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

Posts tagged ‘connection’

Breaking Ancestral Patterns

Some Patterns Need Breaking

broken patternsSome of you came here to break ancestral patterns and heal trauma. The trouble is, you don’t usually know it. until go through your own challenges, lessons, and traumas to discover your purpose. You also have to go through an incredible amount of pain, ripping yourself out of a path your family has followed—perhaps for many generations.

For me, it wasn’t really a single event, but several spanning more than 15 years. I spent the first 40 or so years living a life isolated from true connections, unaware that the lessons I’d been taught from the cradle were not only dead wrong, but horrifically damaging to an ultra-sensitive psyche like mine.

Even my mother’s suicide in 1993 wasn’t enough to shake me loose from old, unhealthy beliefs. When my dad followed suit in 2003, the walls had begun to weaken, but were still held firmly in place, if only with spit and baling wire. It wasn’t until my eldest daughter started talking about moving out in early 2009 that the weakening supports holding all the old, uncomfortable misconceptions in place began to crumble in earnest.

Visiting a Broken Belief System

Losing my parents, even in the worst way possible shook me to my core, but it wasn’t a strong in the flowenough shock to allow me to let go of a belief system that never felt right in the first place. Once they were gone, and the rest of my family distanced, it seemed like the only thing I had left to connect me with my origins. Only the thought of being completely alone could turn my life upside down and allow all the pieces to start falling out of a box that was never meant to contain a lifetime of hurts, abuse, and frustration.

Thankfully, my daughter didn’t leave me without the tools to rebuild my crumbling self into something better, nor did she move out for a couple more years. She encouraged me to take up writing again. I learned it was a safe place to air those feelings, and even start sharing them publicly.

It happened slowly at first, with Tarot readings, and small glimpses behind my veil. But as time went on, I opened up further, first sharing my parents’ suicides, then bringing my own confused and convoluted feelings into the mix.

Self-Protection or Isolation?

isolationI learned the old, self-protective beliefs my family had passed down for generations meant living without something far more important than self-preservation. People are better together, and are, in fact stronger in groups than they could ever be alone. People need deep, heartfelt connection, and that connection isn’t possible as long as you hold your feelings deep inside, and fight what I learned was a losing battle to keep a clean, unbroken facade in place.

Sharing my brokenness worked on several levels. First and foremost, it dispelled the myth that my life was perfect. No one around me had a life without challenges, fumbles, bumps, and bruises, so letting them believe I did gave them nothing to relate to. I was some mythical creature living in a cave, hording my memories and experiences like jewels.

Keeping my feelings to myself also meant no one could be there for me, because as far as they were concerned, I needed no one but myself. Nothing could have been further from the truth, but I had a deep-seated fear of allowing anyone to see I was struggling. I’d been taught to believe it would invite them to take advantage of me, and none of my own experiences disproved my teachings. I’ve since learned you get what you put out into the world, and I honestly expected to be mistreated, so guess what? I got what I asked for in spades!

Opening Old Wounds to Healing

Thanks to my daughter, I eventually laid it all out on the table, first via my blog, and later in

Open Wounds

Photo Credit-Spiral Tarot

person with the new, deeper connections I made when I learned to stop pretending. I now realize I’m not alone in struggling with the loss of a loved one by suicide. I share my feelings, struggles, confusion, and loneliness with, perhaps, far too many people. But at least I don’t have to hide those feelings away any more. They’re honest and raw, and won’t heal unless I pull them out, slog through them, and feel them down to my core. Only then can I let them go.

There are some feelings I’m learning have to be relived over and over before they can be released. Once I would have stuffed them away so I wouldn’t have to relive the pain. Now I know each time they arise, the pain is lessened, and I get to release another piece of it. There may someday come a time when certain things no longer trigger painful memories and emotions, but if not, at least they’ve also begun to trigger happier memories as well.

You grieve because someone you love is no longer there to love on. You relive the pain because they’re no longer there to make new memories, and you’re sad because they miss out on so many milestones in your life, and the lives of your children. Once I believed it was dangerous and weak to openly suffer through another round of painful memories. Now, I revel in the fact I’m healing a little more every day.

A Life Made Fuller With Connections

connectionsLooking back, I see how empty my life was while I was trying desperately to contain feelings that were never meant to be contained. It saddens me to think so many generations before me lived their whole lives believing they couldn’t share their feelings; who stuffed them down, or numbed themselves with drugs, alcohol, or some other kind of addiction.

I don’t know why the task of healing ancestral wounds fell on me, but I will be eternally grateful I was given the task. It’s opened up an entirely new world for me, even if it’s meant feeling a lot of pain in the process. In so doing, I learned reliving painful memories isn’t about the pain at all, but about the catharsis. It’s about learning you don’t suffer alone when you break the silence, and you get to start healing the roiling, festering mess you’ve kept inside longer than necessary or healthy.

Healing begins with cleaning out the wound, whether it’s physical or emotional. Until you open the wound and let the infection drain out, the wound will never heal. An unhealed wound will eventually poison the entire organism. If my own family is an example, there’s a lot of uncleared poison running through the familial tree, being passed down from generation to generation. I doubt I can heal it all in my lifetime, but at least I’ve lanced some of the wounds and allowed them to start draining.

Grateful for the Twists and Turns in My Path

My gratitudes are:

  1. I’m grateful for the opportunity to heal ancestral wounds.
  2. I’m grateful for reminders to feel all feelings, even the painful and uncomfortable ones, be they personal or ancestral.
  3. I’m grateful for inspiration that comes from many directions, and keeps the words flowing.
  4. I’m grateful for constantly improving health as I release old hurts, and clear energy blocks.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, inspiration, motivation, epiphanies, joy, sorrow, grief, pain, love, release, health, peace, balance, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.



About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a Holistic Ghostwriter, and an advocate for cats and mental health. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income.

If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author.

Embracing the Joy of Movement

Put a Little Movement into Your Day

A Body In Motion Stays In Motion

movementThe first time I heard these words was in a commercial for arthritis medication. In the last few years, not only have they become more meaningful, they’ve come to be a way of life. Knee surgery 8 years ago, almost a lifetime of dancing, and the extra pounds I carry have given me more than enough reasons to keep my muscles and joints as flexible and lubricated as possible. Sitting in front of the computer, or TV all day does not accomplish this essential goal.

Life before regular exercise was a part of my week is enough of a reminder to get me up off the couch, and even give some new types of exercise a try, if only to move everything differently. Variety is helping achieve a new level of strength and flexibility. It isn’t only to keep me physically healthy. A sedentary lifestyle affected my mental health, self-image, and a ton of subtler things which added up to a sad, lonely, miserable human being.

It’s enough of a reminder to keep me doing, at the very least, my regular, daily chores, especially when I feel myself slipping into a place where I’m bored but nothing appeals enough to make me put forth the effort. I know it means the next step down could lead to depression, and that’s a town I hope never to visit again.

Finding Alternatives

There was a time I’d either feel too lazy, or too uninspired to find new ways to move. Or I’d use the excuse that I danced twice a week, and went to the gym three times. I’m learning now, what I did was good, but what I have now is much better. I get some of my exercise by going outside and working in the yard, some from dancing, and surprisingly, none from lifting weights, at least not in the traditional sense.

I’m learning those muscles I feared would go slack from lack of use are getting stronger from holding my arms properly in ballet, and wielding yard taming equipment. The image in the mirror tells me the muscles are getting more toned than ever, and with seemingly less effort, and certainly less resistance. Nothing I do now involves lifting anything close to the weights I was using at the gym. Yet, I’m feeling better, stronger, and more confident than ever! All because I choose to move more and sit less.

Don’t get me wrong. I still spend long hours in front of the computer, and days when I choose to binge read. But after a day or two, I’m bored of sitting still and need to move around somehow. Most days, I don’t have the opportunity to sit all day anyway. There are dishes to wash, meals to prepare, cats to care for, and chores to keep up with. As I keep telling the cats, the floors won’t vacuum and wash themselves, and they are messers, not cleaners. According to my FitBit, a bad day for me is still over 3000 steps. There was a time I’d barely get 1300!

Reversing Unhealthy Habits inveterate slob, I’ve come to appreciate sofas that are fur-free, floors that aren’t gritty (which I notice as I usually run barefoot), and a kitchen that’s clean and ready for the new day, whether I choose to eat out of my freezer, or fix something more complicated. Rarely do I need to move things around in order to begin a new project, be it cooking, home repairs, or something crafty. Even my garage is getting more organized as I tend to extend any cleaning and decluttering project I start when I’m out there.

In a way, I’m beginning to relate to my daughter who’s ADHD has never let her sit still for even a moment. She has to be busy, and if she’s sitting, a toe or a knee will be twitching or tapping. The more I get used to being in motion, the more motion I seem to require. A body in motion truly is inclined to remain in motion!

As I’ve mentioned a few dozen times, being healthy involves more than eating right and getting the minimum daily dose of exercise. There’s a synergy that develops when you put those things together with things like yoga or meditation, spending time in nature, connecting with friends and family, and doing things to help others. You feed all aspects of your being, satisfying intrinsic needs that require more than the occasional notice to help you thrive.

Balance for Better Overall Health

I’ve come to believe people who spend all their free time at the gym are feeding some needs but not others, as are those who devote their time to helping others. Like anything else, it’s about balance; sufficient time spent looking after personal needs, those of others, and simply Being. Down time is yet another critical piece of the puzzle; a time when I’m not thinking or doing anything at all except enjoying the moment I’m in. Finding that balance is challenging because it’s constantly changing, and being impacted by outside forces.

I make a point of checking in with myself regularly to see what I need, the same way I check in to see if I’m hungry, or thirsty. There’s not an app, or a book that provides this information. What works best for me is to spend some time every day sitting quietly, and doing a kind of mental check from head to toe. Where do I feel tension? Where am I feeling relaxed? What feels unbalanced? What am I lacking? What’s going on in my gut?

Once I’ve identified areas of stress or lack, I start working through what I need to get myself back in balance, and ultimately in a place of peak performance, and minimal stress. It does, however require practice, and regular attention. I didn’t get in touch with everything on the first try, or even the 50th. Getting to know myself, my needs, triggers, stress points, and remedies is a long-term project. I’d even venture to say it takes a lifetime, and even then, I’ll still have more to learn.

I’ve learned to enjoy the journey and cherish the adventures, wrong turns, and discoveries along the way.

Regular Gratitude Helps Maintain Good Health

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for the journeys life has taken me on.
  2. I’m grateful for the lessons I’ve already had, and those yet to come.
  3. I’m grateful for the things I’ve been through which make me try harder to be better, stronger, healthier, and more connected.
  4. I’m grateful for the gifts I’ve been given.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, friendship, curiosity, independence, health, harmony, joy, motivation, inspiration, dedication, peace, balance, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light


About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a Holistic Ghostwriter, and an advocate for cats and mental health. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income.

If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward

Staying Afloat in a Typhoon of Emotions

Drowning in a Sea of Emotions

Lately, the rush of emotions comes on suddenly. The fear, the anger, the frustration, and worst of all, the loneliness. For the most part, these feelings aren’t mine, but they engulf me on those occasions when I have to leave the house to run a few errands I couldn’t accomplish with my phone or the internet.

While I’m drowning in the flood, I don’t always take the time to step back and ask if the feelings are mine. I flounder through, singularly focused on finishing what I have to, and rushing back home to the warmth of my personal cocoon. There I can hug a cat or three, and take the time to analyze the feelings overwhelming me.

Sometimes I realize right away I’ve been absorbing the unfiltered emotions of the people around me. Others, it takes a few days, and comments from friends who understand before I recognize what actually happened. The truth is, anywhere people gather, socially distancing or no, there’s a shit storm of emotions no one is trying to mask. It reminds me of someone intoxicated who broadcasts every joy, every hurt, every ounce of pain they normally keep buried.

Emotional Overload Isn’t Just for Empaths

Everyone is overwhelmed right now whether they realize it or not. Heaven knows I didn’t for emotional overloadawhile until it smacked me in the face. I started getting migraines again for no apparent reason. My heart would pound though I had done nothing more than walk around the house. My body would tense up making me afraid to even move.

I’m one of the lucky ones. When I feel those unpleasant feelings, I can write, or go work in the yard. I can clean house, or declutter the garage. I have no end of projects to clear my mind and soul. I think of people closed up in an apartment or condominium with waves of other peoples’ emotions flooding them without respite, and my heart aches. What saves me right now is being able to detach from everyone else’s emotions, and work through mine by doing something physical. There are only so many times you can clean an apartment or condo, or declutter closets.

Combating Emotional Overload With Hard Labor

I have a wealth of opportunities to clean, organize, or be productive. I’ve yet to create any sort of list, aside from my blog schedule. I’ve been overwhelmed by a yard that was becoming a forest until my friend brought over lawn equipment that’s been sitting in a garage unused for several years. There are no lawns to tend in a condo.

Getting my yard back in shape, even with  help is going to take awhile, but it provides me with ample opportunity to work off a lot of this heavy energy. When I get tired of whacking away at weeds or trying to make them resemble a lawn, there are still blogs to write, a house to clean, and even a bathroom to paint.

I also have a huge library of books to read, and more in the electronic libraries of my daughter and me. So no, I won’t run out of things to keep my mind and body busy in between Zoom ballet classes and line dance nights.

A Healthy Dose of Human Connection

I’ve learned though that the one thing I can’t get from my projects and books is the connection people I’ve learned to appreciate in recent years. I need chats on the porch and Saturday night gatherings for my mental as well as physical health. I’m learning that connection isn’t an option if I want to stay healthy. When I see people wandering through a store with no real sense of purpose or direction, I remember that was me not too many years ago, and my heart breaks a little.

I remember my dad and his buddies wandering through the Costco near them, not because they needed anything, but to get out of the house and around people. I used to laugh about it. I’m not laughing now, because I’m beginning to understand.

The worst part of the COVID virus isn’t the number of people who are going to get sick, and even die. It isn’t the businesses who are floundering and may not make it until things start to open up again. Being disconnected from each other; unable to share a meal; unable to hug; unable to combine our individual energy into one big ball of amazing…that’s the worst part. I shudder to think of the casualties caused by lack of connection. They won’t be as obvious, and they, too will take more lives.

Finding New Ways to Feed Your Social Animal

I can’t begin to count the number of times a night out dancing pulled me out of my doldrums and quelled my feelings of worthlessness. Exchanging hugs with my friends, or laughing on the dance floor lifted me back up when I needed it most. How many others depended on a regular social schedule to maintain their sanity? Add financial woes to the mix for many, and the picture isn’t pretty. Is it any wonder many are running afoul of the social distancing orders?

The truth is, when your mental health is on shaky ground, you start to lose interest in maintaining your physical health. Why bother? You ask yourself. Nobody will notice if I gain a few pounds or let my hair get shaggy. So what if I don’t shower for a week or two, or put on clean clothes? You can’t see how many really do care while you’re holed up in your house alone, either by choice, or by necessity. The reason doesn’t matter.

Paying Attention to the Ones You Love

People do care though. Sometimes we don’t recognize it as caring, but they really do. And sometimes it takes a good shaking to remind some to show that caring before it’s too late. I see now I’m one who needed a shaking, and at times, I wallow in the realization I let my parents down by not showing them I cared when they were still around.

I’m getting a little of it back from my daughter Jenni now. I pushed my mom away when I was in my 20’s. Jenni has done the same, and now, in her 30’s with 3 children I doubt I’ll ever get to know, she’s pushed me away harder and further than I ever pushed my mom.

The difference is, I stopped trying to pretend I was OK all the time and let people see the real me. I developed real friendships with give and take. Sometimes I’m the one who uplifts and supports someone, and others, I receive the support. I’ve learned a healthy relationship is synergistic; everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, but together, everyone is stronger, more resilient, and most of all, important to the whole.

What’s most important is learning from all the falls I’ve taken over the years. Wallowing in regret won’t make the world a better place, and it won’t make my own life better. What will make a difference is recognizing places where I could have done better, or where I should have asked for help instead of bulldozing my way through until I destroyed the entire structure.

So I notice things like lonely people wandering Costco trying to find a connection. Once upon a time, that person was me.

Ever Grateful for the Many Blessings in My Life

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for lessons learned.
  2. I’m grateful for the trials and tribulations I’ve faced; for the traumas and the challenges that taught me to stop keeping everything to myself, and to trust other people.
  3. I’m grateful for my community which is working overtime to help it’s member stay safe and sane.
  4. I’m grateful for human connection, even from a distance. I’ve tried isolation, and realize even I need people, if in smaller doses than others.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; opportunities, motivation, inspiration, love, joy, community, friendship, connection, balance, peace, health, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light


About the Author

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

Weathering the Solitude

The Solitude of Social Distancing’m thinking about the hours, weeks, and days that stretch ahead, alone in my house with my cats. Don’t get me wrong. I love my furballs, and they’ve always been a great source of comfort. But face it. People need people, and much as I might try to deny it, I’m no exception.

Over the last couple of years, I put a lot of time and energy into creating a new normal which included leaving the house three days a week to go to the gym, and running errands afterwards on Wednesdays. The first week of my self-imposed retreat left me wandering the house, unsure what to do with myself. The first couple of days were actually spent resting though. I’d absorbed a lot of energy from people and places that left me utterly drained.

I got up in the morning, later than I was used to, only to wander from couch to couch, and often ending up on the guest room bed for a couple of hours, yet still sleeping in the next day. I realized I had worked myself up about my final Wednesday shopping trip and 2 doctor’s appointments I had scheduled later in the week, and was driving myself crazy. Lavender candles and essential oil plus what would become a nightly tea habit brought me down a few notches.

Finding My New Normal

I didn’t truly start to settle until after the first of what would be regular Thursday night line dances via Zoom. After that, I went into an almost manic state; cleaning, doing laundry, even vacuuming the garage. In my defense, I’d spilled some cat litter while transferring it from the bags it came in into more easily accessible buckets. Once I revved up the shop vac, it kind of pulled me along, sucking up grit and rubble that had accumulated on the garage floor around my car.

Slowly, the days have started taking on a new kind of normal. I rise earlier every day; getting closer to the time my Fitbit goes off. Morning pages are, of course, still the first thing I do after getting up, followed by making the bed, putting in my contacts, feeding the cats, and then myself. At least some things haven’t had to change.

I’m still playing with the rest of the day, though. Sometimes, I’ll go out on the patio and do some freehand writing. Sometimes I’ll pull up one of my writing projects and start working on it. when I do, the day seems to get away from me, and it’s late in the afternoon before I meditate (another non-negotiable), and eat what often becomes both lunch and dinner. But I also feel like I’ve actually done something productive. In my head, cleaning doesn’t count. And heaven knows I’ve been doing more cleaning than usual too!

Idleness is No Longer a Comfortable Place

Created with CanvaMy cats are becoming more spoiled than ever as they’re getting excessive lap time and tummy skritches with me home 24/7. That will slow down as I am compelled to spend more time at the computer or on the patio writing. I do, however, carry on long, deep conversations with them. If only they could contribute to the conversation instead of it being a long monologue. At some point, I might even run out of things to say.

TV got boring within the first few days. It’s all I can do to sit still and refrain from channel surfing. Nothing holds my attention for more than a few minutes, even if I’m playing games on my phone. And even the games aren’t holding my interest for long any more. Since I’ve moved my computer into the dining room to accommodate the Zoom dancing sessions, the TV may soon become occasional background noise, and nothing more.

Somehow, I’m slowly finding my way. Motivation and inspiration are starting to increase. After sitting at the computer for hours, I’m itching to move, so the house is slowly getting cleaned, and lightbulbs that have been out for weeks are now getting replaced. I do miss my friend Jesse who is so tall he doesn’t need a step ladder. I’d call him when I needed bulbs changed, and he’d have it done quickly and easily without having to drag the ladder all over the house. Guess I need to be more careful about saying I want to be self-sufficient, huh?

Dancing for Sanity and Connection

I know the one thing that will save my sanity is the Zoom-based dance nights being set up by our dance instructors and DJ’s. At this point, there are nights when I’ll even have to choose which event to attend! Even line dance lessons are continuing, which, if you ask me, is nothing short of amazing! The Borderline family and the Country dance community as a whole have been through hell and back the last couple of years, yet, like a phoenix, we keep rising to whatever occasion we have. We’ve danced in malls, barns, and parking lots. We’ve found new places where we were welcomed with open arms. Now, we dance in our own living rooms, garages, dens, and kitchens. But we’re still dancing.

Even the technologically challenged are learning how to use Zoom, Facebook Live, and other tools many of us once used only for marketing or productivity. I’m grateful I was ahead of the curve and already knew how to use them.

I’ve had to temporarily ditch habits like going to the gym and meeting my friends at BL Saloon or Oil Can Harry’s for some dancing. At times, I feel completely disconnected and lost. If the last couple of years have taught me nothing else, it’s how to create habits that make me more efficient, more motivated, and healthier. I’m nothing if not creative, so finding temporary replacements is merely a matter of pointing my nose towards what I need and figuring out new ways to get there.

Finding New Ways to Keep Myself Healthy and Fit

Whether it’s the cup of tea I’ve added to my nightly routine, the new regular dance nights, or finding exercise videos that will keep what I’ve achieved through strength training intact until I have access to heavier weights and machines again, I’ve learned my mind and body are used to a certain level of exercise and stimulation. I might need more rest at times because the energies are heavy right now. Ultimately, I need to move more than I realized, and I will find ways to get what I seem to have lost, albeit only until I figure out a workaround.

I’ve specialized in workarounds ever since my career path started requiring computer proficiency decades ago. What I learned about software and making it produce what I wanted works just as well for exercise and work routines. In all honesty, I’m looking forward to tackling the latest challenge the Universe has added to my life. In hindsight, I was falling into a rut, and though I wouldn’t exactly ask for a pandemic to change that, I did need something to boot me in the butt. As usual, the Universe pushes me out of my comfort zone in ways that guarantee I can’t return to where I’ve been.

The Healing Gift of Gratitude

One of the changes I’ve made during what I’m calling my retreat is to post daily gratitudes on Facebook; a practice I began years ago with my blog posts. Sometimes, expanding on an old habit is the only change needed to make something new and effective.

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful to be part of a community which ensures we all stay connected.
  2. I’m grateful for friends who call to check up on me.
  3. I’m grateful I’ve learned to be kind to myself while settling into a new normal.
  4. I’m grateful for a strong, healthy body that demands I do more than sit on the couch watching TV for hours.
  5. I’m grateful for a large, essentially private yard where I can sit and write, or just hang out with my outside cats Max and Cinders.
  6. I’m grateful for abundance; love, friendship, health, motivation, inspiration, healthy, precooked meals, solitude, peace, balance, hope, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

About the Author

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

Humanity’s Rhythm and Flow

Rhythm and Balance and more, I’m becoming aware that everyone has a rhythm. Every social group, family, and community is comprised of a broad range of rhythms which combined, serve to give the social unit balance. People within those groups are drawn together by those rhythms; some because they’re similar and go through life at a compatible pace, and others as opposites, or at least vastly different because as individuals we need to find our own balance at an interpersonal level.

In my own social circle, I’m seeing people who are extremely high energy; always on. They’re like hummingbirds flitting from flower to flower never settling long. Only those in similar rhythm actually stay with them for the whole ride. For the rest, their pace can be exhausting. Others plod along unhurried, enjoying the sights along the way. Often, their company serves as a resting place from the people who are always “on”; a place to catch your breath before diving into the next adventure.

The rhythms interact together, separately, and in concert with other rhythms within the group to form an ebb and flow that’s the heartbeat of the community. The energy is in constant flux as people move from one level to another according to their needs and circumstances.

Finding My Own Level Moment by Moment

Some rhythms (like mine for instance) wink in and out as the need for stimulation separation ebbs and flows. Others seem to be the spark that keeps everything lit, like the pilot light on your stove or water heater. Many, in fact, engage and disengage in a dance known only to the dancer, and even then, often at a subconscious level.

Still, there’s an element of frenzy attached to the ones who are always on. I watched one recently who was running on minimal sleep, yet believing she had to keep moving or burn out. For some reason, the idea of burning out, or not shining brightly was unacceptable to her, whereas I find those moments of quiet a welcome respite. In fact, I took a few minutes to sit alone in my beach chair with music and voices swirling around me to disappear into my own personal space. I’ve learned it’s actually a gift to be able to do that.

Disconnection is Part of the Flow, a discussion ensued about feeling alone in a crowd; disconnected from the energy flow. There was a time I’d have felt uncomfortable when that feeling of disconnection came on. One night, I decided to ride it out instead of fighting it, or looking for the source of my disconnection (me, someone else, something else). I discovered experiencing moments of disconnection weren’t really a bad thing. Instead, they give me a different, and often clearer perspective.

Sometimes, I need to step back into myself to simply feel the music, the energy, and the rhythm. Other times, I need to step out of the scene so I can see something or someone more clearly. No matter why the feeling suddenly comes on, I’ve learned to honor it because it’s there for a reason. There’s something I’m supposed to notice.

Maybe it’s discord in my own thinking, or a need to retreat and steer clear of impending drama. Perhaps someone needs me to be aware they’re not OK even if there’s nothing I can say or do for the moment. Sometimes things are simply shifting, and I need to stand back and let the shift happen.

The Dynamics of Community

In every community and social circle, the dynamics are constantly in motion. They Created with Canvadrive some closer together while others move further apart, or into other circles as their own rhythm shifts and changes. I picture a kaleidoscope where all of the participants are pieces of colored glass. With each turn, the pieces shift and reassemble into different patterns, never returning to the same one twice.

I realize my view may be overly complicated. People don’t shift as quickly as the pieces in a kaleidoscope, though sometimes, watching a room from the sidelines, I feel as if it does. In truth, I’m seeing certain pieces moving faster than others, and some simply standing in place allowing the others to drift around them in groups and individually. (often, the stationary piece is me)

The view changes dramatically when I’m in the middle of things instead of on the sidelines. Sometimes, I’ll even get a kind of bird’s-eye view of myself drifting from circle to circle. In the process, I leave bits of energy behind with each group and individual I touch.

Sharing or Not. Which Do You Choose? occurs to me that the ones vibrating the fastest leave the smallest pieces of themselves behind; perhaps only the tiniest spark. Is it by accident, or design? In a way, I accomplished the same thing when I kept myself tightly encased in a kind of energy damping cotton wool. My touch was feather-light and few if any even felt me pass. Though the swift movers can definitely be felt, they’re gone before a piece of themselves escape their own version of protection.

I guess in a way each person fears losing a part of themselves. They perform their own complicated maneuvers to prevent it from happening, though, like me, they’re often unaware they’re doing it. Coming to terms with my own unfounded fears made me realize something important.

Learning the Rules of Connection

Connecting deeply with other people doesn’t mean giving up a part of myself. Instead, it allows me to open up and build on what I have with input from others. It creates a synergy where the whole is more dynamic; more evolved than it could possibly have been left to its own devices.

Opening up to the infinite number of rhythmic levels in my communities is teaching me how limitless I can be, but only if I let others in. The lessons I’m learning aren’t always easy or comfortable as they’re completely at odds with what I was taught to believe, and saw fit to hold onto for far too long. Which serves to remind me, growth, discovery, and learning always occur outside the comfort zone. Thank goodness I learned to chuck mine aside, realizing it was about as useful as an empty banana peel.

Finding Gratitude in the Little Things

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for friends old and new who are teaching me what it truly means to live a full and fulfilling life.
  2. I’m grateful for opportunities to experience different rhythms.
  3. I’m grateful for the communities which allow me to learn, grow, and experience a life I never before knew existed.
  4. I’m grateful for the quiet times which allow me to reflect on the new things I’ve been learning.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, growth, experiences, life, energy, rhythm, friendship, shifts, change, peace, health, harmony, joy, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light


About the Author

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

Cultural Diversity Has Become Cultural Disparity

Misjudging On What We See have been quite a few conversations about how we judge people by the way they look. It might be a style of dress, hairstyle, tattoos, piercings, or skin color. In the end, it comes down to attributing certain negative characteristics to anyone who looks like someone you’ve decided is mean, scary, or dangerous.

Sometimes, it stems from a bad experience. When I was in elementary school, a neighbor girl who happened to be Hispanic used to knock me down and bash my head on the sidewalk. Had I had different, less accepting parents, I might have developed a hatred and distrust of anyone who looked Hispanic. Thankfully, my parents had a diverse group of friends when we lived in the Valley so I never attributed one person’s behavior to an entire culture.

More often these days, it stems from what we hear, the area we live in, or a combination of factors. Too many people rely on the media to determine how they think and believe these days, causing everyone to hate each other for some unspecified reason, or no reason at all.

Negative Impacts of Forced Diversity Training

Businesses are forced to teach cultural diversity in the workplace. Yet the way go about it often makes things worse instead of better. Someone along the way decided cultural diversity training meant teaching white people to treat everyone else with more sensitivity and respect, instead of making it applicable to all. Rather than bringing everyone closer together, it’s widened the gap into a chasm, and made the disparity even more noticeable and impossible to breach.

In her Red Table Talks, Jada Pinkett Smith talks a lot about the disparities between whites and blacks. But she doesn’t slap the blame on one side of the table. Instead, she admits there are generations-old prejudices on both sides,  and that the solution requires both sides to release those prejudices and come together with open minds.

In one episode in particular (though not her only one on the subject), “The Racial Divide: Women of Color and White Women”, three generations of black women discuss their own ingrained prejudices. Those biases, often instilled since birth stand in the way of meeting white women halfway to try and resolve conflicts which were once based on traumatic experiences, but generalized to include all who looked a certain way. Two white women join the conversation, with an emphasis on “conversation”.

Replacing Conflict With Conversation

In order to truly embrace the diversity of our cultures, we need more conversations. We need more coming together, not because it’s dictated by a government or other entity, but because we truly want to understand each others’ beliefs and pain points. But more, because we want to bridge the gaps those beliefs and pain points have generated through the passing of prejudices from generation to generation.

We need to stop the knee-jerk tendency to blame some artificially designated group for our problems, society’s problems, or anyone else who thinks they need a scapegoat. Assigning scapegoats solves nothing, but it sure does create a lot more hate, anger, and chaos.

The question becomes, do we truly want to solve the problems we see and rant about, or is ranting our real purpose? As human beings, do we simply require something to complain about? Can we not be happy when we work in concert with other humans? With nature? Is drama our state of balance?

Taking the Time to Analyze the Cause in the Conflict

I can’t speak for everyone else. I only know it doesn’t work for me. I’m not at when I’m in conflict with others. I experience discomfort when I’m out of sorts with someone in my own social circle, much less a large chunk of society. Yet I haven’t figured out how to get back in balance. There are too many conflicting factions, all demanding I take their side, and speak out in the same manner they do.

Sorry folks. I was given a brain so I could think, reflect, research, and form my own opinions just like everyone else was. I refuse to allow anyone to take that choice; that ability away from me. Those who need blanket agreement from their associates are not going to find me a good fit. I think for myself and act as I see fit.

Learning to Replace Hurt and Anger With Forgiveness

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERADo I make mistakes? Of course I do. And I try to own up to them insofar as the other party or parties is willing to accept my apology and move on. Again, it’s not always the case. Some people hold onto a negative experience and will judge me as lacking forever more. I’ve done the same myself until I find a way to forgive myself and the other party. We’re all human, which means, we aren’t perfect. All we can do is try.

I hurt a friend’s feelings a few days ago. Not intentionally. More out of clumsiness, and forgetting to recognize she’s a bit raw right now. In hindsight, I realize I was heavy-handed with my teasing because I was hurting too. But I told myself I was stupid for feeling hurt instead of honoring my own feelings, and tried to move on. Without thinking, I took it out on her, partly because she was an innocent party to why I was hurt. So I’m worrying that she’ll think less of me for my clumsiness, though I know she’s one of the most forgiving (almost to a fault) people I have the good fortune to call “friend”.

Avoiding the Pitfalls When We Ass-U-me

My point here is we tend to make assumptions, most of them false when we’re not acknowledged or answered. It happens often enough between friends, so take the number of instances and multiply it by 50 billion or so. That will give you a conservative idea of how many misunderstandings and misconceptions happen every day in our nation, much less, our world.

We seem to have lost the ability to create a safe environment where we can say “I’m hurt and upset by…” or “I don’t feel comfortable with…” or simply “Can you help me understand why…”

Until we can feel comfortable being honest about all the ingrained beliefs—all the baggage we’re carrying around, whether experienced or inherited, we’ll continue to see a seemingly insurmountable disparity between cultures; between generations; between genders; between everything else we use to build walls that separate us. We have to start by removing a few of our own bricks first.

Keeping the Lines of Communication Open

Are there more disconnects than connections in your life? Are you overwhelmed just trying to keep up with the day-to-day? Would you like to take a task or two off your plate? Maybe it’s content creation, or perhaps it’s getting your books in order and creating a budget. If this sounds familiar and you’re ready to streamline your life and give your business space to grow and thrive, CONTACT ME and let’s talk!

Remembering How Much We Have to be Grateful For

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the ability to see what needs to change, and that I can only start with myself.
  2. I am grateful for the things I’ve seen, the places I’ve gone, and the people I’ve met along the way.
  3. I am grateful I’m starting to learn to listen more and talk less, though it’s an ongoing process, and I need lots of reminders.
  4. I am grateful for the mistakes I’ve made. They help me learn to do better next time.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, lessons, challenges, vocabulary, mistakes, life, inspiration, motivation, crazy dreams, peace, harmony, health, 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

Some of Us Are the Belle of the Ball, The Rest, Wallpaper

Still Wallpaper After All These Years

Created with CanvaEven though I have several decades under my belt, some things don’t seem to change. Men buzz around one beautiful flower, and completely miss the fact that there’s an entire garden to choose from. Maybe what attracts them has morphed a little, but they all still seem to want the same thing.

What they want, though seems to continue to baffle. It’s not necessarily the most beautiful, the one with the nicest car, the cutest clothes, or the perkiest chest. There’s something less obvious; less apparent which seems to have them flocking to the same women while the rest of us watch in bewilderment as one man after another is rejected. Only one can win the prize, and only if she’s willing and equally attracted.

Don’t get me wrong. I get that men, like women would rather not settle. They want what they want (or think they want) and the rest are, to them, second-best. The sad part is, (at least from where I sit) while they’re busy chasing that one perfect bud, they might be missing out on the one who would be a better fit if they simply took the time to get to know her.

To Stand Out, You Have to Be Outgoing

The one constant I do see is the outgoing, extroverted women (or the ones Created in Canvawho know how to feign extroversion) seem to be the ones attracting all the bees. The quieter ones who open up only once they’ve developed a level of trust are left alone. I suppose we’re not worth the effort it takes to get to know us. Getting past the hard outer shell many of us have developed after years of disappointing relationships takes a willingness to be patient and keep things casual for awhile.

A friend of mine says you have to “open the door” so to speak. What she means is you have to decide within yourself you’re ready to let someone get close. She believes that’s what attracts men to you. I thought I’d opened that door, but clearly, I’m doing something wrong because I can still stand in a group of women and watch all but me get asked to dance.

Don’t get me wrong. I do get my share of dancing in. I’m not a complete wallflower these days, thank goodness. But I’m never approached by anyone who doesn’t already know me like the highly sought-after women are. Even in our social circle, I’m rarely the partner of choice with the single men who are at least close to my age.

What Makes the Belle’s Stand Out? hear similar laments from other women, so don’t think it’s just me. At this point, there are several factors which could be contributors, not only for me but for some of my friends:

  • Quieter
  • What we wear (comfortable vs. sexy or cute)
  • Excess weight
  • Too old (guys seem to gravitate towards younger women for the most part)
  • Shyer (Less likely to initiate a conversation or eye contact)
  • Less engaged (I, for one tend to drift off into my own head)
  • Less energy

Whether it’s a combination of these factors and others I have yet to recognize, or a single one, I’m not sure. In all fairness, I don’t see anyone I’m immediately attracted to either, though there are a couple I find attractive without knowing much about them. But it’s more of a passing thought if I see them around rather than a deep desire to get to know them better.

Committed vs. Interested

Maybe that blase attitude is really at the crux of the matter. Women who want to have a relationship simply act more interested in the process. Once eye contact is made, they have a way of making each person they talk to, male or female feel special in their own way. Though I’ve been the recipient, I’ve never mastered that particular social skill.

I’m learning a lot about building relationships from a business group I’m in, and I believe it’s helped me make headway in my social circle as well. Still and all, I’m starting from a disadvantageous position so I have a lot of catching up to do. As I draw closer to the middle of my 60’s, the options get lighter. In the end, I try to console myself by saying how accustomed I’ve grown to being alone.

But do we really? No matter how many years we chase a career, raise kids, follow a passion, or for some, live the life of a free spirit, when we close the door at night, there will always be times we wish we didn’t have to close out the entire world. I believe most, if not all of us who are single wish at some point there was someone else on our side of the door who’s looking forward to our time alone together.

Meeting the Right People in All the Wrong Places talk to one of my “Belle” friends a lot. She says I need to be more open to meeting people in off-the-wall places like elevators and jury duty; places others seem to meet. But I don’t feel I’m at my best in a crowd of people, or when I’m sweaty and wearing baggy clothes at the gym. I find it difficult to connect when I go somewhere for a purpose, or have to be somewhere I consider unpleasant. Instead, I’ll put headphones in my ear and hide out behind a book or a laptop. It’s my way of making the uncomfortable bearable.

My introverted self has compartmentalized my activities into “social” and “necessary”. Somehow, I’ve failed to build a bridge between the two. I’m not unaware the old men cranking away on the cardio machines are checking out everyone who walks by. A couple have tried to start conversations, or smiled and said hello, but that’s as far as it goes. I’m there to get my exercise in and go back home to work. And frankly, I have no delusions their friendliness is nothing more than that I’m there often enough to be a familiar face.

Not All Introverts Travel Alone

I know other introverts find someone who fits them. I can’t figure out how they manage it, but clearly they do or there would be a lot more people drifting around alone. My only guess is they grew more tired of being alone than I have, and took a giant step outside their comfort zone, socially. They learned to approach men they didn’t know while being friendly and open. Maybe they used the dating sites or something to help get themselves over the hump. The discovered something I’ve been unable to figure out. Which means there’s still hope for me and the rest of the women who feel like wallpaper.

Eventually, we’ll all stand out to someone!

Can I Help You?

Are you struggling to keep all of your entrepreneurial balls in the air? To stand out from the crowd? Would you like to take a task or two off your plate? Maybe it’s content creation, or perhaps it’s getting your books in order and creating a budget. If this sounds familiar and you’re ready to streamline your life and give your business space to grow and thrive, CONTACT ME and let’s talk!

Grateful for Every Kind of Friendship

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful my social circle has expanded, even if intimacy isn’t a factor right now.
  2. I’m grateful for friends who share their ups and downs. Even the ones who seem to have the best lives have their own stumbles and insecurities.
  3. I’m grateful for the strength I’ve developed while navigating my road alone. So much of that strength is in the relationships I’ve formed in the last couple of years.
  4. I’m grateful for the questions I ask. I don’t always admit I’m missing something until I take a good, hard look at the situation and how I do or don’t fit.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, friendship, dancing, joy, connections, 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

What Else Leaves When Your Nest Empties?

Our Nest Empties of More than Our Kids

Although my kids moved out years ago (has it really been that long?) I’m starting to notice things I no longer keep in the house. I don’t mean the obvious like piles of laundry, messy rooms, and a sink full of dishes I didn’t use. No, I mean the more subtle things. The products I no longer use and the foods I no longer eat, the occupation of my space.

Here are a few things which moved out when my kids left the nest:

  • Ketchup
  • Goldfish (the kind you eat)
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Boxed macaroni and cheese
  • Random animals (guinea pigs, hamsters, lizards other than the suicidal ones I see once in awhile…)
  • Bagel bites
  • Games
  • Encyclopedias
  • Clutter
  • Constant noise of some kind
  • Arguments
  • Tension
  • Companionship

What Fills the Empty Space

I could go on, and it will vary from person to person. But what about what moved in when the kids flew the coop? Here are a few things, years later I’m still discovering and loving:

  • An entire house all for me
  • Peace
  • Tranquility
  • Silence
  • Clear space everywhere
  • A clean kitchen every night
  • Healthy food in my refrigerator and freezer
  • Keeping my own crazy hours without worrying about disturbing anyone
  • All the cats sleep with me

Adjusting to What’s Missing, it isn’t all wine and roses. There are and always will be downsides to living alone. The biggest for me is being alone when I’d rather not be. I’m basically an introvert, so I’m not likely to just go out by myself to a place where I don’t know people to avoid being alone on a Friday night.

Most of my friends still work outside their homes and often need a quiet Friday night to relax and detox. As I’ve been working from home and only seeing people when I wanted to, I’m usually in a pretty mellow state by Friday and wouldn’t mind some company of my own choosing. Nevertheless, most Friday nights I spend alone.

Other areas where living alone can be hard are:

  • No one there if you fall in the shower and can’t get up or even reach the phone
  • No one to hold you when you’re sad or lonely
  • No one to take you to the doctor or go get you soup if you’re sick
  • No one there if you need an extra set of hands
  • No one to help with the chores
  • No one to talk to when you don’t feel like being alone
  • Dinner in front of the TV or at your desk gets old after awhile
  • Cooking for one (need I say more?)
Empty Nest: A Blessing and a Curse

Needless to say, adjusting to the pros and cons once the kids move out for all us single parents out there definitely has its highs and lows. We learn to adjust to the lows and fill our lives with enough activity to keep us from wallowing. We learn how much alone is enough, and where it becomes too much to bear. Of course, pets are a huge benefit. Without them, I know I’d have crashed and burned a few times when life threw too many tough things at me, or gave me too much time alone.

You could say people who are extroverted have an easier time of it, but do they really? I have extroverted friends who struggle over the same things I do. Maybe they manage them differently, but you can only go out alone so often, even to crowded places without finding yourself in “lonely town” in spite of the crowds.

Sure, we chit chat on social media or talk to our pets. We may private message or text back and forth. But it’s not the same as human contact. It’s definitely not the same as having someone around at least part of the time who cares how you’re feeling, how your day went, and what’s making you feel anxious at times. Nor will it ever replace a good, old-fashioned, heartfelt hug that’s made especially for you.

The Beauty of Human Contact

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAMy social circle; my friends are real huggers. We hug hello. We hug good-bye. We hug because we know someone needs it, or because we know they’re having a tough time. We hug for joy when someone has wonderful news. We hug for no reason at all. Still, there is the hug from someone who believes you are their moon, sun, and stars. It’s the most special kind of hug, and one I haven’t felt in a very long time.

How can you miss something that’s so far in the past as to have been forgotten or so distant as to be more a dream than a memory? Some things embed themselves into the very fiber of our being. We don’t need to remember. It’s just there. And it’s the single most unpleasant part of always being alone; of putting the key in the lock, knowing only the cats will be waiting behind those doors. Of getting ready for bed every night knowing you’ll fall asleep alone, get up alone, and maybe not even talk to a single soul all day long.

Wondering if Anyone Would Notice

Too many times when I’m feeling especially low, I’ll ask myself “if I fell and hit my head, how many days would go by before someone even thought to check and see why I was so quiet? How many days would I be off social media before someone thought to ask why I hadn’t made a single peep?” If the times I’ve been sick for a few days, or simply boycotting social media are any indication, it could be a while.

My daughter is used to me not answering her at times. She knows I get busy with my writing and thinks nothing of radio silence for a few days. At least I’m pretty sure she does. I have yet to get panic calls or texts asking why I haven’t been responding when I’ve been out of touch for a few days.

Lest you think I spend all my days having a pity party, it’s really not so. I have created an active social life with some pretty amazing friends. But that doesn’t mean there are times I wish I wasn’t so alone whenever the door closed and the lights went out. It’s human nature to be connected. Much as I proclaim my love of solitude as an Introvert, there is such a thing as too much alone time. There are times I miss the clutter, the tension, and having to wipe the ketchup off the counter because someone was too lazy to clean it up.

I miss having someone there if I were to fall and hit my head.

Finding Gratitude at Every Turn

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for my amazing, loving friends.
  2. I am grateful for my cats who keep me company no matter what, and love me unconditionally.
  3. I am grateful I’ve learned to be more social.
  4. I am grateful I have an amazing gift in my writing which allows me to express things instead of burying them deep inside to fester and grow.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, hugs, inspiration, joy, dancing, 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

When Your Vibration is in the Cellar: Baby Steps Are Key

When Life Kicks You to the Curb last month has been trying on pretty much every level; mentally, emotionally, spiritually, financially. You name it, and I’ve taken a hit directly or indirectly. I’ve shed buckets of tears, though primarily in the privacy of my own home with the cats my only comfort.

That isn’t to say friends haven’t reached out, because they have—in huge and unanticipated ways. Some tell me I’ve been there for them, yet I can’t see it from my vantage point, any more than I’ve recognized, when a man was interested (not that it’s happened lately anyway. I travel in a world that tends to be weighted in favor of men).

The Games People Play

It makes me wonder where else I’ve had tunnel vision, oblivious to what’s right in front of my face. I suspect my long, unsatisfying foray into the Corporate world is one. I never learned to play the games, and found myself cast as the unwitting bad guy, or even buffoon on far too many occasions. Granted, some of that was because I didn’t allow myself to connect with co-workers or staff. But most of it was because I never learned the rules for office politics. Frankly, I never wanted to. I don’t like politics in general, and have always believed they don’t belong in an office.

It seems a bit ironic really. People go to work for a company, contributing to the company’s success, yet believe they need to go to extremes to assure their own success. How much personal success can you really claim when the ultimate recipient is owners or stockholders. You get what they’re willing to give you, and nothing more.

The Rocky, Peril-Infused Road to Success

Yes, the road to personal success is difficult and fraught with peril more often than not. In the end, both successes and failures are your own. You get to keep the lessons for the failures without having someone else’s castigation added to the mix. When you fall on your face, it’s only you who has to get up, dust yourself off, look at what didn’t work, and try again with the new insight you’ve gained.

At the moment, I feel like I’ve failed more than I’ve succeeded, but I have no one to blame but myself. I’ve succeeded at a few things, though, and am proud of those successes. Those, too are on me alone.

From the failures I’ve learned to reach out and ask for help because I don’t know everything about everything. There are areas where my experience and talent is decidedly lacking. Those areas give me the opportunity to network and develop new relationships.

The successes teach me what I have to offer to others; where I can offer to help them with their own gaps in experience. But most of all, they teach me more about connecting.

Creeping Slowly Out of My Hermit’s Hut’ve used the excuse: “I’m a writer and an introvert. I’m better off working alone” far too many times. I recognize it’s an excuse to be a hermit. Even more, I’m learning I don’t want to be a hermit all the time. I want to be around people and be part of a community. I want to let people see that I succeed sometimes and fail others, just like them. Besides, being a perpetual hermit is extremely unhealthy. Far too many psychopaths live in that world. I’d rather not be looked at through the same glass as someone whose moral compass hasn’t pointed to true North in a very long time, if ever.

I’ve learned to recognize when my sunny disposition has gone astray. Signs like negativity, judgemental-ism, excessive self-criticism, and even lousy eating habits show me clearly when my mood has taken a trip to the dark side. The years I spent wallowing in self-pity, angry at the world, and in an undiagnosed state of depression come back to haunt me. Yet they also scare me into making changes, reaching out to friends, or getting out of the house whether I want to or not.

Changing Perspective

So far this week, I’ve gone to the gym after first talking myself out of going, spent an evening dancing Created with Canvaafter trying to convince myself I shouldn’t share my sad state with others, and reached a saturation point with Hallmark movies. The last one, alone has pushed me a little ways out of my funk to get a few things done I’d been avoiding for ages. I’d convinced myself once again that I wasn’t worthy, lacked the necessary experience, and didn’t want to do those things anyway.

Sometimes, it’s a matter of perspective. We look at the things we accomplish as nothing special. We convince ourselves out accomplishments are no better than anyone else’s. We deny our part in making the world a better place. Or we minimize our contributions by treating them as commonplace acts performed by everyone.

Showing Up

There’s a time and a place to call “bullshit” on ourselves. I found mine when a friend knocked on my door on a cold, rainy night with a container of split pea soup. Her simple act reminded me how much my own simple acts mean to others. I realized it isn’t so much the what as it is the doing in the first place. Showing up is often the greatest gift of all, both for the giver and the receiver.

Over the years, I learned the climb from abject depression to joy is a long one, and isn’t accomplished in gigantic leaps while yanking on your bootstraps. It’s accomplished one step at a time, and often one backwards for every two forward. It’s easier to take 100 baby steps than it is sometimes to take one giant leap. In the time we gear ourselves up to take that giant leap, we could have already been there by putting one foot in front of the other, testing the ground with each step, and asking for help over the tougher spots.

Raising My Vibration A Baby Step at a Time

I may be in a bad place personally, financially, even professionally at the moment. I’m trying to get out of it, but my vibration is in the toilet. With each baby step I take; each proffered hand I accept, I leave the darkness a little further behind. The darkness is no longer the friend it once deceived me into believing. Instead, I reach towards the sunshine, the light of friendship, love, caring, and sharing.

The friends who show they care in so many ways are making the baby steps bigger by reinforcing the ground I walk on. I still have a long way to go, but knowing I don’t have to go there alone keeps me putting one foot in front of the other a lot more easily and readily these days.

A Heart Filled With Gratitude Vibrates on a Higher Level

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for friends who have made the effort to get to know the real me.
  2. I am grateful for changes in perspective.
  3. I am grateful for baby steps.
  4. I am grateful for clear, sunny days when the wind finally dies down.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; emotional, spiritual, mental, health, connection, inspiration, love, motivation, opportunities, challenges, 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.

Acknowledging the Right to Grieve

Telling Ourselves We Have No Right to Grieve

I’m no stranger to grief. I’ve had enough opportunities in my life where it was not only appropriate but necessary. But I’m no stranger to suppressing or denying my grief either. When each of my parents died, I made thousands of excuses to keep going on, business as usual while I broke into a million little pieces inside. I convinced myself the grief wasn’t necessary and got in the way of doing the things I was supposed to. In a lot of ways, both my family and Society had trained me well—too well.

I mistakenly believed, especially in my mother’s case I didn’t really deserve to grieve since she and I had such a contentious relationship. Feeling relief for one less stressful component in my life when she died made it easier to believe I had no right to grieve because it wasn’t a loss at all. Or so I believed.

Grief Has No Comparison

In the last few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to revisit grief, and my ability to justify denying my right to grieve. I watched while people lost their homes, their lives, their pets. I sat glued to the television in horror while a dozen people I knew mostly in passing were gunned down by a man who ultimately took his own life.

I’ve watched as parents buried their children, families buried their fathers, husbands, sons, and daughters. I ache for them all, yet the voices inside me tell me I have no right to grieve because the pain I feel from losing the place I dance and gather with friends, albeit temporarily, is nothing compared to what they’ve lost.

When Our Hearts Connect

Yet it’s more than the loss of a place because Borderline Bar and Grill has always been more than merely a place to dance. As stories are shared of celebrations, of countless marriages which came about because of meetings at that particular place, of families sharing, of connections that last for years, even when people move away; I realize not only for me, but for thousands of others, it became a home. We came together, some as friends, others as strangers, and became a family connected at the heart.

Even as so many communicate only by text message or social media, it’s been a place where cell phones are put down, if only for a few minutes, and connections are made on the dance floor, doing something that brings joy not only to the dancers, but to those on the sidelines watching.

Hitting Close to Home

We didn’t just lose people on November 7th. Even those we didn’t know well were familiar, comforting faces we saw every week. Some helped maintain order and kept the place friendly and the dance floor safe. Others were a smiling face that greeted us or served us food and drinks, raising our spirits no matter how the day had gone. No matter what role they played, they were familiar faces; people we’d come to know by sight, and who, in their own way, brought joy into the place by their very presence. But more, they were part of a family which shared in each others’ successes, commiserated when jobs or family were lost, celebrated birthdays, weddings, births, anniversaries…

Right now, the whole family is grieving. Maybe not in the same way as parents who are burying children way too soon, or fathers who had only just begun to realize dreams, or brothers who were always there to lend a hand when the road got rough. But we grieve for the huge gashes in the fabric of our family and for the pain those close to them are suffering right now. It might not be our own pain, but the pain is soul deep anyway because our family has been violated.

A Need to Justify the Unjustifiable

Still, I fight the feeling that my loss is comparatively small when I look at the people who lost a father, a child, a best friend. As part of the extended family, though, I feel the pain of unshed tears, of unanswered questions, of grief that like mine can find no outlet. I feel even more strongly the connection between me and my fellow human beings.

There is also the unpopular and often sidestepped grief for the shooter and his family as he is repeatedly denounced and excluded from the memorials as being unworthy of mention or inclusion in a group of people who, in many cases were heroes trying to make the world better, or sacrificing themselves so others would be safe, or simply a smiling face lifting the spirits of everyone around them. But I believe we as a society failed him as we fail others who feel detached and disconnected.

Digging Deep to Find Our Compassion

Admittedly, it isn’t easy to reach out to people who are continually angry or depressed. They’re harder to be around, more difficult to love, and sometimes impossible to understand. Some isolate themselves, then blame their isolation on society, and rightfully so. Even in a family, you often have to fit in first before you can start showing your broken parts. Some people are so broken, they believe the only way they can hide those uncomfortable parts is by staying within their own four walls.

I’ve been that person, though never with murderous intent. I’ve been alone and angry with the entire world, yet desperate to belong somewhere, in need of comfort that wasn’t forthcoming. But I was fortunate. I learned to find and be my happy self until I found acceptance and windows of opportunity to allow the chinks in my armor to widen and eventually break off in chunks. I’ve opened up too much to the wrong people to be sent scuttling back into my shell to lick my wounds and regroup. But thankfully, I’ve never spent so much time inside my own head where those wounds fester and infect my entire being. Too many aren’t as lucky as I’ve been.

Helping Each Other Unlock Our Self-Imposed Prison Doors

Still, the grief continues to be locked inside me. I still feel I need justification to share my grief with those Created with Canvawho’ve lost so much more. Even in the privacy of my own home, I’ve yet to shed more than a few tears, though many more are dammed up inside me waiting for an opportunity to flow.

The walls I reinforced after my mom swallowed too many sleeping pills, and again after my dad put a gun to his head to end his pain are no longer the insurmountable edifices they once were. Some came crashing down with the violence of a 7.0 earthquake. Others have slowly dissolved into dust. Clearly, some still remain if I believe I need justification to grieve this latest loss. As I look around, I see others who struggle to grieve, to understand, and who continue to wrangle with the right to be compassionate with themselves.

I realize we all have a right to grieve, but in some ways, it’s also a responsibility. We have to release the pain, the anger, the confusion so we can begin to heal. Without healing ourselves, we can’t help others begin the long journey from a place of immeasurable pain to where they can start to feel those angels on their shoulder who are never truly gone.

Finding the Gratitude in the Grief

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for my writing which is a constant source of comfort and release during a time when the news and faces around me are a long chain of tragedy and loss.
  2. I am grateful for my friends who are connecting more strongly and deeply than ever, though I wish it didn’t have to involve so much loss.
  3. I am grateful for all the people who have come forward to support others, even mainly strangers in time of need. It gives me hope for the overall human condition.
  4. I am grateful for compassion. We need more of it. We need to recognize how much more valuable it is than power or control.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; compassion, love, connection, support, family, opportunities, soul searching, recognizing each others’ hearts, peace, hope, harmony, health, 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.

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