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

Archive for the ‘#gratitude’ Category

My Computer, My Mask

Breaking the Mask

https://www.flickr.com/photos/katsexagesima01/3612047773/in/photolist-6vbFXK-7mfHK5-82q4rd-7Ku82r-7xTufQ-7xTvNm-noV2nx-8v7yLg-7xTtxw-b5JoM-awiDbx-74ofjQ-4xTEyL-aFUvSc-2nJqV-pnUS3J-UZSY-KSCvY-q54hFw-74jkL8-57r2Za-rXWSV-RAqoKt-wCAn3-74jkCt-459Ltf-8VkKtr-jrTTpy-7Mx4vz-9gJ6Hm-q2BAZF-A1eTBs-4sLmnj-7hJteh-nDn5BQ-98W5r7-4oJBHP-FUYqD-66WsR1-aaLTe-9gF1wt-7AibaD-cof4ks-bKGrY-7pamwZ-9yY17Q-2QEkGc-qtnpn9-qUrb5H-5EB1gvI write a lot about authenticity. I even get up on Facebook Live and talk about it and myself quite openly. But after attending a conference where people got up in front of a live audience and talked about their lives and their struggles, I learned a really difficult lesson about authenticity and openness. Writing in a blog or even doing a live broadcast is just another kind of mask.

Even when I get responses from people, the dialogue is after the fact when I’m safely behind the wall. They can’t touch me or see me falter. They (or perhaps I should say you) don’t see my insecurities and vulnerabilities laid out on the table. Any tears I shed or frustrations I express are hidden from your eyes. In other words, I’m still safe.

A Prison of My Own Making

In some ways, I still believe I need that protection, that safety net, the barrier between me and thou. But in others, it has become my prison, my place of disconnection, my lonely isolation. It is real, but only to a point. When I close my door behind me, there’s no one to hold me when I hurt, celebrate with me when I triumph, or just sit quietly sharing the moment. I am, for all intents and purposes, alone.

Even in a crowd, my invisible barriers soar to the skies. with only a few do I show what’s behind the curtain.

When the Time Comes to Step Outside

Yet lately, it’s becoming harder and harder to keep that curtain in place, to hide the tears, the pain, the sorrow, and the fragility. My emotions are closer to the surface, reflected on my face, in my posture, and in the tears that spill despite my best efforts to contain them.

It seems I’m being kicked out from behind my walls, at least in certain cases and places. Yet I scamper back behind them to write stories like this one, or to talk to my own face while recording a video. The more I fight it, the harder it becomes to feel safe and protected. The more I try to stay behind my walls, the more uncomfortable I become. I’m feeling edgy and discontented. I want more, but it scares the shit out of me. I take baby steps outside which turn into giant steps whether I like it or not.

I’d say mysterious forces are at work to push me into another dimension of my life, but I know better. They’re the same forces which ended jobs, relationships, and other situations for me at just the right time. They are my own internal butt kickers who know when I’ve sat in one place for too long and need to move before I grow roots and try to stay where I no longer belong.

A Move is a Move, No Matter How Small

It isn’t necessarily about moving physically (I’ve lived in the same house for over 30 years). It’s about evolving, growing, expanding who I am into who I’m meant to be. Sometimes, the steps are small and manageable like the initial steps we take while learning to walk. Other times, like now, they’re huge, frightening, and meant to turn my safe, cozy world on its ear. Times like now when I’ve become blase about the little 2- and 3-point earthquakes that rattle my world and the Universe decides it’s time for an 8.7 bone rattler.

I don’t know what tomorrow is going to bring, and I’ll be honest with you. I’m terrified on several levels. But at the same time, I’m excited about what the latest upheaval will bring with it. I’ve lived through my share of them, and in all honesty, it always turns out better than I expected or imagined. This time will be no different, and will probably be even more amazing because my fear levels are off the Richter scale right now.

Easy Steps are Stepping Stones, Not a Place to Rest

I’ve discovered that opening up to people via Facebook Live is just a walk in the park for me. It was the natural progression from what my friend Lucia calls “raw Sheri” in my writing. I even broke down in front of a stranger yesterday and don’t feel completely humiliated and ashamed today. Granted, I declined when she asked if she could hug me. I wasn’t ready to go into full melt-down in front of her and a room full of strangers. But perhaps that time will come.

In the movie, The Grinch, there’s a scene where tears are falling and he says “I’m leaking.” I feel like I’m leaking too, but the salty tears are the outward manifestation of the leak, not the leak itself. I’m leaking humanity; something I’ve kept bottled up most of my life. Sure, I’ve been letting it out a little at a time for the last couple of decades, but my cracks are widening and I can no longer seal them back up as I used to. I no longer want to be on the outside looking in.

Am I ready to come out from behind the last of my walls, take off the last of my masks? Changing the name of this blog is probably my answer. I changed the name because it felt right. But I think it was that inner voice telling me it’s time to walk the talk instead of just paying it lip service.

Embracing What’s Uncomfortable

I sit here now, typing these words, feeling anxious, afraid, and close to tears (which seems to be my natural state of late). Dylan seems to sense it as he rarely leaves my side when I’m home lately. His comforting presence slows my rapidly beating heart and gives me a place to go when the fear overwhelms.

Still, I look forward to long talks and sharing my red Adirondack chairs. This is not a time for isolation. My new word is “community”. My goal is to recognize the one I already have and to build and expand on it. I’m ready to open myself up to new experiences and people, and new ways to strengthen my wilting finances. My new motto (or one of them) is “Why think outside the box? There is no box!”

“Don’t Just Do Something. Sit There.”

I heard something from one of the speakers yesterday which made me stop and think. He said “Don’t just do something. Sit there.” How often have we been told the opposite? Sometimes we really need to get off the hamster wheel and spend time simply being. We need to take time to pause and reflect; to allow all of the experiences and thoughts we’ve been having to swirl around and put themselves together in ways they won’t find if we’re busy pushing the pieces around.

What I’ve been doing lately isn’t working, or at least it isn’t working well. I’ve been pushing the pieces around, but the resulting patterns are simply variations on what I’ve always known. It’s time for me to allow new patterns to emerge, and to not toss them away simply because they’re unfamiliar.

I’m taking time this weekend to simply sit there and allow the ideas to form without my interference. Who knows where I’ll be next week, but life is an adventure, if we’re willing to accept the challenge.

Sitting Quietly in Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for discomfort.
  2. I am grateful for fear.
  3. I am grateful for the bloodletting that comes with lowering walls and removing masks.
  4. I am grateful for the community I’ve failed, to this point to recognize and appreciate.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; challenges, lessons, friendships, dreams, goals, spirit, love, tears, honest emotions, peace, health, harmony, prosperity, and philanthropy.

Love and Light

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. She 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 ghost writing to help your website and the business it supports grow and thrive. She specializes in 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.

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Giving the Blog a Facelift Again

In Search of Authenticity

Once again it’s time to change the face of my blog to reflect the changes I’ve made in my life. The change comes because I’ve discovered how valuable it is to show the world our authentic selves. How many times do we get ourselves in trouble by trying to be someone who is not in alignment with our soul? I don’t mean the times when we fake it til we make it, but when we pretend to be someone we’re not for the sole purpose of fitting in. To quote Dr. Seuss “why fit in when you were meant to stand out?”

To say it’s been a rough couple of months for me would be overstating the obvious. Yet it seems I’m not done with the latest series of Universal kicks in the ass. Yes, folks. We’ve gone way beyond head slaps at this point and I’m being seriously challenged to remain upright instead of throwing in the proverbial towel. To put it bluntly, at 62 years old I find myself in the unenviable position of needing to either rejoin a less-than-welcoming job market or somehow manifest some seriously lucrative freelance work. My friend Lucia told me last night that I know what I need to do. My response was to update and publicize my resume, though I know she meant I need to get past my fear and distaste and start pitching like a maniac.

The Ugly Side of Job Sites

Naturally, as soon as I made my resume public on LinkedIn, Indeed, and Careerbuilder I was inundated with emails from insurance companies looking for salespeople and franchise brokers looking for investors. I have to laugh as I would never have made my resume public again if I had money to invest in a new enterprise, much less something which is ultimately benefiting corporate America!

I’m waiting for the influx of employment agencies who have no intention of sending me on a single interview but would love to put me in their inventory to molder on the shelf. I expect a reprieve until Monday when they’re back at their desks.

Open the Window and See the Opportunities

In Neurogym’s winning the Game of Money, the first recording tells a story about walking across the desert, realizing you’re thirsty and have no water, and feeling a little desperate until you trip over a cactus and realize sources of water have been there all along. You just failed to notice or recognize them. I’m doing my best to remember that those cacti, those opportunities really are there. I simply need to alter my focus so I’ll see them for what they are.

To do that I have to avoid both wallowing in my misery and fear, and step a few more paces outside the comfortable and familiar. After all, I know what I’ll find there; more of the same. And yet, I went dancing tonight (against my better judgement), and tried desperately to hold it together. Needless to say, all it took was one person asking “are you OK?” and I failed epicly. But to my surprise, I learned that it’s the next step in living my authenticity. After a lifetime of being strong and independent, I’m still learning not only how to be vulnerable, but that I’m allowed to be vulnerable. To hear my friend Judy tell it, the Universe is going to continue kicking my arse on this one until I stop fighting it and just let myself need other people.

Vulnerability and Independence are Not Mutually Exclusive

This may not seem like anything world-shaking to most of you, but for me, it’s scary as hell to have to depend on someone else. Though I know on a conscious level it doesn’t mean I have to give up my independence, on an egoistic level, my entire being is on high alert, flashing red lights, sirens, and throwing every safeguard I know at what it sees as a security breach. How can I possibly impose on anyone? They have their own problems to deal with. They don’t need to listen to me whine about mine, right?

To hear Judy tell it, I’m dead wrong on this one. This is where I learn to accept help, be it human or Divine. This is where I get the wake-up call that I can’t do it all on my own, no matter how tough and independent I think I am. Until I walk this walk, I can talk all I want to about living authentically, but until I expose that naked underbelly of vulnerability, I’m just another woman behind the mask.

When Our Dreams Scare Us Silly

I had a dream a couple of months ago that I was alone and close to starving. Most of my cats had died because I couldn’t afford to take them to the vet. It’s hard to accept that it wasn’t a premonition of Toby’s death even though I know spending more money on his care would have been unlikely to prolong a quality life for him. But a part of me lives in fear that since I’ve learned how much worse off I am financially, others will experience health problems to make my premonition a reality.That, above everything else would be most likely to have me giving up on it all, so of course, I can’t let that happen. All the more reason to increase my awareness of those lurking opportunities.

Taking Another Leap Outside My Comfort Zone

Still I’m looking forward to the 1000 Speakers Academy I’ll be volunteering at next week. There’s nothing quite so uplifting and inspiring as spending time with successful business owners who are passionate about what they do. And it might be just the place to not only help others but allow someone to help me too! Stay tuned for updates on that!

In Loving Gratitude

My gratitudes tonight are:

  1. I am grateful for my friends who are willing and able to help the Universe kick my butt when I need it.
  2. I am grateful for my lessons in vulnerability, even if I’m learning them, kicking and screaming the whole way.
  3. I am grateful for a young man named Adam who gave me such a high energy, fun, silly West Coast Swing tonight that it chased the blues away completely! (Some people dance WCS sexy and classy, and some of us are more of a Lucy Ricardo meets Mae West) Never again will I berate myself for not being the smooth, classy dancer I see other women being. My Authentic self is just perfect.
  4. I am grateful for being the silly, fun, sometimes irreverent with I am. Not everyone appreciates that in me, but then, I don’t need to please everyone either.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; health (me and my family, both human and furry, friends, and acquaintances too!), dancing, vulnerability, authenticity, inspiration, motivation, Universal butt kicks, friendship, love, giving and receiving, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. She 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 ghost writing to help your website and the business it supports grow and thrive. She specializes in 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.

For Love of a Very Special Cat

Toby aka Mamo-cat: Always in My Heart. Gone Way Too Soon.

Toby Conaway, 10/27/2006 – 9/20/2017. He was a part of my family so briefly, but when he died last night, despite a day filled with cuddles and what we both knew were good-byes, he took a huge piece of my heart. His passing left me sad, angry, hurt, and altogether miserable. How could he have been perfectly healthy in February, and terminally ill by August? How could that illness take him so quickly from a gorgeous, healthy, 19 pound ball of fluff with a purr that quite literally filled a room to barely 13 pounds with a badly matted coat and a body so wracked with pain that his feline instincts could no longer mask it?

Toby loved attention, but on his terms. He didn’t care if I was working, eating, sleeping, or trying to get ready to go out. There was no ignoring his massive fluffiness or a bat from his Labrador feet. His deep, throaty purr lulled me to sleep on countless nights. Until lately, and one overnight stay in the hospital due to food poisoning, I never went to sleep without my Toby cuddles. When he grew too weak to jump on the bed himself, I tried putting him there, but when he jumped down during the night, I ceased trying as I didn’t want him to hurt himself jumping down.

Life Ain’t Fair, and Especially, it Seems, for My Feline Kids

I’ve been cursing ever since I got the diagnosis, praying for a miracle that would make the illness and the masses go away. Instead, they burst Friday night, flooding his already weakened body with toxins. Whether I wanted to admit it or not, he didn’t have much more time. Yet, in true Toby fashion, he tried to give his energy to me instead of himself, making me reassure him over and over that I’d be fine, that he needed to save his strength for himself. I spent the last few days begging him to eat, tempting him with several choices and finally squirting bone broth into his mouth with a syringe. I knew the best I could really do was to keep him as comfortable as possible, love him all I could, and assure him that it was ok for him to leave me. I wanted only what was best for him, and a life of unbearable pain wasn’t best for him by anyone’s definition.

I grieve for Toby as I would grieve for a child, as I grieved for Scooby and Patches and Loki in the last few years. As I grieved for so many others I grew close to and lost. But like Scooby, Toby didn’t even get 11 years. Both boys were the sweetest, best boys I could ever hope to find. And both crossed the rainbow bridge way too soon.

Despite the cats who still remain, including Dylan and Munchkin, the last of what I call my older cats; the cats I’ve had since Heather still lived at home, there’s an eerie silence in the house tonight. Toby’s room-filling purr is forever silenced. I’ll never hold his big, fluffy body in my arms and bury my face in his fur again.

Grief is Grief Be We Human or Feline

It’s hard to say whether Dylan and Munchkin are grieving too, or just reacting to my grief. I know they recognized far sooner than me that Toby wouldn’t be here much longer. Maybe they just disconnect before the actual time comes to leave. I don’t really know as I haven’t found a way to ask them yet.

I’ve lost humans in my life, most notably, my parents, yet I’ve never felt the grief I feel when I lose one of my beloved cats. Maybe it’s because their lives and their health are my responsibility. Maybe it’s the unconditional love I’ve never found in a human. All I know for sure is that huge chunks of my heart are on the other side of the rainbow bridge, chasing bunnies and butterflies with no more pain or physical limitations. Sometimes I find myself wishing I was right there with them, but there are others who still depend on me, support me, and love me.

The Loves of My Life Who Remain and Offer Their Own Brand of Comfort

Dylan-man, my soul cat. He chose me at an adoption day at Pet Smart when he was about 1 1/2. I picked him up, he put his paws on my shoulders and licked my cheek. And to this day, he greets me every morning the same way, with morning kisses.

Munchkin came into our family to give Scooby someone more energetic to play with, and gave him quite a bit more than he expected. They were a bonded pair until his untimely death at the age of 10 11/12. She is my sweet little girl who loves snuggling into my shoulder and purring loudly and proudly. She single-handedly kept all of the boys in line until Mulan moved in, supposedly temporarily.

Pyewacket joined the family a few months after Scooby left. He’s a clown with a heart as big as the sun. He makes me laugh with his antics and has taken to joining the nighttime cuddle routine. As big as he is now, I suspect he’ll be quite amazing when he finishes growing. And I do love big cats.

Scrappy Doo moved in with us along with Pyewacket. We’d lost Loki before Scooby, but knew she’d been living on borrowed time with her kidney disease. I wasn’t planning on bringing two new cats home, but couldn’t decide between the two boys. Scrappy was so pitiful with his bandaged tail and cone of shame. He was so grateful for attention when they handed him to me. He just snuggled into my arms. He’s a brat and I swear he’s channeling some of Scooby’s more annoying habits, but he’s sweet and affectionate. He just loves to sit in my lap, no matter where that lap might be, or what I might be trying to do.

Mulan came to me as a foster. She was meant to live outside as part of my colony, and escaped shortly after she got here. Pet's SakeBut when the weather got cold and rainy, my little Siamese princess decided she was not meant for the hardships of outdoor life. After meowing at the back door for a few nights, she got locked inside when Munchkin snuck out, and has never regretted it. She now joins Munchkin in helping me settle in at bedtime. She was also madly in love with Toby for the short time she got to know him.

Flynn is also a foster and one of Mulan’s siblings. He’s a beautiful silver tabby who is getting comfortable with me a little slower than Mulan, but if I catch him at the right moment and location, he just loves his belly rubs. He has the softest fur I’ve ever seen on a short-haired cat, and he’s going to be a real love-bug when he gets a little more used to humans.

Tiana is the third foster sibling, and though she’s made a lot of progress, is still very much a scaredy-cat. She’s a sweet brown and gray tabby but has retained more of the feral tendencies than her brother and sister. My hope is that when she does finally settle down, she can be adopted with her brother. They are very close and can often be found cuddling together in one of the cat trees.

Yesterday was undoubtedly one of the worst days of my life. Toby and I both knew it would likely be his last and spent much of the day just cuddling and saying our good-byes. When I had to finally leave the house to go to the gym and run errands, I set him on a blanket on my den floor, and he whimpered as if to say “please don’t leave me now”. I didn’t leave him again until he passed in my arms.

He lay on my desk where I talked to him, petted him, and kept telling him I wanted what was best for him. I told him it was ok for him to leave me. I’d be ok, but would always love him and never forget him. I promised him we’d be together again some day. All the things you’d say to a human.

Many might think me strange, but I know my words gave him comfort, and let him stop trying to hold on for my sake. He needed to hear them, but more, I needed to be convincing so he believed them. In the end, I believe he died knowing my words were true and from my heart. And he died in my arms instead of on a cold metal table at the vet’s office.

We humans carry our regrets like precious cargo, but cats (and probably dogs too) don’t even know what a regret is. They live and die with a clear conscience, caring only that they did the best they could for their humans. I don’t regret bringing a single one of the cats who’ve passed through my life into it. I only regret not being able to give some of them more easy, comfortable years than they got. It’s far easier to get past the death of a cat who had more than 15 years to live with me and be spoiled. I’ve had a few of those, but more often, they’ve had 12 years or less.

I keep asking myself why there’s such a high incidence of cancer in my cats. Is there something in my house that’s toxic? Do I not clean enough? Am I feeding them something that weakens their immune system? I don’t know the answers, nor why some live for as long as 18 years, and some so much fewer.

I know I grieve more deeply for some than others. Some like Toby and Scooby simply fastened themselves to my heart with stronger glue. Others like Missy got me through some of the toughest times in my life, and went on to live a reasonably long life. Maybe it’s just the newness, but Toby’s death seems to be hitting me harder than any previous one ever did. Even Rascal, Scooby, and Missy who were my hardest to this point.

Driving home last night, I found myself thinking how much it sucked to be going through this alone. Then I realized I’m never alone, even if there isn’t a special human in my life who can help me through tough times like this. I have a house full of four-footed, pointy-eared love every minute of the day. That doesn’t make me miss Toby or any of the others any less, but it does make me feel loved.

The outpouring of love and concern from my friends has been another reminder that despite my hermit life, I’m really not alone. One friend even took time out of her busy day to stop by for a few minutes and give me some much-needed hugs. It doesn’t mean I wouldn’t give almost anything to have him back with me, happy, healthy, and pain-free, but I guess that’s part of the grieving process. You’d think I’d have it figured out by now…but I don’t.

I hate losing my sweet, loving babies who deserve nothing but a long, happy, healthy life. I will never come to terms with whatever powers that be decide they get less years than normal, or that they have to endure any amount of pain over a period of time before they let me know they’re ready to go. As always, I’ll spend the next few days, weeks, forever loving the ones who are still here even more emphatically, and by the way they’re hanging close, they’re quite all right with that.

My gratitudes tonight are:

  1. I am so grateful Toby came into my life, even if he had to leave much sooner than I’d like.
  2. I am grateful to those friends who have been checking on me all day, knowing just how hard I take the loss of any of my cats.
  3. I am grateful I work for myself and have been able to take all the time I needed while Toby was so ill.
  4. I am grateful for my alone time to curse and wail and bawl and whatever else I need to do to grieve the loss of my sweet, fluffy boy.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love.

Love and Light

 

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. She 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 ghost writing to help your website and the business it supports grow and thrive. She specializes in 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.

Support Your Local Empath’s, HSP’s, and Conscious Ones

Empaths, HSP’s and Conscious Ones Are Growing in Numbers, But Can’t Do It Alone

Consciousness On the RiseThis is a really tough time to be an Empath, HSA, or even simply Conscious. Emotions are extremely high and climbing higher every day, not only on the part of the more than 7.5 billion humans inhabiting the earth, but on the part of Mother Earth herself who is screaming in pain from all of the abuse inflicted upon her.

Being sensitive is a mixed blessing, to be sure. On the one hand, you know right away if you need to tread carefully around someone. On the other, you’re bombarded by a cacophony of emotions which often moves so quickly it’s impossible to gauge either source or mood. It’s enough to drive the average person mad. But Empaths, HSP’s (Highly Sensitive People) and those who are Conscious (have allowed their ego to take a back seat and just be in the moment) aren’t your average people. Under normal circumstances, they’d tighten whatever they use to protect themselves, be it a shield, love and light, or some other method, and get on with their day. Of course, they’d also find time to be alone, preferably in nature.

How to Help Conscious Ones

But these aren’t normal times. In fact, it’s becoming harder and harder to trust in love and compassion, yet can we do anything else? But to hold that sacred space of love and compassion, to see that those who act in hate and anger need it even more is both difficult and draining. The Empaths, HSP’s, and Conscious among us really need our support to keep doing their job right now.

There are many things we can do to help those people in our lives who are both gifted and cursed.

  • Give and receive a lot of hugs.
  • Read between the lines of what they say and share. Even a word acknowledging their struggle means more than they can say.
  • Meditate. The time you spend clearing space around yourself makes their jobs exponentially easier.
  • Show compassion towards the people around you. A small act of kindness creates endless ripples.
  • Remind them to make self-care a part of their daily routine.
Turmoil, Both Man-Made and Natural Can Be Debilitating

The events of the world can knock the stuffing out of HSP’s and Empaths. Every wild fire singes them. Every earthquake rattles their bones. Every hurricane blows their emotions asunder. And those are only the Earthly effects. Throw in human emotions and it’s like standing in front of a 200 mile-per-hour sand blaster of emotions. Though some feel these events only within a hundred miles or so, others can feel them world-wide. My daughter is one who can feel an earthquake from the other side of the world. Trust me, it isn’t pleasant to suddenly feel nauseous or dizzy for no apparent reason.

Empaths and HSP’s  try not to get involved in the chaos created by humanity, but do choose their battles. I read recently that Empaths are especially conscious of the lies and subterfuge surrounding politics. Many times, I’ve been criticized for withholding opinion or outrage. Even more often, I’ve recognized something in the political machine which others laugh off, only to see clearly weeks or months later when someone with more authority than I points out the same conclusion. We tend to see the bigger picture; the elephant in the room which everyone ignores while focusing on the smaller, more emotionally charged issues. That isn’t to say those smaller issues aren’t important, but they’re a very effective smokescreen. Smokescreens are rarely effective with Empaths. It’s as if they don’t even exist save for a bit of mist which clears easily for them.

Chaos in My Own World Brings Introspection and Lessons

The last couple of months have been especially hard for me, making me wonder, which came first, the chicken or the egg? The emotional upheaval I’ve felt while dealing with Toby’s pancreatitis, the ongoing but recently resolved plumbing issues, having the kids in and out of the house have all thrown my equilibrium out of whack. Yet I have to wonder if these things were symptoms or causes. Plumbing leaks can be interpreted as leaks within my own energy field. The leaks not only caused issues with the foundation of my home, but increased financial outlay while I used more water and gas than normal. Where else in my life is this occurring? Even Toby’s illness points to a misalignment in my self and my priorities.

I learned the hard way that Toby responds dramatically to my need for extra attention. When I focused on my own needs rather than his, I saw his health deteriorate further. When I did what I was supposed to and made it about him, he began to respond to treatment and regain his appetite. We still have days that are better than others, but the biggest hurdle, getting him to eat has been crossed. If it means cooking up chicken thighs and rice and pureeing them with bone broth once a week, it’s a small thing. It is also a way of focusing my energy on helping him regain his strength rather than on worrying. Isn’t cooking for someone the ultimate expression of love?

Even so, ongoing vertigo, dizziness, and nausea strike at the oddest moments. I’ve learned when they do, I need to stop and just be for a few minutes or even an hour. Sometimes I get images or guidance which help me manage what causes me discomfort, and sometimes I just take the time to recharge.

Opening the Doors to Greater Compassion

Allowing ourselves to just be without ego’s interference opens us up to all of the hurts in the world, whether on the part of the victim or the perpetrator because those who act against others are in pain themselves. The more we learn to see that, the more we become part of the healing process.

We must learn to exercise compassion without judgment. Think about that for a minute. When we read about someone shooting innocent people or driving a truck into a crowd, or any other act of violence, what is our first response? If you’re like so many, your first response is outrage towards the perpetrator, followed by compassion for the victims.

What if we turned it around a bit and sent some of that compassion to the perpetrator? Novel, I know. Yet, if we stop and realize we’re all broken in some way and trying to find our way back to wholeness we might see that the person who commits that heinous act is so much more broken than we can imagine. Hating them for their act won’t help heal their broken parts, but compassion and love will.

Life After Hate

While watching Samantha Bee the other night, I learned about a group called Life After Hate. They are a group of people who formerly belonged to hate groups such as White Supremacists and Neo-Nazis who are dedicated to healing the wounds of others like themselves through love and compassion. They know first-hand how people get sucked into a life of hate when things in their own lives are debilitatingly painful. Their mission statement really sums up what they do, why they do it, and how they can achieve the success they do.

OUR MISSION

LIFE AFTER HATE is dedicated to inspiring individuals to a place of compassion and forgiveness for everyone, including themselves.

Many can’t understand why I feel and espouse compassion for the murderers, haters, and worse. Yet, they are the most broken among us. They suffer from such lack of love in their life the only thing they know is to lash out and blame someone else. They’re especially susceptible to those who encourage them to hate, and to blame the blameless for their lack. They’re being led like cattle to slaughter because they are so susceptible, so willing, so eager to assuage their pain. The real evil is in the people who fan the fires of hate and encourage people to act as they wouldn’t if left to their own devices.

Recognize the Fear in Us All

Fear drives people more effectively than anything else. Those who seek to control do so by creating an illusion which instills great fear in people.

Those fears overwhelm the Conscious, Empaths, and HSP’s, making it harder to stand against the way they’re being used by the few to control the many.

Hate Begets Hate

Factions are condoning hate crimes, giving people justification for lashing out against groups of people like the Muslims. But who really supports and fans the flames of those factions? Hitler’s Germany is coming back to haunt us with its White Supremacy and Nazi-ism. Do we really need further proof that hate will never kill hate? If that were so, such things would have died and never risen again. Instead, they went underground or laid dormant until the environment was ripe for them to grow and thrive again.

Fighting them with their own tools means we will ultimately fail. Not only can they use those tools of hate better than we, they also expect to fight the battles according to their own rules. Only unexpected, loving, compassionate responses will truly bring them down. Because behind all the hate are people just like us.

If we cause a man who was involved in a hate rally to lose his job, we’re simply supporting his belief that his actions are justified; that the people he rallied against or harmed deserved it for ruining his life. We’re fueling his fervor to commit even worse acts against the people he’s marked as his nemesis because they’ve now stolen something else from him; his livelihood. In his anger, pain, and hate, he can’t and won’t see his own part in the job loss.

Fueling Love and Compassion

It’s up to the Empaths, the Light Workers and others to keep the flow of love and compassion alive and strong. You might ask if it’s worth the emotional and even physical cost. The truth is, the cost would be far higher if we failed  because we’re all connected. We feel each other’s pain, whether we’re aware of it or not.

Too many people are in a great deal of pain. Even less sensitive people are starting to feel, respond, and react, and in fact, become more sensitive themselves. The increased need is opening up pathways in people who may have had the ability but hadn’t yet recognized it. I’ve seen a number of people recently discover their own empathic abilities, and I know the numbers will continue to rise in response to the increasing need.

Groups of highly conscious people are so overwhelmed, they, too are starting to lash out at each other. That alone emphasizes the need for greater numbers to allow for a kind of rotating down time. Taking time for self-care is long past being a luxury. It’s become as necessary as food, water and sleep.

Oneness

I’m finding it increasingly difficult to differentiate where the emotions I feel are coming from. Are they my own or someone elses? Are they nearby or far away? Is it even human, or am I feeling the pain inflicted on animals, and the very Earth herself? The lines are blurring until everything seems to run together as one; because the truth is, it is all one!

I  find I’m having trouble separating myself, and my shields are too porous to handle the load. Yet I realize we need to allow some of it in, process it, fill it with love and compassion and send it back out. It’s our responsibility to help process out the negativity and hate and replace it with love and compassion.

What is your purpose? How can you help assuage the pain and heal the wounds to humanity? To the Earth?

Gratitude as a Tool for Strength

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the place I’ve been given in the changes which are coming.
  2. I am grateful for my guides and Higher Self who are doing their best to lead me in the direction I need to go.
  3. I am grateful for loving, compassionate friends who are also finding their purpose, their place in the grand scheme of things.
  4. I am grateful for the Oneness which is humanity, earth, animal, rock, and everything around us, both seen and unseen.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; compassion, love, kindness, unity, solidarity, empathy, Consciousness, health, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

You’ll find the corresponding Facebook Live here.

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. She 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 ghost writing to help your website and the business it supports grow and thrive. She specializes in 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.

We Are All Connected So Why Must We Hate?

An Appeal for Harmony

Last month, Linda Clay asked the question: “What one thing would you like to tell the world?” I replied “I’d tell them to be kind”. An old Coca Cola commercial from the 70’s is a beautiful example of what, in today’s environment seems virtually impossible.

The truth is, we are all connected so when we’re unkind to someone, we are, in reality failing to treat ourselves with love and compassion. If you think of all humanity, animals, and even the rocks and trees, each of us is a thread in the warp and woof which creates a beautiful living tapestry. Unkind acts damage the collective fabric which joins us, weakening and making it less resilient.

Self-Love Can Begin the Healing Process

The world is full of unkindness these days. Whether it’s overt hate or simply disrespect, it’s all boils down to one thing: a lack of love in people’s lives. Whether that lack manifests itself as money, possessions, a coveted job, or a relationship, expression of what’s lacking comes out the same. What’s even worse is that a lack of self-love is at the root of the problem.

When life doesn’t give people what they want, they choose to respond by lashing out, spewing hate, and blaming other people or groups instead of looking within to see what they actually lack. They fail to see the solution to their lack lies in learning to love themselves and the gaping hole in their lives is exposed. Their emotions become like an open wound, aggravated by anything or anyone that fails to salve their wound. The salve they themselves have always possessed gets buried deeper and deeper.

We Need a Moratorium on Blame

When we use blaming words like “You made me feel…” or “you did this to me” we put others on the defensive. They react to our words and how those words make them feel rather than listening or trying to understand. They’ll dig into their own emotional luggage compartment and counter what they feel is an attack with one of their own. At least some of this emotional backlash could be avoided if we simply re-worded things so as not to assign responsibility for our feelings to someone else. You could start with “when you said this I felt that” and open the dialogue to why you felt what you did. Give your friend a chance to help you resolve an old emotional issue and you’ll both walk away feeling loved instead of attacked.

We can only control our own reactions. So it’s up to us to step back and observe our emotional responses objectively before deciding how to respond. Though I doubt any of us other than maybe the Dalai Lama will ever master our emotions, it is possible to temper the way we react once one of the myriad we possess is inadvertently triggered. First, we need to turn down the heat beneath those emotions. When they’re already at the boiling point, even a minuscule trigger can set them off and containment is nearly impossible.

Distortion of Truth is the Root of Hate

What is and isn’t true nowadays often depends on who you talk to. This distortion of truth plays directly into those already overheated emotions. Too many things are now becoming “true” simply because they’ve been repeated so many times. Too many people believe because it comes from someone they trust, or disbelieve because the speaker is someone they distrust. Our responses are being triggered, not by what is true, but by what we believe is true. All too often, emotions are boiling over based on “truths” which have no substantiation whatsoever.

As friendships are severed and atrocities inflicted on the basis of subjective truth, volatility within humanity runs rampant. The effects of such volatility are as destructive as the wild fires which have been burning for weeks in Montana and elsewhere.

Think First, Then Act. Not the Other Way Around.

We need to question things, do our own due diligence. Until we, first as individuals, begin to look closely at what we’ve been told is true, we won’t be able to detach ourselves from the backlash over disparate truths. Until we refuse to become part of the manipulations which pit human being against human being, we won’t be able to help thwart this massive rendition of Sherman’s march to the sea.

Sitting, watching and waiting won’t in the end, solve the problems we’re having. But sitting, watching, and waiting until we understand better what’s true and what isn’t before speaking our piece or jumping into the fray with voices raised and epithets flying will help avoid an endless conflagration of reactions.

Understanding Doesn’t Mean We Must Agree

We don’t have to agree with everyone but it can help to try to put ourselves in their shoes. Get a feel for where they’re coming from; why they believe what they do, and why those beliefs are causing them to react with such venom. Dig deeply into what makes them so afraid they have to lash out with hateful words and acts in order to protect what they fear losing.

The voice of reason needs to come forth. It can take something as small as waiting a moment before reacting to give yourself a chance to see what’s real and what’s fabricated. If you react to hate with more hate, you might as well just pour gasoline on a fire, then stand back and watch your whole world burn to a cinder.

Don’t lose sight of the fact we’re all connected; all woven into the same fabric of being. We owe it to our collective selves to learn to listen without reacting.

Be the Mediator Instead of Another Extremist

Most of all, understand what motivates people to go to extremes. Many are flying on pure emotion. Those in power know it and are using it to keep everyone off-balance and reacting instead of thinking. Many are committing acts that are abhorrent to a rational human being. It is up to us to avoid reacting with emotion. Instead, we must step back and try to understand what drove them to go to such an extreme. We all hit that point at times, shut off our rational side and fly on pure emotion. But we are all also rational human beings capable of thinking things through and finding better ways to express our displeasure and lack. One person at a time, we can turn the tide of irrationality and hate.

Find Reasons to be Grateful

Every life has blessings. Sometimes we have to dig deep to find them, but they are there. Even finding 5 a day raises our emotional barometer significantly. So here are my 5 for the day.

  1. I am grateful for the gift I’ve been given and the courage to voice what may not be popular.
  2. I am grateful for the encouragement I receive from both likely and unlikely sources.
  3. I am grateful for love. It will truly be humanity’s salvation.
  4. I am grateful for understanding. We all have it, but sometimes need to receive a little before we find our own.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, understanding, compassion, kindness, giving, receiving, acceptance, joy, inspiration, motivation, sharing, caring, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

Watch the Facebook Live that inspired this post here.

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. She 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 ghost writing to help your website and the business it supports grow and thrive. She specializes in 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.

 

Achieving Our Dreams With Baby Steps

Everyone Has Dreams and Goals

Many of us have lofty goals and aspirations, but how we believe we’ll reach them can take many forms.

For some, it’s kind of an all-or-nothing deal. They expect to jump in with both feet and instantly achieve their dreams. They might believe it will be a result of putting in a superhuman amount of effort, or they might be one of those Laws of Attraction nay-sayers who expect to imagine their dream in full detail and have it drop into their lap. Either way, they’re more than likely to be disappointed.

I tend to take a more expansive and dynamic view of the process. Envisioning your dream is an important, nay, essential part of the process. If you can’t picture where you want to be in technicolor detail right down to the smell of your morning coffee, manifesting will be a tougher, though not impossible road. All is not lost, though. As the saying goes, there’s an app for that.

Tools We Use in our Manifesting Journey

Lots of people are using vision boards to help manifest their dream. In fact, you can even find virtual ones nowadays, saving you the effort of finding pictures that resemble your visions. Here’s a reviewed list of 7 vision board apps by MakeAVisionBoard.com. If you’d rather create your vision board with a PC, Mac,  or notebook, The Law of Attraction Library has reviewed 5 options for you. There are even paid versions of vision board software, presumably for those who want everything to be just perfect and require the functionality to make it so. If you ask me, any of the free versions will get you pointed in the right direction.

While vision boards are a good place to start, especially if you’re new to the concept of envisioning your dreams, there are other approaches, depending on your special talents and of course, your imagination. Some of us craft our vision with words. In other words, we tell our story as we’d like it to be. Others draw or paint their story.

Achieving Our Dreams are the Pots of Gold, the Pirate’s Booty

One that’s especially intriguing to me was presented by one of my favorite mentors, Linda Clay. She suggests creating a treasure map. The map will contain a starting point and an “X marks the spot” area where your pot of gold will be found.  A lot of the space in between will be left open because you have no way of knowing how you’re going to get from here to there at the beginning of your journey. I think I’d put in a couple of rivers and a mountain range or two simply because no journey worth traveling is flat and boring. There will be some challenges just as there will be times when the road is smooth and easy. Some of our roads will be filled with switchbacks while others will be as straight as the infamously boring Interstate 5.

The beauty of a treasure map is in it’s capacity to allow us to fill steps in as they appear. Each opportunity we acknowledge and act upon will lead us to another. Even the missed opportunities have their purpose. Sometimes, part of reaching our goal lies in choosing our opportunities wisely. Some may lead us on a detour which takes us miles out of our way causing us to stop, regroup, and possibly backtrack. Some are that anti-change device in our brain trying to take us back to where it feels safe. While I’ve often said it’s important to jump on opportunities that arise, note I’ve also urged you to look closely at those opportunities before leaping. Some are gifts you’re better off declining as close inspection will reveal they’re designed to thwart rather than advance your cause. Even so, opportunities which hinder our progress will always teach us something valuable we’ll need later in our journey. There truly are no wrong choices.

Picking the Tool That’s Right for You

Whether you choose a vision board, a story board, a drawing, or a treasure map, they all share a common requirement. Set the dream or goal and let go so steps and opportunities you’re not aware of can show up for you. Holding rigid expectations of the steps required to reach your goal will prevent it from manifesting as it’s supposed to, rather than inside your limited vision. Embrace the unexpected as it can bring us closer to an even better version of our dreams without the effort we believed it would take to get there.

Opportunities, too come in many forms. It might be an object, a job offer, a chance to visit a place, or it might be a person. Pay special attention to chance meetings, immediate connections, and people who appear in response to a thought. People come into our lives for a reason. Often they’re there to  teach us something we need to know to achieve our dreams. The reason for a particular person’s presence may not be apparent right away but if your intuition says to nurture the relationship, you can be certain it’s part of your journey.

People Are the Best Part of Our Journey

Some people teach us by their example. My friend Kari has helped me step out of my comfort zone in at least a dozen ways in the short time we’ve known each other. It’s nothing she says, and everything she does. She is positively fearless about going into new situations, whether it’s a trailer in the middle of North Dakota or simply meeting new people. She takes it all in stride. She is strong, independent, and resourceful, while also being one of the most giving, nurturing individuals I’ve ever met.

What Happens by Chance Might Really Be Design

One of the best lessons I’ve learned lately is to get out of my own way. All too often, we feel we need to call the shots and direct our own progress. All too often, it’s a curse rather than a blessing. Too much control makes us overlook things. When we see our direction through tunnel vision, we miss a lot of possibilities which could well be far more appealing. We lock in on the one true way and cheat ourselves out of others that will bring us far more than our puny imagination let us believe we deserve. Let yourself deserve everything you can imagine and more. Then allow things to unfold with the wonder of a child instead of the often irrational fears of an adult.

Be in the moment. The past is over, the future is yet to come. You can only be in and enjoy a single moment. Try not to control. Allow, observe.

I learned this lesson well when my daughter and I ended up on PCH after a series of wrong turns. Had I pulled up a map instead of relying on my memory, or been annoyed at the extra time it would take to get home, I’d have not only missed something stunningly beautiful, but something I couldn’t have gotten back; time in a place we both loved with my daughter. The color of the water,  the rhythm of the waves, and the potential to see whales, dolphins, and seals were just the break we both needed from lives filled with activity, anxiety, and stress. That detour also led to her spending a few more days with me turning my living room into a relaxing sanctuary, and my front porch into a place to welcome friends.

Keep Your Eyes Open for the Baby Steps.

Part of the joy of reaching our goals; achieving our dreams isn’t manifesting the dream at all, but the journey. That journey is made of thousands of steps. The smallest of them can be the most impactful. Sometimes slow is better because it allows us to savor that journey and enjoy the sights along the way. In the meantime, we can take time to build a solid foundation which will support not only the dreams we already have, but those yet to be dreamed. Building that foundation can’t be rushed if it is to sustain what you achieve. In other words, savor those baby steps!

Shout Your Gratitude to the Mountain Tops

As with every other manifestation, we attract more when we appreciate what we already have. So don’t be shy about expressing your gratitude.

My gratitudes tonight are:

  1. I am grateful for the people who continue to come into and influence my life.
  2. I am grateful for opportunities to take a less traveled path.
  3. I am grateful for my sea green walls and my red Adirondack chairs.
  4. I am grateful for Toby’s continuing improvement.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; friendship, love, opportunities, epiphanies, inspiration, time to just be, motivation, exercise, health, harmony, peace, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

The associated Facebook Live can be found here.

 

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. She 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 ghost writing to help your website and the business it supports grow and thrive. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information.

Change the Outside to Change the Inside

A Small Change Sets the Snowball In Motion

We can measure our progress through life by the changes we have made. Some of those changes are intentional, and others are thrust upon us. The effect is the same, but different.

When changes are thrust upon us, we’re like flotsam in the wind. We can choose whether we grab onto something and hold tight to what was, let the wind toss us where it will, or take an active part in mapping our course around the obstacles and against the wind. All too often, these occur when the Universe gets tired of waiting for us to get off our butts and move. I can point to at least a couple of job lay-offs which did just that for me.

Intentional changes give us more control. We choose when to make those changes, how much to change, and what direction those changes will take—to a point. We’re still subjected to external conditions beyond our control, and our ability to switch gears mid-stream will still be tested. But at least we get to choose the starting point.

Turning Dissatisfaction into Opportunity

Lately I’ve become dissatisfied with my current environment; not only physical, but emotional and mental as well. Thankfully, I’ve finally evolved enough to realize I had to make a change, even if it was a tiny one. As I’ve already mentioned a few times, it started when I emptied the last remaining box from the remodel-from-hell. Suddenly, most of what was currently in my control from that little fiasco was gone.

That single act was the snowball which gathered speed along with a few more unneeded items, and started making significant changes in my world. Soon, the box filled with oversized clothes I’d packed up a couple of months ago finally found it’s way to the Samaritan Center. The pair of red Adirondack chairs moved from the sidewalk in front of Lowe’s to my front porch (with a little help from my daughter and her Prius).

Synchronicities began to occur. I’d grabbed some paint chips when we bought my weed whacker (still waiting for a little less heat to actually be used) thinking I’d paint the living room someday. But when we took a wrong turn coming home from the fair grounds and ended up at the beach, I noticed the water matched my paint chip. The next step in my journey began. I was finally ready to make a major change to my environment.

Simple Pleasures

Not only is my living room now a lovely shade of sea green with a deep turquoise accent wall, I got to spend more time than usual with my daughter, working on a project that made us both happy. I’m also one step closer to making my half demolished living room look more inviting both because of the new paint, but also because it inspired me to clear the piles of books on sofa and table.

Replacing the single white plastic chair  on my front porch with two more comfortable red ones gives an outward symbol of my desire to  invite people to share my space. The sea green walls reinforce my dream of one day having an estate overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The beachy red chairs will make the transition nicely. To an outside observer, these hardly seem like steps in the right direction. If you consider that changes begin, not with an act, but with our mindset, the impact of these seemingly small changes is huge. I’ve created a daily reminder of my love of the ocean and how much it figures in my long-term dreams.

I wake every morning to the clean, refreshing color of the walls feeling both soothed and invigorated when I see them as I walk towards the kitchen. Even the china hutch got a face lift since it had to be moved to paint. I took the opportunity to lovingly handle the memories it contained, and have since had an opportunity to use some of the wine glasses with a friend.

A Little Means So Much

These fairly small acts have done something for me I’d failed to achieve any other way. They made room for what I’ve been struggling to attract: people, work, abundance. Until it was cleared, I hadn’t realized how much I’d blocked because of stuff that reminded me of a failure in my life. I hadn’t let go of the pain that failure had caused to find the valuable lessons it gave me. Until I did, I could only see the room, quite literally as a place of muted colors.

My life won’t change overnight. What I did was to find a starting point for making the changes. I got past the overwhelm of having too many things needing repair or change and just picked a spot. Places I’d never even noticed became visible once I’d opened a little space; a chink in my self-imposed fort.

If You Want to Manifest, Create Some Space

Everything is related. When you open a space, you start manifesting. If you want to attract someone into your life, you need to make space: a drawer, a closet, the way you make your bed up. When you clear out a box, a business opportunity might appear like more than one has for me.

Part of the reason we fail to move forward is the firm grip we have on our past. Once we realize we won’t drown if we let go of those irrelevant lifelines, we realize how much we enjoy traveling a little bit lighter. So many of the bricks we’re carrying around are added weight rather than anything we need to shore up a shaky foundation. In fact, sometimes that shaky foundation is the best place for us to be because it forces us to find our balance in other ways.

What Will You Change to Open Space for Manifesting?

What about you? What do you want to bring into your life? What is taking up space in your life or home that is no longer needed? It could be physical, emotional, or something else entirely. What one thing can you release or change to bring your dream one step closer? Stretch your imagination on this. Step out of your comfort zone as far as you can. For me, it was a box of Tupperware. For you, it might be a piece of furniture, an old tent, or even a relationship that’s no longer serving your greater good. Whatever it is, I’d love to hear about your journey and how you made it work for you; how you got yourself back on the road to achieving your dreams.

Join the Gratitude Brigade

Of course, all of these changes would be for naught without gratitude. The Universe gives us more when we show appreciation for what we already have. We express our joy for the people, places, and things in our life and that joy attracts more that makes us joyful.

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful to my daughter for helping me make some much-needed changes in my physical environment.
  2. I am grateful to have finally left the pain of some lessons behind.
  3. I am grateful for the new manifestations in my journey.
  4. I am grateful to be making my way towards my dreams one baby step at a time.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love friendship, clear spaces, joy, peace, harmony, opportunities, help, dreams, inspiration, health, family, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light.

 

You can find the associated Facebook Live Video here!

 

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. She 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 ghost writing to help your website and the business it supports grow and thrive. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information.

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