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

Posts tagged ‘dreams’

Allowing For “Not OK” Time

Allowing for Feelings

I’m sitting at my desk playing solitaire and listening to old songs after my first tri-fecta of dancing in a long time. Scrappy Doo recently vacated my lap, and Dylan has gone off in search of a late night snack. I should be on top of the world, but strangely, I’m not.

It actually started last night while I was at the newly opened BL Dancehall and Saloon, our temporary dance home until Borderline can be brought up to code and remodeled; a task which we’re told could take 2 years, or maybe more. With the music blasting, and my feet itching to join my friends on the dance floor, I grabbed my water bottle and wandered off to a booth on the patio where I could huddle into a corner, hidden from view and be by myself to work through a wash of overwhelming sadness that came from out of nowhere.

I asked myself several times if the sadness was mine or belonged to someone else, but didn’t get a clear answer. I finally wandered back inside and tried to bury the sadness beneath the joy I find while dancing, but my friend Lisa admitted to feeling sad herself. I tried to convince myself the sadness I was feeling belonged to her, but my gut knew better.

There Isn’t Always a Reason

Perhaps it was overwhelm from being among people 3 nights in a row. Perhaps it was a https://www.facebook.com/cmhagbpremonition of an awful helicopter crash the next morning (though I doubt it. I seldom have tragic premonitions, and definitely not about strangers). Eventually, I figured a good night’s sleep would wash the sadness away. It did, but only temporarily.

Strange dreams filled my night. While not unusual, they were vivid enough to remain in my mind, and ended up filling my Morning Pages. That should have been the end of it. But by the time the sun went down, the sadness was back, worse than before, despite spending the day alone, and missing the first dance workshop in our new home. Despite getting 4 loads of laundry done and my bed stripped and remade.

Reading a self-help book didn’t help. Watching a sappy Hallmark movie seemed to make it worse instead of better. Listening to my Simon and Garfunkel Pandora station exacerbated it even more as it perversely played songs that triggered memories or thoughts which were anything but cheerful. I felt like I needed a good cry, but couldn’t think of a single good reason for needing one.

Humans Sometimes Feel Sad

There was a time I’d have berated myself and demanded I find my cheerful, sunny outlook and stop feeling sorry for myself. But what I’m feeling isn’t self-pity. It’s plainly and simply, sadness. My sadness isn’t for anyone. It isn’t because of anything. It just is. I feel stuck, but I’m not sure where or why I’m stuck. Nothing is really wrong, and nothing is not right either. It makes no sense.

I’ve learned there are times I’ll be sad like this for no apparent reason. It is part of being human and having lived a few decades. Few people get through 4 or 5 decades without some kind of loss whether it’s death, breakup, divorce, or some kind of tragedy that shakes you down to the soles of your feet.

I’m halfway through my sixth decade, and I’ve had my share of heartache and trauma. I’ve developed coping skills and mechanisms, and in the last couple of decades, I’ve cracked myself open and released some of the ones which were doing me more harm than good. I suspect there are still a few buried even more deeply which I’ve yet to exhume and exorcise.

Being sad for no apparent reason is part of the process. Sometimes I just have to be sad and not try to analyze it (though for me that’s a tall order). I have to accept the sadness and let it run its course, doing my best to get things done while it makes me shy away from human contact at a time when I probably need it more than ever. Old habits die hard, and I am still reluctant to expose others to me when I’m no fun to be around. I still believe when I’m sad I’m a buzz kill, and make people uncomfortable. So I isolate.

A Time for Mindless Tasks

The day wasn’t a total loss, or to be honest, a loss at all. I got my clothes and bedding washed Created with Canvaand put away, a blog post finished and another written, a few more pages in a new Julia Cameron book read, and I meditated. I even spent some time doing a brain dump in hopes it would help me find causality—to no avail. Perhaps I’m not supposed to know why; I’m just supposed to accept a part of my cycle that isn’t entirely pleasant to experience, but must be lived through anyway.

But songs like “Desperado”, “Blowin’ in the Wind”, “I Am A Rock”, and even “Country Roads” have me staring t the computer screens with my mind drifting down paths I try really hard to avoid, forgetting my own exhortations about having to feel the feels.

I speak of Universal head slaps on occasion. Those times when I’ve failed to get the message, so to speak, and the Universe gives me a painful nudge. I just wish I knew what I’d missed; what feels I’d failed to feel in my typical oblivious fashion. What clues did I miss that are now coming back to drag me into the pits of despair with no valid reason for going there?

I can only trust the answers will come when I stop poking at the wound I can’t see; stop chasing the dream that, like a butterfly, flits further from my reach the more I pursue it. Sometimes, the best answer is to let go and allow whatever it is to rise to the surface when it’s good and ready. I only wish I was the patient sort.

A Little Gratitude Never Hurts

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the lessons I’ve learned which allow me to let the feelings come, even when it means being patient; another lesson I’m still trying to master.
  2. I am grateful for regular dance nights, and time with friends.
  3. I am grateful for a social life that means I rarely spend more than a day or two alone.
  4. I am grateful for Trello which helps me schedule not only the work I want to do, but the self-care as well.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, motivation, inspiration, self-care, peace, health, harmony, balance, 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

Finding My Flow With Ease

Going With the Flow

https://www.flickr.com/photos/jfolsom/5931303869/in/photolist-a38tZP-dmn34H-a7FwQm-antZ2h-bwzwuR-5stPPH-6EsqoX-T4qUgL-4hmxbh-8MJPmb-fEFoSF-kCt71i-2ikr4t-8MF532-WNwMjy-8tMnKX-fEFoGg-fEXXd7-afuD1a-8MEuUF-95Mr5j-dySrRf-bfNhFR-9oSxoh-5WgF4Q-8MHZfC-7VroTL-9PiLGB-oaW3YQ-K4CQFx-8YSrLp-mSLwB-7VqeAh-5hfnTx-KfhXca-e3u44f-99b5UG-7BeZaD-8MHAVw-kAEoL3-6qZ9C6-5thpD3-ai9p7Z-9gCot5-o8bKtB-5W8sPu-85jA66-6PCR9M-bJ7tue-97oqD4There are times I accumulate topics like leaves on the tree outside my office window. Other times, I have to really dig deep into my subconscious to find something worth writing about. Either way, the words eventually flow, and a blog is born. Is either situation better than the other? I don’t think so. One merely requires more of a priming of the pump, so to speak. The words are always there. Sometimes I need a little extra effort to get out of my own way.

It’s a lot like life, I believe. When we try to force things, what comes out isn’t always optimal. It might be a convoluted pile of garbage because we made it come out instead of allowing it to emerge in it’s own time. Kind of like a butterfly. If you allow it to emerge from it’s chrysalis when it’s good and ready, resting as needed, and hydrating its wings at the proper time, it’ll emerge as a beautiful, healthy creature. If you try to help it along, forcing nature as it were, the poor thing may never fly, and will forever be disfigured.

I’ve learned writing is a lot like emerging from a chrysalis, at least for me. I have to allow the words, my characters, my scenes to flow out of that deep, dark nether region of my brain where all the ideas float around in mental soup until they form into something that’s ready to emerge whole and essentially complete.

Living Intentionally

Lately, my dreams have been especially vivid, forcing me to write them down more frequently. I in the flowsuspect an idea for a story is stewing since I set a couple of intentions:

  1. Do NaNoWriMo this November
  2. Start writing more fiction, and especially some short stories

I have no due date for the second one. I simply put the idea out there. I’m doing really well keeping ahead on my blog posts and Medium scheduling. It’s time to spread my wings and explore currently uncharted waters. My dreams indicate I’m more than ready to begin the journey. Still, I tell myself: “Just a couple more blog posts. You’re 3 weeks ahead now. Why not make it an even 4?” It’s tempting to acquiesce—to reach the goal I set months ago to finally be 4 weeks ahead.

But can’t I do both? Can’t I stay 4 weeks ahead, and add to my repertoire of fiction, and get the rest of the chapters of “Sasha’s Journey” edited and published on ChapterBuzz? Of course I can. It’s all a matter of discipline. Once I would have said I lack the discipline to make these dreams; these intentions a reality. Now I know better.

A Multitude of Accomplishments When You Shut Off the Inner Critic

accomplishmentsIn the last 2 years, I’ve accomplished so much more than I believed I could.

  • Consistently schedule blog posts at least 3 weeks in advance
  • Consistently have all Medium posts scheduled at least a week before the next month begins
  • Maintain a schedule of thrice weekly gym visits
  • Release 20 pounds and keep most of it off
  • Edit and upload chapters of “Sasha’s Journey”
  • Finish the first draft of “Rebuilding After Suicide”
  • Finish the first edit of “Rebuilding After Suicide”
  • Create separate files for each chapter of “Rebuilding After Suicide” and start the second edit

There are a lot of little things I’ve also managed in this relatively short span of time too. Each one is a building block which allows for the larger ones. Probably the biggest, though is maintaining my Morning Pages for the last few years. I may miss a day or two here and there, but it is by far the most long-lived of my healthy habits to date.

Checking In and Being Grateful

One of the biggest reasons I’m able to build on my healthy habits is I learned to take a step back every so often and give myself credit for what I’ve accomplished. Nothing is too small or too insignificant. Sometimes the most innocuous habit is exactly what I need to put something a whole lot bigger into play. It’s the cog in the wheel without which the whole dynamic wouldn’t flow.

What began as daily gratitudes for people, places, and things has grown into daily gratitudes for myself. It took a long time for me to realize I deserved some of my own gratitude too. Once I did, the number of things I found to be grateful for grew exponentially. Once I recognized the gratitude-worthy things in myself, I shone a spotlight on everything else in and around me which was also worth recognizing and appreciating.

Giving Inner Guidance Free Rein

Take blog topics, for example. Most days, I sit down at the computer without a single idea of what I want to write. I simply have a day which needs a blog post. It’s on the schedule, and that’s reason enough. At first, I’d have to sit for 10 or 15 minutes typing nonsense until a topic appeared. Then it was maybe a paragraph. Now, it often takes the suggestion that I need to write, and nothing more.

I sit down in front of the computer, tell my internal editor to go play on the monkey bars, and let my fingers tell whatever tale they have in mind. Today it might be about gratitude and the progress I’ve made. Tomorrow, it might be another health discovery I’ve made. (and stay tuned. My latest book is “Liver Rescue” by Anthony William, and a mere 3 chapters of it has been seriously enlightening!) Another day, it might be something that came from a dream, or an observation I made while I was “peopling”.

The point is, the mind is a maelstrom of thoughts and ideas. I can try to corral those thoughts blogand ideas, or I can give them their turn to come out and play. Intention setting is powerful. Sitting my butt down in front of the computer and letting whichever one wins the race to the top come out and play is my only real responsibility these days. I’m merely the vehicle. The ideas have lives and minds of their own. I am incredibly grateful for all those little minds fighting each other for the chance to flow through my fingers.

Without them, I’d have written very few words. Only the first of my blog posts involved an effort to maintain control. That’s a battle I no longer choose to fight. It was long and frustrating, and the words it yielded needed major editing before they saw the light of day for anyone but me. Nowadays, when I allow the words to flow on their own, I do minimal editing. What you see is what came out in pure, unadulterated flow. It’s what has earned me the reputation of writing rawly and honestly; a reputation I’m honored to hold.

Telling it Like it Is

I’ve never believed in sugar coating things. It’s gotten me into trouble over the years because I didn’t live up to the standards of the people I attracted. It took years to learn there was nothing wrong with me or the people around me. I needed to get better at attracting.

If you’re reading this now, and have stuck around for awhile following my ADD brain from topic to topic, you’re someone who can appreciate how I write and what I write about without getting offended. You don’t have to agree with what I write, and I hope there are plenty of areas of disagreement because it makes for a good discussion. As long as we disagree respectfully, and maybe even learn something from the other person’s point of view, I’ve accomplished what I set out to do.

I share my ideas and you share yours. We get a chance to learn about each other, and maybe ponder ideas which differ from our own experiences. If you ask me, it’s a win-win situation. It’s an intention I set long ago, and am both happy and proud to keep nurturing it.

Grateful for Everything, Large and Small

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for intentions both fulfilled, and waiting their turn.
  2. I’m grateful for people whose opinions and perspectives differ from mine. They allow me to learn and grow instead of stagnating in a comfortable little rut.
  3. I’m grateful for warm, sunny days as they help me get my butt back in gear to keep body, mind, and spirit healthy.
  4. I’m grateful for the lessons I’ve learned about keeping my creativity flowing, and for learning sometimes it’s all about sitting my butt down and starting.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, writing, ideas, myself, joy, sunshine, blue skies, rain, opportunities, motivation, energy, friendship, joy, peace, harmony, balance, 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

Living My Life Unapologetically At Last

Unapologetically Me

I used to apologize for everything, probably even my very existence; as if everything I did was wrong; a mistake. I guess it makes sense as I only recently realized I’d felt like I was a mistake most of my life. Though I finally understood and got past it, the feeling had a major impact on my life, and in a way, still does.

I’ve always been rather rebellious, though less than my parents wanted me to believe, and far less than I could have been were I to shake off the ties that bound me for so long earlier than I did. I followed the rules—to a point. I got away with things—also to a point. Overall, I played it safe, a choice which even now haunts me a bit. Slowly but surely I took more risks; some planned carefully, but most, not so much. To be honest, I’ve been flying by the seat of my pants for several years now.

Owning My Choices

What I gained was a willingness to accept consequences or triumphs, whichever I got, and to take the lesson and leave the pain behind. My attitude didn’t happen over night. I had to fall a few times, and get up each time before it finally sunk in that I could and would get up every time, no matter how hard I fell.

In the process, I’ve learned to own my actions; my choices. I’m responsible for everything I do and reap both the consequences and the rewards. Most of all, I owe no one an explanation for my actions and choices. They were mine to make, and the results are mine to own. No apologies, no excuses.

The lesson didn’t come easily. It was too easy to hang my head and apologize when I didn’t measure up to what I thought were someone else’s standards. Of course, I realize now, it was merely my perception of their standards, as how can we really understand someone else’s expectations. Like ours, they’re influenced by so many factors, and can change in an instant when something in their environment shifts.

Wasting Effort on Other Peoples’ Happiness

Created with CanvaI was fighting a losing battle, trying to keep other people happy but I’d been doing it for so long, I didn’t recognize the futility. I only saw myself consistently failing to measure up; to meet expectations set by everyone but me.

What a revelation it was to realize all these years I’d wasted trying to please everyone except the one person it was truly my job to please—ME! It was as if the entire world had dropped off my shoulders! I was no longer chasing something I’d never be able to catch. Instead, I got to chase my own dreams—something I truly believed in and wanted with all my heart.

Driven by Passion, Not by Fear

It’s a funny thing about passion. While it may drive me to take risks I’d never consider if passion hadn’t finally taken the wheel of my life, it also keeps my dreams in sight, even when my conscious mind can’t quite see the manifestation. Yet passion lets me take things one step at a time, and doesn’t beat me up when it’s taking longer to get “there” (wherever “there” is) than I’d planned.

Passion doesn’t ask for explanations or excuses. It simply continues to shine, lighting the way, and waiting patiently when I stumble. It doesn’t dim my vision, or give up on my dream. It understands there will be times I feel discouraged and will question whether or not to keep going, and it supports whatever decision I make.

Holding the Dream Loosely

It’s been nearly 6 years since I turned my life upside down. I’ve written a lot of words, some of which actually form a coherent story. I’ve moved in and out of a couple of different social circles, and continue to do so, trying to figure out where and why I fit. I’ve been shot down a couple of times, and allowed it to make me stagnate for a little while—but only for a little while.

My overall dream hasn’t really changed though. It’s evolved, and become more detailed. It’s aligned me with some like-minded people. I’ve learned from a few, and let a few go who were teaching something which didn’t fit with my own vision. None of them were wrong; they were just wrong for me.

I’m learning following my passion is a process; an evolution. The closer I get to my dream, the more I learn and grow. Some aspects might change when I get closer, but the bigger picture remains the same. The changes come in the details, and those are easily altered. I change in my attitude and confidence as I realize those dreams are achievable.

Clearing the Clutter

Recognizing and accepting I’m only answerable to myself was perhaps the https://www.flickr.com/photos/funnybusiness/3503946843/in/photolist-87XXr1-87XZPQ-6kCDjB-2M1zdU-21ukmo7-o6vHsS-87ULKc-87XTkL-87Y3bu-87UGPM-87Y4kq-2EeDrw-7fF1mf-87Y8QS-9MnMAZ-DpnEKh-7kNkRC-87UZma-87Y5qAbiggest change of all. It wasn’t an “Aha moment” though. Realization came slowly as I shed a lot of old baggage: unexpressed grief and blame over my parents’ suicides, beliefs that no longer serve me, trying to fit in by changing who I am.

In short, I cleared out the cobwebs and old file cabinets in my mind to make space for the dreams I envision. I had to clear both the mental and physical clutter to make room for those dreams. In believing they weren’t possible, I’d filled the space with nonsense so I’d have an excuse to stagnate. As long as there was no space or time to fulfill the fantasies in my head, I had no responsibility to make them a reality. Yet the only one to whom I didn’t apologize was me.

Committing to Myself

Perhaps my greatest lesson was in committing to myself as single-mindedly and whole-heartedly as I’d committed to other people; partners, parents, employers, false friends. Once I turned all my committing skills inward, my world opened up like a blown rose, it’s petals soft and brushed by dew, swaying softly in the breeze.

Now I honor that commitment every day. I write, I walk, I read, I take time out to cuddle my cats, and I indulge myself in some kind of self-care every day. Some days it’s the gym, others, I’ll sit on the front porch when the sun has set and the night air is cooler, communing with my barn cats, the night birds, and the bats. Most days, I meditate, though not always with my eyes closed, sitting in one place.

Like everything else in my life, the operative word is flexibility. No longer do I commit to a hard and fast schedule. That was someone else’s rules. It doesn’t suit me, so I exclude it from my life. I tossed it out with apologies. I’m happier since I ejected such things, and my creativity is thriving as a result. I couldn’t ask for more.

A Daily Practice: Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful I’ve learned to commit to myself.
  2. I’m grateful I’ve learned I’m enough, and disappoint no one for following my own heart.
  3. I’m grateful for increased creativity and productivity.
  4. I’m grateful for supportive friends and colleagues.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; opportunities, creativity, inspiration, motivation, friendship, support, love, joy, peace, harmony, balance, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, 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

Inspired by Morning Walks

Oh the Things You Can See When You Walk

I don’t know any of my neighbors well. I’ve lived in this house for almost 40 years, but am, for the most part only passingly acquainted with the ones who’ve been here longer than me. The rest, not at all.

It surprised me to learn the ones I have gotten to know in passing are aware of my latest new habit of taking morning walks. I ran into one walking with her friend around the small park at the end of our street. She commented that she’d seen me go by her house every day, and congratulated me for my efforts (she’s in her 70’s to my 60’s).

I’m a little more friendly with my next door neighbors, a lovely couple in their 80’s who bought their house when it was new back in 1961 (I suspect they were newlyweds at the time, and the 8- or 10-thousand dollar price tag was huge!). They’ve become fond of my outdoor cats because of their propensity to decimate the rodent population. They too have noticed my morning forays, and as daily walkers themselves, offered their own words of encouragement.

Lost in the 60’s Can be a Good Thing

This is kind of an interesting neighborhood. Because it was built so long ago and in fact, wasn’t even connected to the city sewer system until the 70’s, we don’t have any common areas other than the small city-owned park I mentioned. We also don’t have HOA’s which thrills me as I don’t have a lot of good things to say about those organizations. My own experiences with my parents’ condo as well as a business adventure leave me less than enamored with the way they’re run or the people who see fit to govern them.

We also have a lot of families who are either renting or managed to buy by moving several families into these 1100 to 1200 square foot homes. Quick research on current rents showed me the newer renters are paying somewhere around 3 times my house payment including taxes. But newer homeowners also paid 4 or 5 times what I did, and a good many more times what the few original residents paid. (and much to my dismay, their tax bases and bills are less than half what mine are. I shudder to think what the newbies are paying in property taxes!)

I’m a Homebody at Heart

https://www.flickr.com/photos/prestonrhea/5236270625/in/photolist-8YHfQ2-4X1dP6-P58XGS-dmtrwi-2pMKC-nC1YD-QxGsf-q4rWqa-8HeDZc-o8pVg-8mXR4g-o7nP7c-8jQqTQ-bPxsQc-dJusGN-78jLU7-98LY1P-dYGYNq-cgtYSu-cgu1F7-7rMJ9R-6z6KQA-6VuMG-6Jfxqk-4bbwMg-dmtxds-9Rf6xQ-v8gDMa-9PqETD-4MsUzv-ptUKap-a2BfLR-4UtU1B-4UtSun-5dBS8k-7eGxtr-7nUbqa-7nUbW8-fBZ3S4-5M1h3P-8DYirc-8E2uBh-6r2V98-7oFgff-7oBon2-7oBpbn-7oBoG6-7oFfRo-vPhUL-jk3BYpOn more than one occasion, I’ve been asked why I don’t get tired of living in the same house. The reason is similar to why I keep a car for over 10 years. If I stay in the same house, my monthly payments are predictable and manageable. If I keep a car for 10 years or more, I have no payments for at least 5 or 6 of those years. It’s simple economics. I also don’t need a bigger house, though my dream is to have one in a more remote place (kind of weird to think of as I’m finally starting to get to know my neighbors better) where my nearest neighbor is neither visible nor audible.

I have friends these days who can’t afford to buy a house at today’s inflated prices (an $8000 house in 1961 sells for upwards of $500,000 today), so they’re renting. The last time I paid rent was in 1992 when I was divorcing my ex-husband. A two-bedroom apartment in one of the nicer parts of town cost me $800 a month. The same apartment now rents for upwards of $1800. Meanwhile, my friends living in nearby areas are reeling under rent increases which mean they have to pay as much as $2500 a month for a smaller 2-bedroom apartment!

Appreciating What’s Been There All Along

My daily walks are giving me something I hadn’t found in the last 30-some odd years; an appreciation for the neighborhood. Because it’s been here awhile, the trees are tall and the bushes are thick, providing a haven for a vast assortment of birds, butterflies, and June bugs. The cheerful chirping and exuberant soaring from place to place lifts my heart. While chatting with my next-door neighbor, a stunning orange and black Monarch swooped down and gave her stamp of approval to our conversation.

It’s not just the butterflies, lizards, and birds that bring me joy. Neighbors I’ve never even talked to are recognizing me from my morning walks. We smile and exchange pleasantries when I pass. Sometimes I even stop to talk. I’m meeting a lot of the local canines too. Most are friendly, though one named Tammy nipped my leg as I passed by, as cantankerous as her elderly owner. (thankfully, he wasn’t the nipping sort!)

Keeping Things the Same on the Outside

I know people who are either moving or remodeling every few years. Though I’d love to upgrade my kitchen and maybe add a little more space, my friends’ woes with contractors as well as my own fiasco lead me to believe at this point that the remodel will happen when I find someone patient enough to help me do it myself, and who’s willing to teach me in my own slow, fumbling way.

For now, I’ve heard no complaints about the accommodations at our annual post-Thanksgiving gathering. The kids and I have developed a routine to manage the cooking and the furniture re-arranging quite nicely. Some of my friends stick around to help put the house back to rights afterwards too.

Keeping the Dream Alive While Appreciating the Now

I may have grand dreams of a solitary piece of property overlooking the beach, https://www.flickr.com/photos/philipglevy/9462509263/in/photolist-fqaQkr-6B62hk-9jZwX5-4FH1En-54uCWa-a3Ns41-6BanmN-6DM4U9-5u49NP-6v9Puu-6DGTwD-4FMcCG-doJVpC-3ervgn-4FMcmC-pb1bmR-6v9McG-6DM5Wm-a71Zuu-5i6sb2-6B9Lkj-4FH1v4-gQpcex-jZKZ5o-6v9NNf-6B5zw6-89YYg5-6v9Xbb-6MPVRc-6v9Wow-6v5Gyk-aPQjfH-6v9QjU-6v5PF8-6v9VcG-cu2a4-DUvgxx-6v9YGJ-5oAaDQ-8ipJ7z-5VgzB9-6B9AVJ-5KTyGH-5Vce46-Uwsk9p-6vNzky-6v5FCV-6B5rgp-6v9UFb-6v9Ljqbut for now, where I am suits my lifestyle and budget. It’s more than enough to manage by myself, and my kitties have plenty of places, both low and high to rest their weary bones after stalking flies and spiders who’ve managed to sneak into the house. Friends drop by occasionally, and my red Adirondack chairs are a welcoming sight on the front porch. Like Happy Face Hill, seeing those chairs gives me a feeling of home.

My needs are simple, and I have no airs to put on or people to impress. The ones in my life now like me for a lot more than how I look or what I own, as I do them. After many years of working to have better stuff, I’ve learned it isn’t worth it if you haven’t learned to enjoy whatever you have and wherever you are. When you do that, you’re happy almost anywhere!

How about you? What is your dream abode like? Draw a picture with words, crayons, paints, or whatever moves you. Put in all the special touches you believe will make it perfect. Are you there now? If not, what do you need to do to get there. But more importantly, are you happy where you are now, even if it’s not perfect?

Gratitude Wherever I Turn

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for my furry roommates who remind me what’s truly important.
  2. I’m grateful for my daily walks which are teaching me a greater appreciation of my neighbors and neighborhood.
  3. I’m grateful for things that stay the same, holding space for things that are changing.
  4. I’m grateful for butterflies. I see at least a couple every day now and just seeing one brings me joy.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; energy, love, joy, exercise, strength, opportunities, inspiration, encouragement, chats, life, imperfections, friendship, peace, harmony, balance, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, 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

Morning Pages Have Improved My Life

To Think Changes Began With Morning Pages

I don’t usually write or do much of anything besides going to the gym and running errands on Wednesdays, but for some reason I’m inspired to get the last May post written and scheduled a little ahead of time. Am I anxious to be in June? Not particularly. This year is going by fast enough without rushing into things.

I do find it amusing that after spending thirty years in accounting where we were always working on a month after it had ended, I’m now in a mode where I push myself to get as many weeks ahead as possible. Little did I realize when I flipped my entire career path on it’s head that the flip would involve more back flips, aerials, spins, and whoop-de-do’s than I could have ever envisioned. In hindsight, had I known, I might have run back to my safe but boring accounting job and never discovered that what I truly love to do is write; for me, for other people, for public consumption, and for my eyes only. It doesn’t really matter as long as I write.

The More I Learn, the More I Know I Have to Learn

I’ve learned a lot in the last few years, not the least of which is I have a lot more to learn. But I’ve also come to realize when I task myself with writing every day, whatever writing I might do counts. I used to think the days when I “only” wrote my morning pages were days when I did not write. But the truth is, every time I put my pen to paper and spew forth a stream of words, it’s writing.

Sure, the morning-pages-only days don’t necessarily result in something others might consider useful or productive. Yet the truth is, my creativity is oiled as soon as I get up. What I might do with it that day is anyone’s guess.

Sometimes, I get a blog idea or a chapter for one of my works-in-progress. Others, I simply get something off my chest which would otherwise weigh me down and prevent progress in any direction. And yes, there are days when what comes out is little more than a stream of words only loosely connected to a train of thought.

Working the Writing Muscle Any Way I Can

Whatever comes out of my mind and pen is exercising my writing muscle, which is the point of it all https://www.flickr.com/photos/matt_rogers/32072645186/in/photolist-QS9G29-7jFGWM-jSSXTn-gWnnAn-7jKzg7-k1Q3Ez-49HGS-JaXYoH-6HUNQF-7jFHgR-nQzqNh-fzUL6w-hx2nML-a4N44-Z3xc8b-6ef9HF-aEXdio-m2HqQt-bBKzg2-kbdf3P-5Db73z-b7AkyD-6zJzQw-7dEU9V-ZDftY1-fY9zv8-7pBPUc-bmfwto-7eXMSj-9NdNPm-8EVVBC-6JNLK8-6nNaux-c28A2C-9atUf8-7oMuuJ-9YvpG-vdJj7-ecCm-8LJzww-eEd6oi-BQX1p-XZKjij-k1Q1px-E6Miuc-6zrveY-j2kDUf-7vaq24-7fnH1m-dDHfZsanyway. There used to be days I’d bemoan my lack of inspiration, believing I had no good, creative ideas in my brain. By writing every day and not worrying so much about what comes out, I’ve learned the creativity is there. I just lock it up unintentionally at times. Writing what might to others seem like a bunch of nonsense loosens the clenched fist which holds those ideas hostage.

One of the best parts of writing morning pages is how it helps with my frequently vivid dreams. I have more than my share of WTF mornings when I wake from a dream that was both vivid and disturbing. By writing about it as soon as I get up, I’m able to sort through the craziness to see if there’s a message, or if the dream was meant only to get my attention.

Granted, there are mornings when I finish writing and haven’t answered that question. But there are plenty of others when I pull out the message I was meant to receive. Most of the time, the message is well-buried and miles away from the actual point of the dream. And because my dreams tend to jump around the same way my awake and ADD brain does, it’s often a jigsaw puzzle to pull out pieces which actually make sense and belong together.

Messages in Our Dreams

Our minds give us clues through our dreams. Of that, I’m certain. The clues may be completely nonsensical at times. They might just be telling us to be especially careful while driving that day, or there might be a repetitive number; a color that stands out for some reason; a name we don’t recognize, but which will be somehow significant in the next few days.

Once in awhile, I even get a precognitive dream. Once I dissect it, I might figure out I need to contact someone I haven’t spoken to in awhile. Maybe they’ve just suffered a trauma. Or perhaps we need to cross paths again for a singular purpose. Whatever the message might be, I’ve learned not to question, but to make an effort to understand, especially if certain details are stuck in my brain like the “Baby Shark” song when you unwittingly hit “play” on someone’s adorable Facebook post.

Starting the Day With a Clear Head

Mostly, though, when I’ve finished dissecting a particularly vivid dream, put down my pen, and gotten on with the rest of my day, I have nothing more than a clear head and the beginnings of a plan for how I’ll be spending the day. If I get an idea or two for blog posts as well, I consider it a bonus.

What I’m trying to say here in my usual convoluted fashion is I’ve put a lot of routines in place in the last few years; things which, in one way or another improve my life. I’ve learned to give myself credit for accomplishing those daily or weekly tasks, even on days when that’s all I get done. There was a time not so long ago when they didn’t get done at all. Things like:

  • Writing my morning pages
  • Making the bed
  • Cleaning up the kitchen before I go to bed
  • Going to the gym 3 times a week
  • Having at least 2 weeks worth of blog posts written and scheduled
  • Having posts for Medium scheduled, often a full month ahead

This list might not look like much to you or anyone else, but I know how much time and effort went into making these things happen consistently. I also know how much flexibility it allows me knowing if nothing else happens, these things are done.

Creating New Habits Gets Easier the More You Do It

I’m adding new habits to the list fairly regularly now, and often laugh at myself when I find a can’t not do some of the things which have become habits. As I de-clutter my home and my life, I both revel in the amount of clear space I have around me and rebel if I try to clutter things back up again.

When I started putting my shoes away instead of leaving a few pairs in the alcove next to my laundry hamper, I didn’t think a lot about it other than the convenience of not having to move them when I vacuumed. But lately, no matter how tired I am when I get home, I simply cannot kick off my shoes and leave them next to the hamper. I have to open the closet door and put the shoes on the rack. My mother must be laughing her butt off, assuming she’s watching me from wherever she landed. I know she despaired of ever teaching me to minimize the clutter in my house, much less keep it clinically clean the way she had to in order to keep her demons tamed.

Learning to Love a Certain Amount of Order

The older I get, the less patience I have for disorder. That’s not to say I don’t still have my share of chaos, but it’s more organized, and I no longer have all available surfaces covered with stuff. I’ve learned to love coming into my office and finding a clear space on my desk to work. Or going into the kitchen to find the counters clean and the sink empty.

Things others take for granted are novel for me, and I marvel at how much I’m learning to enjoy things like seeing my bed made up, the director’s chair empty, or dishes and clothes put away right after they’re washed. And to think it all started my morning pages. As I began to regularly de-clutter my mind, I found I had to expand the process and de-clutter my life as well. So to say my practice of writing 3 pages long hand every morning isn’t writing is, in my opinion, ludicrous.

Need Help De-cluttering Your Life?

Are you having a tough time getting everything done? Do you beat yourself up when your To Do list grows instead of shrinking? Would you like to take a task or two off your plate? Maybe it’s content creation, or perhaps it’s getting your books in order and creating a budget. If this sounds familiar and you’re ready to streamline your life and give your business space to grow and thrive, CONTACT ME and let’s talk!

Gratitude Helps Improve Your Perspective

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the practice of writing morning pages. It’s helped me see how much I really do accomplish.
  2. I am grateful for learning to clear the piles of stuff, and for recognizing when I need to do another purge. Clear space when and where I need it has simplified my life in innumerable ways.
  3. I am grateful for connections. Not a day goes by when I don’t communicate with at least a couple of friends. It might be one of us checking in on the other, or making plans to dance, meet for a meal, or plan an outing. Never being completely alone and disconnected is a new concept for me, and one I’m coming to appreciate more and more every day.
  4. I am grateful for friendship; true friendship. The kind where you’re there for each other, but not because anyone expects it. Because you’re exactly where you want to be.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, writing, opportunities, challenges, lessons, dancing, hugs, harmony, peace, health, 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

Insecurity May Lie Dormant But Never Dies

The Scared Little Girl Who Lurks Inside

https://www.flickr.com/photos/60740813@N04/34504735502/in/photolist-Uz4MJN-7H8hqz-r2covS-8wbGLH-8wcEVv-8weaum-8wcFMc-r2c6ww-r2iYrg-qmL3eU-8w9Dpr-r2jtjr-riJFWH-8wcT7A-8wcK8r-8wbRuV-8wcj84-8wanQx-8waPPT-8w9c4V-8w97ek-r2j3iV-riCAji-8w8skp-r2cTQq-8wfuwo-8waMUv-8wfDJJ-8wdgXY-qZq9cM-8wd2u3-8wfVzw-8wbq15-8w8bJP-8w9Wdc-8wcQdR-riF3r5-riJvW2-8wbTSq-r2cNH1-8wc6wN-r2d6wG-8wcM6o-r2jiHn-8wdexo-riJBiz-8bQ1eC-8wfeYo-riJJHV-8w9YqrAfter having a disturbing and bizarre dream, I remembered someone saying that the really bizarre and disturbing ones carry a message, but not what we’d think. The more disturbing and bizarre they are, the more they’re simply trying to get our attention. After spending 30 or 40 minutes writing out what I remembered of the dream, I found the underlying message. The message itself was uncomfortable and disturbing.

For all the work I’ve done on myself, the scared, insecure little girl is still alive and well. I still believe people don’t notice when I’m not around, and that I have no one to turn to if I’m feeling really disturbed or distressed.

Talking to a couple of girlfriends later that night, I realized I’m not alone on many levels. First, because I have people who understand and are there for me, but second, because they too feel insecure and alone a lot of the time.

Self-Protection on Overdrive

This feeling of alone-ness wasn’t the biggest revelation, however. As I looked at myself, my friends, and what we have and haven’t shared, I realized there are still large parts of me I share with no one. Whether it’s fear of being judged (something I learned I share with my friends), fear of letting more of my broken parts see the light of day, or fear of losing my ability to, at least occasionally wear a strong facade, I’m stuck in some of the same old patterns.

On a conscious level, I know until I’m willing to accept and acknowledge those parts I continue to keep hidden, I am, in some ways no closer to healing than I was 10 years ago. Sure, I’ve made progress, but there are parts of me still unwilling to let go. There are pieces of my heart still encased in bubble wrap to hold all the broken parts together.

The Long, Winding Healing Journey

Created with CanvaHealing means carefully unwrapping those parts, laying them out so I can see where the broken edges fit together, then fitting the pieces back together like an intricate jigsaw puzzle. Once the edges are matched, I need to glue them back together, not with adhesive or even gold like the Japanese kintsugi, but with love and understanding. I have to share my brokenness with the people who love me so they can help me put the broken parts back together stronger and more resilient.

I realize now I’ve opened up about some things, but most are experiences I’ve had, not my deepest, darkest feelings. Those continue to hide in the depths of my mind and heart, mired in darkness, afraid of coming into the light. They blink and squint if I so much as allow a single beam into their sacred space.

Overcoming My Own Resistance

Like my mind resisting change, those broken bits and pieces resist being put back together. https://www.flickr.com/photos/gastaum/14490581818/in/photolist-o5u28y-YfsirJ-k8x7MM-bxbe69-W1rTYx-arWoEp-9hSaAd-ahFY4U-dUPFnv-cbTML-9dRrhQ-nNcDz4-W1scJn-6Q5kQB-aPHuVt-dF2PfA-qsan3a-9Q3GD-7puXf-ca3kUb-8Qnh5S-7EPcJ1-9RZQ7L-2jv27s-3ytNAS-4Ax3Vm-7P6ms6-fLeJCZ-9eA4z4-dUzmHi-dJ2ajE-4s4eeJ-9ZWATV-4Ax3K3-6459Qr-r7YPq9-7ZBske-3ypqPa-7yi435-9uRzwZ-kdLtng-2c5brCn-HLfJSP-qTk7jd-oSdAwv-pNeYXi-3fqAZV-5btNtn-72Kth6-V4V7jqThey know the process will mean they have to grow and adapt because the reassembly won’t be the same as their original construction. In fact, I may find a way to put them together into a different structure entirely; one which utilizes parts from all.

Isn’t that really what our lives entail? We break apart and put ourselves back together, but never in the same way. New experiences become part of our new structure making it stronger, but also changing it forever. Once reassembled, there’s no going back to the old ways, because who we were no longer exists. We’ve taken life’s experiences and woven them into the fabric of our lives indelibly.

By hiding all the times I shattered into a million pieces inside myself I don’t allow the rebuilding. I don’t allow myself to be stronger for my experiences. I fail to grow and evolve.

A Reminder I Still Need to Get Out of My Own Way

https://www.flickr.com/photos/nhoulihan/4038592452/in/photolist-79SQQm-TfUffd-pgu9hJ-qfYXYE-pDVWDB-6UQgZM-KFog6C-TFYhqd-29TMHM-fP6i28-j73ZT5-atsnGd-C4HxXs-5eRdT5-YoKVff-24PBcMS-28G1ckh-AqrzL-haocsM-o1RCfj-4iigfF-6hbQxG-TCfZem-qVx4n8-U63bC7-dCTxQg-amkKyF-eiY1qF-Ct5hqm-hSGXpV-BcaCh-8c2bVB-27RWaS2-eQjYy1-cJWTgw-ehKQWJ-AJSt63-ay4RXc-cxa1zW-UFe9Vq-aC3EP1-pkL1fr-ehKSrs-qxMMJj-bvMGyV-VG1fkR-ay4Sgv-aDNaMx-aE1tNY-h7171rI might believe I’ve come a long way, and in fact, I have. But I’ve put giant boulders in the way to prevent progress in certain directions. Thus, I’m rebuilding on shaky ground once again, because I’m leaving too many crumbling parts in my foundation.

My disturbing and bizarre dream was a pointed reminder I can’t ignore all those piles of broken pieces. I need to incorporate them into the newest version of me I’m building. Leaving them out means returning to ground zero again and again until I figure out how to weave them into the fabric of my life, not as failures, but as lessons.

The voice of the frightened little girl inside me is growing louder and more insistent. Opportunities to open up, bring those pieces into the light, and join them to the pieces I’ve acquired through life lessons are here. They become more obvious and accessible every day. But until I bring those broken pieces into the light, I can’t fully avail myself of those opportunities. I can’t complete the assembly without those pieces as well.

Creating a Mosaic of My Life

Like you, I’m a mosaic; a combination of pieces accumulated over the years from each time I created with Canvabroke, but also, each time something or someone came along and offered me some of the missing pieces to help strengthen my structure. How many times did I turn away and fold further into myself, refusing the help, ignoring someone else’s need to help me grow? How many times did I fail to see my broken parts fit exactly into someone else’s?

Talking to my friends, we admit to holding back parts of ourselves we’re not ready to share. Yet do I; do they really know what those parts are any more? They’ve been buried so long, I suspect were we to pull out all of our parts and lay them on the table, we’d find we could put them together in just about any manner, taking pieces from each other and fitting them into our own mosaic. The result would not only be stronger, but more beautiful for all the different shades and facets we bring together.

Creating a Safe Space Together

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-baRMyvPerhaps that’s the answer. Instead of trying to force ourselves to open the box where we store all our missteps, our broken dreams, our losses, and our fears, we need to open them in the safety and comfort of friendship where everyone shares pieces, and we create one giant piece of art which is better able to withstand life’s earthquakes and mudslides.

We learn different lessons as we travel through life. What I know well, someone else needs support and guidance. Where I feel weak and unable to withstand the gentlest breeze, someone else has mastered and can help me become stronger.

Years of trying to manage everything alone has certainly left its mark on me. It’s left a similar mark on many of my friends. We’ve all learned we’re stronger together, but are still learning how to maneuver the “together” part without needing to pull back into our shells, afraid of being let down or broken once again. Until I do; until we do, we’ll continue fumbling in the dark in some areas, never quite seeing that the path in front of us is smoother than we believe.

Need Help Putting it All Together?

Are you struggling to keep all of your entrepreneurial balls in the air? Would you like to take a task or two off your plate? Maybe it’s content creation, or perhaps it’s getting your books in order and creating a budget. If this sounds familiar and you’re ready to streamline your life and give your business space to grow and thrive, CONTACT ME and let’s talk!

Grateful for Who I Was, Who I Am, and Who I Can Become

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for friends who understand I’m still struggling in some ways.
  2. I am grateful for disturbing and bizarre dreams which make me take a good hard look at what I’m doing with my life.
  3. I am grateful for friends who aren’t afraid to share some of their broken parts with me.
  4. I am grateful for days alone when I can sink into introspection. They make me face the world outside with more confidence, not so much in my abilities alone, but in the knowledge that I’m not alone at all.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, imperfections, community, joy, dancing kitty love, peace, harmony, health, 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

Writing in the Zone

Taking the Zone Into Our Subconscious Minds

I realized this morning I was no longer getting a plethora of blog topics from my morning pages. Stopping to wonder why, I realized I’d gotten into the habit of doing exactly what the morning pages are meant to do; turn off my conscious mind and tune into the zone. Interestingly enough, it’s how I write most of my blog posts, but for awhile, I’d spent far too much time thinking about what I was going to write when I was doing my daily free writing.

I started noticing I was blowing through the first couple of pages without even seeing the page on a conscious level. I’d simply get up in the morning, use the bathroom, put my allergy drops in my eyes, select the colored pen I was going to use, and start writing. It didn’t matter what came out. It was merely a vehicle, a vessel into which I dumped the first thoughts of the morning without editing or, as I’m realizing now, conscious thought.

Disconnecting Before We Remember Not To

I’m sure there have been places along the way when I did it without thinking, but somehow, I’d gotten so used to finding blog topics therein, I started paying too much attention to what I was writing in those moments before I’m fully awake or starting to plan out my day. I suspect there actually are some topics hidden in those pages, and I’m inclined to go back and look, but without realizing it, I started using the 30 minutes or so first thing in the morning for the proper purpose.

It’s a bit overwhelming to realize how often I create without conscious effort; how often the words you see on the screen came from somewhere deep inside me. All too often, the words reflect a part of me I’m not usually aware is impacting my life, and yet, it does to a greater degree than I realize.

Tapping Into Our Inner Reactive Selves

We all have habits, either learned or innate which take over from time to time. How many of us https://www.flickr.com/photos/jobber1/36197048070/in/photolist-X9BkiG-6zNVTx-9WcJ3G-dSakbx-dSammr-9TBa8u-6ezpVp-4BqdWY-VXtGBZ-rmenXX-qCVBCH-ebSPFY-on6uCz-7jht6-n98ro-VTXW6M-a1XWoX-aEZ3ZC-GAd7om-aETqXe-5YRvvk-dSfWbY-KEWxyD-7N2mv7-s8WVRA-97x2ND-9FZG7n-kv3uih-7dAKBM-Usjf3C-emcpAz-3EXMtA-U3SSPP-gQb96B-6QtXTY-o36uJj-iwvCcv-54dBjc-opbQb3-7NxyBo-7G7U6q-cS6eML-9FXQcH-ojrwjj-SUbPcQ-7MNAUc-Ee2qD-jZRnbY-a355px-cS691Nactually think about breathing unless we’re meditating or doing yoga? But we also have conditioned responses. We shiver when we’re cold, and maybe put on more clothes. There are things which scare us on one level or another and cause us to withdraw into ourselves. Perhaps we emerge when we believe the danger has passed, or sooner if we determine the danger isn’t as bad as we expected.

I’m learning it’s important to allow those subconscious thoughts and reactions to come to the surface. Too many times, I find mine are deeply rooted in something which happened during my childhood, and which I need to revisit and revise. The soul-deep reactions to certain situations have long-since outlived their usefulness. But like many knee-jerk behaviors, I enact them without conscious thought.

Gently Disentangling Deep-rooted Behaviors

https://www.flickr.com/photos/barnoid/507719383/in/photolist-LScht-aEgvH4-9GQuCD-6W1t6o-7eMLf-9ZapY5-aqyTWF-WVbQua-WUsn2q-5ZnSwb-GBxuMd-WRKktx-8XXrBy-WRBT42-6x6DAm-au6C6L-9aDgzF-6x2uga-6x2uh8-9aDjbx-mY8gjH-6x6DCG-au6CcU-6x2u8v-6x6DFU-aqB62q-2aihRJj-9aDhGR-9aDkma-XMxT3e-WRKjZ6-aqB3Zb-7YvxSK-7YvxHx-7YyNxL-6x2uag-7YyPdQ-aqyTgn-7YyP43-dC5ahP-9jFPTY-cCSL51-6XEnTg-gTzLxk-6XJqmd-gTzzhy-9aGsqG-gTzDSY-aqiF5e-UUKGFNAdmittedly, part of their deep-rootedness stems from the years I kept stuffing things down until everything became impacted. I’ve had to disgorge many of the more recent behaviors and responses before I could get to the mother lode. By now, many of those deep-rooted behaviors have entwined themselves around my psyche in intricate knots requiring a great deal of patience and persistence to unwind.

Though tempting, simply yanking them out by their roots isn’t an option. They’ve entwined themselves around a great deal which has value, or worse, which needs to be untangled and dealt with as well. Harsh removal will only result in stronger, more impenetrable bonds being formed with those outdated, yet tenacious patterns. Shock treatment is not an effective way to deal with the old hurts and traumas which formed our subconscious behaviors.

When All Else Fails, Allow

I’m learning the best method is to allow everything to come out in its own crazy, convoluted https://www.flickr.com/photos/sermoa/7289177616/in/photolist-c77Wy9-r361B6-7UmPsp-XGAjhz-64e9v7-2aA91KA-dgqyUQ-45XqnC-9QJ7eT-9QN5fS-sHuD2X-eYWQtB-fbDKCi-RX57Dd-21GaQYp-ap2UBy-2cqyUd9-4BaZUn-XR9iq1-649VdX-GEVNFE-37rTTS-8GD4Ct-21M2mrm-8PB966-kzYvK4-6Vje9y-4Hq3oP-izzeb3-ouihv3-NiJYj7-bua5Bm-iRQDZe-jpV8mm-gJX2L-R36JFv-23NUNNG-2cw7Nyt-2a4658R-npfQy2-RZFcen-M2YpLg-STMqAt-WKMNmd-29UnKjq-owijzY-f4WJBJ-96ELMg-p9Cein-T8HccTmanner, much like writing the first draft of my books. The rule of: “write first, edit later” can easily be applied to working through old patterns which continue to rear their ugly heads, yet hinder rather than help us.

Like dreams, if we seek to grab those patterns and the root system they’ve developed, they’ll slip away, hiding behind something seemingly innocuous. But if we allow them to flow freely without judgement or the slightest inkling we’ll try to fix our re-route them, we’ll learn things we didn’t even know we held inside. Only then can we put forth the necessary effort to change how we react to what used to be scary or painful, but no longer is.

We mature and grow. We lose our sensitivity to pain in many circumstances, but that maturity doesn’t always communicate well with the root of the issue. The root functions on blind emotion. It’s impervious to logic. (How often have you heard “You shouldn’t feel that way”?) Emotion and feelings weren’t created in the same universe as logic so no argument is going to sway them, no matter how much sense it might make.

Reassuring the Child Within

https://www.flickr.com/photos/60740813@N04/34504735502/in/photolist-Uz4MJN-7H8hqz-r2covS-8wbGLH-8wcEVv-8weaum-8wcFMc-r2c6ww-r2iYrg-qmL3eU-8w9Dpr-r2jtjr-riJFWH-8wcT7A-8wcK8r-8wbRuV-8wcj84-8wanQx-8waPPT-8w9c4V-8w97ek-r2j3iV-riCAji-8w8skp-r2cTQq-8wfuwo-8waMUv-8wfDJJ-8wdgXY-qZq9cM-8wd2u3-8wfVzw-8wbq15-8w8bJP-8w9Wdc-8wcQdR-riF3r5-riJvW2-8wbTSq-r2cNH1-8wc6wN-r2d6wG-8wcM6o-r2jiHn-8wdexo-riJBiz-8bQ1eC-8wfeYo-riJJHV-8w9YqrWe go back to those feelings time and time again. Sometimes it’s a reaction, but others it’s because we’re trying to understand why we reacted that way in the first place. We know it defies logic, yet something inside ourselves says run away fast! Danger ahead!

When a child is scared, we don’t tell them:

“There’s nothing to be afraid of! Suck it up and deal with what you see right in front of you!”

Instead, we seek to reassure them what they are perceiving isn’t what’s really in front of them. Those innate responses inside us are no different. The frightened child created them and will continue to see an unchanged environment where a particular circumstance elicits fear, and even pain.

In short, we have to allow our inner child to express themselves before we can address what makes them fearful. We have to give them free rein to say whatever they feel without judgement; without question; without trying to fix them while they’re expressing their fears, shame, and hurt. When they feel safe talking about the heretofore unmentionables, we gain insight, not only into the basis of those conditioned responses, but the necessary steps towards assuaging the fears, healing the hurts, and gaining their trust.

I speak a lot about the dichotomy within ourselves; the child and the adult. Too many of us stifle the child, even denying their existence. Yet we’re unable to explain why time and time again, we react in the same manner, and can’t seem to stop ourselves from reacting. All I can tell you is what I’ve learned myself. We have to take the time to listen quietly. We have to allow triggers to bring forth strong emotions from deep inside ourselves. Only then can we effect a change; a healing which will replace the fear-and pain-based reactions with an ability to assess each situation independent of itself.

Our Greatest Tool is Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for my child within. She’s taught me a great deal about my self, my past, and my future.
  2. I am grateful for the ability to write without conscious thought. Many insights have come from my process.
  3. I am grateful for Julia Cameron and her morning pages. I have more than two years, and more than half a dozen notebooks filled with my thoughts, my frustrations, my pain, and a great deal of insight into the child who became the woman I am today.
  4. I am grateful for my ability to sit still and write, tuning the rest of the world out, and creating something I didn’t even know was there until I read it on the page after it’s done.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; opportunities, motivation, love, friendship, dancing, kitty love, joy, energy, Consciousness, inspiration, motivation, peace, harmony, health, 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

Miracles Happen When We Stay In The Moment

A Miracle A Day

We all hope for miracles at one time or another; the perfect job, the perfect mate, healing the ills of someone we love. Yet every day is a miracle, and too often, we fail to recognize the small but significant wonders. One of my most cherished wonders is my cats’ purrs. Each one is as unique as their personalities, and I can recognize them in the dark.

My sweet girl, Munchkin was diagnosed with cancer on December 4th. By the time I got the diagnosis, I hadn’t heard her purr for four days. So to wake up on the morning of December 13th to her jumping into my spot on the bed when I got up to use the bathroom, then proceed to give me a serenade in her full, loud, rumbly, voice was nothing short of a miracle on the grandest of scales. With all she was already going through, I thought the purr was gone forever. I’ve never been so happy to be wrong in my entire life.

Her purr reminded me the world is full of possibilities. Just because we fall on our faces one day doesn’t mean we can’t soar into the stratosphere the next. Just because we have to accept a cancer diagnosis as ultimately terminal in our pets most of the time, doesn’t mean there are other areas in our lives where we’ll be seeing doors open and efforts rewarded at some point in the near future. No matter what happens, no matter how many curve balls we’re thrown we can’t stop believing. If we do, we’ll miss the miracles which present themselves to us with each sunrise, with each new child born, with each step we take towards our goals and dreams.

Loosening Our Grip on Outcomes

Yet it’s easy to lose sight of our dreams in all the things that aren’t going right in our lives, or at least https://www.flickr.com/photos/clairity/4847776412/in/photolist-8oo82W-5u6siD-5EVfmX-66Pp7M-6BmYQy-grdRmN-bN9Ufi-93zViS-5DfL4c-iWDSjP-8HFwE4-4jbLhS-4YdUrM-h8fjzx-9vsNWK-bNdaHc-8GMmUx-5P4TdC-6k8szn-Gunqy-7eff1x-8qXuYJ-7cQkpq-615Wz9-8L878U-6XwDvd-dgyjH-271b9a6-5y8ShS-4BtgT2-9LVvuW-5RB2Yq-5MAW7q-7RTDqt-bDGfkZ-21JcFzu-2cy6EDS-55cWM3-2cufUke-dACBpV-aEej5W-q6iNyc-otsMXj-pdNrXJ-cbmBYW-8YxiU2-5rKVFb-pQA94L-avZUVo-2jFJNCright as we see it. Too often, we set rigid expectations. When they’re not met, we see it as a failure instead of looking at what happened instead. Many times, the reality exceeds our expectations, but we’re too busy bemoaning the might-have-beens to recognize the Universe improved on our wishes and dreams and gave us something far better than we imagined.

I’m a firm believer in the Laws of Attraction. I know I have to set a top-level expectation, then open my heart and mind to the bread crumbs that will lead me to my next task; my next step towards achieving my dreams. Too many people set large expectations, but also define how, when, and why they want to get there. Then they’re disappointed when things don’t happen according to the script.

I’ve learned the fastest way to my dreams is to leave myself open to possibilities, side roads, and even plot twists. The path we take through life is seldom straight. It’s almost never a fast-moving, six-lane highway. More often than not, it’s a back road that winds its way around mountains, lakes, streams, and potholes. There are so many switchbacks we may, at times think we’re wandering around in circles, hopelessly lost.

The Long Way Around Might Be The Most Direct Route

In my experience, the side roads and switchbacks are where the true magic happens. We stumble upon something or someone unexpected which takes us on a journey of wonder and new experiences. We have our mettle tested and learn we’re capable of far more than we realized, even if we have to fall on our face to see we can, and will get up and move on.

Years ago, a wrong turn in Yosemite took us into a cloud of Monarch butterflies. The joy of standing still and feeling the beat of thousands of delicate wings is an experiences I’ll always cherish and never forget. Nor will I lose the image of the deer standing mere feet away in a grassy field, as curious about us as we were about her.

It doesn’t have to be something out of the ordinary though. There is wonder in each and ever minute we live; every breath we take. We have to stop focusing on what we think we need to do in the future and pay attention to what’s right in front of us in the current moment. When I think about how much I’ve missed by being anywhere but right here, I can’t help but wonder if things would have been different had I noticed.

Remembering to Stay in the Moment

But even that takes me out of this wonderful, precious moment. Besides, I can’t change what’s already https://www.flickr.com/photos/prestonrhea/5236270625/in/photolist-8YHfQ2-4X1dP6-P58XGS-dmtrwi-2pMKC-nC1YD-QxGsf-q4rWqa-8HeDZc-o8pVg-8mXR4g-o7nP7c-8jQqTQ-bPxsQc-dJusGN-78jLU7-98LY1P-dYGYNq-cgtYSu-cgu1F7-7rMJ9R-6z6KQA-6VuMG-6Jfxqk-4bbwMg-dmtxds-9Rf6xQ-v8gDMa-9PqETD-4MsUzv-ptUKap-a2BfLR-4UtU1B-4UtSun-5dBS8k-7eGxtr-7nUbqa-7nUbW8-fBZ3S4-5M1h3P-8DYirc-8E2uBh-6r2V98-7oFgff-7oBon2-7oBpbn-7oBoG6-7oFfRo-vPhUL-jk3BYphappened. I can only live each moment I have, giving it my full attention.

It isn’t easy to stop ourselves from making lists in our head or planning out what we’re going to do later today, tomorrow, next week, or next month. It takes a determined effort to stay in the moment and not be distracted. The rewards when we do, though, are incredible.

Like many, I’m often distracted while driving, thinking about where I’m going, what I need to do, or any number of non-driving related topics. But when I draw my attention back to the road and to arriving at my destination safely, I start noticing things. Maybe it’s an especially beautiful tree, or a shape in the clouds, or the clear, blue sky embracing a snow-topped mountain. The what is not as important as just noticing these things. How often do we drive for miles never seeing what’s around us? What are we missing in our blind oblivion?

Staying Present and Living the Miracles

If you ask me, we’re missing miracles happening every minute. We’re missing all the little things that might bring us joy if we’d only drag our attention away from the past and future so we can see what’s right before our eyes.

I beat myself up for not being where I want to be with my business, financially, socially, physically. Like many, I lose sight of the fact that I need to put one foot in front of the other in order to achieve any or all of my goals. While I’m focusing on where I’m not, I’m making no progress towards getting there.

Munchkin’s returning purr reminded me today of a few things. First, don’t give up. Maybe things look bleak right now, but keep walking. Eventually you’ll see sunshine, or maybe even a rainbow again. The only way we stop our own progress is by standing still. By focusing on anything except the present moment, the only moment we can control or change, we are, in effect, standing still.

I, for one, am tired of standing still, or worse, moving backwards. I’m going to find more effective ways to keep myself in the moment where the miracles happen.

My Grateful Heart

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for all the little miracles in my life.
  2. I am grateful for reminders to stay in the moment.
  3. I am grateful for friendships which grow stronger every day.
  4. I am grateful for the life experiences I’ve had and will have.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, miracles, joy, challenges, lessons, peace, health, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

About the Author

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

Getting Back to Our Passion

From Sound Bite to Epiphany

I caught a sound bite while at the gym and it got me thinking. It said a lot of the chaos being caused in places like NATO, G7, and other high profile political arenas is solely for the purpose of generating anger and divisiveness. I can’t say the news surprises me as I’ve said the same thing so often it’s becoming almost redundant.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/whoisthatfreakwiththecamera/2128863889/in/photolist-4f7Z4P-qjFHFf-98uNgj-6rDocS-UiQVsw-9MwMca-Re3oF7-XGTMLU-on6pwo-SB9A6F-54qPeB-7H8Pz8-7SMaC-R6RucA-cdbJBE-XGU7Q5-bGtTU6-8YKrbu-4CRGDp-bfqo4k-PEvGt-6Q9zSA-mJQyHS-4Ew2AY-Sfkwdo-5vKK9X-aDJhs6-FWXiy-76To7V-PFoqM-6r9hiY-5YcHEt-bqFdZH-dzVpN2-df1Kzf-oG6Szg-oE5cau-49Ytgo-7dHNJe-76XiVw-5YcKbP-4S24ZU-5YcKtz-5YcJFF-bpo9oP-76Tjkx-4HL5yc-5YcJoT-8f2fwB-6km6WdCreating anger, pitting people against each other, and glorifying hate feeds the bullies, the ogres, and the demons who have been released upon our world to run amok unchecked. The sole purpose of this feeding frenzy of greed and hate is to allow the soulless, heartless minority to steal everything we hold dear while we’re too wrapped up in being angry to appreciate and protect our inalienable rights. To me the most important of those rights are the right to love and be loved, the right to treat others with kindness and receive the same, and the right to join together in communities working towards common goals for the greater good.

Bringing Idealism Back Into Fashion

This may make me sound like an idealist and in many ways I probably am. Yet I have faith we can create the world I’m not alone in envisioning where we can have different beliefs and still come together in a single cohesive, productive unit. A community which understands different opinions make us stronger because they encourage us to look at our world from alternate points of view without treating disagreement like a personal affront.

I believe we can and will turn our world around and bring people together. We’ll return to a place where freedom of religion, and liberty for all once again actually means something. Where people no longer need a designated scapegoat to excuse their own unwillingness to put forth the effort to achieve their own goals and dreams but instead ask for help from others regardless of heritage, beliefs, religion, race, or sexual preference. Most important is getting back to where we understand, believe and act on the truism that the community is stronger which takes care of its own. In other words, where helping each other is part of our nature and not an obligation.

Imagine

John Lennon envisioned such a world decades ago when he wrote his song, “Imagine”. That world may https://www.flickr.com/photos/gcaspers/3674508861/in/photolist-6AGPt4-9XPdGp-9AfZYv-asnfWg-2j1go4-7UukPU-a2XVdU-NqoUQ-dbkFUe-a2XRDb-6nnHrK-9EBf9b-9xemFj-cucYQS-cud1JC-cucV5Q-cucW5f-9GVbUK-9XS6cJ-53kCM9-8dXRc-ctMcPj-crXsXw-cutJfu-a3bJ56-9XS6GA-aspUtj-a3bRmp-rjDGsd-cudgUJ-9xeGYS-ctNGF1-cutroo-crYSB9-a2UPPe-crYbPw-6ZUrTn-cutJYm-jCRHS-cutQqA-csxxsh-sabp4u-aspXws-a3fFX5-cutPDh-dmd5Ze-asnkuX-cykHmj-9xAUFm-cutrGUnot have come to pass in his lifetime but I believe the seeds were sown long ago. We need to nurture and cultivate those seeds. The more of us who choose to nourish the crop, the more abundant it will become. There will come a point where our fields of love, kindness, and acceptance will be sufficient to choke out the weeds of hate, greed, and divisiveness. In my mind, that’s the love people like Dr Martin Luther King tried to tell us would overcome the evil and hatred running rampant in our world. Many have lost faith in his timeless words, but the few who keep it alive are stronger than they might think.

The interesting thing about feeding the love seeds is not only do you feel good when you do it, you don’t need constant infusions to maintain the level of intensity you reach. In fact, unlike hate which only grows stronger with regular infusions of pain, love grows stronger the more you give of yourself for the benefit of others. Even better, the well of love is infinite. It never runs dry.

Fake News Creates Fake Hate

The artificially instilled anger being poured into the world right now is continuously depleted and can https://www.flickr.com/photos/eamoncurry/28268951669/in/photolist-K52Lsr-byVMMC-RPS3xW-UdGABu-ZyoRJD-UGD7PB-F5Q7kv-VP4Csi-mHt88T-k3iA6-Hfjmzh-dcxTkQ-RtTnPj-U65Sq9-dcujdB-RSrN3T-bMQU4K-SWh6K3-Tb77Ki-T7xwTo-RTDHJ3-T7xp7w-3KKPDt-o6oKQv-SWh5YJ-UN97Sy-prgzdM-bMCdYe-qhS8Xz-byKj5d-qs4b7R-byL2XC-bMCd9p-SAfRWS-dzNBJu-fwWtJt-JjEtwP-bMBxtP-byKnuf-272uDNX-TuBQdv-26wihPC-EQiBwn-dabUNz-rLf7Sy-27u72yF-SLfJYB-dkAN6H-24szGFw-bWK2Xtonly find more fuel in the pain and suffering of someone—a whole lot of someones. Right now, we are all “someone”. We are the pool from which those who feed on pain, suffering, hate, and anger will draw. We alone have the power to stop being used as fuel for a machine which operates in the best interests of only a select few who care nothing for the well-being of the world as a whole or the people in it.

It starts with a pebble in the pond of humanity. The pebble creates ripples which meet ripples created by other pebbles tossed into the pond. As more pebbles are tossed and more ripples created, connections form and the potential for a global support system becomes, not an impossible dream, but the reality we all deserve. But it won’t come by pointing fingers or blaming others for our imperfect lives. It will only happen when we realize we are the pebbles creating those ripples and make a conscious choice to fill our ripples with love instead of hate. We have to lose the destructive us-them mentality and realize we have the potential to be one global community where we give of ourselves unselfishly and receive what we need with gratitude.

Making the Dreamers’ Dreams a Reality

If you ask me, we owe it to the dreamers like John Lennon and Dr. King to turn their dreams into reality. It starts with a single person; a single act. Holding a door for another person, letting a car merge in front of you on the freeway, speaking out when you see someone being mistreated, rescuing an animal, listening to a friend, or smiling at a stranger. What I’m saying is making those dreams reality starts with caring.

For me that means redoubling my efforts to reach out to people who have been impacted by suicide or suicidal thoughts, depression, or mental health. I’m learning something really incredible; something I’d have deemed impossible even a few months ago. Hold onto your hat, because I’m going to share what for me at least was a HUGE epiphany.

Passion: The Strongest Catalyst We Have

When you discover your passion, the thing that makes you light up like the Aurora Borealis just thinking about it, and as brightly as the mid-day sun when you start talking about it, people who will either enhance or benefit from that passion will appear in your life almost magically.

You heard me right (or rather, “read” since I’ve yet to move from blog to vlog). Passion is one of the most attractive forces in the Universe, for both definitions of “attractive”. Feeling and expressing that passion is akin to becoming the most powerful magnet imaginable. But the glow you engage when you bring your passion out to play brings out the passion in others as well. If you ask me there is nothing more beautiful than people and their passions coming together to create a world of love and cooperation.

What makes you light up brighter than the sun? How can I help you turn your spark into a blazing fire that encompasses all humanity? It all begins by tossing the first pebble into humanity’s pond.

Fueled by Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the amazing, inspirational people who have not only come before me, but the ones who are in my life right now, inspiring, encouraging, and occasionally butt kicking.
  2. I am grateful for the virtual flood of ideas I’ve been getting this week.
  3. I am grateful for blocks I’m discovering and learning how to release them, not just for the moment, but forever.
  4. I am grateful for the opportunity to help others and the inspiration to find ways to do just that.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; inspiration, motivation, brilliant people, warm friendships, encouragement, opportunities to leave my comfort zone further behind, love, peace, joy, harmony, health, 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 specializes in creating content that helps 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

6 Steps to Kick Procrastination

Kicking Procrastination in the Butt

Now that my Thanksgiving dinner for an intimate group of 30 is over, my house feels remarkably empty with just me and my furry roomies. It would be easy to  allow the sudden silence and lack of activity to lull me into a soporific stupor, and at times, I’ve been tempted.

Drowsing my days away won’t, however, help me achieve my goals, hopes and dreams. Yet, there are a multitude of excuses whereby I might delay my efforts. What to do?

One of the marks of a procrastinator is our ability to be easily distracted by, well, almost anything. In my case, it might be chores, or administrative tasks or a book that falls on my head. So I set out this week to eliminate all possible culprits.

I sit here now with my bookkeeping chores complete, my bills for the month paid, all piles of laundry washed, folded and put away, and the remnants of Thanksgiving tucked away until next year. I also have a freezer so packed with food I can’t even find room for single servings of another pot of chili. (and I’m down to my last 2 containers, so I need to make room soon!)

The issue now is how I’ll avoid going off on still more tangents which inhibit forward progress on those aforementioned goals, hopes and dreams. So, how do we keep ourselves on track towards achieving our goals, hopes and dreams?

Step 1: To Do Lists

I am a great list maker, and for awhile, I’ll even stick to them. The key is to make them simple and actionable. Too many long-term projects on the list and you’ll get discouraged. When you get discouraged, the list will go out the window like so many other things you’ve tried and given up on before you had a chance to see if they’d actually work.

Step 2: Break it Down

If you’re like me, you have a tendency to set huge projects for yourself, then wonder why nothing ever gets done. I liken it to being a hoarder who wants to reform. You stand in the doorway of a room full of stuff and feel overwhelmed by the project before you even start.

I’ve learned through a great deal of trial and error that every project can be broken down into smaller, more manageable pieces. This way, you start seeing successes right away. By deciding how quickly you need to see results, you’ll know how much to break those projects down.

One of my biggest projects is to clean up my garage. Somehow, things always get tossed in there when I don’t know what else to do with them, and soon, everything is falling off shelves and onto the floor where it gets tripped on, stomped on and otherwise scattered around. Recently, while looking for my staple gun (which sadly, I still haven’t located) I faced down the mess which had accumulated in front of my tool box. In about 15 minutes, I had cleared the clutter, re-organized the bottom shelf where I keep the power tools, and swept up the crud which had been coating the floor for years. Yes, I did say years!

The best part is, the space in front of my storage room is now completely clean and clear, making it easier to get in and get to what I need (like, for example, the boxes of wrapping paper and paraphernalia necessary to make beautiful Christmas packages for my kids). I can even accomplish it without aggravating myself with false promises to someday clean up the mess. Why? Because the mess is gone!

Step 3: Set Goals

We all need something to strive for. Just like the hopes, dreams, and goals we have, there is a feeling of accomplishment when we achieve the simplest things; clear the clutter from the dresser, dump the cat food into the bin and put the bag in the recycle barrel, wash the load of towels that’s been accumulating in the garage. Get the picture? It isn’t about getting the whole house clean or all the laundry done. It’s about getting something done. If you’ve made some progress with Step 2, you already have the hang of breaking those goals down into manageable pieces. Here are some examples of small daily goals I set myself. I’ve found they make it easier to set and achieve the larger ones which might span a week, a month or even longer.

  • Wash the dishes
  • Scoop sandboxes
  • Make the bed

And here’s an example of how I break down the larger chores:

  • Wash clothes
  • Fold/hang up clothes
  • Put away clothes

Do you see how you can give yourself credit for each step, and while you’re at it, get something off your list? Not only that, you’re not giving yourself time to stare at the pile of clean laundry for days before you just use it up by wearing it every day. I don’t know about you, but the sight of a laundry basket full of clothes in the middle of my room is a constant reminder of the many things I have to do but haven’t. It’s also a cat magnet in my house, and it’s hard enough to leave the house with minimal fur on my clothing when they’re put away in their proper place!

Step 4: Congratulate Yourself

This may sound silly, but we all need an attaboy now and then. Why not give it to yourself when you check something off your list? Over the last couple of years, I’ve slowly managed, in spite of the ADD which has me starting something, only to go into another room with an item to be put away and start something else, to clear a number of spaces in my home. Many of these spaces are part of larger projects, but the clean spots inspire me. They not only let me know that I am capable of clearing a space, but show me how pleasant it can be to have those clear spaces.

Step 5: Make it Fun

The best way I’ve found to make myself get things done is to turn work into play. It might be something as simple as music in the background or dancing with the vacuum. Or maybe you turn a project into a game, or a competition with yourself (How fast can I…? How many…can I in…minutes?). Think “Whistle While You Work” from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Step 6: Reward Yourself

I know you’re thinking you don’t deserve a reward for doing things you should do anyway, but nothing could be further from the truth! Just because you should do them doesn’t always mean you do them willingly, much less, cheerfully. So why not give yourself a treat? (Having spent years fighting my weight, I don’t recommend an edible one unless you’re one of the lucky few who burn off everything you eat!) Here are a few examples of my treats of choice:

  • A couple of hours of reading for pleasure
  • Watching/going to a movie
  • A visit to my local bookstore
  • A foot massage

For you, it might be a hike or a run, a walk on the beach, a nap, a long bath. Use your imagination, and make it something you’ll truly enjoy. Give yourself small rewards for getting one or several of the small things done, but make the reward really special when you get a large task (that you’ve broken down into several smaller ones, of course) completed.

No Excuses. Make that Dream Happen.

Now that you’ve managed the stuff you have to do, you’ll find you not only have more time, but more energy to go after those things you really want. You’ve also acquired a few skills which will make achieving them easier and maybe more fun as well. Use the time and the skills to map out that dream you have of building a business or writing a book or showing your art. It doesn’t matter what it is. What matters is it’s something which makes your heart sing with joy. It’s something you don’t have to do. It’s something you want to do but have put off because you don’t think you have time.

By simplifying your life, by making it more fun, you’ve suddenly found hours you didn’t even know you had! I wish you many dreams-come-true.

Don’t Forget the Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the lessons I learn and the words with which to share them.
  2. I am grateful for the things I’ve accomplished by simply following the rules I found for myself.
  3. I am grateful for making my dreams come true.
  4. I am grateful for keeping it simple
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, dreams, goals, hopes, friendship, success, writing, published work, readers, followers, clients, 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 Orin Zebest via Flickr

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