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Archive for the ‘loneliness’ Category

Strong Women Know Loneliness Well

Strength and Independence Don’t Come Free

The women in my social circle have one major quality in common: they are all strong, independent women. Of course, this singular quality is actually more than the singularity I’ve implied. It is really a package deal, combining a multitude of features into one, single, powerful human being.

The fact that a woman, any woman is able to be strong and self-sufficient in a world which encourages anything but is a tribute to her all by itself. As one myself, I know it’s a constant challenge to stand up for myself when many people (and not just men) consider it unnatural and, to say the least, unpleasant.

Naturally, maintaining that strength comes at a cost which some of my friends manage to avoid. Those women found a mate who loves and accepts them as they are, and in most of the cases I’m aware of, it’s made for a union rich in love, commitment, and cooperation.

Strong Doesn’t Mean Wanting to Fly Solo Forever

But for many of my friends, being single has become a lifestyle. Some have https://www.flickr.com/photos/philleara/7246573430/in/photolist-c3mzPd-djJiUe-oajKtQ-djJjmv-djJjLR-oapGkZ-djJjb9-djJj5F-cntb2u-7Y2xWm-cntayf-c3mLB3-n329S-7XYhYD-cntbhs-TCrSUz-gg7DZE-gg7XMV-6Ak5ks-9a2C7g-djJjz6-cntb85-rCKS6-cntag1-azBhou-3oXQYc-cnta8q-cntaL7-ocbPjv-oa7hn8-fJm576-baRPgp-7Y2xp7-8ommnm-bA1QHR-cnt9j1-dmywKj-7Y2x7b-4vwAew-aAPJwq-oa7iJB-cnt9xu-2FtNgi-gunWiW-hLgWLK-e4kv6P-2FtPvB-9GPQLh-4vsuDF-baRMyvjumped into the dating pool, finding a decent guy or two who can handle their pure, unadulterated self. But most have been burned a time or two by men who simply couldn’t handle the pressure of being with a woman who might just be stronger than them in some ways.

As a result, I’m not alone in reaching my 60’s still flying solo. Sure, most of my friends haven’t turned being single into an art form as I have, but we do share a common thread; loneliness.

Being strong doesn’t mean we don’t want someone we can lean on now and then. It simply means we don’t need someone to carry us all the time. A strong woman wants a partner, not a caretaker. And sometimes, that’s a lot harder to find.

Accepting the Desire for Companionship as Part of My Strength

https://www.flickr.com/photos/prestonrhea/5236270625/in/photolist-8YHfQ2-4X1dP6-P58XGS-dmtrwi-2pMKC-nC1YD-QxGsf-q4rWqa-8HeDZc-o8pVg-8mXR4g-o7nP7c-8jQqTQ-bPxsQc-dJusGN-78jLU7-98LY1P-dYGYNq-cgtYSu-cgu1F7-7rMJ9R-6z6KQA-6VuMG-6Jfxqk-4bbwMg-dmtxds-9Rf6xQ-v8gDMa-9PqETD-4MsUzv-ptUKap-a2BfLR-4UtU1B-4UtSun-5dBS8k-7eGxtr-7nUbqa-7nUbW8-fBZ3S4-5M1h3P-8DYirc-8E2uBh-6r2V98-7oFgff-7oBon2-7oBpbn-7oBoG6-7oFfRo-vPhUL-jk3BYpAt one time, I brushed it off saying: I don’t need anyone. I’m fine on my own.

But lately, as I watch my friends struggling to find someone to share some of their down time with, I realize I’ve been lying to myself, if only to find a way to accept that my chances of finding someone this late in my life are challenging at best.

I hear my friends talking about how sad and lonely they are, or watch them slipping into depression. They put on a brave face because that’s what they’ve always done. But when the mask slips and they let those who are both close and trustworthy in, the cracks show, and the loneliness embraces them in her cold, unsympathetic arms.

To be honest, I can’t imagine having someone else living in my house all the time. I’ve lived alone too long, and have large spans of time when I don’t want anyone talking to me or getting in my way as I wander from room to room talking to the cats. Still, I find myself wanting to believe someone out there could and would be able to adapt to my quirks, and I, to his.

Dealing With Loneliness In My Own Way

My friends and I deal with the loneliness in our own ways. I tend to isolate until ICreated with Canva need human interaction. I steer clear of dating sites as I haven’t seen anything to recommend them in the few times I’ve given them a try.

They, on the other hand put themselves out there, date now and then, and keep the hope alive that one day, they’ll meet someone who will fit all the nooks and crannies of their personality and form the bond they seek.

In some ways, I feel I need to take a page out of the manual on relationship building I refer to for my business. From there I learned about the concept of positive indifference, and how off-putting desperation and neediness are to potential clients.

I think people are people, regardless of the situation, and those qualities are only appealing to someone who ultimately wants to take advantage of you. Sure, there’s a fine line between being so strong and independent that you come off as uncaring, and needy and desperate.

Using Positive Indifference in My Social Network Too

I think the key to the puzzle is in the words “positive indifference”. It’s not a “screw you if you don’t like me” attitude, but more of a “I enjoy your company but am OK if it’s not mutual” feeling. A kind of spark, but no pressure.

Unfortunately, as long as my friends and I succumb to loneliness, it’s hard to be positively indifferent. So we focus our attention on other things, keep busy, and try not to think. It works part of the time.

I think we tell ourselves that as much as we love our girlfriends, there’s something we just aren’t able to get from each other (and I don’t mean sex). There’s a feeling; a connection; a wantedness we don’t feel unless we’re someone’s one-and-only.

Long-Term Loneliness Takes Its Toll

I have to believe we can find a way past the neediness, the desperation, and the cold, empty feeling we call loneliness for lack of a better word. Though I haven’t found it myself, I have reached the point where I suffer from it less. Maybe I’ve just gotten used to being alone. I’ve been at it a lot longer than most, if not all of my friends.

Some think being alone for a couple of years is a long time. I can’t argue with them, because we can only view loneliness through our own lens. The amount of time I’ve been alone can be counted in decades. I’m not proud of it, nor am I ashamed. I’ve spent a lot of that time working on myself. Building a better me, as it were. And I’m pretty happy with the changes I’ve wrought.

Mapping Out a New Path

Sometimes, you have to take yourself to a place that seems sad and lonely because you can’t fix what’s broken in the middle of a crowd. You have to pull the pieces apart slowly and carefully, lay them out so you can see what you’ve got. Some pieces you might clean up, others might need some repair. A few might have outlived their purpose and need to be discarded.

As you sift and sort, you bring in new pieces you’ve acquired through living life, learning new things, and leaving old things behind. The space you open up when you discard some of the old pieces leaves room for new ones which are better suited to who and where you are now.

In some ways, I’ve been my own Pygmalion, creating my own ideal woman from the original parts plus a lot of others I’ve acquired on my journey. Doing it alone was, for me, the way it had to be, and probably why I’ve learned to adapt to that status.

Sometimes the Road is Only Wide Enough for One

That isn’t to say it’s my final resting place, so to speak. But I had to travel alone for awhile, else I’d have missed some important pieces I needed to pick up. I feel like I’m much more whole now, except for one thing.

My friends learned to interact socially; to attract the eye of men who were looking for companionship. In all the time I’ve spent alone, I never found that piece, that technique. So in some ways, I’m now operating at a disadvantage, at least if companionship is my goal.

As I watch and listen to the sadness of the women I love and respect, I have to face some hard questions myself. Am I really all that lonely alone? Am I willing to compromise in order to have another person in my life regularly? Can I learn some of the social skills I still lack?

I don’t have the answers to these questions. For now, I feel my place is loving and supporting my friends as they seek their own answers.

Finding Gratitude in All Things Great and Small

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for the years I’ve spent alone exploring the person I was, and the one I wanted to become.
  2. I’m grateful for my friendships with strong, independent women, and all the dynamics that entails.
  3. I’m grateful for the pleasure I find in solitude, and my ability to be productive at odd hours, at least as others might see it.
  4. I’m grateful for love in all it’s forms.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance, friendship, connection, love, joy, solitude, introspection, innovation, inspiration, motivation, productivity, peace, harmony, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

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

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

Alone in a Crowd

Loneliness is an Experience We’ve All Been Through

We’ve all been there at one time or another. Standing on the sidelines in a crowded club, watching the couples dancing under the colored lights. The volume increases as music competes with voices, clinking glasses, and the occasional emergency vehicle on the streets nearby. Your walls close in around you, enclosing you in a familiar cocoon. And you realize just how lonely you are.

The feeling isn’t new. You’ve been here before. In fact, you’ve floated in and out of it so many times, you only notice it when you disconnect from the sights, sounds, and smells of your surroundings and withdraw, even for a moment, into yourself.

Allowing Yourself to Feel the Pain

You’ve learned not to fight it because most of the time it passes. A line dance set starts and you join your friends on the floor. The connection to the rest of the world is re-established, if only for the 15 minutes or so the dances played don’t require a partner. Or a friend’s antics with Bullwinkle ears turns into an inadvertent R-rated dance move. You express your shock, laugh, and the walls subside. For that moment, you’re included and no longer alone.

But ultimately, the evening ends. You get into your car and drive back to those four walls you inhabit alone save for a pet or three ( in my case, a few more. I am on the fast-track to crazy cat lady-ness, after all). You tell yourself the choices you made were the right ones even if some didn’t turn out the way you’d planned. The people who are in your life now are the ones who are supposed to be, even if they’re not there when you turn out the lights.

Looking for the Rainbow in the Storm Cloud

Life isn’t as grim as it is for some. Your days don’t run together in sepia-toned sameness. You interact with different people, learn new things, try a few others. Your body still responds with minimal pain to whatever you ask it to do. You have something to look forward to every week, friends to hug, pets to cuddle and lives to share…to a point.

But then you watch from the sidelines as the couples stand together talking and know you can’t cross that invisible line because you don’t fit. Some might call you broken, others will offer suggestions for finding the lid for your crooked pot. Though their intentions are well meant, they only make you feel more alone. More disconnected. More of a failure.

You spend another Friday night alone because you don’t feel like facing the crowds in a club, and everyone you know is busy with family and friends. If anyone were to ask, you’d say it was exactly how you wanted to spend your evening. The idea of cuddling on the couch doesn’t even cross your mind. Really. It doesn’t.

Facing Reality

On a conscious level, you know none of it is true. Lack of a mate is not an affliction. It’s simply a state of being. A small circle of friends doesn’t mean you’re hard to love. It simply means you interact better in smaller groups. It means you don’t trust as easily because hard lessons taught you to withhold that trust until it’s been earned. You try to convince yourself that the walls you’ve built are there to protect you from harm. You’ll argue yourself breathless if someone says those walls are the reason you’re alone.

Finally, you stop lying to yourself. You allow yourself to just feel the loneliness. You allow yourself, just for a moment, to have a few regrets even though you can’t think of a single person who might have been “the one who got away”. The hard truth is you crawled into your cocoon years ago and forgot you were supposed to emerge as a butterfly somewhere along the way.

Where Do You Go From Here?

The ensuing years have atrophied your once-beautiful wings. You still have your body and it gives you mobility. As you look at the places where your wings used to be, you wrap your arms around yourself and cry over all the opportunities you missed because you stayed in your cocoon too long. It would be so easy to just wallow. To believe you gave up what might have been and there’s nothing left.

While your animals snore softly around you, a door begins to open. A light shines through. You see what you didn’t allow yourself to see while you drew your mantle so closely around yourself you were gasping for air. In that light you see something unexpected; possibilities.

The ending that never was is gone. Instead, you have the power to write whatever ending you want to write. The one you see right now might be one possible ending. But it’s only one. If you don’t like it, you have many options. One of my favorite is to shout “Plot twist!” and watch my fingers scamper madly across the keyboard, creating scenarios as wild and varied as my ADD brain and boundless imagination can conjure.

Writing Our Own Dreams

That’s where I can be the princess in the castle or the dragon rider, or the world-famous author and philanthropist, the next Mother Teresa or Madame Curie…or simply the crazy cat lady with friends as varied, unique, and memorable as she is. Dreams become reality, no matter how preposterous. I can try dreams on like clothes, finding the ones which fit just right, or better still, the ones I need to grow into. Discard the ones which fit too snugly as they’ll inhibit the growth of the new set of wings that even now is beginning to unfurl.

I might be tied to the ground right now, but in the next instant, I’ll be airborne. I can’t get the old, atrophied wings back, but I can grow a newer, stronger pair which will take me farther, faster than the old set ever could.

The truth is, there’s no set time frame for staying in your cocoon. You stay as long as you need to. That may be weeks for some, decades for others. We’re there for a reason, unique to us. Take us out too soon, we’re not ready for the challenges we have to face. And there is no “too late”. Only, “just in time”.

I Will Always Be Grateful

My gratititudes tonight are:

  1. I am grateful for friends who accept me as I am, crooked, twisty, and unique.
  2. I am grateful for my dark moments. They make me open my eyes to possibilities.
  3. I am grateful for my writing. More than once, it’s saved my sanity…such as it is.
  4. I am grateful for girl friends. It’s still a new experience for me, but one I’ve sorely missed.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; friendship, motivation, inspiration, love, cat purrs, peace, harmony, health, joy, philanthropy, opportunities, stories, 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!

Acknowledging our Loneliness is Healthy

Acknowledging the Demon Within

This morning I woke up with my gut in a tight knot. I was supposed to go to a critique group meeting, but all I wanted to do was curl up into a ball on my bed, surrounded by my cats. So I did.

A couple of hours later, I got up and started the day (read: fed the cats), feeling well enough to drink coffee instead of the tea I thought I’d be reaching for today. As has been my habit for the last few weeks, I sat at my desk, pulled a turquoise pen from my jar of colored pens and began to write my three pages (at least it wasn’t a black pen kind of day!). Three pages turned into four, and feelings fell like teardrops on the page.

The nice thing about the morning pages is that I can admit things to myself I won’t typically admit to others. But they also force me to be brutally honest with myself. Today’s burst of honesty took me deep within, to where what I call my gooey marshmallow center resides. It was there I discovered that, try as I might, I’m still very much alone. I have not allowed myself the pleasure of making friends I can comfortably seek out when I need to drag that marshmallow center out, knead it, massage it, and otherwise get it to let go of a lot of pent-up crap.

Do We Starve or Feed our Loneliness?

Cuddling with my cats is wonderful, and I will always cherish the time I spend with them. I can tell them anything, cry on them, or just stroke their soft fur while they purr. It never fails to calm me. But it doesn’t help me let go of things I no longer need, nor does it help me put things in perspective, sometimes with brutal honesty.

Writing helps some. Especially now that I’ve rediscovered writing in longhand. But it still doesn’t give me the outside perspective I sometimes need to see past the weeds to the garden waiting to be tended and nurtured. For that, I need an actual human (did I really admit that?) who can tolerate Sheri not-at-her-finest. Who is willing to listen to me whine a little, then tell me in no uncertain terms to pull up my britches, get off the fence I’ve been riding and actually commit to something.

I can honestly admit that I, alone have deprived myself of that luxury. By hoarding my solitude, I’ve built an almost impenetrable wall around myself. If someone does get close, I’m sure to do something especially stupid, thrusting a particularly evil thorn into their kindness and good intentions which convinces them their efforts would be better served with someone less prickly and moody.

Being Brutally Honest With Myself: The First Step

The writing helps me see that not only do I do this to other people, but I do it to myself as well. I make it painful to break away from outmoded beliefs and habits. I snuggle close to my solitude yet fail to use the time alone to improve my life, myself, or my circumstances. It’s as if I decided long ago that I don’t deserve love, success, happiness, or friendship. Why would anyone do that to their worst enemy, much less themselves?

As painful as it might be to admit all of this publicly, it occurs to me that there are two very good reasons for doing so. First, putting something in writing releases the bound up energy contained within the thoughts and makes them less powerful. Second, I’ve learned in the last few years of blogging and sharing my foibles that what I’m feeling even now is not unique. Someone out there might just benefit from seeing the words and knowing as alone as they’ve allowed themselves to become, someone else out there gets them.

Cutting the C.R.A.P.

The Neurogym programs I’ve been following have something they call the CRAP board. To quote Mark Waldeman, the creator of the CRAP board,

C.R.A.P. stands for Conflicts, Resistances, Anxieties, Procrastination and any other problem you think you have.

The premise behind it is, as I’ve already stated, by putting things which hold you back into written form, you take away at least some of their power. Mr. Waldeman advises writing all of your negative thoughts on a piece of paper, then meditating on them. In my mind, it’s as if you’re transferring all of the crappy, self-limiting thoughts inside your head onto a piece of paper, leaving your mind clear of the rubbish.

So in a way, blog posts like this are my CRAP board. I’m dumping all of the negative thoughts which are causing my stomach to churn onto the page and letting them go. I’m taking away their power to hold me back. Of course, this isn’t a magic pill. The feelings of powerlessness, loneliness, procrastination, neglect and a host of other self-limiting patterns can and do come back, at least for awhile. So the process has to be repeated as needed.

Welcoming the Inner Child of our Minds

But taking the mind on a little field trip like this gives it an opportunity to forge better patterns; take more scenic routes, so to speak. In my case, it reminds me to stop spending so much time going within and put more effort into connecting with other people. Sure, it’s hard, scary and fraught with perils like <shudder> getting hurt! But how can those potential hazards even begin to compare with love, joy, friendship and caring? When did one hurt, no matter how monumental it seemed at the time counteract the flood of warmth from a single, heartfelt hug?

My little marshmallow is still peeking shyly out from behind my protective walls, but with a little coaxing and a few minor successes, I’m sure she can be convinced to venture further from the safety of her haven. My job is to stop protecting her so closely and allow her to touch other humans. I promise most of them won’t bite!

Gratitude: It Heals All Ills

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for my morning pages.
  2. I am grateful I can freely admit to my imperfections.
  3. I am grateful I’m able to see that, in most cases, it’s me getting in my own way.
  4. I am grateful for the lessons which continue to fall in my path because they remind me I’m still a work-in-progress.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, knowledge, lessons, charity, goodness, kindness, compassion, honesty, hope, dreams, peace, harmony, philanthropy 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!

May 2, 2015 60: It’s Just a Number…For Most People

Turning 60 is Bittersweet

As my 60th birthday draws nearer and my daughter’s celebratory plans become more of a reality, I suddenly find myself growing sad over random things. It’s not that I have any negative feelings about turning 60. It certainly doesn’t mean I have to start acting my age or anything crazy like that. It really doesn’t have much to do with me at all.

In less than a month, I will have achieved something my mom missed by less than three months, and the fact that she chose not to seems to be weighing heavily on me right now, to the point that I’ll find myself near tears over the strangest things. Today, I napped after my meditation, and when I awoke, it was from a dream about having a man in my life who supported, encouraged and hugged me for all of those crazy little things in life. He wasn’t changing my life at all, simply making it richer for his presence and his caring.

When I walked into my office to check email and such, I saw several pictures of friends having a great time with their significant other and it just made me sad. Sad, because I am still alone and don’t have anyone to share things with. Sad because I avoid a lot of places because I don’t want to go alone. Places like the Strawberry Festival or Oakheart…it just isn’t fun for me to hang out in a crowded place all by myself. I love my girl friends and am very happy that they have men who love them, but at the same time, I have moments when I’m envious as hell, not of who they have but of what they have.

There are leaps of faith I’m just not ready or able to take

I’ve made some sweeping changes in my life over the years, jumped off the deep end with no clue where I’d land. But when it comes to meeting someone and allowing them into my life; that’s a leap I just can’t seem to take. That’s one area where my usual confidence takes a nose-dive. Tonight, I heard the oft-repeated “It’ll happen when you least expect it.” to which I replied, “I’ve been least expecting it for years.” What I didn’t add, though I definitely thought it was “That ship has sailed.”

I have no illusions on this subject. I believe I learned to live alone and make my own way for a reason. I believe that if there is someone out there for me, he’s hiding really well, and I’m not inclined to engage in a game of hide ‘n seek at this point in my life. Let’s be honest. Looks wise, I’m average. Not unpleasant, but overweight. I’m not the life of the party as I prefer watching and making up stories about people in my head to drawing attention to myself. I am probably the worst housekeeper in the world, though I’m a decent cook. I’m fiercely independent, strong and determined.

So I live alone with my cats, venturing out to run errands, go dancing or visit my daughter. Sure, I’ll occasionally strike up a conversation with strangers when I’m out, and the clerks in the stores I frequent recognize me after years of shopping in the same places.

But I digress. Turning 60 is bittersweet because I’m choosing to get there when my mom chose not to. The years I’ve spent writing this blog have brought me a certain amount of understanding, and yet, right now, I’m sad. And do you know what? It’s OK for me to be sad. It’s OK if I shed some tears between now and when my daughter makes a big deal of my day. It just means that underneath all of the conflict and frustration which surrounded the relationship I had with my mother, I really did care, maybe even more now that I get why she did the things she did. And I’m sad that she missed so many milestones in my life, but I accept that she had good reasons for the choice she made.

Even Endings Which Signal Beginnings Can Be Sad

Last night I finally reached the end of my latest novel. I need to finish the epilogue, but over six months worth of writing, fretting, procrastinating, late night writing and assuring myself that this one, too, is a pile of crap is coming to a close. I’ll move on to the next step, but I’ll never be in the first draft phase of A Dubious Gift again. So in a way I’m sad.

While I’m on the subject of endings, did you ever think about the fact that a birthday is an ending? When you celebrate your birthday, you’re not celebrating the beginning of the year, but the end. We make a big deal of our children’s first birthdays, but it’s really the end of their first year and the beginning of their second. Yet we celebrate the one that’s over. Why is that? So when I celebrate my 60th with family and friends, we will celebrate the end of my 60th year in this particular human form. I guess I should have paid more attention and spread the celebration out over the entire year, huh? But it’s still almost a month away, so I can always start the celebration now, right? I’m still in my 60th year for a few more weeks!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful that I have choices and right now, I choose to make the most out of my life.
2. I am grateful that I have people who care, and though I rarely show them when I’m sad, they are quick to show their understanding and support.
3. I am grateful for my feelings. Some may be weird and inconsistent, but they’re mine and they make me a complete person rather than just a shadow.
4. I am grateful for my daughter who knows when silliness is called for, and delivers it in mass quantities.
5. I am grateful for abundance: love, friendship, peace, harmony, wisdom, laughter, health, happiness, prosperity and philanthropy.

Blessed Be

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