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

Posts tagged ‘allowing’

Building Relationships Naturally

Relationships Then and Now

In years past, I didn’t consciously set out to build relationships either professionally or personally. I truly was a lone wolf, locked inside my own tiny, exclusive world. It wasn’t until maybe the last 8-10 years I started to make a conscious effort to connect with people. But as opportunities and challenges arise, I’m learning despite my best efforts to remain an island in and of myself, I did connect with a few people, and those relationships are all the more valuable for having gotten past my defensive layers.

Some show up for me when I’m feeling particularly bruised and battered, not so much by my current life and circumstances, but by the effects of dealing with and releasing past trauma and pain. Others step in when my professional life needs shaking up or the addition of a few new clients. Both are invaluable, and I’m incredibly grateful for the people who made the effort to reach a part of me I used to expend a lot of energy to hide from the world, and even myself.

Creativity Always Lurks Beneath the Surface

Lately, accounting work has been minimal. I didn’t think a lot about it until I was struggling to write this post. I wrote reams of babble, but nothing shook me loose from the well of creative muck until I got a phone call from one of those relationships. As we talked, I realized having regularly scheduled analytical work doesn’t detract from my creative work. In fact, the shifting from right brain to left brain and back is what inspires my creativity and makes it flow more freely. I don’t think it’s too farfetched to admit my level of creativity is directly connected to the amount of analytical work I’m doing.

Granted, words have been flowing freely for awhile now, and I’ve truly had no complaints. But there came a time when the momentum slowed, and I realize now it meant I needed to change things up; move my regularly scheduled activities around a bit, and kick everything else up a notch or three. What this means in simple terms is I’ll be more likely to jump on opportunities for analytical work now. As the clouds clear, I know it’s actually an integral part of my creative process; a kind of meditation for the creative side of my brain.

While I’m exercising my analytical abilities, my creative side gets to play in the sandbox or swing on the swings. It has no immediate need to perform, so the pressure is off. Frankly, my creative side, unlike my analytical side does not work well under pressure. It’s more likely to shut down and fight the more the adult demands things get done.

Allowing All of My Sides to Come Out to Play

I’d have to say analytical me is the adult in the relationship with myself, and creative me is the child. She doesn’t handle structure well, and loves to blurt out whatever is on her mind. She’ll cross her arms, and stick her lower lip out in a pout when criticized, or expected to perform a task, rather than allowed to treat life as one big playground.

Long ago, I learned to rephrase things such that everything was an opportunity rather than a chore. I think I forgot that temporarily in the turmoil of AB5 which limits my ability to work, though not as much as it does for thousands of others. I got stuck in “have to’s” and forgot about “get to’s”. I need to remind myself:

  • I get to go to the gym every week
  • I get to do my own chores
  • I get to eat healthy meals every day
  • I get to balance my work load at my discretion
  • I get to write 3 blog posts a week, and schedule them a month in advance
  • I get to accept clients I love working with
  • I get to build both personal and professional relationships
  • I get to read other peoples’ work and offer comments and constructive criticism

The list could go on and on, but the reality is, if I redirect my mind set, I never have to do anything. Everything in my life becomes a joy and a privilege. As an added bonus, my words once again begin to flow, and writing one blog post or five becomes effortless and enjoyable. Once I get out of my own way with all the obligatory crap, my inner child pulls out her bucket and pail, and builds another sandcastle of words on whatever topic catches her fancy at the moment.

Relationship With My Multi-Faceted Self

Looking back at where this post has gone, I realize the most important relationship I finally allowed to grow and thrive was the one with myself. Once I recognized, accepted, and even celebrated my multiple facets, and allowed all of them to have their turn at the wheel, life became easier, more pleasurable, and a lot more fun.

Everyone has multiple sides. Some keep a tight rein and only allow certain ones to show; certain ones to run their lives. If you ask me, being the responsible one all the time gets old, and leads to a colorless life. But being the crazy, creative one takes its toll as well, as I’ve recently learned.

You have to give each of your sides (and there are those who have far more than two) time to rest, and time to play. Even responsible you has a playful side if you give it a chance. Even creative you has a responsible side. Those sides will look and feel completely different, but the results are the same. You get more done in less time when you allow yourself to have fun in the process.

A Time and a Place for Each Side

My creative side needed boundaries. For a long time, I was all over the map, doing things when I felt like it. Once I created a schedule and due dates, my productivity skyrocketed. I didn’t rein my creativity in. I simply gave it a more defined place in which to play. I learned having a few expectations meant having regular times to play, rather than being constricting.

As an accountant, I have my creative side, and it’s served me well when it comes to problem solving. It allows me to “think outside the box” and find solutions where none seem to be. I’ve learned to use the tools at hand in ways the designer might not have intended. As long as the result is easy to work with and accurate, does it really matter how I got there? My methods might make someone who is more tightly wound a little crazy, but these days, those types rarely hit my radar, and never have to work with me.

That’s another thing about relationships. As I’ve learned to be myself and, as they said in the 60’s “let it all hang out”, I attract those who find my quirks either entertaining, enjoyable, or at least acceptable. Those who are put off by them simply walk away, sometimes muttering in their beard about my weirdness. That’s a good thing. I love my friends and the mutual weirdness that drew us together in the first place.

Allowing Time for Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for the multiple sides of my personal coin.
  2. I’m grateful for the lessons I learned about being myself and attracting those who appreciate the real me in all her forms.
  3. I’m grateful for those who saw through my walls and connected with me in spite of myself. They are often the ones with the strongest, most resilient bonds.
  4. I’m grateful for opportunities that come from relationships rather than bush beating.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; opportunities, friendships, relationships, joy, love, freedom, health, peace, balance, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

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

Finding My Flow With Ease

Going With the Flow

https://www.flickr.com/photos/jfolsom/5931303869/in/photolist-a38tZP-dmn34H-a7FwQm-antZ2h-bwzwuR-5stPPH-6EsqoX-T4qUgL-4hmxbh-8MJPmb-fEFoSF-kCt71i-2ikr4t-8MF532-WNwMjy-8tMnKX-fEFoGg-fEXXd7-afuD1a-8MEuUF-95Mr5j-dySrRf-bfNhFR-9oSxoh-5WgF4Q-8MHZfC-7VroTL-9PiLGB-oaW3YQ-K4CQFx-8YSrLp-mSLwB-7VqeAh-5hfnTx-KfhXca-e3u44f-99b5UG-7BeZaD-8MHAVw-kAEoL3-6qZ9C6-5thpD3-ai9p7Z-9gCot5-o8bKtB-5W8sPu-85jA66-6PCR9M-bJ7tue-97oqD4There are times I accumulate topics like leaves on the tree outside my office window. Other times, I have to really dig deep into my subconscious to find something worth writing about. Either way, the words eventually flow, and a blog is born. Is either situation better than the other? I don’t think so. One merely requires more of a priming of the pump, so to speak. The words are always there. Sometimes I need a little extra effort to get out of my own way.

It’s a lot like life, I believe. When we try to force things, what comes out isn’t always optimal. It might be a convoluted pile of garbage because we made it come out instead of allowing it to emerge in it’s own time. Kind of like a butterfly. If you allow it to emerge from it’s chrysalis when it’s good and ready, resting as needed, and hydrating its wings at the proper time, it’ll emerge as a beautiful, healthy creature. If you try to help it along, forcing nature as it were, the poor thing may never fly, and will forever be disfigured.

I’ve learned writing is a lot like emerging from a chrysalis, at least for me. I have to allow the words, my characters, my scenes to flow out of that deep, dark nether region of my brain where all the ideas float around in mental soup until they form into something that’s ready to emerge whole and essentially complete.

Living Intentionally

Lately, my dreams have been especially vivid, forcing me to write them down more frequently. I in the flowsuspect an idea for a story is stewing since I set a couple of intentions:

  1. Do NaNoWriMo this November
  2. Start writing more fiction, and especially some short stories

I have no due date for the second one. I simply put the idea out there. I’m doing really well keeping ahead on my blog posts and Medium scheduling. It’s time to spread my wings and explore currently uncharted waters. My dreams indicate I’m more than ready to begin the journey. Still, I tell myself: “Just a couple more blog posts. You’re 3 weeks ahead now. Why not make it an even 4?” It’s tempting to acquiesce—to reach the goal I set months ago to finally be 4 weeks ahead.

But can’t I do both? Can’t I stay 4 weeks ahead, and add to my repertoire of fiction, and get the rest of the chapters of “Sasha’s Journey” edited and published on ChapterBuzz? Of course I can. It’s all a matter of discipline. Once I would have said I lack the discipline to make these dreams; these intentions a reality. Now I know better.

A Multitude of Accomplishments When You Shut Off the Inner Critic

accomplishmentsIn the last 2 years, I’ve accomplished so much more than I believed I could.

  • Consistently schedule blog posts at least 3 weeks in advance
  • Consistently have all Medium posts scheduled at least a week before the next month begins
  • Maintain a schedule of thrice weekly gym visits
  • Release 20 pounds and keep most of it off
  • Edit and upload chapters of “Sasha’s Journey”
  • Finish the first draft of “Rebuilding After Suicide”
  • Finish the first edit of “Rebuilding After Suicide”
  • Create separate files for each chapter of “Rebuilding After Suicide” and start the second edit

There are a lot of little things I’ve also managed in this relatively short span of time too. Each one is a building block which allows for the larger ones. Probably the biggest, though is maintaining my Morning Pages for the last few years. I may miss a day or two here and there, but it is by far the most long-lived of my healthy habits to date.

Checking In and Being Grateful

One of the biggest reasons I’m able to build on my healthy habits is I learned to take a step back every so often and give myself credit for what I’ve accomplished. Nothing is too small or too insignificant. Sometimes the most innocuous habit is exactly what I need to put something a whole lot bigger into play. It’s the cog in the wheel without which the whole dynamic wouldn’t flow.

What began as daily gratitudes for people, places, and things has grown into daily gratitudes for myself. It took a long time for me to realize I deserved some of my own gratitude too. Once I did, the number of things I found to be grateful for grew exponentially. Once I recognized the gratitude-worthy things in myself, I shone a spotlight on everything else in and around me which was also worth recognizing and appreciating.

Giving Inner Guidance Free Rein

Take blog topics, for example. Most days, I sit down at the computer without a single idea of what I want to write. I simply have a day which needs a blog post. It’s on the schedule, and that’s reason enough. At first, I’d have to sit for 10 or 15 minutes typing nonsense until a topic appeared. Then it was maybe a paragraph. Now, it often takes the suggestion that I need to write, and nothing more.

I sit down in front of the computer, tell my internal editor to go play on the monkey bars, and let my fingers tell whatever tale they have in mind. Today it might be about gratitude and the progress I’ve made. Tomorrow, it might be another health discovery I’ve made. (and stay tuned. My latest book is “Liver Rescue” by Anthony William, and a mere 3 chapters of it has been seriously enlightening!) Another day, it might be something that came from a dream, or an observation I made while I was “peopling”.

The point is, the mind is a maelstrom of thoughts and ideas. I can try to corral those thoughts blogand ideas, or I can give them their turn to come out and play. Intention setting is powerful. Sitting my butt down in front of the computer and letting whichever one wins the race to the top come out and play is my only real responsibility these days. I’m merely the vehicle. The ideas have lives and minds of their own. I am incredibly grateful for all those little minds fighting each other for the chance to flow through my fingers.

Without them, I’d have written very few words. Only the first of my blog posts involved an effort to maintain control. That’s a battle I no longer choose to fight. It was long and frustrating, and the words it yielded needed major editing before they saw the light of day for anyone but me. Nowadays, when I allow the words to flow on their own, I do minimal editing. What you see is what came out in pure, unadulterated flow. It’s what has earned me the reputation of writing rawly and honestly; a reputation I’m honored to hold.

Telling it Like it Is

I’ve never believed in sugar coating things. It’s gotten me into trouble over the years because I didn’t live up to the standards of the people I attracted. It took years to learn there was nothing wrong with me or the people around me. I needed to get better at attracting.

If you’re reading this now, and have stuck around for awhile following my ADD brain from topic to topic, you’re someone who can appreciate how I write and what I write about without getting offended. You don’t have to agree with what I write, and I hope there are plenty of areas of disagreement because it makes for a good discussion. As long as we disagree respectfully, and maybe even learn something from the other person’s point of view, I’ve accomplished what I set out to do.

I share my ideas and you share yours. We get a chance to learn about each other, and maybe ponder ideas which differ from our own experiences. If you ask me, it’s a win-win situation. It’s an intention I set long ago, and am both happy and proud to keep nurturing it.

Grateful for Everything, Large and Small

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for intentions both fulfilled, and waiting their turn.
  2. I’m grateful for people whose opinions and perspectives differ from mine. They allow me to learn and grow instead of stagnating in a comfortable little rut.
  3. I’m grateful for warm, sunny days as they help me get my butt back in gear to keep body, mind, and spirit healthy.
  4. I’m grateful for the lessons I’ve learned about keeping my creativity flowing, and for learning sometimes it’s all about sitting my butt down and starting.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, writing, ideas, myself, joy, sunshine, blue skies, rain, opportunities, motivation, energy, friendship, joy, peace, harmony, balance, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

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

The Invisibility of Emotional Abandonment

Healing Abandonment Issues

Created with CanvaThe last few months have brought a series of epiphanies which, when I finally connected the dots made me realize I had abandonment issues. Yet, a thorough review of my last 60-odd years revealed no particular incident when someone abandoned me—or so I thought.

Further review of my personal time line told another story. Sure, I haven’t been physically abandoned in the literal sense. The abandonment issues in my personal history are something I hadn’t even considered. They all occurred on an emotional level. It could explain why I found them so easy to stuff down inside—to deny their existence.

My mother, who had a history of being emotionally abandoned herself, always told me I was the more difficult child. In retrospect, of course I was. I was the first child who lived (her first pregnancy ended in miscarriage), and I’m not sure she was emotionally prepared to be a mother in the first place. At 21, she’d never lived alone. She went from her mother’s house to her husband’s apartment, but only after the ring was on her finger.

History Repeats Itself if You Let It

Sure, it was a different time, but I know from experience there’s a lot to learn https://www.flickr.com/photos/60740813@N04/34504735502/in/photolist-Uz4MJN-7H8hqz-r2covS-8wbGLH-8wcEVv-8weaum-8wcFMc-r2c6ww-r2iYrg-qmL3eU-8w9Dpr-r2jtjr-riJFWH-8wcT7A-8wcK8r-8wbRuV-8wcj84-8wanQx-8waPPT-8w9c4V-8w97ek-r2j3iV-riCAji-8w8skp-r2cTQq-8wfuwo-8waMUv-8wfDJJ-8wdgXY-qZq9cM-8wd2u3-8wfVzw-8wbq15-8w8bJP-8w9Wdc-8wcQdR-riF3r5-riJvW2-8wbTSq-r2cNH1-8wc6wN-r2d6wG-8wcM6o-r2jiHn-8wdexo-riJBiz-8bQ1eC-8wfeYo-riJJHV-8w9Yqrabout living on your own, and having kids right away doesn’t make it easier. In my mom’s case, she didn’t even know how to cook, and learned on her own rather than asking for her mother’s help. Barely 2 years and one miscarriage later, she had me to deal with as well; a helpless baby who demanded more of her time than she knew how to give.

By the time my sister came along 2 1/2 years later, she’d made her share of mistakes, but learned a lot too. Of course my sister was an easier child! She was born to an experienced mother!

It didn’t help when I contracted Scarlatina which led to a penicillin allergy before I was 5. Add to that, a blindness scare at 10 before they realized I was susceptible to ocular migraines, a legacy from my dad and his mom. So if my mother shut down emotionally to protect her own shaky sanity, I can see now she did it for good reason, if not in my best interests.

Searching for the Love I Needed

https://www.flickr.com/photos/gastaum/14490581818/in/photolist-o5u28y-YfsirJ-k8x7MM-bxbe69-W1rTYx-arWoEp-9hSaAd-ahFY4U-dUPFnv-cbTML-9dRrhQ-nNcDz4-W1scJn-6Q5kQB-aPHuVt-dF2PfA-qsan3a-9Q3GD-7puXf-ca3kUb-8Qnh5S-7EPcJ1-9RZQ7L-2jv27s-3ytNAS-4Ax3Vm-7P6ms6-fLeJCZ-9eA4z4-dUzmHi-dJ2ajE-4s4eeJ-9ZWATV-4Ax3K3-6459Qr-r7YPq9-7ZBske-3ypqPa-7yi435-9uRzwZ-kdLtng-2c5brCn-HLfJSP-qTk7jd-oSdAwv-pNeYXi-3fqAZV-5btNtn-72Kth6-V4V7jqLacking my mother’s love, I spent years trying to earn the love and affection from a man who, quite frankly, hadn’t been trained to give it. Until my grandmother died when I was 12, she and my grandfather were deeply immersed in each other. Their kids, my dad and his sister, got whatever was left. Affection was typically communicated with sarcasm and ridicule.

As I look back, no matter how hard I tried to measure up to my dad’s expectations so I could earn a love which should have been given simply because I was his child, he’d always set the bar a little higher than I could reach. In the end, he loved me as best he could, but for a shy, introverted, little girl with zero self-confidence, it wasn’t enough.

I grew up imitating my dad. But I wasn’t nearly as good at it as he, and made a lot of poor choices in my desperation to be loved and accepted. I vacillated between hardening my outer shell and playing chameleon for decades until the shell started breaking down and I began making drastic changes.

Learning the Difference Between Seeking and Allowing

The first was to divorce my alcoholic and emotionally abusive husband. Yes, I’m https://www.flickr.com/photos/134921587@N06/23686767022/in/photolist-C67SAS-ctvgV1-oTB61e-G23PMn-21xTKc-qJZokP-BitVnD-ctvjEb-ctv2Wo-C86UJi-5yyHup-dGchk9-ctvkoG-8smaT9-Hb9D9-bCMY61-ctvDdJ-fjCHU-DjAHuB-a7ZNLt-qGVeSr-sp457s-RLx6vm-62Xk7K-qfydfc-FFnBTk-ewnTH9-ctvqbf-pYhS7Z-agphz5-2eWFpQN-dGcfxE-bRGHjR-piX8Sk-piJE7f-ctvJCN-oh53V-bRGHxt-bRGJ5r-qfGLzR-qfEkx7-piHFu7-qyFAYh-oh4KB-oh5Y5-ctuKBf-fjDom-fjDY6-CRBBws-9aV9yxanother statistic; a woman who marries a man similar to her most damaged parent; in this case, my mom, in hopes of fixing what’s broken and earning the love she was denied. Trust me, it’s a battle that can’t be won.

What followed was a series of fits and starts. I hid inside my self-made cave, pretending I needed no one for several years. I had a couple of emotionally bankrupt relationships before giving up dating for what would ultimately last more than 20 years. Still, I knew I wasn’t meant to live without love. But experience hadn’t taught me what it really looked like, much less, how to go about finding it.

Connecting With My Spirituality and Self-Love

When I was introduced to “The Secret” I felt an almost physical shift. At first, it affected my own self-image and drove me to read more and more about fixing myself. I now have a shelf full of books ranging from “Laws of Attraction” to Kabbalah. Some have helped me more than others, but I’m not done learning.

The walls came down, the shell shattered. I’ve opened up to people and changed my social circle a time or seven. The most significant change I’ve seen is people opening up to me. Therein lies the biggest hole in my earlier years.

Breaking the Legacy and Removing My Masks

My parents, and everyone around me were a series of constantly smiling masks. No one shared their true self, and everyone was damaged in some way; some far more than others. It was a world where you either pretended your world was perfect, or faced ridicule and disgust from those around you. Broken was considered ugly. Vulnerable was weak.

By the time I figured it out, I’d seen first-hand what it cost to keep those masks in place. I’d had a few melt-downs myself, in the privacy of my own home. My mother had had the ultimate meltdown, swallowed a bunch of sleeping pills and laid her masks down for good. A few years later, my dad made a similar choice, using a gun instead of pills. He, too put down the masks and lowered the walls after a lifetime of holding them in place, sometimes out of sheer stubbornness. I have to wonder if there were times when the hold was tenuous, and his mood bordered on desperation.

Building on a Strong, Supportive Foundation At Last

Lest you think this is an excuse for a pity party, let me assure you, it’s quite the opposite. Lacking a strong emotional foundation, I had to figure out how to erect one of my own. I learned in the process it’s not something you do in a vacuum.

I’ve learned to gather around me strong, supportive friends who are able to share their own times of need, and reach out to me. The foundation I’ve built is not just my own strengths shoring up internal weaknesses. It’s built on what I’ve been able to offer my friends, but more important; what they’ve been able to offer me.

We are stronger for the people we’re able to give to and accept from. None of us have everything we need to build our foundation, any more than we have every skill, or all the knowledge we need to live a successful, fulfilled life. My parents never figured that out, nor did theirs. I was given the opportunity to change the pattern. I was also given a daughter who, like me, wanted to see it change.

We’ve each made changes in our own ways, but have also built our own communities, both together and separate. It may have begun with unrecognized emotional abandonment, but if you ask me, what it’s grown into was (almost) worth the tough lessons I had to learn alone.

Making Gratitude a Daily Practice

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for the life I was given; all the hills and valleys, smooth roads, and potholes. I’ve learned and I’ve grown from the challenges.
  2. I’m grateful for the friends who even now are patient with me when I knee-jerk and crawl back into my hole. They know when to push and when to let me be to figure it out.
  3. I’m grateful for dancing which, in it’s own way, forces me to get out of my shell and out from behind the walls.
  4. I’m grateful for the writing which has allowed me to safely express things until I was ready to share more openly. And for the people it’s brought to me for the sharing.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, friendship, sharing, vulnerability, joy, dancing, motivation, inspiration, support, community, health, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

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

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