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

Posts tagged ‘Decluttering’

Inboxer Rebellion Part Something-or-Other

Taking Inbox Sales to a New Level

inbox zeroWith increasing frequency, not to mention volume, I’m seeing the inboxes on all my email accounts filled with exhortations, and sometimes even pleas to part with my own dwindling cache of cash. Some are open and honest about it while others….aren’t.

I don’t really mind the ones from places like Kohl’s, Costco, World Market, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, or even Groupon. Many have been forced to temporarily close their doors leaving stock on the shelves that was ordered months ago and may or may not be seasonal. Those who are still open see less traffic, and people who do come to shop head for the necessities first, and the luxuries second, if at all. There too, much of what’s on display is either seasonal, or will soon be obsolete.

Though some of this type still use tactics like “best sale of the season”, or “last chance”, or “special purchase”, they’re basically open about what they’re asking of me, and absent of any subtle or outright yank of my emotional chain. They’re simply trying to move the merchandise they might have committed to a season or two ago.

The Ugly Side of Marketing 101

The ones that have begun to get on my nerves are the subtler ones who are selling a product or service that, in my mind anyway never was, and never will be essential. Many are using tactics I’ve always considered repellent. Things like:

  • You should be downright grateful I’m offering you a few kernels of my wisdom for free
  • If you don’t respond favorably (e.g. send me lots of money) I’ll assume you hate money (and this is often said in a disparaging manner)
  • You’re a fool if you don’t make a monetary investment in yourself right now
  • You’re a lazy dullard if you don’t take advantage of my offer
  • Look at how many people are sending me lots of money for my wisdom right now (insert testimonials here). Why aren’t you jumping on my bandwagon?

This is only a sampling (and of course, my interpretation) of what’s filling my inboxes every day. Of course, I have the right to both delete the emails and opt out, and have done so in quite a few cases. Still, there are a few relationships I’m not quite ready to kill yet. Maybe I’m still giving some the benefit of the doubt that this is a minor deviation before they go back to the honest and upright citizens I believed them to be when I joined their email list or community in the first place.

The last on on the above list takes me back to my college years and Marketing 101. “Jump on the Bandwagon” was one of the oldest arrows in a marketer’s quiver, and one that will always push me away rather than get me to buy. If nothing else, I’m nobody’s lemming, and especially when my money is involved. I’m especially intolerant of those who think they have the right to tell me how and where to spend it.

Doing My Due Diligence

I’m the type who, when faced with a new level of expertise will hang around for awhile, watching and listening. If I see some value in what’s offered, I may dip my toe in the water (read: purchase one of their less pricey options). I may even, after watching and listening some more, invest a little more time and money to see if what they offer is a good fit for me.

I will, however, either backpedal quickly, or run the other way if their behavior starts smelling like the old hard sell, or worse, a bait and switch. I’ll admit, I’m naive in a lot of ways, and may be convinced to part with a few hundred dollars by some of the sneakier sales hawks. But when I have to follow a series of links in order to:

A. Get real information about what they’re offering

B. Learn what their offering will cost me (which is usually several thousand dollars at a minimum)

C. Get only a vague idea of whether or not it will even work for me

D. See a series of entirely one-sided disclaimers

My spidey senses go on high alert, and even if it’s not a scam, I know there are hidden perils and pitfalls I’m best served in avoiding like (at the risk of saying this too soon) the plague!

A Protective Layer of Skepticism is Warranted

Whether rationally or not, my first thought is “this person is fleecing a lot of people who are too or ashamed to admit it”. Maybe they are, and maybe they truly are legitimate. The fact remains, they’re too rich for my blood. I’ve also spent too many years padding someone else’s retirement to fall victim to one that may not involve being at an employer’s beck and call, but yields the same results.

Despite my feelings right now, there are still a few I’ll continue to follow for reasons of my own. Perhaps I’m waiting for the truth to dawn, or maybe I’m attributing some of what to me, if not to them looks like a kind of Hail Mary play while the world, especially when it comes to commerce and finance, is in complete turmoil.

I know from my own experience things will ultimately shake themselves out, and the cream will rise to the top of the pan. Until then, I’ll keep watching and listening, but buying only what I need from purveyors of goods or services. If what’s offered fails to meet my own litmus test of necessary or not, I’ll let them continue to fill my inbox until such time as they either offer something I consider valuable and worthwhile, or they prove themselves beyond a shadow of a doubt to only be in it for their own personal gain.

As far as I’m concerned, deciding who can and cannot fill my inbox is another sort of decluttering, and is part and parcel of how I’m spending my time these days. Some days, I’m decluttering my mind. Sometimes, it’s a room in my house. When I get tired of some peoples’ tactics or claims, it’ll be my inbox. For those who don’t make the cut, it isn’t personal. We’re simply not a good fit anymore, if we ever were. It might have taken me longer to realize it in some cases. Some people are that good at masking their true purpose for awhile.

Gratitude Keeps Me Balanced

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for classes I took decades ago which have left a modicum of wisdom and knowledge behind.
  2. I’m grateful for opportunities to see different tactics in action.
  3. I’m grateful for the people who’ve allowed me into their communities to watch, learn, grow, and sometimes, leave.
  4. I’m grateful for pragmatism. There are few things I’ve done or places I’ve gone that didn’t give me something, even if it was only a lesson.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, joy, friendship, inspiration, motivation, commitment, dedication, creativity, peace, hope, harmony, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light


About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a Holistic Ghostwriter, and an advocate for cats and mental health. 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

Signs from the Universe: Subtlety be Damned

Getting My Attention Gently or Not

There are times when the Universe whispers in my ear. Sometimes, it’s so softly, I can’t make out the words. When that happens, I’m likely to go my merry way, oblivious to impending danger, or at least the sudden wake-up call of a Universal head slap.

The last month has been a succession of words softly spoken, then the increasing volume which precludes the inevitable head slap if I haven’t taken the appropriate action.

At first, it was the suggestion that I put together “My Exceptional Life Blueprint” and re-visit it daily (which I haven’t necessarily done, but am acting on a lot of it, so I guess the Universe approves). Part of that blueprint was a reading list. I began by reading Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, but hit a wall halfway through when his discussion of resume creation was woefully dated. Not that the information he imparts, aside from things which technology has rendered obsolete, can’t be put to good use. But I found my attention straying from the message. I was guided to pick up another book I’d started months ago, but given up on halfway through. In this case, I know now that I’ve finished reading it that I just wasn’t ready for the message. This time, while reading The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, I read it very carefully, internalizing the words and the message and incorporating what I read into my daily meditations.

Opportunities to Change up the Routine

Having reached the end of my second round of WTGOM and the first round of WTGOWL, it was the perfect time to go back to my silent meditations for a little while.

But the real head slap came after spending another couple of hours trying to write an article about Collaboration in accordance with a client’s vision. I opened my email and found my monthly forecast from the Power Path. The first thing I saw when I opened it was “The August forecast with the main theme of “COLLABORATION” is now up on the website.” If I hadn’t already been working on the article, it would certainly have let me know today was the day to get that puppy off my plate!

There have been a number of epiphanies in the last few days, all guiding me to stop putting off tasks which I’d undertaken and just get them done. It might mean breaking them up into manageable pieces as I did with one of them, or it might mean just biting the bullet, picking up my notes and writing the danged article. Either way, my mind will no longer be having a good time castigating me for my sloth.

More Than One Method of Decluttering

These days, there’s a lot of talk directed towards decluttering your environment. As I see it, projects left undone and ideas not acted upon are part of my environment. My office will never look like a place of beauty and organization, at least to the eyes of someone who likes everything in its proper place. Organized chaos will always work best for me, but I know exactly where things are. In short, it works for me. It doesn’t have to work for anyone else.

I can proudly say I’m more than halfway through one project, have finished the Collaboration article again, and sent it to the client and have finished one of the books on my reading list. I also managed to thin down the stack of papers on top of my rolling file cabinet by half. Of course, my brain has me thinking of ways to organize my massive library by author, but it’s writing checks my body is unwilling to cash at the moment. Somehow, the idea of pulling thousands of books off the shelves and sorting them by author is not what I envision doing in the days to come. At some point, I know it will happen, but the foreseeable future is neither the time nor the place. But when I do, I know I’ll unearth treasures I’d forgotten I had!

For now, I’ll focus on completing the three lingering tasks left on my plate, working through my self-imposed reading list and making small improvements in my physical environment. That alone should keep me busy for at least the next few days.

Keeping Gratitude in Focus

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for small victories.
2. I am grateful that I manage to heed some messages from the Universe before they degenerate into head slaps.
3. I am grateful for my time alone; to read, to contemplate, to finish projects and to declutter.
4. I am grateful for the many opportunities which are starting to enter my field of vision.
5. I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, opportunity, motivation, inspiration, decluttering, peace, harmony, blessings, health, philanthropy and prosperity.

Blessed Be

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

What? You Want me to Change my Look?

The More We Change, the More We Stay the Same

In the last couple of days, two different articles/videos showed up in my news feed about the importance of changing your hairstyle. Crazy hairOne even had the commentator declaring “You must change your hairstyle at least every 2 years to avoid looking older.” I found this especially amusing because I haven’t changed mine in at least a couple of decades yet am constantly mistaken for 10-15 years younger. So much for that idea. Or, do they mean, I could look 35 again if I changed my hair? Hmmm, let’s think about this for a minute. The men my age are going for the 40-year-olds so if I look 35, I’d attract the 50-year-olds? This could work for me!

But I digress. As focused as I am on all things ‘change’, the whole scenario got my attention and started the gears turning. I claim to have made some significant changes, and indeed I have, but are they really enough? I’m still a terrible procrastinator and I’ve yet to publish so much as a short story (assuming I could limit myself to 5,000 words instead of 100,000). I’m watching fellow freelancers and other entrepreneurs making up their former salaries in a matter of months yet, to quote someone in my networking group, there are times when I feel like I’m hemorrhaging money. OK, so it’s not really that bad, but unlike him, I don’t have an office to pay for or anything other than my existing living expenses and those of my cats.

Sure, my hours have changed. I’m living a 9-ish to 2-ish lifestyle now, but I’m not working enough to even make me happy. Then I hit a rut like I’ve been in for the last few days and get very little done. I know I’ll make it up by working some long days to catch up, and I did get my personal books updated, but what about those long-term items on my to do list? I haven’t knocked one off the list in quite awhile, and let’s not get started on the gym routine which started off so well at the beginning of the year and has been non-existent since June.

Yes, I’ve decluttered my life a lot but I haven’t finished. Yes, I have gotten into some very good routines so my house isn’t a complete pigsty. But would I be embarrassed to have visitors right now? Yes, I would. Until I get the nasty, stinky, stained carpet pulled up in my bedroom, I would. Until I figure out how to at least get the kitchen cabinets in, the wall torn down and the tile installed, yes, it looks like I’m living in a war zone. Sure, it’s an easily maintained war zone, but a war zone nonetheless.

I’m also lacking the get up and go I need, or maybe it’s the confidence, to bring in new business, sell my writing, finish at least one novel all the way through editing and formatting and just start living up to my potential (hear that, Mom. I’m agreeing with you now). I need a better plan. I know that. But I don’t know where I want to begin. It’s not that I don’t have several quite viable directions I can go. My problem lies in choosing one, mapping it out and running with it.

Does Changing the Outside Change the Inside?

I have to wonder if changing the outside really would have the “King and I” effect? Would I be able to convince myself that I’m the successful and prolific author of my dreams by changing my outward appearance? By giving up the natty t-shirt and gym shorts in favor of stylish duds, makeup and an actual hairdo that doesn’t involve a scrunchy? Does hair really make the girl?

I’m opening this one up to my readers.

Have you changed your life by changing your look? For the better? Was it a major change or a minor one?

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for continuing to step out of my comfort zone.
2. I am grateful for new ideas.
3. I am grateful for change, even if it’s smaller than I first thought.
4. I am grateful for progress; slow, sometimes unsteady, but progress nonetheless.
5. I am grateful for abundance; peace, harmony, prosperity, forward momentum, friendship, love, connection, inspiration, motivation, and philanthropy.

“font-family: lucida sans; font-size: small;”>Blessed Be

“font-family: lucida sans; font-size: small;”>I invite you to visit my Facebook pages at and . Please also drop by my website, and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

February 16, 2015 Inclined to rest a lot

Grateful for a couple of days to just rest and think

I know that anyone with children in the house would kill for a day like my last two, just relaxing, sleeping in, getting a few minor chores done, cuddling with the cats, reading and playing computer games. But before you start reaching for the sharp objects, let me assure you that when I do get these days, I know that I’d best take advantage of them because sure as the Universe loves to give me head slaps, there’s something coming that is going to kick my complacent butt from here to China if I haven’t gotten the message and buckled the industrial size seat belts. When I get a couple of days in which I can disconnect, open my office window to gentle breezes and moderate temperatures (which, by our local standards means anywhere between about 68 and 75 degrees), listen to the birds chirping and the cats chirping back, I know that the pace of life and the world’s expectations of me and my time are about to drag me into warp drive.

I may no longer have children to chase or shlep from one activity to the next, but I do have writing to keep up with, a web page to somehow turn into a work of art, an interview to write for said web page and editing to accomplish based on critiques I’m receiving. There are also expectations for my small accounting business and the usual chores to do and bills to pay. Around here, if I don’t do the chores, they don’t get done, it’s as simple as that. And Dylan makes it very clear that empty food or water bowls and full sandboxes are simply not acceptable to his meticulous self. He also takes issue with me spending too much time in front of the computer and has taken to laying on my mouse hand with claws slightly extended into my hand to express his displeasure. But he’s also the very best of company when I’m reading or resting or just don’t want to deal with humanity, singularly or as a whole at the moment.

Significant seismic activity around the “Ring of Fire” are not helping

I’ve always been particularly sensitive to earthquakes, especially the larger ones in the vicinity of my home. In the last few days, the earthquake maps for the Pacific Ocean region have been lit up like the proverbial Christmas tree with Japan and Australia seeing the worst of it…so far. Hereabouts, we’ve had a whole lot of smaller shakers, of the 3 and below variety. Natives don’t even think of those as earthquakes and in a lot of cases, we don’t even feel them. But right now, I’m feeling anxious and twitchy in spite of a very relaxing day, so I know that something at least the magnitude of a large earthquake is waiting in the wings until just the right time to get my attention in a most magnificent way.

I do take these warnings very seriously, and have taken steps to get some things out of the way before my life becomes a classic example of theatre of the absurd. Though with careful preparation, I may not be running behind the cart, trying to keep up, I will certainly be holding on to the edges, doing my best to keep from being slammed from one side to the other and, believe it or not, enjoying the heck out of the wild ride.

Too much of anything is bad for the soul and that includes quiet

My life has been pretty calm and predictable for longer than usual and I’ve started getting into some less than spectacular habits, so it really is time for at least a little shaking up. But I know from experience that the Universe seldom gives me just a little of anything, so I did a little extra clutter clearing over the last couple of weeks in preparation for an avalanche of tasks and projects. Worst case scenario, my inklings are off base and I just wind up with more time to work on the two novels and a children’s book I have in progress as well as time to really learn how to make WordPress work for me and my fledgling website.

Either way, stay tuned for the fun. It’s bound to have huge doses of humor if nothing else. As I see it, laughter is always a good thing!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for warnings.
2. I am grateful for calm, quiet, peaceful, human-less days.
3. I am grateful that my life has a lot less clutter these days which allows me to respond to changes more easily.
4. I am grateful for interesting dreams as they may some day find themselves between the pages of a book.
5. I am grateful for abundance; peace and quiet, love, beauty, temperate days, restful nights, friendship, dancing, exercise, health, harmony and prosperity.

Blessed Be

August 20, 2014 Ode to Decluttering

The first thing to realize is that clutter comes in many forms: Energetic, mental, emotional, physical; and many variations on these themes.

Once again, I’m guided to declutter, but this time, it’s not so much my physical environment, but my mental and emotional ones. As a result, I find myself less inclined to allow Facebook to suck up my time and have been taking steps to, in essence, clear more space. To begin with, I’m no longer posting what I’m doing or where I’ve visited, and, in fact, didn’t even post comments or pictures from the Rascal Flatts concert the other night. This morning, I was guided to go through my friends list and unfollow many on it, which will, ultimately, result in considerably less activity on my wall to distract me and keep me away from what’s truly important. Even better has been the ease with which I have been able to close the Facebook page for hours on end, not even missing knowing what my friends are up to. Clearly, the time and energy sucking I was succumbing to has lost a lot of its glitter over the last week or so.


Making this small but significant change has had immediate, positive results. Not only did I get some editing done yesterday, but I wrote my blog post much earlier in the day, got laundry done and a few other chores I might have continued to put off. But the very best part of my latest decluttering effort has clearly been on the energetic plane. I found myself going to bed a little earlier last night, and awoke refreshed and ready to start my day hours early than has been my wont for the last couple of weeks! I also feel much more relaxed and focused.

This is not to say that social media sites don’t have their place. I, myself, tend to follow pages and people who post a lot of positive affirmations and empowering quotes. In fact, I have a habit of unfollowing anyone who posts a lot of political and world shattering images and comments. As always, we choose the energetic vibration of our environment, and in so choosing, we draw to us those things which maintain our selected balance. Thus, the people and places I choose to follow tend to be spiritually enlightened, oriented towards kindness, animal friendly and, in many cases offer educational opportunities in non-traditional subjects. In fact, I think part of my disenchantment with much of it lately has been the endless posts which do not feed my need for mental and spiritual expansion.

As a further expansion of this thought, and my desire to improve my kindness rating, I am grateful that Facebook has the “unfollow” function rather than limiting its users to either seeing everything someone posts or not having them on their friends list. Unfollowing someone doesn’t send them any kind of message, as far as I know. But unfriending them, once they realize it has occurred, can, at the very least, cause hurt feelings, but can also result in anger or, in people who might already be mentally unstable or depressed, actually increase those feelings of unworthiness they might already be feeling. I, for one, do not want to make anyone feel unworthy or uncared for (though, admittedly, I have made comments and remarks which may have done so). In fact, social media gives us too easy a path towards unkindness by allowing us to vent our frustration in real time, instead of taking a time out to think it through, and realize that our words can be hurtful if not edited and put forth after we’ve worked through negative emotions.

Over sharing runs rampant.

People joke about how we post pictures of our meals, our animals and other strange things for the reading enjoyment of our “followers”. I’d estimate that most of us do so at least once in awhile, while others are guilty of posting such things almost daily. We are also addicted to the “selfie”, and again, some people post them occasionally, when they’re on vacation or at Disneyland or celebrating a special event, while others post daily, or even hourly! This propensity towards posting selfies is just another indication of how closely many people tie themselves to social media every day.

Again, I find myself grateful to have not succumbed to the need to allow Facebook to ping me on my smart phone every time my friends post something or comment on my posts. The lack of constant reminders makes it even easier for me to disconnect for long periods of time. The fact is, a phone that is constantly pinging and booping and making other assorted sounds would just annoy the ever-loving crap out of me! Bad enough, being on the “do not call” list has not prevented salesmen and other unwanted calls to break through my personal barrier of people I do and do not want to talk to. (driving home from my daughter’s house on Monday, a call came in which I thought might be my daughter, and, had I listened for the ring tone would have known it wasn’t. A saleswoman launched into her pitch with such verve, I was forced to just disconnect as she didn’t even take a breath long enough for me to politely tell her I wasn’t interested!)

What’s happy for you, might make someone else sad.

Many of my friends post pictures of their vacations, their homes, their family gatherings and their grandchildren. While sharing their happiness might be uplifting to some, consider a person who can’t afford vacations, but spends a lot of time working just to make ends meet. Or perhaps, a person who has to share a small apartment in the city. Consider how the happy, family gathering might affect someone who either has no family left, or has nobody they’re close to. What about those who either have no children or are estranged from them and, as such, will never have or see their grandchildren? In cases like these, what seems like a sharing of joy to some could trigger, once again, those thoughts of unworthiness in others. I can see someone wallowing in self-pity because they are unable to post similar pictures. Even I, find myself, on occasion, feeling a little sorry for myself…at least until I remember to be grateful for all that I have, and realize that I’m only seeing a small piece of their lives. The reality might be that, overall, I have far more to be grateful for than they do. Those happy family vacation pictures might hide a child who was lost too young, or a parent who is suffering from Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s or ALS. We don’t often post the things in life which cause us pain, or with which we must struggle constantly to accept. There are a lot of cliches running through my head right now, but the bottom line is that it is dangerous to compare your own life to one in which you’re only given a glimpse of the good times.

Tuning out and turning off to increase focus on what I can control.

To summarize this rather lengthy post (and longer posts is another benefit/result of reducing my social media exposure), though there are mixed thoughts on whether social media enhances or detracts from our overall well-being, I believe you have to take it on a case by case basis, and simply decide how it’s affecting your life. After doing my own analysis, I’ve decided that it is OK in small doses, but that, for awhile now, the doses I’ve been consuming have been excessive, and, as a result, causing me damage which reducing the dosage will quickly reverse. All I can say is: Choose wisely, my friends!

My gratitudes today are:
1. I am grateful for my recent inspiration to declutter energetically and mentally as it will positively impact me emotionally as well.
2. I am grateful that we all have choices.
3. I am grateful for visions of myself which show me areas which need improvement.
4. I am grateful for new horizons.
5. I am grateful for abundance which is available to everyone: Harmony, peace, health, happiness, joy, love and prosperity.


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