Dancing outside my comfort zone

Posts tagged ‘gratitude’

Re-kindling Self-love With Committment

Committing to Me

The Facebook Live associated with this post can be found here.

Last night I talked about how I struggle with making and keeping commitments to myself. One of the things I have found over the last few months is that making a commitment to do anything is only half the process. The other half is coming up with a plan. In the case of my workouts, it meant setting specific days. When I deviate from those specific days, I’m not as likely to get all of my weekly workouts in.

At risk right now is the business I’ve been trying to develop for the last three years, or more specifically, my writing career. I know I haven’t been committed or I’d have actually finished and published something by now. But I also know that doing it just for the money sucks all of the energy out of me.

Help When I Need It

I had a conversation at the beginning of the week where this very concept came up. The person I was talking to suggested that regardless of my fears and concerns right now, I need to take money out of the equation. Instead of pitching ideas for stories I’d like to write for compensation, he proposed I write the article first, then pitch it to someone and be willing to let it be published, compensation or no.

Since then, I’ve created a business plan, but not in the normal sense. This one simply commits to a certain number of hours per day spent writing, reading and researching, and querying (I’m trying to use a word other than pitching because of the negative feelings I have around the word).

Part of my research today was to compile a list of places I might present my work. I even took compensation out of the equation and included sites which, though they might not pay me for my initial offerings, would give me visibility. In this day and age, getting found is critical. With so many writers, entrepreneurs, and virtual businesses out there, we each need to find a way to stand out from the crowd, and high traffic sites is one way to do it.

Boomers vs. Millennials

I’m also working on an article about Baby Boomers and Millennials. When I started it, my focus was on how Millennials will change the face of business in the next decade or so, but as I read articles from different points of view, I learned a lot about not only what drives Millennials and why, but how different the relationship between the two generations is from the one I had with my parents.

For instance, my circle of friends includes people from their 20’s to their 80’s. We interact on equal footing for the most part. I can’t even imagine my parents having the kind of relationship I have with people my daughter’s age. Even as adults, we were always just kids to them.

I’m not saying we do all the same things or hang out together regularly, but we share ideas and opinions, challenges with our businesses, and we support each other’s activities. I’m also not saying that the age-defying outlook my friends and I enjoy is applicable to all Baby Boomers or Millennials. But the fact it exists at all is for me, compelling.

Finding Common Ground

I’m not blind to the fact that there are some from both generations who blame the other for their woes. I guess that will always be the case when the subjects of jobs and social security come up. I realized, though that one of the best ways to work our way through the quagmire of misinformation and fake news really lies in our ability to cooperate inter-generationally. Our being at odds serves someone else’s purpose—someone who does not have any of our best interests at heart.

Choosing to emphasize our similarities and downplay our differences seems like a pretty good idea to me. I’ve never been a fan of placing blame anyway. I saw enough of it in the workplace, and it’s only real purpose is destructive. Far better to take the position that we agree something is broken and between us we can come up with the best way to fix it.

Learning From Each Other

Frankly, we can learn a lot from a generation which grew up with cell phones, instant messaging, and social media. One of my biggest pet peeves has always been communication, or lack thereof. In some cases, there might be a bit of over sharing, but for the most part, it’s more of an asset than a liability. Millennials are accustomed to getting immediate answers. By getting those immediate answers, they get things done faster too. Good news since instant gratification with communication has created a culture that’s used to constant stimulation and when that stimulation wanes, boredom sets in. To be honest, I relate to this myself, but my career path led me to embrace technology early on. Anything to get away from the drudgery of writing everything down in big, dusty ledgers, totaling up dozens of columns on countless pages with nothing more than a calculator, then moving all of the figures to the proper accounts. All-in-all a painstaking process which spreadsheets and accounting programs rendered obsolete. Others might have complained as they didn’t like the changes, but I was overjoyed.

More to Come

But I’ll leave the results of my research on the topic for another day. What started with a single article is escalating out of control as it is, but believe it or not, that’s a good thing. I can write on the subject from a number of different angles which gives me yet another niche. Not bad for my first day’s work with a plan!

Was I ready to take this step 6 months ago? Probably not. I needed to gain more clarity on what I truly wanted, and that has occurred in the last few weeks. Will I get it in gear before the next 5 months races by? I can only hope and put the work in. The rest is just going to have to resolve itself as my plan and its potential unfold. Stay tuned!

Remembering to Be Grateful

My gratitudes tonight are:

  1. I am grateful for epiphanies which move me forward on m path.
  2. I am grateful for the tenacity which, though little used lately is still there when I call upon it.
  3. I am grateful for the support and advice of my friends. They help me find clarity and the courage to continue moving forward.
  4. I am grateful for my writing. When I’m lost and confused, it helps me sort things out.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; lessons, resources, friendship, love, joy, dancing, inspiration, kicks in the butt, encouragement, support, peace, harmony, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

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

Can an Empath Find Balance in Today’s World?

Overloaded and Overstressed

The Facebook Live which inspired this post can be found here.

Navigating today’s world as an Empath is challenging on many levels. We need to be much more conscious of self-care then ever before or we’ll find ourselves absorbing so much of everyone’s worries and stresses that we’ll face our own version of overwhelm, much of it unrelated to ourselves.

I’m finding at times that in trying to hold a space of peace and love, I’m taking the path of most resistance, and it’s taking its toll. For the last week, I’ve been sleeping more and accomplishing less. Even a night of dancing wasn’t the joyful time it should have been this week. I had to talk myself into going after warding off a migraine. When I got there, I found it difficult to detach from all of the worries and concerns of my friends. I ended up leaving at least an hour earlier than what has become my normal because I just wasn’t feeling the joy I typically feel from dancing and hanging out with my friends.

In fact, I was feeling curiously detached from it all while still feeling the pain and anxiety. Yes, some of it was certainly mine, but my best efforts at shielding out the rest left me with feelings of sadness and none of the connection which might have alleviated some of it. Leaving at that point was really my only option.

Overcoming Emotional Saturation

Today, I slept like a rock after staying up until after 3:00 AM yet again, and didn’t wake until 11. Half the day gone already, I felt stressed out, overwhelmed and just plain unhappy. Thank goodness for my morning pages where I can dump everything out without any filters. But thank goodness, too, for my foster kitten, Mulan who started singing the song of her people halfway through my writing and helped me detach from the pit of misery and despair I was tumbling into like a rock rolling downhill. Her loud and insistent yowls brought me out of that pit and back to a semblance of reality where I was wishing I was close enough to someone to ask for help.

I realized though that I had become the emotional version of an over-saturated sponge and simply needed to be squeezed out. As Empaths, it is an occupational hazard to be sponge-like when we’d be better served to detach. It isn’t always possible to do so. I couldn’t even think of something to imagine myself being other than that uber-receptive sponge. The idea of being a brick wall again isn’t even worth considering. The huge down-sides of repelling everything  isn’t a place I ever want to be again. Bearing other people’s pain is infinitely preferable to having a dark, empty hole where my emotions should be.

Today’s World is an Empath’s Nightmare and Destiny at the Same Time

That, my friends, is the plight of the Empath in today’s society in a nutshell. Emotional stimulation is bombarding us from every direction, not the least of which is a super-charged dose of outrage over whatever our governmental figures might be up to on any given day. People are reacting emotionally and it seems like they’ve put their intellect out to pasture. Though I’m sure some thought is going into what they’re saying, few appear to be looking under the surface and behind the scenes to recognize they are being manipulated so incredibly effectively that not one single “new” development surprises me right now. It’s all part of a master plan and we’ve been wound up so masterfully, we’re just going along like a bunch of lemmings; being outraged when we’re supposed to, decrying exactly what the powers that be want us to decry. All except a small group of Empaths who know there’s more than the tiny tip of the iceberg that’s being used to blind the general public to the Dark that’s not-so-slowly overtaking us and obliterating a way of life which was hard fought not so many decades ago.

It’s funny. The more I write, the more I understand what’s loading me down with negative and toxic emotions. The more I see I need a clearing, but don’t even know where to find it any more. Just another reminder that my writing truly is my therapist, my sounding board, and above all, my savior. It’s probably where I’ll find the clearing I need as well.

I Write to Save My Sanity

It’s no coincidence that whenever something is bothering me, whether it’s an obsession, a convoluted problem, a decision, or anything else, the first place I turn is to my writing. It used to always be on the computer in the form of a slew of Word documents simply titled “brain dump”, but lately, I’ve discovered the power of pen to paper. I understand now why some will never give up writing things longhand.

There’s a certain calmness that comes to pass when I put my hand to the page instead of the keyboard. It’s like disconnecting from electronics and machinery reconnects me to the deepest, darkest recesses of myself, and in so doing, connects me to the Universal mind where all answers can be found. As weird as this might sound, it makes me go into my head to get out of my head.

With a typing speed of about 135 words per minute, getting used to writing longhand again took a little while. My brain was so used to having my fingers keep up, no matter where it went, that to slow it down was painful in the beginning. But now, it’s become a welcome respite in a world that is always going at warp speed. It’s a meditation in and of itself when I don’t have to keep the thoughts and ideas flowing as fast as my fingers can fly across a keyboard. I can pause and reflect, even remember how to spell without a program telling me if the spelling is correct or not. In fact, I’m finding I really don’t care so much if a word is spelled correctly or not when I write with a pen. It’s more about the process than the words themselves. It’s more about letting my mind clear slowly and easily instead of this frantic effort to get all the words that pop into my head on the page.

Finding Peace in Disconnecting

Maybe that’s the cure for the Empaths of the world right now. Maybe we just need to allow ourselves to do things slowly; to cook meals from scratch, to write longhand, to take long walks, to putter in the garden. So many things we let go while trying to navigate the super-highways we call “modern life”.

I guess I’ve answered my own question today. The best way to decompress and clear my emotions is to disconnect completely. Not forever. Not even for an entire day. And maybe that’s why I’ve been sleeping so much the last week or so. It’s the only way my brain really knows it can disconnect since I’m not giving it what it so desperately wants and needs.

Grounding with Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for my writing which, even at the worst of times has helped me find my balance.
  2. I am grateful for friends who understand my need for solitude.
  3. I am grateful for the variety in my life which allows for my many mood swings and dark, twisty paths.
  4. I am grateful for time. Sometimes I have to take it before finishing a blog post, a thought, a chapter, or any other task I’ve set myself. Like wine or cheese, even simple tasks need time to age a bit.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, joy, time, peace, harmony, reflection, objectivity, inspiration, motivation, friendship, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

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

Sometimes You Just Have to Be Sad

Sadness Unexplained

There isn’t anything wrong. There isn’t even anything particularly not right. Yet sometimes, the sadness hits for no particular reason. Most of the time, you get busy working or cleaning or something that doesn’t require much thinking. Or you watch a funny movie. Or you make a list of gratitudes. But sometimes, you really need to let the sadness run it’s course.

Life is a balance. We have to be sad to appreciate happy, low to appreciate high, sick to appreciate healthy, and so on. If we stifle one, we diminish the other. As an artist, some of my most productive times are the sad ones. They’re the ones which let me spill raw emotions onto the page or craft a character who makes the reader ache for them. A song writer might write an achingly sweet ballad, a painter, a painting which rips deep into your soul. Where would art be if the artist didn’t allow herself to experience these inexplicable periods of sadness?

Fighting the Sadness is a Losing Battle

When I was younger, I did everything in my power to talk myself out of being sad, even to the point of getting angry with myself. Unfortunately, it often left me angry and feeling unfulfilled for a long time afterwards. Yet the reasons I shoved it aside were valid. I had a job to perform so I could earn my paycheck and support my two daughters. I had a household to maintain, chores to do, groceries to buy, and all of the things that go into surviving as a single mother. Heaven knows, I didn’t always get it right and I came into a lot of criticism from well-meaning friends who disagreed with my priorities.

In years when my life was slightly slower, I’d sometimes allow the sadness to overtake me, obliterating all memories of happier things. I’d spend too many hours in my sweats, curled up in bed sleeping. In hindsight, I’d probably internalized things like my divorce, my parents deaths and a thousand other things for so long, I’d fallen into a depression I didn’t even recognize as such. I know those times were hardest of all on my daughters. But as bad as it got, I’m one of the lucky ones because I didn’t stay there.

Finding My Way into the Darkness and Out Again

Eventually, I found my happy place again. I also found a way to stop walling myself in behind a wall of misery. At first, I wrote only for myself. I created Word documents meant only for my eyes, though many of them remain in my archives. I wrote about my unhappiness, but more, I wrote about the things I could not change; my parents’ suicides, my guilt over feeling I didn’t do enough or care enough. In a nutshell, my past.

Only when the Notes function on Facebook proved insufficient to hold all of the thoughts, questions, Tarot readings, and random thoughts I’d begun to share did I move to a more public arena with my first blog. Little did I know where it would take me. What started as a way to talk about family suicide and maybe reach a couple of people who, like me had bottled up their feelings has become so much more.

Giving Society’s Misguided Standards the Finger

Just as our society isn’t very understanding about just needing to be sad, it lacks compassion for people who have lost someone to suicide. The things we are taught in order to function in that society also teach us some incredibly unhealthy things. Funny little catch phrases like “Here’s a quarter, call someone who cares.” or “Suck it up, Buttercup” may sound cute and funny…if you’re not the one being told to box up your feelings and just deal with it.

Yet, we’re only human. We have feelings and if we don’t get to express them when they’re small and manageable, we will eventually break under the pressure of everything we’re stifling, and something small will make us crumble into a million pieces. By then, we’ve been so outwardly strong that nobody understands why we could possibly get upset over something which, on the outside, appears quite small.

In sharing my own ups and downs, struggles and successes, I’ve learned a lot of lessons, but the greatest lesson of all is that I am not alone. Others have been where I am. They may have dealt with it differently, but they can relate. Sometimes, what I write about comes at just the right time for someone who is having a tough time. More than once, I’ve heard from someone that just reading that someone else shares what they’re going through takes their pain down a notch.

Sharing Our Struggles Can Be Someone Else’s Gift

We can’t take away someone else’s pain. We can’t cure their ailing parent, or make the loss of a child, a parent, a dear friend, or a beloved pet less sad and painful for them. And feeding them platitudes like “it’s going to be OK” or “time will heal this” or my personal least favorite, “it’s God’s will” don’t help. All you’re doing with those little catch phrases is invalidating someone’s feelings. You’re telling them they don’t “need” to be sad.

Feelings have nothing to do with need. They just are. We can’t turn them on and off like a faucet. Yes, we can shove them into a box in our heart for a little while, but the box is not infinite. Eventually it will burst. Which is why I encourage you to feel your feelings. After awhile, you can step back and simply observe them, but can you really observe something you don’t understand? That you haven’t allowed yourself or been allowed to feel? Sure, time does heal in its own way. Even that is different for each of us. But when the pain of loss is fresh, when whatever made us feel lonely, or ostracized, or ashamed, or hurt is still new, it’s important that we accept the feelings without judgment.

We’ll have the rest of our lives, if we choose, to rehash the feelings. We may even discover, in some cases, that we’ve misunderstood or overreacted. But in the moment, the feelings are as real as we are, and deserve to be acknowledged and felt.

Following My Inner Compass

I started writing this a good 12 hours ago, and have kept myself moving and interacting while the sadness ran its course. I kept a commitment to myself to go to the gym. It wasn’t my best workout, but it wasn’t my worst either. I felt a lot better for having done it, and removed the possibility of feeling guilty for having dishonored a commitment to myself. I was lazy and picked up dinner after my workout. It could have been better, but it could also have been far worse. Again, no guilt. I watched a movie and cuddled with my cats who have been extremely attentive the last few days. Finally, I sat down to finish this post. Still a little sad, but less so than this morning.

The sadness is passing because I didn’t make a big deal of it. I didn’t try to whitewash it or bury it under a load of platitudes. It’s taken a long time, and I still have a lot to learn, but accepting myself, my moods, my screw-ups, and my successes gets easier every day. I realize I am the sum of all of the things which make me the person I am; some good, some not so much. But if those parts were different, I wouldn’t be me.

In Sadness or in Joy, I Can Still Find Something to Be Grateful For

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for my imperfections.
  2. I am grateful I’ve learned to let things out instead of holding them in.
  3. I am grateful I’ve learned to accept myself, imperfections and all.
  4. I am grateful I have friends who sometimes need to see those imperfections.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, acceptance, friendship, lessons, challenges, imperfections, joy, sorrow, dreams, failures, successes, and words. Lots and lots of words!

Love and Light

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

Navigating the Human Mine Field

Foot in Mouth Disease

You can find the Facebook Live on this topic here.

I don’t always say the right thing. All too often, my mouth engages long before my morning caffeine catches up to my brain, usually with results ranging from “undesirable” to “just shoot me now”.  All too often, the magnitude of my faux pas is determined, not by what I said, but by who my audience was.

Over time, I’m learning there are many different levels of people who enter my life, from strangers who never even know I exist to my nearest and dearest friends and family. But there are several levels in between, and in some ways, I’m still learning which ones I need to concern myself with and which I need to simply treat with courtesy and leave it at that.

Trusting Selectively

At the end closest to my heart, I have my dearest friends. I include the few family members who remain a part of my life through all of my evolutionary iterations (who can sadly be counted on one hand). After that come friendly acquaintances, a group I’ve mentioned in previous posts. But today I realized there’s another group I’ll call “selectively friendly acquaintances”. These are people who are friendly as long as I conform to their societal standards. In other words, when I’m behaving myself, I’m in their good graces. When I’m not, it is appropriate to shame or shun me as they see fit. There are also neutral acquaintances. We smile and nod when we meet, but have no emotional attachments or expectations. Finally, come strangers who are simply people I have yet to interact with and determine where they might fall.

Nurturing the Child Within

For some reason, the insecure little child inside me keeps insisting on trying to make friends with the selectively friendly acquaintances, despite having been set down hard on more than one occasion; despite understanding the rules governing their acceptance, or really, tolerance of my presence. And when I invariably blunder and violate another of their rules, I spend too much time beating myself up and letting them shame me before I finally realize it doesn’t matter. They are the “other people” in my favorite catch phrase what other people think of me is none of my business. There’s not a snowball’s chance in hell they’ll ever accept me for who I am. They will always find a reason to look down on me like I’m some slimy worm crossing their path. So why do I let it bother me, even for a minute?

I have to admit there are still remnants of the acne-ridden girl with glasses and braces who desperately wanted to be accepted. She believed her mother who kept telling her she was fat and suffered a long serious of humiliating nicknames from classmates. She cared because she believed she was on the outside, never realizing there was a perfectly good circle of friends who included her without question. She could only see where she was excluded and failed to appreciate that the places she was included were far better.

Taking Ultimate Responsibility

Even now, I know those I keep allowing to make me feel small aren’t the ones I want to be close to anyway, but I can’t stop trying, knowing I will continue to give them reason to mistreat me again. With each new experience, I am reminded to treat everyone courteously, but to only allow a few past the length of my arm. The times I forget and let some in closer, I get slapped down and reminded yet again. Or worse, I spend a few hours beating myself up for being insensitive, when their response was equally so.

I’ve finally started to recognize those who I will invariably say something to irritate them and who will respond unkindly. They’ve decided not to like me, and that’s not only their right, but it’s perfectly OK. But like the kids in the school yard who called me names or pushed me down, they don’t have the right to be cruel. Yet it falls on me because as long as I allow it, they’ll continue to believe they are justified.

Recognizing Those Who Come into our Lives for a Reason, and Responding Accordingly

I truly believe people come into our lives for a reason. Clearly, the selectively friendly acquaintances come into my life to teach me to honor my own boundaries. We all have the right to be treated respectfully even when we make mistakes. We’re human and making mistakes is part of our learning process. If we make none, we cease to evolve. So I’m grateful to the people who fail to recognize my worthiness and treat me as a lesser being. They make me stand up for that sad little girl who didn’t realize how special she truly was. They make me wrap my arm around her shoulders, give her a hug, and tell her about all the things which make her unique and valuable. They make me tell her to ignore the bullies and meanies who mistakenly believe that making her and others like her feel inadequate will fill the holes in themselves.

My words may, at times, come out wrong, but my heart is always in the right place and doesn’t deserve to be stomped on for expressing things badly. That insecure little girl deserves a better champion. And she’s going to get it from now on! I’m done trying to win over those who were lost before I ever began. Why am I wasting time on them when there are some amazing people who love me in spite of, or maybe even because of my warts? They deserve better from me too..

With Love and Gratitude

My gratitudes tonight are:

  1. I’m grateful for the people in my life who treat me harshly. It reinforces the lessons I need to learn about boundaries and my own worthiness.
  2. I am grateful for introspective days which help me find my true north when I’ve wandered too far away.
  3. I’m grateful for the friends who support me and even kick my butt now and then. Knowing they believe in me makes it easier to fight the battles that come my way.
  4. I’m grateful for the peace and sanctity of my home. No matter how sad I might be, it can be cured with some cuddle time with my cats and a chat with my Guides and Higher Self.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; insight, lessons, cherished friends, peaceful retreats, inspiration, motivation, uplifting moments, aha moments, love, joy, peace, harmony, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Blessed Be

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

Giving Our Dreams a Kick in the Pants

Dreams That Come to Us by Day

You can find the Facebook Live where I talk about Dreams by clicking the link.

Dreams are funny things. When they come at night, they’re often gone by morning. When we do remember a bit or two, the rest evades us the harder we try to capture the essence.

Even our waking dreams; the ones we imagine intentionally, can be equally resistant to capture and implementation. Sometimes we just need patience, but for others, we might need a little help. It might be that those dreams have too many components to implement all at once. Or it might be that we need to clarify what it is we actually want so we can focus in on the steps required to achieve it.

We could simply run them by our family and friends, but I’ve found they’re often too close to us and too engaged in what makes our heart sing. There are times we just need an outsider who asks us the right questions; the difficult questions that make us figure out for ourselves where we need our focus to be…at least for the time being. I finally realized after drifting aimlessly for the last 3 years (assuming finishing 3 Nano’s and having 5 pieces and an active blog is aimless) that I needed help whittling down the veritable cacophony of ideas into one or two workable tasks.

Helping Corner Our Dreams Instead of Fruitlessly Chasing Them

The decision made, I took advantage of a couple of sample sessions, keeping my senses alert for someone who resonated with me. That’s not to say each wasn’t helpful in their own way, but like any therapy, there was a certain something, a click if you will I needed to feel in order to put my dollars down and embark on a journey with a virtual stranger.

I admit, it was a little scary, opening my private hopes and dreams to someone I knew little or nothing about. Frankly, the monetary consideration was the least of my concerns. What if they told me my dreams were all wet and I needed to go back to the drawing board. Or worse, what if my dreams of being a writer were of the pipe variety and could never come to pass.

Fortunately, as of this writing, the coach I found realizes writing is my true passion and is working with me to make at least a part of my long-term dreams a reality. That isn’t to say I’m being relieved of the frustration I’ve been experiencing lately. Nor does it mean I can sit back and wait for someone to discover me. (trust me, that only happens in the movies). It means we’re trying different things to see what might get things rolling business-wise so I can ultimately give myself permission to continue writing the things which are long-term projects, not a steady source of income.

Re-writing My Money Story

For awhile, I hated the idea of having to charge people for my services, but let’s be realistic. The bills need to be paid if I want a roof over my head, power for the internet connection, the internet connection itself, and food for my furry roommates. In my eyes, those roomies are all incredibly adorable (and Dylan is great at keeping me at my desk scratching his belly, er, working for hours at a time) but lack the earning capacity of Grumpy Cat and others. Or maybe I just haven’t learned to market their cuteness as effectively.

At any rate, I’m learning there’s no shame in writing for money. I may not be ready or willing to write sales pitches, but there are many ways to put words to screen for compensation without sacrificing my integrity.

Learning to Attract Rather Than Repel Potential Clients

I’ve learned some tough lessons along the way. No matter how much I might love a person’s content, they are often unwilling to entertain the idea that their editing sucks rocks, no matter how politely I might word it. They are often unconvinced that people get the twitches when their copy is filled with grammatical and spelling errors galore. And maybe they’re right. Maybe my sensitivity to those errors puts me in the minority. But I have to admit that I will stop reading even the most useful information if I find too many errors. I can’t help myself. It’s my version of fingernails on the blackboard.

One of the biggest things a coach can help me with is wording things to attract rather than repel potential clients. She can teach me the words to use which will inspire entrepreneurs to take a chance on a content writer, but not just any content writer, this content writer!

Choosing Your Marketing Plan With Care

I’ve seen a plethora of marketing techniques which turn me off, and strive to avoid using them. But I’m also learning that what I might consider badgering is simply an offer to someone else. What I might consider being helpful is considered offensive or insulting to someone else.

Then there’s the matter of what a friend told me recently. She said I need to “think like a Millenial”.  In other words, drop the need to sound professional because Millenials are “…the meat and bones of the market.” Great!

Becoming Fluent in “Millenial”

Of course, learning to speak the language isn’t a bad thing as far as my writing is concerned. The more realistic I can make my characters, the better. Some of you might remember the challenges I voiced a while back about “teen speak”. It appears there’s also a “Millenial speak” which I’ve yet to learn, much less master.

Step One: Admit You Need Help

This leads me in my typical roundabout fashion to the need to invest in a coach or coaches. Currently, I’m working on just getting my business out to the content-buying public. I’ve put aside my efforts to market a laundry list of skills in favor of one, single item; blog posts.

Even so, I am learning to be both persistent and patient, two skills I have a tendency to replace with procrastination and scatteredness. But if this old dog can hire a business coach or three, she can learn some new tricks too. I just need to keep reminding myself to recognize the small wins along the way.

Where Have You Taken Advantage of Coaching?

Over to you now. Here’s your chance to share your own experiences and help the rest of us at the same time! Have you taken advantage of a coach of some kind to help move your dreams and skill sets forward? I’m learning coaches come in many different varieties, inspiring us physically, mentally, and emotionally. A different perspective can help us get out of a rut or move us forward faster than we’ve been able to do on our own. You just have to find the right fit.

Remembering to Take Time Out for Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the lessons I’ve learned and those still to come.
  2. I am grateful for a mind that’s being compelled to open wider and wider.
  3. I am grateful for both the help and opportunities which come into my life when they’re needed.
  4. I am grateful for the examples and suggestions my friends, family and new acquaintances offer.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, expertise, sharing, caring, opportunities, new connections, old connections, life, joy, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Blessed Be

 

 

Living in the Moment: The Power of Being

I Read, Therefore, I Am

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

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

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

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

Expanding My Horizons One Book at a Time

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

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

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

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

A New Perspective on the Often Reviled Ego

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

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

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

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

Being: The Ultimate Self-Indulgence

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

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

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

True Being Makes Us Grateful for Each Moment

My gratitudes today are:

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

Blessed Be

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

Empaths as Outcasts: Why Misery Loves Company

New Inspiration from an Old Source

You can find the Facebook Live Video which goes with this post here

Today’s blog topic didn’t come, as has been common, from my morning pages, but from my meditation. As I snuggled on the couch with my two furry girls who love the meditative energy, my mind was processing a discussion about the latest suicide of a famous figure.

As my overly active brain processed, connected, and analyzed, it landed on my relationships, or lack thereof with my family over the last couple of decades. From comments and questions I’ve fielded recently, it occurred to me my sister hasn’t been the outcast I’ve been allowed (or perhaps allowed myself) to become. Of course, this raised questions in my mind, despite the fact I’d come to the realization quite some time ago that the distance was for the best on all our parts.

Not only did it allow me to heal without interference and accept my parents’ final acts without condemnation, blame, or lifelong guilt, it let me find peace. Knowing my sister still blames my mom for more than I even know, or want to, and knowing she’s ill and angry, I’m starting to understand why the family dynamics are what they are.

Finding Yet Another Commonality With My Mom

Mom was the family outcast and was often criticized and I suspect, ridiculed behind her back. I’ve certainly had my share of missteps and actions which failed to meet with everyone’s approval. The difference between us is that I don’t really care. Mom needed the family’s approval and love. If I had it, I would be grateful, but I have never really needed it. And I am not going to be part of the blame and rehashing of mom’s failings. She was no more or less human than anyone else and as such, was prone to mistakes, both from her own viewpoint and that of others. That she likely beat herself up over them was part of her personality and more, her desperation.

Taking after my dad has been a double-edged sword. Yes, I tend to isolate myself too much, but as an Empath, sometimes isolation is the lesser of two evils. Yes, I find it hard to ask for help, much to my daughter’s annoyance. But as time goes on, I’m learning to be better about letting others do something for me instead of letting assistance be a one-way street. The best lesson I learned from dad, though, was to accept responsibility for my own actions. From that, I’ve learned to also be more understanding of the actions of others.

Don’t Blame Those Who Need to Blame

I may not agree with, nor buy into the idea of blaming mom for decades old perceived misdeeds. I may not agree with continuing to blame her when she’s not here to defend herself. But I accept the fact that my sister and whoever else she talks to has the right to make their own choices. They’re no longer hurting mom with words or deeds anyway. As I’ve learned in my own healing journey, forgiveness truly only helps the forgiver. The forgiven couldn’t care less whether we forgive them or not.

It does explain a lot about why nobody reached out to me after mom took her life, or why the last of the contacts I shared with my parents disappeared from my life after dad took his. I brought nothing to the conversation they wanted to have.

At least now, things have evolved so there are a few tentative attempts to connect. Yet, the commonalities we had 20 years ago, the roads we had traveled together have been covered over by the dust of time. We’ve raised our families, lost loved ones on all sides, seen children marry and start families of their own, and all the things that happen during a lifetime.

Lifetimes Within Lifetimes

I’ve learned that when it comes to families and connections, 20 years is a lifetime. The elderly aunts I remember have all passed on along with a few from their daughters’ generation. We’ve even lost one from my generation during the years of disconnection, and are likely to lose a couple more in the next few years. Frankly, I’m not expecting to be a part of their grieving process any more than they have been part of mine. It is what it is.

I have been an outcast from my own family for most of my adult life and the truth is, more often than not, I’m relieved. A Jewish family who escaped the persecution in Russia and Poland to emigrate to the United States and Canada carries a lot of angst. In many members of my family, that angst is embedded in their very souls and passed on from generation to generation. The fact that I’ve learned to release much of my share essentially severed my connection. Without intending to, I’ve torn myself loose from the fabric which weaves the family into a single piece of cloth. By necessity, they rewove that fabric to hide the hole I’d left, perhaps using my sister as the thread which would most efficiently cover the gap.

Empaths Create Their Own Rules

I believe the story has unfolded for a reason. I was given the sometimes dubious gift of Empathy for a reason. Despite being born into a family with a long history of trauma and upheaval, I had to learn how to manage my gift or go quietly insane. I chose the former and am learning how to use it to help others. My personal traumas have been the best teachers.

I savor the connections which have been tentatively re-established, but know I will always be one of the family outcasts. That is the role I came here to assume. Sometimes, breaking free is the first step in healing a wound that stretches back many generations. I may not have chosen the easiest path. I may have even chosen the loneliest one. But I believe the path I chose is the most rewarding one of all.

With Love and Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful to my family for giving me the space I needed to find my own way.
  2. I am grateful that I’ve learned to let go of blame, anger, bitterness, and resentment to love and accept the people who gave me life, no matter what direction their lives or actions might have taken them.
  3. I am grateful for the challenges I’ve faced which allow me to be an advocate not only for those who’ve lost someone to suicide, but for those who chose suicide as their exit plan.
  4. I am grateful for the love and support I receive from the family I’ve attracted around me. Though most are not blood, they love and accept me as my blood family aren’t able to because I’m just too different.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; inspiration, love, motivation, support, guidance, allowing, creativity, energy, peace, harmony, health, happiness, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Blessed Be

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

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