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

Posts tagged ‘Eckhart Tolle’

When Times Are Tough, Take Time to Simply Be

Taking the Time to Live in the Now; to Be

Sitting at the gym on a break between sets, knowing I had a rough week ahead of me I realized what I truly needed was to stop and just be in the moment. And in that moment, I recognized I was strong; I was healthy; I was loved. And you know what? Sometimes that’s all we really need to focus on. Sure, there were other machines and sets ahead. And cleaning, and writing… but none of that was in the current moment. I couldn’t do anything about those things in the current moment—in the “Now”.

I bought Eckhart Tolle’s “The Power of Now” several years ago. The first time I started to read it, I couldn’t get into it, and eventually put it back on my shelf to read another time. The second time I picked it up, it had, quite literally cracked me on the head by falling off the shelf. By then, I was ready to read it, and got something out of it. Still, there was more to glean from between its covers, and I read it a second time. Something tells me I’m ready now for round 3.

I know on a conscious level I can only change the moment I’m in. I cannot change the past. It’s done and gone. I cannot change the future. It’s not here yet. No matter how much I may be struggling in my day-to-day life; no matter how many times I’ve fallen down; no matter what challenges I know I have to face tomorrow, the only moment I’m guaranteed is the one I’m in.

Causing My Own Mental Clutter

All too often, I lose sight of the moment I’m in while making lists or plans, fretting over getting house thoroughly cleaned before my daughter arrives, or Thanksgiving gets here. I’ll focus on the next machine at the gym when I still have a set or two to finish on the machine I’m on, worrying someone will get there before me and I’ll have to change up my routine. That’s when I drag myself back to the moment and remind myself none of it matters.

Somehow, I’ll get the house clean, even if the kids have to help me. If the next machine isn’t available, there’s a gym full of weights and machines I can use instead. If I client I’ve been talking to is sitting on the fence, or decides to take another path, there’s really nothing I can do to change it, nor do I want to try to talk someone into anything. If we’re not a good fit, we’re both better off finding someone who fits us to a “T” than settling for less-than-perfect.

Over time, I’ve tried a lot of things, taken a lot of courses, and listened to a lot of people. It took me a lot of trial and error before I learned to trust my gut. If what they were saying made sense and felt good, I’d hang around. If not, I’d take what I could from the experience and move on. These days, I’m able to make that assessment more quickly and get out of the ones that don’t feel right before I’ve invested too much of my most valuable commodity; time.

Feeling Pressured by My Own Expectations

Even as I sit here, a week behind on my blog writing (which, by the way, still puts me at 2 weeks ahead and a little more), I have to remind myself to be kinder and gentler to me. If I’m not getting things done according to my own expectations, there’s an underlying reason. Still, in the current moment, it doesn’t matter that I need to get at least 2 more posts written by Wednesday in addition to this one, or that I have a full week ahead of me, so I’d like to write a total of 5 in the next 2 days. I can only get this one written, and even then, it may take more than the next few bits of Now in order to accomplish it.

I’ve gotten pretty good about not beating myself up over failing to meet deadlines I set for rewrites of “Rebuilding After Suicide” or posting chapters of “Sasha’s Journey” on ChapterBuzz. I was pretty proud of myself when I achieved a long-desired goal of having 3 weeks worth of blog posts written, formatted and scheduled, so it irks me to slip. Never mind the crash of both my PC and laptop last month, and my 2 days without internet last week. I still try to take it all on as my sole responsibility, and worse, my failure to measure up.

I look up at the shelf full of self-help and motivational books right above my monitors and they remind me that self-flagellation is neither effective nor warranted. I do the best I can, even if my best is sitting in front of the TV watching Hallmark movies. My subconscious knows it’s what I need even if my inner critic thinks it’s a waste of time and energy.

I Get to Choose Whether or Not to Listen to My Inner Critic

Today, I’m focusing on reminding that critic to STFU. I know what I need. I know what’s best for Created with Canvame in this moment. Nothing and no one can guide me better than my kindest self who keeps whispering: “The only time you have is now. Use it wisely.”

Whether I get 3 posts written tonight or only this one, I feel confident I’m doing my very best with each moment. The posts will get written. The house will get cleaned. My books will get finished and published when the time is right. Forcing a fish to swim upstream isn’t going to make him go where he’s not meant to go. Forcing myself out of my flow won’t get anything done faster, and certainly not better. Sometimes, I have to live through a few more things before a task can be completed. Pieces are still missing, and forcing myself to complete it before it’s time means it won’t really be finished at all.

It took me 10 years to finish the draft for “Rebuilding After Suicide”, during which I changed the title at least 4 times. If I’d finished it sooner, I’d have left out important discoveries I made about myself, and my healing journey. It may take me a few more to revise it as I’m still making new discoveries. I continue to heal the wounds I re-open with those discoveries. Some will become an integral part of the book, and some will not. Meanwhile, I’ve given myself permission (with a little push from my daughter) to give my attention and effort to “Sasha’s Journey”, my very first NaNoWriMo that’s been sitting in the bowels of my cloud storage for a couple of years now.

Sometimes you have to put one dream on hold to realize another. Knowing when it’s time to do that takes listening to the inner voice who wants the very best for you. I’m choosing to turn up the volume on that voice right now.

Putting Gratitude First

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for side trips.
  2. I’m grateful for changes in direction.
  3. I’m grateful for reminders to stay in the moment.
  4. I’m grateful for people and books who have given me incredible guidance and clarity in the last few years.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; courage, love, friendship, hope, lessons, challenges, highs and lows, joy and sadness, family by choice rather than blood, peace, health, harmony, 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

Depression Hiding Amongst Us

Hiding Depression is a Way of Life for Many day you interact with other people; the clerk at the grocery store who always greets you by name with a warm smile; the friend you met for lunch; the guy at the gym who keeps to himself, safe inside his noise-cancelling headphones; the woman pushing her young child in a shopping cart, his innocence shining through his smile. From the outside, they all seem perfectly content with their lives, but are they really?

Society has taught us to hide our pain behind a smile; behind routine tasks; behind a collection of masks. Although the media and various health organizations are trying to reverse generations of conditioning with their “let us help you” ad campaigns, the stigma remains for many.

The prospect of being shunned, losing a job, or being humiliated for showing weakness play an enormous part in a continued unwillingness to seek help. But it’s only the tip of the iceberg of depression. Getting past a deep-seated belief that you don’t deserve to ask for help, or you’d be a bother to others for asking keeps many locked inside their own minds. That there’s no basis in fact for their beliefs never comes into question.

Getting in Touch With Your Emotions

Even before you consider asking for help, you have to actually be in touch with your emotions, and recognize when you’re just down over a specific event vs. down in the grand scheme of things without specific reasons. In her article “How to Develop Your Emotional Intelligence”, Angela Duckworth talks about an enormous gap in our educational system. If we can’t identify our own emotional state, not only are we unable to help ourselves, we can’t set an example for our kids, or recognize when they’re flailing. Is it any wonder so many people think the problem lies within themselves; that they’re broken and can’t be fixed?

I’ve learned by reading books from people like Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra, and a few others, you need to learn how to not only be more self-aware, but more in the moment. In order to assess your true state of mind, you have to focus on where you are at this very moment, tuning out any future plans and lists, worries and concerns. Tolle calls it being in the “Now” and advises you ask yourself if all the problems and plans running through your head are an issue at this very moment.

Managing Life in Smaller Bites

For example, say you’re stressing out over necessary car repairs you can’t afford. If you ask yourself whether it is an issue in this moment; if it’s something you have to deal with in this exact period of time, the answer is likely to be no. If you neither need to, nor are able to deal with it right now, worrying about it won’t change things. He advises setting it aside until its proper moment, and dealing with what is right in front of you. Typically, what’s right in front of you is a small, manageable portion of your life and will be better dealt with if you’re not worrying about something in the future. And who knows? All those smaller pieces may lead you to a solution for the car repairs as well!

Another benefit to focusing on the moment you’re in is you’re able to determine whether what’s dragging you down even belongs to you. If you’re like me, you’re sensitive to the energies others are putting out. At times, it’s difficult to tell whether your stress and even anger belong to you, or to someone else entirely. When you step back and ask yourself what you can truly deal with in this moment, what isn’t yours won’t even make the cut. The truth is, there will never be a moment when you can manage what belongs to someone else.

I know this sounds complicated, or at least it did for me when I first read about it in “The Power of Now”. Like anything else, you get better with practice. Now, when someone in my world is suddenly cranky for no apparent reason, I can take a mental step back (even if I’ve reacted in kind), focus on what’s really mine, and send them compassionate thoughts for whatever is causing them to act out. It helps me release any ownership of their anger or frustration, and allows them to do with it as they see fit.

Take a Moment to Breathe and Assess

I was sitting at a machine at the gym one day, looking at my phone as I rested sets. One of the trainers who is usually very sweet, comes up and practically snarls, “Helloooo, I need this machine!” I snapped back that I’d just gotten there, had two more sets, and had to rest a bit between sets (something she should have been aware of in the first place).

I could have allowed the exchange to make me rush through my last two sets, but decided I’d finish them in my normal time. In the first place, as a trainer, she should have a large enough repertoire of exercises she could easily substitute something else. In the second, it was clear something wasn’t right in her life for her to be uncharacteristically snotty.

It doesn’t mean I didn’t stew a bit before showering her with compassion from afar, nor feel slightly annoyed when she (as she should have) had her client working on a similar machine and never did use the one she tried to kick me off of. I did cut my workout a bit short as I needed to get away from the toxic energy, but not so short that I didn’t use all the machines I needed to.

Small Improvements With Consistent Practice

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAStaying in the “Now” isn’t something you learn and perfect in a few sittings. As far as I can tell, it’s a lifelong pursuit. The more you do it, the better you become, but there will still be times when you let someone piss you off, or feel cranky and out of sorts for no reason. But the more you remain aware, the more time you’ll spend in a calmer, happier place. Better still, the more you’ll be aware when someone around you needs an extra dose of understanding and compassion, or maybe assistance in identifying what’s causing their mood to swing downwards.

Sometimes, no, oftentimes, all they really need is for you to be there with a smile, a warm hug, or quiet companionship. In doing so, you let them know they don’t have to face whatever they’re facing alone, even if they don’t want to share it. You’re there, you’re supportive, and you’re not pushing them to divulge more than they’re comfortable sharing. When someone is sad or depressed, knowing you’re there with unquestioning support could be the small reminder they need to see they really do matter. It could be the spark that helps them start turning things around.

Sure, you and I aren’t going to eliminate depression by being there for a few. Depression is a complicated animal. Some people need professional help to manage it. Like the cats I’ve rescued over the last few decades, I’m not going to change the world for everyone, but for the ones I brought into my home, and will in the future, I’ve changed their world.

Think about changing someone’s world, if not for a lifetime, at least for a moment. Consider how you feel when you’re able to lift someone’s spirits, or when someone lifts yours, and pass it on.

Using Gratitude to Keep My Spirits High

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for all the people who have lifted my spirits, often without even realizing it.
  2. I am grateful for my own experiences with depression. The memories help me avoid slipping back into that pit of despair.
  3. I am grateful to friends who’ve become comfortable letting me see when they’re down, feeling lost, left out, or alone, and need a little extra attention.
  4. I am grateful for my lower stress world where even a bad day can be made better with a few kitty cuddles, head bonks, and cat facials.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, laughter, friendship, dancing, long walks in nature, energy, answers, questions, inspiration, motivation, 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

A Time to Detach and A Time to Connect

Embracing the Moments of Detachment

Until recently, when I’d start to feel detached or disconnected even when surrounded by people, I’d fight the feeling and work overtime trying to find a point of connectedness. Typically, my efforts were futile, further frustrating and even depressing me.

When it happened while dancing, I’d end up drawing into my own little bubble of energy of being in the moment in spite of myself. It made the experience less joyful if only because I didn’t get that extra boost from the energy of the other dancers and people watching on the sidelines.

Lately I’ve discovered the best way to manage moments when I feel like I’m on the outside looking in is to embrace them and actually enjoy the moment when I’m a bubble floating above and through the crowd, dancing my own dance to the music in my head. It is, in fact, merely a moment in time in the Life experience; an integral part of the unique individual who is Me. I’d already learned fighting it was futile, and often made me feel worse. Now I see how embracing it and “going with the flow” can not only enhance the moment, but make those moments of connection even more special and fulfilling.

Alone Time Can Occur Almost Anywhere

As an introvert, I need periods of alone time when I have no connection with humans, either directly or electronically. What it took me a long time to figure out was those disconnected moments aren’t always convenient. They don’t always occur when I can close myself into my personal space with no one but the cats for company. Sometimes, they come on when I’m out in the world, doing something I love like dancing. The challenge is in maintaining my balance while facing what seems to be a discordant situation.

In truth, I haven’t had a problem isolating myself in a crowd since I learned to shield decades ago. Sometimes I do it because the crowd’s energy would overwhelm me if I left myself open to it. Others, because I need to be more of an observer than a participant for a little while.

As one who often dines alone, I’ve become rather an expert at tuning out the noises around me. I might be reading or writing, or simply listening to music through my earphones. I’ve learned these moments of isolation in a public place can actually be quite productive. My ADD brain is able to hyper-focus, and often, I get more writing done when stuff is going on around me than I do in the quiet and peace of my home.

Using the Ability to Hyper-Focus to Best Advantage

Years ago, I worked in an office the owners had created by converting an old house. My office was an

open space which used to be the living room, and was shared with a couple of other people and a micro computer. I faced a sliding door which led to the parking lot behind the building. Needless to say, there were always distractions whether it was people moving around or holding conversations, telephones ringing, or client calls. I had to learn to tune it out and get my work done. With the detail necessary for accounting and tax work, it wasn’t always easy. But my ability to hyper-focus served me well, and I’d get to the point where I didn’t even notice what was going on around me. If someone approached my desk, they might have to shake me loose (figuratively, of course) in order to get my attention.

I learned from the experience that I work best with a little distraction, whether it’s music playing in the background (Pandora was a godsend for me!), surrounding myself with people and movement in a coffee shop or restaurant (preferably not at peak hours. There is a limit to the amount of distraction I can have and still be productive), a table at the bar where I dance while a lesson is going on—the possibilities are truly endless. I’ve even written at length on a writing prompt while ensconced in one of the red Adirondack chairs on my front porch with my outside cats demanding the attention they don’t get when I’m holed up in the house.

Finding Balance Whether We Like it Or Not

Like so many other things in life, it’s all about balance. We can’t be connected all the time any more than we can be disconnected. We don’t always get to choose what we need when either. We can outline our life with a schedule, but we have to be flexible with the outline, and with ourselves. Stuff happens and we may need to break away from our schedule. Sure emergencies happen, but what I’m talking about isn’t anything as overt as an illness or accident.

Sometimes life kicks us in the butt because we’ve fallen into a rut that’s taking us nowhere fast. It might be a demonstration of how low we’ve sunk without even realizing it, or a study in contrasts to feed the artist’s soul within all of us. It might be a need to do something purely spontaneous because we can, and because when we take a day to do what feels good, we come back twice or even ten times as productive afterwards.

Letting An Artist’s Date Go Where It Will

Case in point. I spontaneously turned a gym day into an extended artist’s date one sweltering Monday afternoon. I threw laptop, notebook, colored pens, and Judy Reeves’ “A Writer’s Book of Days” into my trunk before leaving the house just in case. After a pretty decent leg workout, I drove to Panera, ordered a salad, and found a table with an electrical outlet nearby.

As it turned out, the laptop never came out of its case. Instead, I spent an hour and a half writing a four page story from one of the book’s writing prompts. In fact, I am considering turning it into a post on my website, as, for once, it didn’t take a turn to the dark side.

Feeling pretty good after what I’d produced, I wandered over to a FroYo place nearby, lingering over a dish of half fresh fruit and half FroYo (my favorites, Death by Chocolate and Sea Salt Pretzel) before succumbing to the ultimate indulgence, the $5 Book Store. $15 and 5 books later, I was happy as a pig in mud on a hot summer day.

Time Time to Detach Recharges Our Batteries

Instead of wearing me out, especially after walking around in the 100 degree heat, I came home and got busy. I finished and scheduled another blog post, cut up 2 pineapples and a cantaloupe, and made enough salad to last me 3 or 4 days. Of course, I was motivated by trash day and wanting to get all the rinds, peels and vegetable parts into the trash so they wouldn’t sit in the barrel stinking up my garage for a week where the heat would turn them into a fermented mess of slime and goo.

The funny thing is, I’m feeling extra energetic, getting up and hitting the ground running. I believe it’s because I’m learning to embrace the moments when I feel disconnected instead of fighting them. They appear to serve a purpose, even if that purpose is to make me more of an observer than a participant. As an observer, I have to clear the cobwebs so my vision is unobstructed, and it gives me a clearer view of the path forward in realizing the dreams I have; not only the small, easily achievable ones, but those huge, somewhere-in-the-future dreams with components whose path to realization is still hidden from my sight.

A Time for Every Thing

There’s a verse from the Bible which, though I eschew religion, I’ve always found inspiring. It applies now, more than ever:

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

To every thing there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate;
A time of war, and a time of peace.

The more I learn to embrace the different aspects of my personality, the changing needs of my heart, body, spirit, and mind, the more powerful these words become, and the more convinced I become of the validity of Eckhart Tolle’s teachings about living in the Now. Only by being in the moment and accepting the conditions as a temporary thing can we live the life we were meant to live and achieve the things we desire. Above all, it encourages me to remember I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be, doing what I’m meant to do in this moment in time. Resistance is futile, and self-limiting.

Honoring the Need to Detach on Occasion Leads to More Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for the simplest of reminders which come into my life at unexpected moments.
  2. I’m grateful I’m learning to embrace instead of resist the changes coming to me every day.
  3. I’m grateful for spontaneity. It reminds me nothing is engraved in stone, and almost everything can be put off for a little while so we may experience life.
  4. I’m grateful for solitude and distraction. Both are necessary for a productive, fulfilling life.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, life, experiences, choices, opportunities, joy, sorrow, gifts, and losses, health, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light


About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She 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

Promise in the Sunrise

The Phoenix and the Sunrise

The Sun card in the Spiral Tarot is an image which has always uplifted me, but it wasn’t until I’d faced yet another spell of darkness that I realized the image is essentially a Phoenix. As I mulled over my epiphany, I thought about what the Phoenix represents and how the Sun really is a Phoenix every day. It rises every morning, bringing with it promise and hope of a day we can use to be the best of ourselves, spreading joy, love and hope to others. At night, it sinks into the sea (or at least it does where I live), to rise again the next day.

We have only the moment at hand to be and do our best; to spread kindness, to take another step on our path towards our dreams and goals. Tomorrow isn’t promised, and yesterday is no more than a pile of ash. For me, life is truly the Phoenix/Sun, but for a little while, I lost sight of it.

Seeing the Lessons Life Brings Us

Life brings us reminders, both subtle and intense to help us learn and grow. Unfortunately, it’s too easy to get caught up in our thoughts, our daily struggles, and the trouble and strife in the world where we live. When we get caught up, we lose sight of the wonder and beauty waiting patiently until we stop, breathe, and be in the moment. It’s easy to forget we’ve handled whatever life threw at us all our lives, or how pointless it is to worry about something until it’s actually here and requiring our attention.

I, for one need little reminders. Not just the ones the Universe sends me, but those I create myself, like a picture of the Sun card posted above my computer to remind me each day is a brand new gift for me to open and show my gratitude. Or a picture of myself as a young child as a reminder to speak and think kindly to the woman I am now.

Remembering to Breathe

You’d think because I no longer punch a time clock or work according to someone else’s arbitrary definition of a work day I’d be more likely to take time to stop, breathe, and look around at the wonders of my world. Yet too often I still crawl deep inside myself in not-so-blissful oblivion of little things like how each day is a rebirth, a renewal, and an opportunity to start all over again.

Last weekend I visited my daughter and son-in-law who live about a 3 hour drive away. As I typically do, I made the drive down late at night after dancing in order to miss the traffic. Needless to say, there’s not a lot to see while driving through the pitch-black night so it’s easy to focus on one of two things: being in the moment and enjoying the peace and quiet of a solo drive, or my mind ticking away at a million and three things I want or need to do.

Though I’d planned on leaving in the evening (which in hindsight would have been harder as I’d be driving into the setting sun), plans changed and I embarked on the return journey mid-afternoon. The first thing I recognized in the first half hour was it is an incredibly beautiful drive. The route I take goes through miles of open spaces dotted here and there with cities and mega malls. Even the 20-mile stretch where one city blends into the next, the mountains are still visible from the highway.

Staying in The Now

This time, I made a conscious decision to focus completely on getting home safely, paying attention and being in the moment. Every time my mind tried to drift to all the “shoulds” in my life, I gently pulled it back into the moment. Maybe it was a cloud that looked like a crocodile with it’s mouth wide open, or a particularly beautiful stand of trees marching atop a buff and green hill. Either way, I was immediately back in the moment, or what Eckhart Tolle calls “The Now”.

The funny thing about being in “the Now” is you don’t really notice time passing. Small delays are a chance to relax and enjoy the scenery. Most of all, you get where you’re going and are a little surprised to find you’re already there, and more, that almost 3 hours has passed though it seems like no more than moments. In short, watching the time and trying to calculate when you’ll get from here to there makes it seem like forever. Enjoying each moment for itself makes those moments seem to fly by as one blends into the other.

Clothed in Kindness

What really surprised me about the drive is after I told myself it would take as long as it took to get home, I encountered very few delays, and each one was fairly short, at least given the amount of time it took me to reach home. Highways which typically carry too many cars were almost empty. Events which normally have drivers on either side stopping to gawk were barely a blip on everyone’s radar. People were considerate about allowing others to merge and change lanes, even in places where they’re suddenly trying to navigate 3 or 4 lanes in order to make an interchange.

Was I just seeing what I wanted to see? Did I have a bubble of kindness around me because of the attitude I adopted when I embarked on my journey? I don’t have the answers to those questions. All I have is gratitude for a safe, uneventful trip. That’s enough for me.

We can look at our world and see a series of challenges, trials and tribulations, and more than our share of failures. We can also look at it as a single moment in which we choose to experience joy and connection. Either way, we’ll get what we expect.

Breaking the Cycle of Worry and Anticipation

Like many people, I spent a lot of years feeling like I was fighting an uphill battle; at work, at home, with life in general. I was essentially in a holding pattern. Not sinking very low (at least I’d managed to get through that cycle), but never rising very high either. My attitude of resignation was equivalent to putting a cinder block on my head and removing my ability to look up and out of the cave I’d built myself.

Breaking free of old cycles hasn’t been easy, and if I’m honest, has come at the cost of some things I once believed important. I still have days when I slide back into old patterns and let worry and woe overtake me. But I’m also able to recognize the reminders all around me to appreciate the moments and allow things to come to me in their own time and manner.

Worry, like anticipation makes whatever we believe is coming seem monstrous. We imagine the best or the worst instead of allowing perfection to unfold in its own way, and often miss those amazing moments because we’ve geared ourselves up to expect something else. At those times, I remind myself to look to the sunrise for guidance and inspiration. The sun doesn’t rush to rise any more than it does a swan dive into the sea rather than await the gentle slide downward each evening.

Stop and Watch the Sunrise

We can learn a lot from watching the sun rise and set, or a flower slowly open its petals to the sun. Everything happens in its right and proper time. By remaining quiet and alert, we are in the right place and mindset to clearly see the next step in our journey and take it without hesitation.

Today, what I’m working on may not generate income in the foreseeable future. This might be a time to build a foundation, or even erect a couple of walls of the structure I’m creating for my new life. Tomorrow, I might put in 18 hours on client work, or 12 on a proposal for a new client. Or I could just take the day off and go to the beach and write. I don’t know when I lay my head down at night what the next day will bring. I don’t even know when I get up and start my morning routine. I only know I need to be aware and awake so I’ll recognize the clues when they appear.

Staying in the flow takes practice as our nature insists we push things along. We’re in a society which thrives on instant gratification and becomes anxious and frustrated when forced to wait. Yet the most valuable things in life are those we don’t rush, don’t push, but instead, wait patiently, taking our baby steps, and allowing ourselves to be amazed as they unfold.

May we allow our child-selves to emerge and see life through eyes of amazement.

Finding Gratitude Everywhere

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for life’s little reminders.
  2. I am grateful for my child-self who reminds me to wait, watch, and be amazed.
  3. I am grateful for my moments of darkness because they give way to moments of intense light and beauty.
  4. I am grateful for my quiet time for contemplation, creation, and revelation.
  5. I am grateful for abundance: love, joy, light, beauty, new experiences, wisdom, lessons, friendships, peace, health, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She 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

Living in the Moment: The Power of Being

I Read, Therefore, I Am

This post was written to compliment an earlier Facebook Live video which can be found here.

As a lifelong, avid reader, I am constantly expanding my horizons through books I both seek out intentionally and those which get my attention in any way they can. Those crafty little devils have been known to confront me by facing cover forward instead of spine out on a bookstore shelf, but the more aggressive little buggers have even been known to drop fortuitously upon my unsuspecting skull. While acquiring knowledge through osmosis would be an interesting trick, my experiences must, for now, still involve moving my eyes across a page or screen.

I’ve traveled to many far-off places, both real and imaginary. I’ve learned new skills and learned of others I want to pursue. All between the pages of a book.

That is not to say that I don’t leave my own four walls and actually experience things first-hand. But quite often my interest is initially piqued by something I’ve read.

Expanding My Horizons One Book at a Time

While my personal library is a long ways from the meticulous organization of those found in most cities, schools and universities, I’ve made an effort in the last couple of years to isolate a few like-minded tomes. At the moment, that means one shelf devoted entirely to books on writing and related subjects. I also have a shelf filled with books on self-help and spiritual matters. The latter leaves things wide open as it encompasses everything from Tarot and Kabbalah to Spirituality, Laws of Attraction, and natural healing.

This shelf in particular has been extremely life-changing. The books here have allowed me to find my own version of Spirituality which needs only work for me. It has been vital in my quest to be kinder and more compassionate, and in the process of both healing from my parents’ suicides and showing me how to use what I’ve learned to help others.

The latest book in my perpetual journey was Eckhart Tolle’s “A New Earth: Awakening to your Life’s Purpose”.  Of the many books I’ve read even recently, this was the first which had me nodding over each page, wearing that “aha!” glow on my face. Many times, I’d read a few pages, then set the book down so I could think about what I’d read. Many times, I read the same passage over several times to make sure I gleaned everything I could from the words on the page.

If pressed, I’d have to admit reading the book was a spiritual journey for me, and one I wouldn’t have been ready for  a year ago. The book came into my hands at exactly the right moment.

A New Perspective on the Often Reviled Ego

From Mr. Tolle, I learned a completely different meaning of “ego”, and one which resonates more fully within me. My ego isn’t a single entity as I’ve come to believe, but all of the voices inside me which get in the way of simply Being. It’s the list-makers, the forward planners, the memorializers, criticizers, and more. In short, they are all of the voices which keep me from living in the Now.

Those voices are always either rushing me into the next 50 moments, or they are lingering in the past, holding on to things which may have helped form the me in the Now, but which are no more. The only moment I have the slightest amount of control over is this very one, the one I’m in as I type these words. I can no more change the next moment right now as I can any of the moments which are already gone.

Though I won’t always succeed, I’m working on making my Now the very best it can be. That means silencing the memorializers; cutting the critics off at the pass; telling the dreamers to let the dreams be without worrying about timelines, and most of all, telling the list makers to put it on the calendar and then let it go.

Because the memories will always be there. The chores will never stop mounting. The dreams can’t be stopped. But worrying about them can. We can live in each moment, even if that moment is taking something off our To Do list. We can embrace the miracle that is our body floating in an energetic sea of endless possibilities. And when we get up and do, it will be because, like the book telling me to open its cover and fall into its depths, it is the exact right moment to be in that moment of doing.

Being: The Ultimate Self-Indulgence

There is a special kind of freedom which goes along with giving ourselves permission to live each moment by itself without interference from all the moments past or yet to materialize. I believe we move towards our dreams that much faster and with less resistance when we allow the journey to move at its own pace. Our journeys are no less delicate than the transformation of a caterpillar to a butterfly. We, too can damage our wings if we try to rush the process.

So how do we know whether we’re going at the right pace or trying to force things? We trust in our feelings. If the process feels smooth and comfortable, we’re allowing things to unfold in the proper time. If we feel stressed, angry, uncomfortable, or otherwise resistant, it’s because we’re trying to go somewhere we’re not yet ready to go.

Now, when I feel the need to just pause, reflect, listen, or simply be, I honor that request because this moment won’t come back again. I allow myself the opportunity to treasure each moment like a single drop of rain dripping down my window, or a single grain of sand I find on the shore. Separate and unique, yet also an integral part of the whole. Just like you and me.

True Being Makes Us Grateful for Each Moment

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the moments.
  2. I am grateful for the things I learn when I’m just still.
  3. I am grateful for the times of solitude which are a perfect counterpoint to the moments of frenetic activity. Each in its own time.
  4. I am grateful for celebrations of life, of love, of birth, and even of death. Each in its own time.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; joy, celebration, Being, peace, harmony, love, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Blessed Be

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

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