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

Posts tagged ‘choices’

Relationship’s End for Empaths

Breaking Up for An Empath Isn’t Simple

Created with CanvaA friend’s recent break-up got me thinking about the rare (maybe 2) occasions I’ve had to end a relationship instead of someone ending it for me. With the notable exception of my marriage which was long overdue by the time I ended it, I still remember suffering emotionally when I had to tell someone what we had wasn’t working for me any more.

Even when it’s been a clean break, no further communication, both going our own way, it still seemed like a laceration to my heart. I’m not saying a lot of people don’t suffer when they end a relationship. What I am saying is Empaths get a double whammy. We hurt for ourselves and for the person we left. Physical distance means nothing when faced with emotional pain from someone we care about.

Sure, some endings come because we stopped caring (like my marriage), or because we’ve been betrayed. Though easier to get over since we effectively block the other person’s emotions, an Empath feels levels of pain others probably won’t understand. It comes back to bite us just like any other kind of grief. We re-live good times and bad, second-guess ourselves, and even entertain the notion that the relationship could be fixed if we just tried harder.

Holding On Too Long

Following that train of thought leads me to wonder if Empaths stick out relationships longer than they should, unconsciously trying to spare ourselves pain. Do we go beyond the last straw to save a relationship that isn’t really worth saving? Even more, do we ignore signs that our partner is no longer committed to the relationship and may even be cheating on us, simply to avoid being the one to end things?

For myself, years after I’d divorced my husband, people told me they knew he was cheating on me. Perhaps the signs were obvious and I chose to ignore them rather than having to end things. I knew when we were no longer connected in any way, yet chose to distance myself emotionally while pretending to maintain the relationship. I even treated him horribly, which I regretted later, hoping he’d be the one to decide to leave.

Early Lessons in Narcissism

In the end, I had to pull the plug, and he behaved as most narcissists do, though at the time, I 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-V4V7jqhadn’t made the connection. He was cruel, nasty, and abusive. Only distancing myself physically alleviated some of the effects of his vitriol. Surprisingly, his signature on the piece of paper ending our marriage legally was the most cathartic act of all for me. It’s as if the energy in his signature drained off whatever hold he still had on my emotional and energetic self. I felt drained but relieved, and finally able to move forward with my own life.

It still took a long time to rebuild myself after the damage he’d wrought, but I was already broken when we got together. Part of the rebuilding process involved creating an entirely new foundation containing components with which I was unfamiliar. Having been raised to contain my emotions and to believe taunting and teasing were symbols of love, I had to learn and forge a new path before I could rebuild on a foundation which would bear the weight of the years to come.

Creating Our Own Paths

I’ve experienced a lot of trial and error in the last 20 years or so. In some ways, it’s been a lot like rock climbing. You reach for the next handhold, testing its ability to hold your weight before using it to reach for the next rock or outcropping. Sometimes I fell back a few paces. Others, I lost a lot of ground and a great deal of skin as well. Those were painful but necessary lessons in who and what I could trust. It’s when I started learning how to recognize a narcissist and avoid being used to fuel their insatiable need for adoration and getting their own way. It’s also when I started seeing how many times I’d been bled dry in a fruitless effort to please one.

These days, I’m still on the fence. I’m mentally ready to find someone and commit, but emotionally, there’s still a lot of trepidation. I don’t entirely trust myself to see the signs of a narcissist and run the other way. I’ve seen my savvier Empath friends fall victim, which causes me to distrust my own instincts too.

Trusting Ourselves and the Lessons We’ve Learned

https://www.flickr.com/photos/101561334@N08/10197031243/in/photolist-gx5s8v-jFvehZ-ceYKvY-gx4Gcf-Qv32MQ-gx58Ji-aavAwk-k15Tk9-gcokN-jYnA9p-pts3CH-KErQUu-fMFuKi-5gvfXp-gx5zqD-594W8Y-gx5GPp-gx4EMG-S7Jpw1-P5f7sP-VMMRHL-oiRYiu-7pPH6E-2bXKRhj-2cLerFQ-oxWTqS-psDwB2-ceXTFN-amxUkM-2bsd6t6-N7Lj5T-cbSXFd-YtbGJE-bNJ5H-RNvZP3-kiboPh-WmzxPu-7UzoSM-24eKtUM-cjgru7-n3pBeq-7PK4bp-ajX4J8-nk5bJN-88HFFJ-W18WBb-jBnrh2-ciDDMd-TzUwZm-8wqYSTYet I know I already have a healthy array of red flags at my disposal. Despite the wiliness of the average narcissist, they’re bound to trigger one of those red flags before I get in too deep. And probability-wise, I don’t have a lot more decades in this meat suit, so I might as well give myself a chance to live what’s left fully and completely, even if it means having to go through the painfully unpleasant process of admitting I made a mistake, and ending things once more.

We all make choices, but rarely do we choose pain. Instead, we choose to take chances on things we know have the potential to end painfully just as they have the potentially to bring us great joy. Do we avoid the opportunity for great joy so we insure we don’t get hurt? Or do we risk potential consequences to reap equally probable rewards?

I’ve taken the safe route for a very long time as I clutch memories of the painful times close. But there comes a time when we all realize the painful stuff can only hurt us if we allow it, and it’s time to take away its power. If there’s pain to be had, we have it within ourselves to minimize the pain and decrease the longevity based on what we’ve learned from previous experiences.

What it comes down to is trusting ourselves.

Do you trust yourself, or are you still wrapping yourself in cotton wool to save you from making more painful mistakes? How’s that working for you?

 

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for the lessons I’ve learned, even if they were painful for a long time.
  2. I’m grateful for choices. I can be what, where, and who I want as long as I’m willing to accept some risk, and some unknowns.
  3. I’m grateful for love. In its many forms, it truly does heal all wounds. Especially self-love.
  4. I’m grateful for opportunities and ideas which come to me when I learn to let go.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; friendship, love, light, ideas, support, collaboration, joy, compassion, peace, health, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and advocate for cats. 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

 

Running Your Life on Emotion Alone is a Slippery Slope

Sliding Down the Slippery Slope

We’re all guilty, at one time or another of allowing ourselves to make an important decision or choice emotionally, without engaging the logical part of our being. Often, we live to regret decisions made from our gut without at least a modicum of input from our brain. Marketers know this and play to our illogical, feeling side all the time as does anyone else who want to control the choices we make.

They encourage us to disengage our brains by setting off emotional land mines between our feelings and the logical, rational part of ourselves which would ask difficult questions if allowed to intervene. What frightens me is not only are we being encouraged to feel instead of think, but the message is being pumped into us from every direction in a constant bombardment of—let me call it what it is—propaganda.

Infomercials Thrive on Emotional Decisions

How many infomercials use tactics which hit us below the surface of our logic? Take the ones for a well-known pillow manufacturer. The guy wears his shirt buttoned to his chin, the cross necklace conspicuous in the seemingly haphazard way it sticks out above the top button instead of hanging loosely over the collar, or as would be more likely, underneath. The commercials are studded with American flags and a not-so-subtle message to “make America great again” by buying things that are made “right here in the United States”. Boo-rah!

Every one of these visual and auditory components is an emotional trigger encouraging people to pick up their phone or log onto the website and buy the darn things right now. There’s even a code which most people don’t realize is used to track which of the company’s many advertising media sucked the customer in.

Out of curiosity, I logged into the site (without the code) one night just to see what the hype (and expensive TV spots) was all about. At the time, their “buy one, get one free” offer (yet another emotional trigger) was over 80 dollars. It’s now “only” $79.98. Even so, how many of us spend $40 apiece on pillows? I don’t even want to know what they charge for the rest of the product line that’s evolved from the first spate of infomercials that invaded my television time.

Triggering Our Emotions for Profit

My point is, enough people are getting sucked in by these tactics to keep the guy showing up on TV not only in between shows we choose to watch, but on 30-minute, stand-alone infomercials as well. Clearly, playing on people’s emotions to generate sales is a lucrative proposition, especially in today’s environment. I suspect companies like this are counting on people being on a constant emotional high to sell them crap they don’t need now, and would have never considered buying had the thinking part of their brain been engaged.

As for me, I sleep perfectly well on my $5 Big One pillows I got at Kohl’s during one of their “biggest sales of the season”. Were they made in America? Probably not. But when so many people can’t even afford to rent an apartment or keep healthy food on the table, I, for one make no apologies. There are enough monkey wrenches being thrown into trading freely between countries these days as it is.

Step Back, Take a Breath, Engage Your Brain

However, I didn’t intend this post to turn into a rant, but merely a cautionary tale about preventing our  emotions from getting us into hot water. I take advice I was given long ago very seriously with regard to flaming emails from bosses and co-workers. Do not respond right away. Take the time to step back, cool off, and address the matter from a rational place. The decisions and choices we make are no different.

Would you buy a car without taking the time to research your options, check pricing at different dealers, and maybe even see what the average purchase price has been using Edmund’s or KBB? Would you buy a house without looking at comps and assessing your options? Other choices might not have the same impact on you financially, but they deserve equal consideration.

A Time to Think Clearly and a Time to Go With Your Gut

Don’t get me wrong. There are certainly times when trusting your gut is appropriate. If we spent the same amount of time deciding on dinner as we do buying a car, we’d starve. There’s certainly a place for gut decisions. Just understand if you make some of the biggies from the gut instead of the brain, there may be a lot of backpedaling, adjusting, and perhaps even damage control to manage after the decision has been made and the wheels put in motion.

Such was the case with my decision to quit my day job to do a complete career change without adequate things in place to maintain my lifestyle and solvency while I put the new path in place. I’ve taken more steps back than forward in some areas, and taken a beating for leaping without looking first.

Still and all, I wouldn’t go back and change the fact I made the choice when I did. I might have gotten my act together a little sooner. Then again, perhaps the lessons I’ve learned in continuing to follow a dream that isn’t as easy to reach as I’d hoped are worth the struggle, the worry, and the people who’ve come into my life as a result.

Diving in Before We Have All the Answers

The biggest and best of those lessons is accepting I don’t have all the answers, nor do I have the resources or the time to get the answers I need if I isolate myself. Life is a series of hills and valleys, give and take. What I’ve learned by connecting with people who struggle with some of the same things I do, or who’ve overcome some of those things would never have happened if I’d jumped easily from one career to the other.

I’ve also learned working from home, despite the scarce times, is far better for me. Too often, I was manipulated by people who saw someone who was, in many ways naive to the ways of the world when it came to climbing the corporate ladder. I was often someone else’s stepping stone, offering too much because I expected them to be as open and honest as me.

I wouldn’t change that either. I simply learned I’m a sitting duck in the corporate cesspool, and needed to learn to be successful as an entrepreneur. My emotions are too easily engaged, causing me to make a lot of poor choices, or put up with things I shouldn’t have to. Sometimes, the key to making decisions with the right part of our anatomy is knowing when and how we function best.

These days, I have the luxury of time when it comes to making decisions. That isn’t to say I haven’t tripped up a few times anyway. It means I trip up less spectacularly, and spend less time doing damage control. I have certainly given up a lot of things I had when there was a steady paycheck, but I’ve given up the stress, misery, and abuse that went with it. I’d make the same choice again in a heartbeat.

Grateful for Every Minute, Every Breath

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the time and wherewithal to make conscious choices.
  2. I am grateful for the lessons I’ve learned since I left the corporate rat race.
  3. I am grateful for learning to live more minimally.
  4. I am grateful for the little things, like cooler weather and lower power bills.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, epiphanies, inspiration, motivation, butt kicks, helping hands, opportunities to help others, comedy instead of drama, prolific writing, productive days, health, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and advocate for cats. 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.

May 28, 2015 Birthday Musings

Beginnings or Endings?

Several posts ago, I talked about the fact that the day we celebrate as our birthday is really the end of the year being celebrated rather than the beginning. On this eve of my 60th birthday as I prepare to celebrate the end of my first 60 years in this human form, I have been looking back over the last year, and more specifically, the last few months, with a little help from Elizabeth Peru’s Global Tip-off

Her discussions about planetary influences have been particularly helpful in the last couple of days, especially when I look at how the Pluto retrograde deals with peeling back the layers and releasing old hurts and issues. Elizabeth also mentions May 4th in relation to the Mercury retrograde as a date to look back upon for information about what we should be working on. In my case, I looked at the blog posts for May 3rd and 4th to find that I had been sitting outside watching the full moon, while asking for help in identifying and releasing those things which no longer serve my best interests.

But what does that have to do with birthdays, beginnings and endings? I’ve been having interesting dreams lately which bring up events from my past but with entirely different outcomes. Some of them are so ridiculous and unlikely that I wake up thinking Where in the heck did that come from? But that heightened awareness also allows me to see the situation in a much clearer light and to find and acknowledge the lesson which came out of the experience. Once I recognize the lesson, any lingering pain or emotional attachment to the event automatically releases and is no longer a part of my energy. And as my 60th year winds to a close, I am finally out from under the veil which I realize was merely a manifestation of my own imagination, but still, all too real to me. That self-imposed veil is the one which reminds me that my mother never completed her 60th year. And now, I have.

I know that I am my own woman but the specter of suicide tends to twist the thoughts into convoluted patterns and only the milestones which are largely imaginary can untwist those thoughts for good. This is one of those milestones, perhaps the last one I convinced myself I’d have to face before truly accepting that I am not my mother’s child in the ways which are most important to me now. My dreams are telling me that I am finally ready to release a whole slew of sadness, anger and angst which attached themselves to a single event by virtue of their proximity in time and space.

By reaching this milestone I feel I’m finally ready to let go of all of those poor choices I made during my mother’s last couple of years of life: choices which led to my divorce, to the men I dated in the years that followed, to the job hopping and the poor parenting. My reactions to other peoples’ actions. It’s all in there and now that I’ve somehow proven to myself that I am not inclined to make the same choices as my mother, I can forgive myself for those choices I made which didn’t turn out so well but were, in fact, lessons I needed to learn.

As I turn the page on the calendar, I also turn the page on the self-recriminations over the mistakes I’ve made because I can finally believe the words I’ve told myself over and over. What I thought were mistakes or poor choices were simply lessons the Universe sent me so I could learn the things I needed to know in order to become the woman I am now. I’m still a work in progress, but I no longer see that as a liability. I have value and I have purpose…and all is right with my world.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful to have reached the milestone ending my 60th year in this human form.
2. I am grateful to be spending this very special day with the most important person in my life: my daughter, Heather. It’s been an eventful couple of weeks, but we’re both still here, and ready to handle whatever life throws us. We’ve got this!
3. I am grateful for all of the lessons I’ve been given up to know, and look forward to the new ones I know will come my way as I master the ones I’ve had.
4. I am grateful for a body which, though a bit achy in places, carried me from hither to yon and over the dance floor tonight with amazing flexibility and fortitude.
5. I am grateful for abundance: lessons learned, challenges unfolding, epiphanies, friends, family, love, joy, purpose, intensity, health, harmony, peace, prosperity and philanthropy.

Blessed Be

And now for some shameless self-promotion:
I’d love it if you’d visit my Facebook pages at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel and https://www.facebook.com/HLWTAccounting. If you get a minute, 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!

March 23, 2015 Where has all the music gone?

While watching TV last night, I finally figured it out

For awhile now, I’ve been griping about the state of popular music. I know I’m not alone in finding that what is popular today, at least on the country charts, lacks the creativity and depth we enjoy from many of the older artists. As I type this, I realize that the same can be said of a lot of popular fiction.

What really brought the idea home was when a diaper commercial came on using a song I’ve truly come to despise as being nearly as deplorable as what comes from the pen and mouth of Taylor Swift. I’m sure by now, you’ve heard that catchy little ditty, “All About the Bass” because it’s been splattered all over social networking, shown up (to my complete disgust) on award shows and is now even rearing its ugly head on “The Voice”.

When did Marketing begin to overshadow content?

Whether you’re talking about “All About the Bass”, any one of TS’s dreadfully repetitive whines about breaking up with yet another boyfriend or mean girls who never thought she’d make it, or what I’ve come to refer to fondly as “Fifty shades of Meh”, I’ll be the first to admit that these people are marketing geniuses.

Even last year, watching Taylor coach the Voice contestants, I could see that she really knew her stuff when it came to packaging a bucket of shit and convincing people that it was French perfume (Not that I would ever, in a million years, put the Voice contestants in that category.  They’re all amazing!).  Meaghan is no different. They’ve done their homework when it comes to knowing what sells, and are doing a phenomenal job of…well…let’s not sugar coat it, dumbing down the music industry.

The message we’re hearing loud and clear is that it is no longer necessary to write a song which reaches straight into your heart with both its words and its incredibly complex instrumentals and melody, nor is it about writing a well thought out, well written novel. With the right marketing strategy, “See Jack Run” and “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” could be massive commercial success stories.  What it comes down to is that what sells today will be tomorrow’s commercial jingle.

Writers and Song Writers need to write, but they also need to eat.

We’re faced with a truly moral dilemma. Do we quit or day jobs to do what we love, knowing that it will likely not pay the bills, or do we work all day doing something we hate just to give us the roof over our heads and the ability to create something meaningful? Or worse, do we give in to the pressure, learn to market to the lowest common denominator and write something we hate nearly as much as that day job?

I used to find it mildly amusing that my daughters and their fellow band members chose Queen, Santana, Chicago and the Eagles over more contemporary music when we had car washes or other somewhat social events. In hindsight, I think they figured it out long before I did.

Every cloud has a silver lining

What saves us from the complete collapse of literacy and music is that some of the true artists have embraced the need to market and are using the same tools those short-cutters have learned so well. It might be a tougher road as their songs don’t make for good jingles and their books don’t leave as much room for a director to put his own mark on the story, but they do keep inspired music and stories that make us think alive. I’m sure those people are working a lot harder for their living than those who are bent on selling us baby food for the brain, but I, for one, am incredibly grateful that they remain true to their craft.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful that there is still a modicum of integrity in the arts, and hope that the few who support that integrity continue to raise their voices loudly and proudly.
2. I am grateful that we have the choice; we can listen to the brain numbing, jingle worthy top 40, or we can listen to music. We can read mindless pap or we can read something which makes us think.
3. I am grateful that given the right spin, just about anyone can make a mark in the world.
4. I am grateful for a forum in which to share my observations, and that people do not have to agree with me. I really wont’ take it personally.
5. I am grateful for abundance; choices, family, love, friendship, encouragement, opportunity, harmony, peace, health and prosperity.

Blessed Be

January 28, 2015 Thinking about my thinking places

Some places are better for thinking than others

I believe it was “Holiday Hotel” where Bing Crosby sang “When I’m worried and I can’t sleep, I count my blessings instead of sheep and I go to sleep counting my blessings.” For me, when my brain is full and I can’t pull anything out of it, there are a couple of places I go to think. One of those places is the kitchen. Whether I’m chopping veggies for a soup or stir fry or just cleaning up from dinner, I get a lot of good thinking done when I’m doing something which doesn’t really require that I engage my brain.

Tonight was one of those nights when random thoughts were flitting through, when I realized that I was finally getting back into my good habits on a regular basis after letting them slip for awhile. The train of thought continued as I washed pans and wiped down counters. I started putting two and two together and found that when I keep up with things like cleaning the kitchen and going to the gym, everything else falls into place as well.

While I was being sloppy about those good habits I’d established last year, both my blog and my writing suffered. I don’t really know which one got back on track first, but it seems that it all goes hand in hand. Either I’m doing all of them, or they all start to slip. There’s just no in between.

This could explain why, up until the last year or so, my gym habits were haphazard, my kitchen often stayed dirty for days and my house was horribly cluttered. I also didn’t post in my blog on a regular basis and I certainly wasn’t keeping up with my writing. Now, here I am, going to the gym often enough to be recognized by instructors and trainers, working on my second novel with a third percolating in my brain and going to bed with a clean kitchen nearly every night.

You can teach an old dog new tricks, provided she is willing to learn them

Had anyone told me two years ago that I’d be going to the gym three or four days a week, even taking Pilates classes, and being diligent about housekeeping (at least with certain things) I’d have laughed in their face. Had I realized two years ago that I would be feeling so much better for having changed my habits, I might have wished I’d started sooner.

Those baby steps really do add up

Everyone knows that if you want to get somewhere, you have to start by putting one foot in front of the other. I call it ‘baby steps’ because it applies to everything. If you want to learn something new, you take it one step at a time. If you’re going through a rough patch, you just get up every morning, and put one foot in front of the other until eventually, you get past it. If you want to change your life, you take that first, crazy, scary step, and the rest is just…you guessed it, one foot in front of the other.

You’ve got to step that step, walk that walk, shake that thing, and talk that talk

Sawyer Brown was popular a number of years ago, and I was fortunate enough to get to see them a couple of years ago at the local County Fair. One of my favorite songs they did was called “Step that Step”

I’ve come to realize since that time so many years ago when the song first resonated so strongly is that my subconscious recognized and embraced the message long before the rest of me caught up. In a nutshell, if you want to accomplish anything, you have to take the first step, then own it, live it, be it. (Warning! Laws of Attraction Moment coming!) You have to act like you’re already exactly where you want to be and have everything you want and need. In short, Step that step, Walk that walk, talk that talk.

It may seem like I’ve once again wandered off topic, but I really haven’t, for a change. What I realized tonight was that I’d allowed myself to stop living my dream for awhile, but thankfully, I hadn’t wandered too far and my internal compass guided me back to where I belong. It was only when I realized that some of the other habits I’d formed while being a writer were coming back as well that it really is an all or nothing proposition.

Think about it. If you really want to be someone and accomplish something, you have to start with yourself. You have to be healthy in body, mind and spirit. A cluttered environment precludes a healthy spirit. A lazy lifestyle precludes a healthy body. An unhealthy spirit and body precludes a healthy mind. It affects our choices from the moment we wake up in the morning to the moment we lay our heads down on our pillow at night. Mac and cheese or farfalle with spinach? An hour at the gym or an hour in front of the TV? Computer games or website development (as frustrating as that might be at first)? Clean up the kitchen tonight or let things pile up for a few days?

One small change leads to another small change and a bunch of small changes lead to a lifestyle change

So we’re back to taking it one step at a time, one foot in front of the other. What is a leap of faith except taking that first giant step which will be followed by a whole lot of baby steps? What are the establishment of new and better habits but more steps on the road to the life you desire? The things you do and the changes you make might not always seem like they’re related, but they truly are important and necessary.

What is your dream? What steps are you going to take to bring you closer to that dream?

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for my thinking places.
2. I am grateful for revelations.
3. I am grateful for a return to my well-established better habits.
4. I am grateful that my daughter has launched her own blog.
5. I am grateful for abundance: ideas, revelations, thoughts, dreams, realities, imagination, steps, love, joy, happiness, harmony, beauty, health and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my daughter’s new blog: https://heathersculinaryadventures.wordpress.com/
Please also visit my Facebook page: 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!

January 11, 2015 The Trouble With Leaps of Faith-5 Ways to Keep it Going

Beware the Gremlins of Doubt. They’ll do their best to thwart you!

As I sift through the clutter of my life today, I realize that, on the one hand, I’m trying to formulate a plan for moving forward, while on the other, I’m wondering if I should throw in the towel and start looking for another (shudder) accounting job. Yet, despite the doubts, I have to admit to myself that I’ve made some progress, even if that progress is not of the kind which keeps the roof over my head and the vet and food bills paid for my furry and oh-so-supportive roommates.

Encouragement from friends to keep going are great, and I appreciate them, but they don’t see the mountain of debt or the dwindling funds which haunt me, not every day, but more often than I’d like. At my age, the image of a starving artist has long since ceased to be romantic.

Yet, I have to wonder if these doubts are simply part of the challenge; part of the question I ask myself every day; do I really have what it takes? Do I really think I can make a difference with my writing? And more importantly, if I can make a difference, how do I reach more than a couple of hundred people?

Making Decisions…er, Choices

One thing which has come to me during this period of soul searching which, as it happens, coincides with the beginning of the new year is that I need to stick to the theme of this blog as much as possible. I need to spend time seeking out leaps of faith; stories where people like me took risks and made them work despite the doubt gremlins and other assorted types designed to test the mettle of the leaper.

Meanwhile, I’m resuming work on the novel I began in November and keeping my eyes and mind open for other opportunities to write. Though I’ve offered it out there a few times in the last year, I need to be more assertive about it, and definitely get that website started. So here is my plan for my second year as a writer:

1. Keep writing
2. Aggressively seek out opportunities to share my writing in public places other than my own.
3. Get my website up and running.
4. Continue to learn about improving my blog and website traffic.
5. Ask for help when I get in over my head, or just don’t know which way to go next.

These may not seem like world shaking ideas, or even a solid plan, but it’s a start, just like everything else I’ve done has been. Some of those starts have fizzled out and that’s ok, as long as I keep looking for new starts, and keep those which seem to be yielding results of some sort going.

I look forward, this year, to both sharing my journey and learning about and from others who have given themselves a chance to live their dream.

My gratitudes today are:
1. I am grateful for reminders that perseverance is the key to success.
2. I am grateful for that little bit of remaining confidence that tells me I can make this work.
3. I am grateful for friends who, whether they realize it or not, really are helping me keep my flagging spirit alive.
4. I am grateful for the lessons I’ve learned and the ability to let go of things which are hindering rather than helping.
5. I am grateful for abundance; courage, tenacity, ingenuity, imagination, love, friendship, joy, health, harmony and prosperity.

Blessed Be.

January 4, 2015 5 things…um…what was that topic again?

If you can’t think of anything to write, just start writing, and something will come to you!

Truer words! As I started my meditation today, I had a great idea for a blog topic. As usual, I thought “Sure, I’ll remember it when I finish meditating!” Needless to say, the only part I remembered was the “5 things…”

But as soon as I typed my title and started to write, I glanced at the new and improved blog title and remembered. I was going to write about five things which we take for granted, but which are truly leaps of faith.

First, let me qualify my position. In my mind, every step outside our comfort zone is a leap of faith. We don’t know whether we’ll be safe or not. We don’t know if our little adventure will be successful or not, so we take that step only because we have faith that things will turn out, at the very least, OK, and if we’re lucky, it will be so great that we’ll want to venture even further.

So what leaps of faith do we take on a regular basis?

Leap of Faith number 1: Have you tried that new Brazilian/Persian/Pho/Thai… place? Why don’t we go there for lunch?

You’ve never eaten this kind of food before, have no idea what half of the stuff is, but a co-worker invites you to join them. You think to yourself I enjoy their company and lunch is a great excuse to get out of the office for an hour. Surely I’ll find something on the menu I’ll eat, and it’s kind of an adventure to try something I’ve never had before. What’s the worst that can happen? I end up eating the granola bar I have stashed in my desk for emergencies!” I don’t know about you, but some of the greatest meals I’ve had came out of this particular leap of faith.

Leap of Faith number two: This job is taking me nowhere and I swear, it’s killing me slowly. I think I’ll start looking for another one that suits me better.

Face it. Most people don’t get excited about going through the interview process yet again. Often, we wait until we have no choice, which frankly is the worst time to look for a job! When we start the process because we want to make a change, especially when the job we have pays the bills and could be a lot worse, we are taking a huge leap of faith.

Leap of Faith number three: I think I want to move to a new place, maybe even buy a house/condo/apartment.

Moving is one of the most stressful things we can undertake, and when it involves actually purchasing a residence, you might as well magnify that stress level by about a million. Just the sheaves of paper you have to go through are enough to send a normally stable person right over the edge. We put our faith and trust in realtors, lenders, escrow agents and many nameless, faceless sorts to make this seriously major commitment happen.

Leap of Faith number four: Instead of staying home tonight, I think I’ll try that new restaurant/bar/club/dance venue everyone’s been talking about. Maybe I’ll even see someone I know, but if not, I could meet some new people (Yikes!) who could be fun to hang out with.

To some, this might seem like nothing, but to those introverts like me, going to a crowded public place is extremely daunting. We often need to gird our loins, so to speak, just to put ourselves together and walk out the door.

But how about something even simpler? Because what is a leap of faith, really, but a choice, and a choice to do something which differs from our normal pattern?

Leap of Faith number five: Why not take a different route to work today (or ride my bike, or walk, depending on circumstances and distance)?

There’s definitely an element of chance in this one because you aren’t familiar with traffic patterns or how quickly you can bike or walk, so you might agonize over how much extra time you should allow just in case. But it could be worth it to take a prettier route or to be moving more slowly so you actually see the world around you on your trip.

These days, my life is one continuous leap of faith.

If you’ve been following this blog for the last year or so, you’ll know that I basically jumped right off the cliff about a year ago, and haven’t looked back yet. Sure, it hasn’t turned out as I planned, but the journey has been interesting and educational. From quitting my day job to be a writer (who has yet to actually earn anything for my efforts), to just beginning to learn what is truly involved in publishing a novel, to leaving home for a few days at a time quite frequently since my daughter moved nearly three hours away; I could bore you with a bazillion different leaps I’ve taken, but the point is, those adventures, both large and small have made life interesting for me.

Now, my life is truly one of extremes. I go from spending three or four days alone in my house to spending three or four days away from home, or that same time period going from gym to errands to dancing to visiting friends. In short, both my hermit self and my social self are well-satisfied, and the self who doesn’t do well with authority, I’m in heaven. I do my work with a cat or two curled up on the desk which suits them and me just fine. I don’t have to talk to people unless I want to, and that also suits me fine. I realize this idyllic lifestyle will have to be altered when I’m finally ready to promote my writing or seek paying jobs which might call for a little more structure, but by then, I’ll have learned how to balance both sides of my personality.

Balance: it is what makes life work. Part structure and consistency and part leaps of faith.

It truly is about balancing things out. You leap; sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. When you start feeling a little shaky, you can take a step back onto familiar ground until you get your bearings and gather your courage to leap again. But each time you need to step back, you’ll find that it isn’t as far back as you used to have to step. Each leap, whether a rousing success, a complete disaster or, most often, somewhere in between carries you further outside of that comfortable little world you allowed yourself to grow used to; the world I like to fondly refer to as “the rut”.

My point with all of this rambling (and yes, Virginia, there is a point) is that we often fear those chances, those leaps of faith because we’ve convinced ourselves that we just don’t take chances. Yet we do! Maybe not every day, but at least once a week. We do something different without even realizing it. So why not do it where it will really shake things up! I did, and I’m still here to tell the tale!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for my leaps of faith, both grand and simple.
2. I am grateful for the friends I’ve made along the way who understand how confining our habits can be.
3. I am grateful for the courage to be different, to not conform and to try new things.
4. I am grateful for the love I feel for myself and the comfort I get from being in my own company. I can and do dine in restaurants alone, take trips alone and just spend time alone, doing my own thing.
5. I am grateful for abundance: self-confidence, self-reliance, leaps of faith, successes, lessons, love, joy, health, beauty, friendship, courage, harmony, peace and prosperity.

Blessed be.

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