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May 28, 2015 Birthday Musings

Beginnings or Endings?

Several posts ago, I talked about the fact that the day we celebrate as our birthday is really the end of the year being celebrated rather than the beginning. On this eve of my 60th birthday as I prepare to celebrate the end of my first 60 years in this human form, I have been looking back over the last year, and more specifically, the last few months, with a little help from Elizabeth Peru’s Global Tip-off

Her discussions about planetary influences have been particularly helpful in the last couple of days, especially when I look at how the Pluto retrograde deals with peeling back the layers and releasing old hurts and issues. Elizabeth also mentions May 4th in relation to the Mercury retrograde as a date to look back upon for information about what we should be working on. In my case, I looked at the blog posts for May 3rd and 4th to find that I had been sitting outside watching the full moon, while asking for help in identifying and releasing those things which no longer serve my best interests.

But what does that have to do with birthdays, beginnings and endings? I’ve been having interesting dreams lately which bring up events from my past but with entirely different outcomes. Some of them are so ridiculous and unlikely that I wake up thinking Where in the heck did that come from? But that heightened awareness also allows me to see the situation in a much clearer light and to find and acknowledge the lesson which came out of the experience. Once I recognize the lesson, any lingering pain or emotional attachment to the event automatically releases and is no longer a part of my energy. And as my 60th year winds to a close, I am finally out from under the veil which I realize was merely a manifestation of my own imagination, but still, all too real to me. That self-imposed veil is the one which reminds me that my mother never completed her 60th year. And now, I have.

I know that I am my own woman but the specter of suicide tends to twist the thoughts into convoluted patterns and only the milestones which are largely imaginary can untwist those thoughts for good. This is one of those milestones, perhaps the last one I convinced myself I’d have to face before truly accepting that I am not my mother’s child in the ways which are most important to me now. My dreams are telling me that I am finally ready to release a whole slew of sadness, anger and angst which attached themselves to a single event by virtue of their proximity in time and space.

By reaching this milestone I feel I’m finally ready to let go of all of those poor choices I made during my mother’s last couple of years of life: choices which led to my divorce, to the men I dated in the years that followed, to the job hopping and the poor parenting. My reactions to other peoples’ actions. It’s all in there and now that I’ve somehow proven to myself that I am not inclined to make the same choices as my mother, I can forgive myself for those choices I made which didn’t turn out so well but were, in fact, lessons I needed to learn.

As I turn the page on the calendar, I also turn the page on the self-recriminations over the mistakes I’ve made because I can finally believe the words I’ve told myself over and over. What I thought were mistakes or poor choices were simply lessons the Universe sent me so I could learn the things I needed to know in order to become the woman I am now. I’m still a work in progress, but I no longer see that as a liability. I have value and I have purpose…and all is right with my world.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful to have reached the milestone ending my 60th year in this human form.
2. I am grateful to be spending this very special day with the most important person in my life: my daughter, Heather. It’s been an eventful couple of weeks, but we’re both still here, and ready to handle whatever life throws us. We’ve got this!
3. I am grateful for all of the lessons I’ve been given up to know, and look forward to the new ones I know will come my way as I master the ones I’ve had.
4. I am grateful for a body which, though a bit achy in places, carried me from hither to yon and over the dance floor tonight with amazing flexibility and fortitude.
5. I am grateful for abundance: lessons learned, challenges unfolding, epiphanies, friends, family, love, joy, purpose, intensity, health, harmony, peace, prosperity and philanthropy.

Blessed Be

And now for some shameless self-promotion:
I’d love it if you’d visit my Facebook pages at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel and https://www.facebook.com/HLWTAccounting. If you get a minute, please also drop by my website, http://www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

March 21, 2015 Changes in the wind

A new era dawning

It has come to my attention that the time might have come to move from my free-wheeling, stream of consciousness type of posts to ones which are better thought out and general rather than personal in nature. This is going to require a melding of my creative side with my analytical side, and may take a little while to actually manifest. But fear not, dear readers, I am nothing if not up to a challenge.

Stay tuned as I work my way through this next evolution.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for new challenges.
2. I am grateful for opportunities to grow and evolve.
3. I am grateful for observations which inspire me to improve.
4. I am grateful for chances to take my writing to new levels.
5. I am grateful for abundance: lessons, opportunities, love, joy, dancing, friendship, spirituality, health, harmony, peace and prosperity.

Blessed Be

.

February 27, 2015 Obsession

I often wonder: Is it human to obsess over something in our lives?

Do you do it? Do you obsess over something in your life? It could by your job or one you want; your weight or your appearance; your choices; your relationships…or lack thereof; your children, human or otherwise; it’s almost anything you spend too much time thinking about and which often paralyzes your actions and turns your stomach into a churning knot.

For me, it has always been about a man to whom I was attracted or with whom I was involved. In fact, it got so bad and my choices were usually so personally destructive that I finally just stopped putting myself out there or looking at anyone with more than causal interest over ten years ago. For the record, I don’t recommend such a drastic solution to whatever your obsession might be. It is a bandaid solution at best, and in the end, it cures nothing. Because, you see, once again, I find myself obsessing over someone who, in true obsessive fashion, I’ve convinced myself is completely unsuitable; but convincing myself that he’s unsuitable does not now, nor has it ever stopped my obsessing. It also doesn’t put me in a mental and emotional place where I might actually find a healthy relationship should I choose to do so.

Nor does it stop the flutter in my stomach when the gentleman in question happens to be in my vicinity, although, to my credit, I’ve learned from experience that I can and will behave normally should we actually have contact. I also no longer invent scenarios where all is wonderful and rosy between us. The one thing I’ve learned in my extended period of monkdom (assuming monks are non-gender specific) is that I don’t need to feed my obsession.

My admiration goes out to those who are able to swim in the sea and avoid the undertow

On the relatively few occasions when I’m actually among other humans in areas where there are friends, strangers and everything in between, I find my attention caught by the women who can move comfortably from man to man, chatting easily and making whoever they are with the center of their attention, even if it is only for the space of a dance. Even though, to me, it might be clear that a woman is on the lookout for that someone special, they seem to enjoy the process of the search. How do they learn to do that, or is it just an innate talent? Even worse, for me is the realization that there was a time that I was far more comfortable in the company of the male of the species, but at that time, I was also oblivious to any attraction they might have felt as I was quite happy just being “one of the guys”.

I supposed I’m still that person as long as I don’t feel that pull of attraction myself. I don’t know how to read the signs so I’m never certain that attraction is returned. Instead of putting out feelers (assuming I even knew how) I assume the worst and come up with all sorts of reasons why I couldn’t be attractive to the man in question. Yes, in spite of all of the work I’ve done, and the progress I’ve made into loving myself unconditionally, I still have one area in which I’ve yet to overcome my insecurities.

As I near my 60th birthday, which my daughter is taking great joy in reminding me, and see the many years I’ve traveled alone, save for my furry family, I wonder if this is simply the path I came here to follow. I have to wonder if my true purpose, like a writer’s life, is meant to be a solo flight. But then I think again and wonder if it is just that my own self-defense system fails to recognize the ones who attract me with their minds rather than their physical appearance and charisma? The truth is, I’ve been single or essentially single for nearly a quarter of a century and, to be perfectly honest, I’ve settled into this lifestyle I carved out for myself. To find a connection with someone which is powerful enough to overcome so many years of having it my way is going to require something extraordinary. Is there even a possibility such a thing exists? Or that I will recognize it? I suspect that it will take one of the Universe’s biggest and best head slaps just to get my attention. (am I just asking for it now?)

Common sense says that the first step towards curing an addiction (or in this case, compulsive obsession) is to recognize that you have a problem.

If I define this obsession as a simple self-defense mechanism to protect my heart from hurt, is it really a problem, or am I making more of it than necessary? If I acknowledge that it is a problem, does that mean I will ultimately find a cure, assuming a cure is to be found? Or could the real issue be that I’ve learned to love myself so much that I no longer see any reason to share me with anyone else?

Admittedly, I’ve learned to smile genuinely rather than gag when I see couples looking at each other with all of their love spilling out of their eyes. I am genuinely happy for my friends who have warm, loving relationships. But when I picture myself, I see that beautiful 13 acre property overlooking the beach and I have already determined what will go in each of the rooms and which rooms are scheduled to be remodeled to better suit my needs…yes MY needs. Which brings me back to my original question. Aside from the short time in which I was part of a couple and ultimately conceived my daughters, did I choose to ultimately walk my path in this lifetime alone? Is this simply an opportunity for my Spirit to feel completely independent? Are the defense mechanisms I’ve developed simply there to keep me focused on my true purpose?

And what about you? Is there something you continue to obsess about without really understanding how to get past it, or, in truth, why you even need to? Though I walk my road alone, it is always nice to hear that some of the things which challenge me are shared by others and, in fact, I’m not as alone as it might seem.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for introspection.
2. I am grateful for the weeks when I’m busy cooking and refilling my freezer. Not only will I have weeks when I don’t need to cook, but my grocery bills drop dramatically for awhile.
3. I am grateful for long cooking sessions. Chopping and preparing are wonderful times to think about life or work through a rough spot in a manuscript or simply drift along on a lovely cloud of joy.
4. I am grateful for a weekend of sharing the kitchen with my daughter and having my grandpuppy come looking for attention while I’m working in my office.
5. I am grateful for a mind which questions, folds, spindles and mutilates every thought or weird dream which finds its way into the twisty, windy, darkness which connects my mind, my soul and my purpose.
6. I am grateful for abundance: questions, answers, oddities, blessings, challenges, lessons, love, joy, happiness, health, harmony, peace and prosperity.

Blessed Be

And now for some shameless self-promotion:
I’d love it if you’d visit my website at http://www.shericonaway.com which contains a link to this blog and my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel. I’ve created both page and website as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” it or leave a comment! Thank you!

January 18, 2015 What is decluttering, really? Expanding my scope and simplifying my life.

Learning to think outside my cluttered box.

Today was a new adventure. I ventured into my LinkedIn account and started looking at the companies and groups I’ve been following. ACK! I’d spent the last year reinventing myself as a writer, yet over half of my LinkedIn groups were still about Finance, Accounting, Contract Management and Government Contracting. Time for a purge! If I want to be seen as the writer I am, I need to stop hanging with the counters of beans, even virtually.

Between the cracked pipe joint and subsequent re-flooding of the garage when I discovered, albeit belatedly, that the plumber had neglected to put the drain hose from the washing machine back into the laundry sink, the floor is now squeaky clean and much of the debris has been swept away. Even the kitchen floor, with its own share of the broken pipe flooding is rather the better for the experience. All of this flowing water made me realize that there is still much that I need to wash out of my life; much that needs a good purge, or maybe just a flush. (love these water references!)

I’ve discovered that our physical clutter is simply a physical representation of how we sit energetically.

There are times it would be nice to be able to just pull a plug and flush away all of the crap in our lives. We could let all of the unwanted detritus we accumulate through day to day living just spin down the drain and into some cosmic recycling plant. All of the emotional baggage we just can’t seem to part with; all of the hopes and dreams we never manifested and, in fact, found weren’t what we truly wanted; all of those crazy thoughts which fill up our brain but serve no purpose other than to take up space and make it difficult to retrieve the important things quickly. Those are the things we gather close to us and reflect in our outer environment.

Sure, cleaning up the outside is important, and it is not my intention to belittle the process. But just as the Universe steps in when we need to fix something in our lives, it can also do so subtly (or what it might consider subtly, given its inclination for head slaps!) by moving things around in our physical lives. If we pay attention, we’ll understand that this is a sign that we need to do some energetic and emotional house cleaning as well.

The last week or so has brought me a variety of reminders. I got flooded floors. I got a grumbly stomach which may or may not approve of what I’ve been eating. I’ve gotten days in a row when I needed to get up and moving more quickly than has been my usual. I even got some work I wasn’t expecting. But it all served to accomplish one thing. I need to get things out of the way before the real floodgates open. I need to get any bookwork that’s still hanging finished in the early part of this week (accounting stuff, that is) as I’m going to need the rest of the week to focus on what is truly important these days: writing and revising.

I’ve also committed to reviewing someone else’s children’s book and cleaning up mine for her review. Then, there’s the writers’ group I joined.  I need to clean up a chapter or two from “Sasha’s Journey” so I can submit that for critique! And if that wasn’t enough, I figured out a new angle for my book on suicide, and it, too, is clamoring for attention. Yet, today, I had a leisurely breakfast and finished up laundry. Not much more than that. OK, so I’m getting this post done early as I expect my creative brain to go gangbusters on my latest book tonight. Yes, I’m clearing the way in grand fashion. That can only mean one thing.

The Universe is gearing up to kick my butt into next September.

I can see it coming. I know what I have to do. The excitement is building in the pit of my belly. A launching is coming and I’m the vehicle. Yee Haw!

The good news is, I won’t be riding this monster wave alone. Rumor has it I’ll be in good company so I hope you’re doing your own clearing and have a very strong seat belt ready to fasten. Disney has yet to develop a ride that will compare to the one we’re about to take. When things finally slow down enough for us to catch our breath, we will have accomplished some wondrous deeds, indeed.

Guess there’s nothing left but to leave you with tonight’s gratitudes.
1. I am grateful for Universal head slaps and butt kicks.
2. I am grateful for the increased space in my head and home as I continue to organize and purge.
3. I am grateful for new opportunities which I might never have even considered without the aforementioned head slaps.
4. I am grateful for new friends, new people with new ideas, and new experiences.
5. I am grateful for abundance; clearing, cleaning, organizing, creating space, loving, writing, teaching sharing, encouraging, harmony, peace, friendship, health, inspiration and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I’d love it if you’d visit my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel. I’ve created this page as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” it or leave a comment! Thank you!

January 12, 2015 Five Promises I Make to Keep the Flame I lit in 2013 Burning

For those who don’t keep writer’s hours.  January 12, 2015 Five Promises I Make to Keep the Flame I lit in 2013 Burning.

January 9, 2015 Admitting Failure and Making it Work for Me

Yesterday, I made a decision with far-reaching implications, and today, I worked it through.

Last year, I purchased the Accelerated Copywriting course from AWAI. Over the last several months, I’ve done my darndest to work through it, but it was in fits and starts at best, and by July, I was really struggling to keep going. I kept promising myself I’d get it done and had it on my To Do list where the row for time spent was more often than not blank.

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve done a lot of soul searching, exploring the real reasons I’d purchased the course, and reached a couple of conclusions which should have been obvious all along.
1. I started the class with the sole purpose of finding a source of income while I worked on becoming a real writer.
2. The course was hindering my writing by taking up time while I both fretted over it and tried to make it work.

Admitting these things to myself was painful, as most brutally honest admissions are. They led me to admit a certain amount of failure, but also allowed me to let go of something which wasn’t working. Thankfully, AWAI has a money back guarantee and were very nice about refunding my fee.

It is always humbling to admit that a decision you made with the best of intentions was not the best of decisions for you.

Once I realized that I’d registered for the course for all of the wrong reasons, it was easier to make the decision to give up on it, despite the awful feeling of failure I am experiencing. I put that energy to good use, however, as the day started off in direct opposition to my plans anyway (a rather common occurrence lately). I thought I’d do some organizing and went searching for notebook dividers I was sure I had. In the process, I cleaned out a bin of office supplies, then moved on to the last, and worst of my desk drawers. This one is used for files and had an accumulation of stuff in it that was beyond anything I remembered.

Not only did I clear out decades of those odd things we save, then wonder why, I found an old letter which I thought I’d tossed years ago. It was written by a cousin who gave me a lot of information about the brother we never knew my grandfather had as well as sisters and cousins. As a friend had been helping me with my family’s rather twisty-turny genealogy, this letter was an incredible wealth of information to help us in our search. I was also able to finally fix the rack which holds the file folders so the drawer will be far more manageable now, and will allow me to clear some of the accumulation on top of the desk too.  Sadly, those dividers never turned up, but the fruitless search had very fruitful results.

Sometimes, all we need is a good clearing

As I travel along life’s unpredictable highway, I have learned that there come many opportunities in our lives to clear things out so we can start fresh (and here is where my friend, The Tower, often makes its appearance). Often, though, it isn’t the clearing out which is difficult, but the admissions and decisions leading up to that clearing which turn us inside out. I think, in its own way, the decision to stop doing something is just as much of a leap of faith as a decision to start doing something. Either way, you’re changing direction, though perhaps in a smaller way.

One thing is certain tonight. I am feeling considerably lighter of heart and clutter. These can only bode well as I slip into this second week of the New Year, full of new dreams and goals. Removing things from my life which weren’t working will make space for those which are already there and anything new which might have been waiting in the wings until I stopped trying to force my hexagonal self into a round hole.

So ends the lethargy and “stuckness” I’ve felt for the last few days and as far as I’m concerned, good riddance! Now I can take that spaghetti squash and kale I got in my Harvest Box this week along with some lovely fresh basil and make turkey spaghetti sauce to eat over the squash. Maybe even a little steamed brocciflower on the side.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for life’s leaps of faith, both large and small.
2. I am grateful for the things I found while reducing my clutter some more.
3. I am grateful for the turkey/kale spaghetti sauce which is simmering on my stove and the spaghetti squash which is just waiting for me to separate meat from rind.
4. I am grateful for the support of my friends, even if I don’t always express that appreciation properly.
5. I am grateful for abundance; space, time, friends, love, compassion, encouragement, joy, peace, harmony, cooperation, health and prosperity.

Blessed Be

January 8, 2015 Literary wake-up call

Yesterday marked a milestone in my literary career

Yes, folks. I experienced my first, of what I am certain will be many, rejection. It wasn’t a rejection in the traditional sense, with a polite but impersonal “thanks but no thanks” form letter. No, it was simply a complete lack of readership for a post I felt was some of my best work to date. When I finished writing my last post, I had a tremendous feeling of euphoria, as if what I’d written was really meaningful.

Sadly, those who do manage to find my little island in a vast sea of blogs did not agree. Though I had what has become since I moved my blog to WordPress a passably good day, not a single reader looked at the post for the day. All 16 hits were for previous days’ posts.

There is a lesson to be had, here.

I’ve been spinning my wheels trying to complete my copywriting course, struggling valiantly to work on something which just didn’t feel very good. This little lesson made me realize that I must first focus on the blogs I’ve subscribed to which address the creation of a successful blog. Thus, I will begin on the morrow to go back into my archive of emails which, thanks to the copywriting course have been carefully saved by category and sometimes by sender and begin educating myself in what really amounts to self-promotion.

This comes at a rather opportune moment since I finally settled on a topic for my website. I thought the copywriting class would hone the skills I needed to launch a successful website, but I now believe that it’s the blogging tutorials which will hold me in better stead.

Still more changes are coming to my approach.

I also realized that waiting for feedback on my first novel was beginning to bear a strong resemblance to waiting for Godot. My current options have been:
1. Work on the novel I began this past November, and complete the first draft.
2. Work on the short story I started yesterday.
3. Go back and start the second rewrite of my first novel without feedback.

As it stands right now, I’m thinking that number three will probably win out, but then, something could happen tomorrow which would change my mind yet again. Either way, I plan to put at least a couple of hours a day into studying those blog posts about blogging.

I leave you now, a little humbler and a little wiser, but as yet, undaunted.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the painful lessons.
2. I am grateful that tomorrow is another day.
3. I am grateful that I have arrived at a plan which is less of a chore for me to actually accomplish.
4. I am grateful for setbacks as they allow me to rethink and replan.
5. I am grateful for abundance: opportunities, ideas, inspiration, information, love, peace, harmony, health, beauty and prosperity.

Blessed Be

December 25, 2014 Another Christmas has passed, leaving love and joy in its wake. #shericonaway

Basking in the glow of another beautiful day.

As Christmas 2015 joins the legion of Christmas pasts, I find myself oddly introspective. The day was joyful and full of silliness, sweetness and the love of my extended family as we shared our version of the day. With our annual Jewish Christmas Eve dinner, the Christmas morning breakfast and shenanigans and our Christmas Day movie now just memories, I sit in the comfortably quiet house,the only sounds, the humming of the computer and my fingers tap dancing on the keyboard. And it is good.

My daughter and grand puppy arrived home safely and my adopted son made his girlfriend cry when he gave her a beautiful jewelry box he’d made himself, with her particular preferences in mind. And it is good.

I’m all warm and cozy in the Looney Tunes pajama pants my daughter gave me. The cats are snoozing on desk and bed, no longer needing to listen for the pitter patter of the feet of a 40 pound bundle of love puppy. And it is good.

My tree is somewhat the worse for wear after two kittens saw their first Christmas tree. Pyewacket contented himself with pulling the string of beads further and further from the tree while Scrappy Doo bent the lower branches because he insisted on perching on them. But it is all good.

Wrapping paper and boxes have been broken down and crammed into the barrel designated for recyclables. Leftovers have been divided up and put away. The kitchen is clean and the gift boxes collapsed and returned to their bin. All that remains is to undecorate the tree and stow tree and decorations carefully away until next year. Life is good.

Warm and comfy in the tender embrace of my introspection, I am exactly where I need to be at this moment in time. What tomorrow brings is for tomorrow. I know it will be good, even if it should appear challenging at first. Gifts come in many sizes, shapes and colors, and are wrapped to reflect the hand of the giver. None of these things make them any more or less valuable. They are simply different gifts which serve us in different, but equally important ways.

My introspection takes me along a path of appreciation where I see each gift for what it will ultimately mean to my journey and not necessarily for any frustrations they might temporarily cause when I think they’re leading me astray.

Whatever challenges come, whatever shape the gifts might take, the one thing I can be sure of is that I am blessed. And because I am blessed, I am grateful.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the gifts I have received and those yet to come. All are there to move me along my path and teach me what I need to know to follow my journey.
2. I am grateful for traditions both new and old. Each year, we add something, and each year, we revisit many things.
3. I am grateful that we find new things to laugh about and new jokes to share each year. It is the humor which truly nourishes my soul.
4. I am grateful for the quiet after the chaos, the introspection after the expectations, for therein lies my balance.
5. I am grateful for abundance: love, joy, harmony, family, sharing, giving, receiving and joining. Also for health, peace and prosperity.

Namaste

December 7, 2014 Choices

Dining alone gives me the unique opportunity to allow my thoughts to wander.

While enjoying a less healthy than normal breakfast at Souplantation this morning, I listened with half an ear to the conversations around me while reading a few Spirit Science articles on my iPad. Remembering that I needed to visit Brookstone to pick up a Christmas present, I thought about using my iPad to look at the mall’s directory.

I actually spent a few moments on this thought as it provided two alternatives: 1. I could locate the store if it still existed and walk directly there, or save myself the trip if it, like many others in this particular mall, had closed. 2. I could walk to the directory and look up the store, thereby giving myself a little exercise after a heavier breakfast than that to which I’m accustomed.

After a little thought, I chose alternative 2, both for the exercise and the fresh air. It also afforded me the opportunity to walk around the mall a bit instead of returning to my car when I discovered the store had closed. As I walked, I lost myself in my own erratic musings.

Wherefore art thou, Christmas Spirit?

The usual gigantic Christmas tree once again graced center court, but this year, there was a sign in front of it, dedicating the tree to a former chef in one of the mall’s restaurants. As the sign referred to the man in the past tense, I read through the accolades to find that he’d been killed by a drunk driver in 2010 at the age of 31. I also noted that he’d graduated from the same Culinary Arts Academy as my youngest daughter.

My wanderings took me past two women decorating a smaller tree with flowers and tulle, a chalk painting of a boy depicted as an angel (his photograph was next to the painting, and I assumed he’d passed on), various stores selling Christmas decorations and the annual cottage for Santa. There was also a store with a huge sign about Santa’s Wish List where a long line of people waited their turn for something-or-other.

As I took in all of the accoutrements of festivity, I realized that I’m just not into Christmas this year. Whether it’s because I’m limiting my own giving or procrastinating putting up my tree with excuses (I really do need to scrub the living room floor first!), the pine wreath I purchased at Trader Joe’s this week and hung on my door and the small pile of boxes from Kohl’s and Amazon.com in my guest room are the only indications that Christmas has found its way into my house at all.

It’s not “Bah Humbug”, but rather, “Ho Hum”

In year’s past, I was not only going way overboard for my kids and adopted grandson, but I was looking for special calendars for my co-workers and gifts for some of my extended dance family. This year, I’m focused on limiting my spending, appreciating the fact that I really don’t need to buy a lot of stuff, and so I’m not out in the stores or online looking for more things with which to bury my tree or overfill the stockings. This year’s bounty should take no more than an evening to wrap.

On the one hand, it’s given me time to realize that part of my annual overspending of the last few years has been directly connected with the years when things were very lean and the girls got hand decorated sweats, pajamas, socks and books from the discount book store. I realize that it was never necessary to do that, either for my kids or grand kids (although, admittedly, Jenni was more likely to expect more and appreciate less than Heather who still tells me that she’s happy with a book with my annual inscription, pajamas and undies). So who was I putting myself into debt to appease?

Our lives are filled with choices, often from one minute to the next.

From one minute to the next, we make choices. “Should I get up now or wait another ten minutes?” “Do I want my usual yogurt for breakfast, or should I treat myself to breakfast out?” “Should I spend another bundle on Christmas presents or shower my family with the time and attention I’d have spent shopping and wrapping instead?”

Once again, Dr. Seuss helped me put things in perspective. I watched “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” again and noticed a lot of things in the movie I’d never caught before. The prevailing message the story conveys really hit home for me this time. Christmas Spirit is not about presents and food and out doing your neighbor with your lighting display. It’s about sharing your heart, unreservedly and unconditionally.

For me, it’s also about listening when my friends tell me that they perceive me as an evolving, expanding, spiritually conscious person, appreciating that I’m giving off that impression, and doing everything in my power to live up to their perceptions; not because I want to be what they expect, but because what they perceive is what I’m aspiring to be, but know in my heart that I’m not there yet.

Yet, I appreciate their feedback so much because it tells me that even if I’m not yet living as I wish to inwardly, I’m giving the impression that I am on the outside so all I really need to do now is to internalize what I’m projecting. And as the song from “The King and I” runs through my head, I realize that I have been doing exactly what I set out to do when I wrote the post about acting like you’re already where you want to be until you convince yourself that you are there; at that point, you will be where you’ve been acting like you want to be.  I believe the popular phrase these days is <em>”fake it ’til you make it.”</em>

The choice I make today is to “…hold my head erect and whistle a happy tune so no one will suspect I’m afraid.”

For now, I’ll just follow my own advice and act like I’m already living a truly spiritual, giving life, and that I’m already a published author and web content writer. I am letting go of my need to make up for the lean years as I finally understand that my time and attention are of far more importance to the people I love than excessive amounts of gifts to unwrap. And I’ve finally allowed my soul mate into my life to share all of the things I’ve learned and achieved.

This is what the Christmas Spirit feels like!

What choices will you make in this season of giving? Will those choices have long- or short-term implications? Which do you want them to have?

My gratitudes today are:
1. I am grateful for feedback from my friends and family which remind me to live my projections.
2. I am grateful that I have choices.
3. I am grateful for the opportunity to reassess my interpretation of the holidays and to make much needed changes in my perspective.
4. I am grateful for continued reminders of the love I receive and the endless supply I have to give.
5. I am grateful for abundance: love, joy, spiritual awakening, expanded consciousness, holiday spirit, health, harmony, peace, friendship and prosperity.

Namaste

December 1, 2014 Conspicuous consumption #shericonaway

Shopping for Christmas takes on a whole new perspective when your income is sporadic.

In years past, I’d hit the online Black Friday sales like a demon, picking out gifts for my loved ones with wild abandon, typically spending between $1,000 and $2,000 before all was said and done. But since I ventured into the world of the writer where income might take a very long time to materialize, I have a whole new perspective, and frankly, I think it’s a lot healthier.

Every day, my inbox is filled with emails encouraging me (and I’m being polite, here) to buy more from this vendor or that one. Even sites I joined for spiritual input are inundating me with emails claiming that this is my last chance for such amazing deals. I realize they’re just people trying to make a living, but do they have to be so…conspicuous about it? Do they need to fuel the beast of rampant spending? Do they have to join the pack who have nearly destroyed the holiday spirit completely?

I’ve set myself a budget this year, and if I underspend it, so much the better. I want to find more lasting ways to show people I care than a bunch of stuff. That doesn’t mean I’ll skip our family traditions, but those are easily managed: Pajamas, a book with a personal inscription, socks and underwear have always been welcomed and appreciated in my house, and can be acquired at reasonable prices.

Slightly less disturbing, but equally prolific are the requests for charitable donations.

While most of the charities that find their way into my inbox these days are those for which I’ve expressed an interest, there are still a large number of requests to “give for the holidays”. I can’t really fault them as there is certainly ample competition for our dollars in this season of joy, but after awhile, it simply becomes too much. I don’t know about everyone else, but I’ve already chosen the charities who will receive my dollars, and I make those donations at my discretion, not because someone shows up in my inbox repeatedly, holding their hand out in supplication.

But the award for most blatant misuse of her email list goes to…Virginia Jester. I signed up for her daily forecasts last week, and to date, I’ve received one welcome email, one daily forecast and four emails talking about her Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. Seriously, Virginia? And you have the nerve to call yourself a site offering free daily forecasts? Clearly, your heart isn’t in your forecasts, but is in the rather quirky Tarot deck you’ve created.

On the bright side, it all goes into my folders for copywriting research, both what to do and what not to do! So even the bottom of the heap serves a purpose. Meanwhile, I’m free to choose where my money is best deserved, and make those choices without any guilt over those who don’t make the list.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the legitimate charities who will use my money to fill a need in our crazy, mixed up, sometimes greed blinded world.
2. I am grateful for opportunities to learn, even when they come in packages which could prove annoying if I didn’t find the humor in them.
3. I am grateful for friends who know where the Joy in life really lives.
4. I am grateful for my furry kids who don’t ask for much other than regular feedings, regular skritches and a warm lap to snuggle in.
5. I am grateful for abundance: love, joy, charity, humor, philanthropic opportunities, friendship, kindness, compassion, health, harmony, integrity, imagination, progress and prosperity.

Namaste

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