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

Posts tagged ‘Trello’

Sometimes Even Hermits Need People

Hermits Come Out of Hiding

https://www.flickr.com/photos/prestonrhea/5236270625/in/photolist-8YHfQ2-4X1dP6-P58XGS-dmtrwi-2pMKC-nC1YD-QxGsf-q4rWqa-8HeDZc-o8pVg-8mXR4g-o7nP7c-8jQqTQ-bPxsQc-dJusGN-78jLU7-98LY1P-dYGYNq-cgtYSu-cgu1F7-7rMJ9R-6z6KQA-6VuMG-6Jfxqk-4bbwMg-dmtxds-9Rf6xQ-v8gDMa-9PqETD-4MsUzv-ptUKap-a2BfLR-4UtU1B-4UtSun-5dBS8k-7eGxtr-7nUbqa-7nUbW8-fBZ3S4-5M1h3P-8DYirc-8E2uBh-6r2V98-7oFgff-7oBon2-7oBpbn-7oBoG6-7oFfRo-vPhUL-jk3BYpAfter spending 3 of the last 4 days not only behind the closed doors of my house, but behind my closed eyelids about 20 hours out of 24, I’m feeling decidedly restless. Waking up to a slightly overcast but basically sunny morning, feeling almost as good as new again after being laid low by what I can only assume is the latest strain of flu, I’m feeling strangely disconnected and, dare I say it? In need of a people fix.

As a self-professed hermit, people aren’t usually high on my list of outside stimulation. Not that I don’t go out fairly regularly amidst the humans. But as much as possible, I find entertainment where people are few. My workouts are timed for the less populated periods, as are my weekly errands. The less people between me and my objectives, the better.

But after two entire days when the sum total of my human contact was a few text messages and one person stopping by for her Girl Scout cookies, I’m ready for some real, honest-to-goodness human interaction. Then my inner responsibility kicks in saying: But you’ve gotten nothing done for days. You’re behind on all your tasks, and need to stay in and catch up!

The Never-Ending To-Do List

Never mind that I have all cross-posts to Medium done for the month of February, or that this is the final blog post for the month too (and it’s only the 12th!). I have a book to read, blurbs to create, schedules to make for those blurbs, a summary to write, and at least a dozen other tasks I can think of if I put my mind to it. After a couple of days of doing nothing, my mind ignores what’s done and rushes straight to the endless list of “undones”.

Needless to say, the desire to be around people is quickly overshadowed by the never-ending To Do list in my mind. Yet a small piece of me says: Surely you can spare a few minutes. Walk to the store or go sit in a coffee shop. Something so I know I’m not alone in the middle of Humanity’s crowd.

The little voice is drawing closer and closer to a whine, my most hated of human vocalizations. More hated when it’s coming from my own inner voice. Perhaps I could pack up my laptop, clean off the bed dust, even wash my hair, and go to a local Starbuck’s or the like and do some reading or writing there. If only to shut the little bugger up so I can get some real work done.

The Mind is Willing, The Body, Not So Much

Created with CanvaJust when I think I have myself geared up to make myself presentable to the outside world, reality sets in. Though I was up earlier and have kept going longer than I had in the last couple of days, the truth is, my energy is still low. I’m still eating far less than I’m used to (which isn’t a bad thing), and after about 4 hours of wakeful time, I’m ready for a nap or meditation; in short, some shut-eye. The mind is willing, but the body says: nuh uh!

So I exchanged a couple of texts, posted or shared things on Facebook (another place I’ve been noticeably absent lately), and honored the needs of my depleted body. I comforted myself with the knowledge that I’d get to go to the gym and run errands tomorrow (and maybe even talk to people for a change!), and meet my friends at our temporary dance home tomorrow night.

Until then, I’m giving my To Do list and Trello board the respect they deserve. I’ll cross off a few more tasks in between naps so I can still have the work-free zones at their regularly scheduled days and times. This uncharacteristic need for human interaction will have to wait its turn in my personal Grand Scheme.

Do Other Hermits Sometimes Feel Un-Hermit-y?

I do have to wonder if other hermits (aka writers) have moments when they’ve been out of touch for so long the need for other people becomes almost a palpable craving? When they know if someone called and offered up just about any kind of entertainment, they’d drop everything, throw responsibility to the wind, and go.

It isn’t only illness which locks us into our hovels for long periods of time either. Sometimes it’s our writing. We get into a zone which can last for days; when eating and sleeping are secondary and the words roll off our fingers like water from a gushing spring. These moments don’t come often, so when they do, we’re not about to get in our own way and slow the flow.

Hoping for a Flood (of Words)

In fact, it’s been awhile since I’ve had one myself, so maybe I’m due for a burst of creative fury when I can’t type fast enough to keep up with the words. When spelling and typing are cast to the wind in a mad rush to just get words on the screen. Forget trying to do it longhand. While I can write fairly quickly, it’s nothing compared to my typing, and I would be shredding the page in frustration. Besides, it’s easier to correct all the misspellings and typos when they’re on a screen in front of me with spellcheck engaged. Squiggly red lines or solid blue ones alert me to potential grammatical faux pas’.

Perhaps the temporary hiatus from humans will set off one of those floods, allowing me to knock down that towering list of To Do’s so I’ll feel less like I’m abandoning my responsibilities to go out for a bit and commune with humanity, perhaps to find a new source of inspiration. It would sure beat having the flu which took me completely out of commission and shot my productivity numbers down to zero!

Grateful for Every Little Thing

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the modicum of ability I’ve developed to actually stay on task until projects are completed.
  2. I am grateful for words that flow and cravings which subside while I’m getting things done and clearing space.
  3. I am grateful I’ve learned to clear space because new projects arise and things happen when I least expect it. Having some space cleared keeps the stress monsters away.
  4. I am grateful for new beginnings, and projects which return before I expect them.
  5. I am grateful for feelings of anticipation, even if I don’t know what they portend. I know it’ll be something good, and that’s all that matters.
  6. I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, health, happiness, dancing, writing jobs, new things, opportunities, joy, 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

 

 

Changing It Up To Enhance Creativity

Finding New Ways Out of Old Ruts

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-WigauPTonight I’m typing on my laptop in front of the TV where I’ve been binge-watching Hallmark Christmas movies while others celebrate Christmas with their families. It’s not that I lacked invitations, but I wanted to be alone, even as I wanted some company. I didn’t realize how much until I burst into tears when the last line of one of the movies talked about how the best family is the one we create with our friends.

It took me a long time to figure that one out, mostly because I spent too many years trying to be what others expected instead of myself. But that’s hovering dangerously in territory I covered a couple of days ago. ADD taking over my brain once again.

What I really want to talk about today is how changing our routine can open doors we didn’t realize were closed. My life and work depends on new ideas; plentiful and frequent. It’s difficult to maintain the momentum sitting in the same place at the same time every day. Sometimes, I need a change of scenery.

Making Dates With Ourselves And Our Creativity

For a while, I was trying to do some cafe writing at least once a week, typically on Fridays. But with the holidays and a bunch of other challenges, the practice has fallen by the wayside, much to the detriment of my idea generation.

Sometimes, a change of scenery is as simple as getting off the desktop and either firing up the laptop or picking up pencil and paper and moving to another room, even in a house as small as mine. This isn’t the first time I moved to my laptop on a TV tray in front of the television to get the creative juices going, and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

That isn’t to say I won’t soon be reviving my cafe writing practice as it yielded some interesting results in the past. Some, in fact, will likely find their way into what I’m starting to see as the memoir from hell, as I work on it in fits and starts these days, throwing roadblocks in my path with every opportunity. I’ve re-set the timeline for completion three times so far, and I’m already a few days behind on the newest one. But at least I’ve learned not to beat myself up about missing deadlines, nor to give up on myself. More than likely, I’ll get into another kind of binging; one which involves writing instead of dividing my attention between the one-eyed monster and games on my phone.

Picking Our Battles With Ourselves

For now, I’m focusing on the immediate which means, getting a couple of weeks ahead on blog posts (I’m currently only a week ahead and that makes me anxious), and researching alternatives to blood pressure medication. My latest two doctor’s visits were disconcerting at best, especially for someone who has always run a little on the low side.

I know part of the problem is the weight I’ve gained since my dance schedule has been disrupted, part is the amount of time I’ve spent sitting lately (also due to the challenge of finding places to dance), and part is clearly a level of stress I don’t typically see, but which has been exacerbated by a dozen different factors this holiday season. As I look back on this paragraph, I realize the temporary loss of my usual dance venue is having a huge impact on my overall health.

Some of it I can mitigate. I’ve increased the amounts of Hawthorne and Potassium I take daily. I’ve revised my shopping list to include foods high in potassium and low in sodium. I’ve reviewed the DASH diet to see what I should and should not be eating, and will be even more crazy about reading labels from here on out. And speaking of out, eating there will be severely curtailed because it’s so much harder to control what’s in my food if someone else makes it.

Life Is About Reviewing What Works, And Changing What Doesn’t

Sure, it means changing my lifestyle even more, but all for the better. I’ve gotten sloppy about my eating habits the last couple of months, and it’s reflected in the numbers on my scale. I’ve missed a few gym days too,. and that’s not helping. Using alternative dance venues means less 10,000 plus step days too. Again, the one habit I’ve broken in this area is beating myself up over my lack of diligence.

What’s done is done. We can’t change the past. We can change what we do now, and try, moment by moment, to do things differently as the future unfolds. Changing up how and where we do our regular tasks is one of the things which can have nothing but positive effects. One of the things I look forward to as 2019 unfolds is embracing more changes in my life.

One Person’s Distraction Is Another’s Focus

Typically, I write either in silence or with music in the background, but tonight as I pound away on my laptop keys in front of yet another cookie cutter Hallmark movie, I’m finding it’s as good at keeping my internal editor in her proper place as music. I’ve seen the movie before so it doesn’t require much of my attention. What it grabs is the part of me who would, if given the chance, pick away at my word choices, my spelling errors, and even the topic I’ve chosen for this post.

It doesn’t hurt that tonight’s selection is about a writer. I find I key into those in particular, despite the fact that Hallmark’s version of a writer is probably romanticized and unrealistic. Yet watching a story about another writer in a strange way inspires me to write. I can’t really explain why, but as it’s gotten me to drag out my laptop and start working on another blog post, I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. In truth, anything that gets me writing is a good thing as far as I’m concerned.

Using What Works Without Dissecting Why

It could simply be the power of suggestion. I’m watching a movie about a writer and, oh yeah. I’m a writer so why am I not writing? Since I don’t have a good answer to that question, I pull out the necessary accoutrements and let the words flow.

Sure the downside to working in a cafe, in front of the TV, or anywhere distractions can wind their way into my attention is that either some of what’s distracting me gets into my writing, or I stop altogether to give my attention to the distraction.

For the first, that’s why I edit what I write. For the second, the diversion is only temporary. I pull my attention back to the project at hand in a reasonable amount of time, thus finishing what I started, (I’ve learned I hate leaving an incomplete blog post. Now to transfer that lack of tolerance to the books I have yet to finish, as my daughter so delicately reminded me recently).

Goals Plus Gratitude Equals Success

Though I don’t make New Year’s resolutions since it’s far less effective than creating To Do lists and cards on my Trello board, I’m setting myself a goal for this year. I will seek and embrace more change in my life; look for opportunities to do things differently; take on challenges without nay-saying them for days or weeks before admitting it’s worth a try. My coach will give me ample opportunity to test this goal, and I hope to rise to the occasion. I do love a challenge!

My gratitudes today are:

  1.  I am grateful for a willingness to recognize how often I get in my own way rather than making necessary and interesting changes,
  2. I am grateful for the friends who have become my family, and who support me without question.
  3. I am grateful for opportunities to do things differently.
  4. I am grateful for a new year, and the chaos it will likely bring to my life. That chaos is overdue and a shakeup with the way I do things is a challenge I know I’m up to undertaking.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; change, challenges, opportunities, new dietary opportunities hidden as restrictions, cats to love, friends to share with, writing to expand upon, clients, inspiration, motivation, health, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

 

Love and Light.

About the Writer

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

Comfort Found in Daily Routines

Daily Routines Keep Us Grounded Amidst the Chaos

2018 has taken some uncomfortable, and even downright painful turns in the last couple of months of the year. Although we managed to have a wonderful after-Thanksgiving feast in November, and some love-filled dance nights in December, I’ve joined the many who are going to be happy to say good-bye to 2018. Too much was lost, some temporarily, and some devastatingly permanent.

Through it all, I’ve taken comfort in daily routines which, no matter what else is happening, are a manageable and controllable part of my days. Like everything else in life, we can do no more than take it one step, one minute at a time. Falling back on the familiar helps me get through some of the minutes which are harder than others.

Morning Pages: Routine for a Lifetime

My now 2+ year practice of writing morning pages has become more than just a routine. It is a lifeline inScrappy Doo a life which has, more often than not in recent days, been chaotic and outside any control I might want or need to exercise. Whether I rise with the alarm at 8 or let myself sleep in until 9 or 10, my first stop every morning is my desk where I pick up pen and paper and write for about 30 minutes.

Part of the routine is Dylan sitting beside me purring or flicking his tail across the page to let me know he needs attention. Sometimes Scrappy joins me, especially if I put a Ricola in my mouth; he seems to find menthol as addicting as catnip. The challenge is to write with a cat rubbing himself against my face in inebriated bliss. Regardless of the disruptions and interruptions, I finish those three pages daily (with the rare miss) without fail.

Doing What I Must So I Can Do As I Please

The rest of the non-negotiable morning duties include making the bed, feeding the cats, and putting in my contacts. After that, the day is mine to do with as scheduled, or occasionally, as I please.

The “as I please” part has been my practice for the last couple of weeks, leaving many of the scheduled tasks on my Trello boards undone. In years past, I’d be beating myself up over what I’ve left undone, fretting over making deadlines and meeting goals. But these days, I know my time is more flexible, and my ability to put in a few long days to make up for days I devoted to self-care has always been there when I needed to tap into the energy and focus.

Even when I worked for others, no matter what they threw at me, I met or beat my deadlines. For a long time, I failed to meet deadlines which only affected myself and my business. One day I realized I’m my most important client and, as such deserve to have my deadlines met or beaten as well.

Allowing for Flexibility

That isn’t to say life’s challenges don’t cause slippages, but as my mentor, Linda Clay tells me repeatedly, I can re-set the deadlines and forge ahead. Spending time beating myself up over those missed or extended deadlines serves no one, and keeps me from making and executing new plans.

Nearly a year ago, I planned to finish and publish “Life Torn Asunder”. Today, I’m looking at about 15 more chapters to re-write, and know it won’t be my final re-write. I also need to work on a synopsis and the rest of the information I need to pitch it to a publisher or agent. I know they won’t happen until they become a card on my Trello board.

For years, I had a written or Excel-based To-Do list. I’ve found it worked great for things like gym visits I was trying to establish as routines, but not so great for long-term projects like book re-writes and regular blog postings. I also learned having an event pop up on my phone reminding me to check the Trello boards daily helped keep me focused on the tasks I’ve committed to.

One thing I’ve learned about routines, be they daily, weekly, or monthly, is you need to allow for some flexibility. Like friendship, routines fall into three categories; a season, a reason, or a lifetime. There are only a few which fall into my “lifetime” category these days, though many only started within the last five years, and some just this year.

Routines for a Lifetime, a Reason, or a Season

Those include daily writing, making my bed, going to the gym three times a week, and writing regular blog posts. Even the last one keeps evolving. First it was once a week, then twice, now thrice. My goal is to add a similar routine for at least five clients a month so they can put their effort into building their business instead of creating content to attract clients for them to talk to. Again, this is where Linda comes in. We have weekly calls where she helps me find focus, kicks my butt, or helps me add items to my To-Do list. I also get to do some writing for her, and she’s someone I greatly admire both personally and professionally. Writing for her is the cherry on my hot fudge sundae.

My “reason” category includes things like the components for my book pitch, a long-delayed will, preparations for our after-Thanksgiving feast—the list goes on, and changes as my life expands.

“Season” is a little tougher as I enter tasks I expect to be ongoing, or perhaps, short-term, and their nature changes. Yet this is where a lot of my lessons are learned and experience gained. It might be a one-off client who needs documentation for a divorce, or someone who responded to one of my specials, and didn’t ask for anything beyond the initial tasks. Or maybe they did and became a long-term client. Either way, I’ve learned I don’t usually know whether a season task will become more, or will die on the vine until the task is completed. Sometimes they disappear for months, only to reappear when I least expect it.

Sowing Seeds to Grow New Routines

Through it all, I, like everyone else, sow seeds. Some I’ll nurture and help them grow into something to feed my soul, and hopefully a few others. Some will thrive in spite of any attention or neglect I pay them. Others will surprise me either with the fruit they bear, their tenacity, or their ability to entwine themselves into my life, creating new and exciting challenges and routines. A few will either die out or fail to sprout at all.

All of the scenarios are perfect in my mind. Not all the seeds we plant are meant to feed or inspire us. Some will even lie dormant for a long time, leading us to believe they’ve died out when in truth, they were simply waiting for their time in the sun. Those seeds are smarter than we are in that they know when it’s their time, and when it’s not.

I’m guilty of shiny object syndrome a great deal of the time (if you haven’t already figured that out while reading a post that meanders from topic to topic with no recognizable point) so I’m prone to tossing a lot of seeds into the ground just to see what they’ll do. For many, I’m less concerned about the outcome and more about the experiment I’m running. I’ll sit and watch people for the same reason. There’s a lot to be gained by watching and waiting, so long as you don’t spend your life solely in that mode.

Honoring Our Need for Times of Rest

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-97oqD4Sue Monk Kidd wrote about the value of watching and waiting in her book “When the Heart Waits”. She compared herself to a caterpillar who has spun a cocoon. There’s no rushing the process of evolving from a caterpillar to a butterfly. Sometimes, we have to sit back and wait for things to line up properly, or rest after a long, concentrated push. Those waiting periods are as important, or more so than the periods of frenetic activity which often precedes them.

I realized this week I’d neglected my reading for quite some time. Not just books to expand my skills or knowledge, but those by writers whose story-telling skills I admire. After spending a day reading one of the Mercedes Lackey books I found at the $5 book store while seeking my daughter’s and son-in-law’s annual Christmas books, I realized I need to add reading time to my daily schedule. For me, reading for an hour is on the same level of importance as daily meditation. That too has fallen by the wayside a bit in recent weeks.

Routines Should Never Become Straight Jackets

I think the most important thing I’ve learned about regular routines we create and set is we must allow Created with Canvafor flexibility. We can’t beat ourselves up when our schedule goes sideways for a little while. Sometimes we have to step back and deal with what life is throwing at us, even if it means missing a few meditations, gym days, or even writing time. When we do, it gives us a chance to take a hard look at what we’ve deemed important to make sure it still is. It also gives us a chance to look at what we’ve forgotten about, and what needs to be added back into our life.

Most of all, it’s important to remember we are evolving beings. When we step back and look at our routines, we’ll find some are still valuable while others have outlived their usefulness. We’ve gained the lesson and need to let go to make space for something else. Those are the seeds which lay dormant for awhile until we were ready to let go of something, harvest the crop, and turn the soil again.

The short days and long nights of winter when the leaves have left the trees and the ground is resting is a good time to review our routines, turn our soil, and rest. It’s also a good time to go within and just listen without judgement, plan, or goal. You might be surprised by what comes up when you quiet your mind.

Gratitude: A Routine for a Lifetime

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the things I’m learning about myself from my friends.
  2. I am grateful for the time to quiet my mind, listen to my heart and gut, and find new directions.
  3. I am grateful for the variety in my days; some are quiet and introspective, some are productive, some, even chaotic. But overall, it’s balanced.
  4. I am grateful for balance, and the ability to recognize when I need more of one thing and less of another.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; friendship, connection, joy, vulnerability, authenticity, deep conversations, new connections, lessons, challenges, peace, harmony, health, 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

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