Dancing outside my comfort zone

Posts tagged ‘butterfly’

Alone in a Crowd

Loneliness is an Experience We’ve All Been Through

We’ve all been there at one time or another. Standing on the sidelines in a crowded club, watching the couples dancing under the colored lights. The volume increases as music competes with voices, clinking glasses, and the occasional emergency vehicle on the streets nearby. Your walls close in around you, enclosing you in a familiar cocoon. And you realize just how lonely you are.

The feeling isn’t new. You’ve been here before. In fact, you’ve floated in and out of it so many times, you only notice it when you disconnect from the sights, sounds, and smells of your surroundings and withdraw, even for a moment, into yourself.

Allowing Yourself to Feel the Pain

You’ve learned not to fight it because most of the time it passes. A line dance set starts and you join your friends on the floor. The connection to the rest of the world is re-established, if only for the 15 minutes or so the dances played don’t require a partner. Or a friend’s antics with Bullwinkle ears turns into an inadvertent R-rated dance move. You express your shock, laugh, and the walls subside. For that moment, you’re included and no longer alone.

But ultimately, the evening ends. You get into your car and drive back to those four walls you inhabit alone save for a pet or three ( in my case, a few more. I am on the fast-track to crazy cat lady-ness, after all). You tell yourself the choices you made were the right ones even if some didn’t turn out the way you’d planned. The people who are in your life now are the ones who are supposed to be, even if they’re not there when you turn out the lights.

Looking for the Rainbow in the Storm Cloud

Life isn’t as grim as it is for some. Your days don’t run together in sepia-toned sameness. You interact with different people, learn new things, try a few others. Your body still responds with minimal pain to whatever you ask it to do. You have something to look forward to every week, friends to hug, pets to cuddle and lives to share…to a point.

But then you watch from the sidelines as the couples stand together talking and know you can’t cross that invisible line because you don’t fit. Some might call you broken, others will offer suggestions for finding the lid for your crooked pot. Though their intentions are well meant, they only make you feel more alone. More disconnected. More of a failure.

You spend another Friday night alone because you don’t feel like facing the crowds in a club, and everyone you know is busy with family and friends. If anyone were to ask, you’d say it was exactly how you wanted to spend your evening. The idea of cuddling on the couch doesn’t even cross your mind. Really. It doesn’t.

Facing Reality

On a conscious level, you know none of it is true. Lack of a mate is not an affliction. It’s simply a state of being. A small circle of friends doesn’t mean you’re hard to love. It simply means you interact better in smaller groups. It means you don’t trust as easily because hard lessons taught you to withhold that trust until it’s been earned. You try to convince yourself that the walls you’ve built are there to protect you from harm. You’ll argue yourself breathless if someone says those walls are the reason you’re alone.

Finally, you stop lying to yourself. You allow yourself to just feel the loneliness. You allow yourself, just for a moment, to have a few regrets even though you can’t think of a single person who might have been “the one who got away”. The hard truth is you crawled into your cocoon years ago and forgot you were supposed to emerge as a butterfly somewhere along the way.

Where Do You Go From Here?

The ensuing years have atrophied your once-beautiful wings. You still have your body and it gives you mobility. As you look at the places where your wings used to be, you wrap your arms around yourself and cry over all the opportunities you missed because you stayed in your cocoon too long. It would be so easy to just wallow. To believe you gave up what might have been and there’s nothing left.

While your animals snore softly around you, a door begins to open. A light shines through. You see what you didn’t allow yourself to see while you drew your mantle so closely around yourself you were gasping for air. In that light you see something unexpected; possibilities.

The ending that never was is gone. Instead, you have the power to write whatever ending you want to write. The one you see right now might be one possible ending. But it’s only one. If you don’t like it, you have many options. One of my favorite is to shout “Plot twist!” and watch my fingers scamper madly across the keyboard, creating scenarios as wild and varied as my ADD brain and boundless imagination can conjure.

Writing Our Own Dreams

That’s where I can be the princess in the castle or the dragon rider, or the world-famous author and philanthropist, the next Mother Teresa or Madame Curie…or simply the crazy cat lady with friends as varied, unique, and memorable as she is. Dreams become reality, no matter how preposterous. I can try dreams on like clothes, finding the ones which fit just right, or better still, the ones I need to grow into. Discard the ones which fit too snugly as they’ll inhibit the growth of the new set of wings that even now is beginning to unfurl.

I might be tied to the ground right now, but in the next instant, I’ll be airborne. I can’t get the old, atrophied wings back, but I can grow a newer, stronger pair which will take me farther, faster than the old set ever could.

The truth is, there’s no set time frame for staying in your cocoon. You stay as long as you need to. That may be weeks for some, decades for others. We’re there for a reason, unique to us. Take us out too soon, we’re not ready for the challenges we have to face. And there is no “too late”. Only, “just in time”.

I Will Always Be Grateful

My gratititudes tonight are:

  1. I am grateful for friends who accept me as I am, crooked, twisty, and unique.
  2. I am grateful for my dark moments. They make me open my eyes to possibilities.
  3. I am grateful for my writing. More than once, it’s saved my sanity…such as it is.
  4. I am grateful for girl friends. It’s still a new experience for me, but one I’ve sorely missed.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; friendship, motivation, inspiration, love, cat purrs, peace, harmony, health, joy, philanthropy, opportunities, stories, 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, 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!

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Emerge Through Experiments and Experiences

An Accident Became an Epiphany

All day yesterday, I had a strange feeling things were about to change drastically. It wasn’t a feeling of fear, but rather, anticipation. Late in the afternoon, I washed my hair so I could get it dry in time for dancing, pushing the uncomfortable feeling in my gut aside. Before you start to yawn, bear with me. The story gets more interesting than “girl washes hair”.

This time, I changed things up a bit. I used a different leave-in conditioner, thinking it would help straighten my normal mane of frantic curls. Then I threw my hair over my head and started blow drying it from the underside. When I stood upright, I realized my mistake, or maybe not. The curls had taken on a life of their own and cascaded in wild, but strangely appealing disarray.

It would be shameful to contain something this lively. I thought to myself. So I threw caution to the winds, and refrained from corralling the mayhem as I typically do. (This is where it gets interesting, I promise).

Hiding to Emerge

I found I felt much free-er, less buttoned up than normal. (OK, so those who know me in the dance community would probably cast some doubt on the “buttoned up” description, but I’m typically more reserved than anyone realizes). For some unfathomable reason, the loose and crazy hair made me less inhibited and more able to just get into the moment with joy and complete abandonment. Could this be the butterfly effect Sue Monk Kidd spoke of? Have I been hiding; waiting; growing?

Sure, it meant pushing the hair out of my eyes a lot and standing under the fan with it scrunched in my hand to dry the resulting sweat, but overall, it was so…can I really say it? Empowering. Wearing my hair loose gave me both a place to hide and a place to come out of hiding. Does that even make sense?

Maybe it’s a lot like the language of fans women used to learn. There’s a certain freedom. A certain devil-may-careishness in a wild mop of hair flying helter-skelter as I spun and pranced. (Yes, I really was prancing around last night, having the time of my life).

Do We Unknowingly Put Constraints Upon Ourselves?

Is this really all there is to it? Is loose hair the key to loosening up and giving in to the moment? Did it make me more approachable than my typical pulled back styles? Only time will tell. But last night, I talked to people more easily, and they to me. That has to count for something.

Tonight, the experiment will alter a bit as it’s impossible to get the crazy, corkscrew curls without wetting my hair again. Tonight, I’ll try it straight and see if the effect is the same. Could the angst in my last post simply be my own, to this point, inability to completely let loose? Guess I’m going to find out. Stay tuned for more letting-my-hair-d0wn moments.

So Much to be Grateful For

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for successful experiments and unexpected epiphanies.
  2. I’m grateful for excellent dance nights full of energy and joy.
  3. I’m grateful for friends in the dance community who both feed and feed on my energy.
  4. I’m grateful for my ability to continue changing and growing, even in small, seemingly insignificant ways.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance: dancing, love, life, joy, friends, release, passion, peace, harmony, philanthropy and abundance.

Blessed Be

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!

April 2, 2015 Passover Musings: Where Did my Heritage Go?

A Friend Had to Remind Me that Passover is this Weekend: It Makes me Sad

When Mom was alive, we always did Passover dinner at her house. Back then, I failed to appreciate the time, the effort or the meaning behind it, and often felt like it was a command performance I really didn’t want to attend. After her death, my daughters and I honored the holiday with my Dad by attending Passover dinner at a local deli.

Flash Forward Eleven Years

We’ve had one Passover dinner since Dad’s death in September of 2003. My daughter was taking a class which covered both religion and other Spiritual practices and was required to visit different places of worship, so we attended a Passover dinner at a local temple. But that was several years ago, and as she now lives about 3 hours away, getting together for the holiday is somewhat impractical.

Despite the fact that we’ve never really practiced our religion, we have tried to keep at least some of the traditions alive. Sadly, Passover isn’t one of them, but I’m suddenly feeling that it should have been. While my daughter has plans to go to a deli in her area for a traditional Passover dinner (sans ceremony), I know of no place which still does it around here and it’s too late to get tickets for the one at the temple, though frankly, I am not inclined to go by myself.

The Loss of Another Piece of my Past Plays a Melancholy Chord on my Heart

It isn’t really the idea of not eating the traditional food, nor have I even participated in the ceremony (aside from the temple) since my paternal grandmother died when I was a child. It’s more the thought that a beautiful part of my family’s heritage is fading into oblivion, at least with my branch. Then it occurred to me: I wonder if there is a way to observe the holiday by myself. There are solo practitioners of Wicca, so why not of Judaism?

As it has been my experience that you can find anything with a Google search, I tried “Can Passover be celebrated solo” and found just one post with suggestions for solo Passover celebrations. As most of them aren’t really solo at all, I gather that Jews who want to observe the holiday, even if they are far from home, find a way to do so.

I Was Once Called a Goysiche Jew. It Seems the Title Fits

In truth, I consider myself a Jew by culture, but not by religion. Does not practicing the religion make me less of a Jew? I know only that, right now, I feel very disconnected, but that isn’t necessarily entirely due to lack of religious affiliation. I work from home so I don’t see too many people on a regular basis. This alone affects my sense of community. Add in a Spiritual practice which does not require the participation of others along with my introverted nature and what is left is an individual with few real, strong human connections.

Another Chicken and Egg Story

The gist of the matter is that my alone-ness for Passover is not the malady at all, but just another symptom. Red ButerflyThis is a malady I, alone can cure, but it means yet another leap outside of that comfortable little cocoon I call my comfort zone. I take reminders like this very seriously, as emotions are a strong indicator of both things we do right and things we need to change. Mine are clearly telling me that I’ve been a caterpillar long enough and that there’s a butterfly inside of me who really needs to spread her wings and fly now.

My gratitudes today are:
1. I am grateful for my emotions which alert me to things I need to work through.
2. I am grateful for my writing which gives me an outlet to work through things my emotions target.
3. I am grateful for my studies which teach me how to improve my posts, where to find the resources and how to safely and legally use those resources.
4. I am grateful for my dancing and my crit group which keep me from becoming a complete hermit.
5. I am grateful for abundance: resources, opportunities, friendship, challenges, lessons, health, love, harmony, peace, joy and prosperity.

Blessed Be

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 and my website, http://www.shericonaway.com. 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!

photo credit: 033e eye of the tiger watching you via photopin (license)

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