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

Got the Music In Me

A Song for Every Reason

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

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

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

Backup Music for All Life’s Ups and Downs

Breakups are only one example of opportunities to connect songs to events. In fact, my kids probably https://www.flickr.com/photos/willfolsom/7094471059/in/photolist-bNV25x-77UPSv-9tPRui-hY52Y-5RfP97-8iBJzZ-ffSKCZ-89DTEp-8MafAw-89DSMe-89H9JG-7fSeqV-dTPXDT-89H8x1-hQZfKq-89H7TY-89DT2i-89Hai7-63Qh4E-pnSKC-89H88L-vRpUr-89DUdH-89DTLt-9oEVmR-2w7XP-7gdck-5SNtVn-gtXnSa-aq8Vdg-5jK3c7-5FXzrT-9cNBdK-7iEieU-oK2nBU-7EKFFz-qz7Go-26Ys1Bk-5oFzFx-6upwHg-5uHBB8-6djGap-9NsAVB-2HW8-ohgAFe-7EKFAc-4BwGJp-29aXGWZ-nM4w1N-4gzvmchad several occasions to wish a case of laryngitis on me when I’d find a song for almost anything they said. I’m sure it was particularly annoying when they were stuck in the car for a long trip.

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

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

Finding My Life When the Music Returned

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

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

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

Life Without Music is A Lonely Affair

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

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

Finding Our Joy in Music

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

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

Being the Example for a Joy-Filled Life

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

Making Gratitude a Habit

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

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

Love and Light

 

About the Author

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

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From Sound Bite to Epiphany

I caught a sound bite while at the gym and it got me thinking. It said a lot of the chaos being caused in places like NATO, G7, and other high profile political arenas is solely for the purpose of generating anger and divisiveness. I can’t say the news surprises me as I’ve said the same thing so often it’s becoming almost redundant.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/whoisthatfreakwiththecamera/2128863889/in/photolist-4f7Z4P-qjFHFf-98uNgj-6rDocS-UiQVsw-9MwMca-Re3oF7-XGTMLU-on6pwo-SB9A6F-54qPeB-7H8Pz8-7SMaC-R6RucA-cdbJBE-XGU7Q5-bGtTU6-8YKrbu-4CRGDp-bfqo4k-PEvGt-6Q9zSA-mJQyHS-4Ew2AY-Sfkwdo-5vKK9X-aDJhs6-FWXiy-76To7V-PFoqM-6r9hiY-5YcHEt-bqFdZH-dzVpN2-df1Kzf-oG6Szg-oE5cau-49Ytgo-7dHNJe-76XiVw-5YcKbP-4S24ZU-5YcKtz-5YcJFF-bpo9oP-76Tjkx-4HL5yc-5YcJoT-8f2fwB-6km6WdCreating anger, pitting people against each other, and glorifying hate feeds the bullies, the ogres, and the demons who have been released upon our world to run amok unchecked. The sole purpose of this feeding frenzy of greed and hate is to allow the soulless, heartless minority to steal everything we hold dear while we’re too wrapped up in being angry to appreciate and protect our inalienable rights. To me the most important of those rights are the right to love and be loved, the right to treat others with kindness and receive the same, and the right to join together in communities working towards common goals for the greater good.

Bringing Idealism Back Into Fashion

This may make me sound like an idealist and in many ways I probably am. Yet I have faith we can create the world I’m not alone in envisioning where we can have different beliefs and still come together in a single cohesive, productive unit. A community which understands different opinions make us stronger because they encourage us to look at our world from alternate points of view without treating disagreement like a personal affront.

I believe we can and will turn our world around and bring people together. We’ll return to a place where freedom of religion, and liberty for all once again actually means something. Where people no longer need a designated scapegoat to excuse their own unwillingness to put forth the effort to achieve their own goals and dreams but instead ask for help from others regardless of heritage, beliefs, religion, race, or sexual preference. Most important is getting back to where we understand, believe and act on the truism that the community is stronger which takes care of its own. In other words, where helping each other is part of our nature and not an obligation.

Imagine

John Lennon envisioned such a world decades ago when he wrote his song, “Imagine”. That world may https://www.flickr.com/photos/gcaspers/3674508861/in/photolist-6AGPt4-9XPdGp-9AfZYv-asnfWg-2j1go4-7UukPU-a2XVdU-NqoUQ-dbkFUe-a2XRDb-6nnHrK-9EBf9b-9xemFj-cucYQS-cud1JC-cucV5Q-cucW5f-9GVbUK-9XS6cJ-53kCM9-8dXRc-ctMcPj-crXsXw-cutJfu-a3bJ56-9XS6GA-aspUtj-a3bRmp-rjDGsd-cudgUJ-9xeGYS-ctNGF1-cutroo-crYSB9-a2UPPe-crYbPw-6ZUrTn-cutJYm-jCRHS-cutQqA-csxxsh-sabp4u-aspXws-a3fFX5-cutPDh-dmd5Ze-asnkuX-cykHmj-9xAUFm-cutrGUnot have come to pass in his lifetime but I believe the seeds were sown long ago. We need to nurture and cultivate those seeds. The more of us who choose to nourish the crop, the more abundant it will become. There will come a point where our fields of love, kindness, and acceptance will be sufficient to choke out the weeds of hate, greed, and divisiveness. In my mind, that’s the love people like Dr Martin Luther King tried to tell us would overcome the evil and hatred running rampant in our world. Many have lost faith in his timeless words, but the few who keep it alive are stronger than they might think.

The interesting thing about feeding the love seeds is not only do you feel good when you do it, you don’t need constant infusions to maintain the level of intensity you reach. In fact, unlike hate which only grows stronger with regular infusions of pain, love grows stronger the more you give of yourself for the benefit of others. Even better, the well of love is infinite. It never runs dry.

Fake News Creates Fake Hate

The artificially instilled anger being poured into the world right now is continuously depleted and can https://www.flickr.com/photos/eamoncurry/28268951669/in/photolist-K52Lsr-byVMMC-RPS3xW-UdGABu-ZyoRJD-UGD7PB-F5Q7kv-VP4Csi-mHt88T-k3iA6-Hfjmzh-dcxTkQ-RtTnPj-U65Sq9-dcujdB-RSrN3T-bMQU4K-SWh6K3-Tb77Ki-T7xwTo-RTDHJ3-T7xp7w-3KKPDt-o6oKQv-SWh5YJ-UN97Sy-prgzdM-bMCdYe-qhS8Xz-byKj5d-qs4b7R-byL2XC-bMCd9p-SAfRWS-dzNBJu-fwWtJt-JjEtwP-bMBxtP-byKnuf-272uDNX-TuBQdv-26wihPC-EQiBwn-dabUNz-rLf7Sy-27u72yF-SLfJYB-dkAN6H-24szGFw-bWK2Xtonly find more fuel in the pain and suffering of someone—a whole lot of someones. Right now, we are all “someone”. We are the pool from which those who feed on pain, suffering, hate, and anger will draw. We alone have the power to stop being used as fuel for a machine which operates in the best interests of only a select few who care nothing for the well-being of the world as a whole or the people in it.

It starts with a pebble in the pond of humanity. The pebble creates ripples which meet ripples created by other pebbles tossed into the pond. As more pebbles are tossed and more ripples created, connections form and the potential for a global support system becomes, not an impossible dream, but the reality we all deserve. But it won’t come by pointing fingers or blaming others for our imperfect lives. It will only happen when we realize we are the pebbles creating those ripples and make a conscious choice to fill our ripples with love instead of hate. We have to lose the destructive us-them mentality and realize we have the potential to be one global community where we give of ourselves unselfishly and receive what we need with gratitude.

Making the Dreamers’ Dreams a Reality

If you ask me, we owe it to the dreamers like John Lennon and Dr. King to turn their dreams into reality. It starts with a single person; a single act. Holding a door for another person, letting a car merge in front of you on the freeway, speaking out when you see someone being mistreated, rescuing an animal, listening to a friend, or smiling at a stranger. What I’m saying is making those dreams reality starts with caring.

For me that means redoubling my efforts to reach out to people who have been impacted by suicide or suicidal thoughts, depression, or mental health. I’m learning something really incredible; something I’d have deemed impossible even a few months ago. Hold onto your hat, because I’m going to share what for me at least was a HUGE epiphany.

Passion: The Strongest Catalyst We Have

When you discover your passion, the thing that makes you light up like the Aurora Borealis just thinking about it, and as brightly as the mid-day sun when you start talking about it, people who will either enhance or benefit from that passion will appear in your life almost magically.

You heard me right (or rather, “read” since I’ve yet to move from blog to vlog). Passion is one of the most attractive forces in the Universe, for both definitions of “attractive”. Feeling and expressing that passion is akin to becoming the most powerful magnet imaginable. But the glow you engage when you bring your passion out to play brings out the passion in others as well. If you ask me there is nothing more beautiful than people and their passions coming together to create a world of love and cooperation.

What makes you light up brighter than the sun? How can I help you turn your spark into a blazing fire that encompasses all humanity? It all begins by tossing the first pebble into humanity’s pond.

Fueled by Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the amazing, inspirational people who have not only come before me, but the ones who are in my life right now, inspiring, encouraging, and occasionally butt kicking.
  2. I am grateful for the virtual flood of ideas I’ve been getting this week.
  3. I am grateful for blocks I’m discovering and learning how to release them, not just for the moment, but forever.
  4. I am grateful for the opportunity to help others and the inspiration to find ways to do just that.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; inspiration, motivation, brilliant people, warm friendships, encouragement, opportunities to leave my comfort zone further behind, love, peace, joy, harmony, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

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

Selling Their Wares By Making Us Feel Ugly

Turn on the computer or the TV, listen to the radio, open a magazine, even see a passing bus, and many carry the same message: “We know you’re embarrassed by the normal signs of aging on your body and face. We’ll sell you a product or service to erase those signs and let you live a happier life.”

It begs the question: Why should my perfectly normal signs of aging make me unhappy? We should be looking on those imperfections; those signs we’ve used our faces, our bodies, our hearts as indications of a life well-lived.

Yet too many people buy into this crap. I have countless friends who, though the weather might hit triple digits and like me, don’t let a little heat keep them from dancing, are miserable in their long pants because they claim to have ugly legs. Most of them, just from what I see inside those hot, confining pants have perfectly nice legs. They’ll say “I’m not like you. You have beautiful legs. Mine are {fill in the blank with: fat, crepe-y, vein-y, cellulose-y, or other body shaming adjective}.”

Good grief! In the first place, it’s a bar so the lighting is low. In the second, if they could see all the flaws I carry proudly and without shame, maybe they’d be kinder to themselves…or maybe they wouldn’t. They’ve conditioned to believe they’re supposed to hide their imperfections.

It makes me sad to see and hear that, but even more when it’s perpetuated by other women (I refer to the self-professed beauty consultant who was quite offended I didn’t take her advice to cover up my own, in her words, awful legs). We should be each others’ best friends and staunchest supporters. Instead we are often the first to put another woman down.

Wearing the Signs of Aging Proudly

Worse still are all the women who are behind these purported miracle creams to erase everything from age spots and unwanted hair to cellulite and crepe-y skin. They should be ashamed of themselves for making their sisters feel bad about themselves in the first place.

Those age spots they want to erase are badges of honor for a life well-lived. Creases in face, neck, hands, and chest celebrate a woman who has ridden the waves of life supporting her family and friends with love and compassion. The gray in her hair is the thousands of hours she sat up waiting for a child to come home, a diagnosis to come in, or simply holding the hand of someone so they would feel less alone and scared. And the crepe-y skin is a woman who had more on her mind and in her heart than remembering to apply moisturizer every 5 minutes. She was too busy seeing to the needs of the people in her life she loved, and continues to love.

We don’t need magic potions or pills to change who we are—what we’ve become with time. If you ask me, we need to wear it all proudly, and be grateful for every minute we get to wear it. Too many are gone long before such imperfections begin to appear.

I continue to applaud the young people I see who let no one tell them they’re too fat or too thin, too short or too tall to wear the clothing of their choice. But more, I give credit to their friends who don’t need to resort to shaming another to feel better about themselves. I’m far less impressed with the ones who walk around with others with similar body shapes, all dressed alike. Sadly, they’re the target market of the future for an industry which wants us to believe our differences are flaws.

Lotions and Potions and Gadgets, Oh My!

I’ve been watching Hallmark movies late into the night more often than I want to admit lately. The commercials get worse and longer late at night when only night owls and sleepless tune in. Maybe they think we’re more susceptible to the gold-plated thingamjig that gently removes hair, or the miracle cream that makes you look younger. I wonder how many of those doohickeys that hold your earrings up higher are sold during the wee hours?

I get it that companies spend massive R & D and marketing budgets creating a need where there wasn’t one. I understand that someone somewhere thought some of these things were actually a problem, even though no one ever noticed until they created a solution and started their marketing campaign.

I also wonder how many products like these were total flops. How many manufactured needs never caught on? How far would they go, not only to insult our perfectly wonderful bodies but our intelligence to make a sale?

One Industry Breaks Us So Another Can Fix Us

Is it any wonder one of the most visible markets these days is the one dealing with giving people back their self-esteem? The advertising industry has normalized insulting and shaming people who don’t match their idea of perfection (usually anything that makes people want to fix the imperfection enough to buy their product). It seems that one industry wreaks havoc, giving rise to another claiming they can repair the damage. Don’t get me wrong. Some who promise to teach self-respect and a positive self-image do deliver on their promises.

Wouldn’t it make more sense to invest all the money spent to break, then fix women into a fund to teach girls from early childhood that being different is an asset, not a liability? That being their beautiful, wonderful, unique selves is the best thing ever instead of pushing them towards the “next best thing” to fix what was never broken in the first place.

Perfection is a Killer

Too many women of my generation and earlier pushed themselves to be perfect, and suffered greatly from the frustration of setting themselves an impossible goal. My own mother thought she had to be the perfect hostess, the perfect cook, perfectly groomed, the perfect guest…I could go on. Sadly, even if others told her she did something perfectly, in her own mind there were always flaws. She always fell short of her own expectations. To my knowledge, the only thing she found even the slightest joy in was her grandkids, and any imperfections she saw there were clearly my fault. Somehow, I think she’d eventually take that upon herself as well.

As a writer, I’ve seen many get stuck in an endless loop of editing while they’re still trying to get the story out. I’ve seen others who do manage to get the story out, but edit 100’s of times searching for an elusive perfection they’ll never find.

In writing and in life, we need to realize that perfection does not exist, and that being able to accept good enough is perfection in itself. It allows us to move past our stuckness to go on and achieve even greater things.

That would make a wonderful mantra if you ask me.  “I am forever and always good enough.”

Healing With Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for my spots, lumps, gray hairs, and all the imperfections that show I’ve lived my life instead of trying to be perfect.
  2. I am grateful for friends to laugh with, cry with, and live life to the fullest with.
  3. I am grateful for dancing. It keeps me young, healthy, and mentally sharp. It gets me out of the house regularly, and among wonderful, heartfelt people.
  4. I am grateful for my quiet house in the morning, and cats who sit on the alarm clock so I sleep later than intended.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, life, friendship, coffee, music, sharing, caring, the energy to enjoy it all, peace, harmony, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

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

Fielding Unwanted Callers

https://www.flickr.com/photos/pandemia/3148748563/in/photolist-ZBGLQS-6eLuK-kCAL2L-5Nfafk-jwEPs-nmo2Mk-9NZujn-4zGP8b-2NiBSN-5xmaj-7NdeUG-6QZnmr-no9wVe-9Yejc9-69RAFh-8n4Vgd-6WH51U-25fLYX-d3opH5-eqeKBJ-25fM1a-6jvjVq-9tnKaw-5BbPkc-6KhZRX-4jTuX9-4kJuy1-5W7rvE-6argQ7-63FJJW-4jm7RQ-jwEPr-4mcGLD-JX2DH-4CZVuY-66U9KY-xFKTNe-4jm8CG-at6pNh-7xX5FU-4jm8w1-6KGpRX-8L5QCu-h97ufy-ciRfX-ym8dnV-5sRiik-KPQcS-5e8Tx4-jwEPwMy daughter gets a lot of calls from sales people for her sister, her long-deceased step-monster, and the owner of my house. We’re not entirely sure how her number got on lists for any of these. While I send any and all unrecognized numbers to voicemail where most never leave a message, she, for reasons I’m not at liberty to disclose, answers a lot of them.

Like her with the deceased, I got tons of mail for my dad years after his death. In my case though, it made sense as I was the executor of his estate and had forwarded all his mail to my house. In her case, she hadn’t even seen the deceased for several years prior to her death in about 2006.

In a moment of morbid humor while dealing with multiple calls from  a thickly accented employment agency hack, I suggested she change her outgoing voice mail message to something like “if you’re calling for H, please leave your number and a brief message. If you’re calling for J, her number is… If you’re calling for E, please call {Insert number for a cemetery} and ask for plot 357B.” With luck word would get around to all the cold calling sales hacks who buy lists of telephone numbers and at least the ones for a woman long-dead will cease.

Shutting Down Cold Callers and Bots

We all get those random calls, not only from people trying to sell us something (and clearly haven’t https://www.flickr.com/photos/ekilby/16654251449/in/photolist-rnFoJn-apL7G5-8dGq5W-3w8Ke-8hXDgU-jghTD-88g1hy-5TtJq-4HTyY3-bKMwoD-gmMGf-8SggFs-aR1use-9QsYh-6Lego9-dHJajk-6Uqg5T-HBz66U-6wBgGs-6EMd2b-3i2FAx-RdqC6h-aBYCYg-8cSZJL-eSGonX-3i1qEx-ov2XaG-eSTPh3-6KYT7T-dg1bo-3i2hPa-YC8cK9-3i1vc4-f9zQVL-79EZcb-6KYSRe-josrJ-imGePS-josiC-joscd-3i6Gk9-6LbHPt-jore9-9ZD8oy-5cot6h-2un1k7-jorVf-jorbz-4H1Zbr-7GDbMJheard of #GorillaNation, aka “Getting Clients Without Being Salesy”) but from automated bots who steal phone numbers to make it look like a local number we just don’t recognize. The practice has given rise to apps like Hiya, TrueCaller, and Should I Answer? to name a few. If nothing else, the phone hackers keep some of the computer hackers busy trying to create better apps to reduce the annoyance factor for users like you and me.

People have different ways of dealing with the random, and unwelcome callers. Some of us rely on both not answering unrecognized numbers, and apps to alert us when a call is registered as a telemarketer or spam. Others like a few I’ve seen on social media will engage the telemarketer and turn the tables, annoying the annoyer. I doubt it stops them from annoying someone else, but it does keep them busy for a few minutes when there’s zero possibility of making a sale.

I understand there are also ways to tie up their phone line for long periods of time. Again, a method for those who are far more tech savvy than me.

In the end, we all fall back on what we’re best at. For me it’s a combination of blocking, ignoring, and a dose of my twisted sense of humor.

When Ethics and Morals Are Lost in a Sea of Greed

Sadly, especially with elderly victims, these unethical practices generate enough business to justify their existence, at least to those whose moral compass points straight down. It baffles me that people can take advantage of others, all too often, causing irreparable damage and not blink an eye. How they can look at themselves in the mirror is beyond my comprehension. Even in my worst days when I lacked compassion for most of humanity, the idea of stealing from another, especially one who could ill-afford the loss was incomprehensible.

I have to wonder what drives a person to bury their morality under layers of rationalization which says what their doing is morally and ethically OK? How black the soul of someone who steals from the poor, not to help someone else, but to line their own pockets with their ill-gotten gains?

Bringing Back Morality and Compassion

As the morality of our world takes beating after beating in the public eye, I have to wonder where it will all end? At what point will we have reached the very bottom of our tolerance; the point where we can no longer turn our heads or stifle our sensitivity to the suffering of others? Or even, is there such a point?

History has shown we can, in large numbers turn our heads for extended periods of time before our hearts are freed from an extended legacy of service only to ourselves. Sometimes, the pendulum swings and we see massive outbreaks where righteous outrage flies banners denouncing the indignities and abuses. I’m starting to see that isn’t entirely a bad thing.

Using Smoke Screens for Good as Well as Evil

https://www.flickr.com/photos/124161689@N08/14513079818/in/photolist-o7tk17-7uBwwg-5wJffC-4ZySdH-YBHhPn-79Azik-bdmEqP-SD5SuJ-9WB3Xa-6k7N7j-85VwBB-7uaXoM-YVV78a-7576qw-dthkJ8-CqHrs-7ub7mZ-8R788V-7ueT7G-pcDpbn-83o6cy-5CQUTS-6kqKKf-cPCvYE-LW8xRh-7WN83t-6UQysj-8thC3B-e7AMAe-6kmABF-hH9PdT-7Pe2kB-7EuQ3i-cPCuVU-nxtAmc-4S1u77-7ub662-7ueSsY-7ueVLY-5Sn3Tk-7tN8Zu-7EqeE8-7EqbWa-pcD3d1-81Lsot-7u7A2A-eiyhu8-gkG1bn-7ub3uF-oyhZNWhile we are inundated with news of indignities every day, dragging our attention away from the purpose beneath the smoke screen, could the morally righteous be using the methodology for their own agenda as well? Could they be using the marches, the email campaigns, the blistering messages on Social Media to mask their own activities behind  the scenes? Could there be more examples of sleight of hand occurring beneath the noses of those who seek to oppress and overpower?

The brilliance of this concept gives me goosebumps. Imagine allowing someone to believe you’re losing at their own game, while hiding your true actions in plain sight!

Responding as Expected for Dramatic Effect

I’ve been ranting and raving for a while about how we can’t beat them at their own game of hate by throwing back hate in return. But what if we’re giving them exactly what they want so that underground railroad I’ve spoken of can operate freely and openly? What if the masses who oppose immorality and oppression have manged to create their own Platform 9 3/4?

There is an advantage to sitting in my hermit hole watching what goes on around me, and only commenting on occasion. I sift through what I see and hear, research the rhetoric, look for the concepts which are collaborated in the media all along the conservative to liberal continuum before (if ever) taking a stand and speaking out on one side or the other. I’ve learned a lot in recent months. Not only about how hate kills and emotional belief is unshakable, but that the human mind and heart are incredibly resilient. They may not recognize a trickster or thief at first, but given time to step back and think about it; to search inside for truth, they’ll allow doubts to surface and see the evil grin beneath the smiling face.

Hoisting Them on Their Own Petard

I am beginning to feel people aren’t sitting on the sidelines or accepting from an ingrained belief system as much as they want the world to believe. Many have cast a “you can’t see me” spell without benefit of magic. Instead, they use technology and the media to their own advantage, and the heartless megamonster is happily swallowing the bait and spewing forth fodder for a premature and soon-to-be exposed, unwarranted victory dance.

As with many of the observations I’ve made in the last 5 years or so which eventually became “common knowledge”, or at least were publicly accepted as valid, I’ll sit back and watch to see where this one goes. My money is on the brilliant, heart-centered, compassionate ones whose moral compasses are destined to fight for truth and harmony.

Gratitude Begets Something to be Grateful For

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for my daughter Heather who continues to inspire me and make me reach for the stars.
  2. I am grateful for Hallmark movies. Their feel-good themes encourage my pursuit of compassion and kindness.
  3. I am grateful for love. Without it, we’d lose our moral compasses.
  4. I am grateful for the lessons I’ve learned about writing and how they’ve taught me to allow the words to flow without trying to force a direction.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, inspiration, companionship, joy, dancing, peace, harmony, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

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

The Enemy Within

Making Enemies Out of Innocents

https://www.flickr.com/photos/shan213/13959398126/in/photolist-RwnZWa-ayQgu1-amXuij-9KZfif-bJsTcF-dmiwBx-4LwPZS-ngxyJ3-amXunq-83AkxT-5nmCvL-ajRRF1-p726Pa-8hXzrj-WYoqBq-b3XtLV-gtT43-g2PFEr-ayVLip-6AUTqf-dZMYA2-b3XnVr-dMLMcs-dPtAeM-dC9uL-W1398F-5zxVfC-W13cbK-b3XsLF-WYowof-d5HvmS-ax8DQJ-RsJuww-bsRwtU-ni7c-S7xRBk-qHFZg7-W13cvT-7YXYc7-4geuqc-ax8Sof-SVd9Lv-4yeamM-cx5tVs-dPzfsJ-cYzr1J-SAoCFu-VdeFR1-ax5YN8-4o3RtnMost of the time I avoid the news, not only because 90% of it is fake these days, but because the majority of it is hate driven. Even worse, the masses are encouraged to find someone to blame for the lies they ingest like candy corn.

This group is taking your jobs. That group is defiling your daughters. Another group is, oh, I don’t know—devil worshipers. What it boils down to is people believing any lie they’re told as long as they don’t have to take any responsibility on themselves. What I see from where I sit, as distanced as possible from the insanity overtaking not just our country, but our world, is there are only two real enemies: the one who is fabricating the hate and blame, and those who believe it and find in their hearts, only room for more hate and blame. And the worst part is, the second group is utterly clueless about how they’re succumbing willingly to blatant manipulation by the first.

At one time or another, most of us find a reason to blame outside sources for our inability to achieve what we think we should, or have what we believe we ought. It’s easier to convince ourselves someone or something cheated us out of what we deserve than to recognize the obvious; we are responsible for our own destiny.

Hate: Learned or Innate?

https://www.flickr.com/photos/jmettraux/14001348761/in/photolist-nkfzbR-4dvLtK-p2vqh-ddqN16-qmHXM5-4Hc2Yi-fnWMo6-aDUrc6-7xQf1a-8cuhge-dkzjcL-4mRSXW-2rtMf-f1LjK-hAVVQn-6nVNUr-d3FR8m-8PLawX-26DBYGW-23Dux96-cCLeMh-mGXmB4-Uy89JS-dLY5Co-9MW8Yb-7zPnx4-9fqcs2-5Y9r5u-682eeA-nUUnjQ-24xKbB-brjRBw-oyCCU-bJXg8n-5Ssdmw-682ef1-43guNg-9MTnFT-6L1sfv-4a9h1v-68W7zB-8QQE1C-obak6h-gQnxN-23qZYUt-4adhe5-6eZR8m-7MQTEL-4sAvcY-68W8sxYou can argue with me if you want to, but I don’t believe hate is a natural part of the human condition. It is a demon conjured by those who wish to gain power and have no morals about how they’ll accomplish their goals. It’s a tool, but once the demon is released, it runs rampant and is nearly impossible to capture and subdue.

Many before me who were wiser and more influential insisted the only way to tame that demon was with love. Naive as it might sound, I agree. Before you laugh me out of the room, or denounce me as a fool, hear me out.

If you pour gasoline on a fire, what happens? The fire grows. So it would follow that if you pour hate on an already hate fueled issue, you’ll only cause the hate to grow as well.

There are marchers and counter-marchers, each spewing their impassioned slogans and buzz words at each other. Each side rises to the occasion in self-righteous indignation, and before long, the fire of hate burns brightly on both sides. What have we accomplished?

Is Peaceful Coexistence an Impossible Dream?

Under present conditions, it’s probably pie in the sky to think we might come together and formulate a peaceful and universally fair solution to all the hate and lies and ugliness that’s turning people against each other needlessly. In the midst of all the rhetoric and pot stirring, I’m asking the same question we’re encouraged to ask when someone asks “why?”. I really want to know, “why not?”.

Why not let the politicians and the power mongers duke it out on the world stage while we gather quietly in the shadows and find ways to counteract the hate and misery. What is stopping us from excusing ourselves from the collective insanity to work on ways we can work together? And why can’t we respond to the incessant call to hate with waves of love, compassion, and respect?

Fact Checking is Everyone’s Responsibility

In an age where information is available with a couple of clicks of a mouse or a few keystrokes, we have https://www.flickr.com/photos/eamoncurry/28268951669/in/photolist-K52Lsr-byVMMC-RPS3xW-UdGABu-ZyoRJD-UGD7PB-F5Q7kv-VP4Csi-mHt88T-k3iA6-Hfjmzh-dcxTkQ-RtTnPj-U65Sq9-dcujdB-RSrN3T-bMQU4K-SWh6K3-Tb77Ki-T7xwTo-RTDHJ3-T7xp7w-3KKPDt-o6oKQv-SWh5YJ-UN97Sy-prgzdM-bMCdYe-qhS8Xz-byKj5d-qs4b7R-byL2XC-bMCd9p-SAfRWS-dzNBJu-fwWtJt-JjEtwP-bMBxtP-byKnuf-272uDNX-TuBQdv-26wihPC-EQiBwn-dabUNz-rLf7Sy-27u72yF-SLfJYB-dkAN6H-24szGFw-bWK2Xteverything we need to cut through the rhetoric, separate the wheat from the chaff, and more importantly, filter at least some of the lies out in our search for the truth.

Taking it a step or five further, regardless of what we find, there will always be those who refute what we believe is the truth. That’s OK, as long as it’s a discussion and not an argument. We are all better for taking the time to understand a point of view that differs from our own. It’s an opportunity to learn and even to question what we believe is true. How did we arrive at our conclusions? What facts are we using? What sources provided those facts? What are the agendas of our sources? Can they truly be trusted to give us the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?

Philosophical Truth vs. The Truth of Hidden Agendas

Philosophically speaking something cannot be both the truth and a lie. But politics, power, and greed make their own rules. The one they all worship as if it were a god is “truth is in the eye of the beholder”. They take the responsibility of making their version of truth appear in more eyes than the other guy very seriously. If we dissect everything they tell us, it becomes the old joke: “How do you know a politician is lying? His lips are moving.” Or in today’s environment, we could say it shows up on Twitter.

I understand people believe the ones they’re taught to believe without question, no matter what inconceivable crap might spew from their mouths. There are still some of us who were taught to dig into what we’re told and look for holes in the logic. But doing so takes time and effort. We can’t be on top of every single issue. Just getting past the  ever-expanding smoke screens takes more time, effort, patience, and persistence than most people are willing to expend.

To Feed or Not to Feed the Real Enemy to Us All

We can, however, pick and choose our issues. I, for one have a tendency to avoid the ones which are garnering the most attention. Why? Because it’s the diversion in the sleight of hand trick. They are the hot buttons guaranteed to trigger massive emotional reactions and outbursts, thus feeding the never-satiated beast of hate, a beast I’ve chosen not to feed.

I admit, refraining from generating emotional fodder is difficult in the best of times. The littlest things like mentally judging a person or an act is sufficient to bring negative emotions to the forefront. I’m challenged every day to think only kind thoughts of my fellow humans, to avoid words like “stupid”, and “idiotic” when I see someone acting inconsiderately (yet another judgement, I know). It’s difficult, but not impossible to refrain from taking the words and acts of others personally, when, on a conscious level, we know nothing really is.

Humans Are Basically Kind-Hearted

Normally, people don’t speak or act from a place of intentional hurt. They don’t normally plan to say or do things which cause pain to others, and certainly not to someone they don’t really know. But when we react as if they did, we feed their own pain, and soon have a conflagration of anger, but more, of pain.

Now, as much as the beast loves hate, it loves pain even more. The more pain it can cause, the bigger it grows. Whether it’s immigrant children separated from their parents, Muslims blamed for no concrete reason, or someone beaten because someone else’s lives matter, you can bet there will be a feeding frenzy in the opulent abodes of the greedy and powerful.

Stop Playing the Blame Game

We can fix this, though. It starts with putting aside the blame. It continues when we reach out and listen when people with opposing views explain their position, and when we do so without judgement, without a need to convince or turn.

I responded to a post asking if the word “God” should be left in the Pledge of Allegiance. My response was that it should not, and that it was not in the original anyway, but had been added in the ’50’s. One man responded rather violently, saying it should have been there in the first place, and went on to tell me about his military career and how he fought for “God and Country”. I told him I respected his opinion, and was grateful for his service, but asked that he respect mine as well.

That’s really all I’m saying here. We all have opinions. Sometimes they’ll mesh and sometimes they won’t. But hating someone because they have a different opinion is silly, and worse, it breaks down any hope of communication or learning. I guarantee the person you’re hating because of one difference in opinion, has at least a dozen opinions you share. When you shut down over one thing, you cheat yourself of so much more.

Putting This Topic to Rest—For Now

I’m going to get off my soapbox for now, but hope you’ll have reason to think about what I’ve said. I don’t expect you to agree with everything I’ve said, and I value your comments. I always appreciate the opportunity to learn something new, or see things from a different angle. But I will not tolerate disrespect, for me or for anyone else who responds to this post. If nothing else, look at your own inner child and before you speak, ask if you’d use those words when speaking to the child.

Feeling Grateful Every Day

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful I’m able to continue to do my own housework. I’ve known far too many who lose that ability way too young.
  2. I am grateful for my cats who’ve been especially attentive lately. They often know I’m struggling before I know myself.
  3. I am grateful for my daughter who’s persistence, tenacity, and uber-organization inspire me to do better myself.
  4. I am grateful for dancing. Even on a night when I’m feeling disconnected, I still am better for getting out and moving, for exchanging hugs with my friends, and for reaching out to someone new.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; ideas, inspiration, motivation, energy, strength, health, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

 

About the Author

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

Pushing Past Writer’s Block

I’ve fought with myself for the last two days about sitting down to write Wednesday’s blog post. I had an idea I thought I was going to go with, but somehow, I managed to find every excuse in the book to avoid sitting down at my computer and starting to write.

Most of the time, I tell people how easy it is for me to write, whether it’s my morning pages, a writing prompt, or a blog post. I can usually dash off a thousand words or more without much thought. Of course, the key to any writing is sitting down with pen or computer keyboard at hand and actually putting pen to paper or fingers to keys. My problem with this post has been, to use an old movie title, a failure to launch.

When Habits We Set Become Non-Negotiable

I find it difficult, if not impossible to skip my morning pages after about 2 years of dedication to the task. In fact, on the days I do have to skip (which can be counted on one hand with fingers left over) I feel like the day never really gets started properly. Like I’m running on 4 1/2 cylinders instead of 8. And I know if I go to bed tonight without having scheduled the post for Wednesday, I’ll feel off all day knowing, not that I let anyone else down, but that I let myself down.

I used to let myself down all the time. I’d honor commitments to friends, strangers, and co-workers while ignoring commitments to myself. I’ve learned how damaging that can be to my self-esteem, and work hard to ensure I no longer forget about the most important person in my life. It has led to having a number of things that are non-negotiable: thrice weekly gym visits, dance nights, morning pages, and thrice weekly blog posts. (re-reading this I’m seeing how heavily I’m influenced, without even realizing it, but the “Rule of Three“).

We Are the Most Important Commitment

It doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes struggle with one or another of my self-imposed commitments (usually writing or editing). It means sometimes, like now, I really have to force myself to start. The funny thing is, once I do begin one of my tasks, no matter how unmotivated I might have been, everything comes together. On the days I have to drag myself to the gym (which thankfully are relatively rare these days) I’ll tell myself “I’ll just do a couple of machines, a stretch and get out of here”. Those are the days I’m usually there for an hour and a half or two hours, working extra hard.

Blog writing is no different. I may wait until 10 or 11 o’clock to start, but once I get going, I’m a beast, and it’s usually one of my longer posts. I can’t say right now if my pattern will stand tonight. For all I know, I’ll end this particular ramble at 700 words or so. For those who’ve been reading for a while, that’s flash fiction compared to what I typically write. But some days, I just need to write a shorter post. It’s no reflection on how committed I am to myself. It’s simply a day when ideas flow more slowly, and I don’t have the usual waterfall of words flowing from my fingers.

Yet the commitment is honored whether I write 2000 words or 700. I think that’s what I’m trying to say here, and it matches a saying I have on my vision board. “Creator, you take care of quality and I’ll take care of quantity.” It was one of the many things besides my morning pages I took away from Judith Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way”.

Goal Setting and Baby Steps

When we set small goals, we might dive in and accomplish them in a single session, a single push. But our large goals, be they writing a book, healing from a trauma, learning something new; they all require a series of smaller steps, maybe even baby steps. Trying to get from point A to point B instead of skipping to point R on some of those larger tasks is often necessary, not only so the foundation is firm, but so we learn some essential lessons along the way.

My writing is one of those things. Committing to three blog posts a week is one of my baby steps. Making myself sit down at the computer and pound out a post, even when I don’t feel like it is training for what I need to know and do if I ever want to be that best-selling author who currently lives in my head.

Inspiration From Persistence

I admit I’ve put J.K. Rowling on a rather tall pedestal, but she epitomizes what it means to set goals, then work towards them. She is a huge inspiration to me regarding what we can do when we set down our stepping stones, securing them in place, then setting down a few more.

Success rarely comes easily. It’s reached by traveling a road filled with triumphs and disappointments, but mostly, of small steps which, when we’re consistent, when we’re persistent, bring us, ultimately to our goal. Of course, by then, we’ve likely set new ones, but the road to each goal is paved with lessons which will help us, not only with the goal we’re currently working towards, but for the even loftier ones we set once we’ve achieved the first ones.

Color My World With Words

Many times, I feel like I’m not painting the vivid pictures we writers are supposed to paint with our words. I’m not giving readers enough detail to allow them to see what I’m seeing, or at least see it colored by their own experiences. Then someone will say to me “I can tell you’re a writer by the way you answered my questions”. It tells me the word picture I painted, believing it was insufficient was actually enough for them to see something that was at least close to what I was seeing.

Too often we sell ourselves short, or fail to start on the road to a goal, even talking ourselves out of it, thinking it’s too ambitious. I’m learning no goal is too ambitious if you can see it clearly in your mind. No vision is too lofty if you can feel it in the depths of your soul. It’s simply tragic if we envision ourselves with the goal achieved, yet can’t find a way to launch ourselves, to take those first small, seemingly inconsequential steps. No step is inconsequential or unimportant if it moves you even the slightest bit away from what you know and are comfortable with, into something that is different and maybe even scares you a little.

Using Our Fears as Stepping Stones

In all honesty, I’m a little terrified of getting my memoir published and out there to the general public. I’m scared to get up in front of a bunch of people and talk openly and honestly about losing someone to suicide, about understanding how a person can feel depressed and suicidal, and about forgiving myself. I know I’ll get a fair amount of heat for postulating that suicide is a choice, and for some people, the only one they believe they have left. But I’m more afraid of being in the same spot I am now, 5 years from now, or even 1 year from now, having accomplished nothing.

We all have to face our fears. Frankly, I don’t believe we have a choice. Some may choose to face theirs by wrapping themselves in cotton wool and retreating from the world. They may feel safe there, but they sure aren’t happy. I spent enough time in that particular town to know. It’s lonely and dark, and the feeling of being disconnected from the world is far more painful than anything I’ve encountered by taking a few risks and letting people into my life and the world I kept hidden for so long.

Honoring Personal Commitments is Our Biggest Success Story

Once again, I’ve honored my commitment to myself to write a post every Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday by dashing off a “few” words for this one. As before, I set out to dash off a few hundred words, and ended up with over 1,000 again. It seems I’m incapable of saying anything in a few hundred words. But I’m also incapable of following a single thread to it’s reasonable and predictable conclusion. I think that’s why my writing has been such a great therapist for me, and in the process, has shown others they’re not alone in feeling some of the alone-ness, the frustration, the round peg in a square hole-ness they’ve felt while trying to navigate the ever-changing landscape we call life.

The best advice I was ever given was to set my goals in broad strokes and don’t try to control the steps or even the outcome. I do the same with my writing. I get my fingers on the keyboard and type the first few words. But what you ultimately see here and on my website is very much a free flow of ideas that comes, maybe from somewhere inside me, and maybe from the Universe itself while I’m but a vehicle to communicate what needs to be said. I’ve let go of the need to know where the words are coming from. I’m perfectly OK with being the conduit rather than the source.

Like moving towards our goals, there are many roads we could take. The easy ones might get us there faster, but the tougher ones give us tools we’ll need later to tackle the tougher goals which may not come with an easy road. I’m happy with the way my words flow out, just as I’m happy with the roads I choose. I don’t need to analyze why I followed one train of thought rather than another any more than I need to know why I chose one road over another. As far as I’m concerned, it’s all part of my personal grand plan which puts me exactly where I’m supposed to be at any given time.

That’s enough.

Gratitude

My gratitudes tonight are:

  1. I’m grateful I have learned to honor the commitments I make to myself first and foremost.
  2. I’m grateful for the ease with which words flow from my fingers when I get out of my own way.
  3. I’m grateful for being able to type fast enough to keep up with the thoughts my brain is thinking, and the ones I’m sure are seedlings being planted.
  4. I’m grateful I’m a night owl so commitments I put off can still be accomplished when the sun has long ago started shedding it’s light on the other side of the world.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance, ideas, commitment, persistence, innovation, inspiration, overcoming fear, baby steps, new goals, friendship, joy, love, health, harmony, peace, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

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

Inspired By My Dreams

I’ve often paid attention to my dreams. As vivid as they can be, it’s often hard to ignore them. I learned early on they contain messages if I take the time to look beneath the surface. Since initiating the practice of writing morning pages (a kind of three-page, longhand journal) first thing in the morning. I’ve become much better at figuring out those messages.

The latest episode contained messages that weren’t obvious from the context, but instead, made my mind wander back to my childhood while recounting the dreams. What I discovered was one of those “aha moments” when something finally becomes clear.

Blocks Inside Blocks

https://www.flickr.com/photos/archer10/4311678389/in/photolist-7z1tLz-6ozP47-49TbTB-eji6AL-cCFxZs-qeTkgD-61HbpH-6Ei84G-88YKH-5C4YF7-5DPjft-7wuv7v-7wuv2g-jnJcpy-taShD-5DTzWN-jnHtBM-9tjcuc-qxSg1z-Biynr-5ghCMA-amW2Li-qLAGJJ-ZwLqsP-21Ne6qu-BiyrN-Biyor-4DmfLc-Biypi-6tZjcX-BiykE-8ZtNme-UZzCU8-4fhMV4-5VT136-h1UG86-5VSZXc-8r3swd-deV9TW-8Z2A4R-bVKgAJ-5b4ZEA-m2xMz-jnJWhX-4eH6t8-xAgyPZ-u1Z1bp-u1tPx9-tJoBkg-tJfb7fI’ve talked a lot about searching for my money blocks, and was convinced they had a lot to do with all my parents fights about money. But as I wrote about a dream which took place in the house where I lived between the ages of 12 and 18, I discovered something more. I remembered digging through my mom’s purse to find loose change that had fallen out of her wallet, usually so I could go to Thriftymart and indulge my unhealthy passion for nickle candy bars. (Yes, kids, there was a time when you could buy a full-size chocolate bar for a nickel!)

I realized my feeling of lack, both for money and food (which by the way, was never a problem in our household) stems from my own behavior as a child. If I dig a little deeper, I’m pretty sure I used food as a substitute for the love I wasn’t getting, though I never connected the two at the time. I guess I believed my parents loved me. They just had a funny way of showing it. Or not so funny, really, as it’s given me some rather skewed ideas which I’ve unwittingly incorporated into my own life…until now.

Stop Justifying Self-Sabotaging Behavior

Suddenly, I have both a major money block and a reason for my self-sabotaging behavior with food all rolled up into one neat little package. But of course, life isn’t that simple, and rarely comes to us neatly. More often than not, it’s a convoluted mess of intertwining events, much like my dreams. Yet I know I’ve finally cracked the seal on some deep-seated memories and blocks. Like the feelings I unearth as I open the Pandora’s Box I so ignorantly and innocently packed them away in, unlocking the source of my money and weight blocks is a HUGE accomplishment.

I can’t wait to see what comes next, or how it arrives. I’ve learned sometimes the road to self discovery is agonizingly slow, like molasses in winter. Others, it’s a mad rush as I scramble to escape the deluge of a winter storm after the hills have been denuded of growth by the annual California wild fires.

Disentangling the Money-Food-Love Connection

Yet the idea of money equals food equals excess weight equals love keeps bouncing around in my head https://www.flickr.com/photos/genomegov/27861478565/in/photolist-36R456-TVEoV3-7Wybvd-4WUnY9-5fFekL-UxPtrE-JXsDow-JXsDFW-5xxC-i6g81S-pj2KGy-RqtEwb-3bW8wG-aiBE4-21HP7o-7WuXxi-a87gs-v23FG1-e5Ta5U-8hAaU2-7CJgqt-4RTmW-6VGoa4-21HP7G-bKycpP-bwDtbf-rBr5w5-Js2mU6-4RTmT-bKycvn-6nNpdg-dtid4-5hSULN-8qeqEZ-vi6Sx1-vi6iuY-v2adQn-vi6nRJ-vi5UuQ-v23BpL-umARN9-v23yrQ-umAZaJ-wkdd7E-daLc3v-bwDtvf-aLErhv-a3Giyp-9oXUVB-7S9ue4as I go through my week, socializing, going to the gym, embarking on a program paid for by my insurance company designed to help me manage my weight. I know that until I get the issue of money-food-love resolved in my head, no matter how healthy my eating habits (and lately, with the return of a herniated disc, it’s never been so healthy! Pain is almost as strong a motivator as our need for love.) I’ll find a way to, albeit unintentionally, sabotage my progress.

Even now, I go to the gym regularly, dance often, and because I’ve improved my eating habits, I have more energy, yet, I’ve bounced in the same 3 pound range for weeks now.  I know now the heart of the matter is my unresolved issues with love. Not with giving it, but with receiving it; with believing deep in the cockles of my heart I deserve to receive love.

Recognizing Our Progress, No Matter How Small

Though I’ve yet to successfully scale that mountain, I’m seeing progress in seemingly unrelated ways. My dreams and meditations are more intense, but also yield some helpful insights. I’m connecting more with people on many levels. Not only have I become part of a small group of dancers who are getting out and doing other things like movies and museums together, I’m connecting with people on a much deeper level, both online and face-to-face. I’m listening to other peoples’ hopes and dreams, successes and challenges, and allowing myself to feel both their elation and their discouragement without intellectualization or judgement.

I don’t mean I’m opening up all of my protections and allowing those feelings to overwhelm me. Yet I am allowing connections, especially with other Empaths and HSP’s to form naturally and unfettered by my own preconceived notions.

Purpose, Like Social Mores is a Moving Target

In the process, I’m seeing the purpose I searched so hard to find, and only found when I stopped https://www.flickr.com/photos/genomegov/27861478565/in/photolist-36R456-TVEoV3-7Wybvd-4WUnY9-5fFekL-UxPtrE-JXsDow-JXsDFW-5xxC-i6g81S-pj2KGy-RqtEwb-3bW8wG-aiBE4-21HP7o-7WuXxi-a87gs-v23FG1-e5Ta5U-8hAaU2-7CJgqt-4RTmW-6VGoa4-21HP7G-bKycpP-bwDtbf-rBr5w5-Js2mU6-4RTmT-bKycvn-6nNpdg-dtid4-5hSULN-8qeqEZ-vi6Sx1-vi6iuY-v2adQn-vi6nRJ-vi5UuQ-v23BpL-umARN9-v23yrQ-umAZaJ-wkdd7E-daLc3v-bwDtvf-aLErhv-a3Giyp-9oXUVB-7S9ue4searching and allowed it to arrive in its own way, is expanding. Initially, I saw it as opening the doors of communication between society in general and people who experience depression, suicidal thoughts, and mental health issues. I need to help people understand that all too often, help isn’t sought because of the stigma attached to admitting you need help in the first place. Far too many of us have grown up feeling we’re on the outside looking in because we couldn’t make our insides match the outsides people expected of us.

We live in a society that preaches “suck it up, buttercup” whenever we dare express feelings that aren’t aligned with some arbitrary norm which is, at best, a moving target. We believe we’re alone in finding it difficult to cope; to be strong and happy all the time; to be able to shove those nasty feelings out of the way and be responsible humans. The truth is, we all wear masks, and those of us who struggle the most are the ones who often, unbeknownst to us, are feeling not only our own inability to match the outside with the inside, but everyone else’s too.

Like Attracts Like

I told someone recently that at least 95% of my social circle are Empaths, HSP’s or both. In some ways, I https://www.flickr.com/photos/mmorgan8186/3517169324/in/photolist-6mNpUq-26E6p4f-95dTbr-mVNwHs-iAQRj-j6uYXT-4o29YS-kEHE1m-9i7rec-Vs2JYU-8yUQXr-dA5UcS-9myZC1-mGugNa-aC5mn6-2Nz9bP-6xmwca-27XDQk3-kJapD5-KU3F13-q9Zse5-wLj3kj-rdX15T-22MVxTW-25h7TL1-q1aauS-eTfrgU-ouf7RL-XgibmJ-VW61xM-SfoiaA-pbyvky-6dKQYf-R5jxrZ-5N3kCD-efHmnY-SQySB2-V3dy4U-WY52sf-DpwMMK-bzmwMC-7EXK4g-9jC53p-Curwec-ebm6MH-6kf916-bxhDVb-auWgjE-81ESCt-iirkvZfeel that estimate is low. And I’m adding more people, and consequently, Empaths and HSP’s to my circle of friends and acquaintances almost daily now.

When I first started talking about my parents’ suicides, people began opening up about their own experiences; often people I’d known for years, and even decades.

Even before that, my home, though frequented by a select few, and not always  because of my own selection process, were typically people who unknowingly discovered that while inside, they were shielded from a lot of the emotional and energetic “noise”; people who were unrecognized Empaths and HSP’s. Even now, there are some who know they can come here when they need a time out from the world and even their own families. The truth is, I learned how to filter out a lot of the painful and difficult emotions people can’t help exuding.

Advocating, But Being Flexible About Who and What

I’ve discovered my advocacy, if you will, isn’t limited to those who’ve been affected, be it first-, second-, or third-hand by depression, suicide, or mental illness. It extends to the Empaths, the HSP’s; the Lightworkers as a whole because all too often, their sensitivity is at the root of depression and suicidal thoughts and actions.

Some self-medicate, others, the rare few, seek professional help. Some of them find medication helps them live “normal” lives. I learned the hard way many would benefit from simply knowing how to filter out the noise that’s causing them so much pain. Even more, they need to be able to differentiate between the their own emotions and conflicts, and those of the people around them.

All Empaths Are Not Created Equal

Even there, the circumstances and abilities differ. Some feel only those in their immediate vicinity. Others are so connected to family and loved ones, distance isn’t a factor. Then there the ones like me. We have, for better or worse, a direct connection to the Universal Energy Field. It means that unless we’ve learned to create our own personal filter, we are bombarded by emotions from anywhere on the globe, regardless of whether we’ve ever had contact with someone.

If you don’t think that’s enough to drive you down a rabbit hole, try to imagine yourself standing in the middle of one of the detention centers, surrounded by frantic women who’ve been denied even the basic creature comforts, but who are more concerned about finding their children than anything else, even their own personal welfare. Now imagine you feel the pain, the fear, the confusion, the desperation of each and every person in that facility. If you can even conceive of how that would bombard your nervous system, you might have a thousandth of a percent view of what Empaths who are connected to the UEF feel every day if they haven’t learned to filter; to shield. Is it any wonder they retreat deep inside themselves, convinced there is something very wrong with them, and that they are completely alone?

Separating the Symptoms from the Causes

The more I talk to people, and the more research I do into suicide and depression, the more I realize these issues are the symptoms and in order to make a difference, I need to dig deeper and recognize the causes. I, no WE must acknowledge that the voices in their heads, the pain in their hearts, the demons they can’t escape are all too often not even theirs to control because they belong to someone else, and most of the time, a LOT of someone elses.

I’m not naive enough to believe this is the only solution. I do know in the last few years, I’ve encountered a large number of people who fit this pattern. The single common factor though is feeling like they don’t belong, that they don’t fit in no matter where they go or who they’re with. The reality is, rather than being a case of being disconnected, it’s a case of being too tightly entwined in the very being of people around them, and sometimes, humanity in general.

The Ultimate Double-Edged Sword

Yes, being an Empath is a blessing and a curse. Too many are diving for cover and closing themselves off because they can’t find the mute button. To sum it up, I can’t help change attitudes towards depression and suicide without finding a way to help Empaths learn how to navigate this slippery slope their minds insist on traversing. One purpose bleeds into another, and the almost ever-present tidal wave in my gut tells me the epiphanies and purposes have only begun to make themselves known to me. It’s a darn good thing I’ve always loved roller coasters because the road I’m now on promises to be one helluva ride!

When All Else Fails, Choose Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the Laws of Attraction which are bringing more and more of the people who spent years believing they were misfits before realizing they didn’t need to fit at all.
  2. I am grateful for the amazing people who are coming into my life, and those who were already here, and who I’m coming to appreciate more and more with every epiphany.
  3. I am grateful for people who are willing to talk to me about deeply personal experiences, enabling me to learn and grow, and be better able to help turn the tide of stigma attached to mental health, suicide, and depression.
  4. I am grateful I’m an Empath. It’s not always an easy road, but the blessings and what it allows me to do and be for others is worth the pain I’ve already endured as well as whatever might be ahead.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, joy, friendship, compassion, kindness, connection, Lightworkers, fearlessness, intentions, inspiration, motivation, roadblocks that make me get creative, sorrows, lessons, challenges, and even frustrations. And for peace, harmony, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

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

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