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

Posts tagged ‘attraction’

Rawness is Beautiful

Reveling in Our Rawness

A few years ago, I gave myself permission to stop living down to the expectations of others; to rip off the masks I’d donned to conform with those expectations, and expose the raw gem I’d been hiding away. It was the best decision I have ever made.

We spend too many years trying to be what others expect us to be while our true selves are dying inside for lack of sunshine and air. Yet as we chase someone else’s dream, any chance of happiness and fulfillment disappears in the distance. It stays behind along with the self who is honest, true, unadorned, and unadulterated by society’s arbitrary expectations.

Since they are arbitrary and at the whim of someone who is following their dream, it’s a full-time job just keeping up with its fluid nature. What does this exercise in futility give us except ulcers, and a host of other stress-related maladies? The one thing it does not give us is a happiness of our own, a joy in our own unique being.

Being Real is Scary. The Rewards are Infinite.

Certainly, it takes courage to expose the rawness of ourselves to the world. Those masks we wear give us a protective shell as well as a certain amount of invisibility in an often harsh world. What many of us fail to realize is if we have the courage to be ourselves and expose ourselves to the hurt, we’ll grow stronger automatically. Our skin will thicken with each trauma, creating a transparent barrier, even while we allow others to see the genuine article rather than some cobbled together version of what we think they want to see.

Which brings up another matter. We don masks and fashion ourselves in an image we believe will be attractive to others. The trouble is, that facade is created with the best information available to us and crafted with our own perception of the information we gather. As such, it will never perfectly fit what the person or people around us see as perfection, nor will it be a one-size-fits-all image. It means we’ll always be short of the mark with everyone; some more than others, and we’ll be constantly changing to fit each person’s expectations.

Sounds like an awful lot of effort for minimal return, yet it happens around us, and sometimes to us every day. I’d say it’s the true definition of the “rat race”, this constant effort to be what’s expected, but doing so without complete information or control over any changes in those expectations.

Sure, there’s a certain amount of modification to our behavior required to coexist with people and to hold down a job. We all have moments when we’d like to tell someone exactly what we think, but hold back for a variety of reasons. If you ask me, the only valid reason for tempering words and actions is to avoid hurting someone unnecessarily. Anything else is just bulltwaddle. Frankly, if you hide your light under a bushel because you’re scared to make waves, you are hurting someone, the most important person in your world: YOU!

Taking a Tip from the Millenials

Perhaps that’s one of the positive aspects the Millennials have tapped into. Many aren’t willing to be what someone else wants them to be or conform their behavior to the “norm” so they’re launching their own endeavors. Entrepreneurialism is certainly on the rise and more people are choosing to work from their own space than to commute to someone else’s. After reading about the horrors of one friend’s commute when the company she recently joined moved its offices to a far less convenient location, I’m even more inclined to stay off the roads during rush hour. (Which is also a misnomer if you’ve ever been on the 101 or 405 during heavy commuting hours. Except for motorcyclists, I haven’t seen anyone rushing anywhere!)

More and more, we see the words “authentic” and “genuine” thrown about. I’ve been known to do it myself as I’ve yet to find a better way to express the concept of letting people see who you really are, to expose your vulnerability (mostly) fearlessly. I can tell you I’ve learned people respond better to someone who lets their imperfections show. Why? Because we all have at least a little bit of insecurity, which prevents us from opening up to someone unwilling to show a few cracks in their shell.

Life Kicks Us Down But We Can Choose to Get Back Up

By the time we reach adulthood, most of us have been slapped down a time or ten by someone who was stronger, or more likely, had stronger walls than we did. We’ve suffered an indignity or two and learned to mask our pain in public. Too often, we take it further than we should, and mask it from ourselves as well, only to discover we can’t do so indefinitely.

I’m learning it’s more important to let the scar tissue form and be our protection. We’ll be happier with our lives if we don’t let the lessons stifle the beautiful, sensitive, raw human being living inside our skin. Even more important, we’ll attract people who are more likely to fit us if we are ourselves and not some false front.

Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places

I spent the first 40 or so years of this lifetime attracting people who were wrong for me on many levels. Yet, they were right for the person I was pretending to be, and taught me some valuable lessons along the way. After years of wondering why I never seemed to fit in, I realized I never would as long as I tried to be someone I wasn’t.

It took years to shed the masks and break down the walls, and I know there are still a few left to vanquish, but these days, the people in my life are far more suited to the person I am deep inside. They communicate in a way my heart understands and responds to. They aren’t afraid to talk about the things they struggle with. Most of all, they aren’t afraid or ashamed to ask for help when they encounter a situation which requires additional insight or tools they haven’t acquired or mastered.

Break the Mold and Thrive on Originality

We live in a world where we’ve been brainwashed into believing we have to be some modern-day version of the Stepford Wives. That society was rotten to the core, and many parts of ours is too. The good news is, more and more people are breaking away from a model which assumes we should be happy with a hierarchical society where a few people run everything, and everyone else is a mindless drone. I say, it’s about damn time!

Like an uncut, unpolished gemstone, we humans are most beautiful in our raw form. That doesn’t mean we don’t clean up a bit or recognize a few social mores when interacting with others. It simply means being who we are or, in the immortal words of Dr. Seuss “Why fit in when you were meant to stand out?” or “Be who you are and say what you feel. Because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

This week’s Live with Sheri and Friends addresses the topic of Rawness too. You can find it here.

Feeling Grateful Every Day

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful I’m learning to be comfortable without all the pretty packaging.
  2. I am grateful for the people who have come into my life since I stopped caring about fitting in.
  3. I am grateful for the beauty in my life now it’s filled with people who are real.
  4. I am grateful for inspiration from unlikely sources.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; inspiration, motivation, health, energy, connections, dreams, goals, processes, joy, friendship, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She specializes in creating content that helps entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author

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February 27, 2015 Obsession

I often wonder: Is it human to obsess over something in our lives?

Do you do it? Do you obsess over something in your life? It could by your job or one you want; your weight or your appearance; your choices; your relationships…or lack thereof; your children, human or otherwise; it’s almost anything you spend too much time thinking about and which often paralyzes your actions and turns your stomach into a churning knot.

For me, it has always been about a man to whom I was attracted or with whom I was involved. In fact, it got so bad and my choices were usually so personally destructive that I finally just stopped putting myself out there or looking at anyone with more than causal interest over ten years ago. For the record, I don’t recommend such a drastic solution to whatever your obsession might be. It is a bandaid solution at best, and in the end, it cures nothing. Because, you see, once again, I find myself obsessing over someone who, in true obsessive fashion, I’ve convinced myself is completely unsuitable; but convincing myself that he’s unsuitable does not now, nor has it ever stopped my obsessing. It also doesn’t put me in a mental and emotional place where I might actually find a healthy relationship should I choose to do so.

Nor does it stop the flutter in my stomach when the gentleman in question happens to be in my vicinity, although, to my credit, I’ve learned from experience that I can and will behave normally should we actually have contact. I also no longer invent scenarios where all is wonderful and rosy between us. The one thing I’ve learned in my extended period of monkdom (assuming monks are non-gender specific) is that I don’t need to feed my obsession.

My admiration goes out to those who are able to swim in the sea and avoid the undertow

On the relatively few occasions when I’m actually among other humans in areas where there are friends, strangers and everything in between, I find my attention caught by the women who can move comfortably from man to man, chatting easily and making whoever they are with the center of their attention, even if it is only for the space of a dance. Even though, to me, it might be clear that a woman is on the lookout for that someone special, they seem to enjoy the process of the search. How do they learn to do that, or is it just an innate talent? Even worse, for me is the realization that there was a time that I was far more comfortable in the company of the male of the species, but at that time, I was also oblivious to any attraction they might have felt as I was quite happy just being “one of the guys”.

I supposed I’m still that person as long as I don’t feel that pull of attraction myself. I don’t know how to read the signs so I’m never certain that attraction is returned. Instead of putting out feelers (assuming I even knew how) I assume the worst and come up with all sorts of reasons why I couldn’t be attractive to the man in question. Yes, in spite of all of the work I’ve done, and the progress I’ve made into loving myself unconditionally, I still have one area in which I’ve yet to overcome my insecurities.

As I near my 60th birthday, which my daughter is taking great joy in reminding me, and see the many years I’ve traveled alone, save for my furry family, I wonder if this is simply the path I came here to follow. I have to wonder if my true purpose, like a writer’s life, is meant to be a solo flight. But then I think again and wonder if it is just that my own self-defense system fails to recognize the ones who attract me with their minds rather than their physical appearance and charisma? The truth is, I’ve been single or essentially single for nearly a quarter of a century and, to be perfectly honest, I’ve settled into this lifestyle I carved out for myself. To find a connection with someone which is powerful enough to overcome so many years of having it my way is going to require something extraordinary. Is there even a possibility such a thing exists? Or that I will recognize it? I suspect that it will take one of the Universe’s biggest and best head slaps just to get my attention. (am I just asking for it now?)

Common sense says that the first step towards curing an addiction (or in this case, compulsive obsession) is to recognize that you have a problem.

If I define this obsession as a simple self-defense mechanism to protect my heart from hurt, is it really a problem, or am I making more of it than necessary? If I acknowledge that it is a problem, does that mean I will ultimately find a cure, assuming a cure is to be found? Or could the real issue be that I’ve learned to love myself so much that I no longer see any reason to share me with anyone else?

Admittedly, I’ve learned to smile genuinely rather than gag when I see couples looking at each other with all of their love spilling out of their eyes. I am genuinely happy for my friends who have warm, loving relationships. But when I picture myself, I see that beautiful 13 acre property overlooking the beach and I have already determined what will go in each of the rooms and which rooms are scheduled to be remodeled to better suit my needs…yes MY needs. Which brings me back to my original question. Aside from the short time in which I was part of a couple and ultimately conceived my daughters, did I choose to ultimately walk my path in this lifetime alone? Is this simply an opportunity for my Spirit to feel completely independent? Are the defense mechanisms I’ve developed simply there to keep me focused on my true purpose?

And what about you? Is there something you continue to obsess about without really understanding how to get past it, or, in truth, why you even need to? Though I walk my road alone, it is always nice to hear that some of the things which challenge me are shared by others and, in fact, I’m not as alone as it might seem.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for introspection.
2. I am grateful for the weeks when I’m busy cooking and refilling my freezer. Not only will I have weeks when I don’t need to cook, but my grocery bills drop dramatically for awhile.
3. I am grateful for long cooking sessions. Chopping and preparing are wonderful times to think about life or work through a rough spot in a manuscript or simply drift along on a lovely cloud of joy.
4. I am grateful for a weekend of sharing the kitchen with my daughter and having my grandpuppy come looking for attention while I’m working in my office.
5. I am grateful for a mind which questions, folds, spindles and mutilates every thought or weird dream which finds its way into the twisty, windy, darkness which connects my mind, my soul and my purpose.
6. I am grateful for abundance: questions, answers, oddities, blessings, challenges, lessons, love, joy, happiness, health, harmony, peace and prosperity.

Blessed Be

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

January 27, 2015 Collecting hearts (stones, that is)

It all began with a gift.

Last, year, my friend Judy gave me a beautiful heart shaped stone. Although there’s been some Web version-Heartstone from Judy 1-27-15debate as to what the actual stone is, I believe it is fluorite, one of my personal favorites.

Over time, I’ve accumulated several more heart stones. Up until this weekend, they totaled four. The large fluorite one I’d received as a gift plus a large rose quartz, another large stone and a small cats eye.Web Version-Second set of heart stones 1-27-15 This weekend, however, I hit a gold mine! Thanks to my daughter, we found a store called “The Philosopher’s Stone” in Ocean Beach. They had an amazing collection of stones and crystals, but heart stones, in particular caught my eye. I added a large poppy jasper, a large green jasper, a small fluorite and a small chevron amethyst to my collection. Web Version-Philosophers Stone heart stones 1-27-15True to my normal pattern, each one has some sort of cracking or flaw to it. I’ve always been drawn to stones and crystals which have some kind of imperfection and the heart stones are no exception.

Honoring that inner guidance.

As my collection grew, I started grouping the heart stones around my sea salt candle, both to charge them and to help me as I did tarot spreads or wrote.Web Version-heartstones and candle 1-27-15. But the more I keep my heart stones grouped around the salt candle, the more I feel inspired to do so. Some may see it as my overactive imagination, while others might think I’m simply delusional, but I find that it gives me focus and clarity. In fact, when I try to write or do my one card tarot readings without lighting the candle, I feel blocked.

Even more unique attractions

As my collection of stones and crystals grows, I’m noticing a particular attraction to certain families, if you will. I will actively look for fluoritWeb Version-pendulums 1-27-15e and quartz, but I find that I’m drawn unconsciously to members of the jasper family. I believe it began when my first pendulum called to me. I learned after it chose me that it was Mookaite which is a form of jasper and, now that I have other jasper stones, see that it resembles the poppy jasper with its shades of reds and creams. I was told that my second pendulum is also Mookaite, though it is almost entirely a dark, blood red in color.

Each addition of jasper to my collection causes me to read just a little more about this unique and amazing stone. It is a member of the Quartz family and is considered to be a stone of protection, nurturing and prosperity. I’m also finding that it can be used to balance all of the chakras and, in fact, while I was using it to answer yes/no questions a couple of days ago, it started spinning in a circle when I got it close to one of my chakras. I instantly saw that it was showing me which ones needed clearing by the direction and speed in which it was rotating. The jaspers along with fluorite are also considered amplifying stones: stones which increase the effectiveness of other stones when they are placed in proximity.

I believe we draw or are drawn to what we need most.

As my journey continues, I find that I am either drawn to something or it comes into my life just when I need it the most, and am most ready to accept it without question. The exceptional attraction I’m having to jasper is no different than the critique groups I gained once I let go of the copywriting course. Sometimes, it’s at a point where I’m so very blocked that I need a rock to the head to clear the cobwebs, while others, it’s after I’ve let go of what isn’t working. Either way, I find that what I truly need is always there for the asking, or to be more accurate, for the allowing. But part of that allowing is dependent upon our willingness to let go of our personal clutter.

But when is clutter not clutter?

In some circles, this would surely be considered clutter in the extreme. 6d9ba-books But in the world of a writer, it is simply tools of the trade. Certainly, what appears to be a mess to an outsider contains books on the art of writing spanning decades when writing hid in the background before finally being allowed to come out of my personal closet. But most of what fills these shelves, not to mention the ones which aren’t visible in the picture are books of fiction spanning a wide variety of genres.

I will admit that most are in no particular order as Edgar Allan Poe rubs shoulders with the likes of Catherine Coulter, Mary O’Hara and J.D. Robb while sharing shelf space with everything from “B is for Betsy” to “The Hobbit”. Heinlein, Potok and Bradbury might be shelved beside Fern Michaels and Jude Devereaux, and Michener is scattered randomly throughout the room. My collection boasts the work of Shakespeare and Dickens, but Mary Poppins and the Laura InSpiritual shelf-revisedgalls Wilder’s “Little House on the Prairie” series are here as well. Dr. Seuss is well represented and what would a collection be without “Winnie the Pooh”, “Alice in Wonderland” and “The Wizard of Oz”? I even have a shelf dedicated to the metaphysical: Tarot, Kabballah and “Laws of Attraction”. 

To the uninitiated, this would appear to be a hot mess in need of some serious cleaning, but to me, not only is it a testament to my true calling, but years of collecting and even some weeding out (I outgrew the Harlequin romances after I finished my ten years of working full time while taking college courses at night. They were a wonderful, light diversion when I was drowning in Accounting Theory and Tax Law). The astute observer will also realize, when perusing my semi-organized shelves that my first love is Fantasy and Science Fiction with a smattering of mystery and romance thrown in for added spice. The classics will always have a place and I will refer to them from time to time, but tales of magic, dragons, extreme technology and uncharted worlds take me on the journeys which feed my soul.

As I gaze at these shelves with a new eye, I see that between those millions of pages are written the journey I took which led to now: when I, myself must fill pages to pave the way for the journeys of others. It doesn’t really matter that I began this part of my journey rather late in life, and I’m not concerned with whether I gain the fame of Asimov or the relative obscurity of one of the writers with whom I currently commune. What matters is that I continue the journey I began when I was four and reading “Charlotte’s Web” aloud to my mom.

Following my twisty, windy, convoluted path to somewhere.

You may have noticed that I rarely take the direct route to anywhere. Even the drive to my daughter’s involves a couple of short hops on small freeways. This post is a prime example of how my mind works. I managed to jump from stones and crystals to books and writing without a moment’s pause. I read three or four books at a time and have reached a point where I have the same number of writing projects in the works. My mind needs to change its stimulation on a regular basis to avoid becoming stale. So organized chaos works for me.

The writers we call “plotters” would gaze in horror at my methods. Those with OCD would likely wish to start straightening books and clearing more space on my desk. But in fairness, I would be equally horrified by their neatly laid out plot plans, surgically organized book shelves and a desk empty except for the objects required for the project of the moment. We all have our ways and know what works for us. To judge others by our own standards is a waste of time and energy. Our minds work the way they do for a reason. Do we need to know what that reason is? Frankly, I’ve managed quite well all these years not really knowing what, if any, is my master plan. I guess you’d say I’m a “pantser” when it comes to writing as well as with my life in general. And so it is.

My gratitudes today are:
1. I am grateful for my crazy, convoluted ways.
2. I am grateful for the time I’ve spent adding to my collections: my books, my stones and crystals and my writing.
3. I am grateful for individuality. Too much of anything would be boring, so I’m glad I’m different.
4. I am grateful for the inspiration I receive from friends and strangers. Eventually, it will all end up on the pages I write.
5. I am grateful for abundance: prosperity, ingenuity, imagination, love, peace, joy, allowing, health, beauty and harmony.

Blessed Be

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