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

Posts tagged ‘joy’

Never Take Acceptance for Granted

Unconditional Acceptance

acceptanceAfter many decades, I’ve finally found my tribe; my people; the ones who accept me in spite of my faults—or maybe even because of them. Still, I have moments when I wonder if it’s all a dream, and I’ll wake up on the outside like I was for so many years.

Granted, during those years, I was a chameleon; pretending to be what I thought others wanted to see. I didn’t have the confidence to just be me. I’d been knocked down too many times when I did. Many of the wounds were still open, and the pain came back if I so much as moved a little too far to the right or left. I learned to hide everything inside, and unknowingly made the wounds worse, and in fact, kept them from healing over and thickening my hide a bit.

I was what my parents and family called a “sensitive child”, and believe me, it was not a compliment. Sensitivity and overt emotions were frowned upon in my family. The punishment was ridicule and public humiliation. Yet hard as I tried, I always seemed to be the butt of someone’s cruel joke. What I didn’t know then, but understand better now is, I was a reminder of everything they worked so hard to keep from showing. In a way, they were probably envious I hadn’t yet learned to stuff it all down inside. That would come later. Perhaps they even believed punishing me would ease their own frustration.

Telling Myself Little White Lies to Blend In

I managed to convince myself my family accepted me, and that the ridicule was their way of showing it. I was half right anyway. My dad’s side, especially, only knew how to show they cared by teasing. The trouble was, the teasing managed to hit my pain points dead on more often than not.

Mom’s family was a bit more direct. They went right for the jugular; the things I was most sensitive about: my weight, my complexion, and my inability to measure up to the talents and skills of my sister and cousins. I grew up believing I could never get it right. I thought a was the family black sheep, when in truth, I was the one with rainbow splattered wool woven with moonbeams. In a world of subdued sepia tones doing their best to blend in, I was a beacon who stood out, threatening their safe, unremarkable world.

Over the years, I’ve learned blending in is easy as long as you are OK with losing your individuality and uniqueness. I truly tried, but there was clearly a spark inside me which refused to be dimmed, though heaven knows many tried. But that spark required self-confidence and courage to be able to un-apologetically shine. Traits I lacked for the better part of my life. At least I came to believe I did.

A Spark of Individuality That Insisted on Shining time I’d push my unique, sensitive self down, it would find a way to pop back up, sending sprouts in different directions, scouting for the ones who’d accept the crazy, colorful mosaic that was my true self. I’d whitewash the heck out of it, and stomp down all the little runners, but somehow, some of them survived. The whitewash was swept away by tears and the storms which punctuated my life, and, though milder now, occasionally still do.

There came a day when I was no longer content with isolation; no longer willing to stuff my feelings away. I broke the urn containing my colorful self, and unlocked the box containing all my unprocessed feelings. I allowed anger, fear, guilt, resentment, and all of my ugliest feelings to run out until I sat for awhile in a sea of blackness.

Then came all the joy I hadn’t allowed myself to feel over simple things; a cat’s purr, a butterfly flitting past me on a warm Spring day; a child’s happy laughter. So many things I’d allowed to be buried under the worst feeling of all: unworthiness. It was then I took the first step towards being accepted. I accepted myself as I was; the crazy colors, and the darkest hollows. I opened a door I’d kept securely bolted because I’d been taught to open it was to invite catastrophe.

A Price to High to Pay

I look back now and realize my parents paid the highest price of all for keeping their own doors self lovebolted. They were utterly alone behind those bolted doors. No one knew them well enough to understand their darkness; their need for a light to guide them out when they fell in too deeply to get out by themselves. In fact, I suspect the few times someone got close enough to see the demons lurking in the darkness, they pushed them away.

I remember my mom ending friendships over the years for reasons I couldn’t fathom. Were they people who tried to reach her in the darkness? Did fear make her repel them, and eject them from her life before they got any closer? Was the possibility she’d be accepted in her entirety too frightening to consider? Or did it not even cross her mind anyone could accept what she’d been taught to believe was a horrible, even evil part of herself?

Or was their version of acceptance simply too foreign? She’d taught me what she learned from her own family: love equals abuse. Kindness isn’t to be trusted, as it surely hides a snake ready to bite you in the butt and steal your soul.

Learning to Tease Gently my minds eye, I see my parents now as haunted souls, afraid to let even those closest to them inside their tightly guarded walls. They tried to teach me, but while I managed a semblance on the outside, my insides were churning; demanding an ultimate melt down and release. I can only be grateful my melt downs were less extreme than those of my parents or my aunt. I managed to keep functioning enough to raise my kids, hold down a job, and pay my bills. If I was socially awkward, it was because I didn’t know how to get along with people who weren’t constantly putting me down.

I still have friends who tease each other back and forth. I wasn’t going to stray completely from what I knew. The difference is, the teasing is light-hearted and silly rather than pointed and painful. We find humor in our humanness, not in our weakness. The humor isn’t one-sided, but shared by all concerned. My friends make me feel like the times I trip and fall are shared. We all stumble. We all make mistakes, and sometimes do foolish things. Picking each other up and finding humor in the situation takes away the sting instead of adding to it.

A Family Forged With Our Broken Parts

My circle; my family; my community are different these days. Everyone has been broken at one or another, but have found ways to get back up and keep going. At the heart of it all is a level of acceptance I never before experienced. Each of us is accepted because we allow our imperfections to show; because we openly admit we don’t have all the answers or get it right every time.

Each of us had struggled with parents, siblings, or children, or maybe all three. Not one of us has had a life of ease without a single trauma. Most of all, the challenges we’ve faced haven’t made us weak or less than. They’ve simply made us human. Sharing those traumas makes us relatable to the others. It’s something my birth family never figured out. They insulated themselves to the point of isolation. Somehow I knew from early childhood I needed to learn a different way, even though it meant ultimately disconnecting from my own family.

Today, I value and appreciate those who accept my imperfect self far more than I ever did those who loved me into existence. What they knew could only take me so far. The rest, I had to figure out on my own until I connected with those who could and do take me farther than I ever dreamed I’d go.

Gratitude for Learning to Accept My Differences

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the friendships I’ve formed by allowing my imperfections to show.
  2. I am grateful for the opportunity to share what I’ve learned with a hearty dose of compassion.
  3. I am grateful for a life that’s very different from the one I imagined when I was young.
  4. I am grateful for an amazing, supportive family, very few of whom are by blood.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; joy, friendship, compassion, support, opportunities, motivation, inspiration, peace, harmony, balance, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a Holistic 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

Creating New Habits One Baby Step at a Time

Setting New Habits Realistically

New habits sometimes take a little while to set in. Take my new, daily 20-minute walk. In the first week, it’s been more of a semi-daily walk, as something has come up every other day. Do I beat myself up for not sticking to the program?

Are you kidding me? I just added walking before breakfast or coffee for crying out loud! That’s epic! If I “only” manage every other day, that’s still 3 days out of 6 I’m up and moving right after my morning pages and cat feeding. Up to now, I was doing well to make it to the garage to feed the outside cats, and the kitchen to feed me and the indoor cats before about 10AM. Now I’m walking more than a mile every other day!

The point I’m trying to make is setting new habits is hard. Sometimes I have to practically blast myself out of my old tried-and-true in order to add something new. And believe me, exercising before coffee is one of those times.

Opening a Window to New Experiences

And yet, as I’m putting on my clothes, tying my sneakers, and getting ready to Created with Canvahead out the door, I’m actually excited. I know. That sounds pretty odd. But in a few every-other-days, I’ve discovered how much a short morning walk can do for the entire day.

Some days I’m all eyes and ears, taking in everything in my path. Others, I’m focusing on walking as briskly as possible to get the blood moving and my brain activated. Then there are the days when it’s essentially a walking meditation where I let my thoughts wander and give only the necessary amount of attention to my surroundings (meaning I don’t cross streets without looking for cars, and I don’t run over people I might encounter on my walk).

There are no rules for this walk other than to just do it. Like my thrice weekly gym habit, it doesn’t take long to feel better for it. I’ve even noticed a decrease in appetite, and a greater tendency to grab something healthy. My weight dropped 3 pounds in the first week, which, in and of itself is a HUGE inspiration as I’ve been stagnating or going up for months!

Blood Feeds the Brain

Getting my blood moving early has other advantages as well. I’m more likely to sit down and knock out a project when I come home. I’m actually less hungry, if you can believe it. Each evening when I look back at my day, I can see very definite accomplishments. It might be personal stuff like laundry, housework, or bill paying. But quite often it’s effort I put into my writing or business.

Hours I used to spend spinning my wheels are now spent turning those wheels towards my goals and dreams. Somehow, my brain has decided that since I push the start of my day out by 20 or 30 minutes, I have to make up for it by being more dedicated to my craft and projects. Who knew it was possible to trick the brain like that?

Old Habits and New

I use Trello to keep track of all my projects, but there’s also a mental calendar which, though prone to losing things, carries a basic framework of my life and goals. It’s starting to get more insistent about speeding up what I’m doing, or having more productive hours in a day. Something I had put aside when I left my corporate job has suddenly returned, for better or worse. I’m eating lunch at my desk while working.

On one hand, it’s probably unwise to shove food down my throat while working, but on the other, the bites are infrequent enough that my brain has time to register satiation before I overeat. In essence, working while I’m eating has slowed me down so again, I eat less.

Eating Slowly and Mindfully

In the general scheme of things, eating less helps decrease weight. Eating foods also helps decrease weight. Adding exercise—you guessed it, helps decrease weight. Put them all together, and health improves, stamina increases, and energy skyrockets.

All this has an interesting and especially pleasant side effect. I’m finding my mood is also elevated. I smile at people I pass on my walk; call sales clerks by name after requesting assistance with a smile, and am generally more patient (never one of my strong suits!).

Vocalizing My New-Found Joy

created with CanvaI find myself humming   “On a Wonderful Day Like Today” from “The Roar of the Greasepaint-The Smell of the Crowd” or the Carpenters’ “Top of the World” with gay abandon, loud and off-key without concern for who might see, or whose ears might be battered. I’m less irritated by the irritating, and more accepting of life’s detours and delays.

I have to wonder if the change begun last year when I got my gym habit going is being expanded by the addition of the walk. Suddenly, the idea of being out among people several nights a week, at the gym, and more often overall is actually appealing! To an introvert like me who has, for years reveled in her own company, this is truly world-shaking. I’m wondering what other changes will manifest in the months to come, and how much further from my shell I’ll crawl?

Success Leads to a Brighter Outlook

Even to myself, a lot of this sounds like I’ve gone bat-shit crazy. But frankly, if this is crazy, why choose sanity? Other people see the numbers on the scale increasing, or look in the mirror to see clothes getting tighter, and get angry with themselves. Soon, the anger translates into how they interact with other people, and often, their anger takes them on a downward spiral into depression.

I’ve been there, and let me tell you, it wasn’t pleasant for me or anyone who had to interact with me. I decided long ago it was a town I wouldn’t revisit, but have, at times, passed through, if only for a moment. I’m learning, years later than most that one of the keys to avoiding that dark, gloomy place is to keep moving, both figuratively and literally.

Endorphins Bring Happiness Bubbling to the Surface’ve always known on a conscious level that exercise releases endorphins which are basically the body’s happy pill. I’ve attributed my happiness, not so much to getting up and moving, but to dancing because dancing has always been my happy place. The truth is, how and where I move is irrelevant. Dancing may raise me higher because the energy is shared, and as I share it, I vibrate even higher.

Still, the act of getting out and walking, lifting weights at the gym, going on a hike—any time I move for even a few minutes raises my vibration and elevates my mood. Maybe that’s why it’s so much harder when I’ve been especially down. By staying still I stay where I am. If I move, I have to experience change, even if it’s only a slight mood elevation.

But once I’m moving and my mood is elevated, continuing to move is not only easier, it’s impossible to ignore. Music plays and I tap your feet, or maybe sing along. A sunny day beckons me outdoors to move through and become a part of it. A hiking trail, a wooded path, a park, even an outdoor mall are all places to explore and experience.

Moving Through Life Elevated

I’m so glad I’ve learned to get up and put one foot in front of the other; to experience the joy of movement of many kinds. Sure, there are days when my back will ache or my knees will complain. As it’s rarely debilitating, I’ve learned to push through it. There was a time I’d use the pain as an excuse to sit more, then wonder why the pain intensified over time until it was constant instead of intermittent.

My new motto/mantra is “Movement is Life, and Life is Movement”.


Ready to Raise Your Vibration?

Is the business you’re building leaving little time for self-care? Do you feel like you’re wallowing in quicksand? Would you like to take a task or two off your plate so you can take a daily walk, or just a night off? 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 Attracts More

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful I’ve learned the benefits of movement, and have shied away from an overabundance of sloth.
  2. I’m grateful for active friends who draw me into their joy and their movement.
  3. I’m grateful for my friend Lorna who gave me a book which has gotten me moving even more, and able to finally see a healthy, fit, slimmer me.
  4. I’m grateful for painless days when everything is functioning better because it isn’t being forced to lay dormant.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; health, energy, positivity, joy, improvement, inspiration, motivation, productivity, friendship, 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

64 Years Old Today!

“When I’m 64 is Now!”

As I type the title for this post, my heart skips a couple of beats, and I gasp a little. I don’t feel like I’m 64, though really, how is 64 supposed to feel? It wasn’t long ago that 30 seemed old, and now, I’m twice that. In fact, my daughters passed the 3-0 mark a couple of years ago! I keep going back to the Beatles’ “When I’m 64“, and yet, other than the number, I find I don’t relate to the song at all.

There’s no one in my household who will “need me” or “feed me” now that I’m 64. That’s not entirely true. There are several felines who definitely need me; for food, for vet care, for attention, and most of all, for a warm place to sleep. But other than their unparalleled healing abilities, their resources are limited should I get sick, or worse, become incapacitated.

In those rare moments when I allow myself a brief wallow in self-pity, I’ll think about the time when my vision starts getting worse (thankfully, it’s been pretty much the same for the last 20 years. Not great, but correctable). I imagine a time when I can’t bend down to feed the cats, or lift the 5-gallon bottles of water into and out of my car. Those moments quickly become ones of gratitude for the vision which continues to serve me, and the strength which, rather than decreasing, is increasing from regular workouts I finally managed to give myself.

Down Time to Rest and Re-Charge

Sure, I have days when I want to sit around and read, play computer games, or watch sappy Hallmark But lately, they come after I’ve exerted myself with hours of dancing, or walking, or cleaning. And after a couple of days of doing nothing, I’m ready for a day full of activities again. Sometimes, it’s just gym and errands, others, I’ll add a few hours of cafe writing followed by a night of dancing. All serve to keep both body and mind sharp and flexible.

Looking back at my mom before she passed at 59, she wasn’t sedentary either, though I think she suffered more aches and pains than me, if only because she allowed them to get in her way. I think at 59 she acted and probably felt older than I feel today. The only joy in her life seemed to be my daughters, and they weren’t enough to make her want to keep living. I’ve had moments when I wondered, too whether I had enough to make me want to continue. But those moments were years ago when I, too had yet to find joy in all the simple, amazing things in my life.

Finding Joy and Inspiration in Simple Things

created with CanvaToday, I look out the window and see a flock of butterflies (or whatever a bunch of butterflies flying together is called) and I’m child-like in my happiness over seeing the brightly colored wings fluttering in and out of the branches of the plum tree before continuing their journey to who-knows-where? I master a line dance and feel a sense of accomplishment, though I’ve mastered hundreds over the years. Each new view, each new lesson brings me infinite joy.

I’ve learned to commit to myself every day, whether it’s going to the gym, writing blog posts, working on a writing project for a client or myself, or making the bed in the morning. I don’t assign specific values to each task. They are all valuable in their own way and don’t need to be ranked in order of importance or joy quotient.

I’ve stopped looking at how many years it took me to learn how to find the joy in the simple things, or commit to myself. Instead, I show myself love and appreciation for having done it at all. I understand my journey is unique to me, and I accomplish things in a different order than anyone else. I’m learning to be less critical and more appreciative of the steps I’ve taken and will continue to take on my own unique journey. I’m learning the child-like wonder I feel when I see a butterfly or ten is ready and waiting for every new experience, and every old one that brought me joy before I learned to be critical and cynical.

Being the Joy and Inspiration

The greatest lesson of all, though, is learning to be the joy and inspiration. Learning my own joy from the simple act of spreading positivity knocked my socks off the first time I realized what was happening.

I knew I felt drained when friends wrote about feeling drained and discouraged. I also knew people responded positively when I shared inspiring messages or shared my own successes. It took awhile for me to also feel how my own joy increased simply by sharing positivity and success. I realized people don’t need the big things, like seeing a friend get a big promotion or a fancy, new car. They need the everyday things and the reminders that putting one foot in front of the other is an accomplishment in and of itself.

They need to hear they’re not alone in narrowing their focus down to what’s right in front of them instead of trying to tackle everything they place in front of themselves. Seeing someone else taking it one step at a time inspires them to be less hard on themselves. When they become more accepting and forgiving of themselves, they, like me find more joy in their lives. As my friends and acquaintances find more joy, more inspiration, more acceptance—so do I!

The Joy is in the Learning

Created with CanvaI’ve learned so much in my 64 years and am excited to keep on learning. Sometimes, though, it feels like about 90% of what I’ve learned has come in the last 5 years or so. In reality, the preceding years had their share of lessons. Many of them simply laid the foundation for the gigantic push I’ve felt in the last 5. Perhaps I took longer to lay my foundation than most, but then, I’ve followed a meandering path. I’ve visited a lot of places, but remained in few. I changed majors in college a few times, taking 10 years to actually earn a degree. Then I kicked my hard-earned degree to the curb, doing a 180 career-wise a little over 5 years ago. I couldn’t have done that without the places I visited, the lessons I learned, or the foundation I laid.

Long story short, I am exactly where I’m supposed to be right now, writing for myself and others, looking at finishing the works I’ve already written and writing new ones. I want to write some short stories and pitch them to magazines and websites, and I want to keep inspiring and being inspired. I’m very happy with my first 64 years. Very happy, indeed.

Learning We Don’t Need to Do It All Alone

Are you still trying to do it all? Are there things you either don’t do as well as you’d like, or simply hate doing? 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!

Gratitude Fuels My Joy

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the experiences and lessons in my first 64 years, and look forward eagerly to whatever comes next.
  2. I am grateful for friends I’ve made along the way; for the ones I’ve kept, and the ones who moved on after leaving me with whatever they were meant to bring into my life.
  3. I am grateful for mentors, coaches, examples, and challenges. All have helped me grown into the best possible version of myself.
  4. I am grateful for love. I’ve learned it’s as essential as breathing.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; lessons, challenges, friendships, opportunities, cats, dancing, strength; physical, mental, emotional, spiritual,. and energetic, health, harmony, peace, 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

Intention and Inspiration

The Universe Gives Inspiration started writing this post at 11:11 which is the number for synchronicity, when things seem to fall together almost effortlessly. I had a day like that yesterday when I set an intention to see opportunities. I need to remember to set that intention every day, perhaps a big note on the wall.

I read a post on Facebook about how the world matches our expectations. So if we expect to have a rough day, chances are we will. If we expect to incur more debt, we’ll do that as well. But if we expect to see opportunities, guess what? We’ll see opportunities. So I set my intention one morning to see opportunities, then left the house to go to the gym and run errands.

Setting An Intention To Notice Opportunities

What happened was nothing short of miraculous. In fact, opportunities came ever before I set the intention. I woke to a message from an old acquaintance who’d read my post on Medium and liked it so much, she invited me to be a guest on her podcast.

When I got to the gym it was pretty empty and I got everything I needed to do my workout. Then, I drove to Costco where I found the perfect parking spot. Not only that, I found a perfect rug for my bathroom at a great price, and when I got to the check stands, I was in line behind a man with a large piece of furniture, and while he was being checked out, the check stand next to him opened and the cashier called me over.

As if that wasn’t enough, I had managed to just beat the rush at Trader Joe’s so I walked right up to a cashier and checked out. Seeing so many opportunities put me in an extraordinary mood, so I found myself smiling and sharing my joy with everyone I encountered. By the time I lay my head on my pillow, I’d accomplished everything I’d set out to do, and maybe even more.

Creating the Right Habits For Personal Power

I’ve decided to make myself reminders to look for opportunities every day as I’ve already proven it’s powerful stuff. Sure, I’ve known it for awhile, but I don’t always exercise my own personal power. Having reminders posted on walls and my vision board help. I have one I see when I wake up every morning. Sometimes it registers, and sometimes, I don’t even stop to pay attention. I realize now, I need to become more aware of the thoughts and sayings on the vision board on the wall beside my bed.

I find myself sharing positive affirmations for everyone else nowadays. I subscribe to sites like Positively Positive, Tiny Buddha, and Contagious Optimism. How many of us do that? Share for others, but don’t think about ourselves? I have a whole slew of inspirational graphics in my media queue which find their way into my posts over and over again. I realize I don’t always internalize them for myself though. I’m so busy trying to uplift and inspire others, I forget to uplift and inspire myself. Today, I’m making a change. I will uplift and inspire myself first.

Putting Ourselves First: Selfless, Not Selfish

This may sound selfish, but my experiences with simply intending to see opportunities would the selfish factor. When I’m feeling positive and uplifted, I pass that feeling on to others; not just by sharing a graphic, but by being the Joy. As easy as it is to be brought down by someone who radiates gloom and doom, it’s even easier to be uplifted by someone who’s happy, smiling, and at peace with their world. Heaven knows my vibration goes up when I see someone wearing a broad smile and exuding pure joy.

I’m challenging myself to be the joy every day. To bring sunshine even when the sky is grey and weeping. There are plenty who proliferate sadness and lack these days, and though some may attribute it to circumstances, we all have the ability to raise our own vibration by refusing to wallow in those things we believe to be out of our control. Maybe they are, and maybe they’re not, but whining and complaining about our lack; our miserable circumstances only attracts more of the same.

Positively Positive

My life isn’t perfect. It never has been. There have been times when I believed things were going better than other times. Yet in reality, they were going as well as I expected, no more, no less. When I worked in a job I hated and spent a lot of time complaining about it, things didn’t get better. If anything, they got worse. When I believed people treated me differently because I was a single parent, they accommodated me by doing just that.

This may sound pretty pie in the sky to many. However, I’ve learned no matter how bad things look from the outside, we can find at least a glimmer of light to hang onto until the storm passes. We can find something in our lives which radiates positivity and hope. I know from personal experience as long as I hang onto that glimmer, for dear life if necessary, things do get better.

Things are going fairly well right now. I have my health, I’m strong, independent, capable, and have the most amazing group of friends ever. I stay active, though admittedly, I could move more, and I never run out of ideas for my writing.

I have a phenomenal coach who has gotten me over the hump of my memoir re-write. I’ve found a supportive community who will help me get my first book published. Sure, there are things I might lack right now, but I know the lack is temporary and in fact, may simply be a breathing space before my life gets back on the roller coaster it’s ridden for decades, and the wild ride continues. As long as I focus on the things I have while accepting what may seem to be a temporary lack, I know the moment will pass and I’ll soon be back on track.

Inspiring Ourselves to Inspire Others

Let’s give ourselves a few minutes a day to recognize and appreciate all the things we have. write a list or start a daily practice. I had one awhile back which has fallen into disuse, but I think needs to be reinstated. At the end of each day, I’ll write down five to ten things I accomplished that day. Not only does it focus my attention on what I have, but like gratitude, pulls my attention away from what I lack, or what may not have worked out so well that day.

Who’s with me on this? Are you ready to break through your blocks and start thriving? It really does start, not just with attitude, but with believing in yourself and all you have.

Letting Gratitude Pave Our Way

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for opportunities which seem to be falling from the sky like rain lately.
  2. I am grateful for examples I’m seeing of both the right and wrong way to attract and exude joy.
  3. I am grateful for practices I’ve used and discarded in the past which I know elevated my vibration and brought me closer to joy and bliss simply by taking a few moments a day to express my gratitude.
  4. I am grateful for friends who share their own inspirational messages which uplift me. It reminds me I need to uplift myself first, then go out and spread the joy wherever I can.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; joy, love, opportunities, friendship, comfort, my solitary work space, kitty love, rainy days and sunny ones, purrs, affection, hugs, dancing, 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

Re-directing and Releasing Negative Childhood Memories

Revisiting Negative Memories

While meditating the other day (yes, I know you hear this a lot, but some of my best ideas and greatest epiphanies come when my mind is relaxed) I chanced to wander the highways and byways of my childhood. In particular, I revisited all the negative memories I’d amassed concerning my mother. It occurred to me I do myself no good dwelling on them, but how do you erase decades of fossilized memories so they remain in the past, no longer impacting life as we now know it? my mind continued to drift, a balloon which had escaped from a tiny fist, another memory arrived. It was my earliest memory of reading with my mom. I was 4 years old and we were sitting on the L-shaped white couch in the living room of our house in Reseda. We held “Charlotte’s Web” on our laps while I read aloud, looking to her for guidance when I came upon an unfamiliar word. I don’t know how many days we spent sitting in that position, laughing and crying over the escapades of Wilbur, Charlotte and the rest of the barnyard residents. I do know it launched a lifelong passion for reading and writing.

Changing Course

It occurred to me that the way to erase, at least the recurring nightmare of some of the other memories was to pluck them like weeds, then quickly fill the hole with more pleasant memories so they’d be unable to grow back. Up until then, it had never occurred to me that simply removing a memory wasn’t enough. We had to replace it with something better.

That’s not to say we actually cut out part of our minds so the unpleasant memory doesn’t return. We simply overlay it with something that brings us joy instead of sadness, pain or fear. It seems to be working, as whatever thing I was remembering before I plucked it and replaced it with the “Charlotte’s Web” memory is no longer retrievable.

The Feeling Part of Memories

Now, you’re probably asking how it’s possible to consciously eradicate a memory, and you’re right. It doesn’t seem feasible. But let me explain. Memories instill more than just a visual recording of an event. In fact, the visual is often the least enduring. We get feelings and emotions from those events which are harder to release.

For example, as a child, you dropped a plate of food on the floor. Did your parents scream at you and berate you for your clumsiness? Did they launch into a lecture about how expensive it was to feed the family, and the cost of the meal you ruined? If so, the shame you felt while they ranted and raved stuck with you like a burr in the fabric of your psyche. Events later in life trigger, not so much the memory of the plate you dropped and the meal you ruined, but the shame you were made to feel as a result.

By replacing one memory picture with another, we’re not changing the picture. We’re releasing the negative feelings; planting new seeds as it were. So it is with memories of my mom. Some have already been released and replaced through the process of writing about my memories. Others pop up via triggers in my present life. But now I stop and evaluate the negative, unpleasant feelings.

Deep Down, We All Choose Happiness

I don’t want to feel uncomfortable, so I look for ways to replace those feelings with something, if not pleasant, at least constructive. I know eventually, I’ll be able to replace the constructive feeling with a pleasant one as it’s a shorter energetic leap.

There’s a lot of talk about shifting your mindset these days. What I think it really boils down to is deciding how you want to feel, then becoming conscious of the things that trigger feelings not in alignment with your desire. Since the most deeply seated ones come from your childhood and teenage years (oh the angst!) it might take some practice to separate the root issue from the knee-jerk reaction.

Peeling Back the Layers

We humans are as multi-layered as an onion. Understanding why we react as we do to certain things requires a deep dive into things we’ve tried to forget. Yet therein lies the foundation for our beliefs, our fears, and our self-image, wrapped up in a not-so-tidy ball of emotions. My own process began over 20 years ago, and I’m continually uncovering new layers I didn’t even suspect existed. Only now are some of those layers proving to be rooted in my earliest years. I’m just beginning to find the place where the strings I’ve untangled are embedded in my psyche.

Many of the emotional triggers we set as children are built and expanded on as we become more connected with the rest of the world. Every time someone hurts us, every time, we suffer disappointment, every time we fail, those emotional triggers find more justification, more reason to exist. They become our reality, albeit a falsely constructed monument to our coping mechanisms. Often we don’t even remember why we react as we do.

Getting to the Bottom of the Perceived Failures

Recently, I bought a cake to have a small celebration of my daughter and son-in-law’s 6th anniversary. My daughter the baker removed the cake from the box and, no malice intended, began picking apart the decorating techniques of the grocery store employee who’d done the cake. I brushed it off, and even contributed a few comments of my own.

A few minutes later, with maybe half of the cake cut and served, a woman as known for her baking prowess as my daughter brought over a beautiful strawberry shortcake and some cups of mousse. One of the women who sits at the table next to me every week had missed the celebration planned for her a couple nights previously, so this was a make-up. But as soon as her cake hit the table, and everyone had sung “Happy Birthday” it was as if my daughter, son-in-law, and I no longer existed.

I already felt a little bad at the poor quality of the cake, augmented by my daughter’s repeated query “why didn’t you ask me to make the cake?” Suddenly, the air was sucked right out of my joy balloon. I danced the next couple of sets in a fog, my usual ebullience notably missing. I drove home in silence, focused only on getting us home safely, and cancelled my regular “Live with Sheri and Friends”. I had no interest in talking to anyone. I just wanted to be alone with my blue funk.

Taking Time to Query Yourself

In a lot of cases, being alone might have been the worst choice. In this one, it worked out well because it made me see the long string of disappointments I’d had in organizing parties or group events. So many times, I’d plan something and send out invitations, only to have maybe 3 or 4 people actually show up. Or I’d throw something together and be disappointed at the results which might have been better with a little more planning and effort.

Not until the recent addition of our annual after Thanksgiving dinner was I able to, with my daughter’s help, put together an event people actually wanted to attend, and looked forward to. That’s when I realized I could overlay the way I felt about all the failed attempts with the joy I feel about our Thanksgiving feasts.

Finding the Road to Happiness

The beauty of it all lies in the fact that we re-route our feelings for multiple events when we re-route one. The emotions we feel are, by the time we reach adulthood, a composite of things which brought the same response. Change one, change them all. Though it’s not quite that simple as many events contain multiple emotional charges, the idea is valid. We clear one negative emotional charge, replacing it with something positive, and each connected event, no matter how convoluted, holds less power over us in the future.

What’s one emotional trigger you can defuse? Where is a positive outcome and a joyful response you can use to fill the hole? It doesn’t have to be something big. You’ll probably recognize it as a minor thing which brings you down whenever it executes by virtue of a similar event or feeling. Share your efforts in the comments. What you learn helps not only yourself, but those of us you share it with. You’ll see an angle we might have missed.


My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for my meditational epiphanies.
  2. I am grateful for new triggers which bring me joy instead of sorrow.
  3. I am grateful for new opportunities which appear when I least expect them.
  4. I am grateful for new perspectives.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; joy, incentives, opportunities, epiphanies, love, companionship, peace, health, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She specializes in creating content that helps entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author

Got the Music In Me

A Song for Every Reason

When I was in my teens and twenties life was fairly simple and there always seemed to be a song to fit the moment. Breakups were a good excuse for overplaying the perfect song, though which side of the equation I was on typically dictated my selection.

I remember playing Three Dog Night’s  “One Is the Loneliest Number” when I was the dumpee. I probably drove my sister crazy playing the song over and over again while wallowing in my misery.

One of the few times I did the dumping I felt a distinct connection with Lorrie Morgan’s “What Part of No Don’t You Understand?” Maybe a little heartless but at the time I believed a clean, rip off the band-aid kind of break was best. For me anyway. But because I so rarely had the opportunity to end things in those days, I found the fellow particularly resistant to the idea which is probably why the song came to mind.

Backup Music for All Life’s Ups and Downs

Breakups are only one example of opportunities to connect songs to events. In fact, my kids probably several occasions to wish a case of laryngitis on me when I’d find a song for almost anything they said. I’m sure it was particularly annoying when they were stuck in the car for a long trip.

In some ways, I think our lives are defined by the music we’re attracted to at different points. How many times do we turn to sad songs or movies when we just need a good cry? Little did we know when we were younger how cathartic those song-induced cries could be? Or how often we’d forget the simple things as life and responsibilities kept us too busy for a sad song and a good, cleansing sob-fest?

For years I fought a kind of low-grade depression. I wasn’t dancing because the girls’ activities kept me too busy, so my social life was limited to band events and parent meetings. Being a single parent was hard enough from the inside, but for reasons unbeknownst to me and the other single moms, many of the married women saw us as a threat. As a result, they were unkind to us in numerous subtle ways. Most of them involved exclusion. Needless to say, I was friendliest with other single moms, but it’s a group which doesn’t have much time for a social life. So I spent what little time was left after work, the girls’ activities, and taking care of house and home alone. In hindsight, the music was silent too.

Finding My Life When the Music Returned

When I returned to the dance community and tuned back into the music which I’d inadvertently silenced while dancing waited on a back burner, my first steps were tentative. I’d lost touch and didn’t belong, or that’s how I saw it. I was closed down, so while my girlfriend’s quickly found dance partners, and ultimately, mates, I remained alone—until I learned a few things. Here again, music was an integral part of that lesson, courtesy of the dance community.

While music can be a solo affair; I use it a lot when I’m writing or working on client accounting, it lends itself far more to community and sharing. Whether it’s a concert in the park, a street fair, musical theater, or karaoke, music brings people together as nothing else I know can. And of course there’s dancing.

I can pull up songs on YouTube and dance around my living room, entertaining and amusing the cats. While fun and a good source of exercise, it isn’t like dancing in a room full of friends, playing off each other and entertaining the people who come to socialize over a few drinks, unfamiliar with the dances we do. Even so, I feel that the dancers pull the spectators in with more than a shared enjoyment of the music the DJ plays. The collective energy of dancers and observers fills the room with a joy which, in my opinion, couldn’t be had without the music.

Life Without Music is A Lonely Affair

There are songs we love, and even songs we hate. Artists who tug at our heartstrings and others who may annoy the bejeebers out of us. Whether they’re filling our hearts with joy, or reminding us of sad times when all we wanted to do was pull the covers over our head and have a good cry, or even making us want silence over their interpretation of music, we react, we feel. And through those emotions we connect with the rest of humanity, often without realizing we’re doing it.

I see now that when not only the dancing was missing, but the music was silent, my life was hollow. Even more, I was a non-contributor. We all have parts to play making the world better, maybe for only a few, and maybe for multitudes. When we sit on the sidelines, our music silent and our feet still, we’re short-changing the world as much as we cheat ourselves.

Finding Our Joy in Music

In connecting with other people through music, we complete the circle; a circle which is more than My personal peace makerhands joined or people congregating. It’s a circle of hearts connected on such a deep level the lines between us blur or even disappear.

These days, favorite songs are often connected to a favorite dance and those are no longer solo affairs. When I want to hear something over and over, it’s because of the way the tune gets me up off my feet and moving to the music with sweet abandon. Those are the moments when I’m dancing like nobody’s watching, or feeding on the energy of people who are bringing me a level of joy I lost completely for a little while. Because I lost sight of my joy for a few years, no, because I didn’t find it until recently, it is all the more precious.

Being the Example for a Joy-Filled Life

In some ways, I feel being on both sides of joy is a gift. I have the rare opportunity to understand those who never find it, or maybe need some help realizing they deserve it as much as me or anyone else who’s found it. Maybe all I need to do is help them find the right music. Perhaps it’s just leading by example and encouraging the baby steps.

Making Gratitude a Habit

As always, I end my post with 5 gratitudes. It’s one of the many factors contributing to the joy I finally brought into my life.

  1. I am grateful for music. It tells the stories of my life, though I may not have penned the words.
  2. I am grateful for community. Having people in my life I can turn to for advice, a shoulder, or just plain fun is still a novel experience for me. It has enhanced my life in ways I’d never have imagined.
  3. I am grateful for ideas popping into my head like corn in a bag in the microwave. My challenge now is to catch them before they escape.
  4. I am grateful for my ability to let loose and be silly; to dance like nobody’s watching, and to be myself without concern for consequences or negative reactions.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, dancing, music, friendship, joy, health, harmony, peace, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light


About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She specializes in creating content that helps entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author

August 12, 2015 The Heart is Willing But the Feet Are Not

Guess We Bit Off More Than We Could Chew

My daughter planned an amazing 3-day trip to Disneyland to celebrate both my birthday and her anniversary. Naturally, we went a bit overboard on Day 1 and Day 2 suffered as a result, but all in all, we’re enjoying the trip immensely. Our feet, however, would argue as she and I have both acquired a blister or four. In fact, what I thought was a callous on my big toe came away in a not-so-pretty mess when I tried to trim it. Meanwhile, my daughter is nursing a bruised and battered toe from an injury sustained at home shortly before the trip. And still, we soldier on. So what if we were back in the hotel before the sun went down, eating leftovers from last night for dinner? There was a pleasant interlude when we sat with our feet in the jacuzzi talking to other hotel guests who were also here to enjoy Disney’s world of childish joy.

Though Day 1 lasted (for me) from about 9 AM until well after 10, (the kids are up and out before 8 as they’re used to rising earlier than this writer!), I pooped out around 3:30 and the kids were about an hour behind me today. It’s only right that the young pups last longer, but tomorrow should prove interesting if our feet continue to protest the walking. We’ve ridden a few rides in the last two days, but nothing close to what we’ve done in the past. This time around, we’re just not willing to stand in line for an hour to ride a 2 minute or less ride. Instead, we’re spending more time people watching, wandering through the shops and listening to music at various venues around the park.

Despite this being the middle of the week, there are still tons of people clogging the streets, standing in line and just coming and going in droves. It could be that for many, it’s the last week of summer before school starts combined with the 60th anniversary celebration, though yesterday seemed a lot less crowded than today.

Making Good Use of Our Park-Hopper Tickets

Yesterday, we split our time between the two parks and Downtown Disney. Today, we were in the main park all day, although the kids might have seen a bit of California Adventure before I got moving. Tomorrow, we plan to start in California Adventure, and as far as I’m concerned, we could stay there all day and it wouldn’t hurt my feelings. With seriously sore tootsies, I just don’t see us putting in the 15 or 20 thousand steps we managed the first day. The kids did close to 17,000 today but I doubt I even hit 10,000. I don’t know for sure as the nicely charged Fitbit I planned to bring is still on my desk at home so I’m dependent on Heather’s all-in-one watch. They had already gotten in about 7,000 steps before I joined them today, and I left them early, so I have a feeling my guesstimate is accurate.

As I sit here tonight, a blister on the bottom of my little toe and the outside edge of my big toe smeared with Neosporin, the idea of walking around all day is looking iffy and in fact, I’m fearing for my dancing this weekend. Wouldn’t you know, this is the first time I’ve forgotten my first-aid kit? Thankfully, I have one in the trunk of my car as there are many band-aids in the future of my feet!

Still, we’re making some amazing memories and have pictures with many of the Disney Princesses as well as Tigger and Eeyore (my personal favorite) to show for it. Sore feet and all, this is a 60th birthday celebration I will never forget!

I realize this is called ‘The Happiest Place on Earth’, but in years past, we’ve done our best to avoid a lot of cranky, impatient people. This time around, as crowded as the place is, people are, for the most part, friendly, patient and kind. And that’s just the guests! The Cast Members are something else! Despite the heat, the crush and even guests who could be nicer, they are all smiling, cheerful and helpful beyond belief! There is still a large percentage of young people filling the positions from ticket takers to characters, but I noticed this year that there are quite a few people who are my age or older. Some man the gate where they don’t have to be on their feet all day, but just as many, if not more are working in maintenance or at the many information areas where they’re on their feet in the heat for hours. They, too maintain a genuinely cheerful demeanor which impresses the heck out of me. Sure, some of them might move a bit slower than their younger counterparts, but they still get the job done and, more importantly, they are still smiling.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I think Disney deserves kudos for their clear lack of age discrimination. For many, Disneyland is their first job, but these days, there is a large group for whom it will be their last one. If you ask me, there are far worse ways to spend the last years of your working life.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for a wonderful week with my kids.
2. I am grateful for walking too much, eating more overly rich food than I see in several years and getting more sunshine than I see in months. There is a time and a place to act like a kid, I’m lucky to have a daughter and son-in-law who see fit to give me that opportunity.
3. I am grateful for my daughter and her hubby who are taking time out of their busy lives to make my 60th a year to remember.
4. I am grateful for the people we’ve met this week. Where else but a huge theme park can you meet and talk to people from everywhere in the world, and for once, there’s no hate?
5. I am grateful for abundance, walking, eating, sunshine, joy, exercise, love, happiness, silliness, peace, harmony, health, prosperity and philanthropy.

Blessed Be

I hope you’ll take a moment to visit my Facebook pages at and . Please also drop by my website, and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

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