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

Archive for the ‘dance’ Category

When Some of Life’s Dances Have Steps That Elude Us

Holes and Boulders

Meditations in my house are typically a family affair but some days are more communal than others. When Munchkin lays across my shoulder with her head near my ear, purring as if her life depends on it, while Dylan lays on the arm of the sofa, curled in the crook of my elbow, I know the visuals will be more vivid and the messages, more clear.

Such was the scenario for a recent meditation. With my focus more on Munchkin’s soothing purr than the meditation music I grabbed from YouTube, I did a little mental inventory. What I discovered was a bit disturbing.

My heart felt like there was a huge area where nothing penetrated, but nothing came out either—almost a physical void where a piece of my heart was gone, or maybe never really existed. But it wasn’t just my heart. I felt a weight the size of a small boulder in my stomach. And yet, as far as I knew, there was nothing wrong. Never mind the migraine that started shortly after I woke up.

Allowing the Answers to Come as They Will

Since it was a meditation, I gave up any effort I might have made to indulge in self analysis, and simply allowed myself to sink into Munchkin’s purr and let the answers come of their own volition and in their own time. I didn’t have long to wait.

I allowed myself to feel the loneliness and to let the reasons slowly coalesce. I felt the sense, first, of something lost, but soon, I realized it was something I never really had. Like most people, I have my own dream of a perfect life, though since I spent so many years believing myself unworthy, I’d convinced myself at the same time I didn’t deserve the perfect life I envisioned. Of course, reality and expectation came together with uncanny accuracy.

The trouble is, I no longer believe I’m unworthy (OK, at least I don’t most of the time), and though some aspects of that perfection were lost with my youth, I realize on a rational level that, as the saying goes, I ain’t dead yet, and there’s still time to attract aspects of the old and never quite forgotten dreams.

Old Baggage Can Lead Us Astray

But I’m manifesting that belief in potentially unhealthy ways. I realized today I’ve become, on a subconscious level almost desperate to receive the love and cherishing I see so many of my friends enjoying. Perhaps it’s a double-edged sword to now have a social circle of loving, giving people who are in the kind of relationships I will admit I want for myself when I’m not in my favorite home away from home, the State of Denial.

The result is that my sensitivities are like a nest full of baby birds when mom arrives with a freshly chewed worm, but I react, not to food but to a little attention from the male of the species. Somehow, my heart and brain get all tangled up and look for reasons to believe the attention is more than it is, or that I’m getting a little more from the gentleman in question than the plethora of single women in the vicinity.

The Epic Battle Between Heart vs. Head

Needless to say, I have a near-constant internal battle going on. Picture Dr. Doolittle’s Push Me-Pull You as the battle between my heart and head, each one trying to control which direction my entire self goes. If you consider all the times I’ve been oblivious when someone really was more than superficially interested and I failed to give the right signs which would have indicated mutual interest, you can see what a convoluted mess I put myself in. And why my heart feels like half of it is a black hole and my gut feels like I’ve swallowed a brick whole.

The truth is, even if a guy was to show an interest, it would have to be so blatantly obvious, the entire world could see it before it would get through my dysfunctional brain and register a need for me to give some kind of affirmative response. Needless to say, there may or may not be at least a couple who turned their attentions elsewhere because I failed to follow the steps of the one dance I never managed to learn.

Friends Just Want Friends to be Happy

Another down-side to having so many happily coupled friends is they have a tendency to want all of their friends to be as happy and cherished as they are. Too often, my well-meaning friends will try to convince me that someone is more than casually interested. I’ll start paying closer attention to my interactions with said male, only to realize that both I and my friend were seeing something we wanted to see, and not what was really there.

To top it off, I’m beginning to believe despite my observations that men are dating women 20 years their junior, looking 15-20 years younger isn’t the same thing. All too often, I’m feeling like I get written off because someone thinks I’m in my 40’s. Good grief! Can’t ya cut a girl a break? I used to believe my daughter was just being sweet, but lately, others have made the same mistake, with one person telling me I didn’t have the hands of a 60-year-old. (insert huge, heartfelt sigh)

I’ve Been Lonely So Long

I never thought I’d see the day I’d say, much less type these words, but the truth is, I’m tired of always being alone. I’d love to have someone to spend a rainy Friday night with, curled on the sofa talking, or reading, or watching something mindless on TV. I won’t go so far as to say I could handle having someone with me all the time, but a couple of nights a week and someone I could count on for more than the occasional dance would be nice.

Of course, this could be my personal version of a mid-life crisis, typically later than normal as everything I do seems to be. It could be too many Hallmark movies, or too many misconstrued acts of simple kindness. I don’t really know any more. Perhaps it’s something women of a certain age go through when they’ve been alone for too many years.

Using the Energy of Frustration Towards the Greater Good

Whatever the reason, I know I need to find something or someone to fill up that empty place in my heart. I thought my resident felines were enough, but even there, I’ve been deluding myself, and they’ve probably known it all along. I also know the best way to fill the hole is by giving of myself, and that route is far less open to interpretation than areas where my perceptions are more than slightly askew.

In my usual convoluted and misdirected fashion, I seem to have hit on the solution to the problems with my heart and gut. My gut still says it isn’t what it wants (funny, as you’d think my heart would weigh in, yet it’s unnaturally silent), but since neither of us has a clue as to where to find help lifting off the brick that seems to have settled in for a long winter’s nap, finding someone or something who could use an extra pair of hands will fill the space for now. I’m open to suggestions, but of course, would prefer it to be something in my geographical area and not affiliated with any religious organization or purpose.

Finding the Rule Book Everyone’s Read, but Nobody Has

Am I truly alone in this? Do others find they just don’t know how to play those interpersonal games? Have others, as I have, failed to learn the rules of the game, or even lack a desire to play games with their heart in the first place? So many times, I wish I had the ingenuousness of a 5-year-old who would simply say: “Hi. I like you. Wanna play?”

Can you imagine how many would run screaming in the other direction if I did that? It would break every rule in the handbook of interpersonal skills that is probably one of the rare books which never made it into my extensive personal library.

Gettin’ By

For now, you can find me at the dance hall a couple of nights a week, the gym, my requisite 3 days, and perhaps feeding the homeless, or filling boxes for our military personnel far away from home. And writing little ditties like this one twice a week, hoping to help someone else feel less alone as they meander through life without an instruction manual or even a map to alert them to upcoming land mines.

One thing I have found as I stumble and fumble is we are not meant to be alone, and though we might not find “the one” right away, or even in this lifetime, there are always people around who love us and care about us. We just have to crawl out of our cocoons once in a while and look around, feel the sunshine on our faces, and spread those beautiful butterfly wings we grew while hiding out for so long.

Remembering My Unlimited Supply of Blessings

And of course, find things large and small to be grateful for:

  1. I am grateful for the people who allow me to touch their lives with my stumbles and fumbles.
  2. I am grateful for my cats who are snuggly, demanding, and sometimes ornery.
  3. I am grateful for my daughter who keeps me connected to the world even when I don’t come outside for days on end. She reminds me there are frustrations, but also causes for joy and amusement.
  4. I am grateful for the writing and the people I get to meet because of it. There’s an entire world of people out there with incredible imaginations, who are caring, accepting, and understanding of some of my struggles.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, inspiration, motivation, health, sanity (at least some of the time), energy, spirit, blessings, prosperity, goals, and philanthropy.

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 is available for article writing and ghostwriting to help your website and the business it supports grow and thrive. Her specialties are finding and expressing your authentic self. 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

August 1, 2015 Holy Crapapillar! Is it August Already? I’ve Been So Busy Dancing, I Didn’t Notice.

Dance: The Ultimate Medium for Healing, Joy and Community

I was talking to one of the newer dancers tonight, and it really hit home how much of a community we are. Even if someone is gone for awhile, when they return, we pick up right where we left off. Sure, if they’re gone long enough, they may not be up on any new dances we learned during their absence, but those only account for a small part of the evening, and that leaves time to chat and catch up.

Another thing occurred to me on the way home. For the most part, we’re a pretty accepting bunch. As long as a person follows the unwritten rules of the dance floor (and frankly, most of those are just good, common sense and respect for other people and their property) the rest of us are happy to help and encourage and welcome them into our happy little circle. But it’s a lot more. When we walk through the door, our mindset is on dancing and having a good time; maybe even escaping our troubles for a couple of hours. It doesn’t make our troubles go away (and dancers, as a rule, are not big drinkers) but it gives us a break from them and in a lot of cases, gives us some perspective which makes resolving them less painful.

Share Dance, Share Life

Over the last few years, we have shared the whole gamut of family events: births, marriages, deaths, divorces, children moving away, illness and recovery. We’ve shared life changes, cheering each other on the whole way. No matter what happens, we know there’s always a place we can find a warm hug and an understanding shoulder. Yet, while we’re dancing or waiting for the next line dance, couples dance or two-step partner, we can share without wallowing because we know that each of us has life experiences which allow us to relate.

I believe that the two best things I’ve gained by being a part of the dance community are the pure joy and stress relief dancing offers and the opportunity to both uplift and be uplifted, as the situation requires. As it was so beautifully portrayed in the movie ‘Inside Out’, without sadness, we wouldn’t need to comfort or be comforted and without comfort, we can’t develop compassion, nor can we feel needed.

Whether I’m sharing a warm hug with Cheryl who understands what it’s like to lose a parent in the most tragic of ways or verbally sparring with Ron who is the brother I should have had; ooh-ing and ahhh-ing over grandbaby pictures or commiserating over having kids further away than we’d like, as they go on with their lives as adults; or one of my favorites, joking with Ralph while we do an easy two-step around the floor until I get my feet all mixed up because my mind is more into the silliness of the conversation; it’s all good, it’s all healing and it’s all uplifting.

When my daughters were younger, I used to dance 5 and 6 nights a week in a different location with different friends. Though the joy and uplifting were a mere shadow of what I enjoy now, I used to joke that my ex still had all of his body parts thanks to the dancing. But in all seriousness, dancing has always been my touchstone, second only to my writing, where I can lose myself in pure pleasure and let go of things I might otherwise chew on until they achieve far more importance than they deserve. My mom gave me dance lessons because she thought they’d help my klutziness. I’m still a klutz; still walk into walls, trip over my own feet and drop things incessantly, but the gift she actually gave me was a lifelong love of dance and the people who do it for the love of it. We don’t look for perfection; heaven knows we all mess up the dances pretty regularly; we don’t do it for recognition; there are far better dancers out there who put hours and hours into being perfect and being noticed. We do it because it is the most fun we can have in a public place with dozens of our friends. We do it for our sanity and we do it because moving is always a good thing.

Still more benefits to being a regular dancer

Learning new dances stimulates our brains and has been proven to slow or even stop the development of Alzheimers. Replacing brain cells keeps you younger. I can’t even count the number of times I have heard “That’s impossible” when people find out my chronological age. Sure, part of it is genetics, but I can guarantee that an outsider would guess an age at least 10-15 years lower than that of any of my dance friends. One of the regulars is getting really close to 90, but you’d never know it (and boy, does she have gorgeous legs!).

So if you’re feeling blue or the job is pushing you over the edge or your kids are about to drive you to drink or your parents are getting on your nerves, this is my advice to you: Grab a couple of friends and find a local watering hole with a decent dance floor. If you don’t know the steps, find out when they have lessons. If you do, why are you still sitting around??? I guarantee your stress level will drop and with regular applications, you’ll soon look and feel at least 10 years younger. Tonight I danced for the better part of 4 hours, then came home and scooped litter boxes and cleaned up the kitchen before I sat down. Oops, I guess I forgot to mention how much it boosts your energy too!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the gift my mom gave me at the tender age of 5: the love of dance has gotten me through some of the toughest times in my life.
2. I am grateful for the progress I’ve made this week on several projects, and look forward to diving in again tomorrow.
3. I am grateful for the friends I’ve made in the dance community. They’re a diverse bunch, but some of the most loving, compassionate, giving people I’ve ever been fortunate enough to know.
4. I am grateful for a couple of quiet days at home to complete a few more projects.
5. I am grateful for abundance: dancing, friendship, health, energy, love, joy, compassion, peace, harmony, prosperity and philanthropy.

Blessed Be

I’d appreciate your taking a moment to visit my Facebook pages at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel and https://www.facebook.com/HLWTAccounting . Please also drop by my website, http://www.shericonaway.com 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!

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