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

Posts tagged ‘adventure’

Happy Dates When Our Hearts Lead the Way

Switching My Attention to Happy Dates

It’s a funny thing about January 25th. It’s my ex-husband’s birthday, and also the day I found out I was having twins—31 years ago <gasp!>.

In previous posts I’ve written about how dates bring back memories, but most of the time, I write about the sad ones. In truth, if we put our minds to it, we have far more dates we associate with happy memories than sad ones. The sad ones just have a tendency to leap into our brains faster, maybe because the feelings they elicit are somehow more intense.

It could also mean we aren’t done healing from the trauma, tragedy, or letdown seeing the date on the calendar each year elicits. Like the lessons we need to learn (like patience for me), things we need to heal come back to haunt us over and over until we do the work we need to and release ourselves from pain.

Telling Our Brain to Back Off And Let Our Heart Lead

Admittedly, our brains like pain because it means we stagnate, avoiding change and crawling into our status quo cave. But when we listen to our ‘fraidy cat brain, I think our gentle heart breaks a little more each time we deny ourselves the pleasure of a little adventure; a little change. Sure, our hearts break when we try new things that don’t work out, but it’s a resilient sort, and knits itself back together each time, especially if we give it something new to focus on.

I’m not making this stuff up. Believe me, I’ve lived both ways, and I much prefer the bumps and bruises I’ve gathered on my adventures to the sad, lonely years I spent huddled in my hidy hole, afraid to venture out for fear of pain, ridicule, or humiliation. In fact, I’ve learned that being my own weird self is actually something people want to see!

Perfection is a Poor Disguise

Nobody out there is perfect, so seeing perfection in others is intimidating and off-putting. I don’t know about you, but I find it difficult to relate to someone who appears to have no flaws or weaknesses. The woman who shows up at the office immaculately groomed every day, and wouldn’t even flinch if you squirted ketchup all over her pristine, white blouse is probably a tumultuous mess inside.

That guy who always has the right answer and is organized to a fault probably has panic attacks when something is even a teensy bit out of place. He searches for controllable structure in a world which is unwilling to cooperate, so he spends his life waiting to pounce on the next nonconformity. He hides himself away, studying every possibility so he’ll be ready with an answer before the question is asked while life passes him by.

Taking the Lessons and Leaving the Pain Behind

Many people focus on the unhappy times, revisiting them over and over trying to figure out how they could have changed the outcome. It’s over folks. It happened, and you can’t change the past. Dwelling on it only screws up your future. Letting it go allows you to move forward with a clean slate, perhaps a little the worse for wear, but you’ve learned where some of the perils and pitfalls lurk in the process.

Bruises heal, clothes and bodies wash. So what if we end up rolling in the mud once in awhile. Who knows? You might just like it!

Go Ahead, Live the Adventure be honest, I’m probably one of the least adventurous of my friends. One man in his 70’s still takes off on his motorcycle every week just for fun. He plans trips to Europe with friends where they ride all over the countryside, and he’s not looking to stop his adventures any time soon.

Another friend moved to North Dakota after her divorce and lived in a trailer without power for a couple of months, alone in the middle of nowhere. She followed Cavalia to Arizona when it’s California run ended. These days, she divides her time between cleaning pools and working with horses, with a little dancing thrown in for good measure. Unlike me, she dates now and then, not afraid to give someone a chance. In contrast, I either go on the defensive or am utterly oblivious; mostly the latter.

What these two have in common is they follow their hearts and don’t think about potential consequences or pitfalls. They’ve fallen and picked themselves up enough times, they don’t worry about it. They take one day at a time, and when life gives them rocks and mudslides, they find their footing and chuck the rocks back. They pile up the happy memories so those come to the forefront rather than the sad ones.

My Pushme-Pullyou Lifestyle

I’ve embraced adventure and taken some leaps of faith in the last few years, though I’m still retreating too often. It takes me a little longer to get up when I fall, yet I always do.

It’s funny, because as I look back on my life, I realize I’ve always lived it believing when things go wrong, it leaves me free for something better. Yet a lot of the wrongness in my life has been because I let someone else dictate the direction. So when they dumped me on my butt, it was a blessing in disguise to stop having to follow their lead. Even so, for years, I continued to put my fate in other peoples’ hands, never leaving until I was shoved, never learning to trust myself instead—until about 5 years ago.

I won’t say my road has been smooth, and I’ve given up a lot of things in the process. But nothing I’ve given up really matters in the general scheme of things, and some needed to go. But until now, I didn’t know how to do without them; didn’t believe I could. Now, I have trouble remembering why some of them were important in the first place except they supported an image that was never really me in the first place, or brought some relief from the stress and strain of turning myself into a pretzel so people would like and accept me.

Fitting In By Being You

You could say the leap of faith that left me intentionally jobless has taught me a lot of the things I did to fit in were never necessary, and were in fact, a waste of my time and effort. The real me, t-shirt and shorts, messy bun, bare feet, natural nails, and no makeup is a happier, healthier version of the woman who turned herself inside out to please the unplease-able, fit in with those who had no intention of accepting her, and worked overtime for those who were never grateful and only expected more.

Sometimes the adventure of a lifetime is getting up the nerve to be yourself and damn the consequences. For me, that happened on December 6, 2013 when I left the Corporate world forever. Suddenly, I fit just fine! Is it any wonder I look back less and less every day? What masks and ill-fitting characters have you shed lately? Is it time to do some more house cleaning?

Grateful Every Single Day For Things Large and Small

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful I’ve learned to listen more to my heart than my head.
  2. I am grateful for new adventures awaiting me around the next bend.
  3. I am grateful for the people in my life who love me as I am, messy, chaotic, clumsy, or brilliant. It’s all part of the unique individual I’m finally allowing myself to let show.
  4. I am grateful for rainy days and Mondays when I leave the house only to go to the gym, then come home to work with the sound of the rain spattering my window, and the cats going nuts because that’s what they do on those rare occasions when we get real rain around here.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; inspiration, motivation, butt-kickers, cheerleaders, friends, love, joy, compassion, support, wisdom, non-conformity, peace, health, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light


About the Author

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

Overcoming the Urge to Over Analyze

Talking Ourselves Out of Adventure

Many of us do it. We think things to death, then wonder why we can’t seem to make any progress. Every choice we make, every idea that crosses our minds has to be looked at from every possible angle (and even a few decidedly unlikely ones) before we make a move. Do we make better decisions because of all the time we spend weighing the pros and cons? Does all this thinking hedge our bets and guarantee we’ll make the best possible choice every time?

Not even close! In fact, all our overthinking may cause us to miss the boat entirely; miss an opportunity which may have catapulted us forward into something really wonderful. But we missed the chance because we were too busy analyzing the thing to death.

There comes a time we need to know when it’s important to review all the facts with microscopic focus, and when to get off the dime and just pick something.

A Time to Think Things Through, and A Time to Trust Your Gut

Sure, if you’re making a major purchase or planning a trip to another country you want to make sure you have all the facts you can gather. But most decisions we face are just as easily made by listening to our gut. By now, we’ve had enough experience with different scenarios to know deep down whether or not one choice or another makes sense for us.

Take job interviews for example. Can you honestly say you haven’t reached the point where you know in the first 5 minutes whether or not you and the company you’re interviewing with will be a good fit? Don’t you have a healthy repertoire of red flags that tell you to get the hell out of there because the person you’re talking to is a perfect example of one of your previous bosses from hell? Can’t your gut be trusted to tell you when something feels right, no explanation needed?

The Entrepreneurial Mindset

I talk to a lot of people these days who are considering starting their own business. Most are still working a full-time job and are less likely to do what I did and quit their job before having a game plan. So they have a safety net if their endeavor doesn’t fly. Yet too often, they argue both sides of the decision with themselves, raising perfectly reasonable arguments for any and all choices they are considering. They spend days, weeks, months even, trying to decide whether they’ll take a chance on themselves. Often, they spend so much time trying to decide they talk themselves out of a perfectly good idea. Or worse, they discover that while they were ruminating, someone else took a chance on a similar idea and made a killing while they were still sitting on the fence.

It all comes down to trust. But not trusting others in this case. We have to learn to trust ourselves. We’re like the car salesman who tries to keep you in his office for hours talking about stupid crap, believing the longer he keeps you there, the more likely he’ll wear you down and convince you to take the deal he offered when you first walked in. In the case of ourselves, the longer we think about something, the more likely it is we’ll find reasons to not do it. We’ll wear down our courage, our sense of adventure, our willingness to take a risk on us. And once the moment has passed, we’ll spend another chunk of time beating ourselves up for failing to make a decision. Either way, we lose.

Taking Our Fears by the Horns

I’m here to tell you, it’s not worth all the sweat and strain. In most cases, we know right from the start whether of not we believe in ourselves enough to risk failing. So why do we put on our Actuary hat every time we need to choose?

In most cases, it’s fear. Fear stops people in their tracks more effectively than brick walls, road blocks, or a firing squad. Human nature prefers the safety of the known. The unknown is scary and hazardous, and full of obstacles we can’t even imagine. It’s also full of opportunities, and wonderful adventures which could open our life up and show us an entirely new world. Yet over and over, we’ll convince ourselves to take the safe road; the road we know; the dull, boring, already-traveled-a-million-times road where nothing changes and frankly, we could die of boredom. “It’s safer here.” Our minds will tell us. “I know how to navigate this place.” The scared child inside of us is scared to death of its own sense of adventure, and stuffs it down like a snot-encrusted handkerchief.

Meanwhile, the new person, the change of scenery, the job of our dreams passes us by because we’re too busy proving to ourselves that the timing isn’t right, or there are too many unknown variables, or we’re better off sticking with what we know.

The trouble is, you wake up one day to find you’ve been left behind with all the scaredy-cats who’ve slipped into a rut and pulled it in after them. You’re bored and discontented, but can no longer figure out why because you don’t even attract opportunities any more. You’ve moved off the road where opportunities and adventure travel, and are living in a sad, lonely no-man’s-land of sameness. You don’t even remember how you got there any more.

Change is Healthy

We can adapt to change. We have to be willing to be uncomfortable for a little while, that’s all.

I recently read something about turning your toilet paper roll the other way for 30 days. Essentially, it is something simple and unlikely to turn your world upside down. Yet it’s a change you have to adapt to. The point is to make a change that isn’t going to upset you, just to prove to yourself that you can adapt to it without any serious issues. Once you see how easily you can adapt to small changes in your world, it becomes easier to adapt to larger ones. And adapting to those larger, scarier changes is the key to trusting your gut and removing your biggest block to change; over analyzing.

Releasing Our Anal-Retentive Traits

Hidden inside the word “analyze” is the word “anal” which has come to be associated with people who are overly particular. As I see it, when you analyze the crap out of every situation and decision you encounter, you are, indeed, exhibiting an anal-retentive personality. You allow your mind to force you into a dull, boring rut of sameness while a little kernel deep inside is screaming for something new and exciting.

I won’t lie to you and say I’ve never fallen on my face by trusting my gut. Each time I do, I pick myself up, look at what went wrong, and learn from it. The experience makes my gut a little more sensitive to nuances I hadn’t considered so the next decision I make will have an even better chance of success.

Analyzing less and experiencing more won’t guarantee a smooth road. In fact, you’re likely to find the road a good deal bumpier. But bumps add character so your life won’t be boring, dull, or predictable. Is that really a bad thing?

Showing Gratitude for the Little Things

My gratitudes tonight are:

  1. I am grateful for the chances I’ve taken, the lessons I’ve learned, and the failures I’ve had to pick myself up from.
  2. I am grateful fro the people I meet when I stop taking the path of least resistance and instead, take the road less traveled.
  3. I am grateful for commitments I’ve made to myself. It isn’t always easy to honor what I set out for myself, but the rewards for doing so are immeasurable.
  4. I am grateful for my willingness to fail so I can learn. The whole process makes me stronger, smarter, and more resilient.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, change, lessons, experiences, health, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She is available for ghostwriting to help your business grow and thrive. Her specialties are finding and expressing your authentic self. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author

Are You Trying to Fit Into a Box?

Be True to You

In the continuing search for ways to promote my business which are actually effective, I find myself from time to time, falling into some old and ultimately unsuitable patterns. I ignore the signals from body and mind, and try to tailor my efforts to what worked for someone else…and it never ends well.

At best, I get cranky, annoyed, and frustrated with my lack of progress. At worst, I crawl into my hermit hole to sulk and fall into the dreaded victim mentality. Thankfully, the Universe has my back (sometimes whether I like its methods or not) and gives me little reminders I’m once again going down a road that isn’t right for me.

This time, not only did I get another sharp poke in the ribs, but a new guide to help me find my own way. After a couple of months’ delay on my part, I got to be a guest on Jared Warner’s podcast. One of the first things he said to me was “stop trying to do things like everyone else”. Whoa! Light bulb over my head in screaming neon pink! Now why didn’t I think of that?

Why Would I Do Anything With 5 Little Words?

My latest transgression involved trying to consolidate what I do into 5 measly words. I can see my daughter’s reaction if she’d heard I was even attempting to do anything in 5 words. I can’t even order a cup of coffee with only 5 lousy words! So how in the name of all that’s holy would I even consider such a hopeless, and for me, pointless exercise. It is the true definition of an exercise in futility, or maybe insanity.

Jared is a true expert when it comes to marketing and building business. He’s learned all the tricks the hard way, building businesses, and losing at least one pretty spectacularly, but as the phoenix rises from the ashes, so does Jared. And what’s more, he’s passionate about helping others do the same and maybe miss out on some of his more noteworthy mistakes along the way (though each of us still has to make a few of our own as part of our learning process).

Turning Things Upside Down Might Make for a Better View

Instead of trying to create some kind of buzz line or catch-phrase for what I can do for others, he challenged me to turn the whole thing upside down and consider a completely different (read: scary as hell) path which combines the two things I love the most: helping people and writing.

He rightfully pointed out that the accounting side of my skill set requires a lot more trust than the writing side, so building relationships takes much longer. Also, people typically have someone doing their taxes, so they may rely on them for the book work as well making it a tough market to break into. Better to leave it as something to transition into once clients have gotten to know me for the dependability I offer with my writing. Now why didn’t I think of that? (insert face palm emoji).

Best of all, he totally understands my aversion to anything sales-y and offered some great suggestions for getting known without the hype. Part of that is this Friday post as he recommended increasing my weekly offerings from 2, to 3 or 4. Thankfully, my response to his query about average word count was adequate. I guess some folks are still writing shorter posts, perhaps to offset their increased frequency.

Find the Tried and True for You

So I have my work cut out for me, creating 3 to 4 posts a week and with a little luck and Jared’s suggestions, adding another client or five to my current batch.

Getting back to the premise of this tale, (and touching a bit on last night’s Facebook live which you can find here), all too often, we allow ourselves to fall into a trap, trying to do things in a tried and true way. The trouble is, it’s not our tried and true, and we’re not the person it worked so well for. We lack the qualities which made it work so well for them, and perhaps a few others.

That’s not to say we lack good, strong qualities. Ours our different, and need an approach which honors those differences. How do we know we’re honoring our uniqueness instead of trying to mimic someone else’s? In the same way we recognize the right path when making a decision or choosing a new road; we listen to our bodies.

Listening to Messages From Within

While thinking about a choice we’re going to make, if we check in with ourselves, the decision will make itself, but you have to understand what you’re feeling first.

If something makes you feel tense, constricted, confined, and even severely nauseous, chances are, it’s probably not going to give you the results you seek. In fact, it’s honoring your mind’s desire to plod along the same boring, predictable road forever.

On the other hand, if you feel a bit like you’re leaping off a cliff, or crossing a ravine on a tight rope with no net, you’re probably on the right track. I know it sounds weird, but we were not meant to live our lives in a safe little box. We were meant to expand and grow, though for some that expansion happens with a lot of kicking, screaming, and digging our fingernails into the furniture to avoid being dragged away by a relentless current of change. Our minds, unfortunately, will always resent change. They would be perfectly happy if we stayed in a little hermit hole where nothing changed.

Getting Back to Adventure Mode: Leaving the Rut Behind

But our psyche lives for adventure; for zip lining across that ravine or running full tilt up a mountain with no idea what’s on the other side. It wants to feel alive, and it’s something only to be found in change and adventure.

Thanks to Jared, I kicked off my latest adventure yesterday. I don’t know how it will go or where it will take me, but that’s part of the thrill and charm. By offering to ghostwrite expert books for entrepreneurs, I get to combine my love of writing, my desire to help other people, and my talent for sharing the soft underbelly we mistakenly believe we need to hide away. I’ve learned from my own experiences that showing a little vulnerability lets people know we’re human; we’re approachable; we’ve been where they are, and learned how to navigate the rapids and arrive victorious and ready to jump on the next one.

Why Settle for Ordinary when You Deserve Extraordinary?

Life is a thrill ride. For some, it’s physical as in white water rafting, bungee jumping, or extreme skiing. For others, it’s as simple as stepping out of the tired, old comfort zone into a new experience. Ultimately, you build up a tolerance and those small steps you took become child’s play, and the next ones you take look like leaps in comparison. You learn keeping your psyche happy makes for a much more interesting life anyway.

What are you going to do to free yourself from box-like situations? Where will you take even the tiniest step towards a life suited exactly to you and not someone else? How will you find your own unique brand of success? Share your thoughts in the comments. I’d love to see you grow!

Expressing Gratitude Every Step of the Way

Each step we take, every mistake we make, and all of our successes are enriched when we remember to be grateful for the experience. As is my wont, I’m sharing a few of mine.

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for the Universal head slaps (or butt kicks, or on rare occasions, gentle prods) which wake me up to what I need to change, where I need to go, and what I need to do.
  2. I’m grateful for the helpers who appear in my life exactly when and where I need them.
  3. I’m grateful I’ve trained my mind to listen to truths even when they’re uncomfortable. I know I make more progress when I stop relying on the tried and true.
  4. I’m grateful for friendships and relationships which enrich my life, and for the experiences I’m having outside my comfort zone which bring them into my life.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; help, friendship, new ideas, inspiration, motivation, challenges, leaps of faith, expansion, health, joy, peace, harmony, prosperity, and philanthropy.

Love and Light

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She is available for ghostwriting to help your business grow and thrive. She specializes in finding and expressing your authentic self. If you’d like to have her write your expert book with you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author

Creeping Nostalgia

Letting the Mind Out for Spontaneous, Unfettered Play

After one of the busiest weekends in longer than I can remember, I finally found some down time, and my mind took the break like a kid who explodes out the classroom doors on the last day before summer vacation.

At last it was free to do what it does best; run amok. No line dances to try to memorize or two-step patterns to concentrate on. No trails to navigate, conversations to follow and participate in, memories to share. What’s an ADD brain on freedom to do?

One Thought Leads to Another in Typical Non-Linear Fashion

I tried turning on my Rascal Flatts station on Pandora in a futile attempt to corral it a bit. Not one of my better ideas. Each song made me more nostalgic. When “The Rose” came on, I felt tears pricking my eyes. It was the perfect song for my son-in-law’s grandmother who passed a couple of days ago. Elizabeth was the sweetest, most amazing lady I had the pleasure to know, even if it was only for a few short years. Through more than her share of life’s tragedies and heartaches, she was always cheerful, peaceful, charming, and witty. She left a lasting mark on everyone she met.

The one song and her memory made every subsequent song bittersweet, which struck me as odd because many of the songs on this station aren’t really nostalgic. But memories are funny things. So often, a song, a word, a person; unrelated yet somehow fitting sends us down a path of old experiences. Friends who’ve come and gone. Trips we’ve taken. The mistakes we’ve made…and the triumphs. It all comes rushing back like yesterday once more.

All We Really Need is Love to Make Us Better People

It all comes back, eventually, to love. The love I’ve felt but never expressed. The love I’ve yet to experience. The love I’m only now learning to open my heart to. And the love that’s been there all along, had I only crawled out of my shell to see it.

So I sit here listening to song after song, feeling just a little sad, and not entirely sure why.

Do I feel like I’ve missed out? If so, as the saying goes, I ain’t dead yet. I still have time to live my life and experience the things I think I’ve missed.

Do I feel I could have done more? See above.

Do I regret the unkind thoughts I’ve had and words I’ve spoken? That I can change. And should. And will.

I realize that part of what makes life good, gives us memories which give rise to the nostalgia is the sharing, the reaching out; but more, allowing ourselves to enjoy new experiences.

Comfort Zone Be Gone!

After making some enormous changes a few years ago, I settled back into a life so predictable you could have set a calendar by it. It’s no wonder my blog posts were few and far between for awhile. Life in a rut leaves nothing particularly interesting to impart.

Something inside me was clamoring for adventure, apparently. In the last few days, I’ve booked a cruise a year from now, spontaneously went to a day long dance event, and, the piece de resistance? I’ve agreed to start increasing my hikes until I’m ready to hike the Grand Canyon with some friends. Was it only a few weeks ago that a 3 mile hike on the flat path along the wash was enough to exhaust me? Or when 2 nights a week of dancing was plenty, both for the exercise and the exposure to people?

Is this blast of nostalgia for the comfort zone I’ve so casually kicked to the curb of late? One final good-bye to the person I was before embracing who I’m becoming?

Maybe in a small way, I’m wishing I’d let this person emerge years or even decades sooner. But as with everything else, I know this is exactly the right time. Along with the nostalgia, the questions, and even the edge of sadness is a great, heaping mound of gratitude.

Grateful for So Many Gifts

My gratitudes tonight are:

  1. I am grateful for friends who are leading me away from my comfortable but boring life.
  2. I am grateful for adventures and moving into areas I’d never have believed I’d be navigating.
  3. I am grateful for patience and encouragement; skills my friends these days possess in abundance. May I learn from them and give back the same to others.
  4. I am grateful for my ADD brain which travels to parts unknown on a regular basis, but never leaves me bored or without thoughts and questions to ponder and pursue.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, intelligence, friends, new experiences, reminders of my own imperfections, joy, health, happiness, peace, harmony, inspiration, 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!

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