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

Posts tagged ‘Decisions’

Blame it On the Stars

Star Struck Back Into Hiding

https://www.flickr.com/photos/europeanspaceagency/31275407857/in/photolist-PDGD8X-bnbiQa-k7zt6d-6M2nn9-mAAwrU-k7wXWX-nhNH58-k7zDp9-k7xjWk-nJgXGP-nk9CP8-k7tAv4-nziGrM-6ez3RC-nxeRe7-k7zCqf-2fgYi1C-k7B7wo-c411jo-S3dRoP-k7zetH-aubYf9-5u7LHw-cDzxty-5u3mjF-efS9bW-9tURvV-MNVXL-dkbcr9-aMCP28-LFJ8h-HUeD1-87TPHZ-5u3o9k-4t8Czz-5u7Lnq-XBZhbM-Yz4KP7-dJTsqi-YfKzKY-5Xw9Tw-kYuVpf-9GbcYZ-7DuDAu-fkpUYM-zGvsDE-qxEs38-o6g4QL-pJaHTv-mmZ7UcIn the last few years, I’ve made significant strides moving out of my introverted shell. But every so often, I have to make a pilgrimage back, not to the place which was once my comfort zone, but to a new and improved location where the walls welcome me but no longer close me off from the world.

It starts slowly. I begin feeling detached from friends. I find sitting on the front porch or curling up on the sofa with my cats more and more appealing. I’ll spend a lot more time sitting in front of my computer like I am now, pouring my thoughts and feelings out on the page.

These are no longer times of isolation, but instead, times of reflection and introspection. It’s kind of like a quarterly review of where I was and how far I’ve come, and an acceptance of the work I still have to do. Sometimes I need to step back, not only to recognize the progress I’ve made, but to get clear on what’s still left to do. I need to spread everything out before me so I can more clearly see where I next need to go.

Needing to Disengage from Life’s Chaos

It’s easy to get caught up in the chaos and cacophony of daily life. Everything runs together like a finger painting; colors intermingling, and lines blurring. At these times, I need to do a kind of reality check to make sure I still want to work towards the dreams I’ve mapped out.

Sometimes, the answer is clear and I burst forth with renewed resolve in a day or two. Others, I need to ask myself tough questions and keep asking them until the answers are clear and I’ve cleaned out the rusty pipes, clogged with confusion over what I truly want to be when I grow up.

Closing a Door

Awhile ago, I wrote that my road map is a scatter diagram. It’s no more true than times like this when I’m stepping back to reassess and decide whether to pursue my current dream or come up with something new. One thing I know for sure, though. There’s no shame in deciding I’ve traveled as far as I can along a particular road, or realizing it’s time to close one door and open another.

But if I do decide to close that door, I feel like I have to choose a new direction right away, so I’ll go into my shell trying to figure out what that will be. In reality, closing a door is just that: closing a door. I already have several others open anyway, so there’s no rule saying I have to find another door right away—if ever. Sometimes I just need to close a door.

For now, I need some alone time, not only to make certain I want or need to close a door, but to decide whether or not there’s another I want or need to open right now. There are no wrong answers. Whatever I decide will be perfect. Even if I decide I need more alone time.

Disconnection Breeds Detachment

I’m not sure what triggered these feelings this time. It might be the friend I feel https://www.flickr.com/photos/augustbrill/5025448773/in/photolist-8E5JQv-bj2Q3-buZES-NosS3S-bE9C2-8NP6x3-oKBJYc-7yxvUJ-4eRexw-28mE1ch-5tW6Kf-f2JEoo-acCwSd-eajL56-paxFhz-4cv8b7-7yxvw5-7D7azC-ofd2U1-4jX86v-cLpNW-7yxvPb-7yxvS7-6hKsj7-7ytH5n-6ZkEpv-nxKqWs-pz4SNk-8HDCce-gT2U3W-7AkeTX-5hzA7T-5hDXEh-fjpMeq-ceoQ2-5hzAiF-51qGYK-ceoza-51qFRM-9vkmV9-5v6EqD-ceoGA-51uTs5-51uSJo-8NP6zA-51qEZx-7zy4Hg-ceoKc-ceorH-w9TTqis disconnecting from me, though to be honest, I started pulling back first. It might be astronomical occurrences, the weather, or a million other things. I could just be frustrated by the progress I haven’t made, and think I should have.

It could be a combination of everything which created in me a gigantic sense of overwhelm. I’ve learned sometimes you simply have to accept that you’re being pushed to do something, and to follow along without asking too many questions. I know too well how many questions we ask are unanswerable anyway.

In some ways, I’m sad. I know when this is over, I’ll have made some decisions, and perhaps I’ll have lost something precious in the process. I can’t say whether it will be a dream, something I’ve worked on for a long time, a friend, or something else. I only know something is ending, and whatever it is will be missed. And I know I’ll have had some choice in the matter.

In Life, There Will Always be Loss

https://www.flickr.com/photos/augustbrill/5025448773/in/photolist-8E5JQv-bj2Q3-buZES-NosS3S-bE9C2-8NP6x3-oKBJYc-7yxvUJ-4eRexw-28mE1ch-5tW6Kf-f2JEoo-acCwSd-eajL56-paxFhz-4cv8b7-7yxvw5-7D7azC-ofd2U1-4jX86v-cLpNW-7yxvPb-7yxvS7-6hKsj7-7ytH5n-6ZkEpv-nxKqWs-pz4SNk-8HDCce-gT2U3W-7AkeTX-5hzA7T-5hDXEh-fjpMeq-ceoQ2-5hzAiF-51qGYK-ceoza-51qFRM-9vkmV9-5v6EqD-ceoGA-51uTs5-51uSJo-8NP6zA-51qEZx-7zy4Hg-ceoKc-ceorH-w9TTqo-riJJHV-8w9YqrI’ve lost a lot of people, beloved pets, and things over the years through circumstances beyond my control. Too often, I try to hang on and stretch the grieving process out, wallowing and clinging instead of accepting and doing my best to move on without what I lost. Choosing to let something or someone go should be easier, but it isn’t always. In fact, knowing I’m going to lose something, if by my own choice makes it harder. I have to anticipate the loss and know it’ll be the result of my own irrevocable choice.

My inclination is to set the choice aside, fight my urge to be alone, and bury it in outside activity. But delaying a necessary if painful choice doesn’t make it easier, nor does it lessen the pain. It merely prolongs the agony.

Even though I don’t know yet what the choice I’ll be making will be, I feel tears filling the backs of my eyes. I value every aspect of my life nowadays, so there’s nothing I’ll choose to let go of I won’t miss, even knowing the space will be filled so quickly, I’ll have trouble seeing what part of my life it once filled.

This seems like the ramblings of a dotty, old woman, even to me right now. Too many unknowns; too many questions; nothing concrete, only a feeling of impending loss, and a choice I’ll have to make.

And an unfathomable desire to be alone which won’t be ignored.

Whatever Happens, There Will Always be Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful I’ve learned to listen to the voices in my head.
  2. I’m grateful for guidance which sends me in directions I might not go myself, but will, invariably put me exactly where I need to be.
  3. I’m grateful for changes in direction. They lead to adventures, and what would life be without adventures?
  4. I’m grateful for the friendships I’ve formed over the last few years. They ebb, flow, grow, and evolve. But there’s a solidity I’ve grown accustomed to having after decades of being alone.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, friendship, adventure, opportunities, inspiration, motivation, challenges, guidance, health, peace, harmony, 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

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.

January 9, 2015 Admitting Failure and Making it Work for Me

Yesterday, I made a decision with far-reaching implications, and today, I worked it through.

Last year, I purchased the Accelerated Copywriting course from AWAI. Over the last several months, I’ve done my darndest to work through it, but it was in fits and starts at best, and by July, I was really struggling to keep going. I kept promising myself I’d get it done and had it on my To Do list where the row for time spent was more often than not blank.

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve done a lot of soul searching, exploring the real reasons I’d purchased the course, and reached a couple of conclusions which should have been obvious all along.
1. I started the class with the sole purpose of finding a source of income while I worked on becoming a real writer.
2. The course was hindering my writing by taking up time while I both fretted over it and tried to make it work.

Admitting these things to myself was painful, as most brutally honest admissions are. They led me to admit a certain amount of failure, but also allowed me to let go of something which wasn’t working. Thankfully, AWAI has a money back guarantee and were very nice about refunding my fee.

It is always humbling to admit that a decision you made with the best of intentions was not the best of decisions for you.

Once I realized that I’d registered for the course for all of the wrong reasons, it was easier to make the decision to give up on it, despite the awful feeling of failure I am experiencing. I put that energy to good use, however, as the day started off in direct opposition to my plans anyway (a rather common occurrence lately). I thought I’d do some organizing and went searching for notebook dividers I was sure I had. In the process, I cleaned out a bin of office supplies, then moved on to the last, and worst of my desk drawers. This one is used for files and had an accumulation of stuff in it that was beyond anything I remembered.

Not only did I clear out decades of those odd things we save, then wonder why, I found an old letter which I thought I’d tossed years ago. It was written by a cousin who gave me a lot of information about the brother we never knew my grandfather had as well as sisters and cousins. As a friend had been helping me with my family’s rather twisty-turny genealogy, this letter was an incredible wealth of information to help us in our search. I was also able to finally fix the rack which holds the file folders so the drawer will be far more manageable now, and will allow me to clear some of the accumulation on top of the desk too.  Sadly, those dividers never turned up, but the fruitless search had very fruitful results.

Sometimes, all we need is a good clearing

As I travel along life’s unpredictable highway, I have learned that there come many opportunities in our lives to clear things out so we can start fresh (and here is where my friend, The Tower, often makes its appearance). Often, though, it isn’t the clearing out which is difficult, but the admissions and decisions leading up to that clearing which turn us inside out. I think, in its own way, the decision to stop doing something is just as much of a leap of faith as a decision to start doing something. Either way, you’re changing direction, though perhaps in a smaller way.

One thing is certain tonight. I am feeling considerably lighter of heart and clutter. These can only bode well as I slip into this second week of the New Year, full of new dreams and goals. Removing things from my life which weren’t working will make space for those which are already there and anything new which might have been waiting in the wings until I stopped trying to force my hexagonal self into a round hole.

So ends the lethargy and “stuckness” I’ve felt for the last few days and as far as I’m concerned, good riddance! Now I can take that spaghetti squash and kale I got in my Harvest Box this week along with some lovely fresh basil and make turkey spaghetti sauce to eat over the squash. Maybe even a little steamed brocciflower on the side.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for life’s leaps of faith, both large and small.
2. I am grateful for the things I found while reducing my clutter some more.
3. I am grateful for the turkey/kale spaghetti sauce which is simmering on my stove and the spaghetti squash which is just waiting for me to separate meat from rind.
4. I am grateful for the support of my friends, even if I don’t always express that appreciation properly.
5. I am grateful for abundance; space, time, friends, love, compassion, encouragement, joy, peace, harmony, cooperation, health and prosperity.

Blessed Be

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