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Archive for the ‘#shericonaway’ Category

Awakening From Oblivion

Living a Life of Oblivion

https://www.flickr.com/photos/augustbrill/5025448773/in/photolist-8E5JQv-bj2Q3-buZES-NosS3S-bE9C2-8NP6x3-oKBJYc-7yxvUJ-4eRexw-28mE1ch-5tW6Kf-f2JEoo-acCwSd-eajL56-paxFhz-4cv8b7-7yxvw5-7D7azC-ofd2U1-4jX86v-cLpNW-7yxvPb-7yxvS7-6hKsj7-7ytH5n-6ZkEpv-nxKqWs-pz4SNk-8HDCce-gT2U3W-7AkeTX-5hzA7T-5hDXEh-fjpMeq-ceoQ2-5hzAiF-51qGYK-ceoza-51qFRM-9vkmV9-5v6EqD-ceoGA-51uTs5-51uSJo-8NP6zA-51qEZx-7zy4Hg-ceoKc-ceorH-w9TTqAll my life, I’ve been accused of being oblivious. Not when it matters to someone else, but when it might matter to me, were I to recognize it. Typically, it revolves around men and dating. I think it has a lot to do with the low self-esteem I grew up with and the hard knocks I’ve taken over the years when I let my heart engage with a single human being.

I’m fine when it comes to engaging with friends and family. But even that took a lot time to recognize, expose, and feel safe doing. I don’t typically recognize when a guy is interested, mostly because, quite frankly, I still have trouble believing anyone would be; could be.

As a teenager, I was sucked in too many times by people saying “so-and-so likes you” only to find out they were playing on my innocence, and waiting to laugh when I got hurt. Needless to say, I’m less than trusting of those words even with my friends. Still, I can’t point to a single time when even those words from well-meaning friends turned out to be true.

Well-meaning Friends Don’t Always See the Whole Picture

Recently, two friends at different times and different places mentioned they thought someone was interested in me. As he’s someone we all see fairly regularly, I put out some feelers after telling both women he is friendly to a lot of the single women, which he is. Men in the dance community have a lot of choices, or can choose not to choose and just enjoy us all on the dance floor and at social events. It soon became clear they were mistaken, but unfortunately, it left me feeling rather disappointed.

The sad truth is, no one has shown an interest in me that way in decades (at least not that I was aware of). I admit I allowed myself to get a little excited about the prospect, knowing it was likely merely a mis-perception on the part of both my friends.

Humans Are Designed To Need Other Humans

It made me realize no matter how long we’re alone and how used to being alone we think we https://www.flickr.com/photos/iloveverdi/3816601106/in/photolist-6Pg5xm-gXawN1-bt4Hc6-o2zcEa-azqZX-dJJhWM-6Ghmz-dNWyTM-ah2ZCu-QhPTfW-9dJCYV-622yhY-J4a6AF-7b2eAR-awE9H6-6oZ7Rh-9dJC7t-d1cvX-9dJD9i-5UjRJq-5XU2Rr-a2AfUR-oCn4R5-dG1exP-7v3uXe-a2DbBA-4Q9psQ-92LhSw-quw5BF-qBKHg-9ikFaq-dbsGFY-4crP6A-U1TCwS-4cMu4S-92Li2d-Hoqu6W-aCibYr-WsU5m8-FqXn4e-Mp16Ah-NpUkH9-4XiwbG-RauRDh-252gqR3-YkGU4C-Lo1Xin-bmUifC-9dMGhq-b3pS1Kare, it doesn’t take much to shake our world and knock us off that flimsy pedestal of independence. Humans were designed to want and need other humans, a condition I avoided for a long time. Until the last few years, I really didn’t connect with anyone.

Sure, I had friends, if you could call them that. We saw each other dancing, and there were even times I got together with some outside of dancing. But there was never a connection, and those “friendships” wilted and died easily. I’ve come to recognize they weren’t really friendships at all, but rather, friendly acquaintances. They certainly weren’t people who’d miss me if I was gone, or check on me to see if I was OK. Then again, I wasn’t inclined to do so for them either.

Moving Through Uncharted Territory

https://www.flickr.com/photos/bellayet/8902404261/in/photolist-eyF9CD-2xn5QZ-8hpV2H-5srNL9-eyJMuh-eyF6pF-eyFGGB-8htaPf-49tB1t-c7MEkW-295uHRT-J34G1E-7VqaY4-eyHWQ3-7VqaqZ-eyFtcV-8rj3uZ-eyJwQh-aMdnLH-7Vqeua-eyJuEE-7VtrxY-49tB8P-eyEXbR-eyJhrj-7Vtrsd-7VqcUK-empKfP-eyEPeD-7Vqe7F-5srShj-7Vqf36-nWe6z3-8Sn78P-65W5RC-fDuG3c-8Ytfoc-7pK9rq-rDwaU9-LDCsyF-6aA4j5-38821k-9y1GNY-4X4rny-aJh7Rv-c7MEk1-8Sbpz9-2dWK5zU-fuj8Yj-bwwXMvMany people are raised to keep their hearts open and to connect with others. For people like me, it’s like traveling to a foreign land where you don’t speak the language or understand the culture. You have to step carefully and learn the rules as you go. Sometimes you get knocked down hard and others, you meet people who ease you in gently. I’m learning those are the ones who are meant to be your tribe.

We can’t even reach the borders of that country until we’ve done deep internal work on ourselves. It begins with deciding we’re not going to live in isolation any more, and likely comes after some kind of tragedy or trauma. For me, it took quite a few, and several years of working on myself before something finally broke down my door and invited me to come outside and play.

Trauma and Tragedy: We Either Connect or We Isolate

I don’t think I’m any different than anyone else in having lived through a series of tragedies and traumas. The details may differ, and the way I learned to handle them is certainly unique to me, but everyone faces challenges. Even the major earthquakes I’ve seen affected people in different ways. I was fortunate to have been far enough from the epicenter in both cases to be spared any major damage to body or property. But I know many people who weren’t spared, and who had to deal with the aftermath.

Those who had others to depend on managed the emotional side of the tragedies far better than those who, like me believed they could and should depend on no one, and tried to slog through the mire themselves. Looking at those people from my former perspective, I can’t even imagine how they got through it all without breaking into tiny pieces themselves. Some didn’t.

Healing Ourselves As We Grow

But the more we change and grow, the more we find pockets of ourselves which are slower to adjust and adapt. For me, it always comes down to confidence. Whether it’s stepping into the fact that I am an expert in my field (not THE expert, but AN expert), or believing I deserve a loving, supportive, joyful relationship with a man, I still have doubts, fears, and a whole lot of that scared little girl getting in the way of my progress.

Fortunately, I am learning to step into my expertise with the help of my coach, Linda Clay. But I’m also getting a lot of positive feedback for my writing and the topics I choose. It all serves to remind the scared little girl she’s come a long way and learned many things which need to be shared for others who might need to hear them.

Alone Again, Unnaturally

When it comes to a mate, a life partner, or whatever you want to call it, I’m still on the schoolyard feeling alone and left out. I know deep down inside, I still don’t believe I deserve to have someone like that in my life. I still don’t see I have enough to offer someone that they would choose me over the multitude of other choices. In short, my insecurity fuels my inadequacy and I remain alone.

I joke it would take a guy practically hitting me over the head with a sledgehammer to get me to acknowledge his interest, but it’s not entirely a joke. I would need to be pretty darn sure he was honestly interested in the real me, and not someone he thought I was before I’d crack open the door and allow him to begin the long, slow process of earning my trust. In my experience, most people don’t want to put forth that much effort when there are others willing and able to meet them halfway.

I know when I talk to my friends about this, they are both saddened and disbelieving. I envy the courage they have in giving one man after another a chance to be their “one”. They seem to heal quickly from disappointments and are soon ready to move on to the next one.

Judging by Past Experience

I don’t heal that fast. But a lot more gets wounded each time I get dumped on my ass. The pain goes deeper than anyone else can see or imagine, and I have to go back to square one and heal things a step at a time.

Granted, I haven’t had the opportunity in a very long time, so it’s possible my healing process has sped up a bit. But without the courage or the opportunity to find out, I can only look at the past where a broken and withdrawn me attracted men who could and would never truly give me what I needed, nor allow me to do the same for them.

I think my biggest fear now is attracting someone who is not only as open and Conscious as I’ve become, but as vulnerable too. Getting hurt is bad enough, but hurting someone else; someone I care deeply for would be the ultimate pain.

And so, I convince myself to continue to walk alone.

No Matter What, I Always Have Something to be Grateful For

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the friends who’ve helped me step out of my old world and into my new.
  2. I am grateful for a much more active and diverse social life, and a willingness to do and try some new things.
  3. I am grateful for the ability to see where I still need help learning and growing.
  4. I am grateful I’m starting to question the voice that tells me I’m undeserving.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, joy, community, dancing, writing, inspiration, motivation, opportunities, exercise, health, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

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

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Becoming an Overachiever for Ourselves

Time for a Mindset Reset

I’ve been, for all intents and purposes, self-employed with no other means of support for over 5 years now. Many would look at what I do, as well as my accounting records and say I’m retired. For awhile, I guess I behaved as if I was, but when the bills piled up and outflow exceeded inflow for too many months I had to face reality. If I’m going to call myself self-employed, I need to freakin’ act like it! That means doing whatever I need to to attract clients. But even more, being absolutely clear on what I do and who I want to do it for.

As a writer, that means setting myself a daily schedule for writing, and sticking to it come hell or high water. Part of that was upping the ante on how often I publish. In the last 5 years, I’ve ranged from daily (during a couple of blog challenges) to whenever I felt like it, to weekly, to twice weekly, and finally, to thrice weekly which I’ve maintained for a few months now.

Stifling Demon Procrastination

Once I got into the habit of posting three times a week, I encountered a new challenge. Too often, I’d get to a posting day and think:

Oh shit! It’s time for a post, and I’ve got nothin’! Better dash something off before the day is over!

The trouble with that methodology was I sacrificed quality for procrastination. Of late, I’ve set myself loftier goals. I’m still posting 3 times a week, but now, I insist upon having at least 2 weeks of posts scheduled. I was doing fairly well for awhile, but between tragedy, being a dancing nomad, and the holidays, I’ve slipped my schedule.

It took me a few years, but I’ve finally gotten better about keeping commitments to myself. I was my own red-headed stepchild for too long. Now, I use Trello to keep track of my posts. Every time I schedule one, I get to check it off giving me a small win. As I set them up on my board a month at a time, nothing makes me happier than to see each of my posting days at 100% with month still left over. My ultimate, yet currently unachieved goal is to see myself at 100% before the month has started.

Commitment and Determination

At the moment, I have 6 more to write for next month, and it’s the last day of the month so I’m a bit shy of that goal. But on the positive side, I’ve gotten closer this week. Since the first of the year, I’ve struggled to keep a week ahead, and at the moment, I’m finally back at two, if only for a day, assuming I don’t finish this post today (which by damn, I will!).

Which brings me to the point of this post (only took me about 450 words to get there. ADD is running amok today!). Actually, I have two points. Being self-employed, especially when you’re re-creating yourself in a heretofore non-existent image takes determination, perseverance, and a willingness to fail a few thousand times in the process of getting it right. It can also mean watching your finances dwindle at a rather frightening rate, dipping into resources, or accepting clients you’ve promised to avoid, and cutting back on things you once deemed necessities.

My second point has to do with commitment to yourself. If you’re like me, you were the over-achiever in your office, getting projects done ahead of deadline, working into the wee hours if necessary, and always coming through—for everyone else. You got so good at doing for others, you left yourself hanging on a limb time and time again. When it became only your needs at stake, you had years of bad habits to break before you could set deadlines for yourself and shut off the excuse-o-matic that got in the way of meeting those deadlines.

Entrepreneurs Put Themselves First

I’m a little slower about self-care than most, so it took me the better part of 5 years to finally learn to put myself first. Sure, I am still meeting or beating deadlines for my clients, and it will always be that way. I set high standards for myself when it comes to my clients, and have no intention of changing them. The shift came when I finally internalized the idea that I am my very best client and deserve the same high standards when it comes to completing tasks for me.

Then and only then was I able to complete, first the draft of my memoir, and within 3 months (even with the holidays and some serious traumas and travails), complete the re-write. Sure, I had to both kick and have my butt kicked pretty regularly in order to achieve it, but in the process, I’ve been learning to respect myself more as a client.

Keep Raising That Bar!

Another thing I’ve learned about both building my business and treating my own goals with respect is the bar needs to keep going up. Sure, I’m back to my 2 weeks ahead posting goal, but I want to raise it to 3 sooner than later. Meanwhile, I’ve also set an aggressive, 3 posts a week goal for sharing on Medium. this time, though, I created a spreadsheet with posting dates, date scheduled, exactly which post I’m sharing when, and whether it is coming from my blog site or website. In my past life, I kept on task by having a detailed, specific schedule for when each piece of the project was due.

And oh yes, the publication dates from the spreadsheet are now on a card on Medium as well. It helps to keep due dates in one place, at least for me. I even have a reminder on my daily calendar to check my Trello boards to ensure I stay on track.

I used to tell my staff to use their tools. Funny that it took me so long to take my own advice.

Rules To Live By

To summarize what I’ve learned in the process of reinventing myself as a writer:

  1. Treat yourself like you would your best client.
  2. Set up processes to monitor your projects and deadlines.
  3. Re-visit your deadlines daily.
  4. Accept no excuses for missing any of those deadlines.
  5. Beat all deadlines as often as possible, and it’s always possible.
  6. Never use work for other clients as an excuse to push your own deadlines.
  7. Keep raising the bar. A completed task is an opportunity to add a new one, not a time to rest on our laurels and sip mimosas.
  8. Work ahead wherever possible. Slacking off guarantees a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Murphy who love throwing a monkey wrench into the works to back the whole system up.
  9. Have a couple of butt kickers in your arsenal. Nothing makes you work faster, harder, better than being held accountable by outside sources close to you.
  10. Love yourself enough to believe, achieve, and thrive.

Your Big “Why”

On a final note, I reinvented myself because I realized I’d spent years working for people I couldn’t respect, doing work that had begun to bore me to tears with the tedium. I was a creative stuck in a fairly routine line of work, which to make things worse, was far too people-y for this introvert. I’ve never been happier, if somewhat less affluent than I am working from home on my own schedule (no more getting up before 8 AM to commute) with cats on my desk occasionally interrupting to tell me they’re feeling neglected. (Who am I kidding? What cat ever felt neglected occasionally?)

I’m free to go to the gym during the day when it’s less crowded, take a day off during the week to run errands and avoid the crowds, even meet a friend for lunch, a movie, or anything else. I am also free to work well into the night, or wee hours as the case may be. Those are my productive hours, and no “expert” is ever going to convince me to get up at the crack of dawn because “everyone” is more productive then. I know myself better than anyone, and I’ve learned I don’t hit my productive stride until at least 11AM most days.

I encourage everyone to imagine their perfect life, then go forth and get it. I don’t recommend taking the drastic approach I did, but for some of us, cold turkey is the only way. Get us hungry, and there’s no telling what we can achieve!

Gratitude Greases the Wheels

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for my butt kickers.
  2. I am grateful for the leap of faith I took and the reinvention of my life which followed. It might be taking longer than planned, but I’m learning so much along the way.
  3. I am grateful for my failures. From them I learn more than I do from my successes.
  4. I am grateful for my low-stress lifestyle. I only wish I’d realized sooner it was possible.
  5. I am grateful for abundance: love, friendship, opportunities, self-respect, achievements, goals met, goals set, dreams realized, world expanding, self-confidence building, health, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

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

Intention and Inspiration

The Universe Gives Inspiration

https://www.flickr.com/photos/ceb291/279546797/in/photolist-qGKwn-dsq663-DhMiLN-q2YT9A-8U2RDM-aDXL6p-aDXU5n-2baeKXq-8M44HJ-hzeerF-p2jdDa-aN3xDe-aGdmFB-21pHSi2-2a4dmRb-Zkr86N-dAKzhx-aiW1rL-aCeMLr-aNpbWi-aDP3QU-aN3HY2-ZooWsE-dAZZ7r-Gu5v5M-7fm3tL-aEGFKg-qpiuys-DhbHPh-2bJ9goC-aq74Go-aDWZhj-dHbCzP-aNpnVr-anVoV9-41FjRz-41F7Jg-21kJg5y-d9Ukkg-aDXTbi-2eekMDo-Gtq4vM-7fhahR-21qv3Bt-aE2K4y-7fEHog-9ZnqzB-Zktkp1-21qvaPV-hs4J8GI started writing this post at 11:11 which is the number for synchronicity, when things seem to fall together almost effortlessly. I had a day like that yesterday when I set an intention to see opportunities. I need to remember to set that intention every day, perhaps a big note on the wall.

I read a post on Facebook about how the world matches our expectations. So if we expect to have a rough day, chances are we will. If we expect to incur more debt, we’ll do that as well. But if we expect to see opportunities, guess what? We’ll see opportunities. So I set my intention one morning to see opportunities, then left the house to go to the gym and run errands.

Setting An Intention To Notice Opportunities

What happened was nothing short of miraculous. In fact, opportunities came ever before I set the intention. I woke to a message from an old acquaintance who’d read my post on Medium and liked it so much, she invited me to be a guest on her podcast.

When I got to the gym it was pretty empty and I got everything I needed to do my workout. Then, I drove to Costco where I found the perfect parking spot. Not only that, I found a perfect rug for my bathroom at a great price, and when I got to the check stands, I was in line behind a man with a large piece of furniture, and while he was being checked out, the check stand next to him opened and the cashier called me over.

As if that wasn’t enough, I had managed to just beat the rush at Trader Joe’s so I walked right up to a cashier and checked out. Seeing so many opportunities put me in an extraordinary mood, so I found myself smiling and sharing my joy with everyone I encountered. By the time I lay my head on my pillow, I’d accomplished everything I’d set out to do, and maybe even more.

Creating the Right Habits For Personal Power

I’ve decided to make myself reminders to look for opportunities every day as I’ve already proven it’s powerful stuff. Sure, I’ve known it for awhile, but I don’t always exercise my own personal power. Having reminders posted on walls and my vision board help. I have one I see when I wake up every morning. Sometimes it registers, and sometimes, I don’t even stop to pay attention. I realize now, I need to become more aware of the thoughts and sayings on the vision board on the wall beside my bed.

I find myself sharing positive affirmations for everyone else nowadays. I subscribe to sites like Positively Positive, Tiny Buddha, and Contagious Optimism. How many of us do that? Share for others, but don’t think about ourselves? I have a whole slew of inspirational graphics in my media queue which find their way into my posts over and over again. I realize I don’t always internalize them for myself though. I’m so busy trying to uplift and inspire others, I forget to uplift and inspire myself. Today, I’m making a change. I will uplift and inspire myself first.

Putting Ourselves First: Selfless, Not Selfish

This may sound selfish, but my experiences with simply intending to see opportunities would https://www.flickr.com/photos/pictoquotes/23800751269/in/photolist-yra2iG-DU6XM-r2jkSH-riCwfg-Cgc59v-25ZjvpP-Esa7bs-r2dktE-riCRw2-r2d16w-r2cjid-riFdFJ-r2jiQX-riJKAr-rgrJ5N-rgrymj-riJtfk-rgrtto-qmXTaB-qmXTUx-r2dc7j-riFiwf-r2cN57-rgrAKs-qmKZtd-qmKx5b-riCoxT-rgrkmb-r2bRy1-r2bSiC-rgrjHC-qmKN63-r2iWTr-qZqbLz-Jmhu1f-riJk4R-riJgvD-JNiQ5F-6fCa3j-TSPptN-R2stHj-FBknvd-yBNSqL-JNjenn-JixL6D-rgrBXC-riJFkc-riJtrT-qmKAfu-riF5aLbelie the selfish factor. When I’m feeling positive and uplifted, I pass that feeling on to others; not just by sharing a graphic, but by being the Joy. As easy as it is to be brought down by someone who radiates gloom and doom, it’s even easier to be uplifted by someone who’s happy, smiling, and at peace with their world. Heaven knows my vibration goes up when I see someone wearing a broad smile and exuding pure joy.

I’m challenging myself to be the joy every day. To bring sunshine even when the sky is grey and weeping. There are plenty who proliferate sadness and lack these days, and though some may attribute it to circumstances, we all have the ability to raise our own vibration by refusing to wallow in those things we believe to be out of our control. Maybe they are, and maybe they’re not, but whining and complaining about our lack; our miserable circumstances only attracts more of the same.

Positively Positive

My life isn’t perfect. It never has been. There have been times when I believed things were going better than other times. Yet in reality, they were going as well as I expected, no more, no less. When I worked in a job I hated and spent a lot of time complaining about it, things didn’t get better. If anything, they got worse. When I believed people treated me differently because I was a single parent, they accommodated me by doing just that.

This may sound pretty pie in the sky to many. However, I’ve learned no matter how bad things look from the outside, we can find at least a glimmer of light to hang onto until the storm passes. We can find something in our lives which radiates positivity and hope. I know from personal experience as long as I hang onto that glimmer, for dear life if necessary, things do get better.

Things are going fairly well right now. I have my health, I’m strong, independent, capable, and have the most amazing group of friends ever. I stay active, though admittedly, I could move more, and I never run out of ideas for my writing.

I have a phenomenal coach who has gotten me over the hump of my memoir re-write. I’ve found a supportive community who will help me get my first book published. Sure, there are things I might lack right now, but I know the lack is temporary and in fact, may simply be a breathing space before my life gets back on the roller coaster it’s ridden for decades, and the wild ride continues. As long as I focus on the things I have while accepting what may seem to be a temporary lack, I know the moment will pass and I’ll soon be back on track.

Inspiring Ourselves to Inspire Others

Let’s give ourselves a few minutes a day to recognize and appreciate all the things we have. https://www.flickr.com/photos/paulhami/2993662670/in/photolist-5yxiBC-8U5hPD-3edYTu-4CUgRY-3zQatC-5vmZ5c-bu1dBi-aGGHJg-aGGHaR-BrnmAC-JDHRGr-aGGG6n-anNJMT-aGGJDF-nhi5kC-URiXsy-8TU5Uu-7RHX6n-dSUfp3-8pz3GG-ax1E17-Gf1oKW-5wx88t-66XiHU-7U9YpL-7fcpGE-6C7S53-6AEtio-8YbMjQ-587zbz-MiRWFF-5htVfK-onWKYE-edRR9q-9jX3Pw-oZ6LzR-8pRD6w-9eVxUz-axUgNW-F6D6yL-dbZeKc-4cLsjY-b8ppRD-FfTkWW-7Lsz4B-66Xk3Q-2zs3Zi-7Lxsep-kyFmeu-RNnFfMMaybe write a list or start a daily practice. I had one awhile back which has fallen into disuse, but I think needs to be reinstated. At the end of each day, I’ll write down five to ten things I accomplished that day. Not only does it focus my attention on what I have, but like gratitude, pulls my attention away from what I lack, or what may not have worked out so well that day.

Who’s with me on this? Are you ready to break through your blocks and start thriving? It really does start, not just with attitude, but with believing in yourself and all you have.

Letting Gratitude Pave Our Way

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for opportunities which seem to be falling from the sky like rain lately.
  2. I am grateful for examples I’m seeing of both the right and wrong way to attract and exude joy.
  3. I am grateful for practices I’ve used and discarded in the past which I know elevated my vibration and brought me closer to joy and bliss simply by taking a few moments a day to express my gratitude.
  4. I am grateful for friends who share their own inspirational messages which uplift me. It reminds me I need to uplift myself first, then go out and spread the joy wherever I can.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; joy, love, opportunities, friendship, comfort, my solitary work space, kitty love, rainy days and sunny ones, purrs, affection, hugs, dancing, health, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

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

Dream a Little Dream

Messages in Our Dreams

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-jk3BYpI am blessed (though sometimes it seems like a curse) with extremely vivid, memorable dreams. Often I’ll wake in the middle of the night to exclaim “WTF!” when a dream is particularly uncomfortable in its details.

There are times my dreams have been precognitive, right down to where people were standing, what they were wearing, and what they said. Others, they’re of someone I haven’t seen in a long time, even years, and make me reconnect, if only to make sure they’re OK. In one case, I dreamed a man’s wife had died only to learn, when I finally had the nerve to reach out, that he’d lost her six months prior.

They’re not limited to my nighttime slumbers either. Often, the most vivid and insightful will occur during my daily meditations. Recently, I dreamed about a friend moving things from a smaller freezer into a room-sized one. In the process, he moved the contents of my own freezer as well. In order to find my various single-serving meals, I was forced to learn his system of organization. As it turns out, he arranged things in chronological order (I always date my containers) from newest on the left, to oldest on the right. As I went through the containers on the right, I found several dated 2002 and 2003. I realized they were long past their expiration date, and pulled the containers to dispose of the contents.

Knowing When to Pay Attention and Act

When I woke, the question foremost in my mind was “what do I need to release that I’ve been carrying around since 2002 and 2003?” As I thought back, those were the years before and when my dad took his life after learning he had Stage IV lung cancer. I was also struggling to keep my own life and that of my 15-, then 16-year-old daughters together. My relationship with my dad was strained because he’d grown crankier. I didn’t realize it at the time, but his health was getting worse. Being immersed in family patterns, he kept it to himself.

Those were also years when I wasn’t dancing because my daughters’ activities conflicted with dance nights. I was working the latest in a long string of jobs I hated, and had long since broken off the last relationship I would have for decades—in fact up to and including now. I was cranky, miserable, angry, and feeling abused by the female contingent of band parents. I tended to keep company with the men, hauling equipment and setting up props rather than subject myself to the cattiness of the women, or my ineptitude with hair braiding and uniform inspecting. Clearly, there’s a reason I’d stuff those things to the back of my freezer and forget them.

Reviewing My Life to See What I Need to Let Go

Like so many times in my life, the dream was telling me I need to pull those old memories out, take the lessons they carried and dispose of the rest for good. But it seems some of those memories are frozen in time, and in order to release them, I need to thaw them first. Many were sorted out while I wrote and re-wrote my memoir, but clearly, there are a couple which still need to be thawed, sorted, and released.

Life throws us a lot of curve balls, and many involve going back over our old shit and letting go of the knee-jerk reactions we developed along with the unpleasant memories. At the moment, a friend is trying to convince me to jump back into the dating pool, and meeting with years worth of resistance in the process.

I’ve been disenchanted with online dating for a variety of reasons. And frankly, I don’t need a man in my life at this point. I have male friends with whom I dance and socialize. Sure, it’s never one-on-one and many are married or in long-term relationships. Some of the single ones are too young, and one is too old. My biggest show stopper is my requirement that he likes to dance, and specifically Country dancing. Unfortunately, the field is limited. The medium attracts not only more single women, but a lot of married ones whose husbands don’t dance. I guess in a lot of ways I’ve reconciled myself to being alone for the rest of my life, and convinced myself I’m OK with that.

To Relationship or Not To Relationship: Is It Worth It This Late In My Game?

To make my sordid mess even murkier, my last two relationships were about as dysfunctional as https://www.flickr.com/photos/34167287@N05/23787059822/in/photolist-CeYUa5-f3skzG-26xyyFN-8Uqt6v-7RUJnT-5631Bv-9KzjET-otM3UU-9KC7p3-6EcqkE-rtobLr-5xx9XP-7Bj5nM-4JDZ1E-21oAHiQ-7Csyge-7YZVSv-7Z4a4L-7Z4a5b-4Btbxi-5m1iya-i54aYC-4BxARm-i54aXq-YA2ERd-4kmex7-WgVGRw-8GceK9-i548Lu-6m1sit-ospDf4-58cZtS-i54b7d-ggwmL-cKWfHj-bg5Uu-bsSgAg-8GcvXA-q68RzV-4fFkFc-e3cS7q-aQ7Ph-bg8hZ-q6pHnG-4VXWUt-dYksek-277AbZE-4VWArR-4VXUXR-2b2aNGJit gets, and left me less than enamored of the whole male-female relationship stuff. Granted, I was a mess myself and had no business being in a relationship until I did the work to fix at least the worst of my broken parts; a task I didn’t even begin to tackle until at least 2000. So I was still sifting through the rubble by 2003 and had yet to start rebuilding on a more solid foundation.

Nevertheless, I have to belief there were things I unearthed, then stuffed right back down again due to a combination of circumstances, events, and lack of desire to deal with the pain. But like all good things, they’ve come back to haunt me, even if I’ve failed to identify exactly what it is I’m supposed to work through this time. I say this only because I know myself, and have a long history of stuffing things away instead of dealing with them, when to do so would be easier and less painful than letting them stew and fester until they came back around whether I liked it or not.

The Resume Tells Its Own Story

As I often do when trying to remember where my life was at a certain point, I look back at my resume. Yet there’s a significant gap between 1999 and 2004. In a way, this is telling, as clearly my career was going nowhere during those years. I believe I spent several months temping at Countrywide, but I also spent the end of 2003 and several months of 2004 running around getting Dad’s estate settled. It was also one of the times I tried and failed to get my consulting business off the ground. Perhaps I’m meant to revisit this time to look at what didn’t work so I can learn from my failures and finally find the success I’ve been seeking for years, but until now, with the wrong end of my talents and expertise.

Still and all, I’ve learned to listen to my dreams and ask questions of myself until the answers start to come. Questions like:

  • What am I meant to revisit?
  • What lessons do I need to take with me?
  • Which pain do I need to release?
  • Why am I being asked to revisit this time/event right now?
  • How will dealing with this now help me in the future?

As I work towards my goal of writing 5 blog posts in the next week as well as other tasks assigned by my coach to get me off my butt, I’ll do what I’ve learned works best. I’ll allow the words which flow from my fingers when I get out of my own way to give me the answers I seek. I’ll allow the dreams to tell me where to step next. Ultimately, I’ll work through my latest set of challenges and find my road a little easier, at least for a day or so.

Answering Your Messages

How do you know when it’s time to revisit past events, travails, and even failures? What do you do about it? How do you release what no longer serves you, especially the things you stashed away in hopes they’d disappear on their own? I’d love to hear what works for you.

Gratitude: The Ultimate Fixer

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for my vivid dreams.
  2. I am grateful for friends I can bounce things off of when my own resources fail to yield the desired results.
  3. I am grateful for my coach, Linda Clay who doesn’t give up on me when I fail to accomplish the tasks she’s set, but instead helps me understand why I’m procrastinating instead of diving in feet first.
  4. I am grateful for the completion of my latest edit of “Life Torn Asunder” and look forward (not without a certain amount of trepidation) to the next step in my journey towards publication.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; life, love, work, words flowing freely, ideas, inspiration, motivation, dreams, goals, steps, progress, friendship, health, harmony, peace, philanthropy, and prosperity.

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

Suicide Affects Us All

Suicide Strikes

At some point in our lives, given the constantly increasing numbers, we will all experience suicide. It might be a friend, or an acquaintance, but chances are, at some point, it will be someone we know well, and perhaps love. Some of us might even be the ones considering or even attempting suicide.

Admittedly, I’m more aware of it having lost both parents to suicide. I’ve learned to recognize people who are hiding behind self-made walls and masks; who show little or no value for the life they’ve been given. Sometimes I can reach out to them, but more often than not, they’ve created safeguards preventing people like me who see and feel too much from getting too close. They want neither to be pitied nor judged and are unable to see some of us might just want to help them feel wanted and loved.

Freedom to Be Ourselves

Life these days is hard. There’s no pretty way to say it. For some, the daily challenges are overwhelming, and the stories they tell themselves about not being missed become a reality to be escaped at all costs. Many even become the person they believe themselves to be; withdrawn, angry, unpleasant to be around. They use their behavior to discourage others from reaching out or trying to help change their reality.

Others wrap themselves in false gaiety, often with the assistance of alcohol or drugs. They’re the life of the party on the outside, surrounded by smiling faces who are completely clueless about the turmoil the false front hides. Even those closest to them are oblivious to the cost of keeping the mask in place; of the loneliness they’re unable to break free from.

I talk to friends who’ve at one point in their lives contemplated suicide and understand. There were times I, too felt alone and unnecessary. Times when the only reason I’m still alive was my refusal to put my daughters through the pain and trauma I’ve had to live through twice. I remember being angry all the time, stewing over the slightest thing, and feeling abused and put down by everyone around me. Of course, a lot of it was their reaction to my prickliness and unfriendly demeanor.

Recognizing Our Value to Others

Fortunately, both my writing and the dancing were my saving grace. When I was at my angriest and most withdrawn, I had put the dancing on the back burner to involve myself in the girls’ high school activities. Perhaps not my best choice, but it was the right choice for them, if not for me. Shortly after those responsibilities ended, I got my butt back out on a dance floor. After awhile, the fog began to clear and I found my happy; bigger and brighter than it had been before.

Unfortunately, what may work for some of us, doesn’t help for others. There are plenty of writers and people who dance regularly who aren’t able to escape their pain or realize there are many people who want them around, and who would miss them if they were gone. It puts a lot of responsibility on the rest of us to pay attention to the ones who always seem happy, or who drink to excess and have a long drive home, or simply who share the barest snippets of themselves.

They’ll never say, nor admit to needing help, but they’re the ones we need to do our best to include and reassure we love them as they really are, and that they needn’t pretend for us.

Loving Each Other for Who We Are

I recently saw this graphic on Facebook of Eeyore (my favorite of the Winnie the Pooh https://www.facebook.com/cmhagbcharacters, coincidentally). I think this really says it all, and was published on the Canadian Mental Health Group Facebook page.

It speaks directly to what I’m saying. We all have friends who are depressed, and they need to be included anyway, and not expected to pretend everything is fine. They need to know it’s OK to be who they are without need for masks and walls, and that they’ll be accepted as they are all the time.

The biggest problem our society faces right now, and probably why suicide rates are climbing at such a frightening pace, is people think they need to pretend to be someone they’re not in order to be accepted or even liked.

I’ve learned people like, and even love you more if you’re yourself and nothing else. Those who don’t, quite frankly, don’t matter. We all have quirks, idiosyncrasies, broken parts, and imperfections. Rather than believing they make us wrong in some way, we need to realize they’re what make us unique, and even in tune with others. If we aren’t worrying about fitting in and matching some arbitrarily prescribed description of normal, we’ll find others are able to let down their guard and be themselves too. Not only that, the relief we get from not pretending might even lift some of the sadness and depression!

Dropping Our Disguises Ain’t Easy, But it’s Worth the Trouble

Learning to open up to my friends was, in all honesty, one of the toughest things I ever did. It went against everything I’d been taught from birth, and left me exposed to the ridicule and abuse I’d experienced most of my life, at least from my distorted recollection. I only saw people teasing and making fun of me, but never noticed when it went in the other direction, or when I was one of the perpetrators. Funny how our memories leave out the important parts, right?

Once I got to the other side, however, it became one of the most rewarding, kindest things I’ve ever done for myself. I have friends who are as imperfect as I am, but who accept themselves as they are. They have challenges with family, jobs, and a million other facets of a life well lived. We all know we have someone to talk to if we need to vent, but also to share successes and joys with. We gather in small groups and large, discussing everything from world events to personal frustrations.

When all is said and done, we feel better for the company and the opportunity to release some of the weight we carry around. What’s good for us is clearly good for those we might tend to overlook. They may not open up the first time or even the tenth, but after awhile, we can show them by our actions and our own sharing that they have a safe place to drop the pretenses and be themselves.

If we have the chance to keep suicide off the table for even one person, shouldn’t we take it?

Gratitude Helps Keep the Gloomies Away

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the people who have come into my life the last few years who’ve made me feel accepted and loved for myself.
  2. I am grateful for the lessons I learned and the acceptance I gained while writing my memoir.
  3. I am grateful to my daughter, Heather, and my oldest friend, Candy who kept me moving forward with the memoir, even when I needed a few long breaks to get further along in my healing process.
  4. I am grateful for the dance community that lets me see we are all broken in some way, but that it isn’t a flaw, but a badge of honor.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, joy, dancing, writing, inspiration, motivation, support, butt-kickings, ideas, dreams, goals, baby steps, philanthropy, peace, harmony, health, and prosperity.

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

Healing Through Laughter

Finding New Ways to Heal

Created with CanvaAfter spending an evening with friends playing a rather raucous game of Mexican Train, it occurred to me, especially in light of recent events in our neck of the woods, that we all need more laughter. I didn’t even mind being a last-minute addition to the party. The company was warm and loving, and the banter kept us all laughing and playing along. I left feeling warm, loved, and most of all, uplifted.

Of late, I’ve been feeling especially worn out, fatigued, drained, and even short of breath. I’m sure a lot of it has to do with handling the emotional trauma both within and around me. Some gatherings seem to be more of a chore to stay positive and upbeat, and I can see how others around me are forcing more than allowing. I feel it as a drain on my own energy, and haven’t been good about protecting my own space. I want to help those around me, but realize I’ve let my own resources run down.

The answer is more time spent just being, and finding humor in the little things. Laughter, after all is the greatest healer.

Continued Support From Our Community

For my extended family, dancing has been our happy place, with some of us, for decades. We are still dancing and hugging and sharing, but deep down inside, we all feel it; it’s not the same. Our home is unavailable and we’re, as one woman put it, always the visiting team. Some wonderful people have opened doors and arms to us, and we’re extremely grateful to them for their generosity. But as the weeks stretch to months, the feeling is unanimous. We want to go home.

It still remains to be seen, if, when, and even where that might happen. In the meantime, a couple of clubs have been opened up to accommodate two of our regular nights. The Sunland Winery, which welcomed us in December is on our schedule once a month (though many of us wish it were more). Road trips to more distant venues are planned and well-attended. Larger and larger groups are making time to go to a smaller local club to line dance and even get in a little two-stepping and West Coast Swing.

Small, Intimate Gatherings Speed the Healing

But I think the ones which help the most are the smaller, more intimate gatherings which seem to be gaining in popularity. They’re times when we seem to allow ourselves to feel whatever we’re feeling, express our hopes, doubts, and concerns, and care about each other unreservedly.

They’re nights filled with laughter and good humor. With listening to each others’ struggles and offering support. Even a few light-hearted matchmaking attempts are starting to surface. It all expresses the love and caring of a family that’s been torn asunder by tragedy, but refuses to be kept down.

As I type this, I’m thinking about scheduling a night of my own, and of course, my mind flips over to the menu. (I do love to cook for friends). At a recent event, the fare was simple but delicious; a chicken and noodle casserole, garlic bread, salad, and garlic sauteed green beans. I particularly liked the idea of something in a pan, and my mind turned to lasagna.

The recipe I use typically takes a couple of days as the sauce has to be made first, but it’s been a long time since I made it, and wouldn’t typically make a pan just for me. It’s a great excuse to do something I love for the people I love, and to host an evening of laughter and companionship. Thought becomes things, and by the time this publishes, the event will have been scheduled, come, and gone. The details and the laughs will likely prove fodder for another post.

Sometimes, You Just Have to Make the Effort

I’m trying hard to get out more, even if it’s to places I’m not especially fond of. It’s really not about the venue right now, but about the people and of course, the dancing. I’m finding I don’t even mind standing on the sidelines, listening to the music, chatting with the people nearby, and only dancing a couple of dances. I just need to be out being, doing, living.

Still, there are days when I need to stay inside with my cats, away from people and the energy they emit. I’m still tiring easily, and I know part of it is my screwed up dance schedule. But some of it could simply be what we all struggle with: letting go of what no longer serves us.

Sometimes, You Have to Let Go

We had a beautiful lunar eclipse with January’s full moon. It left me thinking about what I need to release (after a night of crazy, disturbing dreams). I guess I should be grateful the night was overcast so the moon didn’t keep me awake half the night. Typically, with the full moon, I have to turn and sleep with my head at the foot of the bed because the brightness shines through my window and makes my eyes pop back open every few minutes.

With regard to current circumstances, here are a few things I can release which are getting in the way of my happiness:

  • Dependence on a specific place to dance to be happy just dancing
  • Unwillingness to go out on nights which weren’t my regular dance nights
  • Excessive concern over inviting people into my less-than-perfect home
  • Resistance to cleaning
  • Laziness in general

It may not seem like a lot to many, but they are things I know stand in my way. There are plenty of other things I need to release regarding my writing and my business, but that’s not the reason for this post, so I’ll leave it for another (and heaven knows, I need ideas for February now that January is “in the can”, to borrow a line from old movie speak).

Making the Most of Our Opportunities

Releasing anything which keeps us from finding joy in laughter, companionship, intimate and not-so-intimate gatherings, and even embracing change are essential when we’re dealing with circumstances beyond our control. We need to accept that we can’t return to what we know, at least for the moment, and do our best to create new spaces, new activities in which to find the joy, laughter, and exercise we currently lack.

I’m grateful for two of the dance instructors who’ve opened their homes to us in the last couple of months. Without them, we’d have had many more dance-less weeks in those immediately following the shooting at Borderline. They’ve kept us together in mind, body, and spirit at a time when we all needed it most.

We’ve celebrated many occasions inside the walls of Borderline; birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, births; and those memories won’t fade away. But when we put it all together, we’ve created a family who is strong and resilient, and will find ways to stay together, not only for the short time we’re scattered to the winds, but for the long haul as well. We have so much more laughter, joy, hugs, and dancing to give and do. And maybe we needed to get shaken out of those four walls to discover how much we truly have? (though it sure could have happened in a less horrific way!)

Facing Each Day With Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the family which is finding new and unique ways to stay together.
  2. I am grateful for the friendships I’ve formed which fill me rather than draining me.
  3. I am grateful I’ve learned that being myself is far more attractive than trying to be someone I think people would like.
  4. I am grateful for all the people who are keeping the love, laughter, and dancing going during a truly difficult time.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; joy, laughter, dancing, loving, health, harmony, peace, inspiration, motivation, energy, synergy, philanthropy, and prosperity.

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

Not a Part of the Drinking Crowd

Alcohol: The Balm of the Working Classes

I was raised in a family of drinkers. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins all tossed down a few drinks to loosen up and have a good time. My parents drank pretty much daily. Just one or two to unwind from a stressful day, of course, but daily nonetheless. My mom sent me off to college with a giant bottle of Almaden wine, and happily kept me supplied, though it took me months to finish a single bottle.

Small wonder I married a man who’d been raised much the same. His family turned to the bottle for celebrations, to ward off pain and sadness, pretty much any excuse was a valid one. The only difference between our families was his preferred cheap wine and beer while mine drank the hard stuff with a beer or glass of wine thrown in for variety.

It took me years to realize, as I continued to attract people who drank heavily, why I always felt like an outsider. Perhaps disliking the feel of being out of control contributed to what people probably felt was my standoffish behavior. I’m not entirely sure, but eventually I realized I didn’t like being around drunk people, and for a while, simply retreated.

Finding My Tribe in the Moderate Drinkers

Eventually, I found my way into the Country dancing crowd who, for the most part, drank sparingly if at all while dancing. Even off the dance floor, the people I’m around these days never get sloppy drunk. We may have one more glass of wine, or can of beer than we should, but we’re extremely conscious of the times we have to drive, or the company we’re keeping. The truth is, we don’t need to hide from our lives like that in the first place. The solution to all of our problems is the dancing and the connections we make through our community.

The change in me was gradual, so it took a long time to recognize the changes I was making and the healthier, more connected lifestyle I’d chosen. When I dance, I rarely drink. It’s a combination of needing to have my balance so I can do the turns and crazy two-step moves my partners lead, and having to drive myself home. I may have my fair share of speeding tickets, but I’m proud to say I’ve never gotten a DUI, and the way I live now, I probably never will. I simply do not drink if I have to drive, or if I do, it’s one early in the evening and it’s long out of my system by the time I get behind the wheel.

Drinking to Oblivion Ain’t the Answer

https://www.flickr.com/photos/clevercupcakes/4576733748/in/photolist-7YqXuy-22jbZb8-XZte3w-2E38fh-dtp56c-3NUNY-3NUP3-3NSUZ-3NSUK-VUxVut-aMjLSn-dUKkRp-4JpM4a-abD91G-932Hmu-8fJSDf-62xx8V-3c4zza-dUKms6-5AZhfv-dUQT8y-cPLm-3aqeS9-4NhLC1-4zty2J-4ttyNi-6U4fPj-3akHYp-3e21kE-6T47EL-obfTpE-3dWA6R-h2wXwy-7drB1P-ostgj2-6ieis7-a1LDFH-21n5r2B-q2i6g3-XScYar-dXwB6L-gQahXg-8EdGQ2-qFJcdw-YuGC4s-Jy7Cf2-28d1ChD-PHSfjW-x3xs87-MXhQbuSure, I wasn’t always this conscientious. I remember more than one trip from UCLA to my parents’ home in Westlake Village after consuming more than enough cheap wine at a party. Clearly, the angels were on my shoulder then. They were there again each time my ex used to get stumbling down drunk then drive us home, oblivious to how he even got us there safely. My daughters, too have tales of him sucking down another beer before driving them home. I think that was the single biggest factor in their refusing to visit him by the time they were 11. They were terrified to get in the car with him, and put an end to it in the only way they knew how.

Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against a social drink or two at a party or even the bar where I dance. I do take issue with those who don’t know when to stop, or, in some cases, can’t. It’s no fun to dance with someone who’s three sheets to the wind, and even less fun to watch them stumble out to their car and, just by turning the key in the ignition, put strangers at risk.

I also understand that for many like my parents and my ex, alcoholism is a sickness which, like many ailments, needs professional help to cure. The trouble is, many alcoholics don’t think they have a problem, and don’t want to stop drinking—at least until or unless something awful happens. By then, for many it’s too late to fix what’s broken.

The Dark, Empty Side of Alcohol and Substance Abuse

I’ve seen marriages dissolved (mine for one), families estranged (also mine), and friendships lost because someone couldn’t break their dependence on alcohol, or for that matter, some other chemical means of coping with life. Though I haven’t seen it myself, I know people who lost a loved one who simply drank themselves to death. A slow suicide, yes, but in my eyes, a suicide nonetheless.

If I learned nothing else from watching my family and my ex’s, it’s that most things are OK or even good in moderation. Doing just about anything to excess can damage your health or even kill you—even exercise and drinking water.

Grateful for Once to be the Outsider

My family taught me by example that I’m one of the fortunate ones. I don’t need help from 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-jk3BYpdrugs or alcohol to cope with my life. I’ve found ways to enjoy it so I don’t need to just cope. Sure, there were steps along the way I thought I did, but as I stop hiding and start showing up, I’m learning my friends are a whole lot better than blurring my edges. Dancing is a much better outlet for my stress and frustration which thankfully show up much less frequently since I left the Corporate jungle.

And I’ve learned that sometimes you just need to sob your guts out and release all the built up crap inside. Tears are water and water washes away the dirt, grit and grime so it’s one of the most healing things we can do. I’ve also learned a phone call, text message, or PM asking “are you OK? Do you need anything?” is one of the most healing balms of all.

Breaking Old Habits

I’ve seen a lot of posts lately about how some of us are here to break old family patterns. Often we’re the ones who never fit in with our own kin. I’m learning how many of those old patterns I’ve come here to break. And I’m doing my damndest to end some of them forever so those who come after me can truly make a difference without the shackles of our restrictive and confining heritage.

Are you the rebel child in your family? If so, did you ever wonder why? Try looking at some of the familial patterns which serve no one; addiction, negativity, depression. The list goes on, and will be different for every family. If you’ve shied away from the “family way”, you’re probably the rebel who will make positive changes. Know there are many of us out here in the same boat who can and will support you in a very difficult and often lonely mission.

Gratitude is One of Our Greatest Tools

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful I was born to be the family rebel; the one who was cast out because she wouldn’t conform to the patterns and beliefs which had long outlived their usefulness.
  2. I am grateful for the friendships I’m forming with people who don’t share the negative attributes I left behind.
  3. I am grateful for my cats who are struggling to re-adjust to my changing work habits. I used to work while they were sleeping. Now, they’re awake and wanting attention when I’m just hitting my stride.
  4. I am grateful I’m learning my schedule doesn’t have to conform with the rest of the world. If my work schedule is from 2PM to midnight, and that’s when my productivity skyrockets, there’s no reason to fight it. TV is boring at night anyway.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, harmony, peace, sobriety, joy, friendship, dancing, compassion, dreaming, writing, inspiration, motivation, visibility, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

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

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