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

Posts tagged ‘ghostwriter’

Showing Yourself Gratitude: Who Knew?

Start Your Gratitude List With You

There’s a lot of hoopla and hype about gratitude these days, and for good reason. You’re grateful for things that make you happy, so focusing on gratitude means you’re putting your attention on things that make you happy. The more you focus on things that make you happy, the less you notice the ones that don’t.

It follows that as you’re busy focusing on things that make you happy, you begin to see only the ones that make you happy, and pretty soon, you see more of them. You can call it Laws of Attraction, or simply a shift in perspective. Either way, you start hard-wiring yourself for happiness and positivity.

But with all the time and effort you put into gratitude, what do you show appreciation for most of the time? If you’re like me, it’s probably things outside yourself; a beautiful day, a great parking spot, a safe drive to work, beautiful flowers in your garden. How often do you look in the mirror and say “I’m grateful for me?”

Your Are the Most Important Person in Your Life

Yet, who or what is more important and deserving of your gratitude? Why don’t take a deep breath and say “thank you for my lungs”? What stops you from pausing to listen to the steady beat in your chest and say “thank you for the heart keeping a steady rhythm inside me”?

If focusing on things that make you grateful attracts more happiness-inducing stuff, wouldn’t showing appreciation for our health attract more health? How about things like losing weight, or increasing your strength? Wouldn’t those things benefit from a little gratitude and positive energy too?

So many of my friends complain they can’t lose weight. They talk about how they lose a couple of pounds but it always comes back. How about if instead, on the days when the numbers on the scale decrease, you say “thank you for the pound I’ve released”. On the days when it goes the other way, either say nothing, or find some aspect to be grateful for anyway. I, for one am going to give it a try, and will share my progress over the next month or so. What do I have to lose, except those pounds which are slowing me down anyway?

Rerouting the Complain Train’s not stop there. What else do you typically complain about? Not enough money? Too little work? Too much work? Increasing costs? Unfair treatment? How can you flip those so you’re showing appreciation instead of complaining?

How about:

I’m grateful I have enough money to pay my rent/mortgage.

I’m grateful I have some free time to do things for myself.

I’m grateful I have plenty of work as it makes the day go quickly. I have enough money for a vacation or maybe a massage.

I’m grateful I have options when my cost of living goes up.

I’m grateful for people who show me how I don’t deserve to be treated, and I’m grateful I can walk away from them and towards my friends who treat me right.

How Can You Flip Your Own Life?

These are a few examples, but with a little effort, you can find your own, as long as you focus on your own assets and qualities. When push comes to shove, who is your strongest advocate? Your greatest asset? The one person you can count on no matter what? Yet who is also the last person you think to thank?

Your heart allows you to live, pumping blood through your system to feed all your cells. Your lungs bring air into your lungs, oxygenating your blood and keeping you from suffocating. Your legs lift you from a chair, get you out of bed, help you run, skip, or dance. Your arms let you give and receive hugs.

But if you’re like me, it never occurs to you to thank your body, your mind, or yourself for the qualities and abilities that allow you to enjoy all the outside things making you happy.

Years ago I had a mantra I’d use in the morning to get my day started on the right foot. I’d look in the mirror and say: You’re beautiful, sexy, sassy, and delicious. It always brought a smile to my face which meant, no matter what happened during the day, I at least began with a smile.

Instead of a goofy mantra, let’s start the day with a deeply personal gratitude. I can use things like:

I’m grateful for my brain which never lacks for ideas when I sit down to write.

I’m grateful for my legs which carry me across a dance floor as often as I like.

I’m grateful for my heart. In fact, I LOVE my heart for pumping blood through my body, but also for being the source and repository for love.. 

I’m grateful for my hands with which I type the words my brain sends, but with which I also pet my cats, or touch a friend.

Gratitude Equals Love

To me, gratitude is another way of saying “I love you” I don’t know anyone who couldn’t use more love, and though what we get from others is marvelous, what you give to yourself is both limitless and powerful. You can change your mood with gratitude, uplifting when you were despondent. Imagine how much higher you’d fly if the gratitude you expressed was for yourself, your body, your mind, your actions, your—Presence!

So next time you feel compelled to express gratitude, start your list with things you’re grateful for that come from within. And when you’ve done so for a week, a month, maybe more, come back and share how it impacted your life. After all, success stories always inspire others.

Where Do You Need Help?

None of us has to walk our path alone. Where are you struggling to keep it all together? Maybe all you need is a sounding board? Perhaps, just a listening ear? Or would you like to take a task or two off your plate? Is it 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, ask for help instead of trying to do it all, CONTACT ME and let’s talk!

Showing a Little Gratitude for Me!

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the woman I’ve become from the challenges I’ve overcome and the lessons I’ve learned.
  2. I’m grateful for my motivation which compels me to keep trying even when all indications say I should quit.
  3. I’m grateful for my heart; for the life blood it pumps, and for it’s capacity for love and compassion, not only for others, but for myself.
  4. I’m grateful for positvity. It took awhile to learn, but I’ve come to appreciate how much easier it’s become the more I practice.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; friendship, love, joy, energy, compassion, inspiration, opportunities, health, strength, peace, harmony, connections, support, community, philanthropy, and prosperity for all.

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

Breaking Free of Malicious Numbers

Refusing to Live By the Numbers

Numbers on the scale don’t define me. Like the ones on my blood pressure monitor, they really only give me guidance about whether or not what I’m doing is helping with my ultimate goal; to keep my body as healthy as possible using natural methods. Yet there are days when I’m tempted to beat myself up over eating too late or indulging in something sweet instead of simply realizing I made less healthy choices in the last day or two. I can’t change what I already did but I can use the results to help motivate me to make healthier choices today because right now; today should be me entire focus.

Living in the now may not be easy but ultimately it is the recipe for a happier life. You simply cannot change anything you’ve already done, and you can’t do something tomorrow or a month from now until that day becomes Now.

Reminders like the numbers on my scale serve but one purpose; to remind me to focus on the time and place over which I have influence and sometimes even a modicum of control. That isn’t to say I avoid getting on the scale or monitoring my blood pressure each day. But they’re tools designed to remind me each day I have choices. I can choose the healthy ones which keep the blood pressure numbers in the safe range and the numbers on the scale, if not going down, at least remaining stable.

Praise is More Powerful Than Criticism

I’ve learned, no matter what the numbers say, or how far I’ve deviated from what I consider a good day, I find something to praise myself for. It doesn’t have to be a major accomplishment or milestone, though sometimes I do have them. It’s all the baby steps I’m taking to improve one aspect of my life or another. It’s the weeks I get to the gym all three days and do a full workout (more often than not these days). It’s fixing at least 1 decent meal today.

Of course, there are days when I’m doing the happy dance all over my living room; days when my FitBit tells me I’m a rock star for exceeding my 10,000 step goal by at least 20%. And there are days when I double it. Just as there are days when I crush my goals, be they health, writing, or something else; there are days when I hit far short of the mark.

Should I make the child within feel less than because I had a day or two when I was lazy and accomplished nothing, while making a big deal about the days when I crushed it? What message does that send? Would you do that to a child or a pet? Do you scold when they do something wrong, making a huge deal out of something relatively minor in the general scheme of things? Do you offer faint praise when they go above and beyond?

Being Considerate of the Child Within know I’m probably getting a bit redundant on the topic, but so often when we stomp on our own egos, we’re stomping on our inner child who, like our own children, thrives on encouragement and withers under the thoughtless abuse we pile on undeserving shoulders. So when I catch myself getting critical about the numbers on the scale, the numbers in my bank account, the number of hours I spend writing, or the number of words I hammer out, I’m learning to take a step back and ask: “would you say this to one of your daughters?”

Even though they’re both adults themselves, one with a child of her own, I still wouldn’t crush their ego. In fact, I’m more often the cheerleader showing them how amazing they are, whether they’re wildly successful at something they’ve attempted, or a major flop. I try to point out that the mere fact they put forth the effort is a success, not only in my mother’s eyes, but in general.

Which brings me back to my point. We won’t always succeed at everything we attempt, at least if we’re measuring success quantitatively. But as long as we keep showing up; as long as we’re willing to stumble and even fall on our way to figuring things out, we are always successful. We don’t learn by getting things right the first time, or even the 500th in  some cases.

Being Brave Enough to Make Mistakes

Life is like those mazes where you try to move a character through without hitting dead ends. Typically, you will hit a few and have to backtrack before you move them to the exit. In life, those backtracks are opportunities to learn, or as I like to say, “add tools to my virtual rucksack”. Each time I hit a dead end, I have to stop, regroup, and figure out where I went off-track. Rarely, if ever do I have to go all the way back to the beginning. Why? Because if nothing else, I’ve learned a few tricks in the 60-odd years I’ve been in my current meat suit. There are hundreds; maybe thousands of things I won’t bother trying because I’ve already learned (sometimes the hard way) they don’t work. Often, that brings my options down to a more manageable level where failure is only at maybe  a 20% probability. Most of the time, those are pretty decent odds, and well worth the risk.

I’ve also learned over the years to tuck and roll so when I do fall, I fall with a bit more grace and a lot less damage than I used to. But even there, it depends on the situation. We don’t stay in one place all our lives, nor do we limit ourselves by only trying things we know we can conquer. There’s no growth from staying in the comfort zone, after all. There’s also no excitement, no adventure, and no challenge.

Keeping Your Focus on the Prize at the End of Your Journey

Sometimes, you have to focus on something you want really badly, take a deep breath, and dive into a place where you don’t have a clear idea of the path ahead or the perils you might encounter. You just know what you’re focusing on is worth whatever it takes.

That’s my journey right now; the one I embarked upon 5 1/2 hears ago. To be honest, the path still isn’t clear. There are perils I know are out there, but which I refuse to buckle under; refuse to allow to deter me. Above all, I refuse to let a bunch of silly numbers to keep me from losing the vision that began in 2013 and grows stronger, more well defined, and more desirable with each peril I surpass, each obstacle I overcome. Statistically, people keep telling me my probability of success is low. But those are merely numbers, and I’m learning not to let numbers define me, or qualify my dreams.

Managing Your Own Numbers Game

Are you getting stuck in the statistics? Are numbers in your life managing you instead of the other way around? 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 Successes Both Large and Small

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the people who’ve helped me overcome old paradigms.
  2. I am grateful I  am learning to keep numbers in their place, on the pages of the accounting ledgers I keep.
  3. I am grateful for new experiences, and cafe writing to get me out of the house and productive. I love my hermit hole and my cats keeping me company, but there are days I get nothing done because I allow things to distract me when I should be writing or marketing.
  4. I am grateful for the lessons I’ve learned and the times I’ve stumbled and fallen. They’ve made me stronger, but also more resilient so taking risks is an adventure, not a reason to run and hide.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; friendship, new experiences, love, joy, dancing, opportunities, challenges, lessons, successes, peace, health, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.
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

Spandex Runs Amok at the Gym

Positive Body Image Turns to Spandex have no problem with people wearing what makes them feel comfortable. In fact, I applaud those who are comfortable enough in their own skin to give little or no regard to what others might think. Still, there are times when someone’s choice makes me a tad uncomfortable

Sure, I realize that discomfort is the result of my own biases and prejudices, and as such, is my problem. But when a man at the gym is wearing a barely waist length t-shirt over spandex leggings and sitting face forward on a machine in front of me man spreading, I’m to say the least, perplexed. Where the heck do I focus my eyes??? I try the ceiling, one of the ever-present TV screens that’s too far from where I sit to actually follow the program, and the knots on my sneakers. Still, I feel a tad uncomfortable imagining what I’ll see if I accidentally look in the natural direction, straight ahead. EGAD!

Is my inherently prudish upbringing causing me to overreact? I can’t say I find the look attractive nor do I feel I want or need to judge. And yet—where do I look???

Is it Working Out, or Showing Off?

As if I wasn’t already struggling to maintain my composure, while keeping my Created with Canvavision strictly averted, the object of my discomfort decided to make things more challenging. He put one foot up on a nearby machine, placed the other foot across his knee, and (ostensibly) started stretching his thigh muscle. Really? are you trying to get people to look at your package? Perhaps it’s time to bring back the Elizabethan codpiece.

The attempted peep-show did make me understand why most men wear a pair of baggy shorts over their spandex leggings. Frankly, this was the first time I noticed someone of the male persuasion wearing them alone.

Maybe this is a new mating ritual I’m unfamiliar with. But please, there are older people using the gym! Did he ever consider our hearts? Even during the streaking years of my youth, parts were not so blatantly displayed!

Giving him the benefit of the doubt on several points:

  1. His display wasn’t meant for me
  2. It is some new fangled dating ritual
  3. His lack of awareness that some of us are older and more fragile than we seem (pressing of 35-pound free weights notwithstanding)
Etiquette Challenged in Today’s Social Environment’m left to wonder what the proper etiquette is when presented with this human version of a peacock strutting his stuff for the benefit of whoever might have caught his eye. Do I feign indifference? Pretend I don’t notice his attire and performance? (I can’t even manage that when some of the more dramatic body builders are in evidence, so how am I supposed to remain visage neutral here?) Smile encouragingly?

I know the world is changing rapidly, and with it, the rules of engagement, but perhaps someone could create a website or something where we could search those ever-changing rules? I know I’d subscribe if only to be able to safely navigate these social rapids and emerge with my dignity reasonably intact.

Heaven knows I leave my dignity on the floor quite well when left to my own devices. I can miss a chair or stair with the best of them, landing on my, thankfully well padded bottom; usually with a large audience to witness my epic-ly ungraceful launching and landing. (I knew there was a reason the Universe challenged me so stringently to keep some of that padding firmly in place!) In truth, I don’t even need an obstacle. I can trip over my own feet though they’ve been attached to my legs for decades. I know where they are!

Could There be an App for That?

The website could be a kind of Snopes for social skills. If you’re not sure how to behave in a certain situation, you could type it into the search box and you’d be guided safely through the perils and pitfalls with easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions. Once the site took hold, they could even create an app so you could access their wisdom from anywhere with just a few keystrokes.

In this case, I could type in “men in spandex+gym” and get expert guidance, not only regarding my part in the vignette, but even a little history so I’ll understand the nature and intent of the gentleman in question.

Maybe there could even be one done in reverse so the younger generation might understand some of the things my generation takes for granted, but which confound those raised in these faster-paced times. I’d be happy to offer my services as a consultant for that part of the website and subsequent app.

Sometimes You Have to Bury Your Face in Your Phone to Save It

Still and all, I have to be grateful for some innate code of behavior, and the Notes app on my phone which allowed me to, at least in the moment, keep my thoughts and feelings to myself. When all else fails, I type observations such as these into my phone where I ultimately email it to myself and turn it into a blog post.

In fact, more than a few of my posts in the last year began while I was sitting on a machine or weight bench, resting between sets. There’s something about physical exertion which gets my creative juices flowing.

Don’t judge me too harshly. I’m writing at least 3 blog posts a week just for my own sites. Not to mention what I’m writing for Elephant Journal, Medium, and my clients. I have to take the material and inspiration when and where it comes. This particular topic led to a lively and often hilarious discussion on Facebook. How could I not bring it here and expand on the initial trigger?

Live, Laugh, and Maybe Even Love

I believe life flows better with ample doses of laughter. Often the best source of is our own reactions to the world and its inhabitants. Around us is a melting pot of cultures, a cacophony of generational differences, and a vibrant array of people with varying levels of self-image and self-confidence.

With some, I think: Man, I wish I had the self-confidence to pull that off. I admire him/her for doing what feels right to them! With others, like the one in today’s story, I’ll be thinking: How do I respond/react here? There’s nothing in my portfolio of behavior which guides me through this one. Is feigned indifference my best bet? I’m certain busting out laughing or running away screaming are inappropriate in this situation, but on a visceral level, that’s what I want to do!

Yet somehow I manage to make it through most days neither insulting nor humiliating anyone. So I guess if I’m not exactly getting it right, I’m not getting it horribly wrong either. Sometimes, we have to be grateful for the small wins.

Ready to Hire a Ghostwriter?

Are you looking for fun, engaging content to attract your clients and prospects to your website? Would you rather clean toilets than write a blog post a month, much less 4 or more in order to increase traffic? 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 Makes My World Go Right

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for the Notes function on my phone. It’s kept me out of trouble on many occasions while saving me from having to dredge up material for a blog post.
  2. I’m grateful for my friends who seem to relate to my weird sense of humor, and even build on it with their own.
  3. I’m grateful for people. Where else would I find inspiration for what I write? We all have our weirdnesses and oddities and that’s what makes life interesting.
  4. I’m grateful for a job which lets me work from home. I do better with carefully regulated people time (unless dancing is involved) and lots of alone time with my cats, pounding away on the keyboard, or reading, or learning.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; clients, observations, motivation, inspiration, friendship, dance nights, new experiences, unconventional work schedules, workouts, increasing strength, aches and pains that remind me I’m alive and well, 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. And check out her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward.

Be sure to watch this space for news of the upcoming release of “Life Torn Asunder: Rebuilding After Suicide”.

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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