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Archive for the ‘purpose’ Category

A Quiet Christmas, A Renewed Sense of Purpose

A Year in Review: Reiterating My Purpose

For the first time in years, I spent Christmas Eve and Day alone. I won’t go into all the reasons why except to say it was by choice as well as circumstance. The time alone gave me a chance to go inside, do some soul searching and gain some perspective.

Although I don’t always give myself credit, I did meet some of my goals this year. Others were extended into 2019 while I worked on my infrastructure. Not the physical so much as the mental, emotional, and spiritual.

I started working with coach Linda Clay on a regular basis after being one of the beta testers for her new program. The month-long beta test yielded such positive results I opted to continue, and came to a mutually beneficial arrangement to make it happen.

Successes Always Outweigh Setbacks

The end of the year brought a number of setbacks which at times left me unable or unwilling to accomplish much. Even my thrice weekly gym visits suffered a bit, at times becoming only twice. I actually see that as a win, if only because if I missed, it was only once a week, where in the past, it would probably have been the entire week. Clearly, it’s one habit I’ve cemented into my life and lifestyle, which is a huge leap forward in my opinion.

I’ve also managed to stay at least a week ahead with my blog posts, and am slowly working my way back to 2 or 3. My goal right now is to finish the last 8 posts for January no later than the 12th. And, despite setbacks and delays, I still plan to honor my latest goal of finishing the current edit of Life Torn Asunder by the end of January.

What Others See Pales Beside What Lies Beneath the Surface

My goals may not sound lofty to an outsider, but they’re only the tip of the iceberg of my plans Created with Canvafor January and getting them done sooner rather than later leaves more time to take care of all the things I’m working on with my coach, and to propel myself forward according to some pretty lofty plans and goals.

I’d like to spend at least 25% of my time ghostwriting and another 25% getting my books finished, investigating publishing options, taking the necessary steps to make those options a reality, and promoting before, during, and after publication. The promotion side, especially will find me stepping even further away from the comfort zone I’m losing sight of, even as we speak.

That comfort zone was a huge part of my Christmas revelations. Each step I take nowadays is scary, more because they’re all steps into uncharted territory for me. I know I’ll trip and fall many times along the way, but I also know I have tons of support now. My support comes from places I’ve come to expect and appreciate immensely, but it’s also been coming from new, unexpected, and no less appreciated directions as well.

I think the single biggest factor in my continued forward progress is knowing support will be there for me every step of the way. I may not see it at the moment, but it hasn’t failed me in longer than I can remember.

Allowing Our Cycles to Run Their Course

Sure, there are places where the odds were against me, and I lost someone or something I loved. I have to accept it, even if I have to go off to my hermit hole and sob a few sobs, shed a lot of tears, and continue a grieving process which will run as long as it needs to. Even those days are productive, if not as much as I’d like. I’ve written my share of articles or researched options for one of the many aspects of my life during those seemingly down times. Shutting myself away doesn’t mean I sit around doing nothing.

I got hooked on the Hallmark Christmas movies before Halloween, and watched more TV than is my wont for the next couple of months. But there comes a time when I reach TV burnout. Then I pick up a book, a notebook and pen, or put my fingers on the keyboard and create. One night even saw me in front of the TV with my laptop on a TV tray creating one of my January posts.

Creating New Healthy Habits

I promised myself I’d reinstate “cafe writing Fridays” after my Friday workouts. Sometimes I’ll go somewhere for lunch, others, a snack and some green tea (I’ve given up coffee, hopefully temporarily while I get my blood pressure under control). My plan is to drag my sweaty-from-the-gym body, my pink bag full of writing materials, and Judy Reeves’ “A Writer’s Book of Days” to every coffee shop, diner, and sandwich shop in town over the next few months. Weather permitting, I’ll also start making use of the numerous parks in town for a change in scenery.

For now, my cafe writing involves a writing prompt, but even there, I’m coming up with some interesting, gut level material, some of which will find it’s way into my memoir, and some into blogs. I’m learning it’s nearly as effective as my morning pages for bringing buried treasure from the depths of my subconscious.

Helping Others to Help Myself

I’ve also started a dialogue with another writer friend, and will start having regular meetups to https://www.flickr.com/photos/58972357@N05/5680789916/in/photolist-9DZwVJ-fgdGm6-a7SYcH-j5jSC4-bGN8dZ-aJn5JF-bExNVg-mSGMdi-ZHWqmm-7LMiyj-9TwjCJ-5AtELB-og1PZ9-4tVBpH-WTy2SC-EYkqoA-9Whomq-qMuq1D-GKUFur-aGDwDa-baLAor-cigULC-dD9LSa-7LFh2P-4LQn4r-fSLy1g-28pzedw-auCkkH-RfUzXE-ap1CA8-4wLABT-9GLXQH-dSP1Wa-7SfMF9-4eBRX6-MUhNVs-7MbCEk-obXLkM-9aGddR-Ns2VHy-jrsEXB-b1D8J-gch9Kk-ouhpzq-e2HHU1-9W9F11-xGa8K-23rp1Yb-am4k5G-ahouP7write or read each others’ work. My experience with organized writers’ groups has been both helpful and frustrating, so maybe starting one-on-one will get me headed back in the right direction, and writing more, procrastinating less. (Some would say I’m too hard on myself given I’m keeping 2-3 weeks ahead on blog posts, but I have higher aspirations for myself. Doesn’t everyone?)

Even now, as much as I share large chunks of myself here, on my website, and in my books, I know when I write, I’m still writing for myself rather than an audience. Perhaps I’m short-sighted if my goal is to grow my writing business, but I’ve learned oftentimes when I write for myself, other people relate better to what I’m saying.

Although I’m still tearing down some of the walls I spent 6 decades building, I believe I’ve sufficiently eradicated the masks and costuming I wore for nearly as long. I no longer feel the need to hide anything of myself. Others are free to accept or reject; agree or disagree; love or hate what I’m saying. I’m learning not to take it personally. Their reactions are as much their own as my writing is mine. Often, I learn from those responses anyway, and am driven to dig deeper to try to understand myself and some of the deep-seated feelings better.

Start With New Goals and Solidify Them With Gratitude

My Christmas musings were a start. They yielded, not a full conversation or set of goals, but launched the conversation I expect to continue throughout 2019, until I take another few days to look within, and to recognize what I’ve accomplished, the lessons I’ve learned, and the challenges I’ve overcome. Each day, each week, each month, each year, is a new opportunity to learn, grow, and achieve something great. Let’s make each and every moment count, because the future is not promised to any of us.

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the people in my life who keep me moving forward, keep me humble, and keep me from diving back into my comfort zone.
  2. I am grateful for my cats who have been there to comfort and keep me company through the tough times, the crazy times, and the celebratory times as well.
  3. I am grateful for my butt kickers, Heather, Linda, and Candy especially, who may not always see what’s going on, but force me to look and create things I’m proud of.
  4. I am grateful for the excitement in my heart and bones for the upcoming year, the projects I’ve begun, and the ones I’ve yet to start.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, inspiration, motivation, friendship, joy, health, prosperity, harmony, peace, challenges, lessons, and philanthropy.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and advocate for cats. 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 the Light Bulb Comes On, You Find Your Purpose

Finding My Purpose Was the Ultimate Aha Moment

I’ve been searching for my purpose for a very long time. Many times, I thought I had it figured out, only to lose momentum and realize I hadn’t found it at all. This week, a lot of things changed for me. I rode an emotional roller coaster that makes The Demon seem tame. I’ve been up and down the continuum, from happy to miserable, joyous to furious.

The ride was wild and uninhibited, opening up doors I’d sworn I’d nailed shut. But in the end, I realized one vitally important thing: I have to put my efforts into educating people about mental health and depression, de-stigmatizing them so people who need help but can’t ask will find that help in all of us. Even more, I need to keep working to de-stigmatize suicide, not only for those who saw it as their only option and are no longer around to defend their actions, but for the family, friends, and loved ones they leave behind. It’s time those who had no control over another’s actions stopped bearing the overwhelming guilt, blame, anger, and pain of something over which they had absolutely no control, and in fact, probably never saw coming.

Inserting My Purpose Into My Life, or Maybe My Life Into My Purpose

I’m not sure at this point how I’ll work my purpose into my business, or even into my life, but I finally feel

like I have one, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s a giant leap in the right direction. At times like this, the words of my healing teacher, Michelle, come back to me. She said, “Paint in broad strokes.” What she meant by that (or perhaps how I interpret it) is to look at the big picture of what you want and don’t get hung up in the details. Or, to put it more simply, figure out what you want and let the Universe figure out the hows.

It’s easy to say, but it doesn’t stop me from fretting over how I’m going to connect with people who can and will benefit from my skills and experiences in a way that helps open up dialogue on such incredibly sensitive subjects. In the last week or so, I’ve seen some brilliant observations, and I’ve seen some which are irresponsibly ignorant; the most notable from a self-professed mental health professional who had the audacity to proudly proclaim he’d never lost a client to suicide. It led me to wonder exactly what kind of clients his practice attracts, and whether he picks and chooses who he’ll serve based on his assessment of their stability and suitability for his own needs.

Levels of Awareness

The truth is, I am still not sure where I’ll fit into the continuum between the masses who are ignorant of the challenges faced by people who suffer depression or other mental health issues and the large portion of our population who are often ignored and forgotten along with family and friends who are also at a loss for how to help. I suspect that now I’ve put my purpose into words; into a short description, those who serve the people I want to help will start appearing in my life. But patience isn’t my strong suit.

If I had my way, I’d already know of 10 people I could talk to about helping raise awareness, not only for those who judge without adequate facts, but for those who huddle in their own darkness, perhaps unaware that help could be found without having to actually step forward and ask. Instead, I remind myself to trust that not only those 10 people, but plenty more will come into my life at exactly the right time.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to hone my message, be clearer about what I want to do to help, and do my research so I better understand the mission I’m undertaking. Part of that I know is understanding even the professionals don’t understand all the ins and outs of the human mind. Often, what they treat are symptoms, because they’re unable to determine the root cause.

Understanding Current Practices and Treatments

Maybe treating the symptoms is necessary to clear some of the defense mechanisms away. The mind is a pretty powerful mechanism. It is hard coded to protect us, even when some of those protections are no longer needed. Sometimes, wires get crossed, but as it’s a brain instead of a computer, the wires aren’t actually visible.

To me it’s a bit like gaining the trust of a cat who was born in the wild. You have to move slowly and allow them to see you mean them no harm. If you don’t, ingrained behaviors take over causing them to flee if they can, fight if they can’t. All of us have that fight or flight mechanism. Many of us have learned to minimize its influence so we can try new things, and explore outside our comfort zone. But what about those who can’t?

Imagine being stuck in your comfort zone forever, unable to step outside. After awhile, it gets cluttered and dusty, but you have no place to move things out to make more room. The lights go out but you can’t get to the light to change the bulb, even if you could find one in the midst of the clutter. So you sit in the dark with nothing to occupy you but your own thoughts. Those thoughts get darker and twistier each time you pull them out to examine them. Your mind creates more and more reasons to stay put and not venture out, more potentially unpleasant or dangerous outcomes to contemplate. You no longer know what’s outside your four walls, and are terrified to find out.

To me, and many others, shaking free of those fears so we can get out and experience life is a no-brainer. Yet even there, we’re on different levels. Some see the idea of jumping out of a plane or bungee jumping as an exhilarating challenge. You’ll never find me doing either due to a combination of fear and lack of desire to feel that kind of adrenaline rush.

Every Comfort Zone Has its Place

I’ve known people who love to dance, but would never be the first one out on the floor for fear people would be watching them. Until someone voiced that fear, it never even crossed my mind. When I realize there are people who succumb to their fears instead of being able to challenge and overcome them, it makes me very sad but also inspires me to look for ways to help.

Sure, I’ve had my own bouts of depression; some lasted years and I didn’t even know I was there. Once I recognized it for what it was, though, I was able to make some changes. It doesn’t mean I don’t spend more than the “normal” amount of time alone, but I’m fortunate in that I rather enjoy my own company, and can keep myself occupied while alone in a multitude of ways, some of them even productive.

For now, I’ll leave myself open for clues and opportunities without worrying the whole thing to death. I know at the right time and in the right place, the people I’m meant to serve will appear in my life.

Experiencing Gratitude is the Ultimate Mood Booster

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful to have finally figured out my purpose.
  2. I am grateful for the people who have come through my life and taught me lessons which brought me to where I am right now, and will take me to the next steps sooner rather than later.
  3. I am grateful for aches and pains as they remind me to take better care of my body through exercise and nutrition.
  4. I am grateful for friends and family who share their struggles with me, and let me share mine with them. I realize I am so much more fortunate than many who lack the ability or the opportunity.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, opportunities, introspection, friendship, support, joy, peace, harmony, kindness, compassion, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

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 specializes in creating content that helps 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

Grabbing Inspiration by the Throat

When Passion Hits, Pay Attention!

If you haven’t noticed yet, I’ve once again changed the title of my blog. It all started when I decided to go back to my basic purpose which is to share my own life lessons and inspirations as a means of supporting other people. I realized that the Leap of Faith I took was really only a small part of the whole.

On the subject of life lessons and inspirations, I am finishing Level 6 of John Assaraf’s “Winning the Game of Money” today and my own inspirations keep coming. The Neurogym community on Facebook is especially helpful as there are insights, support, wins and supplemental material on the Facebook group page. This morning, Mark Robert Waldman posted a video to show us how to find our true passion. Several things stood out for me: Writing, Philanthropy, Animal Welfare and helping people in general.

I Get My Best Ideas While Meditating

I followed up the exercise with my daily guided meditation and made a point of remaining mindful. (The Level 6 Innercise ends with a few minutes of rainfall which typically relaxes me so completely that I fall asleep). As I floated along on the sounds of music, bird song and rainfall, I had what I consider an important epiphany. I should be using my writing to help animal welfare groups promote, not only themselves but the issues concerning animals as a whole! It’s a subject I am truly passionate about and a topic on which I could and have written endlessly, so why not put it to good use by helping the groups who are out there on the front lines? Whether it’s TNR or helping their local areas become completely no-kill, or educating the public to the long-reaching effects of rat poison on our wildlife, someone needs to write the stories, so why not me?

Writing about animals is a lot like the food and wine events I’ve been attending lately. It’s all about laying the groundwork and establishing a recognizable brand. I can and have written on a wide range of topics, and have the research skills to write on a great many more. But people have to read what I write for it to have any value to anyone besides myself and a few loyal readers (who I am continually grateful for, by the way).

If I’ve learned nothing else over the last couple of years (aside from living more frugally until my passion becomes lucrative) it is to listen very carefully to the messages the Universe sends me. In fact, ignoring them is done at my own peril because, as many of you have discovered, the Universe is quite insistent about pushing us to follow our passion and purpose. As the recipient of an inordinate share of Universal head slaps, I have learned to pay very close attention, but also to act promptly on the messages I receive.

Wanted: Animal Rescue/Welfare Groups Needing a Writer to Help Promote Their Cause

Thus, I’m actively seeking rescue groups who could use some help getting the word out. If you know of any, please help us connect. We need to be the voice for the animals, and to make it loud, far-reaching and effective.

You may think this post deviates from my desire to help others through inspiration, but, at the risk of launching into a long and passionate testimonial for the people who devote their lives to animals, the health benefits of pets, and most of all, the environmental impact of animal scarcity, I’ll keep this brief. Helping animals helps humans.

Always Remember Gratitude

Thank you, both for reading this post and for helping me help them. If you have any leads for me, you can either contact me via the website or Facebook pages listed below, or via email: shericonaway@pacbell.net.

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the tools which are helping me find my purpose.
  2. I am  grateful for the network which I’m continually expanding to help me use my passions to achieve my purpose.
  3. I am grateful for new and diverse opportunities to step out of my comfort zone.
  4. I am grateful for the lessons I’m learning and how my mind is expanding with possibilities from my membership int he Neurogym community.
  5. I am grateful for abundance: passion, support, opportunities, ideas, epiphanies, writing, reading, learning, sharing, inspiration both given and received, peace, hope, love, health, 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!

June 14, 2015 Releasing What You Didn’t Know You Held

Taking the First Step in a New Direction

For years now I’ve been writing about my healing process: how I’ve learned, grown and accepted my parents’ suicides. But in truth, I’ve only really been delving into my mother’s issues and motivations and how I’ve learned compassion for her so long after the fact.

While listening to Doreen Virtue’s Weekly Angel Reading today, I was smacked between the eyes by the fact that while, on a conscious level, I understand my dad’s motivation, it has not brought me any closer to truly healing and forgiving his actions. In fact, if I’m truly honest with myself, I still hold a lot of hurt over the fact that he never confided in me about his failing health and the pain he suffered. Instead, whether by intent or circumstance, he pushed me away with his constant negativity and complaints about the people around him. Until I come to terms with this and find compassion inside myself, not only for his final act, but for everything which came before, I’m still carrying a lot of baggage which thwarts my own forward progress.

Taking a Good, Hard, Honest Look

While we were growing up, my sister was always closer to my mom; in fact, most people noticed the favoritism my mom played. I was, though not by default as might be imagined, closer to my father. He saw the humor in life and the beauty beneath the surface of the people around him. He was an amazing judge of character (something I didn’t inherit, I’m afraid), quick-witted and playful whereas my mother was always looking to others for validation, often trying too hard, and slow to find the humor in even the most obvious places.

My dad was not, however, the touchy-feely affectionate sort. You knew he loved you when he teased you unmercifully, rather than when he pulled you into his arms for a hug (I don’t even remember him doing that until I was much older). But while mom’s hugs seemed to lack sincerity in my eyes, dad’s teasing made me feel loved and accepted just the way I was. Which is, perhaps, why it hurt so much when he started shutting me out.

Taking a Break to Meditate and Organize My Thoughts

It wasn’t until I began writing this post that I realized how much hurt and pain I had still bottled up over Dad’s death. In order to better express myself on the matter, I took a break and meditated, doing my best to instill in myself the idea that it is both OK to feel sad and hurt and also to release those feelings. I came up with a couple of things:

First, a reminder that neither his life nor his death was about me. This is something I came to realize about the method in which my parents ended their lives. They were both, in their own way, in extreme pain and believed that ending their human existence was the only way to find relief. That’s it, plain and simple. Second: I was led to pull three cards from my Spiral Tarot deck and lay them before me as I write. They are, from left to right: The Empress, The King of Pentacles and The Sun.
6-14-15 Blog Post Spread

The Empress represents me, which is a dramatic change from the cards I’ve previously identified with: The High Priestess and The Queen of Pentacles. To me, the Empress is a softer, more nurturing image than ones I’m accustomed to feeling. the King of Pentacles represents my father: Strong, protective, financially savvy, a business owner and a bit of a benevolent dictator. The Sun represents outcome, but more, it stands for my enlightenment, my understanding of the real relationship I had with my father and clearing the clouds away to allow the truth to spring forth and allow me to blossom and grow in my own right.

With my mom, I knew I never really measured up to her expectations which allowed me to finally just let go and accept that I made my own choices and whether she accepted them or not was really not important. In some ways, I believe my dad accepted my choices, but in others, I’m certain he didn’t. He would tell me when he didn’t agree with what I was doing, grudgingly leaving it to me whether to follow his advice or not. He didn’t play the emotional games my mom did (she was, after all, the Queen of Guilt), but yet, I feel that I did fail to measure up to his standards. In later years, the person he seemed closest to of my generation was my ex-brother-in-law. He, alone knew of my father’s failing health and spent a lot of time playing cards and just talking to Dad. I will forever be grateful to John for not only being able but also for taking the time to fill that gap in Dad’s life.

Before I meditated, I had a lot of nasty, bitter things to say about the woman Dad dated after Mom died, but while coming to terms with my feelings of hurt at being shut out, I also gained insight into their relationship. I don’t think, despite the friction in their marriage, that Dad ever really got over losing Mom or being the one to find her lying cold in the bed they’d shared for nearly 40 years with a plastic bag obscuring her face. The woman he turned to had lost her husband not long before, so I’m sure that in a lot of ways, they turned to each other out of a mutual understanding and loneliness. They had known each other for decades and had the same group of friends, so it was an easy transition. Yet Dad never let her move in, insisted on several nights a week to himself and squashed her attempts at making their relationship more permanent. She, in turn, found others with whom to engage in activities Dad wouldn’t. Despite the line he drew in the sand with her, she felt she deserved something after his passing, even though, financially at least, she was in far better shape than he. Until today, I allowed her angry, bitter nature, some of which was exacerbated by poor health, to be mimicked in my own mind and behavior. Today I finally realized that those feelings belong to her alone. They are not and never were mine to feel so as I released myself from responsibility for Dad’s behavior, I let go of any attachment to hers as well.

I know this sounds overly simplistic, and in some ways it is. I need to travel a few more miles before my acceptance of their behavior and realization that it had nothing to do with me truly resolve themselves peacefully. But like any other leap of faith, the first step down a new road is the hardest of all to take.

Finally Ready to Move On?

I’ve done a lot of things to delay actually sitting down and tearing my first major brain-child apart: reading books on writing, reading a couple of novels, playing games, meditating and reading crit notes from another writer (some of those were painful, some were spot on and matched what I had already realized and some just seemed overly picky. However, all of them are valuable and will be reviewed more thoroughly after I do my own cuts, pastes, hacks and slashes), all brought me just a little closer to the painful but necessary process before me, at least, assuming I still plan to actually publish the darn thing!

The long and the short of it is, this is me, releasing a few more demons so I can get on with my life’s purpose.

My gratitudes today are:
1. I am grateful that I’ve learned to be honest with myself.
2. I am grateful for the lessons I’ve learned and the people who have helped me learn them.
3. I am grateful for examples, both good and bad. The bad ones make me look deep within myself and play devil’s advocate. They make me see the sides of myself which are not only less pretty, but could use some work. Heaven forbid I was perfect and had nothing to improve upon!
4. I am grateful for my health and for knowing when I just need to withdraw from society for a little while and work through my own issues, both overtly and by just escaping for a little while.
5. I am grateful for abundance: health, happiness, love, joy, opportunities, intelligence, humor, challenges, lessons, harmony, peace, understanding, kindness, prosperity and philanthropy.

Blessed Be

I hope you’ll take a moment to visit my Facebook pages at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel and https://www.facebook.com/HLWTAccounting . Please also drop by my website, http://www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

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