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

Posts tagged ‘fake it ’til you make it’

Learning to Feed the Positive Vibes

Positive Lessons I Learned From “The King and I”

Whenever I feel afraid, I hold my head erect
And whistle a happy tune, So no one will suspect I’m afraid.
The result of this deception, Is very strange to tell
For when I fool the people I fear I fool myself as well!
And ev’ry single time, The happiness in the tune
Convinces me that I’m not afraid.  — I Whistle a Happy Tune

I’m not always positive or upbeat. Life kicks me around my fair share. But I’ve learned to keep a positive attitude even through the wildest storms. Unlike what today seems like another lifetime ago, I don’t mask my feelings. I feel them, acknowledge them, love them, then try to let the bad stuff go. The positive affirmations I share here and on social media aren’t meant to cover anything up, but to remind myself where I might currently be is only temporary. As long as I focus on the lesson rather than wallowing in the pain, I know I’ll navigate the current hazards and reach the other side only slightly the worse for wear.

It wasn’t always this way. The lessons I share today came at great cost. In learning them, I had to let go of the person I thought I was in order to become the one I was meant to be. There were times I was certain it wasn’t worth the pain.

Whether it was by choice or by design, I pushed through anyway, and today, I’m grateful I did. Not only have I gained an amazing group of friends who have essentially replaced the family which was one of the casualties of my emergence, I’ve found the child within, giving her the love and appreciation I withheld for decades. We are both richer for it.

Breaking Old Molds: Painful but Rewarding

I come from a long line of women who nurture their misery like it’s something to be cherished The Tower from the Spiral Tarotand protected. Some even raised it to deity status, so in my defense, I didn’t know better. But as I got older and interacted with people from other families; other backgrounds, I had plenty of opportunity to learn. It was my choice to remain in the dark hole I mistook for the warmth and comfort of the family womb. In truth, it was only a comfort as long as I followed their rules and lived my life within those confines.

Those rules proved to be structured in direct opposition to my own wants, needs, and talents. It was an untenable situation I’d either have to leave, or give up on the person I needed to be and the child who was crying desperately for release. In the end, I gave in to the child and gave up the family into which I’d never fit anyway.

I’d like to say it was a clean break and I’ve never looked back. That’s only partially true. I opened the door 20 years in when they offered me a chance to return to the family fold. It didn’t take long for me to figure out the price was higher than I was willing to pay. Just as I’d outgrown the friends I had 20-30 years ago, I’d outgrown most of my blood relations too. It’s no reflection on any of them. We simply don’t fit any more. We’re pieces of entirely different puzzles now. In many ways, we probably always were.

Accept, Acknowledge, Release

https://www.flickr.com/photos/paulhami/2993662670/in/photolist-5yxiBC-8U5hPD-3edYTu-4CUgRY-3zQatC-5vmZ5c-bu1dBi-aGGHJg-aGGHaR-BrnmAC-JDHRGr-aGGG6n-anNJMT-aGGJDF-nhi5kC-URiXsy-8TU5Uu-7RHX6n-dSUfp3-8pz3GG-ax1E17-Gf1oKW-5wx88t-66XiHU-7U9YpL-7fcpGE-6C7S53-6AEtio-8YbMjQ-587zbz-MiRWFF-5htVfK-onWKYE-edRR9q-9jX3Pw-oZ6LzR-8pRD6w-9eVxUz-axUgNW-F6D6yL-dbZeKc-4cLsjY-b8ppRD-FfTkWW-7Lsz4B-66Xk3Q-2zs3Zi-7Lxsep-kyFmeu-RNnFfMThese days, I acknowledge pieces of my past as they come up for review. I know there are feelings I still need to feel before they can be released and forgiven. There’s only one way through that storm, and it’s straight through. Fortunately, it does get easier, and most of the feelings I’m called upon to feel are less painful; less intense than the ones when I first tore down the walls.

At least they feel that way. Maybe I’ve just learned they can no longer really hurt me, or I’ve gotten stronger. In the process of becoming my true self, I’ve learned a lot of things. One is resilience. What might have broken me before is often no more than a small scratch or surface wound now; easily healed and quickly forgotten. The walls I once thought protected me actually bound me to the pain longer than necessary. Without the walls, what I don’t want or need dissipates more quickly.

Once the positive attitude was entirely an act. A way to convince people to leave me alone so my wounds could heal unimpeded. But like Anna in “The King and I”, after awhile, what I feigned became true, not because the world changed, but because I believed it with all my heart, and made it real.

A lot of folks these days are trying to discredit the “fake it ’til you make it” point of view. For them, I suppose it’s not the right approach, but it worked quite well for me with one qualification. You can only fake it for a short time. Eventually, you have to either have made it so, or revisit your expectations and revised them to fit who and what you truly are deep down inside.

Flipping the Script While Staying True to My Calling

I’ve revised and restructured many things in the last decade or so, but one thing remains constant. I am a writer. It’s what I was meant to be, and what I will ultimately excel at. No matter how many times I’m knocked down, discouraged, or criticized, it remains my singular focus. Even when I go months writing nothing but blog posts and morning pages, I’m still a writer. I’m still writing.

The fact that I’m writing constantly is evidence enough I am living my story; walking my talk. I’ll admit, the last year or so I’ve gotten into a bit of a rut, though the amount of words I’ve pounded out might belie that observation. I’ve neglected my memoir and more, my fiction writing. I think I needed to get some kind of structure with writing of any kind before I could get back on that horse. But with blog posts always 3 weeks or more ahead, Medium posts scheduled a month or better in advance, and chapters of “Sasha’s Journey” going up on ChapterBuzz with some regularity, I’m ready to up my game.

I want to do another NaNoWriMo, but more, I want to finish everything I’ve started, and actually publish something. I know that means focusing on things like building a platform, and learning how to publish and market my work. I feel, after all the roads I’ve traveled; all the words I’ve written, it’s well past time to point my trusty charger in that direction. Just typing those words makes me feel inspired, empowered, and energized, which tells me I’ve finally found the right mental state for my higher aspirations. It’s been a long time coming, and in a lot of ways, I’ve faked myself right into what I always wanted to be when I grew up.

My positive attitude may not be a constant thing, even today (but then, whose is?). It is, however, very real, and comes from the depths of my no longer frozen heart. May it inspire others to let loose the chains of their own checkered past and follow their dreams.

With Gratitude Every Step of the Way

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for the family who raised me to recognize I didn’t belong, and to the family who has adopted me because I do.
  2. I’m grateful for the gift of writing. It’s gotten me through some of the worst times in my life, and helps me fully appreciate the best ones.
  3. I’m grateful for friendships that have become family; people who accept the weird, moody, quirky, hermity person I am without reservation.
  4. I’m grateful for dancing. It’s brought me my tribe, given me an outlet, and is a healthy passion.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, friendship, cats to love, electricity, running water, ample healthy food, family by choice, music, peace, harmony, 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

December 7, 2014 Choices

Dining alone gives me the unique opportunity to allow my thoughts to wander.

While enjoying a less healthy than normal breakfast at Souplantation this morning, I listened with half an ear to the conversations around me while reading a few Spirit Science articles on my iPad. Remembering that I needed to visit Brookstone to pick up a Christmas present, I thought about using my iPad to look at the mall’s directory.

I actually spent a few moments on this thought as it provided two alternatives: 1. I could locate the store if it still existed and walk directly there, or save myself the trip if it, like many others in this particular mall, had closed. 2. I could walk to the directory and look up the store, thereby giving myself a little exercise after a heavier breakfast than that to which I’m accustomed.

After a little thought, I chose alternative 2, both for the exercise and the fresh air. It also afforded me the opportunity to walk around the mall a bit instead of returning to my car when I discovered the store had closed. As I walked, I lost myself in my own erratic musings.

Wherefore art thou, Christmas Spirit?

The usual gigantic Christmas tree once again graced center court, but this year, there was a sign in front of it, dedicating the tree to a former chef in one of the mall’s restaurants. As the sign referred to the man in the past tense, I read through the accolades to find that he’d been killed by a drunk driver in 2010 at the age of 31. I also noted that he’d graduated from the same Culinary Arts Academy as my youngest daughter.

My wanderings took me past two women decorating a smaller tree with flowers and tulle, a chalk painting of a boy depicted as an angel (his photograph was next to the painting, and I assumed he’d passed on), various stores selling Christmas decorations and the annual cottage for Santa. There was also a store with a huge sign about Santa’s Wish List where a long line of people waited their turn for something-or-other.

As I took in all of the accoutrements of festivity, I realized that I’m just not into Christmas this year. Whether it’s because I’m limiting my own giving or procrastinating putting up my tree with excuses (I really do need to scrub the living room floor first!), the pine wreath I purchased at Trader Joe’s this week and hung on my door and the small pile of boxes from Kohl’s and Amazon.com in my guest room are the only indications that Christmas has found its way into my house at all.

It’s not “Bah Humbug”, but rather, “Ho Hum”

In year’s past, I was not only going way overboard for my kids and adopted grandson, but I was looking for special calendars for my co-workers and gifts for some of my extended dance family. This year, I’m focused on limiting my spending, appreciating the fact that I really don’t need to buy a lot of stuff, and so I’m not out in the stores or online looking for more things with which to bury my tree or overfill the stockings. This year’s bounty should take no more than an evening to wrap.

On the one hand, it’s given me time to realize that part of my annual overspending of the last few years has been directly connected with the years when things were very lean and the girls got hand decorated sweats, pajamas, socks and books from the discount book store. I realize that it was never necessary to do that, either for my kids or grand kids (although, admittedly, Jenni was more likely to expect more and appreciate less than Heather who still tells me that she’s happy with a book with my annual inscription, pajamas and undies). So who was I putting myself into debt to appease?

Our lives are filled with choices, often from one minute to the next.

From one minute to the next, we make choices. “Should I get up now or wait another ten minutes?” “Do I want my usual yogurt for breakfast, or should I treat myself to breakfast out?” “Should I spend another bundle on Christmas presents or shower my family with the time and attention I’d have spent shopping and wrapping instead?”

Once again, Dr. Seuss helped me put things in perspective. I watched “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” again and noticed a lot of things in the movie I’d never caught before. The prevailing message the story conveys really hit home for me this time. Christmas Spirit is not about presents and food and out doing your neighbor with your lighting display. It’s about sharing your heart, unreservedly and unconditionally.

For me, it’s also about listening when my friends tell me that they perceive me as an evolving, expanding, spiritually conscious person, appreciating that I’m giving off that impression, and doing everything in my power to live up to their perceptions; not because I want to be what they expect, but because what they perceive is what I’m aspiring to be, but know in my heart that I’m not there yet.

Yet, I appreciate their feedback so much because it tells me that even if I’m not yet living as I wish to inwardly, I’m giving the impression that I am on the outside so all I really need to do now is to internalize what I’m projecting. And as the song from “The King and I” runs through my head, I realize that I have been doing exactly what I set out to do when I wrote the post about acting like you’re already where you want to be until you convince yourself that you are there; at that point, you will be where you’ve been acting like you want to be.  I believe the popular phrase these days is <em>”fake it ’til you make it.”</em>

The choice I make today is to “…hold my head erect and whistle a happy tune so no one will suspect I’m afraid.”

For now, I’ll just follow my own advice and act like I’m already living a truly spiritual, giving life, and that I’m already a published author and web content writer. I am letting go of my need to make up for the lean years as I finally understand that my time and attention are of far more importance to the people I love than excessive amounts of gifts to unwrap. And I’ve finally allowed my soul mate into my life to share all of the things I’ve learned and achieved.

This is what the Christmas Spirit feels like!

What choices will you make in this season of giving? Will those choices have long- or short-term implications? Which do you want them to have?

My gratitudes today are:
1. I am grateful for feedback from my friends and family which remind me to live my projections.
2. I am grateful that I have choices.
3. I am grateful for the opportunity to reassess my interpretation of the holidays and to make much needed changes in my perspective.
4. I am grateful for continued reminders of the love I receive and the endless supply I have to give.
5. I am grateful for abundance: love, joy, spiritual awakening, expanded consciousness, holiday spirit, health, harmony, peace, friendship and prosperity.

Namaste

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