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

Posts tagged ‘writing’

Don’t Go Changin’ to Try and Please Me

Why Fit in When I Was Meant to Stand Out?

A couple of days ago, I was ready to go into a full-on rant. In fact, I had several hundred words typed. If I’ve learned nothing else over the years, it’s to sit on things for a day or so when they spark my ire. Once again, I’m glad I did.

Let me give you a bit of background. Although I’m an introvert and inherently shy, I learned, early on to both mask it and protect my soft inner core (you’ve probably heard this before as I mention it on occasion). In some ways, I may have learned too well as I’ve been accused of being intimidating (and that’s one of the nicer things people say).

Whine All You Want…As Long As You Fight Your Own Battles

It’s brought its own share of problems, especially from people who feel they need to stifle me in some way. I don’t really mind if someone comes to me and raises an issue. But all too often, the complaints are far more insidious because they come from those who prefer to try to shake my confidence by going through what, in their weak minds is the proper channels.

These channels have, over my lifetime ranged from complaints to my manager about a conversation they overheard to a full-on written complaint accusing me (falsely of course) of harassment. In the past, these complaints have had the desired result; they’ve shaken my confidence and made me the object of unnecessary scrutiny.

The latest example occurred in my critique group, and at first, made me very angry. So angry I missed the last meeting where I’d submitted one of my chapters for critique. I have mixed feelings now, but feel that, in the overall scheme of things, skipping the meeting until I got things into perspective in my own mind was in everyone’s best interests.

Once emotion left the equation and logic took over, I understood that this is just another lesson in setting boundaries. In the past, I’ve done one of two things; either I changed myself, albeit unwillingly, or I retreated into my hermit hole, limiting interactions to the absolutely necessary.

I’m not going to do that this time. I am the person I am, warts and all. I don’t set out to offend people, but occasionally I do. If the person I offended brings it to my attention, I am apologetic and appreciate knowing that something which seemed innocuous to me was offensive to them.

Drawing a Line in the Sand

However, this time around, I’ve made the decision to ignore anything which comes through a third party or intermediary. If a person hasn’t got the balls to speak up for themselves, they can be as offended as they want to be. It’s not my problem. I’m done with catering to those who hide behind excuses like I’m too shy to talk to her or I’m an introvert or she scares me. I’m also finished with the ones who play damsel in distress and play upon the male ego to get someone to save them. Sorry, ladies, but that’s the biggest crock I’ve ever seen. Grow up, take responsibility for yourself and stop playing people. That’s just manipulative and passive-aggressive.

Sure, there will be an elephant in the room for awhile, but as far as I’m concerned, people are either going to have to learn to talk to me directly or stew in their own juices, and frankly, I’m not married to either outcome.

I also feel it is inconsiderate in the extreme to involve other people in something which is ludicrous in the first place. It isn’t that my behavior is especially bothersome to them at all. It’s that they resent someone who, at least in appearance, seems stronger, smarter and more capable than they are. Having been married to an alcoholic, I recognize this need to bring people down to your level. I’ve just decided to decline any future invitations to this party, but thanks anyway.

Kiss This!

The long and the short of it is, I don’t ask anyone to change to please me. I will no longer entertain any suggestions, complaints or requests that I change to please someone else, and especially if the requester uses someone else as their mouthpiece. If they don’t like me, nobody is forcing them to spend time in my presence.

And Still, There’s Gratitude

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for recurring lessons as they remind me to be true to myself.
2. I am grateful for my personal therapist which always allows me to work things through from different angles.
3. I am grateful for the opportunities which are coming my way to write about different things and new places.
4. I am grateful for my daughter who is as anal about organization, deadlines and responsibility as I am, if not more.
5. I am grateful for abundance: love, life, motivation, inspiration, opportunities, words, health, peace, harmony, philanthropy and prosperity.

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

The featured image is courtesy of Scott Akerman via Flikr

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Fixing What’s Broke: What’s in your Tradition?

Falling Back on the Tried and True

Last night I posted a minor rant about my missing holiday cheer. It was prompted by the small pile of gifts and the bins of packaging material which were littering my living room untouched.

The purpose of my mini rant was two-fold. First, I figured I wasn’t alone in feeling a bit let down and cheerless, holiday-wise at this time of year. Second, I knew that if I wrote about it instead of keeping it inside where it could fester, I’d purge myself of the crabbiness and get on with what I needed to do.

Getting Back in Working Order

I want you to know that it worked. I spent most of today shopping: not for anything major, but for those small things that make the holiday special–or at least they do in my house.

For me, it might be that special tea or cocoa for someone, a toy that makes weird grunting noises for my grandpuppy or just the right calendar for everyone on my guest list. Oh! And that brings to mind traditions.

We Have Traditions We Follow From Year to Year

When my daughters were young, I started doing certain things for them for Christmas/Chanukah, never realizing they’d become solid family traditions. Most of them weren’t that expensive and since money was tight in the early years, it made them that much easier to perpetuate. In fact, my daughter still follows many of them. So what are some of our traditions? Here’s a short list. Something to note is that for most of these items, fun is the operative word. No boring stuff for us!:

  • Pajamas
  • Socks
  • Underwear
  • A hard back book with a special message inscribed inside (this one isn’t necessarily silly. In the beginning, it was classics like Huck Finn and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea)
  • Kitchen gadgets
  • Calendars

Many people create family traditions intentionally as a means to instill certain values in their children, while others, like us, just sort of have them happen. An idea comes up one year and it goes over so well it happens from year to year until the holidays just wouldn’t be the same without it. However a tradition comes about, I think it’s a lot like an inside joke. It makes those inside feel warm and fuzzy, not only in the midst of traditional activities, but whenever they come to mind.

As for the rest of my holiday preparations, I managed to get a nice pile of gifts wrapped tonight too.

What is in Your Tradition?

I would love to hear how your family makes the holidays special and unique. Remember, it’s those little things which count more than expensive gifts or elaborate trips.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I’m grateful again for my writing which is the most effective, least expensive therapist I’ve ever found.
2. I am grateful for today’s shopping trip which yielded simple yet meaningful gifts for those I love.
3. I am grateful for the traditions my daughters and I created over the years.
4. I am grateful for the love and cheer I encountered while shopping today.
5. I am grateful for abundance: love, cheer, kindness, compassion, RAK’s, joy, friendship, happiness, cooperation, successes large and small, sharing, caring, health, 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, www.shericonaway.com 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!

Getting Back to Basics

Life After NaNoWriMo

A lot of things went to hell during November; so badly, I’m amazed I was able to complete my first NaNo while working a full-time job. Of course, I didn’t have bi-weekly critique groups, Thanksgiving dinner for almost 20 and events with my photographer friend either. I was also very focused about writing between 10 PM and midnight,something I am2015 Nano Winners Certificate not always on top of these days.

This year’s NaNo taught me a lot of things, but the one which impressed me most was prompted during the final week when procrastination had gotten me in a bad spot in spite of a terrific, 5,000-word first day. In short, I had about 4 days to write 15,000 words, give or take 100.

Impending Deadlines are my Best Friend

I’m going to say this very softly so the Universe won’t hear me, but I work best when I have a deadline looming. In fact, if my deadline is 3 or 4 days away, I am bound and determined to finish with no less than 2 days to go. That’s where I found myself last week.

On Thursday November 26, I had about 37,000 words written. Being Thanksgiving and, as we’d celebrated early, a nice, alone, stay-in-my-pajamas kind of day, I further procrastinated. OK, that left 3 days to finish, on top of which, I had client work which had languished as well.

To make a long story short, I proved to myself I could write 10,000 words in a single day. It is not something I plan to do on a regular basis, but now I know I can do it. Note I did not say I wrote 10,000 good words. But I did write 10,000 words, and with the 3,000 I added the following day, finished with a day to spare. It’s amazing what you can do when someone holds a knife to your throat, even if the hand holding the knife was my own.

I wouldn’t recommend attempting my little marathon (though my first Nano saw 8,000 words in a single night of writing, beginning at 10PM and ending at 3AM.) Needless to say, I seem to need that push at some point in November, maybe to make me feel that I’ve really earned the right to say I’m a NaNo winner.

Taking a Little Break

Though my beloved Inklings have decided to continue our Wednesday Panera Write-ins through December, I used the time today to work on a blog post for one of the events I attended in November. Again, I hold the knife to my throat to finish the posts I owe by the end of this week. Something tells me life is going to continue to move at the rapid pace which was set in November so I have lost the procrastination time I stole.

The Excitement Never Ends!

And if the writing, accounting and VA work wasn’t enough, my 17 year old cat (who I thought was 18 going on 19) has developed an infection in her liver. She has never been the easiest cat tf50f8-familyandfriends321o medicate but now she has to have an antibiotic pill twice a day and two other meds once a day. Poor baby, but she also gets baby food rather than the kidney diet she’s been on until she starts eating again. Just another fun addition to my daily routine. At least my sweet girl knows I’m trying to help her and isn’t fighting the meds as hard as she might.

Nothing Left to do but be Grateful

Which leads me to tonight’s gratitudes:
1. I am grateful I’ve learned to read my cats and know when they need a trip to the vet.
2. I am grateful for a successful completion of NaNo #3.
3. I am grateful for work which fulfills me and is even starting to keep me busy.
4. I am grateful for the positive influences I enjoy every day.
5. I am grateful for abundance: Love, life, kitties, health, happiness, harmony, peace, forgiveness, inspiration, motivation, productivity, philanthropy and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel and https://www.facebook.com/HLWTAccounting . Please also drop by my website, http://www.shericonaway.com 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!

Why I Write: Version 957 (or something like that)

I Feel so Blessed if I Touch But a Single Heart

I try to be as open and honest as possible here when sharing my own hopes, dreams, successes and tragedies. I know that though my experiences may be unique to me in how all of the pieces come together, the basic framework; the components which join together to create my personal mosaic are shared by many. They may put the pieces together in different patterns, add a few I missed, delete a few which don’t fit the picture they’re portraying. But in the end, we share a common bond.

Especially in tragedy or in the things over which we struggle, it is somehow comforting to know we aren’t alone and that there is someone out there who understands. For some, even those day to day struggles can become overwhelming, and a tiny glimmer of hope might be enough to open up a window in their dark room.

Sometimes when I share, I strike a note and people say Oh, yeah! I can relate. I’ve been there too. Other times, like with my last post, one of the people who inspire and support me turns around and challenges me.

Getting in Touch with Ourselves

Essentially, I was challenged to investigate my own particular perceptions. I was asked whether I knew when I saw someone that I would be attracted to them, whether or not getting to know them better furthered the attraction or not, didn’t I at least know if I had a smidgen of interest?

Let me preface my answer by saying that I’ve learned to fight back those niggling little attraction gremlins for a couple of reasons. First, the last time I allowed myself to let them have their way, I was in a mucked up emotional place. I was unhappy, angry, negative and a bit self-destructive. Needless to say, I wasn’t attracted to anyone who might actually be good for me. Or if I was, my interest wasn’t returned because they only saw the broken, messy part of me I was showing the world at the time. Second, I have a terrible history of making an ass of myself over someone to whom I was attracted. As a result, I’ve taught myself to discount the feelings and run the other way before I once again embarrass myself.

Being the friend and the strong honest woman she is, I wasn’t allowed to prevaricate. With each lame answer I gave, another question, another challenge came. So this post is for Lorna who has, on more than one occasion, forced me to take a good, hard look at who I am, what I’m doing and what I truly want. I am so grateful for her tenacity even when she makes me look at a part of myself that isn’t very pretty. She is truly in my life for a reason because, left to my own devices, I’d probably just allow those hard truths to molder inside me, tainting everything good I’ve managed to accomplish.

Her first comment about my post was:

So this made for interesting reading but was safe and “over there”. My question is do either of the last two men interest you personally?

I’m not going to include the entire conversation here, but you’re welcome to follow it on my Author page on Facebook (referenced below) if you’re interested in all the gory details. Suffice it to say, I sidestepped her question a couple of times, but like a bulldog, she wasn’t about to allow me to get off that easily. I admit, I never completely answered her question, nor her later remark: I bet you know what you like.

Knowing When it’s Time to Face Our Fears

I know a lot of my lack of response has to do with fear: fear of making the same mistakes, fear of rejection, fear of making a fool of myself…and the list goes on. But as was pointed out by another friend recently, we cannot let fear control us or keep us from doing the things we want to do like completing projects or developing deep, enduring friendships.

In order to face those fears, I’m going to answer her question here. Without further ado, here are the things I like and which would lead me to feel attracted to someone. This applies to both men and women as they are things I find attractive in my friends. I also believe that to have a strong, healthy relationship of the romantic kind, friendship is essential, and must be there before anything else can develop.

  • Sense of Humor
  • Wit
  • Positive attitude
  • Comfortable in their own skin
  • Humble
  • Intelligent
  • Supportive
  • Strong-willed but not dictatorial. Someone who has an opinion and won’t let go of it just to please someone else.
  • Young at heart
  • Responsible
  • Dances
  • Compassionate

I could add a lot more to this list, but I think this covers most of it. Anything else would just be overly picky or icing on the cake. I’ve heard different points of view about making lists of the character traits of someone you’d like to attract. That’s not my purpose here. I’m simply answering a question and maybe, just a little, giving myself permission to find someone with a few of these traits attractive, if only on a visceral level. Whether or not I’d act on my own feelings of attraction would depend on whether I manage to overcome those fears and manage to keep the attraction at level where there are no expectations other than a new friend/acquaintance and someone I might dance with now and again.

I’ve learned that sometimes, putting my fears down in black and white somehow takes some of the power out of them. Looking at them as the formless, insubstantial beings they are makes me realize they are no more than a figment of my imagination anyway; even those I’ve experienced at some distant point in my life. I just have to keep reminding myself: that was then, this is now. I’m not the same person I was 10 years ago. I’ve grown, I’ve developed, I’ve made changes and I’ve done a whole lot of soul searching. With other people, I give credit where credit is due. But with myself, I have a bad habit of minimizing my accomplishments. I think the cold, hard truth is that we have to learn to love ourselves but we also have to learn to treat ourselves like our own best friend.

What Fears Are Holding You Back?

We all have them. A part of our life where we aren’t giving ourselves the chance to be everything we could be. A place where we’re allowing misplaced fears to call the shots. Sometimes, it’s cathartic to share them with others, so feel free to do so in the comments. When all is said and done, we’re in this together; we’re all a part of the same whole.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for friends who expect me to be honest with them and myself.
2. I am grateful for the challenges in my life and the fears I’ve already let go.
3. I am grateful for the gift of writing which has, so many times, allowed me to work through a problem, a fear, a trauma…and come out whole and stronger on the other side.
4. I am grateful for perseverance. Each day, I get more and more accomplished and each day, I feel that much better about myself.
5. I am grateful for abundance: friendship, lessons, challenges, productivity, intelligence, imagination, love, joy, harmony, peace, health, philanthropy and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel and https://www.facebook.com/HLWTAccounting . Please also drop by my website, http://www.shericonaway.com 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!

September 18, 2015 Gratitude: When What We Need is to be Needed

The Universe Always Comes Through

I’m a firm believer in the Laws of Attraction. The Universe will always bring exactly what is needed, though quite often it isn’t exactly how you might have envisioned it. Whether we realize it or not, we are putting our wants, desires, hopes and dreams out there every day and though we might not see all of the big ones manifesting, if we pay attention, we will see a multitude of small ones.

I couldn’t tell you which of the many requests I’d put out there was answered yesterday, nor how I’d asked. What I do know was that when yesterday’s writing session was interrupted by a friend in need, it wasn’t long before I realized that at some point, I’d expressed a need to be needed. I feel both honored and grateful that my schedule as a writer and freelancer allows me to be there in those rare but beautiful moments when a friend reaches out, seeking what small comfort I might offer, but I know I’m the one who’s truly blessed because I’m being allowed to be needed. So many of my friends and family members are much like me and rarely ask for help so when one of them does ask, it’s something really important and requires attention at the moment of the asking, otherwise, the asker will just pull back into themselves and try to muddle through alone. As I worked on this post, Pandora chose to play this song and as it was so appropriate to what I’m writing, I am sharing it with you.James Taylor – You’ve Got a Friend

Don’t think it gives me joy when someone I care about is suffering. Of course, I’d rather see them not have to go through a painful experience. But if it is necessary for their growth to struggle a bit and they can reach out to me to help them weather the storm, I can only feel grateful that time and circumstance aligned so that I could.

Sure, we all have our own share of struggles and those struggles not only make us stronger but give us new tools with which to face future obstacles. Just as we crawl before we walk, we face bigger and bigger obstacles in our lives so we can receive or even create the tools we’ll need to make the next challenge that much easier. Imagine trying to fight a forest fire with a garden hose because you hadn’t gone through the experiences necessary to acquire a fire hose. Life is like that too. Anything we do gets better and stronger with practice.

I look back on how I wrote when I was a kid, then as a teenager and, more recently, when I started this blog 6 1/2 years ago. So much has changed, not only for me personally, but for the way I put words together. The only way I got here was to put hundreds of thousands of words together in an infinite number of ways until I learned what worked and what didn’t. That’s not to say that I’ve got it all down, but the practice I’ve already had makes what I do going forward maybe just a little less like drek and more like literature. It has certainly encouraged me to keep trying, even when I’m taking my first novel apart and reassembling it, losing some of the old pieces and inserting quite a few new ones.

Maybe I’m not quite achieving the aggressive goals I set for myself, but the four chapters my friend Candy challenged me to complete has now grown to 11 completed and a twelfth in progress. (what that means is, I figured out which of the original fifty-odd chapters I wanted to go next and cut and pasted it under the heading “chapter 12”). Admittedly, the initial challenge to get my butt back in gear came at the end of July, and that, in fact, is when I got the first four chapters done, so seven more in a month and a half isn’t exactly breaking any records, but forward progress is forward progress, and now I’m setting my own goals even if I have to revise them because I was too aggressive for right now. That doesn’t mean that four chapters a week won’t be realistic the further along I get. If I get frustrated, I look at page count instead and see that I’m almost 80 pages into a 342 page book right now. Again, not bad as long as I don’t dwell too long on how long it’s taken me to get this far.

What I’ve gained over the last few weeks may not be earth-shaking, volume-wise. But I’ve gained consistency in sitting down to work on the project. The time I spend in a sitting has grown from about an hour to well over 2 lately (when I’m not interrupted, of course). Better still, I no longer have to argue with myself about sitting down to write, be it a blog post for me or a client or editing Sasha’s Journey. I just allocate time every day to write something, anything, even if it’s pure garbage. (I actually revised Chapter 11 3 times over the last few days until I got it somewhere close to acceptable so I could move on). In fact, I’ve been getting so focused lately that I often forget to turn on the background music. That may or may not be a good thing as I tend to be significantly more self-critical when my internal editor is not otherwise occupied.

Once again, I’ve wandered off the track a bit, but interwoven between all of the words I’ve put on the screen tonight is a single theme: Gratitude. The Universe really does hear our requests. It may not bring them to us in the form we imagined, but it brings us what suits us best and helps move us forward.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the opportunity to give of myself.
2. I am grateful for the friends who teach me by their own beautiful ways to be more giving, kind and compassionate.
3. I am grateful for the progress I’m making and though it will never be easy, I’m no longer having to fight with myself to move forward.
4. I am grateful to one, special friend who flat out told me to stop allowing my fears to get in my way. Even if I can’t identify them, I know they’re there and anxious to get between me and my dreams. Only I can thwart them.
5. I am grateful for abundance: love, friendship, progress, tenacity, determination, joy, health, happiness, harmony, peace, philanthropy and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel and https://www.facebook.com/HLWTAccounting . Please also drop by my website, http://www.shericonaway.com 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!

September 8, 2015 Going Where the Energy Guides Me

“What Goes Up Must Come Down. Spinning Wheel Got to go ’round”

For the last couple of days, I’ve been guided, directed or simply inspired to get things out of the way. I don’t mean shuffle them to another place (my favorite method of cleaning), but to actually clear the way, make room and give myself space to make progress. On Monday, that meant getting a plumber in to unclog my kitchen sink while I vacuumed, mopped and emptied sandboxes. In the midst of my cleaning, my vacuum cleaner stopped sucking so I started fiddling with the hose to try to find the blockage.

I finally resorted to running water through the floor attachment and was rewarded for my efforts by a gigantic wad of cat fur which had gotten lodged in the middle of said attachment.

But that wasn’t the end of my suckless woes. Something had also lodged itself inside the inflexible portion of the hose. Once again, I inserted the garden hose into the vacuum cleaner hose and added water. Again, I was rewarded by a giant clump of something nasty, this time, less pretty than mere cat fur. But water and a screwdriver finally cleared the obstruction and I was on my way to clean floors (though, thanks to my darling furballs, it didn’t last very long. My bathroom alone had to be re-swept twice more before I retired for the evening.)

Meanwhile, a wonderful plumber who had been referred by members of a locally-oriented Facebook group was not only clearing the obstruction in my sink, but took the time to explain how I could fix it myself next time, and all without charging a premium for working on a holiday!

Today found me completing my household chores before heading out to run my weekly errands, augmented by a few more as a result of my daughter’s impending birthday.

The Energizer Bunny’s Got Nothin’ on Me

You’d think that after four hours of shlepping through near-100-degree heat I’d have been ready for a long nap and a tall, cool drink. So did I, but as it turns out, what was I thinking? It was all I could do to settle long enough to do a 50 minute meditation before I was, once again, bouncing off the walls.

Feeling like I’d been connected to an electrical transformer, I took care of a couple more chores, then sat down to watch a little TV (and believe me, these days, “little” is the operative word). As has been my wont these days, boredom settled in very quickly and I only stayed put because my lap was occupied by some sadly neglected furballs.

Watching Patterns Change Before my Eyes

Lately, my analytical brain has been screaming for attention to the point where I’ve reverted to playing games which require strategy, math and analytical skills to complete. I sit and play the games until my analytical side tires, then work on my writing. My current project a fairly ruthless edit/revision of the first NaNoWriMo novel I wrote, and my goal is to complete this pass before November 1 so I can, once again, immerse myself in the annual 50,000-words-in-a-month writing frenzy my daughter got me into nearly 2 years ago.

I’d like to say progress is smooth, but frankly, I edit, I put it aside, I pick it up the next day and re-edit. Some days, I’ll get through an entire chapter and others, I’m lucky to manage the re-edit and half or even a quarter of a chapter before my mind shuts down. Fortunately, it’s taking longer and longer to reach that point, though progress is not exactly getting better. Where I could only manage an hour at first, I find myself glued to the computer for 2 hours or so these days. I see a desk littered with Power Bar wrappers and Werther’s in my future if this continues.

An Explanation for this Insanity

I may have finally received an explanation for this craziness that’s driving me. A former teacher posted a comment about the energy being wild, then followed it up with a post about the Solar eclipse which is set to coincide with this week’s new moon. Being fairly sensitive to solar and lunar events, I’m starting to see why I feel so out of control. Even my sleep pattern has worsened. Rarely am I able to get to sleep before 3 or 4 in the morning, and a couple of my cats must be as disturbed as I am, since they are still restless and disruptive when I’m trying to go to sleep. Scrappy Doo has been locked in a spare bedroom so many times in the last couple of weeks that, last night, when I went to lock him in again, he was standing with his nose in the corner of my guest room. Apparently, he realized he needed a time out!

If you’re anything like me and have been unaccountably productive, especially when it involves clearing space or cleaning, you, too might be especially sensitive to the astral activity this week. I’m going to keep my crystals close and spend extra time trying (and that is the operative word right now) to meditate. Even those morning stretches can help, especially when you do them before you actually get your day started. My cats are growing accustomed, though not willingly, to waiting for breakfast while I stretch out on the floor with my Miracle Ball, breathing and stretching before I do their bidding and move to the front of the house where the cat food and dishes must surely be clamoring to be filled.49a1d-tower-card16

I thought to wind this up with my gratitudes, but as I started to do my usual review, a vision of the Chariot popped into my head. But before I could even get the image inserted here, I was drawn to the Tower Card. 61285-chariot

In my experience, things always happen for a reason, and the fact that I was first drawn to a card which indicates rapid movement only to have it overridden by a card which indicates rapid change accompanied by a ripping asunder of old ways and ideas, I can only wonder what the Universe has in store for me this time, while fastening my safety harness and getting ready for a wild and bumpy ride. Trying to hold onto anything or nail things down would be an exercise in futility so I won’t even try, but I also know that whatever I’m forced to release this time will only be in my own best interests. The reality is, what I believe is valuable and worth keeping right now may just be the first thing that’s ripped out of my hands, and once I’ve had time to process, I’ll realize it was time.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful that I accomplished so much cleaning and organizing in the last two days.
2. I am grateful that the back problems which plagued my in July and August have pretty much disappeared, leaving me with a valuable habit; stretching in the morning as soon as I get up.
3. I am grateful for a weekend of celebration with my daughter and son-in-law as we celebrate the end of her 28th year in her current human form.
4. I am grateful for a strong, healthy body which continues to allow me to be independent. I am also grateful for the chores and other tasks I need to do every month as they help keep that body healthy and strong.
5. I am grateful for all of the progress I’ve made on my book in the last couple of weeks and look forward to many more productive sessions.
6. I am grateful for abundance: health, happiness, harmony, motivation, inspiration, energy, love, joy, celebrations, peace, philanthropy and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I’d appreciate your taking a moment to visit my Facebook pages at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel and https://www.facebook.com/HLWTAccounting . Please also drop by my website, http://www.shericonaway.com 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!

August 26, 2015 Embracing Self-Discovery

A Continuing Voyage of Self-Discovery

I spend a lot of time in my own company, whether at home or out running errands, most of what I do is a solo act. This gives me a lot of time to think, especially when performing the myriad mindless tasks necessary to take care of myself and my cats.

Tonight, while scooping sandboxes and cleaning the kitchen (not at the same time, of course!), I realized that what a friend of mine said recently is frighteningly accurate. I have patterns. Not the normal kind, all neat, tidy and in order. But I do have patterns. For instance, I’ll go through spells when I’ll spend my non-dancing evenings parked in front of the TV, something mindless on until the wee hours, plinking away on my iPad. These are my cats’ personal favorites as it means they can pile into my lap and fight over whose turn it is for skritches.

After a time, I get bored of this, even if I’ve interspersed it with time on the computer, reading and writing. Here’s where my patterns start getting dark and twisty. Tonight I found that the one-eyed monster was boring me more than usual and endless games of solitaire and kitty cuddles just weren’t enough to ward off the twitchiness unrelieved boredom morphs into. Suddenly, more than a night or two a week of TV sitting is no longer do-able. Sitting still for that long is no longer do-able. I feel like I will jump right out of my skin if I don’t get up and move around; clean something, organize, research…anything but sit with my brain atrophying behind my eyes.

This is a fairly new development for me. After a day of running errands or brain work, or both, I was, until very recently content to have a veg night.

I’ve noticed something else as well, and maybe the two are related. Instead of nibbling on this and that throughout the evening, I’m fixing a meal of sorts most nights and once it’s done, except for a few almonds later in the evening, I’m done eating. I haven’t even been inclined to buy snack-type foods other than fruits and veggies.

So I have to ask myself: “What’s changed? Why do I no longer enjoy the pattern of relative sloth I’d fallen into?”

I was about to type something about human beings in general until I remembered something I learned in a parapsychology class in high school. I dream in vivid, living technicolor and tend to remember at least part of a dream every morning. I assumed this was normal. It wasn’t until I took the afore-mentioned course that I learned most people do not dream in color, nor do they remember a single, solitary snippet from their previous night’s rambles! That being said, I’m not going to make the mistake of assuming that other people get bored with their routines and frequently have to change them up or risk going bat-shit crazy like I do.

Now, if you were to ask my daughter, she’d likely tell you that I’m a creature of habit to the point of being anal. I like to get up in the morning, make the bed, stretch, feed the cats, get my coffee and breakfast, and sit down at the computer to check email, my website and blog, and Facebook. I also like to clean up the kitchen before I go to bed, but am liable to leave every dish I used throughout the day in the sink until that time. Unless, of course, I did a freezer-stocking batch of something. I typically clean those up as I go. There are a few other things I like to accomplish each day but I won’t bore you with the details here. What she doesn’t realize is that by being a creature of habit about some things, I am able to clear my path to allow for wild deviations in the things which are more important to me. In a nutshell, I’ve learned to regulate the tedious to leave more room for the extraordinary. After all, which would you rather spend your time doing?

I Know There Was a Topic Around Here Someplace

Which brings me back to my original topic, more or less. Watching television and piddling on my iPad is tedious and boring, though less so with a lap full of furry bodies. Reading, writing, researching or anything else which engages my brain is not boring or tedious. Maybe that’s why I have had such a tough time getting back into my gym routine. Although I like the way it makes me feel, it’s still tedious and boring, for the most part. Having headphones in while listening to music helps, but when the right song comes on, it’s all I can do to keep from breaking out into a line dance in the middle of the gym, and I really don’t want to attract attention to myself while there. I’m a ‘get in, do my thing and get out’ kinda girl!

I realize my blog posts have been getting less regular lately too, and think I might have been getting stuck in a rut here as well. These one-sided conversations do tend to get a bit old, and I’m still learning how to engage my readers enough to comment. I have a few who comment every now and then, letting me know they’re still out there and at least entertained if not sometimes thought-provoked. But greedy girl that I am, I really want more!

When I began this blog nearly 6 1/2 years ago, it was to share something deeply personal in hopes of touching someone who needed to know they weren’t alone. In many ways, that premise hasn’t changed, though the topics have become more diverse (at least, I hope they have) and I spend more time writing about epiphanies and self-discovery than about healing these days. That isn’t to say that I’ve completely healed. Do we ever? Each of us is a work in progress, sometimes moving forward at a rapid pace, and others, doing the Cha Cha. We learn, we grow, we stumble, we fall flat on our face and we pick ourselves up again. Each time we get back up, we’re a little wiser, but also a little more resilient.

Success isn’t in Mastering the Mountain. It is in Refusing to Allow the Mountain to Conquer us.

Each time we get back up again, we earn the right to consider ourselves successful. Not because we’ve scaled a huge mountain, but because we’ve allowed ourselves to be human, we’ve been imperfect, but we’ve survived to try again. In truth, we have very few huge, world-shaking successes in our lives. What we have is far better; it’s a series of wins interspersed with all of the attempts we make while learning how to do better. I think if it as an endless game of trial and error. We try something, if it works, great, move on to the next thing. More often than not, we don’t achieve the results we desire so we tweak what we’ve done and try again. It is through this series of trials and tweaks that we eventually figure things out and maybe find a better solution than we’d imagined. Because the steps are often tiny, we don’t even realize how far we’ve come or how much we’ve accomplished. But at any point in our lives, we’re both standing on a mountain top we’ve spent ages scaling, and we’re in a valley with the next mountain rising up before us. I think glancing back every now and then is a good way to remind ourselves that we can do whatever we set our minds to, climb the tallest of mountains stretching out before us…because, a quick glance back will show us that we’ve done so over and over again. Pretty impressive, aren’t we? Don’t you deserve at least an ‘attaboy’ today?

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for those moments of self-reflection.
2. I am grateful for a mind which grows more easily bored every day. It keeps me looking for new ways to challenge it.
3. I am grateful for the people who have been following my blog; both those who’ve been here awhile and those who’ve just come on board.
4. I am grateful for lessons and for falling down and getting back up again. It hasn’t killed me yet, but it’s certainly made me stronger.
5. I am grateful for abundance: love, friendship, challenges, lessons, goals, opportunities, changes, hope, dreams, inspiration, motivation, peace, harmony, prosperity and philanthropy.

Blessed Be

I’d appreciate your taking a moment to visit my Facebook pages at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel and https://www.facebook.com/HLWTAccounting . Please also drop by my website, http://www.shericonaway.com 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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