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

Acknowledging the Demon Within

This morning I woke up with my gut in a tight knot. I was supposed to go to a critique group meeting, but all I wanted to do was curl up into a ball on my bed, surrounded by my cats. So I did.

A couple of hours later, I got up and started the day (read: fed the cats), feeling well enough to drink coffee instead of the tea I thought I’d be reaching for today. As has been my habit for the last few weeks, I sat at my desk, pulled a turquoise pen from my jar of colored pens and began to write my three pages (at least it wasn’t a black pen kind of day!). Three pages turned into four, and feelings fell like teardrops on the page.

The nice thing about the morning pages is that I can admit things to myself I won’t typically admit to others. But they also force me to be brutally honest with myself. Today’s burst of honesty took me deep within, to where what I call my gooey marshmallow center resides. It was there I discovered that, try as I might, I’m still very much alone. I have not allowed myself the pleasure of making friends I can comfortably seek out when I need to drag that marshmallow center out, knead it, massage it, and otherwise get it to let go of a lot of pent-up crap.

Do We Starve or Feed our Loneliness?

Cuddling with my cats is wonderful, and I will always cherish the time I spend with them. I can tell them anything, cry on them, or just stroke their soft fur while they purr. It never fails to calm me. But it doesn’t help me let go of things I no longer need, nor does it help me put things in perspective, sometimes with brutal honesty.

Writing helps some. Especially now that I’ve rediscovered writing in longhand. But it still doesn’t give me the outside perspective I sometimes need to see past the weeds to the garden waiting to be tended and nurtured. For that, I need an actual human (did I really admit that?) who can tolerate Sheri not-at-her-finest. Who is willing to listen to me whine a little, then tell me in no uncertain terms to pull up my britches, get off the fence I’ve been riding and actually commit to something.

I can honestly admit that I, alone have deprived myself of that luxury. By hoarding my solitude, I’ve built an almost impenetrable wall around myself. If someone does get close, I’m sure to do something especially stupid, thrusting a particularly evil thorn into their kindness and good intentions which convinces them their efforts would be better served with someone less prickly and moody.

Being Brutally Honest With Myself: The First Step

The writing helps me see that not only do I do this to other people, but I do it to myself as well. I make it painful to break away from outmoded beliefs and habits. I snuggle close to my solitude yet fail to use the time alone to improve my life, myself, or my circumstances. It’s as if I decided long ago that I don’t deserve love, success, happiness, or friendship. Why would anyone do that to their worst enemy, much less themselves?

As painful as it might be to admit all of this publicly, it occurs to me that there are two very good reasons for doing so. First, putting something in writing releases the bound up energy contained within the thoughts and makes them less powerful. Second, I’ve learned in the last few years of blogging and sharing my foibles that what I’m feeling even now is not unique. Someone out there might just benefit from seeing the words and knowing as alone as they’ve allowed themselves to become, someone else out there gets them.

Cutting the C.R.A.P.

The Neurogym programs I’ve been following have something they call the CRAP board. To quote Mark Waldeman, the creator of the CRAP board,

C.R.A.P. stands for Conflicts, Resistances, Anxieties, Procrastination and any other problem you think you have.

The premise behind it is, as I’ve already stated, by putting things which hold you back into written form, you take away at least some of their power. Mr. Waldeman advises writing all of your negative thoughts on a piece of paper, then meditating on them. In my mind, it’s as if you’re transferring all of the crappy, self-limiting thoughts inside your head onto a piece of paper, leaving your mind clear of the rubbish.

So in a way, blog posts like this are my CRAP board. I’m dumping all of the negative thoughts which are causing my stomach to churn onto the page and letting them go. I’m taking away their power to hold me back. Of course, this isn’t a magic pill. The feelings of powerlessness, loneliness, procrastination, neglect and a host of other self-limiting patterns can and do come back, at least for awhile. So the process has to be repeated as needed.

Welcoming the Inner Child of our Minds

But taking the mind on a little field trip like this gives it an opportunity to forge better patterns; take more scenic routes, so to speak. In my case, it reminds me to stop spending so much time going within and put more effort into connecting with other people. Sure, it’s hard, scary and fraught with perils like <shudder> getting hurt! But how can those potential hazards even begin to compare with love, joy, friendship and caring? When did one hurt, no matter how monumental it seemed at the time counteract the flood of warmth from a single, heartfelt hug?

My little marshmallow is still peeking shyly out from behind my protective walls, but with a little coaxing and a few minor successes, I’m sure she can be convinced to venture further from the safety of her haven. My job is to stop protecting her so closely and allow her to touch other humans. I promise most of them won’t bite!

Gratitude: It Heals All Ills

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for my morning pages.
  2. I am grateful I can freely admit to my imperfections.
  3. I am grateful I’m able to see that, in most cases, it’s me getting in my own way.
  4. I am grateful for the lessons which continue to fall in my path because they remind me I’m still a work-in-progress.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, knowledge, lessons, charity, goodness, kindness, compassion, honesty, hope, dreams, peace, harmony, philanthropy and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!


Comments on: "Acknowledging our Loneliness is Healthy" (2)

  1. Lorna Bank said:

    don’t take this the wrong way please. If you ever want discussion and feedback and opinion, candidly, I am happy to do that. A good friend did it for me about 16 years ago off and on for about one year (and from time to time since when I felt I needed to have my coattails pulled or to get some outside perspective) and because I trusted her, I did it. It’s not easy, but I wanted to let you know I am willing, should you ever want it.


    • Lorna, first let me say that when I first read this, it put tears in my eyes. Second, thank you! I don’t see how I could ever take your words in anything but the wonderful, generous, kind way they were meant. While navigating what I like to believe is my controlled, independent little world, I often lose sight of the fact that there really are a special few like you who do get what it is I need but have trouble asking for. Who have often been in a similar place and know that meaningless platitudes aren’t what I need at all, but someone to listen to what is causing me to struggle and help me see what, in my myopia I’m missing. Yet there is still a part of me which worries about taking you away from important things in your own life while wanting, with extreme gratitude to take you up on your generous offer. And I know you understand the contradiction and even helplessness in those words. To put it a little more briefly, I would love to have you “pull my coattails and offer some outside perspective” to the quandary in which I currently find myself (with more than a little help from “The Artist’s Way” and Sue Monk Kidd!)


I look forward to your comments.

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