Welcome to my Journey

Hello, and welcome to my Journey. Over the last few years I have been learning more about my personal journey, my Path and my Soul Purpose. The further I travel, the easier I find it to share my journey with others, and to learn from their journeys as well. The most recent evolution has caused me to expand my Universe and allow more people access to my travels, as well as allowing me access to more people, their travels and what they have learned as they walk their own paths. Feel free to share your journey here as we all have much to learn in our lives as Divine Beings having a Human experience.

Love and Light.

Friday, July 18, 2014

July 18, 2014 #Movingday #shericonaway

I am happy to report that, after over a week of frustration, I was not only able to set up my blog on WordPress (in preparation for linking it to my upcoming website), but I transferred all previous posts to my new site.

You can now find me at survivingandbeyond.wordpress.com

Thank you for the years of support, and I hope you continue to read my scribbles.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

July 17, 2014 #Relationshipetiquette #shericonaway

It has been many years since I have participated in a romantic relationship or have even dated.  So when two people I considered friends broke up a few months ago, I made the mistake of trying to stay friendly with both, and ended up, for a very brief time, being sucked into the middle of their emotional upheavals.  From that experience, I learned that the best place to be when two people decide to part ways is on the outside, and from a safe distance.

Damned if you do and damned if you don't.

No matter what you do or say, when two people are trying to come to terms with no longer being a couple, you're just never going to get it right.  Emotions are too high, and they are not even in the same universe as rational.

A breakup of any kind is rather like a death and, in my opinion, the people involved have to go through the stages of grief, as if there was an actual death of a loved one.  The difference is that emotions are exaggerated because someone is hurt, someone is angry and someone is going to feel betrayed.  If the breakup was a long time coming, there could be even more heightened emotions involved.

As an empath, I'm even more susceptible to getting sucked into these conflicts because I feel at least some of the emotions the people are experiencing.  In order to protect myself and to ensure that I can maintain my own positive outlook, I've had to take a really hard line with people and take about fifty steps back from their situation until they've at least gotten past the point where they feel angry, hurt and betrayed and begin to understand all of the factors which led up to the end of a relationship which at least one of them thought was going along just splendidly.  

Not my monkeys.  Not my circus.

Here it is again.  I really have to decline any invitations to drama, especially when the people involved are friends, but not the kind I'd call at 3 AM to help me through a crisis.  It's not that I don't care that they are hurting.  I truly do.  But there's really nothing I can do for them.  They have to go through the process and asking people to intercede or take sides does no good for anyone.  

Leave your drama and your gun at the door.  We're a friendly kinda place.

This is especially true when people gather at a particular place on a regular basis.  If it's a place where you go to relax, have a good time, maybe a drink or two, and de-stress, asking people to pick one half of a couple or another to comfort and support is like sucking out half of their energy, then asking them to go do all of the things they normally do.   

We love you both, individually or together.  

My feelings for people don't change just because they change their "couple status".  What changes my feelings is if they behave badly.  I appreciate the fact that, for awhile, they might be sad, confused, angry, and a whole slew of other emotions, but to be honest, we all go through those emotions at some point in our lives.  The purpose of a place where we gather socially is to leave that crap outside and just have a good time doing something we love with like-minded people.  It may be that the recently estranged couple has to, for a little while, make a civilized arrangement to take turns showing up until they can function reasonably normally while in the same place.  Maybe they take different sides of the place for awhile, and pretend they're strangers until the pain subsides.  

Again, I don't really know the protocol because my last experience was years ago, and as the other party lived in another state, a lot of these were non-issues.  If there is some socially prescribed manner in which we're supposed to behave, I must have missed the class.  

The only thing I know for sure is that, until things are worked out between those involved, I must remain firmly on the outside with my back turned.  I don't want to see what you have to go through to get your lives back to normal because feeling your pain isn't going to help you in any way.  In fact, if I'm feeling your pain, I'm ineffective at doing things which might take your mind off of it for a minute or two.    Know that I only close doors when I am left with no other option.

Breakups and meltdowns seem to go in cycles.  Two or three couples will part ways in a given period of time.  It's the cycle of life and love.  I have a lot of respect for those who give of themselves, get hurt, and pick themselves up to give again.  The fact that I have been alone for so many years is the direct result of my own fears and insecurities.  Jumping right back into the dating pool has never been something I do easily.  And since, for the most part, I'm pretty happy in my own company, I'm less inclined to put forth the effort, when there is always the possibility of getting hurt again.  

And yet, as I watch some of my girlfriends, my daughter, and other women with whom I might cross paths; who have found someone who cherishes them and who they also cherish, I know that those real, lasting connections are out there.  I'm just confused as to how they come about.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the unpleasant things which make me think about how well I've learned my lessons, and to question whether I've learned or just established a work around.
2. I am grateful for the beautiful examples I have around me of relationships which work well.
3. I am grateful for how far I have come in relaxing my fears.  I'm not where I need to be yet, but I'm getting there.
4. I am grateful for dance nights and dance people and the connections I have.
5. I am grateful for my solitude as it gives me time to watch and ponder what I want to do next. 

Love and light 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

July 16, 2014 #Lessons learned by going through the process #shericonaway

Getting back into a workout routine after taking an unplanned, month and a half hiatus is a contradiction. 

On the one hand, it feels really good to get those muscles warmed up and pushing weight again, but on the other, the first couple of weeks can be rather painful.  At this point, as I've now completed one chest and triceps workout and one back, biceps and shoulders workout, the pain is remarkably well distributed from about my hips up.  The legs were subjected to the warmups and half ball squats, but were otherwise pampered with some nice stretches and little else...until Friday, anyway. 

Toby tried to help by playing mamo-cat on my chest, but unfortunately, he is not especially skilled in deep tissue massage as he stomps where he wants to rather than where I need it!  Truth be told, I am not really a fan of the deep tissue massages anyway, but prefer a more gentle approach.

Speaking of massages, I've put a request out to the Universe tonight.  I really miss my monthly massages so I've asked for revenue generating opportunities to come to my attention sooner rather than later.  With my workouts, those monthly massages would really make a difference in my overall pain management.    Yes, I know.  I have a high pain threshold but after making my muscles go the extra mile, a little pampering would go a very long way!

Tonight, I listened to yet another webinar.  This time from Mary Morrissey who offered (for a price, of course) to teach me how to make all of my dreams come true.  Just out of curiosity, I googled her after the webinar.  Interestingly enough, she and her hubby got themselves into a bit of difficulty by "borrowing" over 10 mil from funds which were loaned to a church they ran.  Her hubby even served a prison term for money laundering, but managed to plea bargain Ms. Morrissey's butt out of any real punishment.  Although this was a few years ago now, and it's possible they finally repaid everyone, I have a bit of a problem taking life advice from someone who had no qualms about using a non-profit, and a religious one at that, to essentially steal from people who entrusted them with not only their money but their spiritual guidance.

Needless to say, I'm not going to be investing the meager sum of $497 to learn her secrets! 

You probably wonder why I waste my time listening to what we all know is simply a sales pitch.  The truth is, I use it as research.  I find that if I listen, not only to the words, but to the persuasive techniques they use, it could help, not only while I'm studying copywriting techniques, but once I actually start taking paying jobs.  These webinars are a wealth of examples, both of what works and what doesn't.  Some of them are pretty impressive while others just make me laugh because they're so bloody obvious.  The ones marketed as "Awakening to ..." (fill in Abundance, Your greatest life, etc.), "Secrets of Effortless Manifesting" and many with similar names are the ones which amuse me more than most.  In most cases, the first 15 minutes consist of the host gushing over the speaker.  There might be about 15 minutes of very vague content followed by 20 minutes of sales pitch. 

After listening to a few, I got the pattern down pretty well, and they now just get moved to my copywriting folder entitled, surprisingly enough, "webinars".  As I see it, even a poorly designed tool has value, as it can teach you what you need to do to make it functional.  Someday, I may decide to put out a webinar or two myself, and I'll glean a lot of "don'ts" from my stash of webinars. 

If nothing else, during those times when my confidence flags, I can listen to one and realize that people are making money with something that I know I could do better!  They've convinced people that they are being helped with some of what I consider drivel.  And maybe they are, if only to help them gain a little more confidence and the ability to believe in themselves despite any setbacks they might have experienced. 

In some ways, listening to the webinars, and finding that, as time goes on, they promise a lot and deliver very little, shows me that I don't have what it takes to take peoples' hard earned money without giving them something of value in return.  But there are plenty of folks who see nothing wrong with it. Either that, or their idea of value is in a completely different dimension than mine!

As I ranted once before, I'm particularly put off by people who go on about their millions and all of their possessions and make it seem simple for anyone listening to do the same, just by parting with a few hundred, or even thousand dollars to receive the speaker's wisdom. 

The truth is, we all have it in us, but we have to get there by learning our own lessons along the way.  Taking shortcuts leaves us vulnerable because we fail to add a necessary tool to our tool box.  Lack of that tool when the need arises could mean the difference between staying afloat and weathering a storm or sinking very quickly to the bottom.  If that tool happens to be a life boat, the situation could be very dire, indeed!

Thank you, but I will spend my dollars on more worthy causes, learn my lessons instead of looking for a quick fix, and rise to the top when the time is right.  In the meantime, I'm putting effort into making me better.  That is always time well spent.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful to be back on track with my workouts.
2. I am grateful for the plethora of examples of marketing do's and don'ts.
3. I am grateful that I have immediate access to a hot shower whenever I might be inclined.
4. I am grateful for a cooler day which allowed me to open the windows.
5. I am grateful for an abundance of opportunities to improve my income and lead me to a place of prosperity.

Love and light.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

July 15, 2014 #Rituals : Man or beast, we all have them #shericonaway

Admit it.  In at least one area of your life, you have created a #ritual.  It might be around breakfast or your bedtime preparations.  Your dog might turn 2 1/2 times before settling down to sleep.  Sometime, our #rituals are so consistent that others come to depend on them.  But what happens when we change things up, either by intent or accident?

One of my particular #rituals revolves around my daily #meditation and goes something like this:
  1. Sit down on the right side of my Lazy Boy Sofa
  2. Put the paw printed blanket on my lap.
  3. Raise the footrest and tip the chair back about 1/2 way.
  4. Spread the blanket on my lap leaving feet exposed, and a single layer on my lap.  Excess blanket is bunched above my lap in case I get cold during the meditation.
  5. Turn Pandora to ambient music on my iPhone and adjust the volume.
  6. Wait for Munchkin to jump into my lap.
  7. Give Munchkin attention via skritches and conversation.
  8. Wait for Munchkin to settle into my lap.
  9. Close my eyes and seal my field.
  10. Begin meditation.
 Today, however, I moved number 5 to number 3 and sat there fiddling with the phone for a minute while finishing a coconut macaroon.  As she had not been alerted to my change of plans, Munchkin jumped into my lap, waiting expectantly, and showing her annoyance when she discovered that I had not yet performed items 3 or 4 in accordance with her unspoken rules.  This also meant that she had to wait impatiently on the arm of the sofa while her poorly behaved human got her act together. 

Munchkin didn't receive her nickname, "The Princess" accidentally.  I could almost hear her saying "We are not amused!"  as she perched uncomfortably while waiting for her nest to be prepared in accordance with her exacting requirements.  There followed several minutes of stroking and petting to compensate Her Highness for the inconvenience she'd suffered at my negligent hands.

Though we may all be creatures of habit in some aspect of our lives, #change does occur on occasion.  But when these rituals involve other parties, we have the added concerns of how that other party responds to change when we decide to alter those rituals in any way, even temporarily.

Cats, in particular, have their own, unique way of letting us know when they are displeased.   In Munchkin's case, I can expect to be interrupted at irregular intervals for the next couple of days to soothe the distress she's suffering after having her entire world turned upside down.  These moments are most likely to occur when it is least convenient for me, such as when I am:
  1. Eating
  2. Cooking
  3. Sleeping
  4. Sitting on the toilet
Fortunately, she isn't fond of water, so my shower time is my own!

She will also attempt to disturb some of my other #rituals in retaliation.  I'll be surprised if she doesn't linger on the bed when I'm trying to put it to rights in the morning, or decide she wants her breakfast in another location, to be determined by her, for the next couple of days.  Her Ladyship reserves the right to change her mind...ten or twelve times an hour...if she chooses.

If there were a point to this post, I suppose it would be that I have every right to my rituals, but once my furry roomies become accustomed to them, I'd best seek their input before making any changes.  After all, cats have staff, not owners.

My gratitudes today are:
1. I am grateful for my personal rituals.
2. I am grateful that I adapt fairly well to change.
3. I am grateful for my furry companions who make me more aware of what I'm doing every day.
4. I am grateful for a day of completed chores.
5. I am grateful to have gotten back to the gym, FINALLY!
6. I am grateful for the love, harmony, peace, joy, abundance and prosperity in my life.

Love and life

July 14, 2014 Working hard, napping hard #shericonaway

 This is more of a journal entry than a blog post tonight, so feel free to skip to the end if you wish.

The hot water wars are over!  One of the plumbers I'd called yesterday called before 8 this morning, and by 11, I was back in business!  (His estimate was among the more reasonable ones and as an added bonus, he could start right away!)

As I've gotten into the habit of sleeping until at least 8:30 if not 9:30, this meant I started my day quite a bit earlier than normal, and I rather liked it!  I got some reading done, then jumped back into my online copywriting course by reviewing the previous chapter, since I'd put it aside for so long.  Tomorrow will be spent reviewing the first part of the chapter I'd been working on, then getting started on the assignment I'd already done a bit of work on.  (I know the English majors will be cringing about the preposition I ended my sentence with (and again), but there are just times when I'm not grammatically correct!) 

I was able to finally get a couple of loads of laundry done, though only towels and a comforter that got soaked when the water heater decided to commit hari kiri.  My dishwasher is running as we speak, and tomorrow, I'll revel in a beautiful, wonderful warm shower, and wash the rest of my clothes. 

At 2:14AM when I need to be up by about 7:30, I'm regretting the late afternoon nap I indulged in, as it means I'll really need the coffee which I've set to brew shortly after my alarm bellows in a few hours.  I may still yawn in my manicurist's face for a little while, but the rescheduling of my appointment to one day and one hour earlier than normal means that I can get my workout done earlier too, and even take the time to get some groceries before getting down to business. 

The weather here has turned muggy and it seems to be freaking the cats out, so I'll keep this short so I can give them the pleasure of my company for a few, brief hours.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for regaining my discipline, albeit in smaller doses for the moment.
2. I am grateful for the resumption of hot water distribution.   I'd like to say that I'll never take it for granted again, but after awhile of having a dependable source, I will probably slip at least part of the way back into my old ways.
3. I am grateful for my friend's successful surgery and look forward to spending time with her during her recovery.  (I'll be putting a special joke book together just for her!)
4. I am grateful for the entertainment value of my furry roommates (as Toby rushes in, mewing like a kitten around his pink and purple squishy ball).
5. I am grateful for the peace, harmony, love, joy, health, prosperity and abundance which is available to everyone for the asking.

Love and light.

Monday, July 14, 2014

July 13, 2014 Trying a little bit o' this 'n that #Shericonaway

As you might have noticed if you've been following this blog, I've been trying various things to see if I can figure out what makes my readership go up or down.  Last night, after a slow start, I ended up with a kind of persuasive piece.  Though it did better than some, it was certainly not up to par compared to other posts.  (about half as many hits as the one from the day before which contained ponderings and a preponderance of #hashtags)

A day spent being comparatively lazy, aside from cooking up a batch of mish mosh for the week, and washing dishes by boiling water due to lack of a working water heater.  In fact, my step count which has been over 10,000 for the last few days dropped to a measly 2475 for today.  But everyone needs a day of rest now and then!  I'm certainly planning to do a lot of movement and activity tomorrow!

A lazy day spent meditating and napping gave my imagination far too much exercise, leaving me at a loss for anything profound to expound upon this evening.  This means another short, sweet post for my loyal readers, and I apologize for the brevity.  I assure you that it is only a temporary aberration.  I will most certainly return to my prolific self by tomorrow. 

I also dare not keep Mr. Dylan waiting.  He is lying on my desk with his belly and chin in the air.  If I fail to reach over and give him a skritch every few minutes, he utters a rather pathetic moan.  One who hadn't seen him snuggled up to me most of the day, getting pets and skritches and loves might believe his tale of neglect.  I know the truth, however.  He, like the rest of my furry family are quite pampered and completely certain that they are loved and cherished.

Again, I've gone off on a tangent.  While shopping with my daughter last week, I asked why she bought the SILK #almondmilk rather than the Almond Breeze, and the refrigerated vs. the shelf stable.  She told me that there was a chemical used in the processing which was unhealthy.  I just took a few moments to do a little research.  It isn't so much the processing, but an additive derived from red kelp, called #carrageenan which is the issue.  Apparently, it is used as a thickening agent in many foods.  Guess I'll be reading labels even more carefully  now! 

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful that I can take a lazy day after a busy week.
2. I am grateful for the ability to research anything which happens to come up with just a few keystrokes.
3. I am grateful for a busy, challenging week ahead of me.
4. I am grateful for the time to get a few more quotes on my water heater, and the availability of showers at the gym so I'm not desperate to have it fixed without getting all of the facts first.
5. I am grateful for the abundance in my life:  my friends, my family, my health, love, prosperity and creativity.

Love and light.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

July 12, 2014 Unwinding from a long, busy, extra fun week #Shericonaway

Sitting in front of the computer, unwinding from a fantastic night of dancing which was the culmination of an amazing week, I find my mind going in too many directions to even corral.  As I scroll through my emails and Facebook, seeing so many people up in arms about this issue or that, I wonder if the fact that I'm not especially outraged over anything is an indication that I'm apathetic or have my head in the sand.

It's not that I don't care about children going hungry or politicians trying to stifle women via any means they can find.  It's that I don't feel that putting my energy into being angry or outraged is going to help the situation improve.  I'm aware that organizations use this emotional response to wring money out of people to further their cause.  I'm sure that, in their own way, as righteously indignant as they project themselves, they believe that the ire they stir up will get them what they need, and as such, is a means to an end. 

I'm sorry if I find your techniques offensive and relegate your posts and emails either to the trash or to my copywriting folders so I have examples on both how to and how not to make friends and influence people.  Of course, you'll never know that this is what I do.  You'll merely fail to find a contribution in your account with my name on it.  I understand that you will continue to promote your beliefs in this way as, it seems, your methods are effective enough to be funding your efforts to write more letters and create more posts. 

I'm grateful for the examples you set as I learn from them despite the fact that I don't have access to information which gives me your rate of return on the investment you make in these efforts.  The mere repetitiveness of your messages is enough to convince me that your methods fund your madness.

But in the end, is all of this ire really helping your cause or that of the people you oppose?

Emotions are energy

Emotions are energy, and energy causes action.   But how can we be certain that the energy we expend through our emotions generates the action we desire?

As I see it, if we are angry about a situation, say, women's rights regarding their reproductive organs, and we express a great deal of anger towards those who seek to limit those rights, where are we directing our energy?  Is it to protecting our rights, or is it towards those who seek to take those rights away?  It's clear to me that our anger is fueling the guy who wants to take away my rights and fueling his efforts which is exactly the opposite of what I want to do!

This is why I am not outraged.  This is why I might seem complacent.  This is why I don't follow all of the speculation over the guy who murdered a bunch of people and express my horror  and outrage over his behavior.  

Instead, I direct my energies towards compassion for the families of the victims, and even the guy who committed the crime.  My anger would fuel his behavior; my compassion lets the air out of his balloon.  That isn't to say that I think he doesn't deserve due process and punishment for his crimes.  It simply means that I am not going to wind myself up emotionally to be his armchair judge and jury.  

So where, you might ask, do I allow my emotions to run amok?  Where do I send my emotional energies that they might fuel a cause or two?  

I look at pictures of animals who are being cared for by people who want to give them good homes.  I don't focus on the diseases and the atrocities which might have been committed before the animals found those who would care for them and give them the chance for a good, caring home.  I focus on those who care, who devote their time and effort towards saving the animals and matching them with their forever homes.  I love, appreciate and support those who, often under terrible odds, continue to save animals, one at a time, doing whatever it takes before finding someone who will give that animal the life he or she deserves until their time comes to cross the rainbow bridge.  

 We all get angry now and then.  It's part of the human condition.

Sure, I do get angry now and again, until I think about who I'm helping by being angry.  That, alone, is enough to stop me in my tracks and find a way to redirect my energy towards the outcome I want rather than the one I don't.   I've certainly not achieved perfection, but practice makes perfect!  

Practice fueling the outcome you desire instead of the one you don't.

To put it simply, I'm sending my support, whether it be physical, emotional or financial, towards my desired outcomes.  This means that I don't fight things as that opens the door for them to suck your energy away.  Instead, I love, I admire, I appreciate those people and things which are integrated into the outcome I desire.

Learning to fuel your desired outcome doesn't come easily, but  the lesson is invaluable.

I didn't learn to do this over night, and there was a lot of trial and error.  But the benefits have been far beyond anything I would have expected.   I'm rarely angry any more which is a beautiful thing.  I face each day with a smile because I'm thinking of the wonderful things I want for my family, my friends and the world.  Best of all, I see small indications that my energy has reached the right place.  

"Not my monkeys, not my circus."

I've been seeing this quote a lot lately, and the more I think about it, the more I realize that it's how I've begun living my life.  I'm not being sucked into other peoples' fights or anger.  Instead, I can say with a smile: "Thank you for clearly lighting the path I wish to avoid."  

We all choose our battles and our causes.  I've just learned that to help our causes, we don't need to take up arms.  We simply need to love what is important to us.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the lessons which have taught me to redirect my energies.
2. I am grateful for my wonderful, busy, joy filled week.
3. I am grateful for the people around me who both teach me compassion and kindness and reinforce the lessons every day.
4. I am grateful for some quiet time after a week of intense activity. Once again, I am surrounded by the love of my animals while the rest of the world is outside, doing whatever it needs to.
5. I am grateful for the series of illnesses which kept me down and quiet in June as they gave me time to build up my energy for the months ahead, and, for now, the busy month of July which has me recommitting to myself.

Love and light. 


Friday, July 11, 2014

July 11, 2014 Short and sweet or long and lazy? #SheriConaway

Riding the train back to LA after an event filled week in San Diego, I have yet another opportunity to ponder what does and does not fly in the fickle world of blog readers.

Last night, being particularly tired after a killer #BradPaisley concert,  I opted for a very brief post, primarily to get my gratitudes in.  Today, when I check the stats, I find that readership is up significantly from yesterday.  Is it because yesterday's post was short and sweet?  Was it mere coincidence, or is it because I've been adding #hasthags?  I'm thinking the latter is the least likely as yesterday's post was the first one without #hashtags in a few days.  

I really am looking for that mysterious formula which draws readers to one blog post and not another.  I'm guessing that my #gratitudes have little to do with it since they have ended almost every post for a long while.  

So what is it, really, that readers like to read and #SEOs like to search?  

I find that the more I read, the more questions I have.  

Whatever happens, I've set some aggressive goals for myself for next week and the weeks to come.  

Although I'd really love to jump on my website and get it up and running, I know that, in the first place, I have a lot to learn before it is launched, and in the second, it has to, despite its importance in my overall plan, be the carrot which dangles before me, ensuring that before I earn the carrot, I successfully complete my copywriting course.  

Not only does the course put me in a position to actually earn something from my endless reading and writing, but it will give me tools which will ultimately make me a better website administrator/writer/publisher.

We tell our children that they must do their homework and  chores before they get to play.  The copywriting course is my chores and homework while the website is my play time.  Which is rather interesting because I will be putting a lot of time, effort and outright work into launching and maintaining that website than I believe I ever have before.  But this time, the work I put in will be geared towards something I want and will eventually help feather my little nest rather than one which neither affects nor benefits me!  

The legacy I'll create and nourish lovingly will be enjoyed by my children and grandchildren.  

If that isn't enough motivation to do what I need to to earn that carrot, I can't begin to imagine what is.

As the first hour of my trip winds down and I watch the beautiful Pacific slide by my window, my heart is filled with enormous gratitude for all of the opportunities which continue to find their way into my life.  Like a flock of butterflies, all I need do is sit quietly  and allow those which suit me to land gently where I can treasure and nurture them until I have a kaleidoscope of my own to let loose upon the world, to land and inspire whoever they may. 

My gratitudes today are:

1. I am grateful for mini vacations with my daughter, son-in-law and grand furries.
2. I am grateful for beautiful rides along the coast where I can watch the waves genltly lapping at the shoreline.
3. I am grateful for the examples set for me by so many of my favorite authors which have inspired me to write...and write...and write...and write.
4. I am grateful for my health and well being.  The more I see of others, the more I realize how precious it really is.
5. I am grateful for the abundance in my life which is always enough to handle whatever life might decide to send my way to enable me to learn my lessons.

July 10, 2014 At a loss for words

I find myself at a loss for words tonight.  It has been an interesting and eventful day, but I find that I need timne to process it all.  I did, however, want to hold to my routine of sharinbg five gratitudes.

1. I am grateful for challenges which teach us to appreciate, even when it seems like we deserve to stomp our feet and rant and rave.  It is the appreciation and acceptance of some of the thinbgs which just occur in our lives through normal wear and tear which truly test our ability to remain grateful.
2. I am grateful that my water heater lasted two years past the warranty.
3. I am grateful that the person who has been watching my cats all week knew how to turn off the water to the water heater.
4. I am grateful for opportunities to hold my tongue rather than exacerbate a situation which, within a few days will show itself to be unimportant, but   would have blown up into something more serious had I allowed the conversation to escalate.
5. I am grateful for the abundance in my life which allows me to weather the storms which, in reality are mere tempests in tea pots.

Love and light

Thursday, July 10, 2014

July 9, 2014 A vist to #SeaWorld for #SheriConaway

Day 2 of my San Diego adventure began quietly but delightfully with my daughter's yummy breakfast sandwiches on just out of the oven bagels with a bowl of fresh strawberries.  We got some wonderful mother-daughter time in, just hanging out and chatting until my son-in-law returned from work, mid-morning.  Then, the chatting adding another dimension.

I really love spending time with these two amazing people.  We share a lot of life, love and humor and are incredibly comfortable in each others' company.  The dynamic was only augmented with the addition of my daughter's friend and former co-worker as we dined at Stacked, then finished our day (not to mention my 10,000 steps!) at Sea World.

Despite the controversy from a film which has the audacity to call itself a documentary, I still find the place well worth the time and effort, and believe that their main purpose: to educate people about the care we need to take of our oceans and other waterways, is highly valuable.  They give children and adults a fun, interesting way to learn about an important part of our environment, and our responsibility for keeping it safe for the animals and plants which call those waterways home.  Much of this is accomplished through guided interaction with some of the animals.  At one point, we got to play with the dolphins; tossing them balls and other toys which they chased around the pool before bringing them back to be tossed again.  The girls particularly enjoy the rays who they told me have "boopable noses".

Although there were many high points, my favorite part of the day was the end when we saw the Shamu show.  My daughter exclaimed delightedly that the show they had in the evening was much like the ones she remembers from years ago.  The three whales who performed tonight were energetic and playful and much loved by their trainers.  When one came up on the  ramp to receive strokes, cuddles and of course, fish from the trainer, their bond was incredibly endearing to watch.  I know that, as it is for my daughter, it will be a favorite place for me to visit when I come to see her.  I hope these visits will occur fairly often, though not often enough for her to tire of me as a house guest!

Sleeping in a house with a rambunctiously affectionate dog, a sweet, mellow, lovable cat and two kittens who not only possess an endless amount of energy, but who have yet to be retrained to express that energy during daylight hours is quite a change from my house where all of the animals know and appreciate bed time as a time when everyone snuggles together on the bed, and, yes, sleeps!  I was alternately awakened by the dog snuggled up against my back on the bed she was expressly told to stay off of, and the two kittens playing WWF on my feet, with, I might add, their little kitten claws extended.  The only saving grace is that my daughter trimmed their claws shortly before my arrival.

I did eventually get enough sleep to function normally, though it was due, in part, to the unnaturally early hour I retired.  I also recharged my battery with my daily meditation while my son-in-law showered and my daughter ran some errands.

Tonight, as the dog is corralled in the kids' bedroom and one of the kittens managed to remove her bell, I expect to get a little more sleep, even if said kittens get locked in the laundry room.  Tomorrow is a busy day with errands to run, cats to take to the vet (yes, all three!) and the Brad Paisley concert tomorrow night.  We can also begin our day somewhat leisurely (none of this awake at 7 AM crap!) as my son-in-law doesn't have to do his best to creep out the door at the crack of dawn!  (Which is especially nice as he can now join us for the concert!)

All in all, the first night and day of my visit have been everything I could hope for and more!  And now, to sleep so I can enjoy all that tomorrow will bring.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful that people are willing to put forth the effort to teach us about our responsibility to our planet.
2. I am grateful for time will spent with three fun, intelligent, responsible, amusing young adults.
3. I am grateful for revised sleeping arrangements which will make me less of a playground for the furries.
4. I am grateful for the time and flexibility to take mini vacations.
5. I am grateful for my renewed commitment to the job I gave myself permission to undertake late last year.

Love and light

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

July 8, 2014 Travels of #SheriConaway

Tonight, I'm reporting from...oh, wait, I guess "reporting" isn't really the appropriate word, is it.

Tonight, I'm blogging from my daughter's living room in beautiful San Diego while kittens, cats and puppies jingle jangle through the house.  Everything must be investigated, sniffed, licked and tested for durability before anyone is allowed to rest.

I began today's adventure with a ride on the Pacific Surfliner (train, for those unfamiliar with my neck of the woods), where I wiled away the four hour trip, alternately checking sites on my iPad, reading a little of "Homer's Odyssey", meditating, and chatting with a lawyer who used the train to commute from San Diego to L.A. when he needed to attend a trial out of town.  He professed to preferring this mode of travel and I can see why.  Although it might take longer than a car ride and require you to adhere to someone else's timetable, once on the train, you can just relax and enjoy the scenery instead of fighting traffic for anywhere from 2 to 4 hours, on average.  Yes, even with my AAA discount, it's a bit pricier than the gas it would take to drive, but frankly, I enjoyed the stress-free trip and it seemed to go much more quickly while I occupied myself with pleasurable pursuits.

Today, I rode on the lower level, and found myself riding backwards all the way, but the maiden voyage is always a learning experience.  On my return trip, I plan to find a seat on the upper level and make every attempt to find a seat facing forward (it's so hard to tell when you get on the train which direction you're really headed.  I thought I was going forward, but found I had erred.)

The ADHD so common in my posts may be amplified tonight, as my daughter's three month old ginger siblings seem to find the makeshift desk I've rigged to be almost as fascinating as the suitcase which is sitting on the ottoman.  In between battles on the bed and floor, they are taking turns jumping on my desk to investigate.  At one point, when I left the iPad unattended and the keyboard turned on, I returned to find that someone had taken it upon themselves to do a little typing of their own!

Both little bundles of energy wear collars with bells, so their antics have musical accompaniment which, if nothing else, will make them easy to locate should they fail to wind down before I do!

At any rate, I left my own little darlings in the care of a friend who will give them breakfast for the next couple of days and otherwise check on their well being until I return.  In true cat fashion, Mr. Dylan, in particular, tried to tug on my guilt chain by looking as woebegone as possible when I was saying goodbye.  I assured him that treats would still be forthcoming, but the head he likes to sleep on would be absent for a couple of days.  He hung his head in apparent misery, though I know that he and his siblings will be fine until I return.

(another moment of distraction as I watched the male ginger furry race madly around the room alternately chasing and carrying a blue mylar poof).

I'm looking forward to a few not very relaxing days, running around San Diego with my daughter and son-in-law, running up the steps on my Fitbit (today was over 8,000 despite the 4 hours of sitting!), and exploring some of the many local attractions.  We'll round out our week with a Brad Paisley concert on Thursday night before I head home to assure my furry children that they have not been abandoned.

Though this might seem pretty tame to most people, especially those who have been jetting off to Europe this year, leaving home for a few days is something I do only on rare occasions, so for me, this is another adventure, and another giant step outside of my comfort zone.  

In true, ADHD style, before I close, I want to raise one more point which camne up in conversation this week.  As I've mentioned before, I am an Empath.  I also have a very high tolerance for pain.  This is also true of my daughter.  In conversation with a friend this week, he raised the possibility tha the two are, in fact, related.  As it made a great deal of sense, I am going to be querying other empaths over the next few weeks to see if the theory holds.  I welcome all contributions to this effort.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for opportunities to step outside my comfort zone.
2. I am grateful for an exciting, busy, fun-filled with with my daughter and son-in-law.
3. I am grateful for the chance to see my grand furries.
4. I am grateful for the new ideas which can surely come from venturing outside of my usual stonping grounds.
5. I am grateful for the relationship with my daughter which makes adventures like this possible.

Love and light.

Monday, July 7, 2014

July 7, 2014 What a difference a day makes, in the world of #shericonaway

Last week, I was a mess!  I was overwhelmed with all of the things I need to accomplish, and at a loss for where to start.

Thankfully, I have some wonderful friends who know when to just take me by the hand and get my motor running so that I can go back into ADHD mode and run amok once again.

If creative people are a little insane, it's because of the business end of it all!
To say I was overwhelmed is an enormous understatement!  I had no clue what I was going to do about a website to build my "platform".  What to use, where to go, who to call...what freakin' color scheme do I want!  Seriously???

I was going to look for a graphic of a crazy haired woman when I realized that I had several of myself!  So here I am, hair going every which way (as it does when I don't practically glue it down).  This is pretty much how I felt last week (aside from the smile.  Trust me, that was absent!).

If the website were the only issue, it might not have been so mind boggling, but in addition to the look of the website, I needed a topic, because building a platform for my book requires a topic which I can write a whole bunch of stuff about, drawing thousands of people to my site.  Easy, peasy, right?

But it doesn't stop there!  I also needed software for creating the website, domain names, a web host...and that doesn't even include all of the stuff I needed for the book, itself.

I've now whittled it down to about 18 more pages to edit, not counting a couple of chapters I decided, in the process of editing, that I need to add.  Yet, I still didn't have a title, much less an inkling of what I wanted for the cover art (which I'm now told means a kazillion things, when all I meant was the artwork for the book cover!).

But a friend did come and hold my hand, helping me figure out what's out there.  She took me through the process of buying some domain names and showed me how one of the web writing packages works.

Still, I was struggling with pricing for the software which I'd been led to believe was free.  Unfortunately, the company does not provide phone support, so I finally called one of the hosting companies, and learned that the software I wanted was on the .org site rather than the .com site.  Whodathunkit?

Today, the real fun began!  I downloaded the software, then clicked on the link for what else was needed.  HOLY MACARONI!!!  PHP???  .tar????  SQL????  WTF????

Whizzing through 15 pages of instructions, hoping for a miracle, I finally found it on page 12.  Instructions for installing the software on a single computer.  Hooray!  But I wasn't out of the woods yet!  What I really needed was on page 13.  Instructions for installing it on a Windows system!  Boo Rah!  Now I had it!  I simply needed Microsoft SQL, and I'd be ready to rock and roll!

I'm happy to say, #WordPress is now installed for use with my #SheriConaway domains as well as the #SheriLevenstein ones, just for good measure.   I'm currently in the process of selecting a theme so I can start setting the thing up and populating it with my words of wisdom, though much of that will occur after I finish the #copywriting course.

However, my day got even better, because once I was able to clear my brain of the website issues, the creative floodgates opened.  I now  have, not only a title for my book, but an idea for the cover art too!  My mind has been like a clogged drain, but once the clog was removed, all sorts of brilliance has emerged!

Full Speed Ahead!!!

I'm now looking forward to a 4 hour train ride tomorrow which will likely find me with headphones stuffed in my ears, the tray table pulled down and my iPad in front of me while I finish that last 18 pages of editing!  It's way past time to move on to completing the copywriting course, then getting my website up and running while doing my best to generate some revenue for all of my enterprises.   

For now, the crazy haired lady is enjoying a tamer time.  This is not to say that the plate has been cleared.  In fact, it is more full than ever, but cracking some of the tougher nuts has made everything else seem more manageable, at least for the moment. 

My gratitudes are:
1. I am grateful to friends who help me clear some trees so I can see the forest.
2. I am grateful to have finally figured things out, like, for instance, the title for #SashasJourney.
3. I am grateful for the lessons I'm learning, like "cover art" has several different meanings.
4. I am grateful that I took the plunge and submitted an essay to The Barefoot Writer, and even more grateful to read the winning essay and see how far I still need to travel.
5. I am grateful for an unbroken stretch of time in which to work tomorrow.

Love and light.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

July 6, 2014 Being worthy of #trust. #SheriConaway

Early this morning I woke, as I often do, with Dylan curled around my head on my pillow.  What was not so usual was that in my sleep, I had laid my hand on the pillow, and he was resting his cheek in my open palm.

Thinking about it as the day progressed, I found myself feeling awed by the unquestioning trust I have enjoyed over the years, both from my pets and, for awhile, from my children.

I'm reminded of a quote I once saw:  "Anyone can be a father.  It takes someone special to be a Dad."
Anyone can be a parent, whether it's to a child or an adopted pet.  But not everyone is able to cherish those children in a way which truly justifies the complete trust they put into their caregiver.

Do I always feel I deserve that trust?  Those times when I thought I did everything I could, but still lose a cat way too soon, makes me question it.  But when I'm able, with the help of my vet, to catch a potentially life-threatening condition so early that it hasn't had time to do any damage?  I'm more grateful that I was able to be there than I am feeling worthy of the trust.

Sure, I feel I've gone the extra mile when I spend the money for a special treatment, or use some of the healing techniques I've learned to make an older, arthritic cat more comfortable.  I also feel more useful when I use those same techniques to ease some pain for my daughter.  But deserving?   That's a tough one.

As I see it, trust is earned, but when your infant daughter looks at you with complete trust in her eyes, have you really had a chance to earn it, or does she just trust you because you've been taking care of her?

For myself, I've learned the hard way not to trust to easily as my trust has been betrayed on more than one occasion.  Maybe, as a result, I've become a little jaded about trust, both from the standpoints of giving and receiving.

As I grow older, though, I'm learning that trust is a lot like love.  It's better to have trusted and been betrayed a time or three than to never have given your trust at all.  The two share some pretty tight bonds because, from where I sit, you can't have love without trust.

We suffer pain from both misused love and misplaced trust.  Often, it makes us pull back into ourselves and fear giving either again.  But just as closing ourselves off to pain also closes us off to joy, closing ourselves off to loving and trusting leaves us in a hard, cold place where none of the warmth and goodness in life can reach us either.

Everything we do in life comes with a certain element of risk.  The question is, do we take those risks, knowing there's a chance that we'll get hurt, but also a chance that the experience will be amazing?  Or do we wrap ourselves in cotton wool and just plod through life, merely existing?

I've tried both and am here to tell you that taking those bungie jumping leaps of faith are a great deal better in the long run...even the ones that make us go *SPLAT*!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the love and trust I receive.
2. I am grateful to have learned that life is dull and listless without a few risks.
3. I am grateful for a lovely evening out with friends.
4. I am grateful for the things I ticked off of my To Do list today.
5. I am grateful for lots of fun plans for July after a somewhat slow and dreary June.

Love and light.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

July 5, 2014 Blame it on the #hashtag. I find #inspiration in thin air these days.

In spite of myself, I've gotten sucked into this dreadful hashtag business, (and, by the way, when did it go from being a pound sign or a number symbol to a hashtag?  Am I getting too old for this nonsense?)  I do have to admit that adding #shericonaway to everything is causing my blog posts to get more regular action.  Nothing to write home about yet, but definitely, more action.

Whether I write about #dancing or #WordPress or #WebsiteHosting, it all seems to go through some amazing filter and show up in places I hadn't even dreamed of.  Like so many things I fought until I was dragged, kicking and screaming into the twenty-first century, I'm afraid that if I want to promote my book, which, by the way, finally has a title, I have to make use of any means available.

So, keep your eyes peeled for #SashasJourney which I plan to publish under my maiden name, #SheriLevenstein sometime this year.

In the meantime, in between developing my website which is tentatively titled #HolisticlyHealthy and continuing to blog both here and on the website, that blasted #copywriting course needs to be completed.  I really have been living as if I'm semi-retired, and need to get back to working at least an #eighthourday.  In reality, as a self-employed person, it will more than likely be 12 to 14 hour days, but as the end result is all for me, it will be a labor of love, all the way!

Mixed in with all of these grand, new plans is my sudden, inexplicable urge to clean my house.  Not only to clean it, but to do it regularly.  As a confirmed slob, this new me is causing all sorts of discomfort for the old me who was happy to drag the vacuum cleaner out once a Purim.  I'm not the only victim of this weird malady, either.  My cats have made it abundantly clear that I am disrupting their lives and causing them undue stress!

Why, in the last day or so, Patches spent more time out of her closet than in, even joining me for a meditation!  Toby has begun talking in his sleep, and Dylan wanders the house, meowing pitifully for no apparent reason.  And Munchkin, my little Princess, just follows me from room to room, meowing as if her little heart is breaking, even though I pick her up and cuddle her every time!  (as if she heard me typing her name, Patches just emerged and began head bonking my leg!)

Who knew that taking a leap of faith late last year would have such far-reaching repercussions.  It seems like once I left my comfort zone in one area, the rest of my life began clamoring for change.  At this point, I dare not speculate where the next change will occur.  I think I'm better off just dealing with it when it happens rather than going through that mind freezing business called #anticipation.

For now, I'll just remember to be grateful for every little thing as even my contacts are going into my eyes more easily since I started thanking them for their cooperation.  (Yes, folks, I'm a little odd, but I have to tell you, even showing gratitude for the little things is incredibly effective!)

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful that I always have someone to share my table on dance nights now.
2. I am grateful for cool showers after hot, sweaty nights of dancing.
3. I am grateful for my amazing girl friends who will, perhaps in spite of myself, get me through all of the challenges I've set for myself, as well as the ones which are beginning to appear in my path of their own accord.
4. I am grateful for my cats who are always happy to see me when I come home.
5. I am grateful for a mind which finds inspiration in just about anything.

Love and light.

Friday, July 4, 2014

July 4, 2014 Doing the #webhosting cha cha

It seems that either something has changed at WordPress, or the information I received was incomplete.  As I started to set up my website, I got to the page where they want you to select a plan, and the only thing the free plan offered was a blog!

Someone recommended going to Fatcow which, as it turns out, is running a promotion of $40 for the first year.  BUT, then you have to install the actual web designing software.  They do integrate with WordPress, but there still seems to be a cost for that as well, with a choice of two options

Their starter version which excludes security and "super speed", and only offers minimal support goes for $3.75 a month.  If you want the whole bag of goodies, you have to pay $6.95 a month.

However, if you use Fatcow's web developer, it appears to be included in the annual fee.  As I have not spoken with anyone who recommends their web builder, but have spoken to several who speak highly of the WordPress one, I'm back to square one.  I don't want to spend a ton of money on this right now, but it's starting to add up very quickly!

Now, it appears that everything else is included, but being the skeptic I am, I find it hard to believe that their support team will help me build the website at no extra charge!  Those guys just don't come cheap!  What's in it for Fatcow aside from a yearly fee?

A rose by any other name still has me confused!

So here I sit with 8 domain names for #SheriConaway and #SheriLevenstein, and no place to call home.

OK, admittedly, I'm focusing more on finishing my book, getting through the copywriting course and setting myself up on a bunch of social networks I didn't even know existed, but at some point, I'm going to need to start the process of setting up my website (and hopefully, sooner rather than later) and I need to know where to go!  (OK, I'm sure there are several people out there who would be quite happy to tell me where to go, but I doubt it would give me any help with my website and its eventual home.)

Does the rest of the world find it this difficult, or am I making mountains out of mole hills?  I actually came up with a theme for my website which will, ultimately, require a lot of research on my part in order to write the articles and blog.  Of course, the next question I ask is: Then why can't I come up with a title for my book???

Yes, my life is filled with entirely new challenges these days and it all started in October during my A.R.T. class when I was put on the spot and asked what I really wanted to do with my life.  Despite the financial implications which I know are only temporary, I don't have any regrets about the decision I made.  I do need to take myself by the scruff of the neck and get more diligent about pursuing the dream I promised myself, and the number of months which have already passed with less progress than I'd hoped is rather daunting.

Even today, the intended scrubbing of floors was superseded by a search for the extra house keys.  (I did eventually find them in the first place I'd looked, but it took completely emptying the drawer to actually find them hidden beneath an excessive number of both working and non-working writing implements.)  It wasn't all for naught, though, because I cleaned out some purses and reorganized my storage bin.  I also cleaned and reorganized two drawers in my desk.

My Twitter and Tumblr accounts are now set up, and I ended up researching instead of setting up my WordPress account, but when all is said and done, it was all things that are going to be necessary, if not right this minute, in the very near future.

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it's off to declutter I go!

Each step in my decluttering process has taught me that the more organized I can make my immediate environment, the less time I will waste trying to get what I need together when I start taking on those paid writing jobs.  My research material and all of the other tools I might need will be at my fingertips and easily accessible.  In fact, I've already begun to realize the benefits of my previous efforts.

As the title indicates, I'm taking two steps forward and one step back right now, but as that still means I'm making progress (or enjoying a lovely cha cha), I guess I'm ultimately heading in the right direction!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful that I can maintain a positive attitude and above all, FAITH, that everything will eventually come together.
2. I am grateful for supportive friends who offer their experiences and expertise to get me over my latest challenge.
3. I am grateful for my resident ghost (who a friend confirmed today was, indeed, my recently deceased cat, Scooby) who is helping keep everyone calm in spite of a plethora of explosions distressingly close to my house.
4. I am grateful for a sense of humor as there are times when I either throw up my hands and wail, or laugh at the ridiculousness of it all.
5. I am grateful for things which keep me moving like keeping my environment neat and tidy and dancing, because my brain definitely functions better when my body is getting some exercise.

Love and light.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

July 3, 2014 Putting June Gloom behind me

As I look back on the past month and realize that I spent the better part of it feeling under the weather, I know that the challenges I was given were for a reason.  As is often the case, that reason is not yet apparent to me, and though I got all but the last 25 pages of my book edited during that time, my gym routine has died on the vine and I'm trying to catch up with my household chores.

Granted, I spent a lot of time watching Dylan for any signs that something wasn't quite right, and found none.  In fact, when he had is 1 month check up, everything was so much better, that I'm beginning to relax again! 

The editing definitely began to flow better, and I'm even adding a couple of chapters as I find that some things just needed to be delved into more deeply.  I've also added some additional conflicts to the story, which is a good thing, as I was feeling like it was a little flat. 

July, in contrast, is already filling up with trips, social events and other commitments to myself.  I bought eight domain names today and will, upon completion of the editing, begin developing a website with which to build my author's platform.  It won't actually deal with the book at first, but will be a way of promoting myself as an author of informational material.  It will also be an opportunity for me to learn more about the subject I choose to base the website around and ultimately better myself in the process.

June also found me crossing some older items off of my To Do list, and finally getting things going in the right direction with my health insurance.  Apparently, "medical need" is a good way to light a fire under a certain insurance company!  As soon as I really needed to see a doctor, the roadblocks miraculously cleared.  Although there is still some confusion as to the start date, and BS is trying to point the finger at Covered California yet again, I have faith that it will soon be resolved and I can spend my days doing far more interesting and productive things than sitting on hold for hours on end.

I was fortunate that a friend gave me several hours of her precious time today to walk me through some of the things I need to know to not only set up a website, but use it to promote my business.  The one fly in my ointment tonight is that I am going to have to reconcile myself to using the dreaded #hashtags.  Blech!!!  But in order to get #shericonaway  aka #sherilevenstein out there for all the world to see, I have to use something which gets me to show up in places where people are likely to follow links.  The things we must do for our craft!!!

In the general scheme of things, I'm starting to see it all come together.  I've gleaned a lot of information over the last few months from webinars, other bloggers, friends and my marketing guru.  The thing I've learned best though, is that I still have a great deal to learn, and a lot of it is simply going to be a trial and error process for me. 

So I've decided that my schedule for the next few weeks will go something like this:
  1. Complete household chores
  2. Complete the book edit
  3. Practice with WordPress
  4. Set myself up on several social networking sites
  5. Complete the Copywriting course
  6. Create my website
  7. Research and write several articles for my website.
  8. Go live with my website
  9. Monitor the website to see what does and does not work as far as drawing visitors
  10. Enjoy the first of many 1,000+ hit days on my website.
  11. Identify possible people to read and critique my book.
  12. Investigate publishing options
  13. Promote the book on my website.
  14. PUBLISH!!!!
Some of these things are just an ongoing process of doing and re-doing.  Others are going to require time and persistence so I find the best information and the best solutions for me.

Some items on this list are positively terrifying, but ultimately very rewarding.  When all is said and done, it all leads to one, very important thing.  I am living my dream!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful that life provides me with whatever I need to continue moving towards my goals.
2. I am grateful for experienced friends who are willing to share what they've learned with me so my own learning curve will be shorter.
3. I am grateful for forward movement and definitive tasks on the way to my goals.
4. I am grateful for the abundance of love and support I've been receiving as I follow a path which is so different from where I've been for the last 30 or so years.
5. I am grateful for the opportunity to visit my daughter and son-in-law in their new home.  Fun times ahead!

Love and light.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

July 2, 2014 The ebbs and flows of inspiration

A week or so ago, I was so flooded with blog topics that I had to open a Word document to keep track of them. 

Today, all of those topics are crossed off, and the day was so quiet (I spent a lot of time sleeping again) that I didn't get inspired by anything I saw or heard. 

And yet, as a writer, I need to write something, anything, no matter how banal, simply to maintain my sanity and my purpose. 

Writers Write.
 Yes, we do, but we also share another quality.  
Writers get writers block.
We all have days when the ideas don't flow, when the words won't come and the page remains blank.  At times, it feels like we've completely lost our mojo, even though we know that it's only temporary.  

Think of a baseball pitcher who has a record for striking out batters.  One day, he steps up to the mound and can't even get the ball  across the plate!  He knows he did it yesterday and the day before and 100 days before, so why not now?  

Like the pitcher, our writer's block doesn't last.  It may have a reason, but most often, it doesn't.  The part of our minds which comes up with witty, interesting stories does what all creative minds do.  It goes off wandering.  When it wanders close by, we reap the benefits of our imagination.  When it decides to wander further afield, we experience difficulties in reeling it back in so we can dig through those mental files to find something we can write about.

So, tonight, my creative mind has taken a bit of a vacation, leaving my physical and logical sides behind to cope with what's left.  

It left me needing extra rest again, and making up dreams about house parties on the beach in magnificent many-roomed mansions with secret passageways, a family of cats who knew how to get in and out of any room in the house and the eccentric owner who was trying to avoid a woman who stalked him because of what he was rather than who he was.  

Of course, I cast myself in the role of the innocent guest who didn't even know who our host was, much less, that this man was our host.  When friends offered me a chance to spend a few days in a luxurious house on the beach, who was I to say no?  

Anyway, my mind wandered, I slept and dreamed and cuddled with my cats, and once again, put off doing the floors.  <sigh>  Maybe my creative mind is just telling me that until I get my chores done, I don't get to play?

However, I'm always one to focus on what I did get done rather than what I didn't, I'm happy to say that I was able to check a few things off of my To Do list, nonetheless.  (and added a couple as well!)

Writer's block or no, here's to the things I did accomplish today, and those I've been able to check off this week.  I know that more will be gone by the time Sunday rolls around, and just need to remember my favorite saying.

Don't sweat the small stuff.
And everything is small stuff.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful that I have the luxury of listening to my body.
2. I am grateful that the rash of illnesses June gave birth to are dying a natural death in July.
3. I am grateful that I can focus my attention and energy on things which fulfill my purpose rather than on things which would just make me angry or upset, but unable to fix anyway.
4. I am grateful for the lessons I've learned, those which I have to keep repeating, and those still to come.
5. I am grateful for my ability to hold onto my faith in myself even during times when I'm not making much progress.

Love and light.  


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

July 1, 2014 Words, words, words...what do they really mean.

I just finished reading a thread on Facebook which began when a friend posted her observation of a homeless man sitting on a freeway off ramp, talking on a smart phone.  Her comment was nothing more than her observation of something which appeared on the surface to be somewhat absurd, and contained neither judgement nor social commentary.

What ensued was a lively, and at times, ugly discussion.  Some posters pointed out instances where they'd observed individuals abusing the system and caring individuals by begging for money, then getting into a nice car and driving away.  Others spoke of organizations which pay people to be beggars.  But the loudest and most opinionated of the group were two individuals who had either spent time working with the truly homeless, or were close to being homeless themselves. 

Some accused the original poster of being judgmental and uncaring.  Others leaped to her defense, asserting, quite truthfully, that she is not the type to judge or abuse but was merely observing something which, on the surface, appeared inconsistent. 

In this world of texting and instant messages and social media in general, we seem to have lost a key element to communication in the name of expediency.  That element can be summed up as the personal touch, but includes voice inflections, body language and facial expressions.  Without those elements, an innocent remark can quickly spin out of control. 

Talk to me.  Baby, won't you talk to me?

Because we are in such a rush or are trying to do too many things at once, we don't take the time we used to, to listen carefully, not only to what others are saying, but how.  I am as guilty as the rest, sending texts to my daughter or reading something while talking to her on the phone.  I don't always hear the tone in her voice that indicates I've touched a nerve, however innocently it might have happened.  I can tell you, though, that after reading this thread, I'm going to be more aware of the people I speak with, whether they're friends, family or strangers.  

These days, so many of us talk about caring about the fate of others, about doing our part to ease pain and discomfort, whether it's children, animals, homeless, or whatever our hearts feel strongly about.  In the process, we've lost sight of what is so important to our day to day lives.  We don't really communicate with those around us. 

Like everything else, I know there are exceptions, and I truly admire their ability to circumvent the pitfalls of our quick and dirty communication methods.  But for most of us, at least part of the time, we hear or see the words, but lose a lot of the meaning through our lack of attention to the little details.  

Talking to a friend recently, I told her that I can often hear her voice in the words she types, the way she says things, the inflections she uses.  But unlike actually speaking to her, I really only get part of the picture, and, if I'm just reading the words while doing three other things, I'll even miss that!  

Slow down, you move too fast.  You've got to make the morning last.
 I see this experience as a reminder, at least to myself, to pay attention to those who make time in their day to have a conversation with me; to give them my full attention and truly hear what they have to say.  

There's a post which pops up on Facebook every so often about how we don't see what's going on behind the eyes of a boy who was made fun of, or a girl who came to school in tattered clothes, or several other scenarios.  This, as far as I'm concerned, is just as relevant to the people we know and love. No matter how well we know them or how much we care, if we don't give them our full attention, we might miss something important.  

Listen actively.  Pay attention.  Look into their eyes.  Ask questions.  There will come a time when you'll be glad you did.

My gratitudes today are:
1. I am grateful for reminders that I've fallen off the path.
2. I am grateful for my loving, caring family and friends who have let me get away with this lack of attention for too long, and for the chance to make it up to them.
3. I am grateful for differences of opinion as they often show us something we might otherwise have missed.
4. I am grateful for the abundance in my life.  It shows itself in unexpected ways at times, to help me learn my lessons.
5. I am grateful for more time to fix the things I've broken.

Love and light.     

June 30, 2014 Being predictable.

As I'd hoped, my energy level was much improved today.  As expected, I took advantage of it, and probably overdid it.  But a week's worth of errands are done and I have all of the necessities for the next week or so. 

I did pay the price, but not with pain or increased symptoms.  My one hour meditation simply extended itself into a two hour meditation plus nap.  Munchkin was quite happy about the results of my marathon errand running, as it meant my lap stayed put for longer than usual.  In the cat world, a surface which remains stationary for as long as they choose to nap is something to be grateful for! :)

Yet, I look at tomorrow and think to myself: "Ok, I'm good.  Tomorrow I am going to do laundry, vacuum and mop the floors and maybe even clean the bathrooms!"  

Who am I kidding?  I know that I'll be good for maybe 3 hours, and then my energy will flag.  But maybe this will help me learn to apply my favorite rule, "work smarter, not harder" when it comes to one of my least favorite jobs, the dreaded housework!  Instead of trying to vacuum and mop the entire house, I can take it room by room, leaving the living room for last, as it is the biggest expanse of floor in the house.  Even if I only manage to get my office and the two bathrooms mopped tomorrow, I can do a floor a day for the rest of the week until I'm finished!

Of course, that is what a smart person who is still nursing ear infections and, periodically, coughing up an organ, would do.  On the bright side, this will not be another move all of the furniture and vacuum underneath kind of day or week.  But some of my floors are going to require some pretty powerful scrubbing before the day is done, and if nothing else, the cat trees must be moved and mopped under!

So stay tuned for the next installment of "Tales of an Over Achiever".  As I try to juggle housework with the writing I really need to finish as I've already missed my June 30 deadline for completing the edit of my book. 

As the Little Engine that Could would say:  "I think I can!  I think I can!"

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the chores I was able to cross off of my To Do list today.
2. I am grateful for continued improvement, health wise.
3. I am grateful for high aspirations, even if I don't always meet them.
4. I am grateful for increasing energy, even if it's not back to my full potential yet.
5. I am grateful for kitties who yell at me to get certain things done before I go to bed. 

Love and light

Monday, June 30, 2014

June 29, 2014 Giving ourselves permission to heal

As I loafed on the sofa tonight, playing games on my iPad and pretending to watch TV while the cats took turns demanding attention, I started to berate myself for another lazy unproductive day.  Then, I stopped, and acknowledged the fact that my body has been subjected to nearly four weeks of viruses and infections, one of which is still doing its best to hang on. 

Suddenly, the lazy, unproductive days bounced into perspective.  They weren't unproductive at all!  I was simply allowing my body to do what it does best, heal itself.  This isn't something which works well when we expect multitasking and quantities of work to occur.  This healing process works best when everything else takes a back seat and allows those natural processes to...well...process.

Instead, I'm congratulating myself on a cough which has weakened enough to no longer require shots of Robitussin to keep all internal organs in their proper places.  I'm appreciating the fact that the pain in my jaw and cheeks is suddenly absent and that I no longer feel the need to rip my ears off of the sides of my head.  Progress, however slowly it might be happening is definitely apparent tonight, thanks, in part, to my admirable impersonation of a sloth.

The tasks which were neglected this week will find closure this week, as my energy returns.  I can also say that I got a couple of old issues handled in the meantime.  Had I attempted to vacuum and scrub floors, it would have taken ten times longer than necessary as I would have collapsed in bouts of coughing far to often to make my efforts efficient. 

If a cleaned up kitchen, a running dishwasher and a coffee pot ready to drip the brown elixir of life tomorrow morning is all I have to show for today, it's what I was able to do, and I accept that.

Some days, you just have to let the world take care of itself so you can come back and be super productive again!  That day is coming, and when it does, may everyone and everything just do the smart thing and get out of the way!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for my nurse kitties who did an extraordinary job today.
2. I am grateful for remembering to be kinder to myself.
3. I am grateful for the things I did accomplish this week.
4. I am grateful that the illnesses which have plagued me are finally getting the boot they deserve.
5. I am grateful for all of the abundance in my life:  the love, the friendship, the health, the harmony and the prosperity, not to mention the creativity.

Love and light

Friday, June 27, 2014

June 27, 2014 The Ears Still Have It!

I guess I spoke too soon the other day, but at least Blue Shield seems to have gotten my insurance figured out, and it only took them 6 1/2 months! 

Last night, after another amazing night of dancing, I started feeling pressure in my left ear again.  I put some drops in, and it seemed to help, but the last run pretty much depleted my supply so I knew that if it wasn't gone, I would have to schedule a doctor's visit, and it's a good thing I did! 

She described my right ear as "angry" and said that the pain in my jaw was a result of the infection in my ear.  So now, not only do I have antibiotic drops to go in the ears, but doxycycline to take as well.  Here's hoping that this will knock all of the creeping crud out of my system for good!

One thing that puzzles me, though.  Around here, the doctor's are all equipped with laptops and/or iPads these days.  If they can hook things up so you can see your insides on an ultrasound, why can't they hook something up so what they're seeing with their little scope thingie when they look in your ears and down your throat could show up on their tablet so you could see what they consider seriously infected?  Maybe I'm weird, but I really would like to see what it is they're seeing.  If you think about it, there's really no good way to see inside your own ear!  It's kind of like trying to touch your ear with your elbow!  Nobody short of a contortionist could manage that feat!

Don't get me wrong.  Compared to some of my friends, I consider myself very lucky to be dealing with something so relatively mild and treatable, while one friend is dealing with both pneumonia and kidney stones while another is about to evict some of her lady parts for bad behavior.    I have to say that I have all of the parts with which I came from the factory, save a small piece of meniscus from my right knee (and that hardly counts as a major component like tonsils or organs or reproductive parts, now does it?). 

Someday, the people who have put their hearts and souls into researching cures for so many things are going to get some real backing, rise up against the big pharmaceutical companies who see more profit in keeping people sick, and will bring those cures they've developed so painstakingly out for public consumption.  Then we can all stop putting chemicals into our bodies and just give them the healthy foods, herbs and minerals they were meant to thrive on.  In some ways, I think these nasty flu strains and infections are a result of toxins we unwittingly ingest and could be completely avoided if we knew what was giving them something in our bodies to feed upon! 

And from what I'm hearing, they're going to have to kick the insurance companies where it hurts as well, since they seem to be running shows they have no business running. 

Yes, I am seriously considering building a network which would allow me to advocate for people who are being given the runaround by insurance companies.  Frankly, from my experience, and what I'm learning from the doctors, it isn't the Affordable Health Care Act that's the problem, or even the people trying their darndest to administer it.  The insurance companies themselves are doing everything they can to make it fail, though I'm really not clear as to why they are so against it.  The only thing I can think of is profits, but as they are even limiting what doctors can sign up for, they are narrowing their own scope!  What am I missing, here???

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for my relatively minor health issues.
2. I am grateful that I'm learning to seek help when I'm simply uncomfortable instead of waiting until I'm in excrutiating pain, and have already let whatever it is go way too far.
3. I am grateful for the kindness of people, and their willingness to share the challenges they're facing.
4. I am grateful for healing energy, even if it needs a little boost from medications.
5. I am grateful for my nurse kitties who have been extremely attentive the last few weeks.

Love and light.