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Everything I Know About People I Learned From My Cats

Warm and Cozy With My Cats

It’s a wet, rainy night but all the kitties are snug and warm inside, whether that happens to be the house or the garage. Flynn is gone, but other than not needing to do a load of laundry every day, nothing has really changed. Flynn’s sister Tiana is a bit less skittish, though a long way from accepting attention. I talk to her every day, and hold out my hand so she can sniff it and decide whether to run and hide or stay where she is. Each day, she runs away less. A far cry from their other sister, Mulan who is as spoiled a Siamese as ever walked, or perhaps I should say, pranced the earth.

Like Toby before her, she’ll often meow loudly from the other end of the house until I stop what I’m doing to see what she wants. (and yes, I have been known to yell out “what do you want, Mulan?” on more than one occasion). Once she has my attention, she milks it, flinging all 9 pounds of herself against me in her not-so-subtle way of informing me it’s time to drop whatever I’m doing and pay homage to her royal self.

Giving Myself a Day to Disconnect so I Could Reconnect

I had a lovely day at the beach on Monday, sitting in my beach chair with the crashing of waves my only music. Teenagers were playing nearby, but their antics amused me rather than annoying me if for no other reason than they might be invading my bubble of calm. I managed to complete two writing prompts from A Writer’s Book of Days with a nice, long walk in between. The weather was especially nice, and one of the local whales came by to frolic in the waves or perhaps scrape the barnacles off her belly in the shallower water.

Being at the beach left me suddenly calmer, more accepting, and less judgemental. Between the two writing prompts and an hour-long walk, I didn’t leave until 5. Rather than getting stuck in rush hour traffic, I decided to try out a restaurant a friend had recommended. Even though it’s only a few miles, I’ve gotten quite spoiled. I no longer have to make the morning commute or be in someone else’s office during certain hours. I choose which people I’m around, and rarely have to be around anyone whose energy doesn’t mesh with mine.

Working From Home Allows Me Plenty of Cat Breaks

I work or perform my daily tasks with a cat or two on the desk, getting up every so often just to walk around the bed and give everyone a little attention. (anyone who is owned by a cat or three knows their bed is the preferred napping spot those 20 out of 24 hours of the day the little furballs aren’t eating, using the sandbox, or demanding attention.

Perhaps it’s our scent lingering on the linens, or maybe it’s just a warm, soft spot to rest their weary bones. Even with a bed in my guest room, I’m still most likely to find my crew on the one in my room, which leads me to believe scent is a large part of their choice. Even Tiana, the shy former foster chooses to sleep on my bed most of the day, even when I happen to be in it!

I Failed Spectacularly as a Foster Mom

I guess I should explain why Tiana is now a former foster, whereas I’ve been calling Mulan my foster fail for a while now. What I thought was a urinary tract infection turned out to be a serious blockage, and by the time I took Flynn to the vet, it was too late to save him. It hurts in a lot of ways as I feel I failed him, but up until the last couple of weeks, I saw real promise towards being able to take him to adoptions soon. I held off as I didn’t want to take him until Tiana was ready as I felt she’d do better if she was adopted with her brother.

As that is no longer an option, I made the decision to keep her here as she’s had enough trauma in her life already. She’s used to me, or at least tolerates me. Her sister is here, and she’s grown pretty attached to the rest of my brood. In time, I know she’ll learn to trust me more and will even ask for attention now and then. I’ve proven it with the two semi-ferals I adopted for rat control.

Once Feral, Now Spoiled Rotten

Hailey and Cinders have lived in my garage with a door out to the yard for 7 years now. It took them about 2 to start getting friendly, and now, they’re downright demanding. Hailey just loves to meow loudly at my front door, especially on nights when the temperature is well below what I consider comfortable. She even follows instructions, but only when it suits her. If I tell her to go into the garage where it’s a bit warmer, I’ll often find her there by the time I go back into the house and out the garage door, waiting impatiently for the promised attention.

Then there’s Mulan who escaped shortly after she, Flynn, and Tiana came to live here. I wasn’t overly worried as she had Cinders and Hailey to look after her, places to sleep in my garage, and a cat door that leads to the back yard. I’d often see her up in the rafters, and would stop to talk to her. That is, until the weather got cold and rainy. Suddenly, she didn’t want to be outside any more, but didn’t trust me enough to just walk in when I opened the door.

We spent about a week playing cat and mouse. I’d leave the living room door open a crack so she could squeeze in if she wanted to, and often did. But I wasn’t able to lure her far enough inside to be able to get up and close the door. Until the night Munchkin squeezed out and I jumped up suddenly to retrieve my little escape artist. It was just the excuse Mulan needed to stay inside forevermore…and become the spoiled little princess she is today. So I have hope Tiana will settle in too. But like many of us, she has trust issues, and needs to work those out for herself.

Seeing the Similarities in Feline and Human Behavior

I actually learn a lot about people by watching cats. Some, like Dylan are friendly and confident. They’ve never met an unfriendly person. He knows he’s the Alpha cat, and though he chews on his brothers and sisters from time to time to reinforce his sovereignty, most of the time, he’s kind, loving and ready to give or receive some grooming or be part of a cat pile on the bed.

Others are like Tiana, shy, timid, and wary of anyone until she’s completely satisfied they mean her no harm. She follows the premise, guilty until proven innocent, and it takes a lot to convince her of anyone’s innocence.

Most are somewhere in between; selectively trusting, open and friendly in some situations, withdrawn and shy in others. With these, it’s best to be friendly but non-threatening; respect their personal space and make no sudden movements. Let them approach when they feel comfortable doing so, then make them feel welcome.

For Every Rule There’s an Exception

There are always a few contradictions too. They seem aggressive and self-contained but they’re really hiding a shy, easily damaged psyche so they go on the offensive in order to establish their boundaries from the very start. In some ways, I think that’s me, though I like to believe I’ve mellowed over the years. I’ve also learned to pay attention to my instincts when it comes to opening up to people. Most of the time, in true feline fashion, those instincts are spot on and save me a lot of trouble in the long-run.

Whatever you’re nature, I’ve learned the best thing you can do is accept it and listen to those instincts. When we fail to listen, one setback can send us back into our hermit hole where we miss out on a whole lot of life’s wonderful times because we’re too busy trying to protect ourselves from the might-have-beens.

I’ve taken that route enough times to have finally learned it makes more sense to simply listen to your gut when it tells you the person in front of you won’t be considerate with your softer side, so it’s best to limit what you share. There are plenty of others who will treat whatever you share with the gentleness they’d show a newborn kitten. Finding those people is truly worth the stumbles and setbacks it takes to learn to recognize them and allow them to find you.

Starting and Ending My Day With Gratitude

My life is so filled with blessings, it’s hard to choose which ones to share, but as always, I close with 5 gratitudes:

  1. I am grateful for the opportunity to love the cats who have come into my life as well as those who have left. Each comes with a lesson, and leaves with a piece of my heart.
  2. I am grateful for friends who trust me enough to share the most delicate parts of themselves.
  3. I am grateful for rainy nights in my warm, cozy house surrounded by my cats.
  4. I am grateful for opportunities to learn new things. It keeps my mind sharp and my body young.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, sharing, compassion, beach days, sunshine and rain, the ability to unfollow without unfriending, peace, harmony, prosperity, and philanthropy.

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


When Some of Life’s Dances Have Steps That Elude Us

Holes and Boulders

Meditations in my house are typically a family affair but some days are more communal than others. When Munchkin lays across my shoulder with her head near my ear, purring as if her life depends on it, while Dylan lays on the arm of the sofa, curled in the crook of my elbow, I know the visuals will be more vivid and the messages, more clear.

Such was the scenario for a recent meditation. With my focus more on Munchkin’s soothing purr than the meditation music I grabbed from YouTube, I did a little mental inventory. What I discovered was a bit disturbing.

My heart felt like there was a huge area where nothing penetrated, but nothing came out either—almost a physical void where a piece of my heart was gone, or maybe never really existed. But it wasn’t just my heart. I felt a weight the size of a small boulder in my stomach. And yet, as far as I knew, there was nothing wrong. Never mind the migraine that started shortly after I woke up.

Allowing the Answers to Come as They Will

Since it was a meditation, I gave up any effort I might have made to indulge in self analysis, and simply allowed myself to sink into Munchkin’s purr and let the answers come of their own volition and in their own time. I didn’t have long to wait.

I allowed myself to feel the loneliness and to let the reasons slowly coalesce. I felt the sense, first, of something lost, but soon, I realized it was something I never really had. Like most people, I have my own dream of a perfect life, though since I spent so many years believing myself unworthy, I’d convinced myself at the same time I didn’t deserve the perfect life I envisioned. Of course, reality and expectation came together with uncanny accuracy.

The trouble is, I no longer believe I’m unworthy (OK, at least I don’t most of the time), and though some aspects of that perfection were lost with my youth, I realize on a rational level that, as the saying goes, I ain’t dead yet, and there’s still time to attract aspects of the old and never quite forgotten dreams.

Old Baggage Can Lead Us Astray

But I’m manifesting that belief in potentially unhealthy ways. I realized today I’ve become, on a subconscious level almost desperate to receive the love and cherishing I see so many of my friends enjoying. Perhaps it’s a double-edged sword to now have a social circle of loving, giving people who are in the kind of relationships I will admit I want for myself when I’m not in my favorite home away from home, the State of Denial.

The result is that my sensitivities are like a nest full of baby birds when mom arrives with a freshly chewed worm, but I react, not to food but to a little attention from the male of the species. Somehow, my heart and brain get all tangled up and look for reasons to believe the attention is more than it is, or that I’m getting a little more from the gentleman in question than the plethora of single women in the vicinity.

The Epic Battle Between Heart vs. Head

Needless to say, I have a near-constant internal battle going on. Picture Dr. Doolittle’s Push Me-Pull You as the battle between my heart and head, each one trying to control which direction my entire self goes. If you consider all the times I’ve been oblivious when someone really was more than superficially interested and I failed to give the right signs which would have indicated mutual interest, you can see what a convoluted mess I put myself in. And why my heart feels like half of it is a black hole and my gut feels like I’ve swallowed a brick whole.

The truth is, even if a guy was to show an interest, it would have to be so blatantly obvious, the entire world could see it before it would get through my dysfunctional brain and register a need for me to give some kind of affirmative response. Needless to say, there may or may not be at least a couple who turned their attentions elsewhere because I failed to follow the steps of the one dance I never managed to learn.

Friends Just Want Friends to be Happy

Another down-side to having so many happily coupled friends is they have a tendency to want all of their friends to be as happy and cherished as they are. Too often, my well-meaning friends will try to convince me that someone is more than casually interested. I’ll start paying closer attention to my interactions with said male, only to realize that both I and my friend were seeing something we wanted to see, and not what was really there.

To top it off, I’m beginning to believe despite my observations that men are dating women 20 years their junior, looking 15-20 years younger isn’t the same thing. All too often, I’m feeling like I get written off because someone thinks I’m in my 40’s. Good grief! Can’t ya cut a girl a break? I used to believe my daughter was just being sweet, but lately, others have made the same mistake, with one person telling me I didn’t have the hands of a 60-year-old. (insert huge, heartfelt sigh)

I’ve Been Lonely So Long

I never thought I’d see the day I’d say, much less type these words, but the truth is, I’m tired of always being alone. I’d love to have someone to spend a rainy Friday night with, curled on the sofa talking, or reading, or watching something mindless on TV. I won’t go so far as to say I could handle having someone with me all the time, but a couple of nights a week and someone I could count on for more than the occasional dance would be nice.

Of course, this could be my personal version of a mid-life crisis, typically later than normal as everything I do seems to be. It could be too many Hallmark movies, or too many misconstrued acts of simple kindness. I don’t really know any more. Perhaps it’s something women of a certain age go through when they’ve been alone for too many years.

Using the Energy of Frustration Towards the Greater Good

Whatever the reason, I know I need to find something or someone to fill up that empty place in my heart. I thought my resident felines were enough, but even there, I’ve been deluding myself, and they’ve probably known it all along. I also know the best way to fill the hole is by giving of myself, and that route is far less open to interpretation than areas where my perceptions are more than slightly askew.

In my usual convoluted and misdirected fashion, I seem to have hit on the solution to the problems with my heart and gut. My gut still says it isn’t what it wants (funny, as you’d think my heart would weigh in, yet it’s unnaturally silent), but since neither of us has a clue as to where to find help lifting off the brick that seems to have settled in for a long winter’s nap, finding someone or something who could use an extra pair of hands will fill the space for now. I’m open to suggestions, but of course, would prefer it to be something in my geographical area and not affiliated with any religious organization or purpose.

Finding the Rule Book Everyone’s Read, but Nobody Has

Am I truly alone in this? Do others find they just don’t know how to play those interpersonal games? Have others, as I have, failed to learn the rules of the game, or even lack a desire to play games with their heart in the first place? So many times, I wish I had the ingenuousness of a 5-year-old who would simply say: “Hi. I like you. Wanna play?”

Can you imagine how many would run screaming in the other direction if I did that? It would break every rule in the handbook of interpersonal skills that is probably one of the rare books which never made it into my extensive personal library.

Gettin’ By

For now, you can find me at the dance hall a couple of nights a week, the gym, my requisite 3 days, and perhaps feeding the homeless, or filling boxes for our military personnel far away from home. And writing little ditties like this one twice a week, hoping to help someone else feel less alone as they meander through life without an instruction manual or even a map to alert them to upcoming land mines.

One thing I have found as I stumble and fumble is we are not meant to be alone, and though we might not find “the one” right away, or even in this lifetime, there are always people around who love us and care about us. We just have to crawl out of our cocoons once in a while and look around, feel the sunshine on our faces, and spread those beautiful butterfly wings we grew while hiding out for so long.

Remembering My Unlimited Supply of Blessings

And of course, find things large and small to be grateful for:

  1. I am grateful for the people who allow me to touch their lives with my stumbles and fumbles.
  2. I am grateful for my cats who are snuggly, demanding, and sometimes ornery.
  3. I am grateful for my daughter who keeps me connected to the world even when I don’t come outside for days on end. She reminds me there are frustrations, but also causes for joy and amusement.
  4. I am grateful for the writing and the people I get to meet because of it. There’s an entire world of people out there with incredible imaginations, who are caring, accepting, and understanding of some of my struggles.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, inspiration, motivation, health, sanity (at least some of the time), energy, spirit, blessings, prosperity, goals, and philanthropy.

Love and Light

About the Author

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 ghostwriting 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

Letting the Mind Run Free

Working My Way Through “A Writer’s Book of Days”

While attending the Southern California Writers’ Conference last month, I bought a book written by one of my favorite presenters, Judy Reeves. Her “A Writer’s Book of Days” takes a similar approach to daily, free-form writing I learned in Judith Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” with one twist. She gives a prompt for each day of the year.

As I started working my way through the book on March 6th, I chose the prompt for that day, more to remember where I’m at than any other reason. As I glanced through the prompts for January and February, I didn’t notice any kind of progression which would lead me to believe I needed to start from the first of the year rather than the current date.

Free-form writing with nothing but a spiral notebook and a pen is hardly new to me. I’ve been diligently writing my morning pages with only a few widely scattered missed days for well over a year, and have a growing collection of filled spiral notebooks to prove it. In fact, I’m seriously considering buying the darn things in bulk, if I can find a vendor with prices and quantities I like! The longer I write, the more I develop preferences.

Appreciating the Nearly Lost Art of Longhand

For notebooks, I like spiral-bound, 5-subject, college ruled books with 180 pages or more. (I’d love to find some with 500 or so pages, but so far, I’ve been thwarted in my search). After trying everything from Flair to Gel pens (I love lots of colors), I found my preferred implement in the Pilot Precise V5 Roller Ball. The extra fine tip suits my minuscule script perfectly. The only downside is the lack of color selection, as they’ve limited themselves to 7 colors. But I guess it’s better than the traditional black/red/blue combination.

Since re-discovering the nearly lost art of writing longhand, it’s become a great source of inspiration, not to mention the perfect way to start my day and eject any lingering dream fragments. Until today, though, my writing has been nothing more than a free-flowing and often disjointed stream-of-consciousness which may or may not bear some semblance to continuity.

Switching Things Up With Interesting Results

Writing with a prompt and freehand is an entirely new experience. Yes, the words still tend to meander from place to place, and at times may wander so far away from the prompt as to seem completely random. And yet, somehow, they string together with one thought flowing into the other instead of the way my morning pages seem to grasp stray thoughts out of the air and put them on the page with no thought for continuity or cohesiveness, a true picture of my monkey mind at work.

I’m also rarely called upon to re-read my morning pages unless some particularly useful (read blog-worthy) thought manages to find its way from brain to pen to paper. So writing with the help of a prompt brought a whole new element into the process, and made it far more personal than following where a prompt might take me with keyboard and computer screen.

The most conspicuous difference was a heightened awareness for a word or idea I repeated as my thoughts wandered. In this case, the word “variables” kept coming up in various contexts.

Finding Inspiration in Repetition

After reading what I’d written aloud, I also noticed I referenced wandering down paths a lot as well as returning to my sanctuary.

Before I go much further, let me share the prompt, though I guess unless you’re inside my mind, where it took me won’t make a whole lot of sense. Quite frankly, I’m not sure it makes much sense to me either, but I suppose making sense isn’t a requirement of the exercise.

What can be seen through the fog

The purposes for doing the prompts longhand are many, I’m sure. But the one which makes the most sense to me is how it connects you more directly to your subconscious, or even a place where the thinking part of your brain isn’t allowed to go. Though I’ve gotten good at shutting off my brain when I type, I wasn’t sure it could be done while trying to manipulate a pen. It seems to me that would require a little more attention from the thinking part of the brain. My first foray into prompted manual writing seems to tell a different story. Somehow, it isn’t really necessary to think about forming the words with the pen. Long years of practice (at least for people from my generation) make it as automatic as the steps for a line dance I’ve done over and over. It works best when I don’t think!

Other things came out of my initial leap into a new game. The repetitions tell me my higher mind has a few things it needs to get out in the open.

What’s in a Theme?

I seem to be getting hung up in all of the variables inherent in choosing a path. I see dozens of choices of direction, but far too many potential hazards and unpleasant outcomes to actually wander down any of them. I also seem to lose sight of the idea that I can turn back any time I want to if I don’t like the landscape, and that I’d consider few if any either life-threatening or irreversible. Instead, I hunker down in what I call a sanctuary, but is, in reality, another rut; another place I hide rather than risk making a bad decision.

What happened to the woman who took a massive leap of faith a few years ago? What happened to the conviction I’d be OK no matter where the new road I’d chosen took me? Yes, I know I’ve closed a few doors in the process, and the longer I’m gone from the corporate world, the harder it will be both to go back and to even be allowed back in, even if that was really what I wanted anyway.

I’ve come a few thousand miles closer to where I thought I wanted to go. Things are getting more complicated. As the variables and unknown factors mount, I am more afraid. But I’ve also spent the last few years being less inclined to fumble through all alone. I’ve let people in and given them reason to return the favor. I can share my fears without feeling like a failure. But in many ways, I’m stuck in one place; neither moving forward nor back, but simply fretting over moving at all. That’s what came out of the first step on my newest journey.

Dragging My Fears Out in the Open

At some point, a story might come out of these writing prompts, but for now, what I’m finding is self-awareness. Once again, I’m afraid. But I’ve been afraid before. I’ve been in far worse places than I am now. Each time, I focused on what was before me, more because I didn’t know any better than through the lessons I’ve since learned from works by Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra, Lao Tzu, and others.

My biggest fear is financial, as it seems to always come back to my ability to take care of myself and my cats. Yet not once in all the times I’ve been nearly broke and struggling to climb out of a pit of self-imposed debt have I ever given up, or ever fallen all the way to the bottom. I’ve always had a roof over my head, food in my belly, and maybe most important of all, the ability to go out several times a week and dance away my fear, frustration, and feelings of unworthiness. Eventually, in every case, I found myself far better off than I’d been before the temporary setbacks.

In all fairness, I probably wallowed a bit before I started climbing back out. I probably despaired for a while before I came up with a solution, or started moving in a different direction than the one which had me feeling like I was drowning. And maybe that’s the message I need to take out of this writing exercise. Take what I’ve learned through countless trials and setbacks, discard any paths which have realistic reasons for being alarming, and give the rest of them a chance to prove my misgivings false. Hiding out in my house, ensconced in the comforting embrace of my cats and books isn’t going to take me any further along my path. It’s not going to get the stories I need to share to the people who need to hear them. And it’s certainly not going to give me a fighting chance of improving my financial future.

Stepping Onto the Next Road on My Life Journey

At this point, I’m excited about what the next writing prompt will uncover. The worst person in the world we can be dishonest with is ourselves. Yet we tell ourselves lies all the time. Not just the obviously destructive ones like “I’m unworthy” or “I’m not smart enough”. But the more subtle, more insidious ones: “I’m afraid I might fail.” “I can’t.” “I’m better off going it alone.”

Digging into my own psyche may have started out as a tool to help fuel my creativity, but sometimes, you have to exhume old bodies before you can create something new. The lessons long buried often yield unexpected stories ready to be told.

So Much to Be Grateful For

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for new and different ways to get at the creative genius who lurks within.
  2. I am grateful for the new people with whom I’ve connected in the last month or so. They’re giving me new insight and inspiration.
  3. I am grateful I’ve learned comparing myself and my work to others is both limiting and damaging. We’re all at different places in our journey, with no true point of comparison with anyone else’s. It’s like comparing prunes to rattlesnakes.
  4. I am grateful for friends who tell it to me straight, and who know I’m strong enough to hear things that might, at first be uncomfortable because in the long run, they’ll encourage me to do better, be a better version of me.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; lessons, opportunities, possibilities, variables, reminders, guides, friendships, letting go, reaching new heights, commitments I’m keeping to myself, love, joy, peace, harmony, health, money, prosperity, and philanthropy.

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

Procrastination and De-Cluttering: Two Sides of the Same Coin

12 Steps to End Procrastination

My name is Sheri and I’m a procrastinator.

There should be a 12-step program for procrastinators, but I’m sure the main reason it doesn’t exist is because we’d put off going to the meetings, or even scheduling them in the first place.

I’ve been putting off starting the re-write of Forgotten Victims since I got back from the writers’ conference over a week ago. Yes, I got the new first chapter written, but diving in and re-writing the rest was as daunting as de-cluttering the house of a hoarder (which I was at once time, though not to the degree of the ones you see on TV). I looked at the overwhelming task of re-writing over 71,000 words and simply froze. I didn’t know where to start! Despite the hours spent creating a timeline of significant events, I couldn’t find my starting point.

I lost sight of the advice I freely give to anyone wanting to clear out a room, a garage, or a house: pick a spot and start.

Finding Help in Unexpected Places

Fortunately, I signed up for a session with someone in one of my Facebook groups. She challenged me to devote 15-20 minutes a day to working on the re-write, and 15-20 minutes to researching publishing options and requirements. So far today, I’ve spent close to 4 hours between them. Why? Because I rarely back down from a reasonable challenge (bungee jumping is not something I consider reasonable, so don’t even ask!), and the truth is, this one is a win-win for me. Also, I’ve learned my problem isn’t following through. It’s getting started in the first place.

This little exercise in getting off my butt reminds me how much I need an accountability partner who will not only kick me into high gear when I need it, but will read the pages I churn out and help me see what I still need to fix.

Learning to Overcome the Costs of Procrastination

Yet procrastination costs so much in the long-run. And bringing procrastination to an end feels so darn good! It’s like going to the gym regularly. I have to push myself to do it, but I’m so glad when I do! Who’d have thought I’d come to appreciate a nag, both internal and external?

Over time, I’ve learned to set myself achievable goals and to stick with them until I form a habit. Yet, even there, I am easily thrown off track. Take my thrice-weekly gym routine which I’d thought was well-cemented last year. It only took a couple of weeks of curve-balls to kill that hard-earned habit. I’m still trying to get it back in place, but oversleeping, or client work I simply need to finish, or excessive wind…you name it, I’ll use it as an excuse to miss another day at the gym. Of course, I then perform the requisite self-flagellation for failing myself yet again. It’s rather a vicious cycle, really.

Procrastination’s Vicious Cycle

Do all procrastinators do as I do? Procrastinate—Let Ourselves Down—Castigate ourselves, repeat as necessary? Or do they procrastinate until the last possible moment, then practically kill themselves to achieve the stated goal? Or are we a combination of the two, depending on the circumstances?

I’ve learned over time that if the beneficiary of my actions is someone else, I’m more likely to push past my tendency to procrastinate and deliver on time, or, more often, early. But when it comes to myself, I can make excuses forever and a day why I can’t even start working on something which is clearly for my own benefit. Even things like Forgotten Victims which many have assured me will, as I hope, help a lot of other people. Although I will always believe the 9 years it took to write the draft were both right and necessary, I cannot, in this Universe or any other, justify it taking that long, or even more than a couple of months, to re-write it and get it ready for editing and ultimately, publishing.

Getting to the Root of the Matter

It occurs to me that because procrastination is selective, it might behoove me to get to the root of why I procrastinate over one task and not another. Though the beneficiary is certainly one factor, I suspect there are others as well.

Yet, I even find myself procrastinating over getting client work done at times, though it’s always done before the end of the month. Again, once I start, I’ll work steadily for however many hours it takes, or until I hit a point where I need more information before I can go further. But there is a clear deadline, even if it’s just in my mind. My current clients are typically lenient about when they see their monthly reports. I’m the one who insists on providing them on a regular, predictable schedule. Old habits die hard.

Routines, Schedules, and Expectations

I also believe keeping myself on a somewhat regular monthly schedule for them allows space for more. I know when I need to start working on their books each month, and which weeks will be heavier or lighter as a result. Conversely, I know which weeks I can devote to my writing, which turn out to be the weeks my tendency to procrastinate is at its highest. Knowing someone is going to check in with me in a week to see if I’ve followed the schedule she set me for re-writing and researching is turning out to be very helpful.

I’ll admit, last night I was working until about 9:30 because I’d put it off for most of the day. Granted, I was doing client work, and warding off what would have been a debilitating migraine (thank goodness for early warnings) so procrastinating was situational rather than deliberate. Once I did sit down to fulfill those external expectations, I, as usual, got into the task and was hard-pressed to stop. I guess that’s why NaNo works so well for me. Once I start writing and working to achieve the 1600-word-per-day requirement, I’ve been known to write for as long as 5 hours at a stretch, and churning out anywhere from 2,000 to 8,000 words.

I also found through experience that setting specific times to do the writing helped, but then, having a day job limited my choices and forced me to get up and moving earlier in the day, even when I was up writing until 2 or 3AM. With my looser schedule, the alarm is either not set at all, or subject to many whacks of the snooze button. Still, my days of sleeping until after 10 are long gone. These days, I’m consistently up between 8 and 9:15, with or without the alarm. Another habit I’ve worked to form.

Learning to Outwit Ourselves

In short, I believe the key to outwitting our natural propensity for procrastination depends on several factors:

  1. Who we are serving.
  2. Accountability.
  3. Outside influences (like migraines or other things which make us unable or unwilling to work).
  4. Perceived importance of the task at hand.
  5. Getting started.

The last is probably the key to the whole package. Putting off getting started has extended the duration of just about every task I’ve set for myself. When I get past that single sticking point, I’m often a bulldog with a bone. I don’t let go, even to eat until I’ve made what I’d consider reasonable progress. I know that last part sounds a bit bizarre, but when I’m in “the zone” it’s all I can do to remember to drink water. In fact, I’ve learned to fill my 40-ounce water bottle and put it on the desk before I start. Otherwise, I get that irritating cotton-mouth feeling in the middle of my best flow of ideas, and there’s no way I’d stop for something as trivial as filling the bottle.

Heading Our Excuses Off at the Pass you’ve ever been hammered by a migraine, you know dehydration is one of the worst culprits. And nothing pisses me off when I’m in the zone more than to have to stop because my vision is going squirrelly and I’m in danger of being sidelined by a headache that makes labor pains feel like a slight tummy ache. So I keep the bottle full and my body happy, even if it means halting the creative flow for a bit, hoping it won’t come to a screeching, grinding halt in the time it takes me to fill said bottle again.

Looking back at this post, I see I’ve done it yet again. I’ve broken away from my tendency to procrastinate, and written for longer than I’d intended (both time-wise and word count). Now it’s your turn. What makes you procrastinate, and how do you make it stop? What are your triggers, and your releases? Are some tasks easier to put off than others? Do you value your own time and needs as much as you do those of others? (your boss and co-workers, family, friends, strangers) Please share your thoughts in the comments. They will be extremely valuable to your fellow procrastinators who are always looking for ways to outsmart ourselves.

What’s a Post Without Gratitude?

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful to be continuing my blog posting schedule, even if some go up later on the designated day than I’d like.
  2. I am grateful for a schedule that is filling up with people, places, and things which take me out of myself-imposed hermit hole.
  3. I am grateful for friends and acquaintances who give me reason to finish what I started, encouragement, and even motivation.
  4. I am grateful for the ability to hyper-focus once I actually start a task. I lose hours at a time while accomplishing so much.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; friends, family, opportunities, encouragement, love, joy, my expanding network (thank you, #SCWC), motivation, inspiration, frustration because it kicks me out of the depths of ennui, peace, harmony, and even righteous indignation. For health, balance, 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

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

Irritation as a Wake-up Call

Minor Irritants, Major Malfunctions

For the last week or so, I’ve found numerous things, both small and large have irritated me. Some have been clear like inconsiderate behavior, but others were a nagging feeling in the back of my brain. As the irritation came to a head in the form of a migraine, I was forced to admit I was reacting instead of responding, and that most of my irritation came from my failure to enforce my own energetic boundaries.

In short, I’ve been absorbing the energy from friends and acquaintances who are struggling with their own reactions to people, things, and circumstances in their lives. The truth is, my own life has been pretty smooth and easy lately. There have been no major upheavals, and in fact, a lot to be grateful for. Still, it took a migraine to make me realize how much I was allowing myself to be bogged down.

Whether it’s a friend with boyfriend problems, or one who has allowed family and friends to push her own boundaries aside; someone who is dealing with unavoidable challenges with kids or aging parents, or someone whose job is getting them down. I may not even know what’s bothering whoever’s energy I’m unconsciously absorbing, but you can bet I know the pressure they’re under is real, and is shoving them into a deep, dark pool at the moment.

Remembering to be the Light Instead of More Darkness

One thing is certain, getting down into that pool with them and wallowing is doing neither of us any Consciousness On the Risegood. What they need right now is a healthy dose of my signature positive energy to help them find light at the end of their tunnel. And to my regret, I’ve been failing to provide the light they need.

Like anything else, the first step towards solving a problem is to recognize there is a problem. Nobody spends time looking for solutions to a nothing, do they? For me, recognition leads to the first step in my process: apologies. I don’t mean walking up to everyone I’ve ever wronged and apologizing for my actions. It’s more of an internal process in which I look at what I’ve mishandled lately, and apologize to the energies I’ve been sullying with my own negativity.

Apologies and Forgiveness: A Powerful Combination

Apologies are useless without forgiveness, so after acknowledging where I’ve behaved poorly, I forgive myself. Why? Because I know in my own often clumsy way, I’m doing the best I can with this human existence, and the mistakes I make are part of my learning process. Those mistakes serve as guideposts to how I can do better next time, and how I can improve on or mitigate what I’ve done this time.

During this review process, I see and accept how and why I let my guard and energy down. In this case, it could be a not-so-gentle reminder to ensure my filters are firmly in place, as I’ll soon be putting myself in a situation which is scary on many levels. I’ll be spending a couple of days with hundreds of people I’ve never met and who I will need to interact with on at the very least, a professional level. I will also be exposing the first chapter of “Forgotten Victims” to a complete stranger and must do everything in my power to take their comments as they are given; as a critique of words I’ve put on a page rather than as criticism of me as a person. As those words are intensely personal, this will be a test of my ability to separate myself from those words, if only for a few minutes.

Irritations Manifesting Physically

In the midst of it all, I broke a tooth and needed to find a dentist to fix it before the writer’s conference. Since the dentist prescribed a root canal before the tooth can be fixed (crowned, capped, or whatever the best option will be), I’ll be attending the conference with a still-damaged tooth. Thankfully, it’s towards the back of my mouth. As there is no pain, I’ll just have to do my best to keep the poor, exposed thing clean.

If that isn’t enough to misdirect my attention and get my energies and filters in a tangle, I’m hanging in limbo over a decision which could affect my life for the next few months, or possibly longer. Low energy caused me to put off making some necessary phone calls, delaying things I shouldn’t have, which leaves me playing catch-up this week. However, I remind myself that everything happens at the right time and in the proper order. And by the way, stop beating myself up over what did or did not get done!

At any rate, the dentist recommended by a former classmate turned out to be utterly delightful with a wicked sense of humor (I know, a weird thing to say about a dentist, but he truly mitigates what is typically an unpleasant experience with his somewhat irreverent wit). I was like a kid in a candy store watching his assistant do digital x-rays and even take pictures of my tooth with a pen-sized camera as images appeared on the screen in front of me. Coming from an age when technology was initially non-existent, unless you count black and white TV’s with rabbit ears, I’m utterly fascinated by what’s possible these days.

Irritation Reminds Us to Check in With Ourselves

But I digress. As an Empath, it is essential to check in with myself regularly to ensure the energies and feelings I’m experiencing are my own and nobody else’s. When I fail to do so, I’m reminded, and not very gently. Those Universal head slaps, while often painful, get me back on track towards recognizing what is and isn’t mine, and re-establishing the filters which allow me to do the work I’m meant to do. That work does not include mirroring people’s misery and unhappiness. It isn’t comprised of sympathy and mutual wallowing either.

So for the last couple of days, I’ve used those feelings of irritation in a more positive manner by improving my own mood and shaking off the miseries that weren’t mine to begin with. I’m actually grateful for the reminder because the last event I attended ripped some impressively large holes in my defenses. It took me a good 3 months and help from Energy Worker and Healer, Michelle Evans to get rid of all the toxicity I absorbed by going into a group of strangers without my usual, basic protections and filters. Though this event shouldn’t be as emotionally taxing, you can bet I won’t be repeating past mistakes.  I’ll check and re-check filters before I ever enter the venue.

Getting to the point of this post (I’m sure you’re heaving a gigantic sigh of relief if you’ve made it this far), I find a lot of value in checking in with myself when little things start to bother me for no apparent reason. In most cases, I find it’s because I’m taking on too much of the stress and struggle of the people around me. I’m pretty good about filtering out those I don’t really know, but those I do know, and especially the ones I really care about can poke holes in my filters if I leave them unattended for too long.

Sage and Disengage

When all else fails, and I’ve taken care of my physical environment with sage, candles, crystals, and essential oils, it’s time to walk barefoot in the grass, let water pour over my body (a shower works, but rain is better), and meditate with a cat or three curled up in my lap.

These are also the times when I’ll hole up in my house for a few days and have little to no interaction with other people via phone, text, or social media. Nothing is truly wrong. I’m simply making myself right again. I’m fortunate to have friends who understand and wait for me to re-emerge (or write a blog post so they know what’s going on!).

Gratitude, the Ultimate Cure-All

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for little reminders which tell me I need to re-balance my energies and emotions.
  2. I am grateful for my empathic abilities even when they seem like more of a double-edged sword.
  3. I am grateful for lessons that hit me between the eyes, and that I no longer react, especially to lessons in trust, by pulling all the way back inside like a frightened tortoise.
  4. I am grateful for friends who both understand and relate to how I have to navigate the world around me.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; health, friendship, joy, compassion, kindness, humor, reminders, lessons, challenges, triumphs, dancing, work which keeps my brain strong, people to share with, the comfort my animals bring, getting out of my comfort zone, 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

Hidden Demons of Self-Sabotage

Removing the Tendency to Self-Sabotage

Most of us are guilty of self-sabotaging behavior at one time or another. It’s human nature to try to protect the position we’re in from the unknown. Whether we’re waiting for feedback on our writing or a proposal, a new job or client, or even a budding friendship or romance, we often find ourselves self-sabotaging without even realizing it.

Too often, we try to fend off disappointment by convincing ourselves beforehand that we’re somehow unworthy, under-qualified, unlovable, or harboring other such mucky, ugly-feeling thoughts. To that I say, in the immortal words of Tim Conway: “STOP THAT!”

You are worthy. You are lovable. You are qualified. You are perfect just the way you are. The fact that something you’re waiting for either doesn’t come through, or is delayed has nothing to do with you! There are a million and seven reasons why you don’t get picked, or in all too many cases, wait longer than you anticipated. Shake it off. Go for a walk. Clean the house. Go to the gym. Immerse yourself in something you love. Do whatever it takes to shove those negative thoughts back into the void where they came from, and out of your head.

Learning to Expand Our Own Reality

I’m not telling you to fill your head with fairy tales and nothing but happily-ever-afters (though doing so without getting too deep into the hows, whens, whys, and wherefores isn’t a bad thing either). I’m saying every time one of those negative thoughts starts to creep in, you fill the spot it’s trying to occupy with something better, something that will lift you up rather than dragging you down. If you can’t find anything yourself, call one of your favorite cheerleaders. Even hermits like me have more than we realize!

By now you may be wondering why this topic came to the top of my list of blog ideas. Like you, I have my moments when that scared little girl who lives deep inside wants to ensure she’s not disappointed yet again if the Universe decides not to grant her dearest wish. That’s when I grab the jaded, world-weary adult by the throat and say “Really? Are you going to let her get away with this? After all the times our disappointments turned into triumphs? When every disappointment turned out to be a blessing in disguise? When you know full well passion and positivity bring what we want and need every…single…time???”

My inner adult spends a lot of time daydreaming and doing her best to live in the moment, but there are times she’s hopelessly out to lunch and lets the child within take the wheel for a little too long. The adult has learned that though life may not always seem fair, things always turn out the way they’re supposed to, and get there more quickly if we don’t turn into a whiny 5-year-old while we’re waiting for most of the ducks to stop wandering around aimlessly and line up in at least a semblance of a straight line. (I have learned to never expect perfection before I move forward. I’d still be sitting on my arse doing nothing, and would certainly not have 5 books in various stages of publication readiness if I didn’t move until everything was perfectly aligned.)

Let’s Get Physical

The best way to get the adult’s attention these days is to do something physical: lace up my sneakers and hit the gym, clean the house (an adventure in itself when my ADD joins the mix), rake leaves. Anything to get my mind out of my head and into my body for a while. Focusing on something physical still allows my mind to wander, but now it’s not wallowing, or fretting, or expecting the worst. Instead, it’s seeing something accomplished or, as it did today, finding I needed to sit and write some thoughts that came up when Nelly Negative stopped getting her way.

Coming up with a blog topic is a win all across the board for me, since I’ve committed to a completely manageable two posts per week. So far, I’ve managed to write and pre-schedule posts about 5 times out of 8 as a result of my mental re-directions. Invariably. changing the direction my thoughts want to take brings up a talking/writing point. I get the first few paragraphs written (or the first 1000 words or so), then get back to whatever I was doing that took me out of the “woe is me” mindset.

Don’t Let the Prospect of Change Dull Your Sparkle

As I’ve mentioned an a few other occasions, change is scary, and our inner child will fight tooth and nail to maintain the status quo unless we assure her the change will bring some new adventure which, while exciting and a bit scary, will be the most fun ever. Of course, if we want to convince said child, we must first believe it ourselves, and not allow ourselves to be derailed by those flickers of doubt swimming at the edge of our consciousness.

While listening to a video today, the speaker said something I found very profound. He said “I’m not asking you to believe, because that lets in doubt. I’m asking you to be open to the possibility.” I never thought of it that way before. More often, I’d do my best to at least suspend disbelief, if not try twisting my mind until it believed what it might not be able to see, feel, or touch. By simply being open to the possibility, we remove action from the mix, and become a receptor. We no longer unconsciously throw up blocks because we’re not actively involved in allowing or disallowing a concept to take root and grow.

Being Open to Possibilities

As you go through your day, bombarded with opportunities to change how you think or feel about the world around you, I encourage you to take a few moments to simply be open to whatever thoughts, ideas, and opportunities arise. Release the need to judge them worthy or not, viable or not. Look at them impassively, and be open to the possibilities. You’ll gently and easily absorb the ones that cause a little glimmer of interest or feel like bottled potential. You won’t feel the need to fight with yourself or consider all sides of the matter, ad infinitum, ad nauseum until the opportunity passes. Sure, it would make your inner whiner happy that another scary change was averted, but what about your conscious self? Don’t they deserve a little adventure in their lives?

As I write that, a question pops into my head: “When is a rut not a rut?” and the answer comes loud and clear. “Never! A rut is always a rut. No magic ever happens there.”

The comfort zone is the biggest and most tenacious rut we fall victim to. I use the word “victim” intentionally, because the comfort zone is the biggest block to progress, to a happy and fulfilled life we’ll ever run into. It does its best to thwart ideas which lead to those scary leaps of faith and trying something new without any guarantee of a positive outcome. Yet nothing worth having is without an element of risk. Even as a child, we took those risks and most of us have lived to talk about it.

We crossed streets alone, without the benefit of Mom or Dad’s hand. We learned to ride a bicycle or roller skate. As teenagers, we learned to drive a car. And the list goes on. If you were to sit down and write down all the things you do today which were once scary and foreign, you’d be amazed at how often you took a chance on the unknown. So why stop now?

Taking a Moment for Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for all of the opportunities to step out of comfort and into magic.
  2. I’m grateful for the ability to either calm or silence my inner child and her misgivings.
  3. I’m grateful for opportunities that make my stomach drop 10 stories, and my mind soar with the possibilities.
  4. I’m grateful for the scary moments when I have to tell myself whatever happens will be exactly what I need, even if it’s not exactly what I thought I wanted.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; opportunities, lessons, challenges, friendships, roller coaster rides, riding the crests and the troughs, love, joy, 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 at Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author

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