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

Posts tagged ‘gratitude’

Hidden Demons of Self-Sabotage

Removing the Tendency to Self-Sabotage

Most of us are guilty of self-sabotaging behavior at one time or another. It’s human nature to try to protect the position we’re in from the unknown. Whether we’re waiting for feedback on our writing or a proposal, a new job or client, or even a budding friendship or romance, we often find ourselves self-sabotaging without even realizing it.

Too often, we try to fend off disappointment by convincing ourselves beforehand that we’re somehow unworthy, under-qualified, unlovable, or harboring other such mucky, ugly-feeling thoughts. To that I say, in the immortal words of Tim Conway: “STOP THAT!”

You are worthy. You are lovable. You are qualified. You are perfect just the way you are. The fact that something you’re waiting for either doesn’t come through, or is delayed has nothing to do with you! There are a million and seven reasons why you don’t get picked, or in all too many cases, wait longer than you anticipated. Shake it off. Go for a walk. Clean the house. Go to the gym. Immerse yourself in something you love. Do whatever it takes to shove those negative thoughts back into the void where they came from, and out of your head.

Learning to Expand Our Own Reality

I’m not telling you to fill your head with fairy tales and nothing but happily-ever-afters (though doing so without getting too deep into the hows, whens, whys, and wherefores isn’t a bad thing either). I’m saying every time one of those negative thoughts starts to creep in, you fill the spot it’s trying to occupy with something better, something that will lift you up rather than dragging you down. If you can’t find anything yourself, call one of your favorite cheerleaders. Even hermits like me have more than we realize!

By now you may be wondering why this topic came to the top of my list of blog ideas. Like you, I have my moments when that scared little girl who lives deep inside wants to ensure she’s not disappointed yet again if the Universe decides not to grant her dearest wish. That’s when I grab the jaded, world-weary adult by the throat and say “Really? Are you going to let her get away with this? After all the times our disappointments turned into triumphs? When every disappointment turned out to be a blessing in disguise? When you know full well passion and positivity bring what we want and need every…single…time???”

My inner adult spends a lot of time daydreaming and doing her best to live in the moment, but there are times she’s hopelessly out to lunch and lets the child within take the wheel for a little too long. The adult has learned that though life may not always seem fair, things always turn out the way they’re supposed to, and get there more quickly if we don’t turn into a whiny 5-year-old while we’re waiting for most of the ducks to stop wandering around aimlessly and line up in at least a semblance of a straight line. (I have learned to never expect perfection before I move forward. I’d still be sitting on my arse doing nothing, and would certainly not have 5 books in various stages of publication readiness if I didn’t move until everything was perfectly aligned.)

Let’s Get Physical

The best way to get the adult’s attention these days is to do something physical: lace up my sneakers and hit the gym, clean the house (an adventure in itself when my ADD joins the mix), rake leaves. Anything to get my mind out of my head and into my body for a while. Focusing on something physical still allows my mind to wander, but now it’s not wallowing, or fretting, or expecting the worst. Instead, it’s seeing something accomplished or, as it did today, finding I needed to sit and write some thoughts that came up when Nelly Negative stopped getting her way.

Coming up with a blog topic is a win all across the board for me, since I’ve committed to a completely manageable two posts per week. So far, I’ve managed to write and pre-schedule posts about 5 times out of 8 as a result of my mental re-directions. Invariably. changing the direction my thoughts want to take brings up a talking/writing point. I get the first few paragraphs written (or the first 1000 words or so), then get back to whatever I was doing that took me out of the “woe is me” mindset.

Don’t Let the Prospect of Change Dull Your Sparkle

As I’ve mentioned an a few other occasions, change is scary, and our inner child will fight tooth and nail to maintain the status quo unless we assure her the change will bring some new adventure which, while exciting and a bit scary, will be the most fun ever. Of course, if we want to convince said child, we must first believe it ourselves, and not allow ourselves to be derailed by those flickers of doubt swimming at the edge of our consciousness.

While listening to a video today, the speaker said something I found very profound. He said “I’m not asking you to believe, because that lets in doubt. I’m asking you to be open to the possibility.” I never thought of it that way before. More often, I’d do my best to at least suspend disbelief, if not try twisting my mind until it believed what it might not be able to see, feel, or touch. By simply being open to the possibility, we remove action from the mix, and become a receptor. We no longer unconsciously throw up blocks because we’re not actively involved in allowing or disallowing a concept to take root and grow.

Being Open to Possibilities

As you go through your day, bombarded with opportunities to change how you think or feel about the world around you, I encourage you to take a few moments to simply be open to whatever thoughts, ideas, and opportunities arise. Release the need to judge them worthy or not, viable or not. Look at them impassively, and be open to the possibilities. You’ll gently and easily absorb the ones that cause a little glimmer of interest or feel like bottled potential. You won’t feel the need to fight with yourself or consider all sides of the matter, ad infinitum, ad nauseum until the opportunity passes. Sure, it would make your inner whiner happy that another scary change was averted, but what about your conscious self? Don’t they deserve a little adventure in their lives?

As I write that, a question pops into my head: “When is a rut not a rut?” and the answer comes loud and clear. “Never! A rut is always a rut. No magic ever happens there.”

The comfort zone is the biggest and most tenacious rut we fall victim to. I use the word “victim” intentionally, because the comfort zone is the biggest block to progress, to a happy and fulfilled life we’ll ever run into. It does its best to thwart ideas which lead to those scary leaps of faith and trying something new without any guarantee of a positive outcome. Yet nothing worth having is without an element of risk. Even as a child, we took those risks and most of us have lived to talk about it.

We crossed streets alone, without the benefit of Mom or Dad’s hand. We learned to ride a bicycle or roller skate. As teenagers, we learned to drive a car. And the list goes on. If you were to sit down and write down all the things you do today which were once scary and foreign, you’d be amazed at how often you took a chance on the unknown. So why stop now?

Taking a Moment for Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for all of the opportunities to step out of comfort and into magic.
  2. I’m grateful for the ability to either calm or silence my inner child and her misgivings.
  3. I’m grateful for opportunities that make my stomach drop 10 stories, and my mind soar with the possibilities.
  4. I’m grateful for the scary moments when I have to tell myself whatever happens will be exactly what I need, even if it’s not exactly what I thought I wanted.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; opportunities, lessons, challenges, friendships, roller coaster rides, riding the crests and the troughs, love, joy, peace, 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 is available for article writing and ghost writing to help your website and the business it supports 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 at Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author


Self-love is the Fuel That Powers Your Motivation

Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places the last couple of months I’ve gotten off track. I lost sight of what matters and started mistreating myself. It wasn’t anything overt like putting myself in danger. Instead it was more subtle. Missed gym workouts. Unhealthy food. Not enough movement. It all added up to one thing: forgetting to remind myself how much I love both the person I am now and the person I’ve yet to become.

Self-love is one of the most powerful motivators I know. Without it, we’re content to plod along being mediocre instead of celebrating our amazingness. But it needs to be nurtured or like an unwatered flower, it shrivels and dies.

I know I’m not nurturing mine when I consistently put unhealthy food in my mouth, eat when I’m not really hungry, play too many computer games and watch too much TV. It doesn’t matter that I still look myself in the mirror most days and tell myself how much I love me, and how beautiful I am. When the actions don’t support the words, that inner child who wants so much to be loved for herself starts to shrivel and crawl back into her shell.

I saw it happening. The numbers on the scale creeping up. The writing getting neglected. The housework being ignored. Old aches returning from too much sitting. The ill effects of lack of love show themselves quickly, and add up to one big, ugly mess of frustration, anxiety, and gloom. The trouble is, once you start back-sliding, turning things around may not be such an easy thing, though it is certainly worth the effort.

Reading the Signs and Turning it Around

I started by filling my refrigerator with healthy fruits and vegetables, and making another pot of my turkey/kale chili for the freezer. (I’ll post the recipe at the end in case you’re interested). I made a point of getting to the gym at least once each week (better than none, and it is a start) with a plan to get back to my usual 3 times. Most of all, I started asking myself if I was really hungry before opening the refrigerator, and even once I had the door open.

I won’t say I’ve done perfectly this week. I did succumb to a burger and onion rings on errand day, and regretted it soon after. The burger was more bun than meat and the onion rings were overdone; the Universe’s way of telling me I was eating crap and should know better. I didn’t get to the gym on Monday as planned.

On the other hand, I’ve spent a lot more time working on either my writing or client work all week. I danced much later than usual last night after thinking earlier in the evening that I’d cut out early. I even danced through my right knee starting to complain, and by the time I got home, I was pain-free.

Seeing Immediate Results

My accomplishments this week are a true testament to the return of my self-love. After some false starts and a bit of irritation, I realized my friend and favorite butt-kicker, Candy was actually assuming the role of coach, something I needed desperately, but have not been able to justify going further into debt to hire (though Michelle Evans is making inroads into that resolve. She is the perfect combination of spirituality, energy work, and inspiration I think I need right now). She pushed and prodded until I came up with a pretty decent sounding Vision statement. Once she drags the Mission statement out of me as well, they will be added to my website. I just need to figure out where best to showcase them. (though a recent foray into the world of Divi and the realization that it’s not as scary as it seemed may give me a better idea of how, if not where).

Benefits of Learning to Receive

Self-love leads to some interesting revelations. One of the biggest ones is that learning to receive moves you farther along the self-love continuum. Refusing help from others not only denies them the pleasure of giving, but tells the Universe loud and clear I don’t love myself enough to be successful.

Does this sound counter-intuitive? It was for me for a long time. I thought success meant slogging through all of life’s perils and pitfalls by myself so when I reached the top of the mountain, I could say I did it all myself! So there! Boy, is that a load of crap! In the first place, victory and success are hollow if you’re standing all alone at the top of the mountain. In the second, having people who are there to lend a hand or their expertise when the going gets rough or you reach a place where your lack of tools will make the job infinitely more difficult are tremendous assets. You simply get further and faster with a team than alone.

When Helen Reddy sang “I am strong, I am invincible, I am Woman!” she said nothing about doing it alone. In fact, the first two lines speak volumes: “I am woman, hear me roar in numbers too big to ignore…” Sure, one person alone can make a difference. Look at Mother Teresa. But when we allow others to help, we can make an impact of incalculable magnitude because our success causes a ripple effect. The act of allowing others to help us achieve our goals lifts them up and helps them achieve some of theirs. Tell me you don’t feel better about yourself and able to push through some of your own challenges when you’ve helped another person get past one of their difficulties? Helping someone else is an amazingly uplifting experience.

Pretty soon, that focus on receiving as well as giving creates a synergy bringing joy and success to everyone it touches. In a roundabout but very real way, learning to love ourselves enough to receive help from other people strengthens humanity as a whole. It took me a long time, more than half a lifetime to figure out such a simple concept. In my defense, I come from a family of fiercely independent people. Going it alone and achieving success is highly valued. Asking for help is not only frowned upon but discouraged as being burdensome. I had to overcome an overwhelming amount of conditioning in order to get out of that destructive loop. Thankfully, I have some amazing friends, including my daughter who were willing to knock me around a bit until I saw the light.

I’m still learning to ask for help. I try to go it alone more often than not, but each time I reach out and get a positive response, it gets a little easier. And like the Grinch, my heart grows 3 sizes when I do.

Loving Myself Enough to be Grateful

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful to my friends who’ve taught me the value of receiving.
  2. I am grateful for a highly productive week.
  3. I am grateful for the people I’ve met just be stepping out of my comfort zone.
  4. I am grateful for being able to step back and regroup when someone says or does something that makes me feel bad about myself and the choices I’ve made. I know I’m not perfect, and I know I don’t live up to someone else’s standards, but that’s not what I’m here to do.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; helpful friends, guidance when I open my heart and mind and listen, self-love, improving health habits, healthy kitties, excessive dancing, productivity, clarity, resolve, new clients, joy, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. She believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She is available for article writing and ghost writing to help your website and the business it supports grow and thrive. She specializes in 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


Sheri's Turkey-Kale Chili

  • Servings: 16 2-cup servings
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A healthy take on a comfort food classic which freezes well


  • 3 Tablespoons garlic olive oil for cooking
  • 2 large brown onions finely chopped
  • 6 pounds ground turkey
  • 4 Tablespoons chopped garlic or 1 large bulb
  • 6-8 cups finely chopped kale
  • 5-6 medium jalapenos (use less or omit for a milder chili)
  • 2 15-ounce cans fire roasted tomatoes with chilis
  • 5 15-ounce cans tomato sauce
  • 6 Tablespoons Ancho chili powder
  • 3 Tablespoons Chipotle chili powder
  • 3 Tablespoons Cumin
  • 2 1/2 to 3 Tablespoons Oregano
  • 2 teaspoons Cayenne
  • 2 Tablespoons Paprika
  • 3 teaspoons Habanero sauce (less for a milder chili)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2-3 cups black beans (or whatever kind of beans you like. Can also be omitted)


  1. Heat oil in large pot
  2. Add chopped onion, garlic, kale and jalapenos. Cook until the onions start to turn clear.
  3. Add turkey. Cook until brown and crumbly.
  4. Add tomato sauce, tomatoes, spices, beans, and habanero sauce. Stir well.
  5. Simmer on low heat for at least an hour stirring frequently.
  6. Chili is done when the spices have been absorbed (if it tastes a little gritty, cook longer)
  7. I freeze what I don’t eat the first night in 2-cup servings, but choose the serving size that works for you.


Choosing Your Lessons and Teachers With Care

Is Money the Only Object?

I come into contact with a lot of coaches these days. Many of them are true artists at their craft and need no justifications to do their job and do it well. But there are others who write long, impassioned Facebook posts about how they justify raising their rates, even, in one case tripling them because, in their words, they only want to work with people who are “…willing to do whatever it takes to succeed.” Unfortunately, these words conjure up a long-ago visit to an EST event where non-members were herded into a separate room after getting a taste of what they could expect from membership in this exclusive cross-section of society. A man stood before us speaking as convincingly as he could, saying that the program was worth anything we had to do to come up with the $200 fee (a lot of money for a college student in the early ’70’s). He lost me when he said “sell your car or your stereo or whatever you have to because you really have to be part of this.”

When anyone tells me I have to be willing to do whatever it takes to buy their program or services I am, as a result of the EST experience extremely dubious. Why? Because the mere fact that they are pushing their services and associated high price tag in this manner tells me it’s all about the money and not about what’s best for me. They are loyal to one thing only; the pursuit of the mighty buck.

Even worse are the ones who tell me to listen to them and do what they say without argument. Excuse me? You’re telling me to simply trust you and your advice because you say so? Without proof of its efficacy for anyone else, much less, me specifically? This approach usually leads to my distrust of anything else that ever comes out of their mouth. I’m a born skeptic and a critical thinker. The combination doesn’t do well with autocracy on any level. In fact, I’m more likely to poke fun at its use, poking crater-sized holes in any argument launched on those terms.

Setting the Right Parameters

I know I need to hire a coach or probably several to help me ascend beyond my current limitations. I also know that I have my own priorities, and nothing anyone else can tell me will change them until I’m ready to change them myself. When the time comes, the coaches I choose will be those who are in it for the satisfaction of helping others achieve their goals and release their blocks first. That those services come with a higher price tag is simply a testament to their success with others like me and a finite number of hours with which to work with their clients.

As an Empath, it’s hard (though not impossible) to convince me of a compassionate and loyal heart where none exists. That being said, there will be times, and have been in the past when I seek expertise from someone who, for all intents and purposes is truly in it for the money; who couldn’t care less whether I succeed or fail aside from how it might impact their own credibility. Yet they have achieved amazing success with their own lives, and have learned a thing or two about how it’s done. I don’t expect every expert I consult to have my best interests at heart. It’s up to me to weigh the pros and cons of doing business with them and decide whether I can tune out what doesn’t resonate to benefit from what does. It is not a perfect world, and sometimes, our most useful and long-lasting lessons come directly from our interaction with the imperfections. They often speak to an imperfection in ourselves which needs to be addressed and molded into something better.

Other times, as I’ve told my daughter many times, I learn as much about what not to do from people as I do what to do and why. Closing your mind to anyone who is not on the same wave-length cuts out at least 50% of the opportunities you have to learn and grow. I’m not willing to slow my own progress just because I don’t adore all of the teachers with whom I’m presented. They key is twofold: recognizing the opportunities and understanding where an emotional attachment is necessary and where it is not. Only then can we be open to learning and growing on all levels instead of living in perpetual myopia.

Gratitude. It Brings Us Exactly What We Need.

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the epiphanies which came to my more open mind yesterday.
  2. I am grateful to be able to release old paradigms which long-ago stopped serving any real purpose.
  3. I am grateful to friends who are helping me see myself differently.
  4. I am grateful for the people who are being put in my path right now as teachers, guides, and new friends.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; lessons, love, challenges, harmony, peace, kindness, compassion, courage, beauty, friendship, honesty, loyalty, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

Check out Wells Baum’s interpretation of today’s Daily Prompt.

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. She believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She is available for article writing and ghost writing to help your website and the business it supports grow and thrive. She specializes in 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 check out her Facebook page at Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author.

Succumbing to Success

Avoiding the Easy Way Out

How many times throughout our lives do we decide the road is too hard and succumb to defeat? How often do we take the easy way out, or stop mere centimeters shy of a breakthrough because we believe we’re too tired to go on?

Are we creatures of self-sabotage? Do we really want to keep stumbling through life with nothing to show for it? Are we afraid of succeeding because it means we’ll have to show up and keep doing what we do most excellently?

Not to discount them, but I’m not talking about the times in our lives when we have no choice, but must go on whether we like it or not. For years, I stumbled along because I had kids to feed. That was a motivating factor and kept me in a long stream of soul-sucking, dead-end jobs so I could be close enough to home to get to my kids quickly if need be. No, I’m talking about those dreams you have and plans you’ve made yet so quickly discarded. I’m asking why you gave up on them so easily.

Letting Self-Sabotage Steal Our Future

Self-sabotage is a well-known concept for me. I look back and boggle at the number of times I came through for other people, yet when it came to committing to something for myself, I often fell short. The answer to the dilemma is rooted where most things are, in my childhood. My own mixed bag of experiences and resulting emotions created one, gigantic roadblock: I didn’t deserve success. I would always be a disappointment to myself, to my family and to anyone else who cared too much about what happened to me.

If you’re not screaming in outrage by now, you had the great good fortune of skipping this part of the life lesson. You are one of the fortunate ones. But I know I’m anything but alone in these feelings. If nothing else, people spend thousands upon thousands of dollars every year on self-help books, therapists, coaches, and programs to get past this most debilitating of blocks. Learning how not to succumb to those deeply ingrained lessons is a multi-billion dollar business, and one that has touched most of us in one way or another.

Finding Help from Without and Within

Consciousness On the RiseThough I’ve pumped my share of cash into the industry, my best and most consistent therapist is my writing. I may get a not-so-gentle nudge from the outside now and then, but when I do, I go back to the keyboard (my version of drawing board) and pound away until I develop some sort of plan or clear more of the debris so I can, once again move forward.

Today is no different. I discovered at least one of the places where I’d learned to give up on myself and I began taking steps to be more caring to the one person who will always be there for me, no matter what. Part of that is realizing when I cannot do it alone. Part of that is being willing to not only ask for help but to receive it as well.

An interesting thing about asking for help is that plenty of people are willing to give it. But if you keep rejecting it and throwing it back in their faces, they’ll take their efforts to someone who allows them to actually help and leave you to your own dysfunctional devices. Before you chase off the willing and put a bad taste in their mouths along the way, make sure before you ask for help that you’re willing to receive what’s given without qualification and without rejecting it out of hand when it’s not exactly what you think you need. Chances are, whatever you think you need is dead wrong anyway. Give those who offer the opportunity to prove you wrong and offer something better.

Are You an Island or a Community?

None of us achieves the success we want and deserve in isolation. Somewhere along the way, there are people who give us a leg up when the walls seem too high, support us when we are ready to give up, and encourage us when we lose sight of our amazing gifts. Allowing ourselves to accept their help, but even more, believing in ourselves enough that we know in our hearts we deserve that help makes the difference between a mediocre mouse and an amazing lion. Since my 3 outside cats bring me vanquished rodents on a regular basis, I can assure you, I’d rather be the lion.

What will you do today to allow others to help your inner lion roar?

Gratitude is the Cornerstone of the Laws of Attraction

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the people who come into my life to teach me to be remarkable, and to teach me I deserve to shine my light.
  2. I am grateful for the tough lessons and the giant leaps outside my comfort zone. It’s a beautiful world out there!
  3. I am grateful for the guided meditation I listened to today, and will continue to listen to daily. Those 8 minutes have already opened my heart to new possibilities.
  4. I am grateful for my new resolve and confidence that I’m still on the right path. The bright white light that signaled the end of today’s meditation was exactly the message I needed.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; friendships, love, caring, kindness, compassion, passion, inspiration, motivation, confidence, supportiveness, giving and receiving, potentiality, positivity, peace, harmony, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

Check it another post using today’s prompt from A Ray of Sunshine

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. She believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She is available for article writing and ghost writing to help your website and the business it supports grow and thrive. She specializes in 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.

Don’t Seek to Tame Your Wild, Wonderful Beast Within

Wild Women Rock!

In my far-distant, misbegotten youth, I was tame, or so it seemed to me (my mother would vehemently disagree). I tried to follow the rules, tried to get along. But I was always the proverbial square peg in a round hole. My wild, unruly curls are truly a symbol of the girl/woman who lurks within. This is not someone to be tamed into conforming, though heaven knows I’ve tried with blow dryer, flat-iron and any manner of hair products. What’s true on the outside, is even more true on the inside.

Ultimately, I learned I was not meant to be tamed. I was not meant to be a silent watcher as life rumbled by in all its messy glory. Yet, I was also not meant to be sucked in by irrational drama; drama for the sake of drama. Or what my friend Ralph would call gratuitous drama. My spot on what appears to some to be the sidelines has its own reasons and purpose.

Words attributed to the likes of Eleanor Roosevelt and Marilyn Monroe, but actually coined by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich speak directly to my thoughts on this matter:

Well behaved women seldom make history.

Making the Wrong Things Right

Hard as I’ve tried, I’ve always managed to say the wrong thing or react the wrong way to someone somewhere. I don’t usually mean to wound with my words (though admittedly there have been a few times I did), but all too often, my intent is misunderstood, perhaps intentionally at times.

It took me many decades of my life to learn two very important lessons:

  1. It is not my job to please everyone.
  2. How people react to my words or actions is not my responsibility.

Unfortunately, I had to step away from the world to a large extent in order to truly begin to accept the truth of these two statements.

In a corporate environment, there’s a constant battle  to ensure your words are not misinterpreted, and for me, that was a veritable minefield. I found that no matter what I said or how I said it, someone would find a way to take offense, especially if it furthered their own aspirations. No matter how small a company is, there will always be someone who seeks to get ahead by stepping on others. Needless to say, I do not thrive in that environment. Instead, I get burned a couple of times, then, like a turtle, I retreat into my shell, doing what I need to in order to survive, and savoring the connections I might make with one or two people.

Embracing My Rawness

When I first started this blog, I sought to tame the words which appeared on the screen. I didn’t want to write anything which might make someone uncomfortable. But a few years ago, my sister and some of her friends started writing horrible comments which somehow got past the controls I’d set up which required all comments to be moderated. I learned that even in my own space, my own blog, people would find a way to be offended.

I finally realized that by creating my own space, either here or on social media meant I could tell those people “If you don’t like what you see, don’t look!” Granted, I’m limited a bit by rules put in place by the various social media platforms, though I’ve yet to overstep in that arena. In certain things, I’m simply tamer than, say, the average Millennial.

I Don’t Write for Sissies…or for Haters

The longer I write for public consumption, the less willing I become to sugar coat what I say, or dumb down my word choices. I may still appear tame to younger readers, or to the more adventurous among you, but just as I wear my curls proudly, I wear my authenticity the same way.

Back in the BBS days before the Internet took over, we used to say “attack the post, not the poster”. I think this holds true even more today as the pages of Social Media are deluged with hate-filled diatribes. I’m a strong supporter of freedom of speech, but that does NOT mean freedom to be abusive, hateful, or evil. A few people have met Mr. Block and Delete on Facebook because they saw fit to attack me and my beliefs instead of just expressing their disagreement with something I posted or shared.

You could call this discrimination on my part, and maybe it is. I’m all for a spirited discussion provided it doesn’t get personal. One of my favorite people in the world has very strong opinions on some things I don’t agree with. We’re still good friends because we respect each other and in fact, value our differences. We also NEVER make disparaging remarks about each other. Our points of disagreement may not always be entirely polite, but we do our best to stick to the topic without impugning each other’s character. It’s more about respect than seeking agreement. If you ask me, having friends who always agree on everything would be dreadfully boring. I like people who, through their words and actions, teach me something new.

Creating a Haven for the Wild and Untamed

The moral of this story is, if you’re looking for tame, fluffy, sugar-coated blather, you’ve come to the wrong place. I embrace my inner rawness and allow it free rein to appear on the pages which bear my name. I may not always be pretty, but I’ll always be authentic. Are you brave enough to expose yourself to the almost certain criticism of those who disagree? It’s often a rough path, but for me, it’s proving infinitely rewarding.

Sharing the Gratitude Which Inspires and Guides Me

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful I’ve begun to reveal my authentic self.
  2. I’m grateful I’ve begun to learn to be compassionate.
  3. I’m grateful for the pain which tells me a lesson is really important.
  4. I’m grateful for friends who are strong enough to disagree with me without feeling threatened or threatening.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance: love, friendship, inspiration, motivation, aggravation, pain, lessons, challenges, instability, health, peace, hope, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

Community Pool Link

This is my second day of posts inspired by writing prompts in WordPress’s Community Pool. Today is brought to you by #tame. Here’s A Ray of Sunshine’s take on today’s theme.

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. She believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She is available for article writing and ghost writing to help your website and the business it supports grow and thrive. She specializes in 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.


Take Time to Breathe Through Your Challenges

Just Breathe’s face it. For life to be any kind of interesting, there are going to be periods when you feel like you’re riding the roller coaster from hell. While the wild ride might be fun and exciting for a while, there comes a point when you’re grateful to have reached the end. There comes a time when being in a semi-comatose state is not only a relief but necessary. We all need time to let our minds, bodies, and spirits recover from an overdose of the insanity life loves to throw into our paths. We need to allow ourselves time to just breathe.

This week has really run the gamut for me, and there are still a few more days left! From plumbing issues which just don’t want to be easily resolved to meeting with new clients, to throwing myself into new experiences, the week has definitely been an E ticket ride. The ups and downs I’m experiencing remind me, like a bucket of ice water to the face that life is truly about balance.

We are mired in frustration and soothed by ease. We hit all the red lights, then a path opens up just for us. We feel like money flows only one direction—away. Then suddenly, those interviews we had or proposals we submitted begin bearing fruit—often with the intensity of a California mud slide. When they do, we realize just how important those times we spent semi-comatose really were. We’re ready for the challenges and embrace them wholeheartedly.

Make the Most of the Down Time

Yet the biggest challenge for me is to use the down time wisely. Though I need to catch up on reading or finish a course I started, it’s easy to slip into sloth-like habits; spending too much time on social media, watching TV, playing computer games, or just napping endlessly. I recently discovered something most of you probably already know. Sloth attracts more sloth.

While I was farting around accomplishing nothing, opportunities eluded me. But when I changed my course, began participating actively in entrepreneurial groups, or supporting other entrepreneurs, focused my reading (and my meditations) on self-improvement, and limited the time sucking activities, abundance began to flow like the leaking hot water line under my house.

Messages in Bottles or Leaky Pipes

I also realized something rather profound. The leaking pipe and the destruction required to fix the problem were a direct reflection of the path my life was taking. The foundation I’d laid was weakening and even breaking. It needed to be torn up in places and rebuilt differently. My efforts were flowing uselessly (and expensively) into the ground, wasted and misguided. I needed to do some serious soul-searching to redirect my efforts and locate the places in my foundation which no longer served my best interests. Even the ground on which I stood was no longer the safe, stable place I’d come to take for granted.

Yet, I’m reminded by people like Linda Clay that, like the song says “there’s a time for every purpose”. The times I spend mimicking a sloth aren’t as unproductive as I think. Yet, knowing when to move away from those times is also key. Just like a dead-end job can become a rut, so can dead-end slothing. Recognizing things like plumbing leaks and excess water usage are essential in determining when we need to do what is taught in the Neurogym courses, and GOYA (get off your ass)! Ignoring the signs and symptoms will result in hemorrhaging our resources, be it money, energy, water, or even life-giving blood.

Turning Messages into Productive Actions

By now you might be asking how to recognize the signs. How can simple things like a plumbing leak or constant delays mean more than they seem at face value? For me, it comes down to a process I’ve developed in the usual manner, through trial and error. I’ve learned to apply it to any and all seeming problems which arise in my life, my home, and my overall environment. I apply those steps as follows:

  1. Step back from the problem.
  2. Depersonalize it while remaining open to possible solutions.
  3. Ask myself how it might apply to the situations currently active in my life, be they personal, business, or something else.
  4. Meditate on question 3, allowing answers to flow rather than be forced into existence.
  5. Take the necessary steps to resolve the obvious problem (especially with interpersonal issues, this isn’t always clear).
  6. Take action on signals I receive about seemingly unrelated parts of my life.
  7. Repeat steps 3 through 6 as often as necessary until I feel that my life is flowing freely and smoothly again.

I won’t say this is a fool-proof system as the control freak in me invariably decides things are moving too slowly and seeks to intervene, more often than not exacerbating the problem rather than helping. What I will say is that the more I practice the process, the more I fine-tune it. The more I fine-tune it, the easier it becomes to let go and avoid trying to control the solution.

Going with the Flow

Even now, as I sit here waiting for the leak detection company to re-do their work because the spot where they said the leak was located turned out to be a perfectly solid piece of pipe, I’m opening myself to other areas in my life where this situation is reflected. Where else did I think I’d found the problem only to discover I hadn’t. Where else am I experiencing delays? Where else am I allowing myself to be frustrated because I’m not controlling the situation?

It all comes down to one thing, really. I need to get out of my own way. Give myself permission to stop and smell the coffee. Maybe even find a way to get those two red chairs I saw at Lowe’s home so I have a cozy spot on what I jokingly call my veranda. Invite a friend over to share a bottle of wine and watch the world go by from my front porch looking out.

We spend a lot of time rushing from here to there, blowing through a to-do list that would freeze the heart of the most Type A CEO. Yet in most cases, we’re not really changing the world. We’re simply anesthetizing ourselves to the effects of everyone else rushing around like they have to accomplish so much every week. In reality, less is truly more. We really need less moments which leave us breathless and more that take our breath away.

Let Your Gratitude Go Wild

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for setbacks and challenges that force me to slow down, look around, and reassess.
  2. I am grateful for opportunities to look at my life from different angles.
  3. I am grateful for my sloth-y times. I’m never really doing nothing, or acting without purpose. It only seems like it.
  4. I am grateful for new opportunities which arise when I finally figure out how to get out of my own way.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, inspiration, motivation, aha moments, joys both great and small, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

You can find the associated Facebook Live Podcast here.


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!


Photo courtesy of philipglevy via Flikr

Coaching is a Dance: Sometimes You Lead and Sometimes You Follow

Helping Others Starts With Intention

As I spend more time in entrepreneurial groups, I come in contact with a lot of people who are both selling something and have a desire to help others. Many offer unsolicited advice or a few helpful hints, and I appreciate the time they take to do so. But a couple of days ago, I received a private message in response to a comment I’d made on someone’s post, and the resulting conversation (which admittedly, I should have ended sooner) left me feeling angry and even a bit soiled for the encounter. I thought about revisiting the transcript of the conversation if  for no other reason, to understand what I might have done differently to keep it from becoming combative and from activating my defense mechanisms. I actually did the smart thing this time, and distanced myself from the whole thing for a couple of days.

With new perspective, I realize that while his technique was, for me, offensive, it might have been the voice of my conscience asking, no, demanding to be heard. He didn’t ask any questions I haven’t been asking myself. I simply took it badly coming from a complete stranger who seemed to be sticking his nose in where it didn’t belong. It especially irked me when he told me I wasn’t a good fit for him as a client. It didn’t matter that I’d already concluded he wasn’t a good fit for me as a coach. To have him dismiss me like that…well, it HURT!

The Good, Bad, and Ugly Side of Coaches

In a world where coaching of all sorts has become a huge part of our economy, there seems to be an influx of people showing up daily on social media who are promoting talents and abilities which are hard to prove unless they already have a plethora of clients with proven results. That’s when I wonder why they’re pounding the virtual pavement looking for more?

In some cases, they have a genuine interest in helping people, and are looking for someone unlike their bread and butter clients to satisfy that desire in themselves. In that case, I wouldn’t expect them to be dismissive or cruel if a person they chose wasn’t receptive to the gift they were offering. Others are using a technique I’m seeing more and more, and liking less and less. It involves tearing someone down and pointing out their failings, then offering to swoop in like a fairy godmother and fix what’s broken—for a “small” fee, of course.

Don’t get me wrong. Everyone deserves to support themselves in the style they have envisioned. I simply take issue with doing it at the expense of someone else’s self-esteem. There are better ways to share your services without being abusive about it.

What Qualifies a Coach?

At any rate, the coaching profession has many faces. Each of those faces has different levels of expertise, and certainly, just getting through life with sanity intact is a powerful qualification. Some may have recognizable letters after their name; MFT, PhD, M.D. and more. Others have gone through some kind of certification program offered by yet another coach in their field. I tend to be more receptive to the ones who got at least part of their expertise from the ever-popular school of hard knocks. I find it easier to find value in the words and advice of someone who has actually been down in the trenches where I am now. Someone who has figured out how to climb out and turn all of the lessons they learned into stepping stones to something better.

I guess that’s why, for the most part I’m resistant to having a 30-something tell me they know how to fix my life. There are certainly exceptions, as I know a couple of 30-somethings who have been dealt more crap in their short lifetimes than I’ve seen in mine and that of 3 or 4 of my friends. From those lessons, they, like their older counterparts learned there’s a time to push and a time to step back and let the magic unfold in its own time and fashion.

The very best in the coaching community never stop learning themselves. They’ve discovered a secret I learned as a parent. Sometimes the best teacher of all is the student, be it your child, a person you’re working with, or just someone in the world at large. They know when to be the teacher and when to go with the flow when a role reversal occurs in the natural course of things.

The Road to Coaching Isn’t My Road

All this being said, I don’t see myself in the role of a coach, at least not officially. I think we all assume that role on occasion, even if the only task we have is to give encouragement and feedback. Many times, I’m on the sidelines cheering others to victory and that is one function of a coach. Other times, I’m asking questions or even kicking a little butt to help someone I know get past their own roadblocks. Both roles are ultimately rewarding and I learn a little more about myself at the same time.

My final thought on this subject which, much to my amazement I’ve managed to pursue without major topic changes is that coaches are no different than any other relationship we engage in. The people involved have to be a good fit. There has to be a connection. Many times it isn’t something obvious though in my case, I know I connect best with people who are either empathic or highly sensitive. Some people really respond well to a coach who will beat them over the head with their shortfalls and browbeat them into fixing what’s not working. Others need a kinder, gentler approach. But whatever works for you, it has to get you to the point where you leave your comfort zone behind you and go through some pain to break fear of all that holds you back. Fear grips us with angry tentacles and doesn’t release us willingly. Breaking the suction will lead a few bruises, but recognizing it’s for the best and continuing to wrest control of our lives from those fears comes with phenomenal rewards. But only if you’re willing to do the work and most of all, ask for help when you need it.

Finding Gratitude in Everything

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for experiences which make me step back from myself and see how I’m halting my own progress.
  2. I am grateful for the people who have come into my life at various places to show me better ways to be me.
  3. I am grateful for the mistakes I make as it means I’m making an effort to do more, be better.
  4. I am grateful for my writing which is an outlet for everything I think, see, and feel.
  5. I am grateful for infinite abundance; friendship, optimism, friendship, clarity, inspiration, motivation, dreams, goals, intentions, love, joy, philanthropy, peace, harmony, health, and prosperity.

Love and Light

You can find the link to my Facebook Live on Coaching here.


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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