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

Posts tagged ‘journey’

Seeing More Butterflies: Likes Attract

A Time to Hide and a Time to Soar With the Butterflies

I see butterflies. Every day when I go on my morning walk, I see them. Sometimes a single white or yellow one, and sometimes two or three at a time. Occasionally, I’ll see swarms. Often, a single monarch or painted lady will cross my path as if to say “you’re going the right way. Keep going.”

For years I hid. Being an introvert is a handy excuse. But as I learn and grow, I realize I’ve used it as an excuse to be ‘less than” for too long. In reality, introversion isn’t a complete lack of desire to be around people. It’s more of a need to take people in smaller doses unless they’re the ones who truly fit me. With those people, I can spend hours or even days. If I do need to revert for a bit, I can do it without fuss or fanfare because they understand. Sometimes, all I need to do is sit back and listen while others carry the conversation.

I’ve learned hiding isn’t really a bad thing. There’s a time to hide; to wait; to rest. There’s also a time to spread my wings, show off their beautiful colors, and soar through life with wild abandon. Life isn’t an either/or proposition. It’s about choosing what and where and when. I think I had to go deep into my waiting place to figure that out.

Spreading My Wings

As my life expands and grows, I’m seeing more butterflies. Or maybe I’m just noticing them more the way you notice all the cars on the road like yours when you buy a new one. Now that I’m a butterfly myself, I notice them, and interestingly enough, they seem to notice me as well.

I suspect some see me as a bit of an oddball. When I walk in the morning, I talk to the ravens, the doves, the lizards, the dogs, the occasional curious cat, and of course, the butterflies. If it flies walks or crawls, I’m likely to strike up a conversation, or at least say hello. I have to believe some of them even reply in their own unique way.

The butterflies swoop and dance in the air around me. The lizards scoot out of their hiding places, letting me know they’re out and about. A kitten walks over and throws himself on the sidewalk, belly up in an age old demand. Even the dogs who used to leap at their fences aggressively now give a soft ruff as if to say: “good morning. Nice to see you out and about this fine day.”  They might even miss me on the rare morning I don’t pass by.

Creativity and Swarms of Butterflies

Created with CanvaSome days, I think the number of butterflies I see is an indication of how my day will unfold. When I see one or two, the day tends to be slower and more introspective. When I see swarms or groups of four or five, I’ll accomplish a lot, and my creativity will be high. Before you ask, I haven’t actually tested this theory, but you’d better believe I’ll be more conscious of it now.

The funny thing about writing (or typing) something is it creates a kind of file folder in my brain. Once written, I can more easily access it for future reference. When similar thoughts arise, I can pull out all my notes and compare them; check my theories and form new ones.

Writing has long been my healer, decision maker, sounding board, and therapist. But in order for it to work optimally, I had to learn to shut off the analytical part of my brain that wants to dive in and solve a problem with little or no evidence. It wants to guide my fingers and form the words. I’ve learned it isn’t my brain’s job to do that.

Answers come from deep within; a place where analysis doesn’t go. It comes from my heart and my subconscious. Most of my writing these days occurs independently from my brain. In fact, when my brain starts to intrude, I’ll take a break until it settles back into whatever bone it was chewing on before it tried to interfere with a process where it doesn’t belong. Its chance comes when I edit but not when I create.

Creating From the Heart vs. the Mind

How many other creatives let their hearts guide them? Allow something intangible and untouchable to form their art? Talking to other writers, some hold rigidly to a plan and woe be to the fingers which try to deviate from the plan. The very idea makes me shrivel and withdraw. Those folks can’t shut off part of their brain like I do. Perhaps they’re more focused and finish things faster than I do. I’ll never really know.

All I know is what works for me and the butterflies. Watching them, I see no pattern or plan. They flit from place to place, riding the air currents and simply loving being exactly where they are. They don’t know from rigid plans or schedules. Like me, they simply let themselves be.

Enjoying the Journey

https://www.flickr.com/photos/35632217@N05/11141220045/in/photolist-hYvEyM-f3q2XF-WN7cAa-WC2tgo-VvU28y-VVCUnp-VZPPpx-X4hSbx-Xgdvnt-Xa18aU-X5F6Ba-WCiedS-VX3ngd-VZNKfH-XdNen3-X4eCyZ-WMPNM6-W32Dnn-W3cPuB-WYbJQU-VSPUyU-WcLFXu-WYe2r5-X65BN1-VVBR3a-WcJ347-Wy5z6h-WN6NEv-WwVjBd-VWVfpw-WXUkAj-WXTMcm-W36zBD-X27vox-VWWtgb-WC1Dp1-Wy6zs7-Wcye5A-WEfsVW-WDZxtd-VyyhgF-VZJ8T9-Xa1kuJ-WA8NKV-WcJi1w-psKV9t-XdCj1a-X66ds1-VywuMB-WigauPPerhaps that shared sense of Being is what draws me to the butterflies. We both know we’ll get wherever we’re meant to go eventually, but the adventure is in the path we take. If we planned rigidly, we’d miss some amazing experiences along the way, even if doing so would get us from point A to point B faster.

Is the point to get there faster? Maybe for some. For me, it’s truly the journey. Sure, there are things I’d like to achieve, or wish I’d achieved already. But by taking the long way around, those achievements will be enhanced by the experiences I have on my slower, less rigid journey.

Still, I listen to some of those with rigid plans because within their rigidity are nuggets of wisdom I can use without following their overly structured ways. Perhaps they’ve even showed me how to notice the butterflies with their single-minded focus?

Taking Time Out of Each Day for Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for my writing and all the worlds it’s opened to me.
  2. I’m grateful for learning to disengage from my analytical side. There’s a time and a place for it, but it needs to step aside when it’s my creative side’s turn.
  3. I’m grateful for the flow of words from my fingers. It goes more smoothly these days, after pounding out so many in the last few years. I’d even go so far as to say it’s become a habit.
  4. I’m grateful for a flexible schedule. Some days, I need to stay out of the world and be alone with my words. These days, it’s no longer a luxury, but a lifestyle.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; inspiration, motivation, creativity, love, life, friendship, joy, music, health, humor, peace, harmony, balance, 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

Learning to Be Like a Butterfly

Living in the Moment Like a Butterfly

https://www.flickr.com/photos/jfolsom/5931303869/in/photolist-a38tZP-dmn34H-a7FwQm-antZ2h-bwzwuR-5stPPH-6EsqoX-T4qUgL-4hmxbh-8MJPmb-fEFoSF-kCt71i-2ikr4t-8MF532-WNwMjy-8tMnKX-fEFoGg-fEXXd7-afuD1a-8MEuUF-95Mr5j-dySrRf-bfNhFR-9oSxoh-5WgF4Q-8MHZfC-7VroTL-9PiLGB-oaW3YQ-K4CQFx-8YSrLp-mSLwB-7VqeAh-5hfnTx-KfhXca-e3u44f-99b5UG-7BeZaD-8MHAVw-kAEoL3-6qZ9C6-5thpD3-ai9p7Z-9gCot5-o8bKtB-5W8sPu-85jA66-6PCR9M-bJ7tue-97oqD4Have you ever sat and watched a butterfly fly? They flutter through the air carefree and unfettered, unconcerned by things like updrafts, or whether  their wings will support them. Unencumbered by thoughts of what the next moment will bring. Will I be eaten? Will I catch the perfect wave of air? Will I splatter against someone’s windshield as I whiz through the air in oblivious abandon? Will I meet up with my mates for a game of tag? Or join a game with a bunch of strangers?

Butterflies live for the moment. Heck they’ve managed to go from caterpillar, to puddle of goo, to a lighter than air flying creature, all by simply being themselves—being in the moment. Why sweat the small stuff at this stage of their life?

Humans could take a few leaves from a butterfly’s book. We spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about what’s going to happen in the next bazillion minutes, and when things don’t go as we planned we fret about what we perceive as failures for the next bazillion. To what purpose?

Making Plans and Battling Failure

Are we happy while we meticulously plan for outcomes beyond our control? Do we find joy in rehashing our perceived failures? Do we stop to admire all the beauty around us, or recognize how many things go right when we get out of our own way?

Sadly too many humans focus their attention on the one thing they feel went wrong, ignoring all the amazing and wonderful things going on right around them every single moment. We spend far too little time on all the things in our life that are going right if not downright amazing!

Taking a Tip From the Animals and Insects

I sat on my front porch one Friday night watching cars go by carrying people home from work and into the weekend. Butterflies played tag through the tree boughs while a handful a pigeons pecked the grass for bugs. My outside cats lay amidst the overgrown weeds occasionally wandering over for a skritch. They, like me were more interested in watching the birds and butterflies soaring overhead than interrupting the pigeons’ pecking, for a meal they neither wanted nor needed.

Birdsong filled the air as the sun sank lower and feathered families settled into their nests for the night. But for the occasional whoosh of a car or hoot of a train whistle, it was just me, the cats, and nature settling down for the night. I’d accomplished a few things during the day. Maybe not as much as I could have but enough that in my eyes, the day was a success. Sitting on my porch watching the butterflies darting through the sky, and listening to the birds performing their nightly ablutions was exactly where I was supposed to be. It was exactly when I was supposed to be too.

The Journey is the Purpose

Even for me, moments like this are rare. I’m still learning to appreciate the value of allowing moments to pass without a plan, without an objective, and without a specific purpose. I’m conscious of the need to simply Be, but like most humans, fall back into old habits that insist I must “do”; must accomplish something with each of my moments. In reality, allowing myself to just Be is often accomplishment enough.

When faced with a major project such as the latest revision of my memoir, my first inclination is to grab paper and pen and draw up a plan. Even general wisdom tells me I must draw a kind of map so I’ll know how to get from here to there. Then, without taking a breath or looking around for other options, I have to dive in with both feet and start producing…something.

But sometimes the journey IS the purpose. How and when I get there is what I’m supposed to discover along the way. Yet how many times have I mistakenly assumed responsibly for setting the path, and blamed myself when it all went to hell? My mistake wasn’t in how or where I directed the train, but in assuming responsibility for setting it’s direction and rate of speed in the first place. It’s a mistake I’ve repeated over and over again throughout my lifetime. I’d like to say I’ve learned my lesson, but know sooner or later I’ll go charging in again when my role is really to follow.

Learning to Let the Universe Drive

Perhaps it’s just age which has slowed me down; has made the destinations Created with Canvaless urgent. Perhaps taking the long way around is a bit of a guilty pleasure. Yet I’m finding as I do that. the long way around is getting me where I want to go just as quickly and a lot more easily than when I tried to force things or run the show.

The truth is, every time I tried to force the route, the speed, and the mode of travel, I ended up somewhere I really didn’t want to be. Over and over the Universe said “trust me”, and I replied “me do!” as I grabbed the wheel and drove myself off another cliff. Somehow the bumps and bruises failed to drive home to me where the real problem lay.

These days I have less stuff than most of my friends. I go to less concerts and take fewer trips. But I have something many of them don’t as they continue to chart their own courses and drive their own vehicles.

I have time to sit on my front porch watching the butterflies and listening to the birds with my cats who are far wiser than me in the ways of the world and the meaning of life. And sometimes when I do, a blog post or story writes itself—much like this one did.

Gratitude for Things Great and Small

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful I’m learning to slow life down.
  2. I’m grateful I’m learning I don’t always need to be the conductor of my life and journey,.
  3. I’m grateful for quiet evenings to listen to the birds and enjoy the butterflies at play.
  4. I’m grateful for my cats who love a good snuggle and nothing more.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; peace and quiet, joy, inspiration, appreciation, the little things, plans that make themselves, letting go, enjoying the ride, friendships that make me feel warm and loved, health, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity for all.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

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

Breaking Free of Malicious Numbers

Refusing to Live By the Numbers

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

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

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

Praise is More Powerful Than Criticism

I’ve learned, no matter what the numbers say, or how far I’ve deviated from what I consider a good day, Ihttps://www.flickr.com/photos/paulhami/2993662670/in/photolist-5yxiBC-8U5hPD-3edYTu-4CUgRY-3zQatC-5vmZ5c-bu1dBi-aGGHJg-aGGHaR-BrnmAC-JDHRGr-aGGG6n-anNJMT-aGGJDF-nhi5kC-URiXsy-8TU5Uu-7RHX6n-dSUfp3-8pz3GG-ax1E17-Gf1oKW-5wx88t-66XiHU-7U9YpL-7fcpGE-6C7S53-6AEtio-8YbMjQ-587zbz-MiRWFF-5htVfK-onWKYE-edRR9q-9jX3Pw-oZ6LzR-8pRD6w-9eVxUz-axUgNW-F6D6yL-dbZeKc-4cLsjY-b8ppRD-FfTkWW-7Lsz4B-66Xk3Q-2zs3Zi-7Lxsep-kyFmeu-RNnFfM find something to praise myself for. It doesn’t have to be a major accomplishment or milestone, though sometimes I do have them. It’s all the baby steps I’m taking to improve one aspect of my life or another. It’s the weeks I get to the gym all three days and do a full workout (more often than not these days). It’s fixing at least 1 decent meal today.

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

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

Being Considerate of the Child Within

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-8w9YqrI know I’m probably getting a bit redundant on the topic, but so often when we stomp on our own egos, we’re stomping on our inner child who, like our own children, thrives on encouragement and withers under the thoughtless abuse we pile on undeserving shoulders. So when I catch myself getting critical about the numbers on the scale, the numbers in my bank account, the number of hours I spend writing, or the number of words I hammer out, I’m learning to take a step back and ask: “would you say this to one of your daughters?”

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

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

Being Brave Enough to Make Mistakes

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

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

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

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

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

Managing Your Own Numbers Game

Are you getting stuck in the statistics? Are numbers in your life managing you instead of the other way around? Would you like to take a task or two off your plate? Maybe it’s content creation, or perhaps it’s getting your books in order and creating a budget. If this sounds familiar and you’re ready to streamline your life and give your business space to grow and thrive, CONTACT ME and let’s talk!

Grateful for Successes Both Large and Small

My gratitudes today are:

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

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

Seeing Improvements, Ignoring Flaws

Focusing on the Improvements

Created in CanvaLately I’ve found myself standing in front of the mirror and instead of seeing all the places in my body and face where I could use some improvements I’m seeing all the progress I’ve made.

Not only is the change of outlook uplifting instead of demoralizing, it motivates me to continue doing the things which contributed to the improvements. Best of all is the change in attitude which has me standing taller, walking more purposefully, and pushing myself to do more; increase the weights more frequently at the gym, do the heavier household tasks I’ve been putting off, drinking more water (5 gallons in about 4 days!), and getting up from my desk more frequently.

Yet the improved viewpoint with regard to my physical self also serves to amplify areas where I have work to do. It enables me to recognize the voices in my head telling me I’m not ready for certain kinds of work, and that there’s a very real chance I’ll let my clients down. I can say to those voices: I’ve achieved things I never thought possible physically, and at an age when most people are noticing their bodies are weakening and becoming less flexible. In many ways, I’ve reversed my own aging process. If I can do that, I can handle whatever I choose to take on, or, as happens often, what’s thrown at me.

Achieving the Impossible by Stretching Our Muscles

Everyone is capable of the impossible as soon as they realize the word can be re-read as “I’m Possible”. Once we recognize the impossible things we’ve already accomplished, we simply need to look at everything else we deem impossible and see how we overcame our own limitations and succeeded, often in extraordinary ways.

When I started managing my gym time and created a regular routine, I had only recently recovered from a herniated disk in my neck. I was unable to lift more than a couple of pounds with my left arm, and then, only a few times. Now, I’m doing chest presses with 35-pound free weights, 50 pound overhead presses, and shoulder lifts with 15 pound free weights. What makes these achievements more amazing is they’ve happened in about 8 months just by being persistent and consistent.

Writing and building a business use a different kind of muscles but muscles nonetheless. They need to be exercised and challenged to do more and do better. I look at what I wrote when I first returned to regular writing 9 years ago after a hiatus of several decades. While it wasn’t bad and my skills were still intact, I can clearly see how it improves over time when I exercise, not only the writing muscles, but those which have allowed me to chip away at walls decades in the making.

Detaching Ourselves from Outdated Lessons

Whatever we undertake which takes us out of our comfort zone is part of our journey and, as such doesn’t have a completion date. We continue to learn and grow, improving our skills and strengthening our muscles as we take on more and more, going beyond what we thought ourselves capable of when we began. The lessons we learned from early childhood forward are interwoven into our psyches and the root system is deeply embedded. We might pull some things out by the roots, but tendrils remain, intertwined with lessons we learned or revisited further along our path.

Like knots in a cord, we untangle things one at a time, often finding bits and pieces of other things interwoven like threads making up the cord itself. With each knot we untie, we uncover dozens of directions we might take to find the next one in the series. There’s no wrong direction or incorrect answer. Only more lessons to rework and, in some cases, unlearn.

Seeking Our Beauty in the Flaws

By far the most important of those lessons involves the way we see and judge ourselves. Until we https://www.flickr.com/photos/geekphysical/34110702621/in/photolist-TYfjPn-TYfjA6-SW9mjv-TYfhFV-nfDXTT-TzQShS-U7cbG3-TYfeGt-SW9q7a-TYffM4-TYfj3T-TYfgur-TzQSHS-U7cdRy-SW9oDR-SW9poM-UaL182-SW9rkH-SW9pEP-r9jQNK-U7ceT3-TYfhAp-TVUzJW-TYfhxt-TYfjgP-TzQM83-UaL13c-TYfeJn-UaL13x-UaL5av-TYfeRM-SW9oAz-SW9qAB-TYfhND-TzQPph-TVUyuw-p57Yrr-FjQDuX-TYffBp-TYfdzZ-UaL2kT-TzQSvY-U7cde1-UaL1Ux-TYffjF-TzQPku-TYfmMRrecognize the beauty in our differences, the value in what we unconsciously deemed flaws, it’s difficult to make progress untying those knots; unearthing the roots. Certainly, we could go about it violently, poisoning the roots and burning the cord. But doing so wouldn’t really alter our thinking or rework the triggers we’ve created through years of living life, falling down, getting hurt, and getting back up again.

We have to approach them as we might a timid animal, making it clear we mean the child within no harm. Otherwise we cling to those old ways, our preferred ways of reacting like a security blanket, refusing to let go no matter how old, filthy, and threadbare they’ve become. Taking the time to untie the knots carefully, we enable ourselves to see how and why they were formed, and where they are no longer necessary. Most importantly, we get to see how the strength we’ve developed has made so many of those old patterns unnecessary. We recognize how strong we’ve become and how much we’ve accomplished by handling the old wounds gently, cleaning them out and allow them to fully heal.

Our Kinder, Gentler Selves

A major part of our gentler handling of those old wounds comes from being willing and able to look at ourselves through kinder eyes with more realistic expectations. From a less lofty and unforgiving place, we see how far we’ve come, how much we’ve improved, and how clear our path is to continued improvement and previously impossible goals. In other words, by seeing how much we’ve improved rather than how much we need to work on.

We’ll always have room for improvement, if only because we, ourselves keep raising the bar the further along we get. We don’t necessarily do it consciously, but because we see that something is attainable and challenge ourselves to do even more. It’s normal and natural, and inspires us, as long as we don’t set the bar so high we can’t see any possible way of achieving our new goals. We need both confidence and hope in this journey we call “life”.

Gratefully Facing Each Day We’re Given

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the dance community which continues to amaze me with the love and support they share so freely.
  2. I am grateful for butt kicks. Even when they’re administered gently, they get me up and moving forward so I can achieve and attain all I have the talent and ability to achieve.
  3. I am grateful for friends who come together in good times and bad, ready to help each other over life’s humps and bumps.
  4. I am grateful for my home, my sanctuary where I can go to regroup when life becomes too challenging for me to handle without some respite.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, life, friendship, solidarity, support, inspiration, motivation, opportunities to step out of my comfort zone, people who allow me to give and take instead of either or, strength both physical and emotional, joy, peace, health, 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.

When Your Subconscious Speaks, Listen!

What’s Changed?

How often have you noticed the impact a seemingly small change makes in your life? It could be something you changed consciously, unconsciously, or by random happenstance. Yet the results are the same. Once the change occurs, things are never quite the same.

Recently, I began experiencing something I never had before, and even now, would be happier to have never gone through it. I started having panic attacks over things I’d been doing for years without incident. The first time I really noticed it was when I was washing my hair and got suds in my ear. My reaction to the impact of a temporary hearing impairment was so distorted and out of character, it only served to make me panic even more. Ultimately, with the soap cleared from my ear and my eyes open, I began to calm down. Yet why was I suddenly experiencing this heretofore unknown feeling? What had changed?

I looked at my world and tried to locate the inciting moment. Yes, there had been a lot of turmoil in recent weeks between plumbing issues, visits with my kids, concerns over getting my business running at the level I wanted and, let’s face it, needed. But nothing new seemed to have arisen.

The Crutches We Adopt

Suddenly, I glanced at my right wrist which had been empty for a week or so. Could it be? Was it something so simple?

Several months ago, my daughter and I had bought negative ion bracelets at a fair. I’d been wearing mine non-stop until just recently when I burned my wrist and the bracelet was rubbing against the burn. I removed it to allow the burn to heal.

When I’d purchased the bracelet, the draw was an improvement in my balance, and it seemed like it was working until I removed it and saw no difference. So I hadn’t been in any hurry to put it back on.

But there’s more than one kind of balance in our lives. Apparently, in me, the bracelet had more impact on my internal balance than I’d realized. Without it, my anxiety levels rose at the subconscious level so they went unnoticed for a while. But the incident in the shower made me take notice and start looking more closely at how I was handling those minor setbacks and concerns since removing the bracelet, and I didn’t like what I saw.

Needless to say, the bracelet went back on my wrist right away. Thankfully, the burn had healed by then with a little help from some aloe vera gel and neosporin.

Some might see this as a crutch, and it certainly is to some degree. Yet the need for it wasn’t planted in my brain. Instead, it appeared all by itself.

Navigating the Environmental Minefield

We are all impacted by our environment in one way or another, and we all develop ways to cope with those influences. Whether you’re impacted by the phases of the moon, the electronics in your home and office, the moods and emotions of the people around you, or something else entirely, you’ve found ways to manage them whether you realize it or not. We all have times when even our copying mechanisms fail us. We overreact to things that wouldn’t normally phase us. We avoid a situation entirely because it is suddenly physically, emotionally, or mentally painful. In extreme situations, we shut down and barricade ourselves behind our walls.

However we manifest those failures, and whatever sets us off, it’s part of what makes us human. We are diamonds-in-the-rough, learning as we go. We stumble and, hopefully, pick ourselves up and try again. Sometimes we even reinvent ourselves. In my case, I’ve spent nearly 4 years doing just that, and am still trying to find the right formula. But each wrong turn, each backtrack brings me closer to the person I want and need to be.

Using the Bumps in Our Road to Reassess

Some of those backtracks guide me in my search for a coach and mentor who will help me get past my own blocks and fears. In the process of searching, I’m learning to recognize what I’m doing that’s getting in my own way. I may not know how to fix it when I recognize it, but at least I can see it’s there.

When I started feeling annoyed instead of happy for people who were succeeding either as a writer or VA, I knew there was an underlying issue I needed to address. Part of it was envy, but the real issue was the underlying reason for that envy.

What came to me wasn’t very pretty, nor was it easy to admit. I felt like a failure. While others were finding success in both of my chosen fields, I was still floundering. So I started doing what I usually do when trying to sort out a problem. I made lists of why I was failing:

  • I wasn’t clear on what I wanted to be and do
  • I wasn’t putting in consistent effort to be whatever it was I wanted to be
  • I was letting myself be lazy
  • I was allowing myself to procrastinate
  • I wasn’t putting time into letting people get to know and trust me
  • I was hardly writing anything except my morning pages
  • I’d let my eating habits crash and burn
  • I wasn’t keeping up with my workout routine any more.
Making Sense of it All

When I put it all together, I realized I wasn’t feeling very good about myself, overall. No wonder something as simple as taking off a bracelet sent me into a downward spiral!

My point in sharing all this is two-fold. First, as has been the case for most of my life, writing something down helps me work through it and find the underlying problem. From there, I can begin to search for a solution. Second, I want to share how important it is to look at what’s showing on the surface and dig deeper to find the real symptoms and causes which brought things to the surface in the first place.

The human brain is both complex and amazing. If the popular myth is to be believed, we only use about 10% of our brain. However, neuroscientists disagree, as evidenced by an article published by Eric H. Chudler, PhD. on his website, Neuroscience for Kids. That isn’t to say all of the neurons in our brains are firing every minute of every day. But throughout our day-to-day life, every part of our brain is engaged at some point or another. Dr. Chudler isn’t alone in his viewpoint and cites several other articles which corroborate his belief. Frankly, it makes a lot more sense to me than the 10% theory.

Tapping into our subconscious is one of the ways we utilize the other 90%, and I’d imagine not everyone listens to theirs given the number of people who claim no memory of their dreams. (I can’t even imagine waking in the morning with no memory of my nocturnal travels!)

So my path is set and my journey continues. You may have noticed a sudden increase in the frequency of my posts of late. That, my friends, is the tip of my iceberg. Stay tuned for more.

Gratitude Makes My Day

I’ve found it’s hard to be completely down if I remember the blessings in my life. I remind myself when I go to sleep at night, whenever something happens to make life easier, and of course, right here. Do you have a daily gratitude practice?

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the gift of writing I was given. It has helped me in immeasurable ways even as it frustrates me.
  2. I am grateful that I can look at myself reasonably objectively and see where I still need work.
  3. I am grateful for dreams that tell me I’m heading in the right direction even if it doesn’t seem like it right now.
  4. I am grateful for the influence and example of friends and new acquaintances. There are some truly amazing people out there with traits I’d do well to emulate.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; opportunities, motivation, inspiration, gifts, love, friendship, joy, innovation, reinvention, peace, harmony, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

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

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. She believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She is available for article writing and ghost writing to help your website and the business it supports grow and thrive. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information.

Achieving Our Dreams With Baby Steps

Everyone Has Dreams and Goals

Many of us have lofty goals and aspirations, but how we believe we’ll reach them can take many forms.

For some, it’s kind of an all-or-nothing deal. They expect to jump in with both feet and instantly achieve their dreams. They might believe it will be a result of putting in a superhuman amount of effort, or they might be one of those Laws of Attraction nay-sayers who expect to imagine their dream in full detail and have it drop into their lap. Either way, they’re more than likely to be disappointed.

I tend to take a more expansive and dynamic view of the process. Envisioning your dream is an important, nay, essential part of the process. If you can’t picture where you want to be in technicolor detail right down to the smell of your morning coffee, manifesting will be a tougher, though not impossible road. All is not lost, though. As the saying goes, there’s an app for that.

Tools We Use in our Manifesting Journey

Lots of people are using vision boards to help manifest their dream. In fact, you can even find virtual ones nowadays, saving you the effort of finding pictures that resemble your visions. Here’s a reviewed list of 7 vision board apps by MakeAVisionBoard.com. If you’d rather create your vision board with a PC, Mac,  or notebook, The Law of Attraction Library has reviewed 5 options for you. There are even paid versions of vision board software, presumably for those who want everything to be just perfect and require the functionality to make it so. If you ask me, any of the free versions will get you pointed in the right direction.

While vision boards are a good place to start, especially if you’re new to the concept of envisioning your dreams, there are other approaches, depending on your special talents and of course, your imagination. Some of us craft our vision with words. In other words, we tell our story as we’d like it to be. Others draw or paint their story.

Achieving Our Dreams are the Pots of Gold, the Pirate’s Booty

One that’s especially intriguing to me was presented by one of my favorite mentors, Linda Clay. She suggests creating a treasure map. The map will contain a starting point and an “X marks the spot” area where your pot of gold will be found.  A lot of the space in between will be left open because you have no way of knowing how you’re going to get from here to there at the beginning of your journey. I think I’d put in a couple of rivers and a mountain range or two simply because no journey worth traveling is flat and boring. There will be some challenges just as there will be times when the road is smooth and easy. Some of our roads will be filled with switchbacks while others will be as straight as the infamously boring Interstate 5.

The beauty of a treasure map is in it’s capacity to allow us to fill steps in as they appear. Each opportunity we acknowledge and act upon will lead us to another. Even the missed opportunities have their purpose. Sometimes, part of reaching our goal lies in choosing our opportunities wisely. Some may lead us on a detour which takes us miles out of our way causing us to stop, regroup, and possibly backtrack. Some are that anti-change device in our brain trying to take us back to where it feels safe. While I’ve often said it’s important to jump on opportunities that arise, note I’ve also urged you to look closely at those opportunities before leaping. Some are gifts you’re better off declining as close inspection will reveal they’re designed to thwart rather than advance your cause. Even so, opportunities which hinder our progress will always teach us something valuable we’ll need later in our journey. There truly are no wrong choices.

Picking the Tool That’s Right for You

Whether you choose a vision board, a story board, a drawing, or a treasure map, they all share a common requirement. Set the dream or goal and let go so steps and opportunities you’re not aware of can show up for you. Holding rigid expectations of the steps required to reach your goal will prevent it from manifesting as it’s supposed to, rather than inside your limited vision. Embrace the unexpected as it can bring us closer to an even better version of our dreams without the effort we believed it would take to get there.

Opportunities, too come in many forms. It might be an object, a job offer, a chance to visit a place, or it might be a person. Pay special attention to chance meetings, immediate connections, and people who appear in response to a thought. People come into our lives for a reason. Often they’re there to  teach us something we need to know to achieve our dreams. The reason for a particular person’s presence may not be apparent right away but if your intuition says to nurture the relationship, you can be certain it’s part of your journey.

People Are the Best Part of Our Journey

Some people teach us by their example. My friend Kari has helped me step out of my comfort zone in at least a dozen ways in the short time we’ve known each other. It’s nothing she says, and everything she does. She is positively fearless about going into new situations, whether it’s a trailer in the middle of North Dakota or simply meeting new people. She takes it all in stride. She is strong, independent, and resourceful, while also being one of the most giving, nurturing individuals I’ve ever met.

What Happens by Chance Might Really Be Design

One of the best lessons I’ve learned lately is to get out of my own way. All too often, we feel we need to call the shots and direct our own progress. All too often, it’s a curse rather than a blessing. Too much control makes us overlook things. When we see our direction through tunnel vision, we miss a lot of possibilities which could well be far more appealing. We lock in on the one true way and cheat ourselves out of others that will bring us far more than our puny imagination let us believe we deserve. Let yourself deserve everything you can imagine and more. Then allow things to unfold with the wonder of a child instead of the often irrational fears of an adult.

Be in the moment. The past is over, the future is yet to come. You can only be in and enjoy a single moment. Try not to control. Allow, observe.

I learned this lesson well when my daughter and I ended up on PCH after a series of wrong turns. Had I pulled up a map instead of relying on my memory, or been annoyed at the extra time it would take to get home, I’d have not only missed something stunningly beautiful, but something I couldn’t have gotten back; time in a place we both loved with my daughter. The color of the water,  the rhythm of the waves, and the potential to see whales, dolphins, and seals were just the break we both needed from lives filled with activity, anxiety, and stress. That detour also led to her spending a few more days with me turning my living room into a relaxing sanctuary, and my front porch into a place to welcome friends.

Keep Your Eyes Open for the Baby Steps.

Part of the joy of reaching our goals; achieving our dreams isn’t manifesting the dream at all, but the journey. That journey is made of thousands of steps. The smallest of them can be the most impactful. Sometimes slow is better because it allows us to savor that journey and enjoy the sights along the way. In the meantime, we can take time to build a solid foundation which will support not only the dreams we already have, but those yet to be dreamed. Building that foundation can’t be rushed if it is to sustain what you achieve. In other words, savor those baby steps!

Shout Your Gratitude to the Mountain Tops

As with every other manifestation, we attract more when we appreciate what we already have. So don’t be shy about expressing your gratitude.

My gratitudes tonight are:

  1. I am grateful for the people who continue to come into and influence my life.
  2. I am grateful for opportunities to take a less traveled path.
  3. I am grateful for my sea green walls and my red Adirondack chairs.
  4. I am grateful for Toby’s continuing improvement.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; friendship, love, opportunities, epiphanies, inspiration, time to just be, motivation, exercise, health, harmony, peace, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

The associated Facebook Live can be found here.

 

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. She believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She is available for article writing and ghost writing to help your website and the business it supports grow and thrive. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information.

December 28, 2014 Time for a face lift (or is that a change of face?)

Something came over me, something strange, something new…

…and with that something, I knew I needed to make some changes. The first of those changes is this blog. At first, I thought it only needed a face lift, but the more I played with themes and colors, the more I realized that what was needed was more than just a face lift, but a complete change of face.

You see, I realized that I had outgrown my original theme, quite dramatically. It only took me the last year to figure it out, too! Though the web address will remain survivingandbeyond, I find that since the onset in 2009, I have truly grown beyond merely surviving.

Leaps of Faith and other sudden and thorough sparks of energy.

What began, with a little help from my friends, with a leap of faith in late 2013 has grown into a brand new lifestyle, for better or worse. In fact, when asked if I’d consider looking for a job in my old profession again, I reacted with very real horror. And so, along with the thematic change you might have noticed overtook my blog this weekend, you’ll find that the name has also changed to reflect the path I’m currently treading. So, my loyal readers and followers, allow me to present the new and improved blog:

Leaps of Faith: Dancing outside my comfort zone

I’ve discovered that even on days when I hang around the house in my pajamas, I am still living outside of my comfort zone now, if for no other reason than I don’t have anything more than my faith that financial prosperity is just a sailor step and two wizards away; that as long as I keep dancing, keep moving, keep growing, whatever I need will be there when I need it. Not only what I need, but the means to support the causes I believe in; those which take into consideration the health and welfare of our children and animals.

The strides I’ve made in the last year may seem puny on the surface, but changing ones life and livelihood so completely still, like anything else, requires baby steps. Maintaining this blog at the level to which it has been maintained is, in and of itself, no small feat. But to complete one novel and be 50,000 words into a second is nothing short of amazing, given that it isn’t what I was doing for the last 30-odd years. It takes time to twist my head around into the direction I mean it to go.

As I seem to have finally grasped the direction I mean to take, 2015 should see further evolution and growth. I expect to see some new ideas, a growth in the amount of material I produce and variety in what I produce. I expect to see completion of some classes I signed up for in 2014 and use of the information I glean.

Numeralogically speaking, my birth year is 9 which is represented by the Hermit in Tarot. I have certainly been living up to that image as I pursue a career which is largely done in the privacy and safety of my own environment. The Universal year, 2015 is 8 which is represented by the Strength card. This is an apt card for a year which will require perseverance and strength of character as well as strength of purpose.

The real kicker, though, is my personal year which is 6 and is represented by the Lovers. This indicates partnerships, contracts and choices to be made in my work environment which will change my life for the better.

All in all, changing my blog is only a small step towards what lies ahead in the coming year. This prompts me to add another affirmation to the stickies which ring my monitor (good thing it’s an extra large one!)

The New Year sees me becoming what I was meant to be

Which leaves only my gratitudes tonight, or a smidgen of them, anyway, as to list them all would require several posts, and even then, I’d surely still omit a few.
1. I am grateful for the love and support I am receiving as I wander around, seeking the path for my new journey.
2. I am grateful for the leap of faith, and the support I received to take it last year. I am more certain than ever that it was the right thing to do.
3. I am grateful for my unwavering spirit, even when things don’t appear particularly successful.
4. I am grateful for the groups I’ve joined this year which have provided insight and direction on many levels.
5. I am grateful for the healthy lifestyle I’ve embraced as I search for my new path, and which is, in fact, a leg on that road.
6. I am grateful for the vivid dreams I have which may not always stick, but leave wisps in my brain which come back to the surface when they are needed.
7. I am grateful for the company of my cats who are often the only ones I speak to for a few days. They show their appreciation for my almost constant company in so many ways.
8. I am grateful for my daughter and my friend Candy who have encouraged me along this road, but never beat me up when I failed to produce as much as I might have had I treated my days like a job.
9. I am grateful for the ladies form my A.R.T. class who gave me the kick in the butt I needed to get out of a lifestyle which was killing me slowly.
10. I am grateful for abundance: friendship, support, love, joy, inspiration, faith, health, harmony, peace, gratitude, lessons and prosperity. (that piece of land overlooking the beach, an artists retreat and cat rescue may be dreams now, but they will ultimately be reality.)

Namaste and a very Happy, prosperous New Year to all.

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