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

Posts tagged ‘acceptance’

Viewing Change as Opportunity

Fighting Change is a Losing Battle

Change is inevitable. The only way to avoid it is to sit in one place your whole life with your hands folded in your lap, enjoying the excitement of a catatonic state. Even then, changes will happen in spite of you. Days pass, seasons change, dust gathers, people move through or around you. Viewing change as a threat hobbles and restrains you as no shackles or chains could ever do.

Many people see change as threatening, even risky. They close their minds to the possibilities of stepping out in the world and trying something new. They work their steady, boring job day after day, eat the same foods in front of the same TV shows, lamenting every cancellation or summer hiatus.

Here’s to Those Who Take Leaps of Faith

Then there are the adventurers; the ones who climb the mountains, challenge the jungles, toss away what no longer excites them to try something completely new and unproven. When they succeed, they do so on a global scale. When they fail, they do so with no less fanfare, then pick themselves up and face the next challenge.

Most of us fall somewhere between the two, maybe plodding through that boring job while we set up something better in the background. One day, we get fed up with the rat race and make a grand if poorly thought out exit. What keeps us going is the years we spent making what  the adventurers might consider piddly changes and minor challenges. For us, though, they were a giant leap outside our comfort zone and no less risky in our world view than the scaling of Everest or the Himalayas, or jumping from a helicopter onto a mountain covered in freshly fallen snow.

We All Face Fear. It’s What You Do With it That Matters.

To say any of us who takes a chance on ourselves never experiences fear or panic is ludicrous. It’s not that we don’t experience it. We simply move through it until we get to more stable ground before launching ourselves into space again.

I used to think I wanted a completely peaceful, stress-free life; a life where all my needs were met and I felt safe and secure all the time. But a life like that gives you no reason to try; no reason to get out of bed in the morning. Those challenges, set-backs and downright scary times are what keeps our blood flowing, our adrenaline rushing, and our hearts crying out for yet another E-ticket ride.

Change is in our blood, whether we realize it or not. We do ourselves a huge disservice by settling for life in a rut of sameness. We slowly die inside when we don’t allow our inner adventurer to take a few chances, experience new things, discover new places.

Conforming Sucks Your Soul Dry

CGI did a short film called “Alike” featuring a young boy and his dad. Daniel Martinez Lara and Rafa Cano Mendez did an extraordinary job of demonstrating how we need the curiosity and nonconforming characteristics we took for granted as children. Losing them turns us into a grey shadow of ourselves who simply plods through our days with no inspiration or motivation.

Change is the color in our palette, the rainbow in our sky. It’s walking into a cloud of bright orange butterflies and delighting in millions of tickles as they brush across our skin. Without change, we’re incomplete. We ignore the most amazing, creative, ecstatic part of ourselves.

I encourage you to ask yourself this: Is being accepted worth losing your humanity? Will people like you less if you’re true to yourself?

If you ask me, losing yourself to be accepted means you’re making an effort to be accepted by the wrong people. The right people will flock to you like those butterflies I mentioned as soon as you stop trying to be someone you’re not, and worse, someone you don’t even particularly like. In the immortal words of Dr. Seuss:

I Am Grateful for My Adventurous Spirit and So Much More

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the courage to take the leap of faith that brought me to where I am today.
  2. I am grateful for the changes I’m making to allow people to help me as I’ve been blessed to be able to help others.
  3. I am grateful for the opportunities that arise when I get out of my own way.
  4. I am grateful for finding my tribe; people who accept me for who I am, not for who I try to be.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, opportunities, courage, fear, challenges, lessons, risks, rewards, blessings, gifts, joy, adventurers, peace, harmony, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

Read Miss Pelican’s Perch’s version of today’s writing prompt.

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. She believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She is available for article writing and ghost writing to help your website and the business it supports grow and thrive. She specializes in finding and expressing your authentic self. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook here Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author.

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Sometimes You Just Have to Be Sad

Sadness Unexplained

There isn’t anything wrong. There isn’t even anything particularly not right. Yet sometimes, the sadness hits for no particular reason. Most of the time, you get busy working or cleaning or something that doesn’t require much thinking. Or you watch a funny movie. Or you make a list of gratitudes. But sometimes, you really need to let the sadness run it’s course.

Life is a balance. We have to be sad to appreciate happy, low to appreciate high, sick to appreciate healthy, and so on. If we stifle one, we diminish the other. As an artist, some of my most productive times are the sad ones. They’re the ones which let me spill raw emotions onto the page or craft a character who makes the reader ache for them. A song writer might write an achingly sweet ballad, a painter, a painting which rips deep into your soul. Where would art be if the artist didn’t allow herself to experience these inexplicable periods of sadness?

Fighting the Sadness is a Losing Battle

When I was younger, I did everything in my power to talk myself out of being sad, even to the point of getting angry with myself. Unfortunately, it often left me angry and feeling unfulfilled for a long time afterwards. Yet the reasons I shoved it aside were valid. I had a job to perform so I could earn my paycheck and support my two daughters. I had a household to maintain, chores to do, groceries to buy, and all of the things that go into surviving as a single mother. Heaven knows, I didn’t always get it right and I came into a lot of criticism from well-meaning friends who disagreed with my priorities.

In years when my life was slightly slower, I’d sometimes allow the sadness to overtake me, obliterating all memories of happier things. I’d spend too many hours in my sweats, curled up in bed sleeping. In hindsight, I’d probably internalized things like my divorce, my parents deaths and a thousand other things for so long, I’d fallen into a depression I didn’t even recognize as such. I know those times were hardest of all on my daughters. But as bad as it got, I’m one of the lucky ones because I didn’t stay there.

Finding My Way into the Darkness and Out Again

Eventually, I found my happy place again. I also found a way to stop walling myself in behind a wall of misery. At first, I wrote only for myself. I created Word documents meant only for my eyes, though many of them remain in my archives. I wrote about my unhappiness, but more, I wrote about the things I could not change; my parents’ suicides, my guilt over feeling I didn’t do enough or care enough. In a nutshell, my past.

Only when the Notes function on Facebook proved insufficient to hold all of the thoughts, questions, Tarot readings, and random thoughts I’d begun to share did I move to a more public arena with my first blog. Little did I know where it would take me. What started as a way to talk about family suicide and maybe reach a couple of people who, like me had bottled up their feelings has become so much more.

Giving Society’s Misguided Standards the Finger

Just as our society isn’t very understanding about just needing to be sad, it lacks compassion for people who have lost someone to suicide. The things we are taught in order to function in that society also teach us some incredibly unhealthy things. Funny little catch phrases like “Here’s a quarter, call someone who cares.” or “Suck it up, Buttercup” may sound cute and funny…if you’re not the one being told to box up your feelings and just deal with it.

Yet, we’re only human. We have feelings and if we don’t get to express them when they’re small and manageable, we will eventually break under the pressure of everything we’re stifling, and something small will make us crumble into a million pieces. By then, we’ve been so outwardly strong that nobody understands why we could possibly get upset over something which, on the outside, appears quite small.

In sharing my own ups and downs, struggles and successes, I’ve learned a lot of lessons, but the greatest lesson of all is that I am not alone. Others have been where I am. They may have dealt with it differently, but they can relate. Sometimes, what I write about comes at just the right time for someone who is having a tough time. More than once, I’ve heard from someone that just reading that someone else shares what they’re going through takes their pain down a notch.

Sharing Our Struggles Can Be Someone Else’s Gift

We can’t take away someone else’s pain. We can’t cure their ailing parent, or make the loss of a child, a parent, a dear friend, or a beloved pet less sad and painful for them. And feeding them platitudes like “it’s going to be OK” or “time will heal this” or my personal least favorite, “it’s God’s will” don’t help. All you’re doing with those little catch phrases is invalidating someone’s feelings. You’re telling them they don’t “need” to be sad.

Feelings have nothing to do with need. They just are. We can’t turn them on and off like a faucet. Yes, we can shove them into a box in our heart for a little while, but the box is not infinite. Eventually it will burst. Which is why I encourage you to feel your feelings. After awhile, you can step back and simply observe them, but can you really observe something you don’t understand? That you haven’t allowed yourself or been allowed to feel? Sure, time does heal in its own way. Even that is different for each of us. But when the pain of loss is fresh, when whatever made us feel lonely, or ostracized, or ashamed, or hurt is still new, it’s important that we accept the feelings without judgment.

We’ll have the rest of our lives, if we choose, to rehash the feelings. We may even discover, in some cases, that we’ve misunderstood or overreacted. But in the moment, the feelings are as real as we are, and deserve to be acknowledged and felt.

Following My Inner Compass

I started writing this a good 12 hours ago, and have kept myself moving and interacting while the sadness ran its course. I kept a commitment to myself to go to the gym. It wasn’t my best workout, but it wasn’t my worst either. I felt a lot better for having done it, and removed the possibility of feeling guilty for having dishonored a commitment to myself. I was lazy and picked up dinner after my workout. It could have been better, but it could also have been far worse. Again, no guilt. I watched a movie and cuddled with my cats who have been extremely attentive the last few days. Finally, I sat down to finish this post. Still a little sad, but less so than this morning.

The sadness is passing because I didn’t make a big deal of it. I didn’t try to whitewash it or bury it under a load of platitudes. It’s taken a long time, and I still have a lot to learn, but accepting myself, my moods, my screw-ups, and my successes gets easier every day. I realize I am the sum of all of the things which make me the person I am; some good, some not so much. But if those parts were different, I wouldn’t be me.

In Sadness or in Joy, I Can Still Find Something to Be Grateful For

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for my imperfections.
  2. I am grateful I’ve learned to let things out instead of holding them in.
  3. I am grateful I’ve learned to accept myself, imperfections and all.
  4. I am grateful I have friends who sometimes need to see those imperfections.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, acceptance, friendship, lessons, challenges, imperfections, joy, sorrow, dreams, failures, successes, and words. Lots and lots of words!

Love and Light

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!

Alone for a Reason

Alone Again, Naturally

I woke today after an exceptionally good night of dancing feeling strangely…icky. The lingering joy which usually greets me when I wake was replaced by a dark, writhing pit in my stomach. Thankfully, I have my normal morning routine of writing three pages of thoughts longhand. I don’t think I’ve ever needed it more than I did today.

It took me two pages to come to the realization that everyone I know has some sort of support group close by. It might be a loving and devoted spouse, or kids, or a close circle of friends; often it’s a combination of things. Meanwhile, I’m alone. If something happened to sideline me for a while, I really don’t know where I’d turn.

Life’s Challenges Come at Just the Right Time

But before you start thinking “Oh, poor Sheri”, let me get to the second part of my realization. Those people are all going through some kind of trauma or difficulty in their lives right now. It might be an aging parent, a death, the spectrum of an empty nest, issues with a child, injury, or some other disaster. But having that support group means they aren’t facing the roller coaster of emotions alone.

I, on the other hand, got my traumas and disasters over with early, while I still had at least a couple of people around to help me get through them. One child did her middle-of-the-night disappearing act over 10 years ago, setting off a chain of events which would ultimately have us leading completely separate lives. The other lived with me until shortly before her marriage. Even so, she stayed in the area another year or two. When she moved away, I may not have had a support group, but I had a life which kept me busy, and that’s nearly as good.

My parents both passed when I had work, the girls, their activities and a dozen other things to keep my mind occupied. Eventually, I even went back to my long-neglected writing. In their own way, they even inspired, and continue to inspire my writing in ways they never were able to do while alive.

Turning Bitter Fruit into a Tasty Treat

Instead of crawling into a hole and feeling sorry for what I don’t have, I see an opportunity to be more. My performance on the compassion spectrum can still use a lot of work. I still see people as strangers and tend to be territorial when it’s not necessary or even kind. I still take small snubs personally without taking into consideration the challenges my friends and acquaintances are doing their best to navigate. I see the support group and ignore the obstacles which need extra hands to clear away.

I’m reminded of the story of the coffee, the carrot, and the egg. The carrot when boiled becomes soft and flexible. The egg becomes hard and unyielding, and the coffee makes the water better. I find I want to be the coffee but am struggling in my efforts, often making the water bitter instead.

Yet it’s mornings like this when I experience my greatest revelations; my purest insight into my purpose for being in this particular lifetime. It’s the things I struggle most to learn; love, compassion, patience, supportiveness, understanding, acceptance, forgiveness, I’m here to not only exhibit, but encourage in others. I may be a long way from learning what I need to know and embrace, but I’m a lot closer than I give myself credit for, especially given what I started with.

Being the Grown-up in My Relationship With Myself

My inner child continues to fight to be the center of attention. My biggest challenge is in teaching her she needs to give first. It’s her selfishness which leaves her out in the cold while others enjoy the warmth of hearth and home. It’s her unwillingness to recognize others are struggling with their own demons which has left her teased, shamed, and ostracized over and over again. And it’s the fragility she has covered over with a seemingly impermeable shell which makes it difficult for people to get to know her soft side and see how much she really has to give.

I was originally going to post a piece about fears which I wrote between dance classes yesterday, but when I woke this morning, this topic seemed to be the more important of the two. The fear piece will be waiting for the right moment, but today, compassion seemed to be more timely.

It might be in part my monthly response to the Full Moon. I do tend to react more physically and emotionally these days than I recall doing in the past. Maybe it’s because I’m post-menopausal, but I think that’s coincidental more than causal. (as I write this, I realize I started it at 11:11 on 6/11. The coincidences in my life keep pointing in the same direction. I also finished it at 1:11!). Or maybe it’s that I have time for introspection and self-reflection and am not exactly satisfied with what I see.

Where I Am and Where I Am Not

Putting aside where I am on my career path. Ignoring for a moment the many things I can point to that I don’t have. My personal development has a long way to go, which is pretty daunting when I admit how many decades I’ve had to work on it.

Even after writing several pages of self-revelation this morning, I still have the knot in the pit of my stomach. Though some of the darkness has lifted, I’m clearly not where I need to be right now. I’ve shown a marked lack of compassion in the last week or so, and I’m ashamed of myself. My inner child really needs a good shaking right now to stop feeling sorry for herself and focus on being a better person.

Thankfully, today is a new day and a new start. It’s up to me to make the most of it.

And finding a Reason to be Grateful

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful I have a new day to make positive changes.
  2. I am grateful for the mistakes which make me see what I still need to learn.
  3. I am grateful for the friends I do have who accept my flaws even when I, myself don’t.
  4. I am grateful for the energy to dance for hours and sleep the sleep of the innocent, even if I wake feeling not-so-innocent.
  5. I am grateful for abundance: lessons, friends, energy, health, happiness, inspiration, motivation, Universal head slaps, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

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!

Gazpacho Therapy

When Life Gets Too Serious, Go Chop Some Vegetables

For the last few days, I’ve been alternating between researching sites to pitch my family suicide stories and revising chapters of Life After Suicide: Healing and Forgiving for the serialization I’ve been doing on my website. To say the least, I’ve found my mood walking the narrow line between melancholy and downright sad.

It doesn’t help that I’ve had music from my high school days playing in the background. For anyone who really listens, the music of the 60’s and early 70’s runs the gamut of angry to joyful to disgusted to downright silly to protesting the world’s wrongs to celebrating the mere fact you’re alive. In short, a manic-depressive’s worst nightmare.

While I have had no indication that I inherited my family’s propensity towards actual mental illness (aka the Kozlowski crazy gene), I have been known to see my moods swing widely from one extreme to another on rare occasions. Granted, those occasions usually involved some sort of trigger which could justify such upheaval, and when they were over, I returned to my own version of normal.

Changing it Up For Mental Health…and a Week’s Worth of Healthy Meals

Fortunately, one of the items on today’s agenda was making another vat of gazpacho. A change of venue (away from the computer), a change of tunes (Blood, Sweat and Tears, and Chicago) and three hours of chopping veggies with a little spontaneous dancing are my cure for almost any ill. Laughing at myself for miscalculating and running out of bowl before I could add the last ingredient also went a long way to breaking me out of my melancholia.

Grief Doesn’t Die, it Simply Evolves

I know it has a lot to do with the amount of time I’ve been spending with the topic of family suicide and my own experiences in particular. Yesterday, I started editing Chapter 6 in preparation for scheduling the chapter for next week. It seemed to be taking a long time, and the words I’d written several years ago were causing memories to well to the surface like my over filled gazpacho bowl when I tried to seal the lid.

I don’t know how much time passed as I worked on the chapter, but I finally looked back at what I’d done and realized it was a lot of pages and I had several more to go before reaching the end of the chapter! After discovering the chapter was well over 7000 words long, I realized it had some natural breaks. Thus, Chapter 6 is now Chapters 6, 7 and 8.

As if reading my own thoughts wasn’t enough of a stroll down memory lane, my coach convinced me to start pitching psychology sites and publications with my story. Heaven knows I can approach it in a zillion different ways! But talking about it, studying it and pitching it takes its toll.

My Turn to Amuse the Universe

Oh, and did I mention there was another suicide in my extended family in the last couple of weeks? It’s been all I could do to not stop and shake my fist at the Universe. That delightful soul has been driving the point home with a sledgehammer for the last couple of weeks. I’m not over my parents’ deaths by suicide, nor will I ever really be. I get it.

I’ve learned a lot, processed more and gained insight, but I certainly don’t have all the answers, nor will I ever have them. There are just some things I’m not meant to know or understand, and that’s OK. There are still pockets of grief inside me. The difference is, they aren’t right on the surface any more, but take a particular trigger to wake them up. Each time they do come around, I’m able to release a little more. I’m able to forgive myself for another guilt capsule I swallowed whole.

Accepting, Forgiving, and Understanding

I believe this is how it is for anyone who loses a loved one. You never really stop missing them or thinking about them. Or grieving. Your grief just takes on different forms as your heart and mind deal with different aspects of the loss.

Will I ever stop regretting the fact that I didn’t see my mom’s pain? Will I forgive myself for not spending as much time with my dad when he became so negative? Will there ever come a day when I only feel love and no longer feel guilt when my parents come to mind? Probably not. But the volume and magnitude of the guilt is waning.

Is There a Gene for Insanity?

I happened upon an article about Mariel Hemingway today and how she’s lost 7 family members to suicide including her famous grandfather, Ernest. As I read the story, I learned her family has a long history of addiction and mental illness which forced her to take on adult responsibilities at a very young age. She, herself has battled depression.

My first thought was how normal my family is by comparison and how lucky I am that I am disinclined towards leaving this mortal coil any time soon. And yet…

The stories my mother would tell about my grandmother would make your hair stand on end. One of my cousins was forced to take responsibility for her siblings at a young age when her mother lost her ability to do so for a time. My parents were heavy drinkers and though it was always treated like a social activity, I can’t recall the passing of a single day when alcohol wasn’t applied liberally after a long day of work.

Granted, my dad’s life ending decision was the result of physical rather than mental issues, but then, his side of the family seemed, at least from my perspective to be better equipped to cope with the world unmedicated. That being said, I wasn’t even aware that my father had serious health problems, so maybe his relatives had just learned to hide things better. Once again, I’ll never really know.

Releasing What I Cannot Control to Protect My Health

At any rate, I know now that I need to make sure I give myself plenty of breaks between activities involving what my coach calls “Raw Sheri”. Whether I work on my fiction, make another mess in the kitchen, go to the gym or dance. I need to allow the breaks to just futz or bury myself in a book just for the pleasure of traveling to another place. Life is about balance, and clearly I’d been listing too far to starboard. I’m just glad I can figure it out and adjust accordingly.

Staying Mentally Healthy with Hefty Doses of Gratitude

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for my personal forms of therapy (which have saved me thousands of dollars, I might add). Most often, I write, but when that isn’t working or I just don’t have the patience, I can get up and move, clean, cook, dance, exercise…whatever I think will work.
2. I am grateful for my cats who are always nearby. Whether I’m cooking and dancing around the kitchen, giving them cause to keep their distance and look at me like I’ve lost a few marbles, or they’re joining me for a meditation, supervising my writing or snuggling at bedtime. Their love washes over me and makes me feel like part of their pride.
3. I am grateful for the huge vat of gazpacho in my refrigerator, even if I have to take it out tomorrow, pour it in a bigger bowl and mix in the broth.
4. I am grateful for friends who get where I’m coming from. I’m slowly getting used to not having them close by to meet for lunch or a movie, but instead, must reach out via phone or computer. But I know they’re there for me and I for them, however we have to make it work.
5. I am grateful for abundance: love, friendship, clients, inspiration, motivation, support, lessons, challenges, health, harmony, peace, philanthropy and prsoperity.

Blessed Be

Random Thoughts While Waiting for the Start of #Nanowrimo2015

Remember to Allow

With NaNoWriMo only hours away, I was becoming rather frantic as I had no story, no characters and no idea how I was going to come up with 50,000 words about nothing. I turned to the many inspirational messages I find on my Facebook news feed. Though not 100% successful, I’ve managed to attract more positive affirmations than anything else lately.

The first message which caught my attention recommended relaxing and not trying so hard. Check. Stop freaking out about not having a story. I went into my meditation focusing on staying in the moment and being true to myself. Not 10 minutes in, the story idea hit me right between the eyes. It was so vivid and alive I wanted to start writing then and there, but knew I had to wait. So I let the meditation continue and the story development went on, giving me a plot, some back story, the main character and a supporting one. It also gave me several scenes in rough form to be fleshed out later as my Muse sees fit.

Later in the day, I ran across a post which talked about thinking of yourself as desirable. I wish I’d re-posted it so it would show on my own page as I can no longer find it. The gist of the post was that you will attract others to you when you believe you are desirable, likable or any other -able which will ultimately draw the kind of people you want to be with and, in fact want to be.

I was already feeling pretty good about dancing tonight because Thursday was unusual in that there were more single men than usual and less single women to take up all the dance partners. Needless to say, I danced until my feet were too sore to keep going and was extremely grateful for such an amazing dance night.

Somewhere between reading about thinking of myself as desirable and the glow from Thursday night’s dancing, the Universe was listening and gave me another night of particularly excellent dancing. I even got to do my favorite couples dance with a partner for a change!

In Conclusion…

From where I sit, this was a day when I attracted exactly what I wanted and needed. My blessings are accumulating so rapidly, all I can do is sit back and enjoy the flow of positive, beneficial energy. It isn’t every day that things fall into place so neatly, nor would it be healthy if they did. The most valuable lessons come when we have a little adversity, a little challenge in our lives. Being given the opportunity to rise to the occasion is a blessing unto itself and I wouldn’t trade the pleasure I feel from overcoming adversity for all of the easy days in the world.

I am at least as grateful for the days when things seem to come together effortlessly as I am for the days when I have to push past the frustration and the failed attempts until I reach the attempt that works. By the time I do reach that point, I’ve learned to discern between something which simply works and something which adds to the stability of my foundation. I’ve learned that the best answer may not be the easiest nor the first one you find that works. You have to be willing to ask the tough questions and to fail again and again until all of the cogs line up and the system is stable enough to survive an 8.2 earthquake. Only then will you have arrived at the answer which will yield the results you really want and still be flexible enough to adapt when the inevitable happens and the world changes around you.

Be Good to You

It’s so easy to get caught up in the challenges in our lives, whether it’s our family, money, a job, a relationship…the list is endless. The way to live rather than merely surviving is not. Make it a point to look yourself in the eye whenever you’re near a mirror. Whether you’re washing your hands or brushing your teeth. Combing your hair or just passing through, take an extra second or two to say something nice to yourself; to tell yourself how beautiful, special, talented, desirable, sexy, lovable…worthy you are. You are all of these things and more, and deserve to hear it every single day. Give yourself this gift and you will see miracles.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for all of the blessings in my life.
2. I am grateful for all of the challenges I have overcome, and those which I have not yet discovered.
3. I am grateful for the advice which made me relax and allow my Muse to do what she does best.
4. I am grateful for the Inklings who convinced me to do another NaNo even though I thought I wasn’t ready.
5. I am grateful for abundance; dancing, friendship, joy, laughter, inspiration, motivation, peace, harmony, allowing, releasing, accepting, health, philanthropy and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you 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!

November 16, 2014 On being devoid of a blog topic #shericonaway

What to do when a blog topic simply won’t come.

As if I didn’t need further proof, today I better understood why I tend to write best late at night. But since I vowed to write my blog earlier in the day to leave the night free for my latest NaNoWriMo challenge I needed to find a way to rattle the cobwebs and find a topic. Yet I sat here for awhile and could come up with nothing, so I did the next best thing and went into the living room to meditate.

With Munchkin curled happily in my lap and two heart stones tucked close to mine, I drifted into that world where I’m sometimes completely lucid, while others, tossed into a dream with hidden meanings for me to decipher. This time, I got a little of both, possibly exacerbated by a night of interrupted sleep, thanks to the return of the winds from which this town got its name and a squealing attic fan above my bedroom which the winds turned into the proverbial squeaking wheel.

I won’t go into the dream part here, though I’ve tried to document it elsewhere for dissection later. What did come out was part of a verse from “Alice in Wonderland”. Unfortunately, when I awoke, the actual verse had slipped my mind. After digging through my only minimally organized library to no avail, I decided to search the internet and, fortunately, found success when I read the line in question which happens to be from the poem “The Walrus and the Carpenter” and looks like this:

“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings.”

I realized that in the hundreds of thousands of words I’ve typed over the last few years (closing in on six at this writing), I have, indeed, talked of cabbages, kings, and everything in between at one point or another. I have used this as a forum to discuss topics both inflammatory and benign. I have had seemingly benign topics taken out of context to become inflammatory, and have learned more about myself and some of my friends and acquaintances than I ever would have had I not just opened up and talked about whatever came to mind.

Life: The ultimate learning experience

I had no idea when I began this journey how something which is both simple and complicated; being open and honest about my thoughts, feelings and experiences; would resonate with so many people, and give them the opportunity to, in turn, share what they’d kept to themselves as well. It seems that by opening up one’s soul, we provide a safe place for someone else to do the same.

I’ve also learned that when someone shuts down on me, it is part of their own journey and nothing to do with me. Though at times, it is still difficult to not take it to heart, I do accept that the person has their own reasons and the right to see what I do and say as threatening to their well-being and to do what they feel is necessary to protect that. (a couple of people where I dance come to mind. One who stopped speaking to me around the time she got married for reasons I cannot fathom, and another when I touched too closely on a personal issue, and pressed too hard to help her heal something she wasn’t ready to release). I remind myself that it is not required that they explain themselves to me, but just for me to accept their choices, learn from my own reactions and move on. As far as I know, that is all their time in my life was meant to do.

Thankfully, most of the experiences I’ve had have been incredibly positive and have helped me to grow in ways I can clearly see. I used to say “If I touch only one life and make it a little better, I’ve been successful here.” While it has been nice to hear that I have done so a time or two, it is more fulfilling to just keep putting myself out there, allowing the Universe to take my words where it may and use them as it will to help someone through a tough time, or even better, help them learn the lessons I struggle with; patience, kindness, compassion, acceptance; and spread what they’ve learned around as well.

When we fight “against” something, what we really do is make it stronger by giving it our energy.

I’ve long contended that if you want a weed to wither and die, you deny it food and water. In the case of things which involve humans; war, hatred, poverty, politics; the food is our energy, our attention. I’m learning that it is more than just a waste of energy to hate someone or something. It’s a  giving away of power, and makes them stronger! While I certainly am no saint and cannot love those who have hurt me, others I care about or the world in general, I am learning to simply withdraw my attention. It might be a clear withdrawal like blocking someone on social media or from commenting on my blog, but usually, it’s just walking away from the topic in general.

You could say I put my head in the sand because I don’t listen to the news or seek it out on the ‘net any more. That’s your prerogative. I like to think of it as paying attention to the things that truly matter; the lives and comfort of the men and women who are sent to fight those wars; the fireman saving a kitten; the human beings behind the hopelessness of homelessness, the success stories of those who seek compassionate treatment of stray and abandoned animals, abused children and people who might make a better life for themselves with a little bit of help through a tough time.

So if I fail to show interest in the atrocities our media tells us are being committed by another government, or the constant bashing going on in our political system, or the latest drive by shooting…this is my way of trying to change things. I use my energy to send compassion to both victim and perpetrator (because, in truth, isn’t someone who commits an atrocity on another soul a victim themselves?), to cheer every success story I see from animal rescue groups and activists and, yes, to share my journey, both successes and failures as well.

Not everyone is ready for the concept of healing from our energy field in, but should we withhold our energy from them when they need it?

The world is changing…no, the world mind is changing. More and more people are embracing healing practices which look at the Human Energy Field and the Universal Energy Field. Many realize that the maladies we humans suffer come through those energy fields and as such, can be healed there as well. But not everyone is ready to embrace this. As I found out the hard way, some want to hang onto whatever it is that makes them ill, not because they want to be ill, but because they feel comfortable with the thing which they cling to. It’s safe and it’s familiar. They do, however, feel comfortable with the prayers of others, or healing energy, little knowing that, in truth, they are simply using the energy infusion from others through their thoughts to heal themselves.

I have friends who have come far enough along in their evolution towards Divinity and connection with their Higher Self that they seek answers when they feel less than 100%, and want to know if something in their past, their present or their ancestry is keeping them from being well. Others are just not ready to embrace such concepts. Neither one is wrong. They are simply following their own path, and it is for me and others as well to simply provide what is needed at the level to which it can be accepted.

If I’ve learned nothing else, it is that we are all in this together, be we cabbages, kings or anything in between.

I used to struggle with the concepts of religion and spirituality, but more, of where I fit in in the general scheme of things. Strangely enough, it was the original Star Wars movies which first began resonating with me, and from there, I arrived at the feeling that we are all connected, a sort of Universal mind. As a result, I sought out books, videos, webinars and other learning tools to help me grasp a concept which is so much bigger than a single human being. What I found was that I am not a single human being. I am Source, and Source is me. Every human being, every animal, everything which has a soul (and who am I to decide who and what that might be?) is in me. I am all of the good, the bad, the in between, the things I love and the things I hate but try not to…in short, we are all intimately connect by the Universal Energy Field. Like a circle, there is no beginning and no end.

And so, I’ll go on writing about cabbages and kings and everything in between.

My gratitudes today are:
1. I am grateful for all I have learned and all I have yet to learn.
2. I am grateful for the people who encourage me to keep writing, even if they are simply followers of my blog or hits on my stats.
3. I am grateful for the methods I have learned to trigger creativity.
4. I am grateful for lazy days spent hiding from the howling wind, warm and safe in my house with kitties who need cuddling.
5. I am grateful for the relationship I have with my daughter, Heather. While sometimes turbulent (as most mother-daughter relationships can be) she is one of my dearest friends and most prolific teachers.

Namaste

And now for some shameless self-promotion:
I’d love it if you’d visit my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel. I’ve created this page as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” it or leave a comment! Thank you!

July 24, 2014 Learning new things

The world wants more drama! Who knew?

Over the last few days, I’ve published several posts, but the one which got the most attention, hands down, was the one in which I went completely out of character and addressed a controversial issue. Granted, I did it objectively, providing facts and figures to support my statements, nonetheless, it received more attention than any other post since I moved to this platform.

This phenomenon distresses me, if only because my purpose lately has been geared towards love and acceptance. I left my rabble rousing, rebel self behind and have grown unaccustomed to stirring the pot until it boils over. I sincerely hope that it won’t be necessary to bring back anger and strife just to woo readers. If so, I may have to rethink my current goals!

When I began this blog about five years ago, the purpose was two-fold. First, I wanted to be more compassionate about my parents’ suicides, and second, I wanted to share my healing journey with others who might have had the same experience. Part of the journey towards healing is to accept and forgive, unequivocally, everyone and everything.

We see examples every day of people who carry around unimaginably heavy burdens of anger, guilt, blame, self-recrimination and other self-inflicted packages which, if they are not released, will ultimately bury them under health problems and emotional misery which could have been avoided by finding a way to let go and bring joy instead of misery into their lives. I say this, not from the point of view of someone who stands outside looking in, and passes judgement over whether someone else’s problems are heavy or not, but as someone who, for years, held onto blame and anger and negative thinking; and was much the worse for it.

It wasn’t until I found a way to not only let go and forgive, but accept everyone else’s choices that I found my burdens lessening. As I emerged from the hole I had created for myself, I found that the world was really a place where people could find joy in spite of the challenges life might put before them.

My first “Aha moment”.

And then I learned something really amazing! Those challenges with which we are constantly presented aren’t put there to try to bury us! Quite the contrary! They are there to teach us how to be stronger, or more forgiving or more patient…the choices are as endless as the lessons we humans came her to learn! So, instead of complaining about how everything kept going wrong, I learned to be grateful for the lessons and for the fact that, each and every time, I found a way through it! Instead of coming to the end of the latest challenge and asking “OK, what’s next?” I learned to say: “Hot damn! I figured another one out and added another tool to my virtual tool box!”

I have to say that it’s a darn good thing that tool box is virtual because I’ve added so much to it in the last few years that it would take someone of gargantuan proportions to actually carry it otherwise!

Once again, I’ve rambled off into unforeseen territory, but I will always revert to my ADHD run amok style in the end. I’ll be the one dancing through the halls throwing imaginary heart shaped confetti while the doom and gloomers continue to argue over who has more right to this piece of land or whose killing of other humans is more justified.

If you want things to change, change where you’re directing your energy.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…and again…and again. Emotions are a very powerful energy source. With our emotions, we can either choose to fuel a war or help forge a peace. I’ve chosen to don my Pollyanna attire and, whatever the situation, send love and compassion to ALL parties involved. I don’t care if it’s the guy who shot up a bunch of people or the families who have to mourn someone who died too young. I don’t care if it’s the suicide bombers or the families of their victims. Both sides deserve our compassion and love because both sides have reason to feel hurt and abandoned. Please don’t think that means I feel that the actions of the perpetrators were justified. I simply feel that they deserve compassion for the situations which led to their actions.

Think about it for a moment. If I send anger and hate to those who killed innocents, what am I really doing? I’m fueling them. I’m giving them more energy to do more harm. But if I send them love and compassion, it’s not only completely unexpected, but it sucks the energy out of their harmful actions and plans.

I’ve always had a problem understanding the phrase “fight for peace”. If you’re fighting, how can you be peaceful. I’m hoping for a time when human beings cease to find it necessary to have power over other human beings and can, instead, live together in harmony, sharing their strengths and honoring someone else’s weakness as an opportunity to give of oneself.

As I meander back to the original topic of this post, I just can’t bring myself to use this forum to generate conflict. I may, on occasion, spur a debate, but I will always expect the participants to be respectful of each other and their right to a different opinion.

Stepping off of the soapbox now.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the diversity of my friends. Without it, I’d be a lot dumber!
2. I am grateful for a sweaty night of dancing with a bunch of like minded people. When we’re all sweaty, there’s nothing wrong with sharing a sweaty hug!
3. I am grateful for air conditioning. Without it, I’d be melting!
4. I am grateful for my own little place in the world to share my opinions, asked for or not.
5. I am grateful for the opportunity to spread a little joy and maybe, just maybe, make the world a better place!

Love and Light.

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