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Posts tagged ‘ghostwriter’

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

Order out of Chaos

A Blind Leap From Order to Chaos

A few years ago, I said good-bye to my last accounting job. I bid a not-so-fond farewell to Corporate America and took the first step towards following my true passion; writing. At first, I reveled in the lack of structure; the removal of specified times to rise and shine. I was grateful to be able to choose the times I worked, played, or imitated a sloth at random.

But old habits die hard and the need for at least a little structure in my life reared it’s ugly head (along with the need to actually be productive for a few hours each day). I realized I needed to set up specific days, if not times, if I wanted to create better habits for my health and finances.

These days, my alarm is set for 8AM (on the clock that’s still set 20 minutes fast to allow for snoozing). I have specific days for going to the gym, and specific workouts for each of those days. And one day a week is set aside (after going to the gym, of course) for running errands.

Structure With a Side of Chaos

Though the day is specific, the errands follow a somewhat flexible pattern. Somewhere along the way, I go to Sprouts for fresh vegetables and to fill my 5 gallon water bottle. My favorite stop, though, is at Trader Joe’s for berries, dairy, and to see what they’re cooking up for samples.

I realized today why it’s my favorite stop. No matter how crowded or chaotic the place might be, the employees are always friendly, helpful, and downright happy to be there (or else they’re incredible actors!) They cheerfully skirt the kidlets with what I consider the worst idea in retail ever: miniature shopping carts. They help people like me find something that’s right in front of their face without making us feel stupid. But most important of all, they share a little of themselves as they’re handing you a sample, totaling your purchases, or helping you find something. They even make waiting in line pleasant!

Trader Joe’s: A Model for Order from Chaos

Heaven knows a retail establishment of any kind encompasses a certain amount of chaos, but a grocery store, and especially one like Trader Joe’s could be a logistic nightmare—and yet, it isn’t. The one I frequent recently got a much-needed, and long overdue expansion when their next door neighbor in the strip mall they occupy moved out. For a couple of weeks, the ceiling looked more like my gym than a grocer. Some aisles were too narrow to push a cart through, as inventory was moved to temporary shelving while walls were moved and cases for frozen food, dairy, and produce were relocated.

Still, the employees maintained their usual happy demeanor, making jokes about the latest version of chaos in their world. Truth be told, I’m still trying to find my way around, though the expansion has been complete for a few months now. I finally remember the coffee is on the opposite end of the store, above the veggie burgers now. I’m still trying to remember where the larger containers of my favorite yogurt live. They’re not where I expect them to be, so I invariably stand in front of the case with a look of confusion on my face until the light bulb comes on and I see what I’m looking for just a little further to the left.

When all is said and done, I appreciate the changes they’ve made to my favorite store, especially as it has given me a few more choices in the process. I love choices, and most of the time, I love change too. I don’t always handle it as effortlessly as the staff at Trader Joe’s, but invariably, I’m grateful for the experience.

Finding Our Own Happy Medium

I started this post talking about structure vs. chaos, then went off on a tangent. (no surprise there). The truth is, I’ve learned these last few years that I don’t do well in a world of either/or. I need a certain amount of structure, but within that structure, there has to be flexibility as well. Not so much the flexibility to bounce back when everything goes to hell in a handbasket, though admittedly, I’ve had a few of those. More like the flexibility to end up on a client call in the morning which pushes back my trip to the gym by an hour or two. Or being able to work longer hours to get all my blog posts written and scheduled so I can go out of town for a few days.

I love being able to give myself a beach day in the middle of the week while most people are at school or work. Though I was eternally grateful there were a few kind-hearted men who rushed to my aid when I misjudged the street parking and got stuck in the sand.

Using My Skills

Years ago, I had a friend whose OCD went nuts when he’d walk into my office. Yet he had to admit I knew where everything was and could put my hands on anything he asked for. He dubbed my system “organized chaos”. In the last four or five years, I realize how apt the description is. My unique approach to things has also taught me how to make order from other peoples’ chaos, earning me another title from the same friend: “Queen of the books from hell”.

Maybe that’s why I love working with small businesses. In so many cases, the accounting is the last thing they want to deal with after managing the thousand and one details necessary to keep their business running. So by the time they realize it’s time to get help, those books and records are a rat’s nest I love to jump in and untangle. Once again, order from chaos.

Give Me Tools To Stay Organized So I Can Cut Loose

I never thought I’d need to use the techniques I learned in my years as an accountant to manage my own life. These days, I have goal sheets for each week and Trello boards for various parts of my business and personal life. I love my tools, and not just the big red toolbox-full in my garage.

The latest application to organize, compile, or schedule sends me into fits of ecstasy. A meet-up via Zoom spanning several continents is enough to make me swoon with delight. I love technology, even when it’s disobeying my commands, because I know from all my years fighting the limitations of accounting software that I will ultimately get my way.

Learning to work your way past obstacles is the key to managing change with grace and good cheer. If you ask me, as long as you approach each change as an adventure; as a mountain to climb and conquer, you’ll be as happy as a pig in mud. It’s not so much the change many people dread, but a new chapter to be written on your own terms. What could be better?

Choosing Our Own Personal Level of Change

Many people hate change. They listen to their mind which insists on maintaining the status quo, but also has no sense of adventure or challenge. They miss out on so many wonderful new things which necessitate leaving the preconceived notions behind and working with a new and unfamiliar set of tools. There is a place for people who are content with doing the same things in the same order for years on end, just as there’s a place for people who push the envelope every minute of the day. There’s also a place for those of us who are somewhere along the continuum, between the extremes. Some are innovators, some are maintainers, and the rest are a combination of both.

There are touchstones in my life; my home, my cats, my family, my friends, my dancing, and my weekly schedule. It’s because of those touchstones I’m comfortable going out on a limb or trying something completely outside my comfort zone. I know if my latest adventure goes south, I have someplace to retreat to, to lick my wounds, evaluate what went wrong, and jump back on the horse who threw me. Maybe that’s why I like a little chaos in my life. If nothing else, it makes me appreciate the places where I’ve created a semblance of order.

And Expressing Gratitude for it All

I am so very grateful for the people, places, and things in my life which make this unconventional way of living possible.

My gratitudes tonight are:

  1. I am grateful for the courage and desire to move past what I know and experience what I know will make me grow.
  2. I am grateful for opportunities to meet new people, try new things, and even reinvent myself.
  3. I am grateful for change. It makes life interesting and shakes up my world so I don’t become complacent…and bored silly.
  4. I am grateful for my writing which is an adventure in and of itself. I never know when a door might open or a possibility arise. But the people I meet along the way enrich my life in ways I’d never have imagined before I began this journey of faith.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; friends, family, health, beauty, inspiration, energy, love, believing in the impossible, new things to learn, growth, evolution, 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 is available for ghostwriting to help your business grow and thrive. Her specialties are finding and expressing your authentic self. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author

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