU9V-ZDftY1-fY9zv8-7pBPUc-bmfwto-7eXMSj-9NdNPm-8EVVBC-6JNLK8-6nNaux-c28A2C-9atUf8-7oMuuJ-9YvpG-vdJj7-ecCm-8LJzww-eEd6oi-BQX1p-XZKjij-k1Q1px-E6Miuc-6zrveY-j2kDUf-7vaq24-7fnH1m-dDHfZsI start every day by sitting down at my desk and writing three pages longhand, also known as “Morning Pages”. Every so often, I’m reminding of the time I spent as a child learning to progress from the blocky printing I used in the beginning to the more flowing, streamlined cursive I’ve carried into my adult years.

With the increased use of tablets and notebook computers in classrooms, our educational system and those who make decisions for the “greater good” of all, have eliminated teaching longhand altogether, and I have to ask, “at what cost?”.

What You Lose By Disengaging Your Brain

I remember sitting through high school and college classes madly scribbling in a notebook, trying to capture the teachers’ words and meanings, as well as any diagrams they put on the board. The act of listening and transcribing had a positive effect on how well those words actually worked their way into my brain.

Notebooks and pens have been replaced by electronics in the classrooms. Diagrams and graphics are recorded with smart phones; words, with laptops or tablets. Some teachers even put the material online for the students to access with little to no effort.

It makes me wonder if kids today are simply memorizing and regurgitating information which, once spewed, will be lost in the void. Is their ability to delve into a topic and glean the gold buried within being stolen by oversimplification? Is too much time being spent memorizing facts, with too little time devoted to learning where to find things, and more importantly, how to reason?

A World Filled With Lemmings

https://www.flickr.com/photos/goosmurf/426541487/in/photolist-DG8Vz-aj7drL-7qTUTm-bUZPKf-5UAF2U-6UnKch-4otLcg-6UiHya-75yzm-atwpet-4yCU8H-5nfnR-76Lzw1-6Ugcxa-7Q3md4-eib8UU-HfpTbN-Nxr3k-jTu6n1-5PSApx-etyaXr-4yCTT2-bRGkTc-bRGkGZ-e4RcXr-bwqg74-4ZLzc9-5fjXUt-7ogfMQ-ETXURp-ppVJ8D-rewk6c-6DAK7j-9APZid-Kpntb-9BoSUh-pTQTuk-atmgv4-qpKtSA-5xcdi7-oACc4f-66hZkp-8WPNFN-6tvQCx-ag4U2Z-8WPL5h-8WLJUp-8WLEKx-8WLKTV-aDXK3PBy copying what they’re told without taking time to analyze it or even put it into their own words (you have to develop a kind of shorthand when you’re writing things out manually). Have we exchanged expediency for learning?

I taught my own daughters to question things whether they were simply unclear, or seemed outright implausible. Perhaps they’ve driven a few folks crazy in the process, but they know they’re own minds and neither is likely to mindlessly follow a pack. In fact, more often than not, they end up helping lead it!

Let the Teachers Teach

I have to believe most teachers would still like their students to think more and accept things as truth less. But many I speak to feel their hands are tied, or they’re hobbled by excessive paperwork and increasing requirements to CYA. By the time they get to retirement, they’re exhausted and frustrated.

So who really is making the rules our teachers must follow? What is their ultimate purpose? In whose best interests is it to raise a generation of mindless, cooperative drones without a single original idea in their heads?

If you ask me, our world needs those who question authority, ask for the proof behind what they’re being told, and do their own research when the answers they receive are unsatisfactory. We need the ones who see a problem and dig away at a solution anywhere they can; a garage, basement, or outdoor location where they can work undisturbed.

Move Learning Into the World

https://www.flickr.com/photos/timquijano/6179927895/in/photolist-aq6KfX-veVW-2Lg2M7-aMYW9P-8BKnVH-FPZVGT-8nnv7V-4DMyEY-bWhRkq-71jk86-bVRXUM-7CiMkN-ca2vyu-cdhbFo-6Lt2io-QujiYK-njx6fU-8gLyR8-dpryBo-bbP6y6-cifvwf-9oL759-2sSSx-aMYV1X-9ZF8Hi-SLA7ho-5KWLqZ-6cdm59-5DkC58-aMZ1Kx-aMYZHa-afNBbh-bbLNKX-5TkA1a-8tSKgR-ixEkTc-9oGGGj-DDsP2-sasXwh-cGGasS-bfs4it-chgL9o-nqf3gr-9qEoMi-cgRNrL-a7m5wn-s8GWqk-zretW-nEy6rc-6XCCec/Talking to young parents and teachers, I’ve said on more than one occasion: If I were raising kids today, I’d home school them. What teachers in the public schools are allowed to give them today is nothing more than pureed propaganda.

Perhaps I’m being overly harsh, but if you ask me, it started long ago when the history books were filled with inaccuracies. It’s only being exacerbated by making it too easy to simply copy what the teacher is saying without having to put it into your own words in the process. So much understanding is lost by today’s spoon feeding tactics. We are deterring people from wanting to question, analyze, and change by tossing so much at them they simply tune out. Why bother to even try to make sense of it, if there is any in the first place, when it’s tossed at you fully formed, and exactly how you’re supposed to puke it back up on tests?

Testing for Understanding or Memorization?

Here again is a point of contention for me. Testing has always been skewed https://www.flickr.com/photos/anieto2k/8156999698/in/photolist-dqNKPQ-8xXrZz-a2tqF7-ecib3q-aR5rxR-23UMduh-aWLsg4-aQ6X3p-dTTc5c-dcyQ5m-b1FLUp-drS8ZF-bsmN5R-nNhBzE-6ssEeg-9jEcfZ-aVXtzx-j6LK2o-aNpZyT-dCTfD3-dvswdt-b3pgdi-dtXu4B-6LJawW-8CFHEg-8aL7Jf-hDdmuC-anA578-cPoDxo-9qmjuQ-dtXueV-qsdJSm-dqq1i2-2cGG4pp-dqq1sP-hp14Hw-cbnjHE-7bv7xs-chavXC-7uLgNT-8E3GL9-ar7X3y-aai6ME-nt1LXG-gZvg1N-S1DgTf-8kUop7-6532HD-exeWcJ-di6ynQtowards those who can sit quietly and pour what they’ve “learned” back out onto a photocopy or scantron. For kids with ADD, or anything which makes it difficult to focus in a silent, stimulus-free environment, it’s the worst scenario for demonstrating their knowledge effectively.

The crazy part is, those are the ones most likely to take issue with what’s been poured into their brains. My own girls drove me crazy with why’s, how’s, and what for’s. Sometimes I could answer, but more often, I’d help them look up the answer for themselves. They learned they didn’t have to accept what they were told as truth, but could consult different sources and learn to look at a problem from different angles.

In this regard, electronics have actually helped. You can access multiple sources in response to a question, and read several to determine, perhaps not the definitive answer, but ones which let you reason things out for yourself. Or it might lead to research on various aspects of the question. Either way, you have the opportunity to gain more knowledge, and to utilize critical thinking to arrive at something which is both fact-based and makes sense to you.

Encouraging Cognitive Reasoning

That isn’t to say the answer you reach will be right or wrong. It simply means you can justify it in your own mind based on your own knowledge and experience. Philosophically speaking, Truth is relative. It is extremely difficult to prove anything is true in all cases, given all variables. Scientists strive to find it when they subject their theories to different sets of variables. But will any one scientist, or even a large group ever manage to subject a theory to every single combination of variables possible?

Again, this is where your mind needs to be encouraged to expand, question, analyze, and challenge. If not, you risk accepting as truth what you’re told to believe. There’s already too much of this in the political arenas. Large groups of people believe something or someone because that’s what their parents believed. They don’t question or challenge, but allow themselves to be led like lambs to the slaughter, then blame it on whoever they’ve been taught to blame.

When “Big Brother” Isn’t There to Guide and Control

I shudder to think what will happen to the masses if they lose access to electronics. Will they be unable to function without guidance from someone out in cyberspace? Will they mill around like lemmings waiting to be led off a cliff, or prowl in angry circles like a caged cat, lashing out even at those who try to help them?

The picture isn’t pretty, and yet, with more and more people leaving mainstream education, I think there’s still hope of a better tomorrow.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on what I’ve proposed here. What’s happening in your world? Do you see children learning the basic arts of reason and research, or are more and more simply following where they’re led?

Grateful for the Lessons and Abilities I’ve Acquired

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful my daughters were raised in a time when longhand was still part of the curriculum.
  2. I’m grateful I learned to challenge, question, and research, and taught my daughters to do the same.
  3. I’m grateful there are still members of upcoming generations who aren’t content to follow mindlessly.
  4. I’m grateful for the opportunity to give people something to think about, wonder, and go hmmm.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, analysis, joy, challenges, questions, independence, free-thinking, expectations, opportunities, inspiration, motivation, community, friendship, health, peace, harmony, 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

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