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

Posts tagged ‘focus’

Changing It Up To Enhance Creativity

Finding New Ways Out of Old Ruts

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

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

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

Making Dates With Ourselves And Our Creativity

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

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

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

Picking Our Battles With Ourselves

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

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

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

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

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

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

One Person’s Distraction Is Another’s Focus

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

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

Using What Works Without Dissecting Why

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

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

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

Goals Plus Gratitude Equals Success

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

My gratitudes today are:

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

 

Love and Light.

About the Writer

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

Oh, The Extraordinary Thinks You Can Think!

Thinking’s Missing Link

Dr. Seuss said it best, but Lewis Carroll had it right as well. We humans have incredible minds able to think extraordinary things, even 6 impossible things before breakfast! Humankind has made more advances in the last 100 years or so using that thinker, than in the rest of the documented centuries combined. And yet, we also keep repeating old lessons, never quite managing to integrate them into the structure of our world.

This ability has been called by many names in recent years: Laws of Attraction and Neuroplasticity just to name a couple. People are cashing on on our ability to think, and our inability to see it and take advantage of it. I, myself have spent thousands of dollars on webinars and books, trying to learn to harness my natural abilities. Crazy, right?

What Are We Doing Wrong?

We all manage to think, at least some of the time. What I think we lack is focus. And because we lack focus, we often fail to make the commitment to ourselves to see what we think through.

Take improving our health habits for instance. How many people have joined gyms, hired trainers, and bought all manner of equipment only to give up halfway through? How many of those expensive elliptical machines and treadmills are gathering dust or serving as clothes racks? How many self-help books and exercise videos are piled on a shelf or in a box, or even still in their shrink wrap?

Making a Commitment to the Most Important Person in Our Lives

The problem isn’t our inability to think. We can sit and do that for hours at a time! Our problem is our willingness to see a project through; to make a commitment. Not the kind we make to our kids, our spouse, or a job. This one hits much closer to home and is often the last to get our attention.

I’ve learned through painful experience that the hardest thing we can ever commit to is ourselves.

How many times have we said “I’ll do that when…” and “when” comes only after things like the kids growing up and getting through college. When comes after we’ve paid off this debt or that. When comes after we’ve honored commitments to our family, friends, jobs…in other words, when never comes. That is, unless we make it our first priority instead of our last.

So I’m learning to change the things that follow “when” to the ones that are for other people and things. I’m getting in shape now, because it’s what’s good for me. I’m writing more regularly because it’s good for me. I’m finishing some of the courses I bought months and years ago because…you guessed it. It’s good for me!

Committing to Yourself is Just the Tip of the Iceberg

All of this has given rise to an interesting side-effect. The more I concentrate on doing things for myself, the more time and energy I have to do other things which I’ve moved to the other side of “when”. Once I refused to allow myself to dishonor my self-commitment to working out 3 times a week, I miraculously found the time to write a blog post every couple of days. Desire resurfaced to complete the VA course I’d bought last year.

The whole thing is having a snowball effect. I’m cleaning out rooms and closets which have been dumping grounds for the detritus of my life for decades. GONE! I’ve cleared my desk and surrounding surfaces of clutter I swore I had to keep because I might need it someday. GONE!

When we make our commitment to ourselves first, we suddenly find we have an abundance of time for all the things we want to do. Why? Because we’re finally happy. We finally get to do things which satisfy our minds and our souls. Life isn’t a matter of getting through the tasks we have to do any more. It’s a matter of getting to do the things we love, so we’re happy to accommodate others and fulfill responsibilities to them as well.

If I Knew Then What I Know Now

If I could go back and give my teenage self a single piece of advice right now, I’d say Give yourself permission to do what you love, and commit yourself fully to doing that. Only then will you feel genuine pleasure in helping other people by doing things they ask of you. Only then will there be nothing you truly hate to do.

The light bulb went off for me when I realized I’d always dropped the ball when it came to committing to myself. Though I’m still very much a work-in-progress, I am certain I will continue to see positive changes and continued opportunities to live, learn, grow, and think the most amazing, fantastical things possible, the wildest and most impossible things, and then, make them happen. I hope if it hasn’t already, that light bulb will go off for you too. As I said to myself the day I finally decided to file for divorce: “Life is too short to be unhappy.” But only you can make yourself happy.

More and More Grateful Each Passing Day

My gratitudes tonight are:

  1. I am grateful for my epiphanies.
  2. I am grateful for all the lessons I’ve learned, and the ones I’m still learning.
  3. I am grateful for the commitment I’ve finally learned to make to myself.
  4. I am grateful for a refurbishment of priorities.
  5. I am grateful for the joy I feel that increases with each passing day.
  6. I am grateful for abundance; commitment to self, love, joy, happiness, progress, inspiration, motivation, productivity, prosperity, philanthropy, peace, harmony, and enlightenment.

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!

Lightbulb photo courtesy of Julian Santacruz

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