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

Posts tagged ‘trust’

Devoted to My Cats

A Cat Chooses to Allow an Adoption

Dylan Melts Into My LapIn my life, I’ve loved many cats, and grieved them sorely when their time came to leave. I know with each one I chose, the choice was always a two-way street, with the cat’s decision far more binding and valuable than mine.

Some have chosen me overtly. Dylan put his paws on my shoulders and licked my cheek, thereby claiming me for his own. Snuffy reached out of her cage, grabbing my shirt and refusing to release it until I picked her up and promised to love her forever. After spending several weeks outside as a garage cat, Mulan started meowing at the back door. Though she was reluctant to give up her freedom at first, getting stuck in the house when I slammed the door shut to retrieve my little escape artist, Munchkin, turned out to be the excuse she needed to come in out of the cold and rain to become the pampered, adored house cat she was meant to be.

Others have been more subtle. Scrappy Doo simply melted into my arms when the staff member at the shelter placed him, cone of shame and all, into my arms. He continues to show that unquestioning trust by curling up in my lap, his excessively loud purr running non-stop, or sitting on the arm of my chair, using my hand as a pillow. Munchkin claimed my lap whenever I sat down, and slept on top of me part of the night. When she passed, I felt a cold, empty hole in my life that Mulan has been only partially able to fill.

A Cat’s Trust is Precious

I adopted my first cat, Snowy when I was 6 years old. Even when I was living in dorms or apartments, I found a way to have a cat or two in my life, or so I believed. I know now they sensed something in me, and were the ones who made the choice. Even Cinders and Hailey, who came to me as semi-ferals to be my environmentally safe exterminators soon recognized in me someone they could trust to not only care for them, but respect their boundaries.

A cat’s trust is a precious gift. There is no equal, nor any I hold in higher regard. A cat isn’t fooled by all the faces humans wear, or by false friendliness. They know, even better than an Empath whether or not you can be trusted to always treat them with the love and respect they demand and deserve.

Some see cats as arrogant or aloof. In truth, they’ve never been invited into that sacred trust, and likely never will unless something changes dramatically. Sure, there are one-person cats. My ex and I adopted a lynx point Siamese we named Mei Ling, or Missy for short. She was supposed to be his cat, but rarely paid him more than minimal attention. When we divorced, Missy stayed with me. When he’d come to pick up the girls, the mere sound of his voice sent her running for cover, where she stayed until he left. The only other person besides my daughters she ever tolerated was his sister. He might have chosen Mei Ling, but Missy chose me.

Our other cat at the time, Phangue, showed his regard for me and disdain for him by walking up his chest with claws extended, and down mine with them retracted. Did I mention cats perfected the art of sarcasm? If you ever saw Pyewacket, my Panther/Dragon lying on the bed with everything extended to it’s fullest; body, feet, and excessively long tail, there’d be no question he was making his feelings known after I’d so rudely removed him from his preferred spot amidst the pillows on the unused side of the bed.

You Can’t Fool a Cat

Many’s the time I’ve said I prefer the company of cats (or any animal for that matter) to people. In recent years, I’ve learned it isn’t all people. Just those who fail to recognize and respect boundaries the way cats do. The rare few my cats accept on sight remain in my life through all its twists and turns. Dylan, who greets anyone who enters my house has made it clear a time or two even he has his limits. The few he’s rejected weren’t in my life for very long.

I trust their judgement implicitly. Though there were a couple they accepted who later had to be ejected from my life or my daughter’s, I’ll forever believe my cats simply saw a glimmer of humanity those people never allowed me to see. Occasionally, they’ll err in the other direction, mostly when it’s someone who is on the loud side, and doesn’t allow the cat to do the approaching rather than the other way around. Ultimately, they’re forgiven for their clumsiness as it’s inexperience rather than intentional rudeness.

I refer to my cats as my babies, or my children. If someone finds that objectionable, they won’t make it past the front door. I don’t want their toxic energy pervading the environment my cats call home, and consider a safe space.

The Most Accepting Cat is Still Discerning

I’ve also learned not all animal lovers pass Dylan’s rigorous inspection. Though it’s certainly a qualifying factor, it’s not definitive. There are people who have bonded to an animal, but their bond is an exception, and involves an animal who’s suited to their needs and personality. Cats see through that too. Just as there are one-person cats, there are one-animal people too. For the same reason, most humans don’t bond with every animal either. In fact, most cat people don’t bond with every cat. Unlike dogs who are far more forgiving, each cat has its own standards, thereby limiting who and when they’ll be accepting.

There was a time I worried if one of my cats remained shy of someone I invited into my house regularly. Now, I pay attention to my cats, and if someone is consistently rejected, I, if nothing else, limit their visits to my house. It’s not fair to the cats to have to hide in one of the bedrooms whenever someone they dislike visits. At times, they’re the gut instinct constantly reminded not to ignore.

During 2020, when leaving the house has been risky and stressful; when I’m spending most of my time either inside my house, on the patio, in the backyard, I’m spending more time than ever with my cats. Even during my worst years, I’d leave to go to work, go dancing, or to one of the girls’ events. I was typically home only to sleep and maybe eat dinner most week days, and even part of the weekend. Now, even my dancing and exercise happen in or around the house, so the cats can at least see me nearly 24/7. Is it any wonder I’m noticing their moods and their effects on mine more intensely now?

Proud to be a Crazy Cat Lady

I am one of those cat parents who tells their cats I’ll be back soon when I leave the house, or if I’ll be gone for more than a day, I’ll tell Dylan to hold the fort and be nice to his sisters and brothers. He looks at me with his big, intelligent eyes, and I know he understands, even if he’s not happy I’m leaving. The unconditional love in his eyes, the way he gives my face a thorough washing when I have to move him out of my lap, and the snuggles from everyone are well worth all the pampering, the treats, and the worrying when one of them gets sick, or even horks up a hairball.

I’ll proudly wear the moniker “Crazy Cat Lady”, or anything else people say when they see someone as devoted to their felines as I. I prefer my cats to most people anyway, so their opinion rarely catches my attention. When it does, I smile to myself and say, “Damn straight! No one has ever loved me like my cats do.”

Grateful for Being Chosen

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for every minute I get to spend with each of my furry, loves.
  2. I’m grateful for the unconditional love I’ve only found in my cats.
  3. I’m grateful for every single day I get to be Dylan’s mom. He chose me, and has proven how smart I was to respect that choice over and over again. He’s kept me sane through the best and worst of times.
  4. I’m grateful for my ability to care for all of my babies even when funds are tight. Somehow, I always find a way.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; kitty love, friendship, responsibility, healing, challenges, opportunities, peace, harmony, love, health, joy, balance, philanthropy, and prosperity.



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

Essential Acts of Self Love

Making Self Love a Daily Practice other day I was thinking about words in the English language which not only signify destructive ideas and feelings, but at times, cause them as well. In his song “Kill a Word”, Eric Church sings about words he’d like to see stricken from the language, though in his case, the words are linked to a failed relationship. Words like never, good-bye, regret, heartbreak, temptation, and evil tell a tale of love gone wrong.

Some of the words he and I would like to see die a slow death are the same, though for different reasons. Words like evil, hate, vile, and wicked are, I believe universally known to bring unpleasant feelings, and too often, actions to the surface.

The words I’d love to kill off are words that crush a spirit, or keep a person from loving who they are, and blossoming into the beautiful being they were meant to be. Words like should, or responsibility, or useful. It’s not so much the words themselves, but how they’re used, or in truth, misused.

Words Not to Live By

How many shoulds have made people question themselves? Have caused to do what they believed someone else wanted instead of what would make them happy? Or have caused resentment as they grudgingly did what someone said they should rather than trusting themselves and risking the ire of a parent, partner, friend, spouse, or boss?

I look back at all the times I did what I’d been told was the responsible thing instead of following my heart or even my gut. I’ve put my nose to the grindstone day in, day out, doing things which were considered useful but were slowly killing my soul and spirit. From the stories I’ve read and the people I talk to who dread Mondays, and live for Fridays, I know I’m not alone.

While we’re on the subject, when did we start believing we had to live for weekends as a reward for spending 40 plus hours a week doing a job we might not hate, but certainly didn’t love? How did I buy into the lie that it’s OK to be miserable 5/7ths of the time?

Living A Life Worth Loving often, I see employment referred to as a J.O.B. Clearly it’s not a positive thing. Why do so many people live their entire lives that way? Why did I give 30 years of mine to it, not to mention the years I spent pursuing a degree in something I’d come to loathe? Don’t get me wrong. I truly love doing accounting work when I can choose the people I work with and the kind of work I’m doing. Unfortunately, I kept ending up in jobs where neither of these were true.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence so many people end up in jobs they hate, working for people they can’t even respect, much less like. Like many, I set low expectations, and of course, always got what I expected. I worked for a long string of men whose wives ruled the household. They came to work with a gigantic chip on their shoulder when it came to women in management, and blinders as to the value a woman could bring if she wasn’t hobbled by misconceptions. Many of these men had trust issues, either because a former employee (ironically, always male) had stolen from them, or because of an ugly divorce or two.

Still, I could say I chose these bosses and positions unconsciously because of my own attitude, biases, and prejudices, and because of the things I’d come to believe because of the shoulds and responsibles I bought into, often because I mistakenly believed it would keep the peace.

Seeing the Intention Behind the Words

Words have power. They can build you up, or they can shatter you into a million self lovepieces, too often willingly, or at least with no resistance. I know I’m not alone in having fallen victim to master manipulators who use words to intentionally elicit emotional responses and behaviors. Once I recognized the patterns I’d fallen into, those words made me distrustful too. I’d hear certain words and immediately write the speaker off as someone I needed to avoid.

What I didn’t realize, but have since learned is it’s not so much the words, but how they’re used, and the intent behind them. Erring on the side of wariness isn’t a bad thing either. I had to learn not to take the wariness too far and shut down completely. Instead, it’s an opportunity to tread cautiously until the speaker’s intentions are made clear. I leave space to put up the walls if their intentions truly are self-serving or malicious.

Not every dog wants to bite. The same is true of humans. Some are as wary as I am until they feel safe. Some will cast a net around themselves, intentionally making others keep their distance until they prove trustworthy, or at least benign. That leaves the rest to either be too trusting no matter how many times they get bitten, or who believe in trusting no one.

I spent a lot of time in the last category; enough to refrain from recommending it. To trust no one with or without justification leads to a lonely existence. Even the most casual of relationships cannot survive without a certain amount of trust, even if it’s simply trusting you won’t be intentionally mistreated. I’ve learned most people are unlikely to cause another person pain on purpose.

Relationships Cannot Survive Without Trust, it is human nature to put up walls after a major betrayal or hurt, limiting close contact until there’s sufficient proof history isn’t likely to repeat itself. I know of few humans who haven’t been hurt by another by the time they reach adulthood; many several times; some of those, severe.

I’m learning to recognize those hurts in the way someone talks about their life, themselves, and people from their past. Those who are most sensitive, or have been hurt deeply by other people, circumstances or both are most likely to give reasons or excuses for remaining single. All share one common attribute: the reasons and excuses are meant to convince themselves, not anyone else. In fact, anyone who truly cares about them sees it as a smokescreen or self-protective dialogue; nothing more.

Too often, that internal dialogue includes the destructive, limiting words like should, useful, or responsibility. If it worked for people on the outside, it’ll be equally effective when administered from the inside, right?

I’ve discovered the hard way when those words are self-administered they’re even more destructive; more limiting. In the first place, they’re lies. In the second, the worst lies you can tell are the ones you tell yourself.

Paying Attention to Self-Talk

As usual, I’ve talked around in circles a bit here, and exposed a few of my own wounds and scars in the process. Using artificial limitations, whether verbally or by actions begins as self-defense after a bad experience. When it becomes a lifestyle, you’ve allowed the experience to negatively impact your entire life. In the end, you’ve given away power over your own life to someone or something that doesn’t deserve the right at all.

It’s taken a lot of soul-searching, writing, opening old wounds, and tearing down rotting walls for me to discover how important it is to keep my self-talk positive, my actions towards self uplifting, and my self love unconditional. I’ve learned it’s the least anyone deserves. Only by loving myself did I learn to stop trying to please anyone outside myself. If nothing else, it’s a losing battle, both because other people don’t always know what they want, and because doing so means losing a part of myself. Why would I willingly cut off a finger or an arm? So why did I cut off part of my soul for decades?

The answers don’t matter now. What matters is recognizing and eliminating self-destructive behavior going forward. As many philosophers and spiritual practitioners remind us, you can’t change the past. It’s over. All you can change is the moment you’re in. I choose to fill mine with compliments, love, and self-care. How about you?

Finding Reasons to Be Grateful, Even for the Small Things

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for the lessons I’ve learned, the pain I’ve endured, and the healing I’ve effected.
  2. I’m grateful for inspiration from music, friendship, and lessons.
  3. I’m grateful I’ve learned to be gentle with myself, especially when I don’t meet self-imposed expectations. I know deadlines can be pushed without the world exploding.
  4. I’m grateful for the compassion and love I found not only in my immediate world, but all around once I stopped hiding from it out of fear and self-defense practices which had outlived their usefulness.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, inspiration, friendship, joy, dancing, cat love, intentions, motivation, energy, peace, health, harmony, 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

Giving Relationships a Fighting Chance

How Does a Successful Relationship Begin?

Created with CanvaWhen I was in my 20’s there was a belief many of us shared that said living together before marriage was the best way to determine whether you could survive the perils and pitfalls of life with someone else sharing your space. Like any other belief, it worked for some people and not for others. I’ve seen as many relationships fail after a period of living together (including my own) as I have when there wasn’t. The long and short of it is, there aren’t any guarantees, no matter how you approach merging your life with someone else’s.

Today, I have friends who’ve been married more than 30 years, as well as some who’ve been married multiple times. Some of us pretty much gave up after 1 failure, and others have opted for a committed relationship without the piece of paper. Looking around, I’ve noticed a few things.

  • Commitment is a mindset
  • Making a relationship work takes effort from both parties
  • Desperation does not yield the best of choices
  • Sometimes, alone is better
  • “Want” and “need” are two very different animals
  • Compromise doesn’t mean giving in all the time
  • Without self-love, you can’t have a healthy, long-lasting relationship

People Pleasing Doesn’t Build Self-Esteem

Contrary to popular belief, people who allow themselves to be doormats are Created with Canvaseldom happy. I have several friends who turned themselves inside out to please someone and keep a relationship going, only to see it fall apart anyway. Today, they’re stronger for it, and unwilling to repeat past mistakes. They realize how unhappy and unfulfilled they were while trying to be what they thought someone else wanted them to be. In her song “Miss Me More”, Kelsea Ballerini sings “I thought I’d miss you, but I miss me more”. I think this epitomizes the concept of being true to yourself as well as anything I’ve seen or heard.

Living together could help uncover some potential problems a couple might encounter, but unless the masks come off, all aspects of the living situation are shared, and decisions are made jointly, I’m not convinced it will guarantee success. In some ways, you’d remain in “honeymoon status” because one or both of you are trying to keep the other happy. In truth, neither of you will be happy in the long run because, quite frankly, maintaining that blissful, carefree state is exhausting.

Life gets in the way. Trying to be perpetually cheerful, happy, and willing to please your partner eventually becomes a chore. You want and need “me” time, or to be the one who’s pampered and catered to. Even in a relationship where there’s a lot of give and take, there will be times when one or the other is used up emotionally by job, finances, family, and a host of other issues, and has nothing left to give. Those moments and how you manage them together will only show up if you’re honest and open.

Easy In = Easy Out

Sometimes they are the show-stoppers in a living together arrangement. Since you’ve made no real commitment, it’s easier to decide you’re unwilling to make the effort and walk away. Or to use another old saying “when the going gets tough, the tough get going” though in this case, it isn’t necessarily a good thing. Sure, marriages end too, but I’d like to think most people who’ve made a commitment to each other give breaking the commitment a lot more thought than those who, to use the vernacular, are just “shacking up”.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against living together, or even being in a relationship and maintaining separate homes. I’ve seen that work well too. My point is you have to avoid falling into “honeymoon mode” if you make such a choice. Successful long-term relationships can begin in a multitude of ways, but only last when they’re based on honesty, mutual respect, and a healthy balance of give and take. One person can’t put all their time and energy into trying to make the other happy.

Face it. The only person you can make happy is yourself. If someone isn’t committed to their own happiness, no amount of love and attention from outside is going to bring them happiness. It’s truly an inside job.

Throwing Trust Into the Mix

In my own life, the single factor which has caused every single unsuccessful to fail, be it employer-employee, co-workers, friends, or lovers has been lack of trust. It took me a long time to recognize the red flags, but after many painful situations and outright failures, I’ve learned to run when I see the signs:

  • Requiring me to prove myself in order to “earn” their trust
  • A tendency to talk more and listen less
  • Disrespect in any form
  • Mention of prior relationships in which their trust was abused
  • Failure to answer direct questions honestly. This may include diversion, humor, or flat out refusal.
  • Narcissism
  • Inattention such as taking a call in the middle of an interview, flirting with the waitress during a date, or any other behavior which implies I’m an afterthought to say, I’ve been burned by every one of these, and quite a few more as well. I suspect I’m not alone either. Everyone has a horror story or two to tell about a job, a friendship gone wrong, or a relationship that tanked. Each of us also has perfect hindsight. You know why it went wrong…now. But you allowed it to unfold for longer than it should have even with all your alarm bells clanging and red flags waving.

Knowing How to Lay a Firm Foundation

Photo: David Derong/Iowa State DailyWhen all is said and done, I don’t think how you begin a relationship, be it personal, work, or anything else determines success or failure. It’s about whether the parties to the arrangement are willing to put the effort into making it work. It’s about mindset and owning responsibility for your own happiness. Most of all, you have to decide from the onset whether it’s a passing fling or something you want to last a lifetime.

There are no guarantees. Things happen. People change. Lives end. The world interferes. But you can’t weather the storms if you’re not willing to get soaked now and then.

Gratitude: The Strongest Brick in Your Structure

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for the many lessons I’ve learned by failing.
  2. I’m grateful for the people who’ve taught me what I deserve, and the ones who’ve taught me what I don’t.
  3. I’m grateful for peaceful afternoons spent creating. I truly am living the life of my dreams in a lot of ways.
  4. I’m grateful for flexibility; schedules, tasks, friendships. Life throws us curveballs and being able to step out of the way rather than face them all head on means a more peaceful, stress-free life.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; joy, laughter, love, friendship, creativity, inspiration, motivation, opportunities, health, harmony, peace, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light


About the Author

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


Relationship’s End for Empaths

Breaking Up for An Empath Isn’t Simple

Created with CanvaA friend’s recent break-up got me thinking about the rare (maybe 2) occasions I’ve had to end a relationship instead of someone ending it for me. With the notable exception of my marriage which was long overdue by the time I ended it, I still remember suffering emotionally when I had to tell someone what we had wasn’t working for me any more.

Even when it’s been a clean break, no further communication, both going our own way, it still seemed like a laceration to my heart. I’m not saying a lot of people don’t suffer when they end a relationship. What I am saying is Empaths get a double whammy. We hurt for ourselves and for the person we left. Physical distance means nothing when faced with emotional pain from someone we care about.

Sure, some endings come because we stopped caring (like my marriage), or because we’ve been betrayed. Though easier to get over since we effectively block the other person’s emotions, an Empath feels levels of pain others probably won’t understand. It comes back to bite us just like any other kind of grief. We re-live good times and bad, second-guess ourselves, and even entertain the notion that the relationship could be fixed if we just tried harder.

Holding On Too Long

Following that train of thought leads me to wonder if Empaths stick out relationships longer than they should, unconsciously trying to spare ourselves pain. Do we go beyond the last straw to save a relationship that isn’t really worth saving? Even more, do we ignore signs that our partner is no longer committed to the relationship and may even be cheating on us, simply to avoid being the one to end things?

For myself, years after I’d divorced my husband, people told me they knew he was cheating on me. Perhaps the signs were obvious and I chose to ignore them rather than having to end things. I knew when we were no longer connected in any way, yet chose to distance myself emotionally while pretending to maintain the relationship. I even treated him horribly, which I regretted later, hoping he’d be the one to decide to leave.

Early Lessons in Narcissism

In the end, I had to pull the plug, and he behaved as most narcissists do, though at the time, I’t made the connection. He was cruel, nasty, and abusive. Only distancing myself physically alleviated some of the effects of his vitriol. Surprisingly, his signature on the piece of paper ending our marriage legally was the most cathartic act of all for me. It’s as if the energy in his signature drained off whatever hold he still had on my emotional and energetic self. I felt drained but relieved, and finally able to move forward with my own life.

It still took a long time to rebuild myself after the damage he’d wrought, but I was already broken when we got together. Part of the rebuilding process involved creating an entirely new foundation containing components with which I was unfamiliar. Having been raised to contain my emotions and to believe taunting and teasing were symbols of love, I had to learn and forge a new path before I could rebuild on a foundation which would bear the weight of the years to come.

Creating Our Own Paths

I’ve experienced a lot of trial and error in the last 20 years or so. In some ways, it’s been a lot like rock climbing. You reach for the next handhold, testing its ability to hold your weight before using it to reach for the next rock or outcropping. Sometimes I fell back a few paces. Others, I lost a lot of ground and a great deal of skin as well. Those were painful but necessary lessons in who and what I could trust. It’s when I started learning how to recognize a narcissist and avoid being used to fuel their insatiable need for adoration and getting their own way. It’s also when I started seeing how many times I’d been bled dry in a fruitless effort to please one.

These days, I’m still on the fence. I’m mentally ready to find someone and commit, but emotionally, there’s still a lot of trepidation. I don’t entirely trust myself to see the signs of a narcissist and run the other way. I’ve seen my savvier Empath friends fall victim, which causes me to distrust my own instincts too.

Trusting Ourselves and the Lessons We’ve Learned I know I already have a healthy array of red flags at my disposal. Despite the wiliness of the average narcissist, they’re bound to trigger one of those red flags before I get in too deep. And probability-wise, I don’t have a lot more decades in this meat suit, so I might as well give myself a chance to live what’s left fully and completely, even if it means having to go through the painfully unpleasant process of admitting I made a mistake, and ending things once more.

We all make choices, but rarely do we choose pain. Instead, we choose to take chances on things we know have the potential to end painfully just as they have the potentially to bring us great joy. Do we avoid the opportunity for great joy so we insure we don’t get hurt? Or do we risk potential consequences to reap equally probable rewards?

I’ve taken the safe route for a very long time as I clutch memories of the painful times close. But there comes a time when we all realize the painful stuff can only hurt us if we allow it, and it’s time to take away its power. If there’s pain to be had, we have it within ourselves to minimize the pain and decrease the longevity based on what we’ve learned from previous experiences.

What it comes down to is trusting ourselves.

Do you trust yourself, or are you still wrapping yourself in cotton wool to save you from making more painful mistakes? How’s that working for you?


My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for the lessons I’ve learned, even if they were painful for a long time.
  2. I’m grateful for choices. I can be what, where, and who I want as long as I’m willing to accept some risk, and some unknowns.
  3. I’m grateful for love. In its many forms, it truly does heal all wounds. Especially self-love.
  4. I’m grateful for opportunities and ideas which come to me when I learn to let go.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; friendship, love, light, ideas, support, collaboration, joy, compassion, 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


How Much Serendipity Do We Need for Self-Trust?

Why Do We Trust Others More Than Ourselves?

A few years ago, I took a class in healing. One of the things we had to learn was to trust the feelings, images, sounds, or whatever messages we received. This has always been difficult for me. I’m all too quick to discount what I’m feeling as simply my overactive imagination.

Time and time again during the course of the class, my feelings were corroborated, often with some surprise on the part of the person I was working with. Yet, to this day, I still struggle to just trust myself.

Over the years, I’ve become increasingly aware of repeating numbers. I’ll see 11:11, 3:33 and other combinations fairly frequently, but for a long time attributed it to the new car syndrome. You know how when you buy a new car (or anything else for that matter) you suddenly start seeing others like it everywhere. It isn’t that there are more of them. You’ve just become more aware.

Pay Attention to the Signs

Many see these repeating numbers as confirmation that you’re on the right track, or as angel messages. Either way, they are considered a sign that you need to pay attention to something. Call me a crackpot if you must, but I’m one who started out just noticing the frequent occurrence and seeing it as things that make you go hmmmm. As other things begin occurring which corroborate the messages in the numbers, I’m starting to believe it’s the Universe, getting my attention in a kinder, gentler way than its usual rather painful head slaps.

Whether it’s all green lights on a stretch of road I know is timed to stop drivers every few blocks, or finding the perfect parking spot in a crowded lot, or even forcing me to walk a mile and a half each way because the closer froyo shop is now only selling Dole Whips. I feel like I’m being pushed a little further on my path, but more, being reminded to trust in myself and where I’m going.

Leave the Comfort Zone, Follow the Heart

A few weeks ago, I took a gigantic leap outside my comfort zone and introduced myself to Carolyn Maul, a life coach and personal trainer. Although I’m not in a place right now to hire her, she gave me a couple of pieces of advice which have made significant changes in my life. Though they were things I already knew about, I wasn’t doing them, and her suggestions came at exactly the right time. You might notice there has been a marked increase in blog posts in the last few weeks, and I attribute that to following Carolyn’s advice concerning my health. When I started treating my body better, my brain engaged. Who’d have thought?

A few weeks into a routine which involved tracking what I eat and going to the gym 3 times a week, I’m getting out more, writing more, and finding inspiration in interesting places. But I’m also finding that what I’m inspired to write about shows up a day or two later on someone else’s blog or Facebook page, corroborating my own perceptions.

And there it is again. I recognize something, but think it’s only me. Not long afterwards, my feelings are confirmed by others. If the Universe was into neon, I’m sure I’d be seeing flashing red signs saying Are you going to start trusting yourself or what?

Recognizing Good News as Well as Bad

We all recognize the warning signs which tell us we’re heading into they abyss; the sick feeling in the pit of our stomach, the reluctance to step further into a situation. Sometimes we heed them and are glad we did. Other times, we ignore them and pay the price later. But how often do we recognize the signs which tell us we’re heading in the right direction; following our true path?

Those signs are more subtle (most of the time) but they are still there. I’ve found they become especially strong when our courage is waning or when we’re about to give up because we’re not seeing results and the future looks grim for one reason or another. Maybe that’s why I’m noticing them now.

My dream of being a writer and somehow being able to support myself with it has seen a limited amount of success in the 3 years or so I’ve been pursuing it. Some of it is me as I have long dry spells when few words hit the page…any page. Then I get really inspired and write thousands of words in several places in a matter of days. The floodgates open and I’m like a waterfall after a heavy rain. I can barely type fast enough to keep up. My desk is littered with notes about what I’ll write next. I’m typing madly into my phone instead of dancing because an idea has to be captured before it flits away along with the million and three other thoughts rushing through my brain.

In the last few weeks, I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone more often and more dramatically than I have since I made the gigantic leap of faith which left me without a steady source of income or even a regular routine. One of the biggest things I’ve accomplished is setting a routine, not only health-wise, but work-wise too.

Changing From the Inside Out

I guess you’re wondering what’s changed. Here’s a brief recap:

  • Tracking all meals on MyFitnessPal
  • Resuming the fat release progress I started last year
  • Setting 3 regular days to work out (in the past I just said I’d work out 3 days, but didn’t specify which ones, so the routine died on the vine in short order)
  • Writing at least 3 blog posts a week
  • Adding chapters to Forgotten Victims every week
  • Responding to job postings (with limited success at the moment, but I have confidence the tide will turn)
  • Developing a plan for the type of websites I will pitch
  • Expanding my own skill-set for VA work
  • Learning to trust the feelings and ideas I get without question

I’m not seeing huge successes in any of these areas…yet. I am, however, giving myself credit for each and every one instead of beating myself up when one or another doesn’t give me immediate results. I’ve discovered it isn’t how fast you get results, but how consistent you are in sticking to the plan. The rest will come together in time.

The biggest change, however, is my attitude. My confidence has returned on many levels. I know I can make my ideas work. I know I can get published. I know I can be a knock-out VA. And because of all this, I’m more willing to go out on a limb, nearly any limb (I draw the line at bungee jumping or jumping out of perfectly good airplanes). I’m leaping out of bed every morning having finally recovered from Daylight Savings Time, earlier and earlier. I’m excited about what the day will bring, even if it’s just another batch of something or other for my freezer which will save me from having to cook for awhile. (That has to stop after today, though. I’m almost out of space and today’s batch of stuffed cabbage will require all my Tetris skills to get everything in in an organized fashion. I rather like being able to choose what I want from the appropriate pile rather than just reaching in, grabbing a container, and hoping for the best.

What Signs Are YOU Ignoring?

Now I’m going to throw this over to you. What changes have you made or could you make which will get you going in the right direction? What signs have you been getting which tell you either that your on the right path or it’s time to change direction? How often do you take these signs seriously? If seldom, isn’t it time to start trusting your gut, so to speak? Above all, can you identify at least one small success which resulted from trusting your intuition?

I look forward to hearing YOUR story!

Reinforcing the Changes With Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for signs.
  2. I am grateful I’m finally learning to trust in myself and know everything is working out exactly as it’s supposed to.
  3. I am grateful for the love and support of friends and family who aren’t afraid to tell me when I’m going in the right direction despite appearances, but who are also not afraid to tell me I need to get my act together.
  4. I am grateful for all of the amazing changes which have come from a single encounter with an amazing woman.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; courage, drive, productivity, imagination, dreams, hopes, love, friendship, surprises, confidence, hope, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, 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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