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

Archive for the ‘#amwriting’ Category

Indulging in Self-Care With Personal De-Cluttering

Time to End the Abuse With a Little Self-Care comes a point, many times in a life when you have to make a difficult choice. Do you keep slogging through, unhappy, and maybe taken for granted, allowing a relationship to go on, or do you cut your losses, and allow yourself the opportunity to find happiness elsewhere? Do you let another person; another job; another living situation tear at you until you can almost see parts of yourself disappearing bit by precious bit? Or do you accept that nothing you can do or say is going to make this one work, no matter how much you give up; how much you try?

What if it’s a family member? A spouse; a sibling; a child. What then? Do you keep giving them chances to rip your heart out, stomp on it a few times, then hand it back to you like a piece of spoiled fish, knowing you’ll come back with a fresher piece once you’ve had time to lick your wounds, and worse; forgive them yet again? When is enough enough?

I’ve pondered this question several times lately, and came to the conclusion I needed to cut a few ties and build walls high enough to make it clear the door was well and truly closed, barred, and bricked over. None of the decisions were easy. I could have talked myself out of each one a dozen times. But the truth is, I love myself too much. I’ve worked too hard to get as far as I have, even knowing I still have a long way to go to be fully healed from all the trauma in my own life and that of my ancestors. These people I’ve left were really only a small part, but they were a part I could and did finally jettison. It was time. And yes, one was related by blood.

Different Breaks; Different Reasons

I don’t really look to carefully at which ones were harder to cut than others. To be honest, any relationship I invest time into; that I give my heart to is going to be hard to end. One is perhaps more difficult if only because there are places we have in common neither of us will give up, nor should we. So she has yet to accept my withdrawal, or even recognize how high the walls have gone up. In time she’ll grow tired of slamming up against a brick wall and take her attentions elsewhere. There are plenty who accept them willingly, so I doubt she’ll miss me once she accepts the break is beyond her control.

One asked for an explanation, and I gave it to her. She may not see things as I do, nor understand why I needed to make the break, but accepts my right to my feelings. I appreciate her acceptance if not her understanding. How well do I really understand the people around me? No matter how sensitive or perceptive I am, I’ll never be able to get inside a person to fully grasp what they’ve been through, nor why they respond the way they do. I certainly can’t expect others to be able to do that with me.

The last was a family member, and frankly, that was the easiest one to end. It was a long time coming, and involved a couple of blocks and nothing more. I’ve spent years holding out hope we’d eventually manage a semi-normal relationship. Every year or two, she might drop me a crumb; a picture of her daughter, an announcement of her latest pregnancy. But now she’s the mother of 3 and has made it abundantly clear there are others she’d rather have in her life than me. So be it. For a moment I became her Fairy Godmother and granted her dearest wish. She’s now free to select the mother of her choice, and I’m free to stop hoping for a miracle.

Changing Tides

I’d like to say I’ve walked away without a qualm, but being an Empath is often a double-edged sword. So many times as a child and teenager, I was told I was too sensitive. Though I don’t see it as a fault any more, I do hurt more than my share when I have to walk away from someone I’ve grown close to. Even if the ones I leave don’t have a wound; a scar to show for the brief time I was in their life, I have one from them. I can’t go in halfway. I’m either in the deep end up to my neck, or I’m sitting on the edge dipping my toes in and nothing more; uncommitted, and unaffected by the changing tides. Frankly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The tides of my own life are changing yet again. I’m looking forward to what comes in as I continue to make space. Another de-cluttering adventure will yield many surprises, as they always do. New opportunities, new people, new experiences; all guaranteed to teach me something I need to learn.

Outer Changes Heal Internal Dysfunction

It’s already begun in other ways too. Having reached the end of my options with Western medical practitioners, I’ve turned to other options, and learned a lot about the damage I’ve been doing to my body. Suddenly, I’m eating healthier and smaller quantities. The weight that insisted on clinging to my body despite my best efforts is finally allowing me to release it little by little. Maybe I had to let go of one thing to convince another it was time to move on?

Everything in my life is interconnected. I know this on a conscious level, but often lose sight of it when I’m hyper-focused on one area. I forget my struggle might become a success if I figure out where the real logjam is and clear it first. All in all, it boils down to self-care, whether that means healthy eating, more sleep, meditating, exercise, or something less tangible like my emotional and mental well-being. Health concerns remind me to keep those things at the forefront all the time instead of just when I’m feeling sick, or sad, or depressed. A little preventative de-cluttering pays enormous long-term dividends.

Gratitude: My Favorite Self-Indulgence

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for friends who can read between the lines, and check in on me when I’m a little off.
  2. I’m grateful for options; to stay in or go out, to hold on or let go.
  3. I’m grateful for music. Sometimes it inspires, sometimes it soothes, and sometimes it helps me release what’s stuck.
  4. I’m grateful for all of my cracks. They let the starshine and love in. It took me a long time to realize that, but I’m glad I finally did.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, friendship, release, de-cluttering, opportunities, lessons, inspiration, motivation, health, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light



About the Author

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

Trauma Management Skills

Every Trauma is Unique

traumaMy trauma isn’t your trauma. Even if we experienced the same traumatizing event, my life experiences and coping mechanisms will paint my perceptions with a different pallet of colors than yours. Though we’ll ultimately have to go through many of the same steps in the healing process, I’ll go through them in a different order, spending more time on some and less on others. My needs are different and defined by how much I’ve stuffed down, released, denied, or revisited from previous traumas. They’ll  also be impacted by whatever else life throws at me in the meantime.

My process isn’t right for you, nor yours for me. But it’s exactly right for each of us with no set timeline nor point when you or I will be completely healed from the event. I will simply keep traveling on my healing journey as will you with many triumphs and setbacks along the way.

Still, I see so many similarities as I read articles and posts from others who are at various stages in their healing process. It doesn’t really matter whether the trauma is old or new, dealt with right away, or held deep inside for decades. Once the process of healing and releasing begins, the road traveled has many common stops along the way.

Not only does the process share components, but so does the way we coped with the trauma initially. Personally, I can only speak from the “holding it all in until you burst” camp, and as such, relate well to those who suffered childhood trauma, or years of abuse before they finally made the break, realizing they did not deserve such treatment, eventually learning they didn’t bear any responsibility. Those people opened my eyes to how emotionally bankrupt my own childhood was, not because my parents didn’t care, but because it was the only thing they, themselves knew.

Peeling Your Own Coping Skills Onion

Healing from trauma is like peeling an onion, but never reaching the very center. Often, in the process there are layers which go back to previous generations. In my case, my family’s primary coping mechanism was to stuff things down and try to ignore their existence. I don’t know if any of them realized (or realize, depending on the generation) how destructive it was and is. I believe when it originated, it was more of a survival mechanism than a choice. Unfortunately, when it was no longer a matter of life and death, the pattern was so deeply ingrained as to be considered normal.

I’ve always been a rebel in my family. Never really fitting in. Never trying to conform to familial patterns. I was always too sensitive or too outspoken, and in hindsight, made people uncomfortable by overtly questioning what was considered appropriate behavior. To me, it never made sense to bottle things up or pretend I didn’t feel something, though I truly did try to conform, much to my detriment. It took me years to figure out why. I just assumed I was some kind of misfit. In a way I was, but I see now it’s not in a bad way.

Failure to Fit In is a Red Flag I don’t fit in with my family and their attitudes, it doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with me. In fact, I’ve come to understand it means there’s something right. Coping with trauma by stuffing it all inside wasn’t healthy for me, and probably isn’t for anyone else, but I can only change my own approach. If anyone learns something by my example, that’s great, but it’s not my purpose. It is, however, my purpose to break a dysfunctional family pattern, if only in my own line, and then, only a part of it. You can lead a horse to water, as it were.

Part of the process has meant cutting ties that no longer serve me, and creating new ones that do. Too many of the ties I’ve cut are blood, but we can’t help who we’re related to. In fact, I believe I chose them in order to drive me to the point where I had to learn the lessons and cut the ties if I wanted to do more than just survive. I’ve learned I deserve to have supportive people around me; people who have my back as I have theirs. I deserve to thrive.

My life is, in it’s own way, no different than anyone else’s. I’ve had traumas and triumphs, but mostly long periods of living, learning, and coasting along. Sometimes I’m oblivious and others, sharply and sometimes painfully aware. I put time and effort into healing, then step back and allow things to settle into the newest version of me. If I get too complacent, something or someone comes along to shake me out of my complacency, forcing me to put some effort into releasing more that doesn’t serve me to replace it with something healthier.

Triggers Get Me Moving When I’ve Become Complacent

I “get to” experience triggers periodically. Triggers like the murder-suicide at my favorite dance, or hearing a friend lost a family member to suicide, and being asked for my insight. Those triggers often set off a visceral reaction; tears, sadness, and a general withdrawal into myself. It doesn’t last long, but reminds me there are layers I’ve yet to uncover, much less, heal and release.

Worse is when family members have felt they had the right to be cruel to my daughter or me. Despite knowing what they’re capable of from long experience, and recognizing they’re only venting their own pain on what they think is a safe target, I can’t help feeling a level of disbelief that people could treat their own family badly. I also know they came from the same place I’ve been working hard to heal and leave behind. Still, it’s where abuse starts, and if boundaries and barriers aren’t set, often escalates. Even so, my heart aches for all the broken people out there who think causing pain to others will ease their own. They never learn how to heal themselves, and will come into their next life with many of the same unlearned lessons.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned as I allow myself to go through an often painful process towards healing is compassion for others, including those who mistreat me or the people I love. I know they aren’t coping with their pain, but trying unsuccessfully to fling it outwards. It isn’t always easy to avoid the initial feelings of anger, but ultimately, those feelings degrade into pity. It’s not exactly compassion, but I’m not adding negative energy to their own in the process. It’s more of an energy void. I strive for forgiveness, but frankly, there are some with whom I have to settle for pity and leave it at that. Maybe in my next life I’ll be able to forgive. For now, I’m focused on learning how to handle trauma in a healthier, more productive manner.

And when all else fails, I fling imaginary heart-shaped confetti.

Gratitude Reminds Me How Far I’ve Come

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for the traumas I’ve suffered, the coping mechanisms I’ve put in place, and the lessons I’m learning from both as I continue to heal.
  2. I’m grateful for people I meet who are willing to be open about their own traumas and the challenges they’ve faced in trying to heal.
  3. I’m grateful for vulnerability. Without it, there is no healing.
  4. I’m grateful for a new moniker, “Holistic Ghostwriter” which was given to me recently.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; friendship, choices, love, challenges, lessons, trauma, healing, forgiving, imaginary heart-shaped confetti, dancing, health, harmony, peace, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light




About the Author

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

Demons for My Overall Good

Recognizing Demons Are For My Own Good have my share of demons. They’ve grown out of the lessons I’ve learned and the mistakes I made learning them, my insecurities, and the times I’ve been hurt or slapped down. My mind has magnified some of them so they take on a life of their own when I’m at my weakest. Others are presented to me in technicolor glory when I think I least need to see them. But clearly I’m wrong as I always survive the visit; a little stronger and wiser for the experience.

Sometimes my demons are situational. I’m dumped ass first into a story I have to find my way out of using what I’ve learned previously. It’s a way of testing whether I learned the lesson well enough or I need another spin around the merry-go-round. Typically they come without any long-lasting emotional trauma.

Then there are the demons in human form. They sneak up on me, catching me when my guard is down. They earn my trust under false pretenses and embark on their own sinister game to see how much damage they can do before I figure out the game and pull out of something I can never hope to win. The odds are intentionally stacked against me, not out of malice as much as a test of my awareness and resilience.

A Warning Would be Nice

It would be nice if the demons in human form came with some kind of warning; glowing red, or maybe a cauldron of putrid slime. Instead, they look like normal people; someone you could trust to treat you right and never pull the rug out from under your feet just when you’ve begun to take for granted you’re on stable ground.

So what have I learned this time? Beware of people who accuse others of narcissism. Some have learned to use it as a smokescreen. As their stories about other people lean more and more toward them being the victim, or someone else mistreating them, look at the whole picture. Who is getting attention? Is it the person they’ve accused, or themselves? Are they hiding in a corner, or a flame surrounded by moths? What happens when one of their moths finds a new flame to follow, or simply wanders off on its own?

For most of us, losing touch with someone is something we take in stride. Life pushes us in different directions; towards some, away from others. It isn’t personal. It’s simply the ebb and flow of life’s tide. Beware those who take it as a personal affront, effecting punishment with either abuse or neglect; or worse, weaving stories in which you’re the latest villain.

Not Everyone’s Cup of Tea

It took me awhile, but I’ve finally learned there will always be people who decide to dislike me; some at first glance, and others after we hit some kind of snag in the fabric of our friendship. I know I’m an acquired taste, and no longer take it personally. Most people, including me sometimes make negative comments about others. I’m not proud of it, nor do I deny my own culpability. It’s neither right nor kind, and is one of those qualities I’m still working on.

Unfortunately, like most people, I’m also influenced to some degree by what the people I like and trust tell me. Like it or not, other people’s actions are colored by the stories I’m told, and not always fairly. Thus, I accept that some people are going to reject me based on what they, themselves have heard. I have to believe in some regard those demons I mentioned are doing me a favor. By making me their villain, they’re ensuring I don’t stumble into the path of more of their ilk. I only have to fight off a single zombie instead of an entire flock of flying monkeys.

This time around I’ve taken several stumbling steps backwards and set some new boundaries along the way. I’m putting more trust in my ability to shield out toxicity, and discovering a resiliency I wasn’t aware I’d developed. I’m finding much of that resiliency from the support of the people I’ve allowed into my world, and who’ve allowed me into theirs. I’ve learned following a runaway train might be exciting at first, but will invariably lead to a choice between jumping off and risking a few cuts and bruises, or flying into the abyss with the rest of the revelers when the whole thing goes down in flames.

Won’t Get Fooled Again…Or Will I?

As I try to avoid beating myself up over misinterpreting the message I saw clearly in the eyes,“Smiling Faces” by The Temptations runs on an endless loop in my head. Though the pain I saw in those eyes was real (after all, people do hurtful things to others because of their own pain), I allowed myself to overlook the blame attached to the pain which in hindsight was blatantly obvious in every instance. I allowed myself to be blinded to the repeating pattern, and their innocence in every single story because I wanted to believe in goodness and kindness.

Yet as I look back while dusting myself off and getting ready to jump back into whatever life brings me next time, I find the resentment and hurt fading quickly. I’m grateful for the innocence and naivete I’ve retained despite being stomped on over and over for trusting too quickly and believing there’s good in everyone…even demons. Perhaps there’ll be a time when I’ll get to help one find that goodness and release some of the pain they’ve been carrying around, ignorant to their option to put it down. Something in me insists I keep trying and giving the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise.

I’m also grateful for the opportunity to see how quickly I rebounded. Each experience makes me stronger and more resilient. Yet it isn’t making me cynical. In a recent post on Facebook, I wrote:

I will help all I can, but I’ve learned you can’t help someone who does not want to be helped. You can only walk away and save yourself from absorbing their pain.

Still, I leave a piece of myself behind with each person I have to walk away from. I’ll always wish I could have done more, though I understand for them it was neither the right time, nor place. They came into my life for a reason, and we parted ways when that reason had been fulfilled—for both of us.

Something to be Grateful For, No Matter What Cards Life Deals

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful I haven’t allowed life’s lessons to take away my trust, my naivete, or my innocence.
  2. I’m grateful for the lessons I’ve survived and the strength I’ve found with each new challenge.
  3. I’m grateful for the supportive friends I’ve attracted. There was a time I didn’t feel I deserved them, and even now, I’m marvel at all the wonderful people in my life.
  4. I’m grateful for resilience and boundaries. Both have carried me through more than I realize.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, friendship, joy, strength, support, community, opportunities, manifestations, motivation, inspiration, health, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light


About the Author

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

Honoring My Cycles

Cycles Up and Cycles Down

Everyone has cycles whether they admit it or not. I know I have mine. They range from mild and barely noticeable to a white-knuckler of a roller coaster ride—and everything in between. Sometimes they take me into the depths of despair where it seems everything in my life is blowing up in my face…sometimes literally. Yet once it’s over, I can look back and see how everything came together in either a massive high or a cesspool of despair. Nowadays, I’m also able to recognize the point where everything begins to turn around and express gratitude that I made it through another bout of depression and misery.

Recently, I had a bunch of things blow up in my face at the same time: false friendships, both of my computers, several seemingly great opportunities with clients, and even my fairly successful management of diet and exercise. For four days, I was left out, disconnected, and frustrated. I didn’t make the connection until I was most of the way out of the abyss.

By then, I’d taken care of much-needed household chores, resumed the walking routine that high winds, a nagging headache and disinterest had temporarily stalled. I had a couple of achievements under my belt, my blogs up-to-date again, and the numbers on the scale were heading back in the right direction. Only then could I see past the clouds of misery with which I’d covered my eyes to the fact that I’d attracted all of the events to myself.

Matching My Energy Both Positive and Negative

The further I fell into denial and negativity, the more things around me tried to match my—and the more the shit hit my personal fan. Even Dylan, the cat who chose me was moving more slowly, and seemed to be feeling his years more. When his energy returned and he started exerting his sovereignty over the other cats while ensuring I adhered to my regular schedule, it really hit home how much I affect this household and everything in it. 

Did I cause my computers to die? Maybe not directly, but I wasn’t giving them a healthy environment in which to operate. Was I affecting Dylan’s health? Without a doubt, and boy, will I be more aware of that one in the future! Fortunately, he’s a very wise cat, and gave him plenty of time to rest and recover from my toxic outflow. Now that I’m back to normal, he’s at my side nearly all day, and joins me on my pillow much earlier in the morning. Poor guy needed a break from the human he loves the most.

I’d like to say I can completely control these periodic downswings, but I believe even they serve a purpose. Sometimes I get caught up in outside influences and lose sight of what’s important to me and mine. Then I get to experience a kind of cosmic shakeup that might only affect my own world directly. Unfortunately, it bleeds off onto the people closest to me as well. I’m not happy with myself when that happens, and often tend to do some self-flagellation in a mistaken attempt to atone for my sins. It usually has the opposite effect, causing others to worry or even slide into their own pit of despair. 

Impacting My World and Beyond

It’s a not-so-subtle reminder I don’t operate in a vacuum, and when I allow myself to pile misdeeds on my own head, I impact those around me too. It’s not merely my crabbiness either. There was a time I could comfortably isolate and it wouldn’t affect anyone else…or so I believed. Whether it was entirely true is a subject for another day. These days, I’ve made myself too visible with inspirational messages, gratitude, and excessive content. When I disappear for a day, it’s no big deal. But when it stretches out to 3 or 4, and when the content I do offer is sad and woebegone, it begins to have an effect, and it ain’t a pretty one.

I’ve been known to drag one of these downward spirals out by allowing guilt to engulf me. No one does a better job of beating me up than me, myself, and I. If anyone knows my hot buttons, it’s those voices inside me who are happy to cite a laundry list of reasons I’m not good enough, or a complete disappointment.

Shutting the Negative Voices Down

There was a time I’d let those voices win, but a combination of supportive friends (led by my amazing daughter, Heather), a deep-seated stubbornness, and elaborate visions of what and where the future me will be, the voices eventually get shut down, and even punished for trying to throw a monkey wrench in my hard-earned progress.

I’m learning the cycles will happen, like it or not. They’re there for a reason; sometimes to humble me a bit, sometimes, because I need a break, but most often because I’ve headed down a path that isn’t serving me well. At those times, the downward cycle stops me in my tracks for a little while so I can’t wander further off track. When life resumes, I’m back on the road that leads to my goals and dreams, and have shed some more baggage that’s weighing me down or misdirecting me.

This time around, I shed some false friends and a couple of computers. The friends, I can easily do without, but I’m sure going to miss my laptop! Able or not, I had to replace the desktop quickly, as it is my livelihood, and often, my link to the outside world as well. With any luck, the added expense will inspire me to work harder at promoting myself, writing great content, and connecting with people. As someone I respect recently pointed out, the person I need to love and connect with most is myself. I guess I lost sight of that for a little while. A nice sledgehammer to the head courtesy of the Universe certainly cured me of that oversight!

A Gratitude a Day…

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for my cycles; the ups, the downs, and the side trips.
  2. I am grateful for my daughter who knows me too well, and understands my cycles from her own personal experiences.
  3. I am grateful for friends who know when to take me at face value, and when to dig deeper.
  4. I am grateful for forward progress. It doesn’t always come in nice, tidy steps. In fact, most of the time it doesn’t. But a quick glance behind me is enough to recognize how far I’ve truly come.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, progress, inspiration, motivation, uplifting thoughts and words, joy, writing, gratitude, peace, health, balance, prosperity, and philanthropy.

Love and Light


About the Author

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

Taking Time Out to Be

Shutting Down to Remember What’s Important

Life gets in the way.

Sometimes, I get so caught up in doing I forget to just Be. My inner child who spent so many years being on the outside becomes enamored with being included, and loses sight of what truly matters.

Belonging ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.

It’s all well and fine to be part of a crowd, especially one everyone looks to for energy and light. But often that energy is simply a mask for a darker, bleaker place the participants are trying to run from. We can’t hide from our darker selves forever.

I noticed it first in their eyes. I tried to ignore it, or deny it. But it was undeniable. The manic glitter; the desperate need to keep moving or else…what? At one point I was reminded of Christopher Robin, but with a more sinister bent. A need to keep moving but not because it meant they wouldn’t go anywhere. Instead, they feared old demons would catch up and bury them.

Lessons Learned

We can’t run from our demons.

I tried to run from mine. I buried them deep inside in what I told myself was an impermeable—until it burst open spilling all the old hurts; all the ugliness I’d kept inside out into the world in an unholy mess. Feelings I’d denied; that I’d never allowed myself to feel and release boiled to the surface, fighting each other for attention. Overwhelmed, I allowed them to bury me in a mire of hopelessness and misery.

Eventually, I dug my way out. I had to acknowledge the feelings; admit to the hurts. Then I started writing about them from the safe haven of my home with the doors and windows securely locked. I could feel the feelings without prejudice. No one could touch me while I was feeling raw, yet I could share my own rawness for others who needed to know they weren’t alone, even though I felt I was, and, at the time, always would be.

Writing helped me unearth my personal sludge. It helped me flush out a heart that had grown cold and clogged with misery and loneliness. As I got feedback from some of my posts, I learned how many others were feeling as disconnected as me, but put on a brave face so no one could shatter the delicate balance that carried them through each day.

The ice around my heart began to thaw and I started opening up a little face-to-face. Carefully at first, but with less caution as time went on. Sometimes I built strong bonds, but there were times I chose badly and my heart got stomped on again. Still, I’d learned locking it away in a frozen wasteland wasn’t the answer.

Opening Up Without Guarantees my own heart has been a double-edged sword. It’s humanized me and helped me connect with others. But it also opens me up to other peoples’ pain. I see the near-panic in their eyes as they maintain a crazy pace in hopes they won’t have to feel what leveled them before. I see and feel the futility of their efforts, but for the most part, I keep it to myself. I know from my own experience telling them what they’re doing to themselves isn’t going to change things. More likely, it will piss them off, or make them withdraw from someone like me who sees too much.

I attract the broken ones; the abused, the beaten down, the neglected, the lonely. I stay as long as I can, trying to help, though often, they can’t accept it.  Still, I have to try. The truth is, we all have to find our own way, and often learning to reach out to others is the hardest lesson of all. I learned to be self-sufficient and refuse to be helped no matter how far I’d fallen. I still struggle with asking, and am quick to retreat when I don’t get the response I feel I need. Why would I expect others to react differently?

The broken ones push me away when I begin to care too much, or when I set boundaries. When their drama and pain begin to exhaust me, I have to pull away. I’ve learned some want my energy but not my empathy. When I refuse one and offer the other, they move on. It’s not personal. They think they know what they need just as I do, though like a vampire seeking blood to replace what they lack, they seek to fill themselves from wells that contain a substance they’ve yet to figure out how to distill on their own.

When it’s Time to Walk Away

I’m learning there’s a time when I have to walk away knowing I’ve done all I could. Maybe I’ve make a chink in their armor, and maybe I haven’t. It isn’t for me to say. Like me, they have to choose to make the effort and yes, feel the pain before it can be released. It isn’t a choice I take lightly as making it myself forced me to relive some of the darkest moments of my life. I know some of the people I’ve attracted have moments so dark they believe they haven’t the strength or support to relive them. I only wish I could convince them it will be better on the other side.

I wouldn’t have believed anyone who told me “it’ll get better” when I was wallowing in my own cavern of misery. It’s one of those choices we have to make knowing it’ll get worse before it gets better. It took me nearly 5 decades to make that choice. I also know there’s every chance I might never have made it. All I have to do is look at my own mother. She chose death over dealing with her demons. Too many others do too.

I wish I could save them all, but no one person can. All I can do is listen and offer—and accept rejection time and time again. Even now, there are times I, too feel like a burden and don’t want to bother people, even the ones I know care enough to listen. There are times I retreat, though the duration is shorter than it once was.

I’ve learned to cry it out when I need to cry; sleep more when exhaustion shuts everything down. The greatest lesson I’ve learned, though is to let my feelings show. Those who care will understand, and those who don’t, well, maybe they’ll gain something from it too.

Grateful for Moments Large and Small

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for the people in my life who understand sometimes I need to be sad.
  2. I’m grateful for the years I’ve spent clearing old wounds, and for learning to keep going through the process, digging deeper into wounds both personal and ancestral.
  3. I’m grateful for my writing. Sometimes my words are dark, and sometimes they’re light and airy-fairy. They all have value, if to no one but myself.
  4. I’m grateful for music. It takes me out of myself when I need it, and into myself when I’m trying to unearth some of the more deeply embedded sludge.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, life, energy, empathy, compassion, sadness, inspiration, motivation, redirection, self-worth, peace, health, harmony, balance, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light


About the Author

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

Changing Seasons and Letting Go

Some Seasons End Quietly, Others Harshly

Created with CanvaPeriodically the Universe sends me a reminder that people come into my life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Sometimes the reminder is gentle as the touch of a feather, while others, it’s a sledgehammer blow to my head.

My latest reminder was the sledgehammer. A series of events had caused me to join a social circle which was not only more active physically, but leaned towards a lot more nights out. It was all well and fine for awhile. I enjoyed going new places and trying different things. But the time came when I needed more quiet time in the comfort of my own home; that the commotion of so many people 4 and 5 nights a week along with my other activities was starting to take it’s toll. 

Instead of recognizing my own needs, I clung to what clearly didn’t fit any more like a lifeline—until that lifeline was severed for me. Needless to say, I fell rather painfully, if virtually on a delicate part of my anatomy. Fortunately, I had a few days and nights of peace and quiet to take a good, hard look at what happened, and to realize I was in a much better place.

Feeling the Feels

One thing I’ve learned from the life lessons I’ve lived is I still have to feel the feelings, and the pain before I can put it aside and move on. It was only when I was reading the Power Path School’s Full Moon Update that it began to make sense. The first paragraph put it all into perspective, and told me what my next move had to be:

This full moon is an active one with the potential to support a final letting go of some sticky attachment that has been plaguing you. This takes courage and aggression in the right direction. Use the aggressive quality of this full moon to take that courageous action and to release some pattern, habit, person, job, routine, attitude, belief, identity, history, object, resentment, resistance, anger, shame, or disappointment. If it is ready to be released, the emotional pain will not last long in the wake of a tremendous freedom of thought, creativity and inspiration as you look forward. You may need to take some personal alone time to process a big release as the people around you may be just as attached to your attachments as you are. It is best not to take things personally as the reactions of others are probably projections of their own resistance.

I’d been resisting releasing people and patterns that no longer served me. These words gave me the strength to finally hit “delete”. The relief I felt once the deed was done made me see letting go was exactly what I needed to do.

Remembering it isn’t Personal

It also made me see everything that led up to my decision hadn’t been personal, though heaven knows there were times it felt like it! The people I ultimately released didn’t set out to mistreat me. They were merely operating from their own needs and perspective. That doesn’t mean I’ll be going out of my way to interact with them in the future, but I can be civil knowing we’ll always have our own perspectives about what changed and why we parted ways.

Ultimately, it simply boils down to the fact the reason or season we’d come into each others’ lives had come to an end. Nobody did anything wrong. No apologies or explanations are needed. It was time for each of us to move on in a different direction. I might, at times miss some of the fun times they showed me, but I won’t miss the drama or the frenzy. I function better when I can get off the roller coaster whenever I need to, and not make any ripples by doing so.

I don’t need to dance every dance, or be the center of attention. In fact, there are times I want to sit on the sidelines unnoticed, taking in the people; the sounds, the sights; without being disturbed. I like being able to fade into the wallpaper and absorb the energy from a distance for a little while. Not that I spend all my time observing. I participate regularly too, but on my own terms. I’d lost sight of that for awhile, and was running on someone else’s needs instead of my own. The sledgehammer, though painful, was necessary to bring me back to awareness of myself and my own rhythm.

Taking Time Out to Replenish

I realized as I started getting back into my own patterns and energies I’d worn myself out trying to keep up with a rhythm that ran contrary to mine. I’m going to bed earlier right now, and sleeping more deeply as my body and mind replenish themselves. This is my rest period after a long, eventful holiday.

Each experience I have with leaving my own pace and following someone else’s teaches me something new. Sometimes, I slow myself down to match someone else’s gait, and others, I push myself into overdrive like I did this time. Either way, it ultimately exhausts me and I have to take a week or two of slower than normal to build everything back up again.

Unresolved health issues haven’t helped. My frustration at another in a long list of non-answers saps my energy too. It’s hard to feign joy and excitement when I’m frustrated and worried. In truth, I was starting to get irritated at little things. Eventually, I’d have walked away on my own as the little things became all encompassing annoyances. Making a clean break now will hopefully minimize any hurt feelings or resentment later.

Learning From Every Experience

Overall, I appreciate the experience, both of high activity and frenzy, and of letting go and moving on. Both have taught me a few more things about being a more social creature. I continue to learn as I step further out of my introverted shell, and for the most part, I’m enjoying the lessons and the results. I’m learning I don’t have to plod along at the same pace all the time. A little shaking up is good for me, and gets me out of old, comfortable ruts. That alone is worth the pain and frustration which can be part and parcel of the lessons and new experiences.

Above all, I know my comfort zone outlived its usefulness long ago. It’s time to try new things. Not all will be a fit, but I won’t really know until I try.

Letting Gratitude Heal the Wounds

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for experiences that take me outside my comfort zone.
  2. I’m grateful for reminders when it’s time to leave people, places, or things. I don’t always let go gracefully, but ultimately, I do let go.
  3. I’m grateful for opportunities to stretch myself beyond where I’d willing go without encouragement.
  4. I’m grateful for down time to refresh and rejuvenate before embarking on my next adventure.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, joy, friendship, opportunities, new, inspiration, motivation, health, harmony, peace, balance, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light


About the Author

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

We All Get Depressed. Do You Go it Alone?

Alone Again, Naturally

Ever had one of those weeks where you started down the rabbit hole—and kept right on going? When you were fighting legions of ants, and the ants were winning? Where the lab work you’d scheduled was hung up at the insurance company because the doctor couldn’t see fit to do his part? When you got a rude awakening regarding who your friends really were, and how little even the real ones heard you whimpering in a ditch? When you knew you’d make it out eventually, but a hand up and help cleaning the abrasions and bruises would sure be welcome? When you realize all the talk about taking care of each other is well-received, but not so well acted on?

After living through one of those weeks, I’m coming to the conclusion alone truly is my natural state. When I do admit I’m struggling, the advice I’m given is so lacking in compassion, so full of “just suck it up. Get out of your house and do something” I realize all my posts about reaching out to people who are hurting are falling on ears deafened by years of hard knocks.

That’s when I remind myself I’ve managed to survive, and often thrive throughout my 60-odd years with little or no help from anyone. My daughter keeps telling me to ask for help, which is all fine and dandy if what needs fixed is a garage door, or a broken faucet. It’s an entirely different story when what’s broken is me. Funny, I learned not to ask for help for this very reason. All the times I told myself: “my friends have problems of their own” or “everyone is too busy to help me over this rough patch” turn out to be entirely accurate. They are all too busy, or immersed in their own problems. Why did I allow myself to believe it was any different?

We Learn to Detach, But is it the Best Way?

I understand though. They all have families, jobs, and a million other balls they’re trying to keep in the air. Some have serious health issues so why would they even begin to understand how freaked out I am that what’s going on with me has baffled my doctors for over 6 months, or that I’m fighting every step of the way to get answers? They already have theirs. One gently suggested my health issues might be resolved with psychiatry! As if I hadn’t written reams in my “eyes only” places about that possibility and come up empty handed…and still struggling.

It really makes me empathize with people who are depressed or suicidal. If they’re getting the responses I’ve been getting, maybe what we believe is true: nobody gives a flying fuck whether we live or die — unless we happen to have the bad taste to end things ourselves.

Even when I tried to explain that I needed to be sad for a little while, people were quick to refute my statement. How dare I take even one moment to be sad? What makes me believe I deserve to be anything but light-hearted and airy-fairy?

Re-setting My Mindset’m disappointed right now. In myself for believing; in the people around me who are slowly killing my hope; and for humanity as a whole which is so caught up in pretending to be OK, and failing to allow each and every one of us to be sad and need a little emotional support once in awhile that they don’t even mourn the loss of their humanity. Instead, they accept its demise like they accept the end of true communication.

Being without a computer for a few days gave me lots of time to think; lots of time to be completely disconnected.

Only 3 people actually reached out and I know they tried to understand. But their efforts were clumsy, either because it was a skill set that got little use, or because they didn’t know how to use it with me. I’m no less grateful for their efforts even if they mostly ended in frustration on both our parts.

Maybe that’s the real problem. We can talk ’til we’re blue in the face about being kinder; more compassionate. But we’ve lost the ability to actually be those things, or at least with someone we’re not close to and know well.

Sometimes I’m a Butterfly, and Sometimes, I’m a Turtle

Though I continue to fly like a butterfly, I’m starting to see I only do it from the safety of my with words on a screen. When it comes to real life; to giving and receiving compassion, I fear I’m destined to remain a turtle.

Still, the butterfly in me insists on getting up and flying once more, knowing if I hit another wall there will be no one around to straighten my wings or clean my wounds. For that, I’ll return to my turtle state until wounds heal or I’m ready to call it a day for the last time.

Yes, I always get back up and eventually resume my forward progress. Sometimes I’m more cautious but lately I realize I have nothing and no one to lose by forging ahead in my usual willy-nilly fashion. Those who feel the need to judge or disapprove quickly fall off my radar. Their opinions or rejections might sting for a minute but they ultimately fuel the inner fire that says “I will not allow you or anyone else to dim my light. You are operating from your own pain body. It has nothing to do with me, but says everything about you. The only person you limit with your behavior is yourself so screw you and the horse you rode in on!”

OK so I sound a little bitter. That’s on me and is one of the many things I choose to work through. My imperfections and pain body give me plenty to work on. But looking back for a brief moment, I see how far I’ve come. Most important, I see that progress was made alone; without anyone’s help. I’d like to continue believing life isn’t meant to be lived alone, but recent events prove otherwise. For now, it doesn’t matter that my absence goes unnoticed and unremarked. Someday, it might, but right now, I have enough on my plate that “someday” isn’t even on the menu.

Always Room for Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for my resilient and self-sufficient nature.
  2. I’m grateful for the few friends who at least try, despite their own heavy loads.
  3. I’m grateful for my daughter who does understand and somehow helps me beat the funkies.
  4. I’m grateful for my writing which has gotten me over the rough patches every time.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; stubbornness, tenacity, growth, understanding, acceptance, forgiveness, letting go but not giving up, opportunities, inspiration, health, peace, balance, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light


About the Author

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

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