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Archive for the ‘Universe’ Category

Lessons Catch Us Unaware

Life: An Endless Chain of Lessons

If you’re doing more with your life than staring at a wall, you’ve likely experienced your share of lessons. Some of them are pretty obvious and come as a result of something you actually set out to accomplish. More often than not, though, the lessons have a way of finding you. This is especially true when it’s a subject you’ve revisited multiple times, yet have yet to quite grasp the concept. One of my personal favorites is patience. (In case it isn’t evident, the last comment was laced with a liberal dose of sarcasm. I, for one could use a sarcasm emoji!)

Since I seem to be uniquely resistant to this particular lesson, the Universe has seen fit to hit me with another opportunity to get it right when I least expect it, and typically, at the worst possible moment. Put me in a store with 3 screaming children when I’m in a hurry, have a blazing headache and haven’t eaten in hours and I guarantee my patience will be tested yet again. Seriously, who could be expected to assimilate the lesson under those conditions. Never let it be said the Universe lacks a sense of humor! I only hope it will avoid taking me into a situation where I learn patience or suffer serious physical harm.

Lessons in Camouflage

As I believe I am both a component of the Universe as well as it’s entirety, I feel it’s in both our best interests to protect my physical self, at least for as long as it is required to learn the lessons I came into this lifetime expecting to learn. That does not, however, preclude increasingly painful lessons along the way. Perhaps that’s part of the plan?

Although I’ve come to the conclusion painful lessons are often the most memorable (after all, who really wants to revisit an experience akin to being smacked in the head with a bat?), I am beginning to wonder if, in some cases, it’s truly about learning the lesson, or if the pain itself is the real lesson? Are we meant to experience a certain amount of struggle and strife in order to make us stronger and more resilient? Is that strength a critical component of our virtual tool box?

My perspective on life lessons is constantly evolving, but this is the biggest breakthrough I’ve had in a long time. To realize that sometimes the experience of the lesson is the real lesson is mind-blowing. So many times, I’ve wracked my brain looking for the lesson in the painful experience, completely missing the fact that the painful experience in and of itself was what I needed to learn. The real lesson, then wasn’t patience, or kindness, or compassion, or some other admirable quality. It was, instead resilience.

Finding the Blessing in Disguise

One of the most powerful lessons I’ve learned over the years is that seeming catastrophes are always blessings in disguise. They occur when we’ve become so attached to something, someone, or a situation that we fail to recognize when it’s time to let go of the old so we can evolve. We stifle our own ability to enter the next iteration of our life because we’re holding too tightly to what we know. No matter what our relationship to change is, there’s a time in every life when change has to occur. Most of the time it’s in baby steps, but periodically, we need a 1994 Northridge earthquake- or World Trade Center-size upheaval to shake us right out of our boots and into a new reality.

Even when these upheavals are strictly personal, the effect is the same as those occurring on a national or global scale. We are forced to re-evaluate what we need to keep and what we need to leave behind. These events might be brutal and painful like a nasty divorce or loss of a loved one by suicide or accident. But they can also be dangerously subtle like rising dissatisfaction with a job situation. Dangerous because the longer we ignore the signs, the more likely we’ll have the situation taken out of our hands.

Changing for the Better in Spite of Ourselves

I can honestly say I never left a job which no longer served my best interests at the first sign, or even the 10th. In fact, in most cases, I stuck it out until the situation was taken out of my hands in one way or another. And yet, in hindsight, I left at exactly the right time because the circumstances surrounding the parting of ways was a critical component of the lesson I needed to experience. It was especially scary when I had two young daughters to support, but I can look back now and see that I always managed to pull through. That, too is part of the lesson. I’ve always survived whatever I was dealt.

Granted, I have not been given some of the challenges I see others face: developing a terminal disease, watching parents age, sicken, and ultimately pass on, homelessness, or a multitude of other life-lessons. But those are not the lessons I came here to experience. At least not this time around. But the people who are faced with different challenges than I am simply get a collection that’s unique to them.

Recognizing Our Own Brand of Resiliency

Though family suicide is far more prevalent than even I had come to believe, I am uplifted not only by the stories I’ve been privileged to share, but by how many different ways people demonstrate their own resiliency. In the process, one of my major upheavals broke me off from a group of friends who chose to expend their energy complaining about their lives instead of changing them. Though it left me adrift and alone for a time, the conditions I, myself had put into motion by looking at the world through more positive, grateful eyes ultimately led me to friends who faced their challenges in a healthier manner.

From my newer circle of friends, I’ve learned that life will deal you some seemingly crappy hands just to force you to step up and accept the challenge. I learned I’m not the type to crawl into a hole and pull it in after me no matter how many times I wanted to do just that in the years following my divorce and my mom’s suicide. Somehow, I always found a reason to keep going. I always found a reason to keep trying. I found it in myself to find another way when the old ways no longer worked.

Not only did I find out I was resilient, I found out how to make that resiliency work for me. But most of all, I started learning how to ask for help; how to be vulnerable at times. And guess what? There wasn’t a single time when I actually shattered into a million, irreparable pieces.

Yes, some of life’s lessons can really kick the crap out of you. But getting to the other side with most of your pieces intact is the greatest gift I’ve ever been given. And it’s one I give myself over and over again.

From My Eternally Grateful Heart

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for my resiliency.
  2. I am grateful for the opportunities I’m given to learn, even the less obvious lessons.
  3. I am grateful for inspiration which gives me not only an endless stream of Facebook Live topics, but an ever-growing list of blogs waiting to be written.
  4. I am grateful for being a constantly evolving being. Stagnation has never been my comfort zone.
  5. I am grateful for abundance: love, friendship, lessons, experiences, opportunities, joy, sorrow, pain, healing, vulnerability, and strength. It is only by experiences both sides of the coin that we become whole.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, 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!


Photo Courtesy of Lucie Provencher via Flickr

The Tarot Card pictured is The Tower from the Spiral Tarot

Adventures on Horseback: Riding Outside My Comfort Zone

Sometimes I Feel Like the Universe’s Private Play-Toy

Last weekend was a roller coaster ride in the truest sense of the word. After an especially challenging hike on the beach, I treated myself to opening weekend of Beauty and the Beast. Leaving the theater with a happy song in my heart and a tummy full of food which would surely thwart my plan to reach bathing suit size by summer, I walked to my car with thoughts of froyo and the excerpts I needed to critique forcing the library-to-drool-for out of my head.

Unfortunately, as it often does these days, the Universe had other plans. When I reached my car, the minor problem I’d been having with the driver’s door was suddenly no longer minor. In fact, I couldn’t open the door at all. What might have been a slight inconvenience turned into a gymnastics act requiring me to climb into the bucket seat on the passenger side and maneuver around so I could close the door behind me while executing a rather awkward back flip over the center console into the driver’s seat. Froyo was out of the question as I was unwilling to perform the maneuver anywhere else where there might be witnesses. Instead, I drove home where I closed the garage door before executing the move in reverse, to the amusement of my garage cats.

I said a thousand thank you’s when I discovered the service department at the dealership was open on Saturday, and promptly sent off a message rescinding my reservation for the critique group meeting Saturday morning. Though a couple of people offered me a ride, it would only have solved the immediate problem, and still left me essentially without transportation for the rest of the weekend. I opted instead to take the car to the dealership where I knew they’d give me a loaner.

And the Horse You Rode In On

The crit group meeting was long over by the time I’d dropped off the car, so I stopped to run an errand. That’s where my weekend took a major right turn for the better. A friend texted me asking if I wanted to go horseback riding with her. She has two horses and enjoys some company when she takes them out for a ride, even if that company has not been on a horse in decades. Fortunately, her mare, Catania, is a sweet lady who more than compensated for my lack of skill.


We spent an incredible two hours wandering the trails in a gorgeous park nearby. Although I’d hiked it’s trails on one side of the mountain, the area where we rode was entirely new to me…and incredibly beautiful. Everything was emerald green from the recent rains and the horses forded several streams swollen to unusually high levels and flowing over moss-covered rocks. Although treacherous for the unwary, the horses knew exactly how to get safely across. They wanted a dunking no more than we did!

Catania and Cambiano

Catania was really good about being on a lead rope behind her son, Cambiano, knowing instinctively that her inexperienced rider was best NOT left to her own devices. I did, however, release my death grip on the saddle as I became accustomed to her rhythm.

By the time we got back to where the trailer was parked, my tush was more than ready to leave the confines of the unfamiliar seat. I’m not ashamed to admit that my dismount was about as graceful as the earlier gymnastic performance required to get in and out of my car, but it did the job and I reached the ground in one piece. Isn’t that what counts?

I got home with just enough time to eat a quick dinner (thank goodness for my freezer meals!) and get ready to go dancing. I did have to endure a thorough sniffing from all of the cats to whom the smell of horse was entirely foreign, but a few skritches assured them the woman beneath the unfamiliar smell was still their loyal servant.

Memories of Trails Past

The next morning when I attempted to sit at my desk, I discovered an oddly pointy spot in my chair which I’d never noticed before. It was situated directly under a very delicate part of my tush necessitating the strategic placement of a large pillow to cushion my nether regions. Though the pain soon dissipated, I discovered that the after-effects of one’s first time in the saddle after a decades-long hiatus are a traveling circus of aches and pains. One area stops hurting but the aches just move on to the next spot.

When I sat on the floor to do my post-workout stretches, it took everything I had to not moan loudly when I tried to stretch my outer thighs. The only thing that saved me from embarrassing myself is the lengths I go to to keep a low profile while I’m at the gym. It never was and never will be my idea of a social club. I put my earbuds in my ears, crank up Pandora and move from machines to free weights to the stretching area being careful to avoid eye contact. When all else fails, I peer intently at my phone where I’m diligently recording exercises, weights and reps on MyFitnessPal. It’s actually proving to be useful for reminding me what I did the last time, and when I need to increase the weights I’m using.

Today the aches are all but gone and I’ve done laundry so my jeans no longer smell horsey. More’s the pity, really as I can understand why people find it so addicting. Horse smell is like no other and speaks of outdoors and freedom, even if only for a few hours. We covered far more ground in less time than I could possibly have done on my own two feet, and trust me, I wouldn’t have been fording those streams! Some of them were pretty darn deep! And to be honest, I experienced far less discomfort afterwards than I expected!

Giving the Comfort Zone a Much-Needed Boot

Stepping outside your comfort zone can take many forms; quitting a job to follow a dream with no idea how you’re going to continue paying the bills when the resources dwindle, hiking in unfamiliar places, making new friends, even opening up a heart long held safe inside a protective box. This time, it was getting on a horse for the first time in ages. I’m learning that with each step I take outside my comfort zone, the next one gets easier. I’m starting to look forward to the next adventure, whatever that might be.

Finding Gratitude Around Every Corner

My gratitudes tonight are:

  1. I am grateful for the courage to take those leaps of faith.
  2. I am grateful for friends who offer new experiences.
  3. I am grateful for adventures yet to come.
  4. I am grateful for the lessons, experiences, and opportunities that make life interesting, challenging and even a little scary at times.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, challenges, new experiences, a healthier body, increased strength, opportunities, lessons, friendship, peace, harmony, joy, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, 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!

July 21, 2015 Fighting Freelance Frustration and Failure

Taking All of the Steps But Coming Up Empty

A couple of months ago, I took Gina Horkey’s Freelance course. Though I thought I put each of the steps into practice, I have gained a friend, but not the livelihood for which I’d studied. To add further insult to injury, I joined her Facebook group where it seems that everyone in there except me has had success pitching jobs. I’m now forced to ask myself, what am I doing wrong?

I do OK when I log onto one of those content mill sites and write something for one of their clients. In fact, I have a 100% success rate. But do I really want to spend my time writing and researching a decent post for 8 bucks a post? I can answer that question without a nanosecond of hesitation. I’d do better to put that time into my fiction and my own blog. I tried cold-pitching, first with someone I already knew, then with several chiropractors. The first gave me a “thanks, but no thanks” response. After several days of silence, and not even a read receipt from the chiropractors, I got emails from several including my own doctor, only to learn that they all just subscribed to a single location which wrote their content. All they had to do was to send the link to their own subscribers. So that was a bust as well.

I’m thinking I need to just research and write a post on the top 10 frustrations facing freelance writers trying to gain a foothold in what we’re told repeatedly is an industry desperate for writers.

Frustration Can Be A Strong Motivator

Since nobody was beating down my door looking for blog posts or web content, I turned my attention to one of the books I’d bought on writing; this time, Ray Bradury’s version. There, I found some encouragement and inspiration, even if it wasn’t directly related to selling my writing. His style and encouragement convinced me to stop beating myself up over how little editing I’d done on Sasha’s Journey, and just start writing for an hour a day (though, for now, it’s every two days, but I have always given myself credit for the baby steps). In the process of following this new path, I’m about 1800 words into a new short story. Though I’m not breaking any records yet, at least I’m now moving in the right direction.

What I’ve discovered is that when I try to actively monetize my writing, something always gets in my way. When I just write for the love of the written word, or about something I feel passionate about, the words flow like water. This is evidenced by the last couple of blog posts I wrote, both over 1000 words.

Overcoming the Physical Obstacles

As I reminisce about the physical challenges brought on in June and July by shoulder and neck issues, it occurs tDerailed Traino me that my train was derailed last year due to sinus and ear infections at just about the same time. Is there something about this time frame? Do I have a regular date with frustration and poor self-esteem in the early months of summer? Do I simply get off track and my body chooses this time to remind me of my real purpose? Is this the Universe’s oh-so-subtle way of saying Girl, if you keep going down this path, you’re just going to wind up being another easily-forgettable train wreck. Now get your little choo-choo back on the tracks and make me proud! Gotta love the perverse sense of humor and twisted sort of pleasure the Universe likes to have at my expense.

Once again, I find myself questioning everything from the yogurt I had for breakfast to the Leap of Faith I took when this whole thing really began and wonder for the kazillionth time if I’ve made a huge, irreversible mistake. I wonder if it’s time to go to Plan Q and go back into the work force until I can get my little enterprise up and running, whether that enterprise be freelancing or fiction writing. OK, so in a lot of ways, they bear a striking resemblance to each other. Either way, I still have to do research and put some believability and even credibility into the words I pen. I still get up nearly every morning and read something or write something, and sometimes I even do both!

So yes I’m frustrated and feeling like I’m wearing my failure face, but thankfully, it just strengthens my resolve. I may not know where I’m really going, much less, how I’ll go about getting there, but when push comes to shove, I still believe in myself.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for life’s challenges.
2. I am grateful for the opportunity to question my own decisions.
3. I am grateful for the successes of others who’ve trod my path as it tells me that I, too can succeed, and succeed in a grand way.
4. I am grateful for the physical ailments which have added new movement to my daily routine. The cats may not like the waiting for their breakfast while I stretch my sleep-stiff bones, but they sure don’t complain about my willingness to get up, move around and take care of the rest of their needs as a result.
5. I am grateful for abundance: love, friendship, motivation, inspiration, shared success stories, words on the page, peace, harmony, health, prosperity and philanthropy.

Blessed Be

I’d appreciate your taking a moment to visit my Facebook pages at and . Please also drop by my website, 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!

photo credit: Photograph of postcard of wreck of the Delaware and Hudson train via photopin (license)

June 18, 2015 Strange Messages

Sometimes it Seems That What I See of the Universe Bears a Remarkable Resemblance to the Norse God, Loki

I know I’ve said it on numerous occasions, but once again, I seem to be the butt of the Universe’s jokes. My little corner seems to find it highly amusing to slap me around and see what I’ll do. I can honestly say that it’s never the same way twice which, if nothing else, keeps life interesting. For those who are unfamiliar with Norse Mythology, Loki was the god of mischief. He was the trickster and the one most likely to turn the tables at the most inconvenient possible moment.

How does it relate to me, you ask? Well, let me explain. I had finally figured out how and where I wanted to take my freelance business. I’d explored copywriting, but found that it was too much like sales for my tastes. Then I looked at straight blogging, but the cold pitching left me, well, cold, and the sites where I did find work paid peanuts. Yes, I have some posts to add to my portfolio, but that’s about it. Finally, I realized that I could build on my small accounting business by marketing it as Virtual Assistance and offering not only accounting but blogging, social media management, payroll, email management and just about anything one might expect from a talented and experienced office staff.

So there I was, connecting with other freelancers, updating my website and LinkedIn to reflect the new plan, promoting my Facebook page for the accounting/virtual assistance business when what should happen? Not one, not two, but three offers of potential full- or part-time work and all three were purely accounting and financial! What makes it worse is that a couple of months ago, I actually considered getting back into accounting in someone else’s office and my stomach clenched. That was enough for me to realize that a step backwards was not where I needed to go.

So why does the Universe see fit to toss such opportunities in my lap? Is it saying Give it up. Your dreams are never going to see the light of day! or is it, instead, a test of my resolve to pursue the life of my dreams? Is it simply a challenge to follow through with what I want and continue to have faith that I am only temporarily depleting my resources. Is it a challenge to continue on the path I began a year and a half ago despite any concrete evidence that it will be successful?

Challenge Accepted

For now, I’m going to treat it as a challenge and continue to pursue the dream. My personal Loki will have to accept the fact that I never thought the dream would just be handed to me because I’m a nice person, but would require a certain amount of sacrifice and even more faith in my success. If I were going to let a couple of set backs push me back into the corporate world doing something I’d grown to dread, I would have thrown in the towel at least 6 months ago. It seems the Universe needs a bit more convincing before it accepts that I deserve to chase my dream.

All I can say is “stick around”. My dreams of a writing career, a successful Virtual Assistance business, and several acres on which to grow fresh fruit, rescue cats and host writer’s retreats will all come to pass. I don’t need to know how or when or where. Just that I will keep returning the lobs and responding to indications which either push me forward or let me know I need to alter my course a bit.

Why Ride the Monorail When You Can Have the E Ticket Ride?

I’ve never taken the easy path or the one others thought I should take. I am certainly not going to do so now. I love my wild, crazy, unpredictable and sometimes frustrating life. I enjoy setting my own schedule and being able to switch gears without having someone complain that their needs aren’t being met. Does that mean I won’t listen to people who might present an opportunity I hadn’t considered? Not at all. But I reserve the right to accept, decline or modify once I’ve listened to their pitch; which is pretty much the same opportunity I give to others when I’m doing the pitching. Life truly is a dance. Sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow and sometimes you line dance so you can do your own thing! If I wanted it to be the same thing every day, I’d still be working for someone else.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the opportunities that are coming my way.
2. I am grateful for the power of choice.
3. I am grateful for evidence that I’m presenting myself reasonably well on my website and social media.
4. I am grateful for the natural remedies which are causing improvement in my muscles and joints every day.
5. I am grateful for abundance: opportunities, choices, challenges, lessons, love, joy, friendship, peace, health, harmony, prosperity and philanthropy.

Blessed Be

I’d appreciate your taking a moment to visit my Facebook pages at and . Please also drop by my website, 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!

September 3, 2014 Time flies when you’re having fun.

Are you kidding me? It’s September already???

As I sit down to write tonight, I am stunned to find that we’re nearly 3/4 of the way through this year! Where did the time go? What do I even have to show for it? Now, I could go on one of those negative rampages and elaborate on what I have NOT done this year, but what good would that do? It might show me how much I have to do to catch up, but other than that, it would only bring me down. Instead, I really have to do what I always do, and focus on what I have accomplished so far this year. (and yes, my friends, it is list time!)

1. I have created, maintained and followed a To Do list all year.
2. I have completed the first draft of my book.
3. I have completed the first edit of my book.
4. I have cleared an amazing amount of clutter, including old records dating back as far as 1992!
5. I have stepped outside of my comfort zone on many occasions.
6. I have started developing a social life which does not involve my daughter.
7. I have succeeded in conquering the bureaucratic nightmare some would pin on the Affordable Care Act, but which is really perpetuated by the insurance companies who don’t want to get on board (in my case, Blue Shield) and have worked with the Department of Health Insurance to help make the system better.
8. I have ensured that my main man, Dylan, will not succumb to hyperthyroidism related maladies by taking him for treatment. As of the three month blood tests, he is completely cured!
9. I continue to build my virtual tool box by learning new lessons and reinforcing old ones.
10. I have moved my blog to WordPress in preparation for launching my website.
11. I have become much more consistent with my blog postings.
12. I have started a copywriting course.
13. I have maintained my accounting business, albeit on a smaller scale than I’d originally planned, though I trust that this has been for a very good reason.
14. I have adopted two new kittens after losing one cat who we knew was very ill, and one who surprised us.
15. I continue to exercise my right to set boundaries and have them respected.

This is hardly a complete list, but for me, it represents a lot of progress in a few, short months. That is not to say that I don’t have periods where I’m a complete hermit, sit around and read all day, and let some of the good habits I’ve formed slide for a bit. But by the time I reach the place where I need to be a hermit, believe me, I’ve earned it!

Everyone needs time to recharge their batteries now and then.

We all get worn down, and if we’re smart, we recognize it and do something about it. It really doesn’t matter what works for you; whether it’s just being alone to read and veg, like me, or it’s working in the garden, or doing volunteer work…it just has to be what recharges you! Too often, we run ourselves into the ground, at which point, it is a much longer way back to our normal, energetic selves. Learning to recognize when we need to check out for a bit of recharging is, I realize, a tough lesson when you’re trying to hold down a job, raise kids, pay the bills and do all of the things these endeavors require. But even taking an evening when you put the kids to bed and settle down for a bubble bath, a read and a glass of wine instead of your usual laundry, dishes and paperwork is enough to give you the recharge you need. Maybe it won’t fill you all the way back up, but it will sure prevent you from draining yourself completely.

When my girls were young, my recharging system was a night of dancing, and I took a lot of doses of that particular tonic until they got to high school. At that point, I had to drive them to practices and meetings and a multitude of other activities, and allowed myself to be shortchanged. What a huge mistake that was, as I got more cranky and more depressed as the days went on! It took long term administration of Vitamin Dance before I started resembling my former self. But in the process, I made some new friends, learned a lot of new dances, went on a couple of cruises, and even started doing things outside of dancing.

These days, my life is a lot simpler, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get overwhelmed and drained. Instead of running kids to activities, I’ve added 2 1/2 hour drives to see my daughter. Of course, I spend three or four days with her when I go, but it’s still shlepping. (and of course, I love our visits and getting to see all of my grand furries!). But in addition to a couple of nights a week of dancing, I get out for afternoons at the beach, concerts and Shakespeare in the park, and am becoming more open to trying new and different things.

The end result is exactly what I’d hoped for, and that is to be energized by all of the new, while making the old seem less old hat and more just a comfortable resting place before dashing off to something new again.

Life is all about balance.

The more balance we achieve in our lives, the easier it is to recover when we get one of the inevitable curve balls; the easier it is to take the lesson and leave the pain behind. But better still, the easier it is to expect good things, and to get them, more and more!

Every day, I get more proof that Joy and Happiness brings Joy and Happiness, while worry, fear, gloom, sadness…bring more of the same. This, in particular, took awhile for me to figure out because, as my kids will tell you, I’m the original Worry Wart. I had to work hard to train myself to believe that everything would work out perfectly…if only I’d get out of the way and let it!

It’s sort of like the nights like tonight when I sit down to write a post, thinking I have nothing in my head to say, and suddenly, I find myself where I am right now, with a post of over 1,000 words, and realize that I need to find an end point, before I put my readers to sleep!

Let me just urge you to allow yourself time to recharge your batteries, and to say to yourself, whenever you feel fear or worry taking over “Everything is going to work out perfectly. I just need to get out of the way and allow the perfect to happen!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for how everything in my life works out perfectly.
2. I am grateful for all I have accomplished this year.
3. I am grateful that my daughter got us tickets for Blake Shelton, The Band Perry and Neal McCoy for this weekend!
4. I am grateful for the friendships I have been blessed with this year, and look forward to seeing them grow stronger.
5. I am grateful for the health of my cats, and for learning to recognize things before they become serious issues.
6. I am grateful for abundance: health, happiness, joy, friendship, success, harmony, peace, kindness, love and prosperity.


September 2, 2014 Love those recurring lessons

Face challenge, learn lesson, move on. Repeat as necessary.

From time to time, the Universe “encourages” me to repeat a lesson when I don’t show evidence of having taken that lesson into my soul. Often, the repeated lessons come courtesy of someone else, and frequently, it is by example.

Today, I was presented with three previous lessons in one. The first, trust people and give them the benefit of the doubt, until they give you reason to do otherwise. The second: trust your instincts even when you can’t find concrete proof that you’re right. And the third, and maybe most important as I recently allowed myself to forget it: Don’t get involved in other peoples’ battles, especially if you don’t know both sides of the issue well, and have a right to make a judgement. Even then, Stay the hell out of the middle!

Several months ago, I was forced to set some pretty drastic boundaries for the sake of myself and my immediate family. Thankfully, those boundaries seemed to have done the trick…until today. I received a comment that seemed benign at first, but there was something vaguely familiar and disturbing about the second part…but I gave the poster the benefit of the doubt as I was unable to find evidence of the previous experience.

On the one hand, I feel I did the right thing by giving the benefit of the doubt, but as the dialogue continued, it became clear that my first instinct was not to be ignored. Clearly, some people’s lives are very narrow, and, I don’t know, maybe loneliness causes them to take up the sword for other people, even those they barely know. I am often inspired by people who face challenges in their lives I can’t even imagine, yet are able to rise above them and actually do the world some good. Unfortunately, a lot of us are not able to rise above our own pain and misery (and in all honesty, I can’t say beyond a shadow of a doubt that I could, if faced with the challenges some of these people face), and seek some kind of outlet.

For some, the outlet is to just crawl into ourselves and close the world off entirely. For others, it might be to act as an advocate for others. But some just use it as an excuse to start fights and breed hate wherever they go. If they can’t find a cause of their own, they’ll adopt someone else’s, in fact, anyone else’s. I could go all goody-goody here and say that I give them tons of compassion and send them love and light, but the fact is, when their target is me or mine, the best I can do is to refuse their invitation.

There comes a time when the best thing to do is build a better boundary.

I may not have learned everything perfectly, and I certainly still let myself get sucked into someone else’s drama on occasion (but I’m working on that!). The one thing I have learned, though, is that when someone finds it necessary to repeatedly attack with no valid reason for doing so, and in spite of previously established boundaries, it is simply an indication that I need to re-establish my boundaries with a bit more strength.

One who engages the irrational is also likely to try to teach a pig to sing…with much the same results.

It’s taken a lot of time and a lot of lessons, but I’ve finally learned that yelling back (literally or figuratively) at someone who isn’t rational never ends well for either side. While I can’t do anything about the choices others make, I can choose not to lower myself to the level of a mindless robot who goes on the offensive just because someone told them to. What I can do is to try to learn from their actions as I’m going on about my business.

I’ve heard it said that if you find someone else’s behavior offensive, it’s because it is a mirror into something you need to work on in yourself. So I am grateful for these reminders, and truly do take them to heart. Every time I have an experience which raises unpleasant feelings within myself, I know it’s time to do some soul searching. Everyone truly is put into our lives for a reason, even if it is only to show us where we need to make improvements in ourselves.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for those people who remind me of flaws I have not finished fixing.
2. I am grateful for opportunities to show that I have actually learned and retained some of my lessons.
3. I am grateful that I feel no need to try to make others miserable when the better choice is to make myself and others happy.
4. I am grateful for opportunities to be a better me.
5. I am grateful for abundance; lessons, challenges, opportunities, kindness, health, happiness, joy, beauty, love, harmony, peace and prosperity.


August 31, 2014 At a loss for words

Today, I have no words. My mind is a complete blank. I don’t know if it’s the result of finally finishing the first edit on my book and my mind taking a break before diving into my next project, or if it’s just one of those occasional nights when I just don’t have anything to say. It’s not that my mind isn’t filled with thoughts; so much so, that my meditation was completely lucid today. It’s more like I have so very many thoughts chasing each other around in my head, that nothing stays put long enough for me to grasp it.

Whatever the cause, I have hopes that things will settle by tomorrow so I can decide which of the many projects I’ve had sitting on the back burner will now have it’s turn to have the flame lit under it. Until then, I will, as always, leave you with my gratitudes:

1. I am grateful that I have completed one of my many projects.
2. I am grateful that opportunities are making themselves known now that I’ve cleared the deck a bit.
3. I am grateful for a little down time before the avalanche begins again.
4. I am grateful that the Universe is always showing me that it hears my desires and intentions, and will bring them to me when the time is right, and always, bigger and better than my own imagination can conjure.
5. I am grateful for abundance; inspiration, motivation, opportunities, health, harmony, love, purpose, joy, happiness, peace and prosperity.


August 22, 2014 Keep your options open…nothing is going as planned

Some days, it just doesn’t pay to make plans you might be too attached to

I don’t know about you, but every so often, The Universe throws me one of those days that says “if you have anything you’re really attached to doing today, you might as well kiss it good-bye!” Today was definitely one of those days. After another night of really crazy dreams (would you believe, digital timers embedded in peoples’ wrists?) I spent overlong snuggling with the cats, and even Toby decided to behave himself and not be obnoxious about his delayed breakfast! In fact, he was snuggled beside me when I finally decided I’d slept/dozed/dreamed/cuddled long enough. By then, it was after 11!

When I finally sat down at my computer, I noticed that the Wireless light on my modem was, once again, dark. Heaving a huge sigh, I mentally prepared myself to sit on hold with AT & T tech support for at least a half hour. Much to my amazement, after punching the requisite number of things into the keypad and answering several yes/no questions, I got a real person. OK, he was probably in India, by his accent, but his English was clear, and better still, when I told him I’d already run the diagnostics and didn’t need to sit on the phone while he ran them again, he immediately determined that the problem was with my modem and arranged for a technician to come by…not in a day or two, but in the next 4 hours! This kind of service from AT & T is utterly unheard of, but incredibly welcome! Even better, my window was 12-4 and the technician was here by 3, did a couple of tests and had the whole thing fixed and reset to my same settings within about 15 minutes! Having come out of my meditation with the tell-tale squirrelly vision of an impending migraine, I couldn’t have been happier, as it gave me time to lay back with my eyes closed and prevent the worst of the headache from materializing.

Of course, the whole thing caused a change in how I’d planned my day as I didn’t dare leave the house until the technician came. Thus, I made my trip to the local farm around 4:30, heading back (and, thankfully, avoiding the freeway) after 5:00. This is not a good thing on any weekday, but today, in particular, it proved rather more than simply difficult. As I tried to avoid hitting all of the signals on a particular section of the main drag, I found my progress blocked, and changed my route three times before finally getting back to the freeway and Trader Joe’s. Shortly after I made the decision to avoid the freeway entrance where I was, the radio announced that there had been a fatal accident right near that on ramp. Not only did it explain the logjam, but it meant that there would be little to no traffic between the next on ramp and my destination.

At any rate, rather later than I’d planned, I came home to restock my larder for another week of home made meals, a little worse for wear after fighting my way through the unusually heavy traffic as people sought alternate routes to get around the accident. I was given reason, yet again, to be thankful for living in a town where people are actually reasonably courteous on the road most of the time. Making a left turn onto my street involved crossing the line of cars trying to avoid the freeway. A pickup truck and a Mini were kind enough to leave the way clear so I could pass.

Even hanging in bed for longer than I’d intended proved interesting as I overheard someone saying that they should just call me to either clean up some kind of mess or deal with a lack of personnel to perform some tasks. Either way, if accurate, it would prove lucrative for me, and allow still more time for me to establish myself as a writer, rather than an accountant. As this one felt really strong, I will be watching to see what the next week or so brings.

The strange, uncomfortable, change charged energy I’ve been feeling all week seems to be in full-swing now. Yet, I find myself needing to sleep longer. Which of course begs the question: Will I be finding myself grateful for stocking up on sleep in the near future?

Remembering to make requests in broad strokes

As I meditated today, I kept cautioning myself to be as unspecific as possible in my requests to the Universe, and, several times, had to do an “Accept, acknowledge, release” when specifics crept into my thoughts. At the risk of a migraine, I think I was, ultimately successful at avoiding trying to guide the Universe’s hand in answering my requests. It’s difficult to keep from saying I want work from this source or that source, but I know that it will be better in the long run to leave those details to Source, who sees more of the big picture than I can. My latest mantra really is “I am exactly where I’m supposed to be right now.” If pressed, I’ll even admit that I’ve had several indications that this is so, even while others might give me temporary cause for concern. In the end, all will definitely be well!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for kind, considerate people.
2. I am grateful for days which don’t turn out as planned.
3. I am grateful for the company of my cats who seem to be about as much as I can take at the moment.
4. I am grateful for my faith in the Universe and its intentions, as it has our best interests at heart, even when things seem dark and scary.
5. I am grateful for abundance: love, health, happiness, lessons, challenges, joy, harmony, peace and prosperity.


August 14, 2014 Lessons, lessons and more lessons

The Universe has many ways in which to lead us down the path towards learning the lessons we need.

Before I begin, let me apologize in advance for the dreadful appearance of my posts over the next couple of days. I neglected to bring my codes with me when I wandered away from my normal posting site.

Now that I’ve dispensed with the administrivia, let’s get on to the topic at hand.

Most of the time, when I’ve been given a lesson repeatedly, yet failed to master it, the Universe administers one of its infamous head slaps and makes me pay attention. But there are times when a picture is worth a thousand words, and a demonstration is in order.

Today was one of those times.

“Being angry with someone means letting them live rent-free in your head”

This concept was brought home to me today when I was treated to an example of someone expressing anger over something I said. After watching them fume and storm off, I recognized some of my own, past behavior and I was, to say the least, unimpressed with myself, if only for a moment.

I was very fortunate to have a better than two hour drive ahead of me in which to relax and contemplate my thoughts and feelings. Less than half way through the trip, I reached the conclusion that I didn’t want this person letting me live rent-free in their head, and hoped that they would soon release the anger and move on. While I do understand, on some levels, what spurred the anger, the conversation took the form of a scolding rather than a discussion so there wasn’t any real resolution, at least to the other person, as far as I could see. My only hope, at this point, is to send some happy thoughts their way, and hope that they will see fit to oust me from their head by releasing the anger sooner rather than later. Meanwhile, I’ll hold good thoughts for them and send imaginary heart shaped confetti to help lighten the atmosphere overall.

The behavior of others is a mirror for us to recognize what needs improvement in ourselves.

I am grateful for this very vivid demonstration of how pointless it is to express anger over another person’s actions. We might think that by railing at them, we have control of the situation, but nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, we’ve allowed them to control us! I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want is to be under the control of another person, even for a single moment in time.

My intention, now, is that I will, when tempted to respond to something or someone in anger, to pretend that I have to wait a couple of hours before I’m able to respond. In this way, I believe I will find that by the time I can express myself, the reason to be angry has passed peacefully away without any snarky comments or unpleasant voice fluctuations.

In some ways, I can see that this was a very gentle head slap, but one which made me see things more clearly than I normally might.

I can and will control my own actions and reactions. Doing so may or may not help those who have the good fortune or misfortune of crossing my path, but at least I can say that the lesson got through to me.

My gratitudes tonight are:

1. I am grateful for lessons, in whatever form they cone.
2. I am grateful for reasonably light traffic, despite the fact that Google Maps took serious issue with the route I chose to take.
3. I am grateful for my friends who still love me even when they don’t agree with me.
4. I am grateful for a visit with my daughter, son-in-law and grand furries, and the busy, fun-filled weekend we have planned.
5. I am grateful for the abundance we can all enjoy, simply for the asking:joy, health, harmony peace, love and prosperity. In the immortal words of Abraham, Esther and Jerry: “Ask and it is given!”


and send

August 13, 2014 Back to the Future

The time has come to switch gears

For the last couple of days, largely influenced by current events, I took a walk through those long ago times when I first started this blog; a little older, a little wiser and hopefully, a little more compassionate. But this evening, I feel that it’s time to lighten the mood once again, if only I could find something which would accomplish that miraculous feat. It’s interesting how a single event can open old wounds you didn’t even know had yet to scar over. The Universe makes sure we get these wake-up calls, both to allow us to finish things, once and for all, and to remind us to avoid being complacent. I’ve learned the hard way that complacence leads to one thing, and one thing only; another Universal head slap.

One man’s head slap…

Despite the virtual pain inflicted, not to mention the laugh the Universe gets at my expense, not all head slaps are created equally. Some tell me that it’s time to wake up, get my head out of the sand and make something of myself. Others say it’s time to make a big change, so I need to put on my big girl panties and take the first step so those who are waiting in the wings can actually start to earn their keep. But the toughest one of all is the one that says: “You know that thing you thought you’d finished? That thing you thought you’d worked all the way through until you felt all healed and warm and fuzzy? Well, I’m here to tell you, nay, show you, that you ain’t even CLOSE!”

Finding our own navigational beacon

A fellow in a Facebook Tarot group I belong to posted something in the last few days about directionals and such, but I couldn’t find it so I’m just going to fake it (I realize that’s incredibly novel in this blog!). We all have to find our way. and a message sent to me will not, despite being identical, mean the same to someone else. The last couple of days have made it very clear that most messages are wide open to misinterpretation. However, I have learned, both the hard way (most of the time) and the easy way (on occasions so rare that a triple lightening strike in the same location probably stands better odds) that the best way to truly understand the messages I’m receiving is to turn off the analytical side of my brain for a moment and just listen to the words, or appreciate the visual I’m given. Thus, I realize that the messages of the last couple of days are telling me two things: 1. Finish the novel and get back to work on the Self Help/Memoir and 2. I have a long way to go before I’ve truly healed from certain life experiences. In a lot of ways, the two are intertwined as the process of researching and writing the Self Help book has, and will continue to be incredibly cathartic.

It occurs to me as I pause to let my brain catch up, that I’ve given you false hope for a lighter post tonight. It seems I still have bits and pieces floating about, the flotsam and jetsam I call my thoughts, which have yet to come to rest where I can actually either make use of them or put them away for good.

Be that as it may, I admit that I am a recovering control freak, prone to analyze things into dust, run things into the ground, and otherwise try to force things to happen only as I envision them. But you notice, I said “recovering” and there’s a good reason for that. Quitting my job as I did last December to focus on my first love, which is writing, was the first step in relinquishing control. I told the Universe that I want a career as a writer, as a creative being instead of one who just analyzes other people’s work. I didn’t say how I wanted that career to flesh out, or what direction I wanted to take (though, of course, I did express hope that the novel I began in November might actually see the light of day at some point). Instead, I threw myself on the mercy of the Universe to point me in the direction I needed to go, to give me signs when I needed to make something happen, and to otherwise determine how my intention would materialize. What the Universe gave me in return was dozens of reasons to have Faith in myself even if I don’t have a master plan, numerous signs that I’m on the right path, ideas which flow so fast that many, sadly, get lost in the ether, and head slaps to make sure I’m staying my true path. If you ask me, despite a temporary delay in publishing any of my work, I’m getting the best part of this deal!

My life is freer than it’s ever been. I can do what I did today and drive up the coast to meet a friend for lunch. I can get away to visit my daughter when I feel like it. I can ensure that I meditate every single day, no matter what, though, if you were to ask my cats, they’d insist that I’m simply providing them with a warm place to nap on a fairly regular schedule. But best of all, not only has my stress level shrunk to record lows, I never have to commute again! I’m truly living the dream and don’t, for a second, miss all of the “stuff” or eating out more than in. How many people can truly say that? How many people are loving what they do? This is an incredible gift I’ve given to myself, and I deserve every bit of it! Don’t you?

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for Universal head slaps.
2. I am grateful for a stress free life of doing the things I love.
3. I am grateful for my constant companions; the four footed, pointy eared, feline ones (even one the youngest insists on running across my keyboard when I’m writing!).
4. I am grateful for my hermit days as well as my social days. In other words, I’m grateful for the balance in my life.
5. I am grateful for abundance which is available to all: love, health, joy, harmony, peace, prosperity and balance.


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