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

Posts tagged ‘change’

Comparison is For Major Purchases, Not People

Acceptance Instead of Comparison

At the gym as in life, we are all at different places on our journey. Comparison is both meaningless and self-defeating. And yet, while working out around people at different levels, it’s all too easy to find ourselves making comparisons; some even favorable to ourselves.

There’s no way for us to know where anyone started except ourselves. The only valid comparison is where we are now vs. where we were at some specified point in the past, and then, only to show ourselves how far we’ve come.

Each of us progresses in our own unique way. A heavier person might have 4 or 5 times the strength of a wispy woman. Then again, she might not. Outside appearance is the least accurate barometer for forward progress.

Looking at the Outside Misses Where Our Real Changes Occur

Sure, you can look at someone who’s dropped 50 or 100 pounds and see progress. But what you see is superficial compared to the internal changes they made in order to release the weight. Those outward changes couldn’t have happened without a lot of internal redirection, a huge shift in mindset and values, and a decision to make those changes plus the will to make new habits. How can someone on the outside looking in possibly know the mountains we move to make those changes?

By the same token, we don’t have any way of knowing how far another person has come, so how on earth can we possibly compare ourselves and our journey to theirs?

Comparison is a momentum killer.

Comparison is a short road to discouragement. It allows us to fall back into “you’re not good enough” mode where we ignore all the progress we’ve made, looking instead at how far we have to go. But our progress wasn’t made in a series of giant leaps. Chances are, we took a lot of baby steps and maybe, just maybe, the occasional giant leap. The mountain we set off to climb must be scaled one step at a time.

Focusing on Our Own Progress

That doesn’t mean the steps don’t get easier as we gain skill and strength. Nor will those baby steps remain the same minuscule size as we learn and grow. But as we progress our perspective changes too. What was once a major accomplishment is barely a blip on our personal radar. We reset not only our goals but our expectations as we go. That too is progress.

Expecting more of ourselves when we’re ready, or almost ready is what makes us reach for loftier and loftier goals. If we set our bar at a level too far beyond our current capabilities, we’d get discouraged and give up before we made what we’d consider significant progress. But if we set smaller, reachable goals, we’ll experience a feeling of accomplishment that will motivate us to keep trying.

My biggest challenge is to release the excess weight I’ve accumulated over the years. Though it’s been rough going the last few months, I can stop myself and remember that there are about 20 pounds I’ve released and not allowed to creep back. Yes, there are also 5 or 10 which have, but the ones that haven’t motivate me to keep trying because I have some success to look at.

Meanwhile, I’ve gone from barely being able to lift a pound with my left arm, courtesy of a herniated disc in my neck to getting comments from men at the gym about how much weight I’m lifting now. It didn’t happen over night, and it’s not helping me take off as much weight as I’d like, but it is progress. In fact, when I pull up MyFitnessPal to see what weight I’m using on various machines or free weights each week, I’m often surprised to see the numbers have climbed as high as they have.

Figuring Out What Motivates Us

Most of my progress has occurred in the last year, when I finally found a schedule I’d follow consistently, and created what I hope will be a lifelong habit. It might have taken me a few extra decades to get there, but that’s how my journey is unfolding. I’m OK with that.

Comparison has another ugly side. When we see ourselves as less, or not as good as, we tend to treat ourselves unkindly. We give up on ourselves. We feel unworthy. None of that crap is true. We slip back into old habits, but we don’t have to stay there. We need to remind ourselves it’s OK to make mistakes or fall off track as long as we treat ourselves kindly and get back on that track before we do ourselves too much damage.

The trouble is, we tend to be quicker to beat ourselves up than forgive our own transgressions. And boy are we stingy with praise for the person who deserves our praise the most!

Focus on Now and the Rest Will Follow

One way I’ve found to get off the comparison merry-go-round is to focus on what we are doing, thinking, and feeling in the current moment—in the Now. Feel how our bodies and minds are responding to the new tasks we’ve set, and don’t worry about what happened 5 minutes ago. If we ate a cookie, or skipped a set, it’s done and can’t be re-done. So let it go and embrace this moment, making it the best we can.

I also like to make lists. At the end of the day, I make a list of at least 10 things I accomplished. They don’t have to be big things, and often, I give myself a couple of “gimme’s”. They’re things I do every day without thinking about it like writing my Morning Pages, and making the bed (another habit I had to work to achieve). To the outside world, they might seem insignificant.

To many of my friends, making the bed has been a lifelong habit. For me, as the Queen of Clutter for so many years, it was one more thing I had to learn to find important. But forming and keeping the habit taught me that climbing back into bed during the day was no longer an option. Ask anyone who has fought depression at any point in their life, and you’ll understand why such a small, seemingly ordinary task can make a huge difference in how a day unfolds. Learning to make my bed every morning turned days on end of laziness, lack of motivation or inspiration, and long-term failure into the desire to finish what I started and form more healthy habits.

What I’m saying in my usual long, roundabout way is, if you must compare, look at who you are today, what you have accomplished, and how far you’ve come. The only person we have to be better than is ourselves. The only improvements that matter in our lives are the ones we make to the person we are now, and the person we want to become. Look objectively. Look without judging. See yourself without unrealistic expectations. I promise you’ll see someone marvelous, accomplished and amazing who’s conquered a lot of odds and challenges to become the ever-evolving person they are today.

Remember to Be Grateful for Accomplishments Both Large and Small

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for my evolving perspective.
  2. I am grateful for the many accomplishments which continue to help me evolve.
  3. I am grateful for reminders that I’m perfect the way I am, but can always make myself a better me.
  4. I am grateful for people who can be examples for me rather than comparisons where I find myself lacking.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; self-love, joy, health, new habits, friendship, dancing, inspiration, motivation, prosperity, peace, harmony, and philanthropy.

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

Adaptability: Going With the Flow

Adaptability Makes Change Flow Smoothly

Life changes. People come and people go. Friendships blossom. Some seem to bloom and grow while others wither and die; often inexplicably.

Perhaps we’re changing and fail to see it. Or maybe circumstances change. We move, or find a new interest, or find alternatives when a place or event becomes unavailable. Maybe it’s simply a life event; births, deaths, marriages, new jobs, big moves. We all experience them, like it or no. The only way to avoid change is to wall ourselves up in a cave and never come out. Even so, we’d change as we age, alone and cut off from the rest of the world.

Change is inevitable. We have two choices: adapt or fight it. Most of us, by the time we reach adulthood, have discovered the futility of fighting it. We’ve probably exhausted ourselves fruitlessly on more than one occasion trying to hold onto something which has served its time. But letting go and opening ourselves up to new possibilities is hard. It’s scary.

Like it or Not, We Must Move Out of Our Comfort Zone

Stepping out into the unknown; leaving our comfort zone; allowing ourselves to be immersed in https://www.flickr.com/photos/philleara/7246573430/in/photolist-c3mzPd-djJiUe-oajKtQ-djJjmv-djJjLR-oapGkZ-djJjb9-djJj5F-cntb2u-7Y2xWm-cntayf-c3mLB3-n329S-7XYhYD-cntbhs-TCrSUz-gg7DZE-gg7XMV-6Ak5ks-9a2C7g-djJjz6-cntb85-rCKS6-cntag1-azBhou-3oXQYc-cnta8q-cntaL7-ocbPjv-oa7hn8-fJm576-baRPgp-7Y2xp7-8ommnm-bA1QHR-cnt9j1-dmywKj-7Y2x7b-4vwAew-aAPJwq-oa7iJB-cnt9xu-2FtNgi-gunWiW-hLgWLK-e4kv6P-2FtPvB-9GPQLh-4vsuDF-baRMyvnew things can be, for some, a frightening and daunting experience. The smart ones (and also the successful ones) learn to not only adapt, but to embrace those moments when you feel like you’re free-falling. They thrive on the adrenaline rush of not knowing how or where they’ll land, or even if the landing will be safe, or leave them broken and bruised.

For those people, a life without change is as frightening as it is for people for whom change is something to be avoided at all costs. They can’t imagine a life full of mind-numbing sameness where everything is predictable and expected.

Most of us, I believe, fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. We sometimes struggle to leave our cozy, predictable existence to try something new; a restaurant, a vacation spot, a new group of people. Yet when we do take a leap and broaden our horizons, we’re usually pleasantly surprised at the outcome, and thus, encouraged to spread our wings even further.

Adapting Doesn’t Have to be Complicated

For me it’s been as simple as going to new places to dance, and to dance differently than I’m used to. My typical hangouts provide a mix of two-step, line dances, couples dances, and a smattering of West Coast Swing and Nightclub Two-Step. I’m comfortable with the mix, and if I don’t get to do the occasional WCS or NC2, I’m not terribly disappointed. Those dances are not what draws me to a club or lately, someone’s in-home studio.

But as my options narrow and I start hanging with a younger, more adventurous crowd, I find my willingness to leave my comfort zone (especially since I have people willing to go with me) increasing. In fact, I’m often the one to suggest someplace new.

To my utter and complete surprise, I looked back at the last few weeks and realized I’d spent far less evenings alone than was my wont. I’d ventured further out, stayed later, and picked up a couple new tricks along the way. Though I’m not ready to go to the newer places alone yet, I suspect even the minor resistance will soon disappear, and I’ll find my way to the new venues whether alone or with friends.

Adapting Happens When We’re Not Even Looking

In short, I’m adapting. Circumstances have changed. Options have, at least temporarily disappeared, and the amount of dancing I get in a single night has lessened. I’ve convinced myself more nights will bring me back up to my usual levels, and find it easier to win the argument when my brain tries going back into hermit mode.

Life does that. It gives and it takes away, forcing us to adjust to new circumstances whether we like it or not. Forcing us to grow into better, stronger versions of ourselves.

But there was a time I fought it, and fought it hard. I stayed tucked cozily inside myself, little realizing I’d locked myself in with some pretty voracious and unpleasant demons. They gnawed away at my guts, and I responded by becoming an angry, unpleasant human being. There came a point when I didn’t even like my own company.

Help Comes When We Need it Most

Even so, there were people who found me tolerable, and because they took the time to look beneath my crotchety surface, found something worth saving. Maybe they saw someone who reminded them of their former self. Maybe in our own broken way we created a support group, helping each other build the ladders out of our own pits of despair. Whatever the reasons, and however they found me, I’ll always be eternally grateful that the Universe saw fit to find people to help instead of giving up on me as a lost cause. I know I’d pretty much given up on myself by then.

So many people at one time or another find themselves in a place they neither want or know how to get out of. They convince themselves it’s the life they deserve and slog through each day with no real interest in anyone or anything. They spend their days at jobs they hate, and their nights in front of a computer or TV, disconnected from the world; disconnected from themselves.

Maybe life beat them down every time they stuck their nose out of their shell. Maybe they developed a misguided belief they didn’t deserve better. Or perhaps they simply feared what they didn’t know and couldn’t control. So they surround themselves with sameness, boring, destructive, stifling, and eventually, crumbling. Sameness can’t be maintained indefinitely so at some point it either falls apart, often devastatingly, or the person behind the self-made walls lives an illusion far-removed from reality.

Offering Gives Others a Choice, a Role in Their Own Lives

We can’t force others to adapt to change any more than others forced me. We can, however offer tools and support even if they’re rejected repeatedly. Like me, there will come a time when one of the tools resonates, and a willingness to at least try overcomes the fear of change.

The people who kept offering me tools in spite of my constant resistance are heroes in my eyes. They may not have changed the world, but they changed mine. We all have within us the ability to change a single person’s life for the better if we’re willing to accept their resistance and even rejection for awhile.

We can’t do it for the gratitude as that may never come. I know I never thanked the people who gave me my first leg up out of the darkness. We have to do it because it’s an integral part of our humanity. We’re not here to fix each other, only to fix ourselves; to be the best us we can be. But we can be there for those who are having trouble making the changes alone, and simply need a friendly face, a listening ear, a light in the darkness.

Will you be someone’s light?

Gratitude Isn’t Time-Sensitive

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the people who saw something in me worth saving.
  2. I am grateful for opportunities to pay it forward and offer someone else a tool they might need to escape their own darkness.
  3. I am grateful for the lessons I’ve learned, the bruises I’ve earned, the successes and the failures. They’ve made me stronger, more resilient, and more willing to adapt when my world gets turned upside down.
  4. I am grateful for friendship. They have changed over the years. Some have come, many have gone, but all have left me a better person.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, caring, compassion, friendship, joy, dancing, community, opportunities, inspiration, motivation, peace, health, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

And special thanks to Danae Thomas who offered me the first of many tools, and months of support to help me start climbing out of my own pit of despair.

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

Obsessions Born in Childhood

Where Are Our Obsessions Born?

created with CanvaMany of us have something in our lives we can’t seem to get enough of, but did you ever stop to wonder why?

One of the things I find myself stockpiling is comforters. When I was young, my mom believed in bedspreads, but never comforters. I love snuggling into them on cold nights, or sleeping on top of their fluffy softness when it’s warmer. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I even had a bedspread on my bed! I seem to have passed this and a few other obsessions on to my daughter. Often, we’ll exchange comforters on Christmas (when she isn’t adding to my custom blanket collection!).

Years ago I had a friend who said his mother only let him own a couple of pairs of underwear and socks, while she spent thousands on beauty products for herself. As an adult, he had one of the largest underwear and sock collections I’ve ever seen in a man, and was always buying more.

Feelings of Deprivation

My mother also believed the only thing a girl needed was white bras. She herself might have created with Canvahad a couple in beige and black, but my sister and I only got white ones. Like my friend the underwear fanatic, I have a drawer full of bras in a rainbow of colors, but maybe one in white and another in beige for those rare times I buy a shirt that isn’t a bright color itself.

Whether or not my friend or I were actually deprived as kids, or just believed we were is immaterial. The fact that we believed we did without to the point of overcompensating as adults is what matters to us now. I may have slowed down acquisitions in recent years since you can only use so many comforters at once, or wear so many bras in a week. But it doesn’t mean I don’t browse the Kohl’s ads when those things go on sale.

Recognizing the Resentment Behind Our Obsessions

Underlying our obsessions is more than a fair amount of resentment towards, in both examples, our mothers. In my case, it was probably a large part of why I took so long to allow myself to grieve her death. As long as I held onto the resentment, I didn’t acknowledge or accept my need or even my right to grieve. The resentment justified my initial relief that she’d no longer be nagging or making me crazy with her suggestions to improve my life.

Those nagging, hurtful, helpful comments still give me pause. Looking at myself in the mirror at the gym the other day, I noticed my face was looking dull and mucky. It brought to mind a visit to mom’s house. She looked at me and said:

“Your skin looks muddy. Go in the bathroom and wash your face.”

Although I followed her instructions, I spent the rest of the visit like so many others; resenting her interference and her unkind observation. I know now she meant to be helpful, but she didn’t seem to know how to communicate kindness to me, nor did I know how to hear it from her.

Healing To Release Both Physical and Emotional Baggage

created with CanvaAs with everything else, letting go of old hurts is a process, especially when those hurts began before you were even old enough to remember. With each chink in my armor, each bit of mortar I remove from my walls, each brick I finally break loose, I find more pieces of resentment, hurt feelings, deep-seated emotional pain, and trauma. With each new discovery, I have to restart the process of accepting, acknowledging, releasing, and forgiving which I’ve learned is  the only way to truly expunge the old baggage holding us back from achieving the dreams we imagine.

Those resentments and hurts are like sandbags on a hot air balloon. In order to lift from the ground, you either need more hot air or less sandbags. Sometimes it’s a toss-up as to which is easier to accomplish. Some of those sandbags have been part of our lives for so long, they’ve practically fossilized. In some cases, we even mistakenly believe we have to remove them intact.

Gently or Roughly; Only We Know How to Make Changes to Ourselves

Breaking our fossilized baggage into more manageable chunks is often the more practical solution. But emotions and feelings are rarely something we approach with practicality as the motivator or key guideline.

In some cases, we want to rip off the bandage or cut off the offending part as quickly as possible with no concern for the pain and upheaval removal by force will cause. In others, we prefer to remove past events with surgical precision, making sure we keep the damaged piece intact as if we plan on displaying it in our personal museum.

Neither method is right or wrong. You won’t make peace with yourself more quickly with one than the other. Most of all, it isn’t for anyone else to tell you how to get the job done, or even when it’s time to release another piece.

Learning to Look Without Reacting

https://www.flickr.com/photos/dainec/3687658810/in/photolist-bEPm7E-934mpF-6fYkU-e4uZVD-e4AAXW-e4AAV3-6BSduj-3gGWHE-qeDbXE-qeGvKg-Embmi-pXhj22-4azrtU-pwagx-7HXhbQ-z5BPMY-z5BJvW-s12vnBIt’s kind of like looking at the Kohl’s ad, then looking at the pile of comforters in my closet, reminding myself I no longer need to add to the collection. Or opening my overflowing drawer of rainbow-hued bras and realizing I don’t even wear the ones I have often enough to wear them out since I spend my working hours 10 steps from where I sleep, making them superfluous unless I’m going out.

It’s looking at a drawer full of matched and mis-matched socks, knowing it’s time to weed out some of the accumulation and make room for better things I’ll actually use, or at least allow me to see what I have that’s still useful. Sorting through our old baggage is much the same. One day, we look at the closet and realize there’s clutter. We’re finding it difficult to find what we’re looking for because we have to dig through a lot of stuff we haven’t used in ages, and no longer need.

Clear the Physical Along With the Emotional

At that point, we begin cleaning out our emotional cupboard, sorting through things which Created with Canvahave outlived their usefulness and are holding us back from the greatness we deserve. We decide which ones we’ll rip out like a loose tooth, and which we’ll untangle carefully, making sure we don’t damage any of the pieces as we work out the knots.

Sometimes, we need to clear emotions which have become entangled in those knots or woven into the fabric of our life as we go. Those are the ones which require delicacy because they’ve wrapped tendrils around things we want to keep; feelings which make us smile or feel all warm inside.

Asking for Help

Our main concern is knowing when it’s time to let things go, and doing whatever we need to. It may be talking to a friend or a coach. It might be giving yourself a retreat of some kind where you spend time alone in self-reflection. For some, it’s physical activity like hiking, dancing, cycling, or lifting weights. For others, a quiet stroll through the forest or burrowing into a pile of blankets with a good book and their pets.

Wherever you find yourself on this continuum, please, let yourself release some of the crap you’re carrying. Allow time to dig in and see what you’ve finished with and need to let go. Reach out for help if you need it, and even if you think you don’t. You don’t realize sometimes how much you’re holding yourself back until you take an honest look at why you’re standing still.

Above All, Know You Are Worth the Effort

I, myself battle with huge insecurities regarding my writing. I admitted to my coach I’ve probably written over a million words in the last 9 or 10 years, but still struggle with believing in myself as a writer. From where she sits, it’s hard to believe, but here, behind all my own demons, both exorcised and not, a few remain who don’t have to work too hard to convince me I’m unworthy. At least I’ve reached the point where I know they have to go, and can start taking the necessary steps to identify and eradicate those who are still getting in the way of me and my dreams.

How can I help you start identifying and releasing your own demons? I’ve learned a few things in the years I’ve been working on mine, and would be happy to share some of the things that worked—and a few that didn’t. Don’t hide. Leave me a comment and start getting out of your own way.

Gratitude: The Strongest Tool in Our Arsenal

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful I discovered I could combine my love of writing with the road to achieving my dreams.
  2. I’m grateful for friends who’ve opened their hearts, shared their experiences, and helped me heal.
  3. I’m grateful for my coach, my daughter, and numerous friends who are continually making me see I am worthy, I am talented, and I do have expertise in an area or two.
  4. I’m grateful for the inspiration which keeps me writing 3 posts a week for myself, and helping others express their true, vulnerable, beautiful selves as well. This truly is living my dream.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; inspiration, motivation, love, friendship, dancing, community, demanding furballs, persistence, health, peace, 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

Changing It Up To Enhance Creativity

Finding New Ways Out of Old Ruts

https://www.flickr.com/photos/35632217@N05/11141220045/in/photolist-hYvEyM-f3q2XF-WN7cAa-WC2tgo-VvU28y-VVCUnp-VZPPpx-X4hSbx-Xgdvnt-Xa18aU-X5F6Ba-WCiedS-VX3ngd-VZNKfH-XdNen3-X4eCyZ-WMPNM6-W32Dnn-W3cPuB-WYbJQU-VSPUyU-WcLFXu-WYe2r5-X65BN1-VVBR3a-WcJ347-Wy5z6h-WN6NEv-WwVjBd-VWVfpw-WXUkAj-WXTMcm-W36zBD-X27vox-VWWtgb-WC1Dp1-Wy6zs7-Wcye5A-WEfsVW-WDZxtd-VyyhgF-VZJ8T9-Xa1kuJ-WA8NKV-WcJi1w-psKV9t-XdCj1a-X66ds1-VywuMB-WigauPTonight I’m typing on my laptop in front of the TV where I’ve been binge-watching Hallmark Christmas movies while others celebrate Christmas with their families. It’s not that I lacked invitations, but I wanted to be alone, even as I wanted some company. I didn’t realize how much until I burst into tears when the last line of one of the movies talked about how the best family is the one we create with our friends.

It took me a long time to figure that one out, mostly because I spent too many years trying to be what others expected instead of myself. But that’s hovering dangerously in territory I covered a couple of days ago. ADD taking over my brain once again.

What I really want to talk about today is how changing our routine can open doors we didn’t realize were closed. My life and work depends on new ideas; plentiful and frequent. It’s difficult to maintain the momentum sitting in the same place at the same time every day. Sometimes, I need a change of scenery.

Making Dates With Ourselves And Our Creativity

For a while, I was trying to do some cafe writing at least once a week, typically on Fridays. But with the holidays and a bunch of other challenges, the practice has fallen by the wayside, much to the detriment of my idea generation.

Sometimes, a change of scenery is as simple as getting off the desktop and either firing up the laptop or picking up pencil and paper and moving to another room, even in a house as small as mine. This isn’t the first time I moved to my laptop on a TV tray in front of the television to get the creative juices going, and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

That isn’t to say I won’t soon be reviving my cafe writing practice as it yielded some interesting results in the past. Some, in fact, will likely find their way into what I’m starting to see as the memoir from hell, as I work on it in fits and starts these days, throwing roadblocks in my path with every opportunity. I’ve re-set the timeline for completion three times so far, and I’m already a few days behind on the newest one. But at least I’ve learned not to beat myself up about missing deadlines, nor to give up on myself. More than likely, I’ll get into another kind of binging; one which involves writing instead of dividing my attention between the one-eyed monster and games on my phone.

Picking Our Battles With Ourselves

For now, I’m focusing on the immediate which means, getting a couple of weeks ahead on blog posts (I’m currently only a week ahead and that makes me anxious), and researching alternatives to blood pressure medication. My latest two doctor’s visits were disconcerting at best, especially for someone who has always run a little on the low side.

I know part of the problem is the weight I’ve gained since my dance schedule has been disrupted, part is the amount of time I’ve spent sitting lately (also due to the challenge of finding places to dance), and part is clearly a level of stress I don’t typically see, but which has been exacerbated by a dozen different factors this holiday season. As I look back on this paragraph, I realize the temporary loss of my usual dance venue is having a huge impact on my overall health.

Some of it I can mitigate. I’ve increased the amounts of Hawthorne and Potassium I take daily. I’ve revised my shopping list to include foods high in potassium and low in sodium. I’ve reviewed the DASH diet to see what I should and should not be eating, and will be even more crazy about reading labels from here on out. And speaking of out, eating there will be severely curtailed because it’s so much harder to control what’s in my food if someone else makes it.

Life Is About Reviewing What Works, And Changing What Doesn’t

Sure, it means changing my lifestyle even more, but all for the better. I’ve gotten sloppy about my eating habits the last couple of months, and it’s reflected in the numbers on my scale. I’ve missed a few gym days too,. and that’s not helping. Using alternative dance venues means less 10,000 plus step days too. Again, the one habit I’ve broken in this area is beating myself up over my lack of diligence.

What’s done is done. We can’t change the past. We can change what we do now, and try, moment by moment, to do things differently as the future unfolds. Changing up how and where we do our regular tasks is one of the things which can have nothing but positive effects. One of the things I look forward to as 2019 unfolds is embracing more changes in my life.

One Person’s Distraction Is Another’s Focus

Typically, I write either in silence or with music in the background, but tonight as I pound away on my laptop keys in front of yet another cookie cutter Hallmark movie, I’m finding it’s as good at keeping my internal editor in her proper place as music. I’ve seen the movie before so it doesn’t require much of my attention. What it grabs is the part of me who would, if given the chance, pick away at my word choices, my spelling errors, and even the topic I’ve chosen for this post.

It doesn’t hurt that tonight’s selection is about a writer. I find I key into those in particular, despite the fact that Hallmark’s version of a writer is probably romanticized and unrealistic. Yet watching a story about another writer in a strange way inspires me to write. I can’t really explain why, but as it’s gotten me to drag out my laptop and start working on another blog post, I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. In truth, anything that gets me writing is a good thing as far as I’m concerned.

Using What Works Without Dissecting Why

It could simply be the power of suggestion. I’m watching a movie about a writer and, oh yeah. I’m a writer so why am I not writing? Since I don’t have a good answer to that question, I pull out the necessary accoutrements and let the words flow.

Sure the downside to working in a cafe, in front of the TV, or anywhere distractions can wind their way into my attention is that either some of what’s distracting me gets into my writing, or I stop altogether to give my attention to the distraction.

For the first, that’s why I edit what I write. For the second, the diversion is only temporary. I pull my attention back to the project at hand in a reasonable amount of time, thus finishing what I started, (I’ve learned I hate leaving an incomplete blog post. Now to transfer that lack of tolerance to the books I have yet to finish, as my daughter so delicately reminded me recently).

Goals Plus Gratitude Equals Success

Though I don’t make New Year’s resolutions since it’s far less effective than creating To Do lists and cards on my Trello board, I’m setting myself a goal for this year. I will seek and embrace more change in my life; look for opportunities to do things differently; take on challenges without nay-saying them for days or weeks before admitting it’s worth a try. My coach will give me ample opportunity to test this goal, and I hope to rise to the occasion. I do love a challenge!

My gratitudes today are:

  1.  I am grateful for a willingness to recognize how often I get in my own way rather than making necessary and interesting changes,
  2. I am grateful for the friends who have become my family, and who support me without question.
  3. I am grateful for opportunities to do things differently.
  4. I am grateful for a new year, and the chaos it will likely bring to my life. That chaos is overdue and a shakeup with the way I do things is a challenge I know I’m up to undertaking.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; change, challenges, opportunities, new dietary opportunities hidden as restrictions, cats to love, friends to share with, writing to expand upon, clients, inspiration, motivation, health, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

 

Love and Light.

About the Writer

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

Where Are You Getting Your News?

Holding On To Outmoded Methods of Discernment

Emotions are a large part of the human psyche, but they were never meant to replace our brains. They’re a touchstone for some, internal guidance for others, but for many of us, something which makes us repeat old mistakes over and over because we’ve been programmed to avoid things we’ve long since outgrown needing to avoid. Old wounds left scars, but they didn’t take us back over what happened to arrive at a better solution. They simply put a scar in place which triggers avoidance behavior or worse any time we experience anything remotely similar to the original pain-filled experience.

It seems lately this is what people are using to pick sides in a volatile and self-serving political climate. Intentionally emotionally charged topics are at the forefront every single day, obscuring what really matters; we are all in this together, and by working together, we can make things better for all.

When News is Nothing More Than Spewing Propaganda to Incite the Masses

Which brings me to today’s topic, news sources. Maybe I’m not the best person to wax poetic on this topic as I eschewed all news agencies long ago. But then again, maybe I am. It’s no secret each one has its own political slant. People are going to listen to the ones which share their viewpoint more often than not. The problem is by doing so, everything we hear is slanted towards our beliefs, and gives us no chance to understand what drives the other side of the argument.

One night while waiting to get into our local dance hall, someone asked me whether I was still buying NIke products. Of course, a “discussion” about the right to take a knee during the National Anthem arose. I put the word in quotes because it was, except for one voice of reason (which wasn’t mine), more of a series of emotional outbursts than a discussion. It saddened me to see so many of my friends letting their emotions make their decisions, and realizing I’m not doing my part to improve the situation. Not that I’m immune, but those in power are stirring those emotions daily, and as long as we act and don’t think things through or do our own research, they have us by the proverbial short hairs.

We’re so busy in-fighting about stupid, emotionally triggered subjects that we’re letting the thieves clean out the banks, the stores, and every freedom we hold dear. It’s got to stop! We need to push our emotions back where they belong and re-engage our brains.

Opening Our Hearts and Minds

For example, when did people manage to separate the act of kneeling in church from kneeling during the National Anthem, seeing one as an act of respect and the other as tantamount to treason?

Jeremy Adam Smith  published a piece in Scientific American called “The Psychology of Taking a Knee”. In my opinion it is one of the best and most well thought out articles about both the reason for Colin Kaepernick’s misunderstood and misrepresented (for their own personal benefit) act of protest over police violence against blacks in particular. I urge you to not only read it in its entirety, but do so with an open mind and an accepting heart. It’s time we all made more than a token effort to understand beliefs which aren’t our own.

If you ask me, we’ve become a nation of lemmings, believing what we’re told by people we think we should continue to trust no matter how many reasons they give us for running the other way. It’s time to push past the walls of our own cognitive dissonance and realize a good part of our beliefs are based on either faulty or non-existent reasoning. Most of the time, instead of changing old beliefs with new facts, we take the easy road, and fall back on old beliefs, ignoring the reality that’s literally smacking us in the face.

Seeing the Light in the Media’s Darkness

https://www.flickr.com/photos/shan213/13959398126/in/photolist-RwnZWa-ayQgu1-amXuij-9KZfif-bJsTcF-dmiwBx-4LwPZS-ngxyJ3-amXunq-83AkxT-5nmCvL-ajRRF1-p726Pa-8hXzrj-WYoqBq-b3XtLV-gtT43-g2PFEr-ayVLip-6AUTqf-dZMYA2-b3XnVr-dMLMcs-dPtAeM-dC9uL-W1398F-5zxVfC-W13cbK-b3XsLF-WYowof-d5HvmS-ax8DQJ-RsJuww-bsRwtU-ni7c-S7xRBk-qHFZg7-W13cvT-7YXYc7-4geuqc-ax8Sof-SVd9Lv-4yeamM-cx5tVs-dPzfsJ-cYzr1J-SAoCFu-VdeFR1-ax5YN8-4o3RtnPersonally, I admire Nike for hiring Mr. Kaepernick to represent them despite the potentially negative https://www.flickr.com/photos/pvsbond/3477570009/in/photolist-6iispB-cTMR4f-F6qtRL-g25gqj-qnk8ek-721gcK-cTMNFu-gszkkM-cApCff-9nMRgW-orFCmu-asgdxf-9vgqRN-cTN4BU-ntm7Vj-iWoqWL-ruYcaN-hmuAUt-qDJY7g-4cyLgM-bbnbtT-bsTjtB-cTMMhE-boFaev-cTMNrQ-pC6YNZ-eMYwJ4-cTMScQ-cTMQKm-drV5oA-7Rfktm-9iQTqr-cTMNyY-8Hjoex-FzhCh2-9FuTL1-9HqAtM-cTMN3o-RWF1nm-cTMMxq-g2646E-qnjDfp-qnbDUh-5ht2kg-dK3zmi-drV2rE-cTMNbG-9ZxLax-gcrehS-cTMNiYimpact on their profits. It means a lot for a person or company with a fair amount of power (or in this case, financial assets) to back an unpopular viewpoint. People may be doing stupid things like burning shoes in protest of Nike’s decision. Yet they’re talking about it, and paying attention. It’s opening up conversations and inciting people like me to look past the hype and the political machinations to what’s behind a promising athlete essentially killing his career to stand up for what he believes is right.

There will always be people whose minds are closed and who believe they have all the right answers. We can’t help them, nor catch them when they go down in flames. But I believe there are enough of us who are at least ready to hear other points of view, but need to learn to take our own emotional responses out of the mix first.

Being One of the Baby Steps to Change

https://www.flickr.com/photos/genomegov/27861478565/in/photolist-36R456-TVEoV3-7Wybvd-4WUnY9-5fFekL-UxPtrE-JXsDow-JXsDFW-5xxC-i6g81S-pj2KGy-RqtEwb-3bW8wG-aiBE4-21HP7o-7WuXxi-a87gs-v23FG1-e5Ta5U-8hAaU2-7CJgqt-4RTmW-6VGoa4-21HP7G-bKycpP-bwDtbf-rBr5w5-Js2mU6-4RTmT-bKycvn-6nNpdg-dtid4-5hSULN-8qeqEZ-vi6Sx1-vi6iuY-v2adQn-vi6nRJ-vi5UuQ-v23BpL-umARN9-v23yrQ-umAZaJ-wkdd7E-daLc3v-bwDtvf-aLErhv-a3Giyp-9oXUVB-7S9ue4Change doesn’t happen in giant leaps most of the time. Instead, it’s tiny cracks in the impenetrable walls we build around ourselves. It’s opening our hearts just a little to something we’ve misunderstood, and trying to see something from another perspective. We can start by re-evaluating who and what we’re listening to and asking where and why they see things as they do. We can actively look for publications and sources which don’t share our perspective, looking for different interpretations of facts.

Instead of shutting down when we see something that confuses and confounds, we can open to the possibilities. Unless we’re stuck in a dark, dank rut of a comfort zone, we do so with other aspects of our lives. So why not use the skills we’ve learned to open our minds to things which we can’t immediately see as impacting us personally? In reality, we are all connected, so what impacts one, truly does impact us all. Think about that for a few moments.

Breaking Our Own Paradigms

I can only speak for myself in this, but know in the last couple of years I’ve altered my perceptions and pre-conceived notions on a wide variety of subjects. If a self-confirmed hermit like me can come out of her shell, interact more freely with people, and even do live videos, why is it such a stretch for others to make small changes, create tiny openings in beliefs that may seem hard-wired, yet can be changed with a little concerted effort?

Start small. Listen to an opposing viewpoint without immediately going on the defensive. Change news stations (if unlike me you’re still listening). Talk to friends who disagree with you and agree to hear each other out without showing disdain, raising your voice, or emotional outbursts. Or at least read the article I linked.

When you’re ready, branch out. Take one of your more emotional beliefs and the events or people linked to it. Search for articles and stories which take an opposing view and read them without criticism. Learn to accept that there is truth in every side of a story. The trick is to weed out the emotional triggers and biases so you can see the bald, unadulterated truth buried inside the rhetoric.

We’re sentient beings born with the ability to reason and discern. It’s time we rose above the apes and into that birthright again.

Gratitude for All We Have, and All the Possibilities

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for situations and circumstances that remind me to open my mind and stop being an ass.
  2. I am grateful for the lessons I learn both from watching others, and watching myself behaving badly.
  3. I am grateful for a circle of friends with varying beliefs, even if some of it frustrates me and even makes me want to cry.
  4. I am grateful for my talent for research, and the desire to dig deep into things others are accepting on faith these days. Faith is overrated all too often, I’ve found.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, client attraction, friends, joy, kitty love, happiness, morality and ethics (even if buried deep), peace, harmony, philanthropy, health, 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.

Order out of Chaos

A Blind Leap From Order to Chaos

A few years ago, I said good-bye to my last accounting job. I bid a not-so-fond farewell to Corporate America and took the first step towards following my true passion; writing. At first, I reveled in the lack of structure; the removal of specified times to rise and shine. I was grateful to be able to choose the times I worked, played, or imitated a sloth at random.

But old habits die hard and the need for at least a little structure in my life reared it’s ugly head (along with the need to actually be productive for a few hours each day). I realized I needed to set up specific days, if not times, if I wanted to create better habits for my health and finances.

These days, my alarm is set for 8AM (on the clock that’s still set 20 minutes fast to allow for snoozing). I have specific days for going to the gym, and specific workouts for each of those days. And one day a week is set aside (after going to the gym, of course) for running errands.

Structure With a Side of Chaos

Though the day is specific, the errands follow a somewhat flexible pattern. Somewhere along the way, I go to Sprouts for fresh vegetables and to fill my 5 gallon water bottle. My favorite stop, though, is at Trader Joe’s for berries, dairy, and to see what they’re cooking up for samples.

I realized today why it’s my favorite stop. No matter how crowded or chaotic the place might be, the employees are always friendly, helpful, and downright happy to be there (or else they’re incredible actors!) They cheerfully skirt the kidlets with what I consider the worst idea in retail ever: miniature shopping carts. They help people like me find something that’s right in front of their face without making us feel stupid. But most important of all, they share a little of themselves as they’re handing you a sample, totaling your purchases, or helping you find something. They even make waiting in line pleasant!

Trader Joe’s: A Model for Order from Chaos

Heaven knows a retail establishment of any kind encompasses a certain amount of chaos, but a grocery store, and especially one like Trader Joe’s could be a logistic nightmare—and yet, it isn’t. The one I frequent recently got a much-needed, and long overdue expansion when their next door neighbor in the strip mall they occupy moved out. For a couple of weeks, the ceiling looked more like my gym than a grocer. Some aisles were too narrow to push a cart through, as inventory was moved to temporary shelving while walls were moved and cases for frozen food, dairy, and produce were relocated.

Still, the employees maintained their usual happy demeanor, making jokes about the latest version of chaos in their world. Truth be told, I’m still trying to find my way around, though the expansion has been complete for a few months now. I finally remember the coffee is on the opposite end of the store, above the veggie burgers now. I’m still trying to remember where the larger containers of my favorite yogurt live. They’re not where I expect them to be, so I invariably stand in front of the case with a look of confusion on my face until the light bulb comes on and I see what I’m looking for just a little further to the left.

When all is said and done, I appreciate the changes they’ve made to my favorite store, especially as it has given me a few more choices in the process. I love choices, and most of the time, I love change too. I don’t always handle it as effortlessly as the staff at Trader Joe’s, but invariably, I’m grateful for the experience.

Finding Our Own Happy Medium

I started this post talking about structure vs. chaos, then went off on a tangent. (no surprise there). The truth is, I’ve learned these last few years that I don’t do well in a world of either/or. I need a certain amount of structure, but within that structure, there has to be flexibility as well. Not so much the flexibility to bounce back when everything goes to hell in a handbasket, though admittedly, I’ve had a few of those. More like the flexibility to end up on a client call in the morning which pushes back my trip to the gym by an hour or two. Or being able to work longer hours to get all my blog posts written and scheduled so I can go out of town for a few days.

I love being able to give myself a beach day in the middle of the week while most people are at school or work. Though I was eternally grateful there were a few kind-hearted men who rushed to my aid when I misjudged the street parking and got stuck in the sand.

Using My Skills

Years ago, I had a friend whose OCD went nuts when he’d walk into my office. Yet he had to admit I knew where everything was and could put my hands on anything he asked for. He dubbed my system “organized chaos”. In the last four or five years, I realize how apt the description is. My unique approach to things has also taught me how to make order from other peoples’ chaos, earning me another title from the same friend: “Queen of the books from hell”.

Maybe that’s why I love working with small businesses. In so many cases, the accounting is the last thing they want to deal with after managing the thousand and one details necessary to keep their business running. So by the time they realize it’s time to get help, those books and records are a rat’s nest I love to jump in and untangle. Once again, order from chaos.

Give Me Tools To Stay Organized So I Can Cut Loose

I never thought I’d need to use the techniques I learned in my years as an accountant to manage my own life. These days, I have goal sheets for each week and Trello boards for various parts of my business and personal life. I love my tools, and not just the big red toolbox-full in my garage.

The latest application to organize, compile, or schedule sends me into fits of ecstasy. A meet-up via Zoom spanning several continents is enough to make me swoon with delight. I love technology, even when it’s disobeying my commands, because I know from all my years fighting the limitations of accounting software that I will ultimately get my way.

Learning to work your way past obstacles is the key to managing change with grace and good cheer. If you ask me, as long as you approach each change as an adventure; as a mountain to climb and conquer, you’ll be as happy as a pig in mud. It’s not so much the change many people dread, but a new chapter to be written on your own terms. What could be better?

Choosing Our Own Personal Level of Change

Many people hate change. They listen to their mind which insists on maintaining the status quo, but also has no sense of adventure or challenge. They miss out on so many wonderful new things which necessitate leaving the preconceived notions behind and working with a new and unfamiliar set of tools. There is a place for people who are content with doing the same things in the same order for years on end, just as there’s a place for people who push the envelope every minute of the day. There’s also a place for those of us who are somewhere along the continuum, between the extremes. Some are innovators, some are maintainers, and the rest are a combination of both.

There are touchstones in my life; my home, my cats, my family, my friends, my dancing, and my weekly schedule. It’s because of those touchstones I’m comfortable going out on a limb or trying something completely outside my comfort zone. I know if my latest adventure goes south, I have someplace to retreat to, to lick my wounds, evaluate what went wrong, and jump back on the horse who threw me. Maybe that’s why I like a little chaos in my life. If nothing else, it makes me appreciate the places where I’ve created a semblance of order.

And Expressing Gratitude for it All

I am so very grateful for the people, places, and things in my life which make this unconventional way of living possible.

My gratitudes tonight are:

  1. I am grateful for the courage and desire to move past what I know and experience what I know will make me grow.
  2. I am grateful for opportunities to meet new people, try new things, and even reinvent myself.
  3. I am grateful for change. It makes life interesting and shakes up my world so I don’t become complacent…and bored silly.
  4. I am grateful for my writing which is an adventure in and of itself. I never know when a door might open or a possibility arise. But the people I meet along the way enrich my life in ways I’d never have imagined before I began this journey of faith.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; friends, family, health, beauty, inspiration, energy, love, believing in the impossible, new things to learn, growth, evolution, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

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. 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

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

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