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Archive for the ‘humanity’ Category

Finding a Tribe That Suits Our Personality

Your Tribe Reflects the Comfort Level You Exude

There are people who seem to get along with everyone. They ruffle no feathers, make no one feel uncomfortable. In short, they blend in. They’re not exactly chameleons because they don’t change their behavior to suit the people they’re with. Instead, they’re like comfort food. Simple, pleasant, familiar.

I am not one of those people. I go through periods where every word out of my mouth, every action I take is guaranteed to piss someone off. There’s really nothing I can do about it except walk away. When I find myself in the midst of people who turn their nose up at my escargot and pate de foie gras personality, the more I try to smooth things over, the worse things tend to get. I’m still learning this.

Recognize When You’re in the Wrong Crowd

When you’re pissing people off for no apparent reason, it’s often best to stop thinking about it and walk away.  Someone else’s reaction isn’t your responsibility. They have their own stuff and it’s not up to us to fix it. Yet all too often, we let ourselves take responsibility for those reactions. We blame ourselves for saying something that offended when in truth, it probably didn’t matter what we said or how we said it. They were already uncomfortable with us and looking for an excuse to react.

There comes a time when we need to stop analyzing who we’re affecting, stop trying to fix what isn’t even broken, and just be in the moment. We need to accept that we are not everyone’s comfort food. Most of all, we are wonderful, interesting, and utterly delightful in our crazy, non-conforming, eclectic way, and we just need to find the tribe that not only appreciates our eccentricities, but expands them with their own unique and mind-bending qualities.

My Seat-of-the Pants Lifestyle

When I made the decision to launch my latest adventure, I did so without a plan. I know that sounds crazy to those who need a lot of structure in their lives. But for those who enjoy change and even a few surprises, leaving things to chance is essential to our mental health and growth. Yet, it isn’t truly leaving things to chance. It’s more a matter of focusing on the broad strokes; setting an intention about where you want to head next without mapping out the hows. Then, you just heighten your awareness of signs and opportunities along the way, knowing they’re the baby steps you need to achieve the grand design which launched the adventure. To the outside world, it may appear you’re living in the moment, and to a large degree you are. What’s more important is letting others worry about their own stuff while living in your own moment.

As I live in my moments, I am learning that some things have to manifest before others. The order, however, is not engraved in stone. Right now, I see the steps to my path as:

  1. Building my writing and accounting business.
  2. Paying off bills.
  3. Getting the repairs and maintenance on my house finished before other dreams begin to manifest.

Beyond that, I don’t need to know. This is more than enough to keep me busy watching for opportunities and acting on them. Once I’ve completed what I see as phases, the next ones will become clear. Linda Clay of Capture Your Passion talks about creating a treasure map with the big, red X being your goal. A lot of the space between where you are now and that red X will be uncharted territory, as it should be. Along the way, there will be wrong turns and some backtracking. There will be steps which move you ahead quickly and some rocky roads which take more time and ingenuity to navigate. The key, for us non-conforming bohemians is to allow each new step to unfold. We must also accept that not everyone can function without a plan and withhold our judgement and the sharing of our opinion on the matter.

Creating Your Own Treasure Map

I have friends who need every detail mapped out ahead of time, whether it’s a vacation or a life. I don’t understand how they can live such predictable lives, but then, they don’t understand how I can fly by the seat of my pants. The important thing is understanding each of us has our place in this giant scheme called humanity.

Just as there are plotters and pantsers in the writing world, the same types exist in the real world too. (If you haven’t figured it out already, I am definitely a pantser).

What does your treasure map look like? Do you have all of the details filled in ahead of time or is it more of a rough draft, waiting for the Universe to expose the next surprise in your journey? How does that make you feel? Comfortable? Complacent? Excited? Anxious? There are no wrong answers. Your journey has to feel right to you, but it still has to stretch that comfort zone, or it’s simply a rut.

Embracing the Unknown: It’s Not for Everyone.

My pot of gold is an estate overlooking the beach with fruit trees, no neighbors, and cabins for artists’ retreats. There’s a lot of unknown terrain between here and there. I could be scared to death of the unknown, and at times, I do feel a little shaky. But for the most part, I’m excited to see how the next chapter of my life will unfold. I just need to remember to stay out of my own way, and getting out of my own way means not being bogged down by other people’s stuff.

Conformists like being around people who fit a set of comfortable rules and parameters. They aren’t comfortable with the rule-breakers and the ground-shakers. That’s not to say they’re boring. Many have their crazy, silly side or even a creative bent or two. Yet they still color within the lines at the end of the day.

Non-conformists are a more eclectic group who find too much sameness smothering. They accept people because of their eccentricities. The rules are meant to be broken, challenged, and pushed. They themselves, however, may not be. Don’t try pushing a nonconformist into a strict box where rules are meant to be honored and behavior follows unwritten guidelines. It may not be a recipe for disaster, but you could get an interesting fireworks show when they burst free of your artificially created enclosure and show off their true rainbow of colors.

The Oil and Water of Personalities

I’m learning people who like living in a structured environment are uncomfortable to me, and vice versa. We’re oil and water to each other. They’re also the ones who will most likely take what I say or do as offensive at some point. Part of my journey is learning to navigate past those people without creating much of a ripple. Avoiding them really isn’t an option as they’re intricately woven into the fabric of my world. Besides, everyone who touches my life brings me something of value, whether we’re similar or different. Sometimes the different ones offer something unexpected and surprisingly useful.

Likes attract likes, even when those likes are people who thrive on diversity and change. But change means different things to different people. Some like moving every few years, others love to travel. Still others find change in things other than their physical location. We all need a point of stability though. My stability happens to be in relatively few location changes.

Finding the Tribe That Accepts You, Warts and All

In the end, we have to find the tribe which loves us as a complete packages, supports our path, and shakes us up every now and then. Like everything else in life, it may require we try a lot of people on, discarding some and keeping others. I love the statement that people come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime because the path we follow is, whether we like it or not, affected to some degree by the people in our lives. Very few of them will stick with us through all of our changes and evolutions. Most will show up, help us make some necessary changes, and move on. In the process, we change their lives a little too.

Expressing Gratitude, No Matter What Our Journey

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for my ever-evolving tribe.
  2. I am grateful for the people who teach me lessons even when those lessons are painful ones.
  3. I am grateful for the opportunities which are coming my way. They advance me along the path towards my big, red X.
  4. I am grateful for my increasing work load and look forward to the day I can say my schedule is full.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, opportunities, tribes, lessons, challenges, gems, rough stones, health, harmony, peace, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

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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.

The Damage We Do

Old Hurts Haunt Us

It recently came to my attention that several decades ago, I attacked a fellow Kindergartner with a block. The incident and its subsequent repercussions is irretrievable in my own memories, but I trust that the victim’s memory of it is true.

Flash forward a couple of years when we shared a classroom. The victim of my apparent kindergarten tantrum is again witness to my arrogance; this time in verbal form. As with the first incident, I have no memory of my declaration, but the source is a trusted one.

While I remember the people who attacked me both physically and verbally over the years, my memory of attacks I instigated in my early years is decidedly blank.

My point in all this is we remember getting hurt far better than we remember inflicting it. And whether the infliction was intentional or not, it leaves scars on the people to whom we do harm.

Learning as we Grow

As young children, we have no clue of the harm a misplaced word can do, but as we get older, we have our own experiences to draw on. Which leads me to the next encounter.

By coincidence our parents moved us out of the Valley and into an area with a smaller school district. So small, in fact, that there was only one middle school in this unincorporated area between the City of Los Angeles and the Ventura County line. Here I proved I hadn’t learned anything from the many unkind words and deeds hurled in my direction by children as clueless to the feelings of others as I.

I could have looked upon a familiar face from the old neighborhood with kindness and even welcome, but instead, followed the pattern which began with a wooden block, and threw yet another unkind word.

Over the years, I’ve learned many things, one of which is that I can’t undo the awful things I’ve done in the past, be it recent or distant. I can ask forgiveness of those I’ve hurt or offended, but most important, I can forgive myself.

It’s even more important to learn from those mistakes and pause before responding to something in anger. This is something I’m still working on.

Made Hard by Hurts is No Excuse

A few days ago, I re-posted this image as I thought it was a cute way to share my feelings on the onslaught of anger and ugliness to which Facebook has been subjected for the last year or better:

make-facebook-fun

Much to my amazement, the comment stream was soon filled with anger and vitriol, not all of it from others.

By the time the dust had settled, one person was angry enough to unfriend me, causing me to briefly understand the twisted logic of people who accuse the younger generation of being clueless.

Another didn’t understand why I deleted their comment and the stream which followed, though part of the reason for the deletion was my own failure to think before reacting.

We Only See What We Want to See

The uproar was inspired, not by the overall intention of this graphic, but by the one small blue box entreating people to refrain from hurling political bombs on the pages of social media. Some went so far as to accuse me of having my head in the sand because I refuse to be dragged into the hysteria currently making the media more political than social.

What they fail to see is how Social Media is simply a tool to drive the populace to hysteria and blow even the most normal things completely out of proportion to distract us from what’s really happening. In fact, it’s turning people against each other simply for disagreeing on something so mundane as whether or not to share and discuss every outrageous accusation against our new administration.

Certainly, some of what’s happening is both outrageous and unconscionable, but how can we really tell with all the propaganda that’s flying across our screens from any and all factions?

A Spark of Sanity, A Spark of Hope

Finally, one friend posted an article which reflects what I’ve been thinking, albeit from a far more knowledgeable base than mine. The article prompted me to actually subscribe to the Washington Post (which has, by the way, been mentioned as one of the publications which prides itself on reporting accurately. Which isn’t to say it’s unbiased, just that they report facts rather than hysteria).

The foregoing is simply a reminder that we are all in this together. We’re members of only one race, and that’s the Human one. We all came into this world the same way, and we’ll all go out of it in our time. We can either be loving and kind about it or we can be hateful and ugly. The choice is always ours.

As A Divine Being Living a Human Existence, It’s Up to Us to Evolve

As for me, I’m endeavoring to think before I act or speak, knowing my humanity will cause me to fail now and then. I’m willing to accept my imperfections. Most of all, I’ll be asking forgiveness when I do screw up and hurt someone.

Most of all, I’m working on stepping outside my comfort zone, and the first example of it is to reach out to people more often until I learn to do it naturally. It may seem easy to many, but as an introvert, it’s one of the most difficult things I can do.

What Are You Doing to Evolve?

So here’s my challenge to you: choose something that is very difficult for you and start working on doing it. Don’t expect huge successes at first, but instead, give yourself credit for those baby steps. In my opinion, they’re more important than the larger goals because they are the hardest ones to take.

If All Else Fails, Be Grateful

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for friends with differing opinions, even if we clash now and then as a result.
  2. I am grateful for forgiveness. Without it, we’d just be one angry bunch of humans all the time.
  3. I am grateful for friendships both new and old. Like the song says: “Make new friends but keep the old. One is silver and the other, gold”.
  4. I am grateful for the rain. I haven’t seen such green hillsides in ages, and it makes my heart smile.
  5. I am grateful for abundance: peace, love, understanding, forgiveness, friendship, dancing, cats, joy, philanthropy, harmony, and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, 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!

Photo Courtesy of Get Everwise via Flickr

August 30, 2014 Another milestone!

Creativity is, indeed, a fickle mistress

Though I was starting to have to fight down the doubts, it finally happened. The journey I began nearly ten months ago has finally reached the point I know, deep in my heart, I feared, and because of that fear, dragged it out far longer than I should have. But at last, I realized that I could put it off no longer. The novel whose first 50,000 words were penned in a marathon of writing, while working full-time, in November of last year, and was written entirely stream of consciousness, has now reached the end of the first editing; that in which I took my raw text and added, changed, smoothed out and embellished until the final product is over 98,000 words!

The end which is the beginning.

Yet, this is where the real fun begins. This is where I take the child to whom I gave life and send it out into the world to be analyzed, criticized, chewed up and spit out; all of this so I can make it even better before it goes through the marketing process I will be creating, the publishing process I have yet to determine, and the final approval or insult as the rest of the world sees this delicate creature which sprang, its sole purpose, to entertain strangers, from the very depths of my mind and heart.

It’s difficult to send our human children out into the world, knowing that they may stumble and fall, but knowing that we have prepared them to pick themselves up and go on. But a work of fiction has no such resources. It depends on its creator to see it through growing pains and criticism, both constructive and unkind, until it gains enough outside support to stand proudly on its own. We spend countless hours cleaning it up, dusting it off and gathering it close when the world withholds its simple, loving kindness. This unforgiving world which loves strength and perfection while reviling what is flawed and weak will not give this fledgling an easy ride. As the parent, I will feel every bruise as if it were my own. I will bleed my own blood over every cutting remark or cruel criticism leveled at my child.

Yet, we are strong together, and together will weather humanity’s storm. We will find our place amongst those who have come before us, who also suffered for their art, their creations, until able to make a place for themselves.

As I send my child out into the world, to undergo the editing process with both friend and stranger, I know in my heart that in the end, we will both be better for the process; a little older and a little wiser, perhaps, but better and stronger overall.

And so, I begin my search for people to participate in this necessary process. My eyes are foggy from being too close to the words I penned. I throw myself at the mercy of those who can be much more objective. May we produce the next story which will have the public clamoring for more!

So begins my search for editorial assistance. I know what I’ve written needs the fine tuning only unbiased, clear eyes can give. I have little to offer but the opportunity to read the story which, is still, virtually in the raw, though I will offer my services to do the same for others as well. I know that it truly does take a village to create and launch successful art.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful that I finally finished what I started.
2. I am grateful that I can now go on to some other projects while I go through the editing process.
3. I am grateful for those who never lost faith in my ability to see this one through.
4. I am grateful for a few days in which to shift gears and find my new direction before jumping in with both feet again.
5. I am grateful for abundance: creativity, determination, prosperity, health, friendship, humanity, harmony and love.

Namaste

August 29, 2014 What price, fame?

Sadly, it’s not just the paparazzi who believe it’s OK to infringe on the lives of the rich and famous.

Today, one of the supposedly spiritual sites I follow posted this rather disturbing comment on their social media page.

“YES or NO: Do you think Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s marriage will last?!”

It made me think, once again, What price, fame? The wedding cake hasn’t even had time to be digested, and anyone with a following thinks they can disparage the marriage and impinge upon their lives? It’s very sad, indeed, that not only do people have nothing better to do with their time than to stick their noses into the lives of others when they write such a post, but that a post like this would get over 800 likes, nearly 50 shares and over 350 comments! Is it any wonder that we have yet to find a way to keep children from starving, people from being murdered and our environment from being abused? Can you imagine how many diseases might be cured and wrongs might be righted if people spent even half of the time they currently spent reading or writing about the lives of the rich and famous, on making the world a better place for everyone? The mind boggles!

To me, this is even worse than coveting their lives or comparing what we have to what they have. To even consider wishing ill on another person is nothing short of criminal. They live their lives in a veritable fish bowl, simply because they chose a career which puts their faces in front of the masses in the form of entertainment. Is there something in their contracts which gives the media and every individual in the world the explicit right to pick their lives apart and publicly ridicule them and wish that their lives would be filled with disaster…simply to add more to their entertainment value? Is it any wonder that people like Meg Ryan and Kurt Russell chose to live their personal lives, as well as the lives of their children, outside of this unforgiving limelight?

I would love to see what a profiler would do with someone who spends their life digging up or inventing dirt about celebrities and public figures, then writing or talking about it in public places. I can’t believe these people represent the true artists in the writing and photography communities. From where I sit, they are nothing more than bottom feeders.

Think about it. The majority of the world goes to work, then comes home and lives out their lives without anyone needing to know what they do during those personal hours. They may share it with friends and family (some might share more than others!), but nobody is following them around with cameras and tape recorders on the off-chance that they step out of their home looking less than perfect. Nobody follows them to the bar where they are blowing off a little steam with their friends in hopes of catching them doing something they shouldn’t. Shouldn’t movie stars and sports figures be given the same courtesy?

Mind your own beeswax!

Just once, I would love to see Brad and Angelina, Jennifer, or any of the folks whose least mistake is blasted all over the media, just stop and look at all of those vultures and say “Are your lives really so empty that you have to try to make mine out to be just as ugly, messy and pathetic, if only to make yourselves feel better? Go volunteer at a homeless shelter or an animal shelter. Help an underprivileged child learn to read! There are so many far better uses of your brief time on this earth than trying to drag another human being through the mud, simply because of their career choice!”

My heart goes out, not only to those who are put under the microscope by scores of strangers, but also to their children who have to hide or watch their parents’ good names dragged through the mud on a regular basis under the auspices of reporting or basic human interest. Sorry, folks, but that isn’t “interest”.

Bullying comes in many forms.

There has been a lot of publicity and public outcry against bullying lately. Yet printing or posting speculation as to the failure of famous people is no better, if you ask me. It’s really no different than my former life as the wife of an alcoholic. His primary purpose was to drag the people closest to him down to his miserable, self-hating level; typical behavior for one who is a substance abuser. Now, I’m not saying that everyone who digs up dirt and writes about it is a drunk or an addict, but their behavior towards those who have more money than they do (which doesn’t necessarily mean they are happier, mind you!), bears similar qualities. It’s as if they can’t stand the idea that someone is rich, famous and happy too!

As far as I’m concerned, attacking or abusing someone because they are different in any way is bullying!  But I guess it’s like a lot of other things. Drama sells advertising which keeps newspapers, magazines and television shows alive. Seeing the mighty fall, even if the whole thing is fabricated, sells crap because people are going to tune in and try to escape from their own, unsatisfying lives, hoping to see that even the most blessed (in their eyes) are not completely happy either. What a shameful waste of time and energy!

To all of the movie stars, political figures, and anyone else who is famous, both because of exposure and because of how many dollars are in their bank accounts, I humbly apologize for my fellow humans. Even those who are horrendously unethical in their public and business practices deserve to have their private lives left alone. I am baffled by what they believe gives them the right to intrude. They’d sure raise a stink if the positions were reversed!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for friends who show me by words and action how important it is to be kind.
2. I am grateful for my anonymity which keeps me out of the cross hairs of people who have too much time on their hands.
3. I am grateful that, despite how idle I might be, taking potshots at celebrities is not one of the ways I alleviate boredom.
4. I am grateful that there are good people out there who respect the privacy of everyone, no matter their social or financial status.
5. I am grateful for abundance: inspiration, motivation, health, harmony, happiness, joy, friendship and prosperity.

Namaste

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