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Clean Diaper, Full Belly. Finding Our Bliss In Simplicity

When Did We Lose Sight of Simplicity?

Somehow we’ve all gotten caught up, at least to some extent in the myth that happiness is predicated on having more. We’re bombarded, especially this time of year, with entreaties to let our consumeristic selves go wild, and the devil take the credit card bills.

Finding My Bliss by Giving Things Up

As I throw away every ad and delete every email asking me to buy, buy, buy (and only about half of them are from retailers), I feel a certain kind of peace in my decision to keep my holiday purchases to a minimum this year. It takes a lot of the stress out of the holiday season and beyond, and lets me put more focus into accomplishing things I want to see finished by the time the ball drops on New Year’s Eve. Here are a few things I won’t miss this year:

  • Endless hours spent wrapping presents
  • Cramming my car to the gills with gifts for my daughter and son-in-law, many of which they probably neither want nor need (pajamas, socks, and books notwithstanding)
  • Hours agonizing over what I can get them they don’t already have anyway
  • Hours spent online or in the stores which would be better spent bringing my clients’ affairs up-to-date and getting my own projects ready for the next steps
  • Credit card bills in January that leave me questioning what I could possibly have been thinking
  • Dragging out and putting back the bins of wrapping paraphernalia
  • The chaos my living room becomes while I’m wrapping those endless piles of gifts
  • Time spent wrapping in front of the television that would be better spent writing, editing, or doing work for clients
Halting the Pursuit of Stress, er, Happiness

Needless to say, I’m already enjoying the minimal stress of this holiday season more than I’ve enjoyed the holidays in a very long time. My shopping is already done and the wrapping won’t take more than a couple of hours including dragging out the paper and boxes and putting them back. Instead of setting up the card table in front of the TV as I’ve done in years past, I’ll just wrap everything on the dining room table so there’s one less thing to put away when I’m done.

There are hidden benefits to keeping our gift-giving to a minimum this year too. My daughter and I have been working on de-cluttering our environments. Adding more stuff means finding places, or re-cluttering areas we’ve worked so hard to clear. Why would we want to get back on that hamster wheel to nowhere?

Steps to Becoming the Ultimate Non-Consumer

I’m making good use of that “unsubscribe” option at the end of most emails these days. I have no problem if someone is offering me information with a link to their site if I want to learn more. But when someone bombards me with daily emails, each containing a poorly veiled sales pitch, there’ll be one less subscriber under their tree come Christmas. But I’m grateful to all who choose to do business this way as it shows me things I should not do when my goal is to develop a tribe who know, like, and trust me.

Many business-people out there believe very strongly in a numbers game. The more people you put yourself in front of, and the more often you do it, the more sales you’ll have. But if you think about it, their success rate is minimal. They send out daily emails to their 5-10,000 subscribers, so they have to take the time to either write those emails or pay someone to do it for them. Of those 5-10,000 daily emails (and don’t get me started on those who send more than one a day!), I’d say, conservatively, 75% are deleted without being read. Another 20% delete them after seeing they’re nothing but another sales pitch.

Generously, 5% or 250-500 people might actually read those emails, but how many of them actually buy? Remember those same people are also being inundated by emails as well as TV and online ads from Target, Kohl’s, Walmart and more encouraging them to buy the latest fashions, toys, and electronics for their oh-so-deserving families. You can bet most of them haven’t seen a gigantic influx of money to feed these voracious and never-satisfied fires of consumerism. I’m guessing most are going to take care of family before signing up for yet another course or e-book.

Happiness is Simplicity

Though this little rant of mine has strayed a bit off-topic, the point is that if we take it back to basics; to a time when the little things made us happy, we might be surprised to find that the little things still make us happy.

Here are a few of mine, just to get you started:

  • Spending time with friends in an environment conducive to relaxation and conversation.
  • Spending time with my daughter and son-in-law being silly and laughing a lot.
  • Snuggling on the couch with my cats, a book, and a cup of tea.
  • Letting my imagination take over as I spew words on the page with no particular reason or direction.
  • Getting outside and walking, preferably with a friend.
  • Daydreaming
  • Cooking up some kind of tasty mess
  • Baking something just to give it away.

We all have our own version of “clean diaper, full belly” if we just clear the crap and the constant compulsion to buy, the invisible cord that drags us into stores so we might buy on impulse rather than thoughtfulness.

Getting off the Stress-Go-Round

The biggest advantage to this year of simplification is that my stress levels have gone down to almost nothing. My calendar is fairly full, but the tasks required to get there are manageable. There’s even time in between for self-care; something most of us shove to a back burner this time of year, only to pay the price come January (in more than those previously mentioned massive credit card bills).

Simon and Garfunkel said it best, a long, long, time ago:

Slow down, you move too fast
You got to make the morning last
Just kicking down the cobblestones
Looking for fun and feelin’ groovy
Ba da da da da da da, feelin’ groovy

If you find your pleasure being a part of the holiday chaos, so be it. As for me, I’ll be talking to lampposts and watching the flowers grow.

My gratitudes today are:

  1.  I am grateful for slow, easy holidays.
  2.  I am grateful for simplicity, and for recognizing it’s an option.
  3.  I am grateful for work that keeps me busy enough, a social calendar that makes me spend a little less time alone, and that both require me to stay on task more.
  4.  I am grateful for the many things I’ve learned and the progress I’ve made this year. Looking back, it’s been a wild ride, but one helluva year for me. I’m looking forward to seeing where the wheels I’ve set in motion take me.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; work, friendship, lessons, love, joy, time, peace, harmony, opportunities already here and yet to come, inspiration, motivation, balance, limitless possibilities, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. She 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 special gift lies in 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 or to schedule a free informational call. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author

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The Mind Might be in Denial, But the Body Knows!

Inattention Provokes Physical Reaction

Writing my morning pages today after doing the unthinkable yesterday and skipping it without a valid reason (gasp!) I realized how little attention I’d been paying to my writing, among other things, since November began. I’d like to say it was a gentle realization with soft music playing, and a gentle breeze teasing tendrils of my hair from my customary messy wad on top of my head. But the truth is, the Universe gave it to me with both barrels, as usual.

Yesterday, after sleeping until 11, which I haven’t done in months, I recognized the tell-tale signs of infection in my right ear. I took the entire day off to be lazy, improve my eating habits which had been pretty awful lately, and supercharge my body with homeopathics and natural remedies (turmeric and propolis are my go-to’s, in case you’re wondering).

I woke this morning slightly later than I’d like to find the pain had subsided but now the ear felt like it was filled with fluid. Moving around has helped a bit, but the pressure remains. However, that didn’t stop me from immediately grabbing pen and notebook (after feeding the resident furballs, of course) and resuming my morning routine.

Morning Pages vs. Brain Dumping

If you’re not familiar with “morning pages” you might want to pick up Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. It’s a great book if you’re a creative who needs to learn to honor the artist within, begging to be allowed to come out and play. One of the biggest take-aways I got from the book was the practice of writing 3 pages longhand every morning, aka “morning pages”. The idea is to sit down and write before you do anything else in the morning (coffee and cat feeding notwithstanding) to clear your head of all of the accumulated folderol from both the previous days’ challenges and the dreams from which you’ve just awoken. If you’re like me, those dreams alone can clog up the works as they’re quite vivid and memorable most days.

In many ways, I guess you’d call the morning pages journaling, but in a very raw, directionless way. In the past, I’d have called it a brain dump, though those typically were a fingers-to-keyboard kind of exercise as I type much faster than I write.

The purpose of the morning pages is not to pour out your guts as fast as possible but instead, to slow your mind down, forcing it to connect with your entire being instead of running amok like a hyperactive child on a sugar high.

I’ve found a great deal of insight from my morning pages though admittedly, there are days when I struggle to sit still long enough and slow my mind down sufficiently to write those 3 pages. Today was one of those days when the process worked.

Recognizing the Wake-Up Call of Physical Ills

I’ve learned that maladies in the body are simply a reflection of dis-ease in our energy field, which, left uncleared start manifesting in ways meant to get our attention. Yet it took slowing my mind down, getting the words on the page to connect the dots this time.

Once I started putting it together, I realized I’d not been communicating via my writing for quite some time. My ear was giving me a huge wake-up call that my hoarse and phlegm-y throat had failed to do.

I needed to get back to my writing!

While pouring out the contents of my muddled and over-stressed brain through the fingers of my right hand, I saw what I’d been, unbeknownst to me, making a concerted effort to ignore. I hadn’t written a single blog post, or even started one since the end of October. I hadn’t edited more chapters of Forgotten Victims as I’d planned. I had barely even interacted on social media for the last 25 days. In fact, I’d developed a bit of an aversion to it. No, more of an ennui. Nothing held my attention. I spent my days (when I wasn’t working on accounting clients) watching sappy Christmas movies and playing word games on my computer.

Finding the Blessing Buried in the Muck

On the up side, I increased my vocabulary a bit and kept my mind somewhat sharp, but my creative side was screaming for attention. Have you ever tried to quiet a 2-year-old mid-tantrum? Well, Creative Sheri knows exactly which buttons to push to get Unproductive, Slothful Sheri’s attention. In fact, administering physical pain is a particular favorite.

I may have created a bit of a monster when I chose to release my creative side, because once released, there’s no effective way to stuff the creativity back into a box permanently. What Pandora released when she opened that box has nothing on the creative monster once I gave her permission to come out and play. She is especially cranky when I make excuses for sitting down in front of the computer and writing. The words that come out don’t really matter. They just have to find their way to page, screen, or whatever medium I choose.

Signs, Signs, Everywhere Are Signs

https://www.flickr.com/photos/swampa/8512656992/in/photolist-dYeAm9-5MBAS5-4wH48T-5M2k2z-9j9QT2-8RVu1X-6juK2V-a18M9W-5taS34-fMS1SQ-cDQLUb-6GZmA2-oUv5Wv-5AvF8V-paqKFx-4LicMW-s48LVr-57gaP7-39DFEc-nu6Svm-bCRkBB-21uvr7L-7H9fXU-h4hoeh-8kP7PC-3F7yE-AXQ82E-RCHfaj-ftXr8F-6agM2v-pCAFRA-57uGKU-5qGnVx-gYU9Q-6aCF6B-7SC734-5hDawR-6pT1cL-58x9Gg-7tPaUX-pfNVHB-7BnSAE-a56YeV-83T4NJ-6wgZex-e58EmP-9tnDYY-gmjSdW-55pwGE-4CCrfbMaybe it was the Hallmark movie I watched last night about a writer who left home to follow his passion. Maybe I related well to his being stuck and needing new inspiration. More important was his regular routine. He went to the same coffee shop every day, sat at the same table with his laptop and wrote. Writing my morning pages every day only gets me halfway there.

I choose to believe that things are put into our path for a reason, be they physical pain, a message delivered via movie or book, or a person who helps us find our way back to our true path. When we do our best to ignore the signs and signals as I’ve been doing for the last month, those signs and signals become more persistent, and eventually, painful. Like the lessons we’re given, the signs that we’ve wandered off path are not about to be ignored indefinitely.

Sure, I could be one of those who self-medicate with alcohol or drugs to shut those voices and the pain out. Fortunately, I’m not. I have a strong aversion to drugs of any kind and if I have one drink per month, that’s a lot. So I’m forced to acknowledge the signs, the warnings, and especially the Universal head slaps which tell me I need to get off my ever-lovin’ arse and do what I was meant to do—WRITE!

Getting Back on Track…Again

This is my long-winded way of saying I’m back and will do my best to entertain you with regular blog posts like this, both here and on my website. I welcome your comments and would love to hear about what motivates you and gets you back on track when you stray.

The Many Faces of Gratitude

What would a blog post be without my gratitudes? Here are a few for today.

  1. I’m grateful for the subtle and not-so-subtle reminders that I’m not being true to myself.
  2. I’m grateful for family and friends who inspire and challenge me.
  3. I’m grateful for the reams of words I’ve poured out on pages like this one as well as all of my works-in-progress.
  4. I’m grateful for the people I’ve met lately on social media. Some inspire me to greater things, and others show me what I don’t want to be or aspire to. All are helpful in their own way.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; the words that flow from my fingers, the portfolio I don’t always appreciate, the dreams that fill my head at night (and other times too), love, friendship, communication, health, joy, compassion, kindness, generosity, peace, hope, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. She 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. She specializes in 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

Self-love is the Fuel That Powers Your Motivation

For the last couple of months I’ve gotten off track. I lost sight of what matters and started mistreating myself. It wasn’t anything overt like putting myself in danger. Instead it was more subtle…

Source: Self-love is the Fuel That Powers Your Motivation

Self-love is the Fuel That Powers Your Motivation

Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places

https://www.flickr.com/photos/pictoquotes/26362491806/in/photolist-857d63-7jecuc-4EKXjp-d1fXnd-dGxXva-CWZ3qm-pEtDtE-3LiJjP-UaGqaP-U4nkQR-pRhHt6-bGpmxT-cYxRaG-9o9aCf-ebCGqX-5i8fuy-84yuGJ-etwRi8-FFKb5u-4G5gCd-awsadF-9pfapc-hsE8Ey-qQun96-5JpNWp-HP9Nyr-BGZwA9-6Ls9DX-TsKYM9-hxME-SsNQJ8-6tki6x-xyvfhG-GayEmN-ytRii1-s5DRhg-ndkt2wFor the last couple of months I’ve gotten off track. I lost sight of what matters and started mistreating myself. It wasn’t anything overt like putting myself in danger. Instead it was more subtle. Missed gym workouts. Unhealthy food. Not enough movement. It all added up to one thing: forgetting to remind myself how much I love both the person I am now and the person I’ve yet to become.

Self-love is one of the most powerful motivators I know. Without it, we’re content to plod along being mediocre instead of celebrating our amazingness. But it needs to be nurtured or like an unwatered flower, it shrivels and dies.

I know I’m not nurturing mine when I consistently put unhealthy food in my mouth, eat when I’m not really hungry, play too many computer games and watch too much TV. It doesn’t matter that I still look myself in the mirror most days and tell myself how much I love me, and how beautiful I am. When the actions don’t support the words, that inner child who wants so much to be loved for herself starts to shrivel and crawl back into her shell.

I saw it happening. The numbers on the scale creeping up. The writing getting neglected. The housework being ignored. Old aches returning from too much sitting. The ill effects of lack of love show themselves quickly, and add up to one big, ugly mess of frustration, anxiety, and gloom. The trouble is, once you start back-sliding, turning things around may not be such an easy thing, though it is certainly worth the effort.

Reading the Signs and Turning it Around

I started by filling my refrigerator with healthy fruits and vegetables, and making another pot of my turkey/kale chili for the freezer. (I’ll post the recipe at the end in case you’re interested). I made a point of getting to the gym at least once each week (better than none, and it is a start) with a plan to get back to my usual 3 times. Most of all, I started asking myself if I was really hungry before opening the refrigerator, and even once I had the door open.

I won’t say I’ve done perfectly this week. I did succumb to a burger and onion rings on errand day, and regretted it soon after. The burger was more bun than meat and the onion rings were overdone; the Universe’s way of telling me I was eating crap and should know better. I didn’t get to the gym on Monday as planned.

On the other hand, I’ve spent a lot more time working on either my writing or client work all week. I danced much later than usual last night after thinking earlier in the evening that I’d cut out early. I even danced through my right knee starting to complain, and by the time I got home, I was pain-free.

Seeing Immediate Results

My accomplishments this week are a true testament to the return of my self-love. After some false starts and a bit of irritation, I realized my friend and favorite butt-kicker, Candy was actually assuming the role of coach, something I needed desperately, but have not been able to justify going further into debt to hire (though Michelle Evans is making inroads into that resolve. She is the perfect combination of spirituality, energy work, and inspiration I think I need right now). She pushed and prodded until I came up with a pretty decent sounding Vision statement. Once she drags the Mission statement out of me as well, they will be added to my website. I just need to figure out where best to showcase them. (though a recent foray into the world of Divi and the realization that it’s not as scary as it seemed may give me a better idea of how, if not where).

Benefits of Learning to Receive

Self-love leads to some interesting revelations. One of the biggest ones is that learning to receive moves you farther along the self-love continuum. Refusing help from others not only denies them the pleasure of giving, but tells the Universe loud and clear I don’t love myself enough to be successful.

Does this sound counter-intuitive? It was for me for a long time. I thought success meant slogging through all of life’s perils and pitfalls by myself so when I reached the top of the mountain, I could say I did it all myself! So there! Boy, is that a load of crap! In the first place, victory and success are hollow if you’re standing all alone at the top of the mountain. In the second, having people who are there to lend a hand or their expertise when the going gets rough or you reach a place where your lack of tools will make the job infinitely more difficult are tremendous assets. You simply get further and faster with a team than alone.

When Helen Reddy sang “I am strong, I am invincible, I am Woman!” she said nothing about doing it alone. In fact, the first two lines speak volumes: “I am woman, hear me roar in numbers too big to ignore…” Sure, one person alone can make a difference. Look at Mother Teresa. But when we allow others to help, we can make an impact of incalculable magnitude because our success causes a ripple effect. The act of allowing others to help us achieve our goals lifts them up and helps them achieve some of theirs. Tell me you don’t feel better about yourself and able to push through some of your own challenges when you’ve helped another person get past one of their difficulties? Helping someone else is an amazingly uplifting experience.

Pretty soon, that focus on receiving as well as giving creates a synergy bringing joy and success to everyone it touches. In a roundabout but very real way, learning to love ourselves enough to receive help from other people strengthens humanity as a whole. It took me a long time, more than half a lifetime to figure out such a simple concept. In my defense, I come from a family of fiercely independent people. Going it alone and achieving success is highly valued. Asking for help is not only frowned upon but discouraged as being burdensome. I had to overcome an overwhelming amount of conditioning in order to get out of that destructive loop. Thankfully, I have some amazing friends, including my daughter who were willing to knock me around a bit until I saw the light.

I’m still learning to ask for help. I try to go it alone more often than not, but each time I reach out and get a positive response, it gets a little easier. And like the Grinch, my heart grows 3 sizes when I do.

Loving Myself Enough to be Grateful

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful to my friends who’ve taught me the value of receiving.
  2. I am grateful for a highly productive week.
  3. I am grateful for the people I’ve met just be stepping out of my comfort zone.
  4. I am grateful for being able to step back and regroup when someone says or does something that makes me feel bad about myself and the choices I’ve made. I know I’m not perfect, and I know I don’t live up to someone else’s standards, but that’s not what I’m here to do.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; helpful friends, guidance when I open my heart and mind and listen, self-love, improving health habits, healthy kitties, excessive dancing, productivity, clarity, resolve, new clients, joy, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. She 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. She specializes in 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

 

Sheri's Turkey-Kale Chili

  • Servings: 16 2-cup servings
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A healthy take on a comfort food classic which freezes well


Ingredients

  • 3 Tablespoons garlic olive oil for cooking
  • 2 large brown onions finely chopped
  • 6 pounds ground turkey
  • 4 Tablespoons chopped garlic or 1 large bulb
  • 6-8 cups finely chopped kale
  • 5-6 medium jalapenos (use less or omit for a milder chili)
  • 2 15-ounce cans fire roasted tomatoes with chilis
  • 5 15-ounce cans tomato sauce
  • 6 Tablespoons Ancho chili powder
  • 3 Tablespoons Chipotle chili powder
  • 3 Tablespoons Cumin
  • 2 1/2 to 3 Tablespoons Oregano
  • 2 teaspoons Cayenne
  • 2 Tablespoons Paprika
  • 3 teaspoons Habanero sauce (less for a milder chili)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2-3 cups black beans (or whatever kind of beans you like. Can also be omitted)

Directions

  1. Heat oil in large pot
  2. Add chopped onion, garlic, kale and jalapenos. Cook until the onions start to turn clear.
  3. Add turkey. Cook until brown and crumbly.
  4. Add tomato sauce, tomatoes, spices, beans, and habanero sauce. Stir well.
  5. Simmer on low heat for at least an hour stirring frequently.
  6. Chili is done when the spices have been absorbed (if it tastes a little gritty, cook longer)
  7. I freeze what I don’t eat the first night in 2-cup servings, but choose the serving size that works for you.

    Enjoy!

Choosing Your Lessons and Teachers With Care

Is Money the Only Object?

I come into contact with a lot of coaches these days. Many of them are true artists at their craft and need no justifications to do their job and do it well. But there are others who write long, impassioned Facebook posts about how they justify raising their rates, even, in one case tripling them because, in their words, they only want to work with people who are “…willing to do whatever it takes to succeed.” Unfortunately, these words conjure up a long-ago visit to an EST event where non-members were herded into a separate room after getting a taste of what they could expect from membership in this exclusive cross-section of society. A man stood before us speaking as convincingly as he could, saying that the program was worth anything we had to do to come up with the $200 fee (a lot of money for a college student in the early ’70’s). He lost me when he said “sell your car or your stereo or whatever you have to because you really have to be part of this.”

When anyone tells me I have to be willing to do whatever it takes to buy their program or services I am, as a result of the EST experience extremely dubious. Why? Because the mere fact that they are pushing their services and associated high price tag in this manner tells me it’s all about the money and not about what’s best for me. They are loyal to one thing only; the pursuit of the mighty buck.

Even worse are the ones who tell me to listen to them and do what they say without argument. Excuse me? You’re telling me to simply trust you and your advice because you say so? Without proof of its efficacy for anyone else, much less, me specifically? This approach usually leads to my distrust of anything else that ever comes out of their mouth. I’m a born skeptic and a critical thinker. The combination doesn’t do well with autocracy on any level. In fact, I’m more likely to poke fun at its use, poking crater-sized holes in any argument launched on those terms.

Setting the Right Parameters

I know I need to hire a coach or probably several to help me ascend beyond my current limitations. I also know that I have my own priorities, and nothing anyone else can tell me will change them until I’m ready to change them myself. When the time comes, the coaches I choose will be those who are in it for the satisfaction of helping others achieve their goals and release their blocks first. That those services come with a higher price tag is simply a testament to their success with others like me and a finite number of hours with which to work with their clients.

As an Empath, it’s hard (though not impossible) to convince me of a compassionate and loyal heart where none exists. That being said, there will be times, and have been in the past when I seek expertise from someone who, for all intents and purposes is truly in it for the money; who couldn’t care less whether I succeed or fail aside from how it might impact their own credibility. Yet they have achieved amazing success with their own lives, and have learned a thing or two about how it’s done. I don’t expect every expert I consult to have my best interests at heart. It’s up to me to weigh the pros and cons of doing business with them and decide whether I can tune out what doesn’t resonate to benefit from what does. It is not a perfect world, and sometimes, our most useful and long-lasting lessons come directly from our interaction with the imperfections. They often speak to an imperfection in ourselves which needs to be addressed and molded into something better.

Other times, as I’ve told my daughter many times, I learn as much about what not to do from people as I do what to do and why. Closing your mind to anyone who is not on the same wave-length cuts out at least 50% of the opportunities you have to learn and grow. I’m not willing to slow my own progress just because I don’t adore all of the teachers with whom I’m presented. They key is twofold: recognizing the opportunities and understanding where an emotional attachment is necessary and where it is not. Only then can we be open to learning and growing on all levels instead of living in perpetual myopia.

Gratitude. It Brings Us Exactly What We Need.

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the epiphanies which came to my more open mind yesterday.
  2. I am grateful to be able to release old paradigms which long-ago stopped serving any real purpose.
  3. I am grateful to friends who are helping me see myself differently.
  4. I am grateful for the people who are being put in my path right now as teachers, guides, and new friends.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; lessons, love, challenges, harmony, peace, kindness, compassion, courage, beauty, friendship, honesty, loyalty, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

Check out Wells Baum’s interpretation of today’s Daily Prompt.

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. She 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. She specializes in 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 check out her Facebook page at Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author.

Succumbing to Success

Avoiding the Easy Way Out

How many times throughout our lives do we decide the road is too hard and succumb to defeat? How often do we take the easy way out, or stop mere centimeters shy of a breakthrough because we believe we’re too tired to go on?

Are we creatures of self-sabotage? Do we really want to keep stumbling through life with nothing to show for it? Are we afraid of succeeding because it means we’ll have to show up and keep doing what we do most excellently?

Not to discount them, but I’m not talking about the times in our lives when we have no choice, but must go on whether we like it or not. For years, I stumbled along because I had kids to feed. That was a motivating factor and kept me in a long stream of soul-sucking, dead-end jobs so I could be close enough to home to get to my kids quickly if need be. No, I’m talking about those dreams you have and plans you’ve made yet so quickly discarded. I’m asking why you gave up on them so easily.

Letting Self-Sabotage Steal Our Future

Self-sabotage is a well-known concept for me. I look back and boggle at the number of times I came through for other people, yet when it came to committing to something for myself, I often fell short. The answer to the dilemma is rooted where most things are, in my childhood. My own mixed bag of experiences and resulting emotions created one, gigantic roadblock: I didn’t deserve success. I would always be a disappointment to myself, to my family and to anyone else who cared too much about what happened to me.

If you’re not screaming in outrage by now, you had the great good fortune of skipping this part of the life lesson. You are one of the fortunate ones. But I know I’m anything but alone in these feelings. If nothing else, people spend thousands upon thousands of dollars every year on self-help books, therapists, coaches, and programs to get past this most debilitating of blocks. Learning how not to succumb to those deeply ingrained lessons is a multi-billion dollar business, and one that has touched most of us in one way or another.

Finding Help from Without and Within

Consciousness On the RiseThough I’ve pumped my share of cash into the industry, my best and most consistent therapist is my writing. I may get a not-so-gentle nudge from the outside now and then, but when I do, I go back to the keyboard (my version of drawing board) and pound away until I develop some sort of plan or clear more of the debris so I can, once again move forward.

Today is no different. I discovered at least one of the places where I’d learned to give up on myself and I began taking steps to be more caring to the one person who will always be there for me, no matter what. Part of that is realizing when I cannot do it alone. Part of that is being willing to not only ask for help but to receive it as well.

An interesting thing about asking for help is that plenty of people are willing to give it. But if you keep rejecting it and throwing it back in their faces, they’ll take their efforts to someone who allows them to actually help and leave you to your own dysfunctional devices. Before you chase off the willing and put a bad taste in their mouths along the way, make sure before you ask for help that you’re willing to receive what’s given without qualification and without rejecting it out of hand when it’s not exactly what you think you need. Chances are, whatever you think you need is dead wrong anyway. Give those who offer the opportunity to prove you wrong and offer something better.

Are You an Island or a Community?

None of us achieves the success we want and deserve in isolation. Somewhere along the way, there are people who give us a leg up when the walls seem too high, support us when we are ready to give up, and encourage us when we lose sight of our amazing gifts. Allowing ourselves to accept their help, but even more, believing in ourselves enough that we know in our hearts we deserve that help makes the difference between a mediocre mouse and an amazing lion. Since my 3 outside cats bring me vanquished rodents on a regular basis, I can assure you, I’d rather be the lion.

What will you do today to allow others to help your inner lion roar?

Gratitude is the Cornerstone of the Laws of Attraction

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the people who come into my life to teach me to be remarkable, and to teach me I deserve to shine my light.
  2. I am grateful for the tough lessons and the giant leaps outside my comfort zone. It’s a beautiful world out there!
  3. I am grateful for the guided meditation I listened to today, and will continue to listen to daily. Those 8 minutes have already opened my heart to new possibilities.
  4. I am grateful for my new resolve and confidence that I’m still on the right path. The bright white light that signaled the end of today’s meditation was exactly the message I needed.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; friendships, love, caring, kindness, compassion, passion, inspiration, motivation, confidence, supportiveness, giving and receiving, potentiality, positivity, peace, harmony, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

Check it another post using today’s prompt from A Ray of Sunshine

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. She 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. She specializes in 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.

Fear of Exposure: Do We Avoid Success Because We’re Afraid We Can’t Deliver?

Repetitive Failure is a Pattern That Can Be Broken

Whenever I find myself stuck at some point in my life, I tend to take a step back and try to figure out what is blocking my forward progress. In other words, I sift through what held me back in a similar fashion before.

At this point, with a career move that is clearly not going as I’d envisioned, I’ve spent considerable time dredging through my mental file cabinets for answers. Answers because no matter how dire my circumstances became, I always found a way out of them. Perhaps the direction I found wasn’t optimal but it always got me moving forward again.

What I’ve dredged up this time, however,  is a deep and hoary mess. It seems I’m hindered by something from my childhood, a time when I first started believing I wasn’t good enough. Of course I didn’t come up with the idea all by myself. The truth is I consistently disappointed my mom. I didn’t have musical talent like my sister. I was socially awkward like so many introverts so her dream of having a popular child to live through was quashed. I was slightly overweight, though to hear her tell it, I was morbidly obese. Eventually I just stopped trying to please her.

Though I was accepted by the two local universities I applied to, I just managed to get by and it wasn’t until years later that I finally earned my bachelors degree in a field far different from where I started.

Fast forward to today. I’ve spent the last 4 years and most of my financial resources trying to create a new career path doing what I love, but I seem to just be shooting myself in the foot. Now, I feel I’m being forced to fall back on what I knew and fell into all those years ago.

Rooting Out the Troublemakers With Vulnerability

So what’s the underlying problem, you might ask?

Despite over a million words I’ve written in the last few years both online and for my own writing projects, I haven’t been published anywhere that’s considered a reputable source. Not only to myself but to the world in general, I’m still a disappointment; a fraud. I haven’t stopped living down to the expectations I set when I gave up on ever making my mom proud.

I know on a conscious level that it’s all crap; that I’m smart and talented and insightful. But that inner voice, despite my best efforts is stopping me in my tracks. Whenever I try to grow past my limitations it calls me out for the fraud it still needs me to be. The question is, how do I put that nasty, destructive, hypercritical, and above all, wrong voice to rest for good and actually start living up to my potential rather than down to my old, outdated expectations?

I believe the most important part, albeit the hardest is to let my vulnerability show. I’m used to making it on my own, taking care of myself, and being strong. But I’m learning (through my writing, of course) that being strong is a concept I’ve misunderstood most of my life. It isn’t about doing everything yourself and holding the world at arm’s length. It’s not about wearing a facade that says everything is hunky dory when it isn’t anything of the sort.

Misconceptions About Strength

Being strong is a willingness to ask for help. It’s not being afraid to let people see that you can’t do it all by yourself. And it’s definitely not crawling deep into your cave, and pulling the door closed behind you when fear is crushing you and tears are too close to the surface for comfort.

Strength lies instead in sharing your fears and accepting comfort. It’s in letting people help you find a way out of your latest abyss. Most of all, it’s being willing to admit that you are not an island in and of yourself and that not only can you give comfort and support, but you can receive it as well.

This was one of my most difficult lessons. I always saw my dad as the strong one and my mom as the weak one. But as I’ve written my million or so words, I’ve had many epiphanies. The most surprising was the realization that the strong one in my parents’ relationship was actually the one who seemed the weakest. Mom may have worn a lot of masks, but she also knew how to ask for help from her friends, at least on certain levels. She did, on occasion let people see her vulnerable side. To my knowledge, Dad kept his well-hidden about 98% of the time.

Being Strong and Fearless As I Was Meant to Be

Admittedly, I’m still learning this lesson. Last night, my friend Kristal told me to be strong, and I said I didn’t feel strong at all. But she’s right. In letting her and other friends see me when I’m losing control instead of hiding until I can keep my false front in place, I’m exhibiting the strength I’m finally realizing. And where better to learn it than from a fellow dancer. We’re at our best when we put everything we have out on the floor. I guess this is true of most creatives; singers, writers, artists—we do our best work when we’re transparent and let all the crazy, messy emotions come out in our art.

I feel right now like I have a long way to go to climb out of the hole which is mostly of my own creation and a lot more tears to shed in the process. But I am also embracing this new version of strength which is so much more fulfilling than the version I used to embrace.

Finding Gratitude in the Everyday

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the lessons I’ve learned which taught me a much better definition of strength.
  2. I am grateful for the friends I’ve made since I broke the hard shell in which I’ve been encased and merely existing for decades.
  3. I am grateful for the tears which flow so easily right now. They are cleansing and cathartic, even if a bit embarrassing.
  4. I am grateful for my dance friends who have taught and given me so much more than I can ever repay. (and this is all friends who dance, not just the ones I dance with. Something about dancers; they understand the unspoken and give so much!)
  5. I am grateful for abundance; friendship, words, inspiration, motivation, agitation, upheaval, strength, growth, success, freedom, well-paying clients, imagination, dreams, love, health, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

Today I share an extremely open and emotional post from An Upturned Soul

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. She 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. She specializes in 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.

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