Seeing Change in My “Not-to-do” List
There are a lot of things I’ve sworn I’d never do over the years: get married, have kids, divorce, bungee jump, sky dive… many are now part of my history while some are permanent fixtures on my “Not To Do” list. Lately, I’m considering removing one I thought I’d leave there forever; get a tattoo.
I recently saw a woman with 3 butterflies flitting up from her back and onto her neck. I was intrigued enough to consider what had become a very strong life symbol for me lately. Right now I’m thinking a small one on the inside of my right wrist. Meanwhile, I’ve started noticing not only butterflies in the wild, but tattoos as well. The latest was a larger one on a shoulder. The wrist still feels right to me but you never know. Then there’s the question of blue ink or a colorfully resplendent monarch or painted lady.
Fortunately, it isn’t a decision I plan to make in the near future. Heaven knows I have far more pressing matters before me. I truly have been evolving from a caterpillar to a butterfly over the last few months. Not only have I become more focused on my writing and online publishing, I’ve also made a firm commitment to invest in my marketing skills.
New Directions, New Guides
Towards that end, I’ve parted company with the coach/mentor I’d been working with this year, turning instead to a course in marketing. I’ve hung out in the Facebook Group “Gorilla Army Nation” for over a year now, picking up tidbits here and there. I knew I wasn’t ready to commit to one of their programs before now. I dabbled in a couple, and got bogged down in the last one.
Fortunately, about the time I was feeling frustrated and stupid, they realized the course I was trying to get through really was overly complex. They came up with one which broke the steps down into much smaller pieces, offering more help, a private group, and tons of encouragement along the way. I took a leap.
I’m not barreling through the course or having almost immediate results like some people, but I feel I’m in good company, working through it slowly, methodically, and with the freedom to ask even the dumbest questions without fear or embarrassment. Both staff and students are supportive, and have already helped me over a couple of humps that stopped me in the larger course. It never occurred to me that if a section didn’t apply, I could simply skip it and move on!
Through the course, I’m learning I do have skills. They’re deeply hidden beneath my misconceptions and underdeveloped social skills. But they are there! And I finally got the answer to the immortal question “How many ICA’s should I have?” that fits with my own thoughts and feelings. (the answer is pretty much “as many as you need”). It is even possible to have thousands of different ones, though for me, a dozen or so should cover it all, at least for now.
Learning to Go Where Life Takes Me Somewhat Gracefully
At the beginning of 2019 I had a certain vision of how the year would unfold. The reality, 9 months in isn’t even close.
Yes, I’m still writing, and sporadically working on “Rebuilding After Suicide”. But I’ve changed directions on it, and am not sweating so much that I’m way behind schedule on the latest re-write. I have been posting chapters of my first novel, “Sasha’s Journey” to ChapterBuzz where I’ve been getting some helpful feedback from other authors.
This year also saw me establish a publishing schedule on Medium, and more recently, receive an invitation to join the writing team of one of the publications. While a huge boost to my ego, not everything I submit to them has been accepted, but I am also being featured every month or so by the Medium team. Recognition might be coming slowly, but since it took me almost 6 years to get to this point, I’m not complaining. In fact, I’m celebrating it as a win!
Seeing Change as a Journey
The butterfly I’ve accepted as a symbol of my journey doesn’t go through the physiological change in one fell swoop. She crawls around as a caterpillar for awhile. One day, she spins herself into a chrysalis where she hangs from a branch for about 10-14 days while her body transforms. Even when the chrysalis opens, she must continue to hang from the branch and pump fluid from her abdomen into wings which were crumpled up inside her temporary home. Once her wings dry, she can finally fly.
I’ve spent the last few years writing lots of words, but also learning what working as a writer really means. I’ve had to establish my own presence and figure out which of the many possible directions I wanted to take. Now, I’m in the stage where I’m strengthening the tools I need to get there. It’s a process, like the butterfly emerging from her chrysalis. Some of it is instinctual, but for me, the business and marketing end really isn’t. I’m having to shed old ways and ideas and learn new ones before I can truly fly. The largest and most obstructive was the idea that I couldn’t market myself. My way was well and truly blocked until I let go of that self-limiting, and utterly false belief.
In some ways, I feel like I’m still in the cocoon, while in others, I feel like I’m already soaring up to the treetops, playing games of tag with the other butterflies.
Traveling My Own Crooked Path
Unlike the butterfly, the steps I need to take aren’t laid out in a nice, precise pattern. I can jump from place to place, learning pieces of things and coming back when I’m ready for more. There’s also room for trial and error which is a good thing, as I don’t always listen to all the instructions; haring off to try something that popped into my head semi-formed. Sometimes it works out splendidly, but mostly it requires another trip to the drawing board.
Such is it with the idea of a tattoo. I’ll think about it for awhile, noticing every butterfly tattoo that crosses my path. I’ll think about a series starting with a chrysalis, then slowly opening to reveal the butterfly. Still, I won’t act until I’m certain it’s what I want; and maybe it will remain an image in my head. I can no more say than I could have predicted on January 1 where I’d be today.
I go where I’m guided to go. Sometimes my guide is my higher self and leads me through a fairly well thought out series of steps. More often, my impatience kicks in or my ADD mind starts spinning. Then I jump around from task to task until I finally exhaust myself and set some guidelines and due dates. I’m learning to accept that a certain amount of structure is a good thing. But I have to make sure and leave space for my imagination to continue to run amok. It’s where the magick happens!
Finding Reasons for Gratitude in All I Do
My gratitudes today are:
- I’m grateful for change. Life may no longer be predictable, but it’s always interesting.
- I’m grateful for guidance which has come to me from several different directions this year. I’m sure it’s been there, but I had to be ready to see and hear it.
- I’m grateful for my solitude. It gives me time to think, to imagine, to go in and out of frustration, to change plans, and to make others.
- I’m grateful for my friends who continue to be encouraging even if it looks like I have nothing to show for my efforts; even if it appears, to the causal observer that I’m living the life of a retiree. If they only knew!
- I’m grateful for abundance; love, inspiration, imagination, guidance, support, encouragement, persistence, joy, health, harmony, peace, 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