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

Posts tagged ‘forgiving’

Another Universal Head Slap

From One Moment to the Next…

After spending a fabulous afternoon listening to a Queen tribute band in a beautiful park on the perfect Southern California day, the Universe snuck in and blindsided me. You know the feeling. You’re invigorated, and relaxed, and altogether amazing from a day of total bliss, then WHAM! Your entire world goes off kilter from one nanosecond to the next and all you can say is “WTH????”

This time, it started in my throat. I started feeling more and more constriction and a miserable ache. But not in the usual spot. Oh no! That would be too normal. No, this time the pain was at the very top of my throat, almost at jaw level. Being me, I felt the glands that sit right under my chin (or at least, I think they’re glands) and since I could feel their round bulginess, I assured myself they were indeed swollen, and probably the cause of my malaise.

Making a Go of the Day in Spite of the Pain

In the morning, still feeling lousy and barely able to swallow, I took a couple of turmeric and a Claritin and crawled back into bed with my furry posse, hoping their purrs would get me over the worst of it while I slept way too far into the day.

No such luck. I woke up around 11, feeling, if anything, worse. OK fine! Gotta start the day sometime. I grumbled to myself as I got up, made the bed and stumbled into the kitchen to put wet food down for my brood.

Two cups of honey- and lemon-laced tea later, I started feeling marginally human, but also realized this wasn’t your garden variety sore throat, and thoughts of seeking medical help would be a waste of time and money. This was the Universe rattling my chain loudly because I’d apparently ignored the more subtle nudges. As the throat chakra is typically about speaking your truth and communication (or has been in my experience) I started taking stock—and groaned in recognition.

Awakening the Subconscious, Unwillingly at First

Over the last few weeks, whenever I’ve done a writing prompt, it’s usually taken some kind of dark, twisty direction. Either it becomes a short story about murder and anger, or I wax poetic about the memoir which lays in my office untouched and ignored for the last two months. Many of those meanderings have focused on the relationship I thought I had with my father. It seems there was an undercurrent I had, to this point been unwilling to investigate. I preferred seeing a loving father-daughter relationship quite the opposite of the combative one I shared with my mother.

But as my mind opened itself up, despite my best efforts to shut it down, I started seeing things without the sugar coating, and, not liking what I saw, chose to try to stifle it and, of course, keep it from finding its way into the pages of my memoir. Somehow I’d convinced myself the only way to keep it from rearing its ugly, sibilant head was to practice an art I’ve used to excess my entire life: avoidance.

You Can Run, But You Can’t Hide

Unfortunately, the Universe evolves more quickly than my ability to find ways to avoid its insistence, and simply makes it more and more painful to turn my back on the obvious. (maybe that’s where the term “painfully obvious” came from?) I knew my throat would continue to ache until I sat down and started writing about what was bothering me deep inside, in those places whose doors I’d once locked, intending to leave them locked forever. Once again, the Universe had other ideas, and gave me a daughter who encouraged me to start writing about my parents’ deaths. Neither of us could have foreseen what would come out of the original exercise. I could never have foreseen the feelings, thoughts, and emotions I’d been harboring, not just since my parents’ deaths, but for at least one lifetime…possibly more.

With the aid of the writing prompts I’ve been using since the Writers’ Conference I attended in February, I’ve been poking the bear who is my hidden emotions, and hoping I could just get him to move over rather than actually waking him up. It seems my little charade has been exposed for the avoidance I’m so good at performing. I’m not being allowed to sidestep the issue any longer. At least if I want to remain the happy, healthy woman I’ve been, let’s face it, pretending to be.

The Difference Between Subverting and Blaming

I look at people like my sister and a few others I know who are suffering ill health with one malady after another and assume the illness is the result of repressed anger and blame they’re unable to release in a healthy fashion. I am constantly grateful I have managed to bring my feelings to the surface, air them, and let them go. I’ve practiced forgiveness and acceptance excessively. But also, selectively.

The pain in my throat is telling me I need to remove the qualifications, the excuses, the blind love I had for my dad and see where he wasn’t kind at all. Where he taught me by his example to settle for unhealthy exhibitions of love.

This isn’t the time to start blaming him for who I am and how I turned out, but simply to see and accept that what he felt for me and what he gave me weren’t particularly nurturing. I need to write the feelings and impressions out the way I’ve written them out for my mom, only to find a completely different human being underneath the facades and walls I battled and resented most of my life.

Facing and Accepting Reality, No Judgement Required

I haven’t been fair to either my dad or myself, painting him in unrealistic hues. Not unlike the father of my own children, he loved his daughters in the only way he knew how. The examples he had of parental love were no better or worse than the ones I had. They were simply the only examples he had.

Does that excuse the way he’d subtly put me down or diminish me? Not on your life! Nor does it mean this is the time to be angry with him, or shout about how he screwed up my life. It’s simply long past time for me to acknowledge and accept the way he showed his love was as warped and tainted as my mom’s. It’s certainly embedded in the foundation of how I believe I deserve to be treated, and needs to be rooted out and examined more carefully, yet clinically at this point.

When You Have to Purge

You might ask why this has become so important the Universe is kicking my butt to deal with it. Like everything else I’ve gone through, all the garbage I’ve dug through in search of myself, my life, and what loving really means, I’ve carefully avoided this corner of my personal attic. It’s been festering and mouldering in the corner, tainting everything around it until I have no choice but to pull it out into the light and deal with the ugly, rotten mess it’s become. The answer is no more complicated than “it’s time to let it go.” Letting it go is where it gets a bit more complicated.

When we sit on something for years, ignoring it, refusing to deal with it, there’s a cancerous substance embedded into our soul. Though it may not be as ugly and destructive as it seems, we can’t clear it out until we bring it into the harsh light of day, inspect all its nooks and crannies, and understand the structure of its being so we can flush it out of our system completely. We have to recognize the caustic thing for what it is so we’ll recognize those bits that might have broken off, attempting to remain in the host…us.

I know now I need to do a lot of writing about my dad, about the things I ignored, and how he treated me. There will be forgiving in the process, but most of it will be for myself, for allowing it to continue and for failing to realize it was wrong, and was infinitely less than I deserved. Most of all, I need to release the belief system he bestowed upon me from childhood that I deserved to be mistreated and ridiculed instead of uplifted and loved. Until I go to the places I’ve tried to avoid, the healing I seek will be incomplete.

Through the Good Times and Bad, I Can Always Find Things to be Grateful For

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the most painful of Universal head slaps as they are the ones which make me do the most self work.
  2. I am grateful for my overall good health because when it misbehaves, I know there’s something really important I have to face.
  3. I am grateful for my flexible work schedule that allows me to start work at 9 or noon, or 4 and still put in a full day, getting the things I most need to address done and behind me, much like cleaning up the kitchen at night or making my bed first thing in the morning.
  4. I am grateful for the support I get from the most unexpected sources, and for the reminders I am loved even when I don’t see or recognize it.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, motivation, inspiration, generosity, resolve, acceptance, forgiveness, and being able to recognize that grief isn’t a bucket you empty once, but a well that keeps giving. But as the water flows, it eventually flows clear. When left to stagnate, it only becomes more foul.

Love and Light


About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She is available for ghostwriting to help your business grow and thrive. Her specialties are finding and expressing your authentic self. If you’d like to have her write your expert book with you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author

July 24, 2014 Learning new things

The world wants more drama! Who knew?

Over the last few days, I’ve published several posts, but the one which got the most attention, hands down, was the one in which I went completely out of character and addressed a controversial issue. Granted, I did it objectively, providing facts and figures to support my statements, nonetheless, it received more attention than any other post since I moved to this platform.

This phenomenon distresses me, if only because my purpose lately has been geared towards love and acceptance. I left my rabble rousing, rebel self behind and have grown unaccustomed to stirring the pot until it boils over. I sincerely hope that it won’t be necessary to bring back anger and strife just to woo readers. If so, I may have to rethink my current goals!

When I began this blog about five years ago, the purpose was two-fold. First, I wanted to be more compassionate about my parents’ suicides, and second, I wanted to share my healing journey with others who might have had the same experience. Part of the journey towards healing is to accept and forgive, unequivocally, everyone and everything.

We see examples every day of people who carry around unimaginably heavy burdens of anger, guilt, blame, self-recrimination and other self-inflicted packages which, if they are not released, will ultimately bury them under health problems and emotional misery which could have been avoided by finding a way to let go and bring joy instead of misery into their lives. I say this, not from the point of view of someone who stands outside looking in, and passes judgement over whether someone else’s problems are heavy or not, but as someone who, for years, held onto blame and anger and negative thinking; and was much the worse for it.

It wasn’t until I found a way to not only let go and forgive, but accept everyone else’s choices that I found my burdens lessening. As I emerged from the hole I had created for myself, I found that the world was really a place where people could find joy in spite of the challenges life might put before them.

My first “Aha moment”.

And then I learned something really amazing! Those challenges with which we are constantly presented aren’t put there to try to bury us! Quite the contrary! They are there to teach us how to be stronger, or more forgiving or more patient…the choices are as endless as the lessons we humans came her to learn! So, instead of complaining about how everything kept going wrong, I learned to be grateful for the lessons and for the fact that, each and every time, I found a way through it! Instead of coming to the end of the latest challenge and asking “OK, what’s next?” I learned to say: “Hot damn! I figured another one out and added another tool to my virtual tool box!”

I have to say that it’s a darn good thing that tool box is virtual because I’ve added so much to it in the last few years that it would take someone of gargantuan proportions to actually carry it otherwise!

Once again, I’ve rambled off into unforeseen territory, but I will always revert to my ADHD run amok style in the end. I’ll be the one dancing through the halls throwing imaginary heart shaped confetti while the doom and gloomers continue to argue over who has more right to this piece of land or whose killing of other humans is more justified.

If you want things to change, change where you’re directing your energy.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…and again…and again. Emotions are a very powerful energy source. With our emotions, we can either choose to fuel a war or help forge a peace. I’ve chosen to don my Pollyanna attire and, whatever the situation, send love and compassion to ALL parties involved. I don’t care if it’s the guy who shot up a bunch of people or the families who have to mourn someone who died too young. I don’t care if it’s the suicide bombers or the families of their victims. Both sides deserve our compassion and love because both sides have reason to feel hurt and abandoned. Please don’t think that means I feel that the actions of the perpetrators were justified. I simply feel that they deserve compassion for the situations which led to their actions.

Think about it for a moment. If I send anger and hate to those who killed innocents, what am I really doing? I’m fueling them. I’m giving them more energy to do more harm. But if I send them love and compassion, it’s not only completely unexpected, but it sucks the energy out of their harmful actions and plans.

I’ve always had a problem understanding the phrase “fight for peace”. If you’re fighting, how can you be peaceful. I’m hoping for a time when human beings cease to find it necessary to have power over other human beings and can, instead, live together in harmony, sharing their strengths and honoring someone else’s weakness as an opportunity to give of oneself.

As I meander back to the original topic of this post, I just can’t bring myself to use this forum to generate conflict. I may, on occasion, spur a debate, but I will always expect the participants to be respectful of each other and their right to a different opinion.

Stepping off of the soapbox now.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the diversity of my friends. Without it, I’d be a lot dumber!
2. I am grateful for a sweaty night of dancing with a bunch of like minded people. When we’re all sweaty, there’s nothing wrong with sharing a sweaty hug!
3. I am grateful for air conditioning. Without it, I’d be melting!
4. I am grateful for my own little place in the world to share my opinions, asked for or not.
5. I am grateful for the opportunity to spread a little joy and maybe, just maybe, make the world a better place!

Love and Light.

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