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

Posts tagged ‘evolution’

Pondering the Meaning of Life

Life is an Evolutionary Project

Life ChangesLife keeps changing. Every day, every hour, every minute. Some changes are infinitesimal. You don’t notice until a bunch of changes merge into a larger one, and for some reason, you’re surprised. You’ve been so busy chasing all the things you need to do, or at least think you do, you miss the small stuff. Yet, when all is said and done, it’s all small stuff piling one on top of the other until it only seems like big stuff.

Priorities change. You grow up, go off on your own, and think you’re making your own rules. But you punch a time clock, buy stuff because marketers know how to play on your baser instincts, believe some of what you hear and read, and disbelieve the rest; not because you’ve researched every single piece of information that floods your brain, but because your own experiences and ideology toss a lot of it out because it doesn’t feel right.

Besides, there’s no way you could possibly research everything. You have to trust your gut to some degree, right? The trouble is, what too many listen to isn’t their own gut, but that of people we think we can trust; parents, friends, bosses, and sometimes even politicians. You have no legitimate reason for trusting them other than it’s what you’ve been convinced, or taught to believe.

Living a Rebel’s Life

Some think they’ve broken free of the influence of others, but in some way, they’re under the visionaryinfluence, whether they see it or not. Cognitive dissonance makes it difficult to follow new paths because you often revert to old ways and beliefs when you feel uncomfortable. It takes a strong will to allow those periods of discomfort in order to forge new paths. Those who manage it are often called innovators or influencers.

If you ask me, everyone has the potential to be an innovator or influencer, or better still, a visionary. It simply involves allowing yourself to feel uncomfortable for awhile until your mind and body adjust to a different set of parameters. You also have to be willing to suffer disapproval and even abuse from those you grew up trusting and believing. It can be a lonely road while you’re proving your own hypotheses.

Perhaps that’s why a lot of innovators either learn, or have a propensity towards being alone. Taking yourself out from under the umbrella of consensus allows a more open-minded, less distracted path towards new, and potentially unpopular views. Every great invention had someone who insisted it would never work; that what already existed was perfectly fine and didn’t need improving. Detaching from the nay-sayers might be difficult and lonely, but history shows it gets things done.

Outside Influences Produce Visionaries

rechargeIt hasn’t been all that long since we evolved from horse-drawn carriages to gas and electric cars, airplanes, and rockets. Although still in use, snail mail and telegraphs are being left in the dust of telephones, email, and instant messaging. In both cases, and many others as well, innovations continue, while travel, communication, and a wealth of other industries continue to evolve, all in the name of speed and instant gratification.

While a global pandemic may have forced Humanity to slow down, at least in a physical sense, it’s increased our dependence on electronic communication, and for many, caused frustration when response time wasn’t fast enough, or connection was unstable. Many are struggling with having too much time in their own company. They’ve accepted a life of constant distractions for so long, they don’t really know themselves at all, and the prospect of sitting alone with a virtual stranger is daunting at best.

I’m one of the lucky ones. I’ve enjoyed my own company for years, though even I’m not used to this much solitude. I’ll admit I’ve become more dependent on my cell phone, Zoom, and Facebook to get a little more of what passes for human contact these days. I’ve watched more Hallmark and Lifetime movies this year than ever before, even investing in Frndly.tv so I have more movies and channels to choose from.

Learning to Appreciate Your Own Company

I’ve learned there’s truly no replacement for the physical proximity of other humans. One happy result has been the kindness and patience of others during the holiday season. In previous years, the stress and strain of juggling work, home, and family was reflected in the impatience and rudeness of people in stores. This year showed how desperate people were for human contact by making their attitude improve with a trip to the market, Costco, or anywhere else they could interact with actual humans face-to-face albeit masked and behind a plexiglass barrier.

I’m hoping the enforced isolation and resultant appreciation for fellow humans is something that will last once restrictions are lifted, and life returns to something resembling normal. I know people will appreciate time spent with friends and family with no restrictions on physical contact. But will they continue to appreciate the grocery clerks, waitresses, and others who they cling to like lifelines in their limited contact with humans? Or will they go back to treating them like pieces of furniture?

I’ll never forget the day a checker at Von’s complained that many people treated him like he wasn’t even there, though he tried hard to be friendly to each customer. It hit me hard, and though I sometimes falter, made me more aware of the people who are holding the fort day in and day out so I can keep my pantry stocked, and maintain my personal hygiene.

Appreciation Learned From Solitude

https://www.flickr.com/photos/pictoquotes/26362491806/in/photolist-857d63-7jecuc-4EKXjp-d1fXnd-dGxXva-CWZ3qm-pEtDtE-3LiJjP-UaGqaP-U4nkQR-pRhHt6-bGpmxT-cYxRaG-9o9aCf-ebCGqX-5i8fuy-84yuGJ-etwRi8-FFKb5u-4G5gCd-awsadF-9pfapc-hsE8Ey-qQun96-5JpNWp-HP9Nyr-BGZwA9-6Ls9DX-TsKYM9-hxME-SsNQJ8-6tki6x-xyvfhG-GayEmN-ytRii1-s5DRhg-ndkt2wGranted, I’ve resorted to ordering more and more online, and utilizing self-checkout in many stores right now, so interaction is limited to the stores that offer neither, or where I have to go in and show ID to get certain items. But when I do go through a checkout line, or ask for help locating an item, I make a point of acknowledging the person by name. Sure, it’s a small thing, but no act of kindness or respect is wasted.

Everyone deserves to feel good about themselves. Many still believe it depends on the approval of others. The least anyone can do is to let others know they’re appreciated, and that they matter. If I’m here for no other reason or purpose, I think it’s to spread that belief around generously. Wouldn’t it be amazing if everyone got involved in my little passion project until no one on earth felt alone or ignored?

I’m grateful for all the people who’ve shown me by example how easy it is to give that gift to the people you meet. Let’s face it. When someone is kind to you, you’re more likely to be kind to the next person than if they’d made you feel small and insignificant.

My meaning of life has evolved over the years, but now, it’s to feed the entire organism; Humanity, the Earth, every creature, rock, tree, and bush with love, appreciation, and encouragement.

Using Gratitude to Find Peace

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful I’ve learned to appreciate more and to find goodness in everyone (or almost everyone. I’m still working to find it in those who’ve buried it deep!).
  2. I’m grateful for opportunities to spread kindness, and for the people who’ve taught me how.
  3. I’m grateful for a kinder, gentler, more loving Humanity.
  4. I’m grateful for constant lessons in forgiveness and acceptance. Repetition is our greatest teacher.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, kindness, gratitude, humility, community, friendship, joy, peace, harmony, health, balance, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Namaste

 

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

March 2, 2015 Weird things I’m grateful for.

It’s a proven fact that my mind takes many uncharted detours.

As my fellow ADD and ADHD types know, the mind, when not securely leashed, takes many side trips. As mine is typically off leash these days, the possibilities are pretty endless…and very random. Tonight as I hurried to get the trash cans to the curb before the sky decide to deliver another deluge, I found myself actually feeling grateful for the chores I need to do every week. Whether it’s scooping the sand boxes, cleaning up the kitchen, carting the trash to the curb, or any number of other things which keep my house from being completely disgusting, it all boils down to one thing. When I’m doing chores, I’m moving, and when I’m moving those achy, cranky parts of my are getting a little action to keep them from stiffening up.

I’ve discovered, of late, that regardless of when I go to bed at night (and there are times when it’s 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning more often than not), I’m still waking up by about 8 or 8:30. Why? Because parts of my body take issue with prolonged inactivity, even if it’s something kind of necessary like, say, sleeping. Last night, after hitting the pillows well after 2 and much closer to 3, I was awake by 6:30, locking cats out by 7:30, and finally giving in to the stitch in my back and the ache in my knees by 8:30. When I check the sleep pattern on my Fitbit lately, I’m seeing something less than 6 hours a night. Of course, that includes the multiple times I get up to drink and get rid of all of the water I consume during the day, but still, I’m amazed at how little sleep allows me to function somewhat normally.

I remember when I was younger hearing that older people sleep less hours per night. But am I really “older people” now? Say it isn’t so! Though if you were to ask my daughter, according to the calendar, I really am old, even if I refuse to act like it! Frankly, I feel very blessed that I can still do my own chores and dance the night away at my advanced age. A lot of the twenty-somethings have trouble keeping up with my older friends and I. Which brings me to another gratitude. I have had friends, over the last few decades, who were old by the time they were in their forties. They had limited mobility and a laundry list of ailments to hinder them even further. I do find myself wondering, though, if they had, like me, refused to allow themselves to be limited, would they have continued to suffer as much?

Do we magnify our aches and pains by paying attention to them?

What it boils down to is that I believe we have choices. If I wake up with my knees aching or my back twinging, I start out by doing some stretches, then grab the glucosamine, fish oil and turmeric to help keep everything moving more freely. And do you know what? Once I get moving, the aches typically subside. If not, I grab a heating pad, a rice bag or an ice pack along with the glucosamine cream and give things an extra boost. Rarely does it require more.

So, without meaning to sound insensitive, would my former friends who essentially immobilized themselves have fared better had they worked through the pain? OK, granted, my pain threshold is off the charts so things which would bring an average person to their knees are simply a petty annoyance to me, and maybe that has worked in my favor. Or maybe sitting around watching TV, unable to do the simplest of chores annoys the crap out of me so I tell my body to suck it up. Whatever the reason for my better quality of life, I can only be grateful that it is so.

Learning to love and appreciate our limitations too.

We all have our challenges, no matter who we are. For me, it’s getting rid of all of the excess weight. I know I’m in charge and shoot myself in the foot much of the time, but something I finally learned is that whatever our limitations are, they do not define us. They may slow us down or keep us from doing every single thing we’d like to do but they are not us. I am not that 60 or 70 pounds overweight body. I am the person inside of that less-than-perfect packaging who makes choices about whether or not I’ll allow it to slow me down every single day. Because of that, I’ve learned to be a lot less judgmental about what others choose to wear or do or eat because, frankly, if what they are wearing or doing or eating makes them feel good, who am I to tell them differently? If I determine that it is unattractive or unhealthy, what I’m really doing is applying my own personal set of standards to someone else’s behavior. I wouldn’t wear something like that on my overweight body or eat that cafe mocha with a cinnabon, so they shouldn’t either.

Bullfeathers!

I’ve finally learned that rather than judging someone, I feel a huge wave of respect when I see someone who is not concerned about what others think at all, but simply does what makes them happy. I can’t always do that and I admire those who can. Just as I admire women who can walk up to a man and just chat casually, engaging him without any emotional angst going on. I strive to have that feeling of comfort in my own skin which allows me to just feel good about me no matter what.

Each of us is a wonderful, beautiful, amazing work in progress

I think that’s why I find it easy to be grateful for things both large and small. Each thing which makes me feel that gratitude means I’m making progress in growing and redefining myself according to kinder standards. Over the years, each of us has a mental blueprint of what we should look like, work for, accomplish, and be, but as time passes, that blueprint should evolve. I suspect it does for many of us, but what if it doesn’t? Would we be stuck trying to be the person we envisioned when we were twenty? If so, we’d find ourselves very frustrated and wrought with repeated failures by the time we hit our forties. A twenty year old can’t possibly understand the life lessons we gain as we continue along our personal life path. My twenty year old self, in particular, was a very insecure, uncertain, poorly motivated individual who strove to follow the proper path which society expected: go to college, get a job, support yourself, get married, have kids, buy a house, pay your bills…yadda yadda yadda.

I much prefer the self I am now, lazing around more than I should, keeping weird hours, following my heart instead of the side of me which is boring, stuck up and filled with responsibility. Are there aspects of my current life I’d like to change? Of course! If there weren’t, what would be the point of trying new things, taking classes, meeting with other like-minded people and stretching my boundaries. Am I making those changes right now? Not necessarily, but I’m doing a lot of work internally and know that needs to happen before I can successfully navigate the next set of changes I decide to implement. But I’m grateful for the chance to take my time and figure it all out. I’m grateful for the days when I just work a lot of puzzles while my mind churns away in the background. I’m grateful for the nights I write until 3 in the morning only to get up and start my day again at 8 or 8:30. Because it is all part of the process. Whether I see progress or not, what I’m doing is moving me forward even if the progress is, to the naked eye, imperceptible.

Self abuse is never attractive

Be honest now. What would you rather listen to? Someone ranting and raving about how miserable their life is, or someone who gets excited over something small and seemingly silly? I know which one I’d choose! Even if the only thing I can think of is that my clothes stayed where they belonged instead of chafing and binding, at least I can take it and not only make it amusing, but allow you to relate to a common problem. Look at what someone did with the annual bathing suit shopping trip. I laughed so hard at the way she described it, and yet, someone else might have looked at that and been either critical or sad about trying to squeeze a less than perfect body into a piece of spandex. It’s all in how you allow yourself to see the world.

A friend recently shared a post about being too positive (though the woman attributed excess positivity to Mary Poppins rather than Pollyanna). I said then, and repeat it now that I don’t believe that you can be too positive. If your life is in the toilet but you still manage to put a positive spin on things, is that really so bad? If you refuse to wallow in the setbacks, but instead find something funny about them, set them aside and move on, I find that a lot healthier and, in the long run, I believe the setbacks will be fewer and less gut wrenching. We all have a choice, every single day. We can choose to be happy and to avoid allowing some of the curveballs life throws us to kick our butts, or we can take each imperfection we experience and blow it up to the size of Mount Saint Helen’s complete with billowing smoke and scorching molten rock. Burning in a self-imposed hell has never really been my style, even at my lowest point.

I’ve wandered from hither to yon and back again for long enough this evening, but I hope I’ve given you reason to find the small things in life which make you happy and to focus on those. To find gratitude in odd places and to allow it to bring a smile to your face, even in the midst of adversity. I’ll leave you with one last thought: Will whatever you might be going through right now matter in five years? In ten?

My gratitudes tonight are;
1. I am grateful for the small stuff.
2. I am grateful that I am responsible for my own chores as it keeps my body moving even when it would prefer to be a lazy lump.
3. I am grateful for evolution: I would not want to remain my twenty year old self for eternity.
4. I am grateful for a mind that runs amok most of the time as I get to tilt my head several times a day and think: “Now where did that come from?”
5. I am grateful for abundance: opportunities, friendship, chores, movement, joy, love, responsibility and detours, hope, health, peace, harmony and prosperity.

Blessed Be

And now for some shameless self-promotion:
I’d love it if you’d visit my website at http://www.shericonaway.com which contains a link to this blog and my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel. I’ve created both page and website as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” it or leave a comment! Thank you!

December 29, 2014 Clearing my plate

The changes continue with clearing and organizing much earlier than normal.

Although I am not seeing much forward momentum right now, I am finding that things like sitting in front of the TV watching things I don’t even need to pay attention to are no longer appealing. I found far more satisfaction in taking down and organizing my Christmas decorations and reorganizing my store room. For the first time in recorded history, my Christmas decorations and wrapping materials are organized and put away before the New Year. In years past, this project often waited until well after the ball dropped over Times Square, sometimes even weeks later!

But as of about 7:45 this evening, my tree was down, ornaments were organized and put away, all of the bins of wrapping materials were back in their places and the tree was back in its box atop the cabinet in my garage. Even the cats were confused as they observed this uncharacteristic behavior from the safety of sofas and cat trees. The garage cats wisely chose the safety of a basket of dirty bedding to avoid my overly ambitious antics.

Beginning the New Year without old year tasks hanging over my head is rather liberating.

Knowing that when I wake up on New Year’s morning, I don’t have to look at Christmas decorations which have started to droop seems to follow the pattern I started this year of cleaning the kitchen before I go to bed. I realize that sounds like a no brainer, but in the past, it was the rule rather than the exception that I’d wake in the morning facing chores left from the night before. Nowadays, not only does the kitchen get cleaned up before I retire, but often, it’s clean early in the evening because I got everything taken care of while I waited for my dinner to cook.

If I were asked what I felt I’d accomplished in 2014, I’d have to say that the top of the list belonged to setting better habits. I’ve made great inroads into cleaning up my slovenly ways, be it exercise, eating habits or housework. Though I’m not consistently consistent with my writing, I’ve certainly cranked out a lot of words this year. I’ve also gotten better organized on a lot of other levels as well, taking care of things which I’d left on the back burner far longer than I should have. In some cases it cost me, but the fact that those things are now behind me leaves me excited because I now have huge blocks of time I can fill with something other than what an old boss of mine called “administrivia”.

In a lot of ways, 2014 was my year for getting organized.

My change in career may not have a lot to show for 2014, but instead, I made it a lot easier for me to focus on that career in the days to come. There will always be paperwork and clearing up and organizing; there will always be household chores; but the more you can streamline things, the easier it gets.

Changes I’ve made in 2014 which are already showing results:
1. Maintaining and using a To Do list.
2. Keeping up with household chores on a weekly basis.
3. Getting into a 3-4 day a week gym routine.
4. Improving my eating habits and filling my freezer with single serving, healthy meals.
5. Making sure I brush my teeth and take all of my vitamins and supplements, even when I am home all day.
6. Getting out of the house more often to avoid being too much of a hermit.
7. Setting all bills up for payment once a month.
8. Decluttering my house, and not only keeping up with what I’ve cleared, but adding more cleared space.
9. Being more consistent with my blogging.
10. Allowing myself days to read the work of others with what is becoming a more critical eye.

Though changes have exceeded the 10 listed here, I think what I’ve listed are those which drive everything else…like undecorating the house before New Year’s Day. In fact, I’ve been working on being more observant in general, watching people more, make mental notes when I read or watch TV, paying attention to plot lines and characterizations.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Life is all about evolution, and evolution is a process.

Every change we make, every lesson we learn helps us to evolve. At the very least, we can hope that we’re not the person we were five or ten years ago, nor will we be the same person in another five or ten. To do otherwise would be to stagnate, and what’s the fun in that?

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for my evolution.
2. I am grateful for the habits I’ve established this year, and look forward to even more in 2015.
3. I am grateful for the ability to observe and learn.
4. I am grateful for a clean plate with which to begin the new year.
5. I am grateful for friends who are making this first New Year’s without my daughter not only bearable, but something I’m looking forward to with excitement and joy.
6. I am grateful for abundance: friends, love, joy, routine, challenges, new things, inspiration, motivation, happiness, health, harmony, peace and prosperity.

Namaste

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