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

Posts tagged ‘comfort zone’

Giving the Blog a Facelift Again

In Search of Authenticity

Once again it’s time to change the face of my blog to reflect the changes I’ve made in my life. The change comes because I’ve discovered how valuable it is to show the world our authentic selves. How many times do we get ourselves in trouble by trying to be someone who is not in alignment with our soul? I don’t mean the times when we fake it til we make it, but when we pretend to be someone we’re not for the sole purpose of fitting in. To quote Dr. Seuss “why fit in when you were meant to stand out?”

To say it’s been a rough couple of months for me would be overstating the obvious. Yet it seems I’m not done with the latest series of Universal kicks in the ass. Yes, folks. We’ve gone way beyond head slaps at this point and I’m being seriously challenged to remain upright instead of throwing in the proverbial towel. To put it bluntly, at 62 years old I find myself in the unenviable position of needing to either rejoin a less-than-welcoming job market or somehow manifest some seriously lucrative freelance work. My friend Lucia told me last night that I know what I need to do. My response was to update and publicize my resume, though I know she meant I need to get past my fear and distaste and start pitching like a maniac.

The Ugly Side of Job Sites

Naturally, as soon as I made my resume public on LinkedIn, Indeed, and Careerbuilder I was inundated with emails from insurance companies looking for salespeople and franchise brokers looking for investors. I have to laugh as I would never have made my resume public again if I had money to invest in a new enterprise, much less something which is ultimately benefiting corporate America!

I’m waiting for the influx of employment agencies who have no intention of sending me on a single interview but would love to put me in their inventory to molder on the shelf. I expect a reprieve until Monday when they’re back at their desks.

Open the Window and See the Opportunities

In Neurogym’s winning the Game of Money, the first recording tells a story about walking across the desert, realizing you’re thirsty and have no water, and feeling a little desperate until you trip over a cactus and realize sources of water have been there all along. You just failed to notice or recognize them. I’m doing my best to remember that those cacti, those opportunities really are there. I simply need to alter my focus so I’ll see them for what they are.

To do that I have to avoid both wallowing in my misery and fear, and step a few more paces outside the comfortable and familiar. After all, I know what I’ll find there; more of the same. And yet, I went dancing tonight (against my better judgement), and tried desperately to hold it together. Needless to say, all it took was one person asking “are you OK?” and I failed epicly. But to my surprise, I learned that it’s the next step in living my authenticity. After a lifetime of being strong and independent, I’m still learning not only how to be vulnerable, but that I’m allowed to be vulnerable. To hear my friend Judy tell it, the Universe is going to continue kicking my arse on this one until I stop fighting it and just let myself need other people.

Vulnerability and Independence are Not Mutually Exclusive

This may not seem like anything world-shaking to most of you, but for me, it’s scary as hell to have to depend on someone else. Though I know on a conscious level it doesn’t mean I have to give up my independence, on an egoistic level, my entire being is on high alert, flashing red lights, sirens, and throwing every safeguard I know at what it sees as a security breach. How can I possibly impose on anyone? They have their own problems to deal with. They don’t need to listen to me whine about mine, right?

To hear Judy tell it, I’m dead wrong on this one. This is where I learn to accept help, be it human or Divine. This is where I get the wake-up call that I can’t do it all on my own, no matter how tough and independent I think I am. Until I walk this walk, I can talk all I want to about living authentically, but until I expose that naked underbelly of vulnerability, I’m just another woman behind the mask.

When Our Dreams Scare Us Silly

I had a dream a couple of months ago that I was alone and close to starving. Most of my cats had died because I couldn’t afford to take them to the vet. It’s hard to accept that it wasn’t a premonition of Toby’s death even though I know spending more money on his care would have been unlikely to prolong a quality life for him. But a part of me lives in fear that since I’ve learned how much worse off I am financially, others will experience health problems to make my premonition a reality.That, above everything else would be most likely to have me giving up on it all, so of course, I can’t let that happen. All the more reason to increase my awareness of those lurking opportunities.

Taking Another Leap Outside My Comfort Zone

Still I’m looking forward to the 1000 Speakers Academy I’ll be volunteering at next week. There’s nothing quite so uplifting and inspiring as spending time with successful business owners who are passionate about what they do. And it might be just the place to not only help others but allow someone to help me too! Stay tuned for updates on that!

In Loving Gratitude

My gratitudes tonight are:

  1. I am grateful for my friends who are willing and able to help the Universe kick my butt when I need it.
  2. I am grateful for my lessons in vulnerability, even if I’m learning them, kicking and screaming the whole way.
  3. I am grateful for a young man named Adam who gave me such a high energy, fun, silly West Coast Swing tonight that it chased the blues away completely! (Some people dance WCS sexy and classy, and some of us are more of a Lucy Ricardo meets Mae West) Never again will I berate myself for not being the smooth, classy dancer I see other women being. My Authentic self is just perfect.
  4. I am grateful for being the silly, fun, sometimes irreverent with I am. Not everyone appreciates that in me, but then, I don’t need to please everyone either.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; health (me and my family, both human and furry, friends, and acquaintances too!), dancing, vulnerability, authenticity, inspiration, motivation, Universal butt kicks, friendship, love, giving and receiving, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. She believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She is available for article writing and ghost writing to help your website and the business it supports grow and thrive. She specializes in finding and expressing your authentic self. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information.

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Change the Outside to Change the Inside

A Small Change Sets the Snowball In Motion

We can measure our progress through life by the changes we have made. Some of those changes are intentional, and others are thrust upon us. The effect is the same, but different.

When changes are thrust upon us, we’re like flotsam in the wind. We can choose whether we grab onto something and hold tight to what was, let the wind toss us where it will, or take an active part in mapping our course around the obstacles and against the wind. All too often, these occur when the Universe gets tired of waiting for us to get off our butts and move. I can point to at least a couple of job lay-offs which did just that for me.

Intentional changes give us more control. We choose when to make those changes, how much to change, and what direction those changes will take—to a point. We’re still subjected to external conditions beyond our control, and our ability to switch gears mid-stream will still be tested. But at least we get to choose the starting point.

Turning Dissatisfaction into Opportunity

Lately I’ve become dissatisfied with my current environment; not only physical, but emotional and mental as well. Thankfully, I’ve finally evolved enough to realize I had to make a change, even if it was a tiny one. As I’ve already mentioned a few times, it started when I emptied the last remaining box from the remodel-from-hell. Suddenly, most of what was currently in my control from that little fiasco was gone.

That single act was the snowball which gathered speed along with a few more unneeded items, and started making significant changes in my world. Soon, the box filled with oversized clothes I’d packed up a couple of months ago finally found it’s way to the Samaritan Center. The pair of red Adirondack chairs moved from the sidewalk in front of Lowe’s to my front porch (with a little help from my daughter and her Prius).

Synchronicities began to occur. I’d grabbed some paint chips when we bought my weed whacker (still waiting for a little less heat to actually be used) thinking I’d paint the living room someday. But when we took a wrong turn coming home from the fair grounds and ended up at the beach, I noticed the water matched my paint chip. The next step in my journey began. I was finally ready to make a major change to my environment.

Simple Pleasures

Not only is my living room now a lovely shade of sea green with a deep turquoise accent wall, I got to spend more time than usual with my daughter, working on a project that made us both happy. I’m also one step closer to making my half demolished living room look more inviting both because of the new paint, but also because it inspired me to clear the piles of books on sofa and table.

Replacing the single white plastic chair  on my front porch with two more comfortable red ones gives an outward symbol of my desire to  invite people to share my space. The sea green walls reinforce my dream of one day having an estate overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The beachy red chairs will make the transition nicely. To an outside observer, these hardly seem like steps in the right direction. If you consider that changes begin, not with an act, but with our mindset, the impact of these seemingly small changes is huge. I’ve created a daily reminder of my love of the ocean and how much it figures in my long-term dreams.

I wake every morning to the clean, refreshing color of the walls feeling both soothed and invigorated when I see them as I walk towards the kitchen. Even the china hutch got a face lift since it had to be moved to paint. I took the opportunity to lovingly handle the memories it contained, and have since had an opportunity to use some of the wine glasses with a friend.

A Little Means So Much

These fairly small acts have done something for me I’d failed to achieve any other way. They made room for what I’ve been struggling to attract: people, work, abundance. Until it was cleared, I hadn’t realized how much I’d blocked because of stuff that reminded me of a failure in my life. I hadn’t let go of the pain that failure had caused to find the valuable lessons it gave me. Until I did, I could only see the room, quite literally as a place of muted colors.

My life won’t change overnight. What I did was to find a starting point for making the changes. I got past the overwhelm of having too many things needing repair or change and just picked a spot. Places I’d never even noticed became visible once I’d opened a little space; a chink in my self-imposed fort.

If You Want to Manifest, Create Some Space

Everything is related. When you open a space, you start manifesting. If you want to attract someone into your life, you need to make space: a drawer, a closet, the way you make your bed up. When you clear out a box, a business opportunity might appear like more than one has for me.

Part of the reason we fail to move forward is the firm grip we have on our past. Once we realize we won’t drown if we let go of those irrelevant lifelines, we realize how much we enjoy traveling a little bit lighter. So many of the bricks we’re carrying around are added weight rather than anything we need to shore up a shaky foundation. In fact, sometimes that shaky foundation is the best place for us to be because it forces us to find our balance in other ways.

What Will You Change to Open Space for Manifesting?

What about you? What do you want to bring into your life? What is taking up space in your life or home that is no longer needed? It could be physical, emotional, or something else entirely. What one thing can you release or change to bring your dream one step closer? Stretch your imagination on this. Step out of your comfort zone as far as you can. For me, it was a box of Tupperware. For you, it might be a piece of furniture, an old tent, or even a relationship that’s no longer serving your greater good. Whatever it is, I’d love to hear about your journey and how you made it work for you; how you got yourself back on the road to achieving your dreams.

Join the Gratitude Brigade

Of course, all of these changes would be for naught without gratitude. The Universe gives us more when we show appreciation for what we already have. We express our joy for the people, places, and things in our life and that joy attracts more that makes us joyful.

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful to my daughter for helping me make some much-needed changes in my physical environment.
  2. I am grateful to have finally left the pain of some lessons behind.
  3. I am grateful for the new manifestations in my journey.
  4. I am grateful to be making my way towards my dreams one baby step at a time.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love friendship, clear spaces, joy, peace, harmony, opportunities, help, dreams, inspiration, health, family, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light.

 

You can find the associated Facebook Live Video here!

 

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. She believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She is available for article writing and ghost writing to help your website and the business it supports grow and thrive. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information.

Fears: They Can Cripple or Inspire

Even Dreamers Have Fears

Whether it’s fear of a living thing; spiders, snakes, dogs, bears, fear of something physical; heights, crowds, flying, germs, or something intangible; success, failure, ridicule, exposure. We all have something which stands in the way of doing anything we want to do or being anything we want to be.

The major difference between those who go on to achieve their dreams and those who don’t isn’t lack of fear. It’s learning how to overcome or manage them. But it’s also learning how to use them to our advantage. In fact, learning to listen to our fears can sometimes save our lives.

We accumulate our fears in many ways. Some may be taught to us by our parents. Others may be the result of a frightening experience. Still others come when we make an effort to do something different and we are somehow shamed or humiliated for our trouble. Some may even have no discernible basis, yet they’re no less real than all the others.

Managing Our Fears

I’ve learned to ask myself questions whenever I encounter a roadblock in my life. The first is Am I stuck because I’m afraid of something?

But fears can be tricky little devils. Quite often, thee first time or two I ask the question, I’ll get an immediate denial. But if I keep asking, the denial grows weaker, more hesitant.

Our minds are conditioned to be resistant to change but this resistance isn’t as strong as we might believe. If we keep questioning and prodding, the affinity for sameness will falter. When it does, we need to ask the next question, What am I really afraid of?

Don’t expect the answer to come readily though. The protective instinct still has a few tricks up its sleeve. We might get a vague or generally unhelpful answer. The truth when we finally get to it might actually be a confusing conglomeration of fears which over time have coalesced into one massive excuse for maintaining the status quo.

How Our Fears Keep Us Stuck

But “status quo” or “comfort zone” are just fancy ways to say “rut”. I for one have gone out of my way to move on when I’ve found myself in a rut, regardless of whether the condition is due to outside influences or of my own making.

As might be expected, those of my own making are far more difficult to break free of. The mental resistance to coughing up the real reasons and fears which keep me in the self-made rut is often the work of a master brick-layer. Chipping away years of masonry quality excuses is a major challenge all by itself. But the mind has another weapon at its disposal. That weapon is pain.

Built into those solid stone walls filled with our experiences is all the pain, both real and imagined that we accumulated with those experiences.. When we demolish one of the layers, the pain is released and sometimes even relived. If we take a step back and observe without entangling our emotions, the pain doesn’t last. Doing so, however, requires a conscious effort we don’t always employ during the demolition process. More often, we attack the walls, yanking down bricks and flinging them, willy-nilly, behind us.

Stopping the Pattern of Pain

Far too frequently, part of the lesson we were meant to learn was short-circuited by the pain so we actually have to experience the lesson and the pain again. Only then can we release the pain and the fear it hid within its prickly womb.

So, what is strong enough to make us relive the pain and release the fear?

For me, it’s passion. It’s dreams so vivid I can feel the excitement and replace the fear-based pain with success-based euphoria. I imagine myself with those dreams already fulfilled—where I’m living my passion. I feel the energy of the places I visit and live, the people who are part of my life, the things I’ve accomplished to make at least part of the world a little better. It all becomes as real as my excitement and joy over living my dreams.

Making Sure We’re Headed in the Right Direction

But imagination can take us in the other direction as well. I wrote this post out long hand a few days ago, so I had to search through the collection of notebooks which litter my office, my purse, and random surfaces throughout my house to find what I’d written. In the process, I came across a story I wrote some time ago, detailing a worst-case scenario where I had never succeeded. I’d become so destitute I’d sold my furniture and books, but was still unable to come up with the money for vet bills to save my beloved cats. I won’t take you down the miserable path I’d detailed on 9 pages of college-ruled paper, but the picture I painted was the antithesis of my dreams. It was a picture of a woman alone, friendless and destitute who lived on only for the sake of the 3 remaining cats.

By the time I finished reading what I’d written, tears filled my eyes. But I also faced a harsh reality. I have a choice. I can face my fears, do some really uncomfortable things and manifest my dreams, or I can continue to refuse to do what’s necessary, hope for the best and, if not be quite as pathetic as the story in my dream, still find myself paring my life way back and having to make some tough decisions where future expenditures are concerned.

Keeping Our Choices Real

Life is always about choices, and how we deal with our fears is one of the biggest because it can mean the difference between living our dreams or our worst nightmares. Does anyone truly wish to live their nightmares? Yet many don’t realize they do so because of their own choices.

I don’t know about you, but I have some fears I need to drop kick into oblivion. I don’t know quite how I’ll do it, but I know I’m asking for help, which is something I don’t normally do. Sometimes, the first fear you have to conquer is the fear of being a burden.

Start by Being Grateful

My gratitudes tonight are:

  1. I am grateful for the things I find that remind me or shake me out of my complacency.
  2. I am grateful for choices.
  3. I am grateful for my friends and family who wouldn’t abandon me as my imagination sometimes believes.
  4. I am grateful for the lessons I’ve learned and those I’m still learning.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; lessons, friends, love, joy, dreams, fears conquered, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

The accompanying Facebook Live can be found here.

 

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

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, www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

 

Photo Courtesy of Lucie Provencher via Flickr

The Tarot Card pictured is The Tower from the Spiral Tarot

Why We Fear Success

Our Hard-wired Brains

The mind is a very delicate piece of machinery. The slightest alteration in frequency can throw some of us into a tizzy of anxiety-related symptoms; quivery stomach, a tight band around our skull, the urge to run away and hide under our covers. Regardless of our personal reactions, the result, if we heed it, can be the same: permanent residence in the comfort zone.

For some people, that’s all well and fine, but staying in the comfort zone is staying in one place, never evolving, never learning, never becoming what we were meant to be. And all because our brains are resistant to change.

We Fear Success Specifically

Success can be an especially frightening challenge for our poor, change-resistant brains because achieving success, whether it’s by improving our health habits, advancing our career, or initiating world peace comes only by taking giant leaps out of our comfort zone. None of this dipping our toe in the water and leaping back if it’s even a degree too cold. To be successful, we must step out of our comfort zone not once, but over and over again. The closer we get to succeeding, the further we venture from our comfort zone. In fact, people who enjoy the most success in their lives have, at some point, left their comfort zone far behind. It only serves to put limits on what can be achieved.

Those initial steps outside the familiar, the safe are the scariest of all. Not only are we leaving behind what we know works for us, but in doing so, we’re creating whole new paths. Even more, we’re creating whole new techniques! In short, we’re leaving our minds nothing familiar to grab onto when the roller coaster ride begins. While our hearts are shouting Hooeee! What a ride! More! More! our minds our scrunching themselves into a tight ball of pure terror, shrieking Make it stop! Oh, please, make it stop!

But our minds are much stronger than they realize. Over time, they’ve adapted to all the changes inherent in simply growing from infancy to adulthood. They don’t always like where we take them, or even the road conditions, but eventually, they rise to the occasion and support our new endeavors.

Overcoming the Fear Mentality

There are many ways to overcome our innate fears. Some favor the “all in” approach which is much like taking a flying leap into a pool, determined to get used to the water or else. It’s fast and effective, though sometimes overly traumatic.

Others favor the toe-dipping approach you see people use when venturing into the ocean at the beginning of the summer. They take a step forward, ready to leap back if the water is too cold. If it’s cold but bearable, they may venture in up to the ankles, and so on until they’re fully immersed. This process can take forever, or not happen at all depending on how much discomfort the person and their brain can handle.

What I’ve found most effective (though Type A’s will surely disagree) is a combination of the two. First, I tell myself what I’m going to experience will be entertaining and perhaps educational. I tune out any arguments, making it clear I’m in charge. Then I take a step forward. I may take one more, but most important here is to change my set point.

Raising the Bar

Changing our set point, be it mentally, physically, or emotionally is essentially a re-set of our goals. We congratulate ourselves on the progress we’ve made, and set another challenging but achievable goal. Using weight loss as an example, our bodies become used to being at a certain weight, healthy or not. In order to make a permanent change, we have to see ourselves weighing less. Not all the way to our goal, especially those of us who have more than 5 or 10 pounds to lose! That’s a sure path to discouragement, not to mention gaining back what we’ve lost.

I set my own goals in 10 pound increments, but allow 5 pound mini goals too. A week or so ago, my scale showed a rather unlikely drop, but seemed to stay consistent no matter how many times I got on and off of it. Instead of being excited about getting closer to my goal, I panicked. In that panic, I ended up erasing the progress I’d made since I’d reached my latest 10 pound goal; not by much, but enough to make me see what had happened.

My brain had taken over. It whispered How are you going to handle being thinner? Won’t all the attention you’d get be scary? Instead of ignoring that fearful voice, I succumbed, eating badly and not moving enough for a few days. (I eventually discovered a small, star-shaped piece of wax had found its way beneath the scale, causing it to register incorrectly, but by then, the damage was done). I started turning things around a bit yesterday, and today, while writing my morning pages, I saw it for what it was. Fear. Plain and simple. My brain was reacting to the positive feedback I’d been receiving. It didn’t like the fact that I was putting on makeup and fixing my hair to do Facebook Lives. Too many things were changing and it was being forced to swim as the waters deepened.

Growing Stronger With Every Leap

Just as the body grows stronger when we push it to do more, the brain does too. When we refuse to succumb to the voice of fear, it becomes easier to do things we’d never done before. The idea of adventure far outweighs the fear of failure, or more importantly, success. I don’t think the brain really fears failure in the overall scheme of things anyway. Failure means it gets to maintain the status quo. Success is a much bigger threat, at least until we re-train our brains to see the wonder and beauty those successes bring into our lives.

I won’t say it’s something we ever get away from. There will always be times our brain wants to retreat. The key is recognizing when it’s happening and pushing forward anyway. Moving our set points further out. Challenging ourselves to fight for the dream, even when the one we’re fighting is ourselves.

Here’s to Your Continued Success

I hope if you’re struggling that you’ll seek out that frightened child within yourself. Take charge of your life instead of letting fear of change keep you from achieving your dreams. Overall, change is what makes life interesting. Whether we like it or not everything around us is changing all the time anyway. So why not become part of the changing landscape?

Gratitude: A Powerful Motivator

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the epiphanies which help me overcome roadblocks of self-doubt.
  2. I am grateful for the people who are constantly moving in and out of my life to teach me about myself and the world around me.
  3. I am grateful for endless possibilities.
  4. I am grateful four the strength and courage I’m developing as I overcome each new obstacle to my success.
  5. I am grateful for abundance: success, joy, love, friendship, adventure, possibilities, inspiration, motivation, creativity, courage, peace, harmony, 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, www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

 

Photo courtesy of Affen Ajlfe

How Much Serendipity Do We Need for Self-Trust?

Why Do We Trust Others More Than Ourselves?

A few years ago, I took a class in healing. One of the things we had to learn was to trust the feelings, images, sounds, or whatever messages we received. This has always been difficult for me. I’m all too quick to discount what I’m feeling as simply my overactive imagination.

Time and time again during the course of the class, my feelings were corroborated, often with some surprise on the part of the person I was working with. Yet, to this day, I still struggle to just trust myself.

Over the years, I’ve become increasingly aware of repeating numbers. I’ll see 11:11, 3:33 and other combinations fairly frequently, but for a long time attributed it to the new car syndrome. You know how when you buy a new car (or anything else for that matter) you suddenly start seeing others like it everywhere. It isn’t that there are more of them. You’ve just become more aware.

Pay Attention to the Signs

Many see these repeating numbers as confirmation that you’re on the right track, or as angel messages. Either way, they are considered a sign that you need to pay attention to something. Call me a crackpot if you must, but I’m one who started out just noticing the frequent occurrence and seeing it as things that make you go hmmmm. As other things begin occurring which corroborate the messages in the numbers, I’m starting to believe it’s the Universe, getting my attention in a kinder, gentler way than its usual rather painful head slaps.

Whether it’s all green lights on a stretch of road I know is timed to stop drivers every few blocks, or finding the perfect parking spot in a crowded lot, or even forcing me to walk a mile and a half each way because the closer froyo shop is now only selling Dole Whips. I feel like I’m being pushed a little further on my path, but more, being reminded to trust in myself and where I’m going.

Leave the Comfort Zone, Follow the Heart

A few weeks ago, I took a gigantic leap outside my comfort zone and introduced myself to Carolyn Maul, a life coach and personal trainer. Although I’m not in a place right now to hire her, she gave me a couple of pieces of advice which have made significant changes in my life. Though they were things I already knew about, I wasn’t doing them, and her suggestions came at exactly the right time. You might notice there has been a marked increase in blog posts in the last few weeks, and I attribute that to following Carolyn’s advice concerning my health. When I started treating my body better, my brain engaged. Who’d have thought?

A few weeks into a routine which involved tracking what I eat and going to the gym 3 times a week, I’m getting out more, writing more, and finding inspiration in interesting places. But I’m also finding that what I’m inspired to write about shows up a day or two later on someone else’s blog or Facebook page, corroborating my own perceptions.

And there it is again. I recognize something, but think it’s only me. Not long afterwards, my feelings are confirmed by others. If the Universe was into neon, I’m sure I’d be seeing flashing red signs saying Are you going to start trusting yourself or what?

Recognizing Good News as Well as Bad

We all recognize the warning signs which tell us we’re heading into they abyss; the sick feeling in the pit of our stomach, the reluctance to step further into a situation. Sometimes we heed them and are glad we did. Other times, we ignore them and pay the price later. But how often do we recognize the signs which tell us we’re heading in the right direction; following our true path?

Those signs are more subtle (most of the time) but they are still there. I’ve found they become especially strong when our courage is waning or when we’re about to give up because we’re not seeing results and the future looks grim for one reason or another. Maybe that’s why I’m noticing them now.

My dream of being a writer and somehow being able to support myself with it has seen a limited amount of success in the 3 years or so I’ve been pursuing it. Some of it is me as I have long dry spells when few words hit the page…any page. Then I get really inspired and write thousands of words in several places in a matter of days. The floodgates open and I’m like a waterfall after a heavy rain. I can barely type fast enough to keep up. My desk is littered with notes about what I’ll write next. I’m typing madly into my phone instead of dancing because an idea has to be captured before it flits away along with the million and three other thoughts rushing through my brain.

In the last few weeks, I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone more often and more dramatically than I have since I made the gigantic leap of faith which left me without a steady source of income or even a regular routine. One of the biggest things I’ve accomplished is setting a routine, not only health-wise, but work-wise too.

Changing From the Inside Out

I guess you’re wondering what’s changed. Here’s a brief recap:

  • Tracking all meals on MyFitnessPal
  • Resuming the fat release progress I started last year
  • Setting 3 regular days to work out (in the past I just said I’d work out 3 days, but didn’t specify which ones, so the routine died on the vine in short order)
  • Writing at least 3 blog posts a week
  • Adding chapters to Forgotten Victims every week
  • Responding to job postings (with limited success at the moment, but I have confidence the tide will turn)
  • Developing a plan for the type of websites I will pitch
  • Expanding my own skill-set for VA work
  • Learning to trust the feelings and ideas I get without question

I’m not seeing huge successes in any of these areas…yet. I am, however, giving myself credit for each and every one instead of beating myself up when one or another doesn’t give me immediate results. I’ve discovered it isn’t how fast you get results, but how consistent you are in sticking to the plan. The rest will come together in time.

The biggest change, however, is my attitude. My confidence has returned on many levels. I know I can make my ideas work. I know I can get published. I know I can be a knock-out VA. And because of all this, I’m more willing to go out on a limb, nearly any limb (I draw the line at bungee jumping or jumping out of perfectly good airplanes). I’m leaping out of bed every morning having finally recovered from Daylight Savings Time, earlier and earlier. I’m excited about what the day will bring, even if it’s just another batch of something or other for my freezer which will save me from having to cook for awhile. (That has to stop after today, though. I’m almost out of space and today’s batch of stuffed cabbage will require all my Tetris skills to get everything in in an organized fashion. I rather like being able to choose what I want from the appropriate pile rather than just reaching in, grabbing a container, and hoping for the best.

What Signs Are YOU Ignoring?

Now I’m going to throw this over to you. What changes have you made or could you make which will get you going in the right direction? What signs have you been getting which tell you either that your on the right path or it’s time to change direction? How often do you take these signs seriously? If seldom, isn’t it time to start trusting your gut, so to speak? Above all, can you identify at least one small success which resulted from trusting your intuition?

I look forward to hearing YOUR story!

Reinforcing the Changes With Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for signs.
  2. I am grateful I’m finally learning to trust in myself and know everything is working out exactly as it’s supposed to.
  3. I am grateful for the love and support of friends and family who aren’t afraid to tell me when I’m going in the right direction despite appearances, but who are also not afraid to tell me I need to get my act together.
  4. I am grateful for all of the amazing changes which have come from a single encounter with an amazing woman.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; courage, drive, productivity, imagination, dreams, hopes, love, friendship, surprises, confidence, hope, peace, harmony, 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, www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

Universe-driven Inspiration: Introducing Life Coach Carolyn Maul

As the New Year Slips By

For the last couple of months I’ve been floundering. No, floundering would infer that I’ve actually been trying to accomplish something. The truth is, I’ve been treading water…barely.

I’ve made a few feeble attempts to drum up business, but the Universe in its infinite wisdom seems to direct my attempts into that black hole wherein lives my despair. I followed up on an interesting lead and even shared the email I wrote with someone I trust implicitly (and despite her own challenges, is one kick-ass salesperson!) who told me it was a good pitch. That was over a week ago and the silence is deafening.

When my daughter opined today that it was already March, my frustration wanted to reach through the phone and choke the words back down her throat. “It’s not March yet!” I insisted.

But it may as well be. Forgotten Victims is no further along than it was in January, aside from finally having transcribed my handwritten outline of the first 13 chapters (now that’s ominous, isn’t it? I’ve only written 13 chapters. I can hear the clanging of the dungeon door as I write those words).

Despite all of the doom and gloom there are always those guiding lights; those sparks of inspiration; those words of encouragement which keep me going on this path I set for myself over 3 years ago. I still visualize myself as a successful writer with my memoir and several novels gracing the shelves of Barnes and Noble; the web pages of Amazon.com.

The Spark I Didn’t See Coming

Every once in awhile, you encounter someone who commands the attention of men and women alike, not by their actions, but by their presence.

Such was the case for me this weekend when I started a conversation with a woman I’d noticed at the club where I dance. She typically hangs out across the dance floor from my usual spot, but I could not help noticing her; the way she holds herself, the sheer confidence in her manner. I admit it. She has qualities I aspire to but am still learning how to achieve. To say she is striking is to understate it by a thousand degrees or more, but words escape me. Yes, I know that’s unbelievable for one who regularly says what she has to say in 10,000 words or more. The lack of words alone should be enough to demonstrate the quiet, serene power of a woman whose presence is palpable, even across a crowded dance floor.

Recognizing Inspiration, Whatever Form it Takes

We talked about what we do and I gave her my card. She reached out to me today, and offered me a chance to take a closer look at what is behind her amazing presence.  Carolyn Maul is a Life Coach, but like none I’ve ever seen. She completely embodies the words she speaks and the advice she gives.

After reading just a couple of her blog posts, I felt a renewal of that spark which started me writing Forgotten Victims what now seems like eons ago. As difficult as it has been to resume work on it and to embark on the long road to pitching a non-fiction project to publishers, I feel better about getting out of my own way and allowing the words to flow again. I can finally admit that the words are dammed up because I’ve built the dam. The only way to take that dam down is brick by brick. The bricks are my words and thoughts on a painful and difficult part of my life, but one which I know needs to be shared to a wider audience.

I can’t do that unless I truly commit to finishing it, some of which is going to involve reaching out to fellow writers to learn some of the things they do to finish their own projects and set achievable deadlines. I am truly my own worst enemy, and relegate my own work to the bottom of the pile. I’d never treat a client the way I treat myself. It’s time I listened to the advice I’ve been so freely given and treat myself like the best client on my roster.

A Life Coach for Type A’s

So thank you, Universe, for putting Carolyn in front of me, and forcing me to pay attention. And if you are a Type A personality (which I, admittedly am not) who could use a little help achieving your goals, do yourself a favor. Take a few minutes to watch her introductory video and browse her blog. Maybe even take her quiz. You might, like me, find the inspiration or the motivation to push past the blocks which stand between you and your dreams.

Always so Much to be Grateful For

My gratitudes tonight are:

  1. I am grateful for the down times as they give me time to build up the energy for the long stretches of intense effort.
  2. I am grateful for opportunities to meet new people and get out of my comfort zone which frankly, has become pretty boring lately.
  3. I am grateful for the pain in my life which can and will be faced. Which by so doing could just help someone else who’s lived a similar trauma.
  4. I am grateful for loss as it makes me appreciate the good times and the little things all the more.
  5. I am grateful for abundance: love, inspiration, Universal head slaps, friendship, dancing, learning, challenges, peace, harmony, letting go and holding on, 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, www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

Photo courtesy of Arseni Mourzenko via Flikr

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