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

Posts tagged ‘health’

Letting Worry Slow the Flow

Ingrained Habits Unharmed by Worry

I was doing really well sticking to the schedule I’d set for myself. But health concerns pushed everything to the back burner until I got a few more answers (or maybe non-answers). When I finally sat down to write, thinking I was several posts behind, I found self-discipline had saved me. I had actually only slipped by one post with another due by midnight. No problem.

The problem isn’t so much with staying on track (and there are other projects which have indeed suffered), but with finding topics to write about which didn’t involve all the medical bullcrap I’ve been fielding for the last few months. Granted, the news so far is good in that it’s ruled out anything serious. But the search goes on and frankly, it’s frustrating!

I’m not a patient person by nature, so when each new set of tests has the current specialist throwing up his hands and sending me to yet another doctor with a 3 to 4 week lead time for appointments, followed by another 3 to 4 weeks to get in for the tests he orders, I’m losing what little patience I had. Meanwhile, the original problem persists, if not worsens, forcing me to make some lifestyle changes in order to cope with them until someone comes along who can actually answer the 64-thousand dollar question “What’s ailin’ me?”

Looking for Alternatives

Admittedly, I’ve grown more and more disenchanted with Western medicine the older I get. Someone recently said to me:

“As we get older, they see no reason to put forth the effort to keep us alive.”

I can find no reasonable argument to refute the statement.

Still, our insurance system is designed to support Western medicine, and of course, the pharmaceutical industry. I’m a lousy patient in that regard as I prefer herbs and healthier habits to the pills they try to convince me to take. I’ve had a great deal of success doing it my way too.

The latest concern seems to be confounding my doctors though, as they send me from one specialist to another only to hear “that part is working fine.” At least I don’t make this journey alone as a friend seems to be having the same issues, though he’s a decade older. In both our cases, our customary energy is being impacted, and as members of the dance community, energy loss is simply unacceptable.

Two Guinea Pigs Are Better Than One

I can only hope that between the two of us and our travels from one specialist to another, we’ll ultimately find someone who can figure this out, and solve the issue for us both. Meanwhile, I try not to piss and moan too much, eat smaller meals, and make sure I don’t eat within a couple of hours of dancing. One episode of nearly passing out was enough to make me a lot more cautious. (OK, so I could have stopped and sat down sooner, but I was having too much fun…until I wasn’t).

Some people choose to age gracefully. When they start slowing down, they take it lying down; sometimes literally. My friends and I are far less easygoing and accepting. If something slows us down, we look for ways to get around it. In my case, it’s daily walks, smaller meals, regular weight work, and when all else fails, physical therapy. As I’m still going at something close to my normal pace, I have to assume it’s working.

A friend of mine found his golf routine impaired by back pain. He added more stretching to his routine, and is back to golfing 5 or 6 days a week.

Keeping Up with the Younger Crowd

Admittedly, I’m not quite as active as those who are 10 or 15 years younger, but https://www.flickr.com/photos/perspective/9182552435/in/photolist-eZqYVz-bCNKVT-8waBnX-9gcXm3-5wMMcX-5styJG-5NdLft-9WfvLY-8MEH91-23XHouF-7mc1GH-py5mDy-9Lkh4X-7pd42N-EPatZ5-78st9q-6rcZxE-49Pm2N-au74m8-6jM6KS-HQymz-gVHz7s-49Kho6-5GKp9D-qSKDJ4-6wTpaT-6KMH5T-xp4AGh-38dnvK-Fkz55-a7uGEd-51eYV7-au74LM-co3BDW-e4KzTK-fPSmM-6PWBfU-eZqXRx-eZCkBd-5F7yao-PsCgD-7Rhx6c-BPHHeH-2e1ZPoa-6jvBPq-7Spp33-7RhwqR-2mKaF-78svmQ-7Spp6EI’m a lot more active than the average person who is 10 or 15 years younger, much less my age. Even my doctors are noticeably impressed at my activity level. That doesn’t mean they don’t add “for your age” to the end of any compliment, or refrain from mentioning my excess weight. Those are easy excuses inherent to practitioners of Western Medicine.

From what I’ve seen, herbalists and holistic practitioners are less inclined to bring age, or even weight into the calculation unless there’s something specifically age- or weight-related at issue. It may be an argument in and of itself to stop the merry-go-round of people who specialize in only one part of the body and consult someone who is prepared to treat the body as a whole.

Using Writing as a Sounding Board

Often when I’m writing, I’m trying to work out some kind of issue. Those are the pages, you’ll never see. Sometimes, I’ll talk myself around like I have here, and solve something that was bothering me, yet not to the point where I needed to do a brain dump to solve it. The mind is a powerful instrument, and like it or not, will point me in the direction I need to go, even if I didn’t realize I needed to go anywhere in the first place.

I’ve learned to listen to the intuition which surfaces through my writing. It usually brings something to the surface that needed to be brought up. Maybe I was spinning my wheels, or procrastinating, or in full avoidance mode. If I don’t acknowledge your presence, you’re not there.

I’ve learned I can’t hide from myself, though I spent decades trying. Eventually, the mind decides it’s had enough and says it’s time for you to acknowledge the elephant in the room, and do something about it. Today, my elephant is a health issue that no one seems to be able to figure out. Our society has made it necessary to advocate for ourselves, and to recognize when we’ve been put on a merry-go-round going nowhere.

Frankly, I prefer roller coasters to merry-go-rounds. They’re more exciting, and though the scenery might fly by at times, I get to see a great deal more of the world than if I spent my life going around in circles. I may be in for a wild, and at times, unpleasant ride, but I’m tired of all the non-answers. It’s time to leave the merry-go-round for the ones who have no place they want to go. That ain’t me.

Always Something to be Grateful For

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful I have choices even if I have to push my way through the muck to find them.
  2. I’m grateful I’ve ruled out some of the more serious health concerns, though I realize there are still some which have yet to be ruled out.
  3. I’m grateful for friends who support and understand when I’m feeling frustrated.
  4. I’m grateful for my writing which helps me get aligned with where I need to go next.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; choices, friendship, love, joy, dancing, solitude, community, opportunities, insight, inspiration, peace, harmony, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

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

Clearing My Resistance to Change a Step at a Time

Change Doesn’t Eliminate Cravings

I try to keep my eating and exercise habits healthy. But every once in awhile the old, self-destructive habits rear their ugly heads and I spend the day planted in front of the TV, or want a big, gooey takeout pizza so badly it’s all I can do to keep my hand off the phone. Sometimes, it’s a craving for sugar. Recently, it was jelly beans.

I told myself I could have some if I walked up to Von’s, but it was too hot to make the trek. Finally, after fighting the urge for a couple of hours to no avail, and seeing I would get nothing done until I had some, I compromised. I drove to Costco and made myself walk the whole store before I could grab my treat and take it home like a bear packing it away for winter.

Alas, I was thwarted on several levels. First, I started to get a migraine and had to find a place to sit quietly with my eyes closed until it passed. Unfortunately, I’d parked far from the store entrance, so my only alternative was the rest room. Just my luck, some woman had gotten her child a talking toy to entertain him while she shopped, and I got to listen to several minutes of “this is how we brush our teeth!” and “this is how we tie our shoes” in one of those perky, Sesame Street style voices that made me want to fly from the cubicle, oblivious to the pants hanging down around my ankles, and smash the thing into a million pieces. (I maintained a reasonable amount of decorum, more for the sake of preventing a full-on, head-cracking migraine than out of consideration for the mother and her child). I began to wonder if, like me, she sought sanctuary in a grey-walled cubicle, if only to have something entertain her child while she decompressed.

When my vision finally returned to normal, I left my dubious sanctuary, washed my hands, and went to find help in my search. Sadly, Costco no longer carries the industrial size jars of Jelly Bellies. It was probably for the best. I ended up at Von’s anyway, coming home with 2 small bags instead of the vat full of my sugary treat. I ended up eating more than I should have from one bag and stashed the rest away for my next sugar craving that won’t be quashed by chocolate or yogurt bars. At least the next time would be less frantic and probably require a smaller fix.

Healthy Habits Most of the Time

Like many of you, I put a lot of time and effort into creating habits which will give me more energy, keep my body healthy, and most of all, keep the doctor from insisting I control things like blood pressure and sugar with medication. But I’m an imperfect being, and sometimes, those old, unhealthy habits will demand attention, much like my cats insist they haven’t had any treats in ages. Like my cats, my last tumble off the healthful wagon might have been a day before. Still, part of me is a whiny, bratty child.

Most of the time, I can actually overrule the crappy food demons. I guess I can resist certain things better than others. Easier to convince myself I don’t need a pizza than to quell the desire for sugar in its most basic form, I suppose. Either way, I know I’ll feel crappy afterwards, but memories of feeling lousy fade when I’m in the midst of a full-on sugar attack.

Thankfully, these cravings don’t hit often any more, so falling off the wagon now and then isn’t a serious hit to my overall health. Even so, I wish I could make the cravings stop forever. I’ve even wished, in a rare moment of insanity that I was allergic to chocolate so I’d never be driven to eat it. I came to my senses before my mind made it real.

We Control Our Minds…to a Point

I know power over the mind is a real thing. You can stop a craving, change a mood, and even heal yourself with enough focus. I’ve even been reading about changing your DNA by the power of the mind alone! Though an amazing possibility, I’m on the fence on this one, waiting for more definitive proof and time tested techniques before I do any rerouting within my own meat suit and neural system.

Nevertheless, forming the habits I’ve already formed, however imperfect they may be did take a certain amount of retraining. I had to somehow convince myself I’d be happier if I was healthier instead of finding solace in sugar, salt, and fat. Some of it took actual health issues or scares, and some, finally getting tired of limitations.

That’s how I quit smoking for the last time (third time was a charm). I realized it was interfering with my dancing by taking away my stamina. It was finally enough to make me drop the nasty habit entirely. Though it took a few more years, establishing a regular gym routine came about for a similar reason. My knees and shoulders were giving me pain and grief. I knew deep down strength training would solve most, if not all of my problems in those areas.

Giving Myself a Break for Imperfections

A year and a half later, I rarely miss one of my thrice-weekly gym days. I’ve also added a daily walk to the mix. I thought that one would be hard to set but apparently, once you set a couple of healthy habits, it’s far easier to convince yourself to add a few more. Or at least, that’s how it’s shaken out for me.

Even mornings when I get up and really don’t feel like suiting up and hitting the pavement, something makes me do it. I can’t justify coffee or breakfast until I’ve made my 1.3 mile circuit. The funny thing is, no matter how slow and grumpy I feel when I walk out my door, by the time I’ve finished, I feel a lot better, and more ready to face the day.

Maybe changing physical activity rewires your DNA all by itself. I can’t argue that it raises my vibration, even if it’s only from grumpy and bored, to accepting. It’s still a better place to start my day.

Re-Wiring Myself for Better Habits

https://www.flickr.com/photos/genomegov/27861478565/in/photolist-36R456-TVEoV3-7Wybvd-4WUnY9-5fFekL-UxPtrE-JXsDow-JXsDFW-5xxC-i6g81S-pj2KGy-RqtEwb-3bW8wG-aiBE4-21HP7o-7WuXxi-a87gs-v23FG1-e5Ta5U-8hAaU2-7CJgqt-4RTmW-6VGoa4-21HP7G-bKycpP-bwDtbf-rBr5w5-Js2mU6-4RTmT-bKycvn-6nNpdg-dtid4-5hSULN-8qeqEZ-vi6Sx1-vi6iuY-v2adQn-vi6nRJ-vi5UuQ-v23BpL-umARN9-v23yrQ-umAZaJ-wkdd7E-daLc3v-bwDtvf-aLErhv-a3Giyp-9oXUVB-7S9ue4There’s a saying: “A body in motion stays in motion”. I have to wonder if it applies to change as well. Once you start making changes to your life, your mindset, or your environment, it seems to be easier to make additional changes. It’s as if the hard-wiring we all have making us resistant to change weakens as we keep making small changes. You fool it by keeping the changes small at first. When it starts accepting the small changes, you throw in a couple of larger ones.

Eventually, the change-resistant hard-wiring gets so confused, it can’t differentiate between mutability and stasis. In essence, you alter your DNA via the wiring in your brain because you’ve eliminated a natural resistance. If nothing else, I’ve discovered I’m less averse to change these days in areas I once held fast with dogged determination.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be exploring other change-resistant areas in my psyche. I’ll share with you my findings, and where I’m still resistant, my efforts to break that resistance and form healthier habits for my mind and spirit as well as my body. Care to join me on this journey?

Could You Use Some Support to Make a Few Changes?

Do you want to make changes to your life or routine, but can’t find the time or motivation? Are you still trying to do it all instead of asking for help? Would taking a task or two off your plate give you time to be kinder to you? Maybe it’s content creation, or perhaps it’s getting your books in order and creating a budget. If this sounds familiar and you’re ready to streamline your life and give your business space to grow and thrive, CONTACT ME and let’s talk!

 
Gratitude is Great Fuel for Staying on Track

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for the changes I’ve made in my life.
  2. I’m grateful for an increased willingness to try things I’d have run from not so long ago.
  3. I’m grateful for small changes which become huge improvements.
  4. I’m grateful for an outlook that gets better and more positive every day.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; friendship, stamina, energy, strength, flexibility, love, joy, dancing, hugs, health, harmony, peace, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

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

Finally Putting Myself First

Who’s Looking Out For Me?

For most of my life, I was convinced it was my responsibility to please other people. Whether it was parents and teachers when I was younger, bosses and boyfriends as I moved into my 20’s, children, friends, and co-workers as my 30’s and 40’s slipped by—not once during those decades did I pause for a moment to ask:

Who’s looking out for me?

The harsh reality was, no one. Everyone had expectations, and I suppose they all assumed I took care of my own. And yet, I didn’t. I ate poorly, slept badly, gave up dancing to schlep my daughters to practices and events while they were in high school, worked long hours for thankless, self-serving bosses. The only things I got out of it were a marginally decent paycheck, and a lot of extra pounds.

Don’t get me wrong. The time and effort I spent on my daughters was a labor of love. It wasn’t their job to take care of me, though as they grew older, Heather, at least made an effort at times, when her own life wasn’t overwhelming her. And she was definitely the driving force behind me getting back to doing one thing I’ve always loved; writing.

Forgetting to Put My Own Health and Welfare First

But I always put things like healthy eating, regular exercise, and me time on hold until I had less on my plate. Of course the day didn’t come until long after Heather moved out. I didn’t give myself permission to put myself first until all other responsibilities; kids, job, friends; were no longer a factor.

That’s when I started paying more attention to what I needed. I put myself on a gym schedule, increased the number of blog posts I wrote, finished the first draft of my memoir, and so much more.

I discovered the more I gained control of my own wants and needs, the more able I was to organize something else. My house grew less cluttered. My health improved, and when I was faced with revisiting my diet or taking blood pressure medication, the answer was obvious. I increased my weekly blog posting to three and my pre-scheduling to at least two weeks. And I added thrice-weekly posts to Medium.com as well.

Falling into Old Habits

https://www.flickr.com/photos/60740813@N04/34504735502/in/photolist-Uz4MJN-7H8hqz-r2covS-8wbGLH-8wcEVv-8weaum-8wcFMc-r2c6ww-r2iYrg-qmL3eU-8w9Dpr-r2jtjr-riJFWH-8wcT7A-8wcK8r-8wbRuV-8wcj84-8wanQx-8waPPT-8w9c4V-8w97ek-r2j3iV-riCAji-8w8skp-r2cTQq-8wfuwo-8waMUv-8wfDJJ-8wdgXY-qZq9cM-8wd2u3-8wfVzw-8wbq15-8w8bJP-8w9Wdc-8wcQdR-riF3r5-riJvW2-8wbTSq-r2cNH1-8wc6wN-r2d6wG-8wcM6o-r2jiHn-8wdexo-riJBiz-8bQ1eC-8wfeYo-riJJHV-8w9YqrStill, it wasn’t long before I began doing things for other people, even when it conflicted with my own needs. Nothing major really, but enough to bring my migraines back more frequently. It took me awhile to realize where my problem lay, but when I did, I took a giant step back.

I looked at how little I’d been getting done aside from what I’d already put in place. Nothing new had been added in months, and I was spending too much time either parked in front of the TV or playing computer games. I was wasting my best writing time, late nights, on mindlessness. And it had to stop!

I looked around myself at all the projects I wanted done but couldn’t bring myself to start. I tried to ignore the preparations I’d made to re-write my memoir after getting the editor’s notes. I cringed at my failed attempts to write regular articles for Elephant Journal.

Re-Committing to Me

It all came down to one monkey I thought I’d gotten off my back. Once again, I https://www.flickr.com/photos/prestonrhea/5236270625/in/photolist-8YHfQ2-4X1dP6-P58XGS-dmtrwi-2pMKC-nC1YD-QxGsf-q4rWqa-8HeDZc-o8pVg-8mXR4g-o7nP7c-8jQqTQ-bPxsQc-dJusGN-78jLU7-98LY1P-dYGYNq-cgtYSu-cgu1F7-7rMJ9R-6z6KQA-6VuMG-6Jfxqk-4bbwMg-dmtxds-9Rf6xQ-v8gDMa-9PqETD-4MsUzv-ptUKap-a2BfLR-4UtU1B-4UtSun-5dBS8k-7eGxtr-7nUbqa-7nUbW8-fBZ3S4-5M1h3P-8DYirc-8E2uBh-6r2V98-7oFgff-7oBon2-7oBpbn-7oBoG6-7oFfRo-vPhUL-jk3BYpwas failing myself. I was blowing off all the commitments I’d made to move my life and business forward. I’d allowed myself to become discouraged by a combination of other peoples’ opinions and my own lack of progress.

So many times in the last few years I’ve recognized a need to take a few steps back and take stock. To look at where I am now, where I’ve been, and where I still want to go. Part of the solution is to re-set intentions. Part is to use my time more wisely. But most of it is to rekindle the flame inside me that burns away feelings of unworthiness, inability, fear, and ineptitude. In recent months, I’d allowed that flame to burn low, if not go out.

I’ve filled my weeks with more dance nights. But my alone time has been an endless chain of ennui. I’ve convinced myself I’m doing well to stick to the schedule I’ve made for writing blog posts, but have written nothing for others in the last month. I’ve made no effort to work on any of my larger projects, or even set myself a schedule for completing them.

Filling My Time With Uselessness

When I sit down at my computer at night, I open a game or social media instead of a document. Even my passion for reading has gone unfulfilled.

Sure, I write my morning pages every day, but most days, they’re filled with comments about the cats or other meaningless drivel. I’ve lost sight of their true purpose; to dredge up my innermost thoughts and drag out what’s truly bothering me and keeping me from moving forward. I’ve even seen only an occasional blog idea rather than the many I used to get from a single day’s writing. My dreams are vivid, but by the time I hit snooze a few times, they and whatever message they might have held disappears and never makes it to my morning pages.

But the real problem still comes down to one thing. I’ve stopped honoring commitments to myself. I haven’t really replaced them with anything substantial. Occasionally, I’m an ear for a friend, but even that’s become infrequent of late. Mostly, I’m simply avoiding.

Recognizing My Avoidance Behavior

https://www.flickr.com/photos/158790927@N08/25811269728/in/photolist-FjRveS-9bdN4K-dKT3m8-anLPS8-G2jGGP-666Dfo-9m3HTB-2ybGf6-9iiWLY-25XfULY-7a6uQa-U9eETw-7DiPVT-p9S65F-e2GNW6-vQhq-4X1zBQ-21j28Rw-aThcrK-RtCD8e-JQymgD-4tNbf5-pHEbRM-6Spn3F-q6BKxR-dFUcvG-pRv5H1-a83xB-3BDEC4-51zVdg-qDXFZQ-ZxzHMW-5QUcWa-sRkDaA-nwfiJe-D2A2dy-6mzNAb-51EaCE-dH2iC3-51zW7R-qy8Bsg-2fiQNc-4rnFvK-cGPQZG-jKU2zx-rpgXY4-oUjEqW-6AiPdn-8GTCLG-9VrnVKAvoiding what, you ask? First and foremost, finishing my memoir and figuring out how and where I’ll publish it. After that, it’s doing things to improve my physical environment like sanding the walls in the bathroom and applying the paint I bought months ago, or digging up weeds in the yard I thought about doing while we had rain and the ground was soft. Now it’s summer and the days are hotter, giving me more excuses to put that project on hold yet again.

I’m also avoiding working through a course which will help me create a client funnel, and thus, more business. I’m making excuses, most of which are pure garbage. I tell myself I don’t know where to find people who need a ghostwriter or even an accountant. But have I put forth the effort to learn where they hang out? Barely.

I’ve also talked about trading more blog posts for coaching sessions, but have yet to offer up a schedule I promised a couple of weeks ago.

Taking Positive Steps

Now I could keep beating myself up for letting myself down, but frankly, that would simply extend this already interminably dull and unproductive cycle. Instead, I write about it here, taking credit and responsibility for what I’ve done and where I am so I can come to terms with it and move on.

The funny thing is, if someone let me down like this, I’d address the issue and try to find a solution. I wouldn’t let it drag on forever. I’d send a follow up email or text and open a dialogue. It’s really no different with myself except the dialogue is done with pen and paper, or fingers and keyboard instead of voices or emails.

In a way, I’ve already done most of the work by writing this post. I’ve pulled out the issues, and if I don’t fully understand the causes behind my latest round of self-sabotage, I’ve at least acknowledged it’s happening, and that I’m aware of it. Like any kind of obsession or addiction, the first step is admitting it’s a problem. In the coming weeks and months, I can work on the solution. I can acknowledge all the things I do to avoid the commitments to myself, and I can offer convincing arguments against any value in avoidance.

Using My Writing to Set Myself Right

The solutions are always in my writing even when writing is the problem. In fact, when writing is the problem, sitting down and writing are my best direction out of the pit I’ve likely crawled into while avoiding writing. Funny how that works.

Some might say I set my personal expectations high, but in reality, they’re fairly low. Write my morning pages every day. Easy. Write at least a few words or a blog post daily. A little tougher, but not outlandish. Keep my personal space clean. A bit harder with my piglets of cats who simply cannot be trained to clean up after themselves, but still do-able.

As for the bigger projects like the bathroom and the yard, I’m confident when I clear the blocks around my writing and business building, those projects will be my reward for a job well done.

Above all, I think I need a reminder for those times when I forget my most important commitment is me.

Identifying the Many Things I Have to be Grateful For

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for little things that remind me to take better care of myself and my own needs.
  2. I am grateful for the gift of writing which always gets me back on track provided I remember to use it.
  3. I am grateful for my daughter Heather who single-handedly got me back to writing regularly, even if sometimes it was kicking and screaming.
  4. I am grateful for all the people who continue to read, support, and encourage my writing.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, joy, writing, friendship, inspiration, motivation, ladders out of the abyss, health, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

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

Showing Yourself Gratitude: Who Knew?

Start Your Gratitude List With You

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

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

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

Your Are the Most Important Person in Your Life

Yet, who or what is more important and deserving of your gratitude? Why don’t https://www.flickr.com/photos/chrishuggins/4675505957/in/photolist-88ac2F-8LnEVQ-r3ZSnA-rkryn2-dEHqQa-buZGL5-9NXU2Q-uQd4Gi-8HtvkK-brtvSa-mc16EB-zKaXu-mayYKi-LpBQx-24Q2uC3-5fjkkg-eJzqz-di4zr7-di4Cts-9d5Zj3-9SKTfn-FCdjdz-f5wwhN-XjXzMf-9P5vA2-kVMXd9-47aeuC-zNAvV-dZ5cLv-5P5kRq-5z3cp5-7fRw8n-Ad6nP2-fjj4VF-nPSwLg-GUXa92-ERVZat-YW3tj5-sgc13A-xYkggi-SwjMJA-K74gKR-qod9ho-evhnbP-5mpBv5-v38BL4-26QXWnW-nCnBUo-JSkWR-88acaPyou take a deep breath and say “thank you for my lungs”? What stops you from pausing to listen to the steady beat in your chest and say “thank you for the heart keeping a steady rhythm inside me”?

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

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

Rerouting the Complain Train

https://www.flickr.com/photos/35661951@N05/3301911347/in/photolist-62MacZ-8Xg8JJ-99EED2-6ukkey-99cpQj-K3PSrh-hFEZv-eevrK7-4ET5Ga-eirkqh-4QxafM-5thv2Z-7D9KW6-77wGJ5-eeonnH-aDN8j3-kbDBEA-8B6bHZ-2GsUh2-5gqAf-cyMRGU-5tUx72-oVs2Rk-9RuAeo-eevDx5-GywZT9-cyMwjW-pmZbM-h3P17c-3cBFP2-eevzuC-q8iZiZ-5TsVGN-aDN3D9-WrrMWj-7x9jR6-j1kqp-gEroQ-cQ6Pt5-4sNRtz-nkKGAk-GywYMb-GywZYj-JCRyYq-9utXaK-7YriHP-6WDWPK-bjM3J7-FFmjJG-2NLBMLet’s not stop there. What else do you typically complain about? Not enough money? Too little work? Too much work? Increasing costs? Unfair treatment? How can you flip those so you’re showing appreciation instead of complaining?

How about:

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

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

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

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

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

How Can You Flip Your Own Life?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gratitude Equals Love

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

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

Where Do You Need Help?

None of us has to walk our path alone. Where are you struggling to keep it all together? Maybe all you need is a sounding board? Perhaps, just a listening ear? Or would you like to take a task or two off your plate? Is it content creation, or perhaps it’s getting your books in order and creating a budget. If this sounds familiar and you’re ready to streamline your life, ask for help instead of trying to do it all, CONTACT ME and let’s talk!

Showing a Little Gratitude for Me!

My gratitudes today are:

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

Love and Light

 

About the Author

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

10 Things I’ve Learned by Meditating

There’s More to a Meditation than Meets the Eye

I’ve included meditation in my daily routine for several years now. I try to do an hour a day, sitting quietly in my living room, but it doesn’t always work out that way. Sometimes, I meditate on the dance floor. Others, I meditate while doing my morning stretches. I have even been known to meditate while grocery shopping.

It doesn’t really matter where you meditate or what you’re doing. The trick is to just quiet your mind and allow. Of course, when people hear “quiet your mind” they think you mean turn your brain off. We all know that’s impossible. What it means is to let the thoughts flow without analyzing or judging. In short, you just allow.

I get a lot of ideas from my meditations including both the title and main idea for my latest NaNoWriMo. But I realized today it’s much more than that, So without further ado, here are the 10 things (or should I say 10 of the things) I’ve learned by meditating.

  1. It’s the perfect place to work on forgiving yourself.
  2.  There is no wrong way to meditate.
  3.  A To Do list isn’t just to keep track of tasks I need to do. It’s also a way to show myself how much I actually accomplish even on days I consider lazy.
  4.  You can never have too many accountability partners.
  5.  If you don’t understand a message you receive while meditating, it will come again in a different way and will continue to do so until you get the message and act on it.
  6.  You can change your entire attitude by meditating.
  7.  For cats, meditation is a group sport.
  8.  No matter how frustrating your day might be, meditation will help put things back in perspective.
  9.  You can’t beat yourself up while meditating.
  10.  If you receive a message during meditation which shows you rearranging furniture, don’t ignore it. You won’t be able to settle down, sleep or even enjoy a movie until you do.
Meditation for your Health

Even if I’m pressed for time, I’ve learned to take as little as five minutes out and just breathe. The overall reduction in stress is huge, and even more so if performed with a purring cat on your lap. Reducing stress in any way you can improves your physical, mental, emotional and energetic health. I’m heartily in agreement with those who say it should be taught in our schools. Maybe someday it will be.


My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the message I received today to swap my sofa and love seat and move the cat tree.
2. I am grateful for a week which, while not as productive as I’d like, saw me getting back on track with my To Do list, MyFitnessPal and my accountability buddy. It also saw me becoming part of a mastermind group who enjoy writing about Alternative health and just plain healthy eating.
3. I am grateful that Patches is being good about taking her meds though I try not to let myself think about how lousy she must be feeling to be so calm.
4. I am grateful for a full and interesting life where new ideas and challenges come up often. I’m reinventing myself almost every week and someday I’ll even know who I am.
5. I am grateful for abundance: love, friendship, health, well-being, peace, harmony, calm in the midst of a storm, inspiration, motivation, hope, philanthropy and prosperity.

Blessed Be

November 15, 2014 A day in the life…with ADD #shericonaway

Considering a change? No problem! Let ADD help!

Getting ready for bed at around 2AM after exceeding my NaNoWriMo goal and writing a less than optimal blog post, I realized that I needed to make another change or three. Then I thought about what I would write about today in my blog. I promised myself I’d remember the topic and didn’t bother to write it down before tumbling myself into the warmth of a soft bed and snuggly cats.

This morning as I was going through my usual morning stuff and putting in my contacts, the blog topic from last night, of course, evaded me. But then I noticed that one of the cats had managed to pee outside of the potty pad I’d begun putting underneath the sand box when Patches, my old girl, started expressing her displeasure at the addition of two rowdy kittens by doing her deed over the edge of the box.

Contacts in, I started the necessary cleanup only to find that she’d managed to saturate the floor under the sand box! OK, points for creativity here! Keep in mind that in human years, this cat is about 102!

Deciding this was a job for the mop, I retrieved said implement from the garage, cleaned up the mess, and realized that the basket where I usually toss the used mop pads was still full of linens which one of my rat catching cats had found to be an even better bed than the comforter on the garage floor.

I looked at the basket and said to myself “Self, there’s no time like the present!” So saying, I took the basket into the house and proceeded to cram the contents into my overflowing linen closet where the thought occurred to me that I need to pull out all of the twin sized linens and offer them up on Freecycle. (thankfully, I didn’t act on that idea immediately!)

Returning the basket to the garage, I put the mop pad inside and chanced to glance at the dryer which still contained part of the load of clothes I’d washed earlier in the week. That darned little devil named “No time like the present” was still sitting on my shoulder, so that load, too, was pulled out, folded up and put away.

By now, my coffee was cold and my yogurt was warm, but now I remembered what I wanted to talk about today.

Change: Be careful what you wish for.

Working on my latest novel tends to wind me up even more than dancing. Picture a sugar rush that just keeps giving and giving and giving. Unfortunately, that rush does not let me settle down to write a blog post for hours! So it occurred to me that, at least while I’m working on the latest novel, and maybe on into perpetuity, I need to rethink the timing of my blog posts; that is, I need to change up my routine.

To many of you out there, the idea of revamping your tried and true (for some reason, my fingers wanted to type “tired” instead of “tried”. Want to weigh in, Mr. Freud?) routine can be nothing short of terrifying. But my ADD thrives on messing up the status quo. It’s the same routine, day after day, week after week which will drive me into the doldrums. So in the spirit of mixing things up, I’ve realized that I need to do my blog post earlier in the day instead of late at night.

I also realized why writing late at night works best for me. My mind is a little tired and is less likely to interfere with the creative process. When subconscious mind jumps in and says (quite rudely, I might add) “Move over, you anal retentive twit! It’s my turn to run the show now!” it encounters little resistance from the part of my brain that has spent most of the day solving problems or taking care of chores.

At any rate, the blog must go on, so the writing will be done when normal people are up and moving, leaving the hours between 9PM and 3AM for the creation of something wonderful and entertaining (we must keep our mind positive). One of these works of sweat and blood will be the one to launch that new career of mine which has been clamoring for attention for most of my life. Ignoring it became unbearable about a year ago, so here I sit, writing whatever comes into my head, day after day.

So what was the topic again? Oh, yes. Change. I needed to make a few again. It seems like this comes up every 2-3 months, and after I shake things up a bit, life gets better. Recent changes like a better gym routine and weekly produce boxes have resulted in more energy, feeling healthier and increased confidence. (not to mention, a freezer full of heat and eat meals)

Don’t ask “what price, change?”. Instead, ask “what profit, change?”

So many people ask what making a change will cost them in terms of time, comfort, money, well-being, or what have you. I think that’s why it’s so scary for many. To me, change means that I’m making my life better: More time, less stress, better health, more good habits, more time in the healing energy of my cats and more time to visit my daughter and grand furries. If I could offer people one piece of advice, I’d say “Change often. Look at it as an opportunity to further enhance your life. Look at the possibilities and downplay or ignore the costs.” Ok, that was a whole bunch of pieces tied together, but you get what I mean, I hope. But lest I haven’t made myself clear Change is good for you! Change makes you stronger, healthier, happier, sexier. Change eliminates boredom!

I walk through the gym where my friend Barb has made me aware of the fact that the majority of the occupants are male, and I walk proudly, head up, shoulders back, stomach tightening from all of the crunches and Pilates I’ve been doing, and I feel nothing short of amazing. All this from making a few changes.

What’s stopping you? Don’t be afraid of rapidly increasing happiness. If you find you have too much, just spread it around. Smile at everyone you see!

Happiness is a miracle drug and change is the catalyst.

My gratitudes today are:
1. I am grateful for my love of change.
2. I am grateful that I remembered my idea for today’s blog topic.
3. I am grateful for the opportunity to spread happiness.
4. I am grateful to my friends for keeping my eyes open and my spirit alert.
5. I am grateful for abundance: joy, happiness, change, energy, health, love, friendship, inspiration, motivation and prosperity.

Namaste

And now for some shameless self-promotion:
I’d love it if you’d visit my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel. I’ve created this page as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” it or leave a comment! Thank you!

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