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

Posts tagged ‘Being needed’

Acknowledging our Loneliness is Healthy

Acknowledging the Demon Within

This morning I woke up with my gut in a tight knot. I was supposed to go to a critique group meeting, but all I wanted to do was curl up into a ball on my bed, surrounded by my cats. So I did.

A couple of hours later, I got up and started the day (read: fed the cats), feeling well enough to drink coffee instead of the tea I thought I’d be reaching for today. As has been my habit for the last few weeks, I sat at my desk, pulled a turquoise pen from my jar of colored pens and began to write my three pages (at least it wasn’t a black pen kind of day!). Three pages turned into four, and feelings fell like teardrops on the page.

The nice thing about the morning pages is that I can admit things to myself I won’t typically admit to others. But they also force me to be brutally honest with myself. Today’s burst of honesty took me deep within, to where what I call my gooey marshmallow center resides. It was there I discovered that, try as I might, I’m still very much alone. I have not allowed myself the pleasure of making friends I can comfortably seek out when I need to drag that marshmallow center out, knead it, massage it, and otherwise get it to let go of a lot of pent-up crap.

Do We Starve or Feed our Loneliness?

Cuddling with my cats is wonderful, and I will always cherish the time I spend with them. I can tell them anything, cry on them, or just stroke their soft fur while they purr. It never fails to calm me. But it doesn’t help me let go of things I no longer need, nor does it help me put things in perspective, sometimes with brutal honesty.

Writing helps some. Especially now that I’ve rediscovered writing in longhand. But it still doesn’t give me the outside perspective I sometimes need to see past the weeds to the garden waiting to be tended and nurtured. For that, I need an actual human (did I really admit that?) who can tolerate Sheri not-at-her-finest. Who is willing to listen to me whine a little, then tell me in no uncertain terms to pull up my britches, get off the fence I’ve been riding and actually commit to something.

I can honestly admit that I, alone have deprived myself of that luxury. By hoarding my solitude, I’ve built an almost impenetrable wall around myself. If someone does get close, I’m sure to do something especially stupid, thrusting a particularly evil thorn into their kindness and good intentions which convinces them their efforts would be better served with someone less prickly and moody.

Being Brutally Honest With Myself: The First Step

The writing helps me see that not only do I do this to other people, but I do it to myself as well. I make it painful to break away from outmoded beliefs and habits. I snuggle close to my solitude yet fail to use the time alone to improve my life, myself, or my circumstances. It’s as if I decided long ago that I don’t deserve love, success, happiness, or friendship. Why would anyone do that to their worst enemy, much less themselves?

As painful as it might be to admit all of this publicly, it occurs to me that there are two very good reasons for doing so. First, putting something in writing releases the bound up energy contained within the thoughts and makes them less powerful. Second, I’ve learned in the last few years of blogging and sharing my foibles that what I’m feeling even now is not unique. Someone out there might just benefit from seeing the words and knowing as alone as they’ve allowed themselves to become, someone else out there gets them.

Cutting the C.R.A.P.

The Neurogym programs I’ve been following have something they call the CRAP board. To quote Mark Waldeman, the creator of the CRAP board,

C.R.A.P. stands for Conflicts, Resistances, Anxieties, Procrastination and any other problem you think you have.

The premise behind it is, as I’ve already stated, by putting things which hold you back into written form, you take away at least some of their power. Mr. Waldeman advises writing all of your negative thoughts on a piece of paper, then meditating on them. In my mind, it’s as if you’re transferring all of the crappy, self-limiting thoughts inside your head onto a piece of paper, leaving your mind clear of the rubbish.

So in a way, blog posts like this are my CRAP board. I’m dumping all of the negative thoughts which are causing my stomach to churn onto the page and letting them go. I’m taking away their power to hold me back. Of course, this isn’t a magic pill. The feelings of powerlessness, loneliness, procrastination, neglect and a host of other self-limiting patterns can and do come back, at least for awhile. So the process has to be repeated as needed.

Welcoming the Inner Child of our Minds

But taking the mind on a little field trip like this gives it an opportunity to forge better patterns; take more scenic routes, so to speak. In my case, it reminds me to stop spending so much time going within and put more effort into connecting with other people. Sure, it’s hard, scary and fraught with perils like <shudder> getting hurt! But how can those potential hazards even begin to compare with love, joy, friendship and caring? When did one hurt, no matter how monumental it seemed at the time counteract the flood of warmth from a single, heartfelt hug?

My little marshmallow is still peeking shyly out from behind my protective walls, but with a little coaxing and a few minor successes, I’m sure she can be convinced to venture further from the safety of her haven. My job is to stop protecting her so closely and allow her to touch other humans. I promise most of them won’t bite!

Gratitude: It Heals All Ills

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for my morning pages.
  2. I am grateful I can freely admit to my imperfections.
  3. I am grateful I’m able to see that, in most cases, it’s me getting in my own way.
  4. I am grateful for the lessons which continue to fall in my path because they remind me I’m still a work-in-progress.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, knowledge, lessons, charity, goodness, kindness, compassion, honesty, hope, dreams, peace, harmony, philanthropy and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, 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!

September 18, 2015 Gratitude: When What We Need is to be Needed

The Universe Always Comes Through

I’m a firm believer in the Laws of Attraction. The Universe will always bring exactly what is needed, though quite often it isn’t exactly how you might have envisioned it. Whether we realize it or not, we are putting our wants, desires, hopes and dreams out there every day and though we might not see all of the big ones manifesting, if we pay attention, we will see a multitude of small ones.

I couldn’t tell you which of the many requests I’d put out there was answered yesterday, nor how I’d asked. What I do know was that when yesterday’s writing session was interrupted by a friend in need, it wasn’t long before I realized that at some point, I’d expressed a need to be needed. I feel both honored and grateful that my schedule as a writer and freelancer allows me to be there in those rare but beautiful moments when a friend reaches out, seeking what small comfort I might offer, but I know I’m the one who’s truly blessed because I’m being allowed to be needed. So many of my friends and family members are much like me and rarely ask for help so when one of them does ask, it’s something really important and requires attention at the moment of the asking, otherwise, the asker will just pull back into themselves and try to muddle through alone. As I worked on this post, Pandora chose to play this song and as it was so appropriate to what I’m writing, I am sharing it with you.James Taylor – You’ve Got a Friend

Don’t think it gives me joy when someone I care about is suffering. Of course, I’d rather see them not have to go through a painful experience. But if it is necessary for their growth to struggle a bit and they can reach out to me to help them weather the storm, I can only feel grateful that time and circumstance aligned so that I could.

Sure, we all have our own share of struggles and those struggles not only make us stronger but give us new tools with which to face future obstacles. Just as we crawl before we walk, we face bigger and bigger obstacles in our lives so we can receive or even create the tools we’ll need to make the next challenge that much easier. Imagine trying to fight a forest fire with a garden hose because you hadn’t gone through the experiences necessary to acquire a fire hose. Life is like that too. Anything we do gets better and stronger with practice.

I look back on how I wrote when I was a kid, then as a teenager and, more recently, when I started this blog 6 1/2 years ago. So much has changed, not only for me personally, but for the way I put words together. The only way I got here was to put hundreds of thousands of words together in an infinite number of ways until I learned what worked and what didn’t. That’s not to say that I’ve got it all down, but the practice I’ve already had makes what I do going forward maybe just a little less like drek and more like literature. It has certainly encouraged me to keep trying, even when I’m taking my first novel apart and reassembling it, losing some of the old pieces and inserting quite a few new ones.

Maybe I’m not quite achieving the aggressive goals I set for myself, but the four chapters my friend Candy challenged me to complete has now grown to 11 completed and a twelfth in progress. (what that means is, I figured out which of the original fifty-odd chapters I wanted to go next and cut and pasted it under the heading “chapter 12”). Admittedly, the initial challenge to get my butt back in gear came at the end of July, and that, in fact, is when I got the first four chapters done, so seven more in a month and a half isn’t exactly breaking any records, but forward progress is forward progress, and now I’m setting my own goals even if I have to revise them because I was too aggressive for right now. That doesn’t mean that four chapters a week won’t be realistic the further along I get. If I get frustrated, I look at page count instead and see that I’m almost 80 pages into a 342 page book right now. Again, not bad as long as I don’t dwell too long on how long it’s taken me to get this far.

What I’ve gained over the last few weeks may not be earth-shaking, volume-wise. But I’ve gained consistency in sitting down to work on the project. The time I spend in a sitting has grown from about an hour to well over 2 lately (when I’m not interrupted, of course). Better still, I no longer have to argue with myself about sitting down to write, be it a blog post for me or a client or editing Sasha’s Journey. I just allocate time every day to write something, anything, even if it’s pure garbage. (I actually revised Chapter 11 3 times over the last few days until I got it somewhere close to acceptable so I could move on). In fact, I’ve been getting so focused lately that I often forget to turn on the background music. That may or may not be a good thing as I tend to be significantly more self-critical when my internal editor is not otherwise occupied.

Once again, I’ve wandered off the track a bit, but interwoven between all of the words I’ve put on the screen tonight is a single theme: Gratitude. The Universe really does hear our requests. It may not bring them to us in the form we imagined, but it brings us what suits us best and helps move us forward.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the opportunity to give of myself.
2. I am grateful for the friends who teach me by their own beautiful ways to be more giving, kind and compassionate.
3. I am grateful for the progress I’m making and though it will never be easy, I’m no longer having to fight with myself to move forward.
4. I am grateful to one, special friend who flat out told me to stop allowing my fears to get in my way. Even if I can’t identify them, I know they’re there and anxious to get between me and my dreams. Only I can thwart them.
5. I am grateful for abundance: love, friendship, progress, tenacity, determination, joy, health, happiness, harmony, peace, philanthropy and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages at and . Please also drop by my website, and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

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