Dancing outside my comfort zone

Posts tagged ‘friendship’

Re-kindling Self-love With Committment

Committing to Me

The Facebook Live associated with this post can be found here.

Last night I talked about how I struggle with making and keeping commitments to myself. One of the things I have found over the last few months is that making a commitment to do anything is only half the process. The other half is coming up with a plan. In the case of my workouts, it meant setting specific days. When I deviate from those specific days, I’m not as likely to get all of my weekly workouts in.

At risk right now is the business I’ve been trying to develop for the last three years, or more specifically, my writing career. I know I haven’t been committed or I’d have actually finished and published something by now. But I also know that doing it just for the money sucks all of the energy out of me.

Help When I Need It

I had a conversation at the beginning of the week where this very concept came up. The person I was talking to suggested that regardless of my fears and concerns right now, I need to take money out of the equation. Instead of pitching ideas for stories I’d like to write for compensation, he proposed I write the article first, then pitch it to someone and be willing to let it be published, compensation or no.

Since then, I’ve created a business plan, but not in the normal sense. This one simply commits to a certain number of hours per day spent writing, reading and researching, and querying (I’m trying to use a word other than pitching because of the negative feelings I have around the word).

Part of my research today was to compile a list of places I might present my work. I even took compensation out of the equation and included sites which, though they might not pay me for my initial offerings, would give me visibility. In this day and age, getting found is critical. With so many writers, entrepreneurs, and virtual businesses out there, we each need to find a way to stand out from the crowd, and high traffic sites is one way to do it.

Boomers vs. Millennials

I’m also working on an article about Baby Boomers and Millennials. When I started it, my focus was on how Millennials will change the face of business in the next decade or so, but as I read articles from different points of view, I learned a lot about not only what drives Millennials and why, but how different the relationship between the two generations is from the one I had with my parents.

For instance, my circle of friends includes people from their 20’s to their 80’s. We interact on equal footing for the most part. I can’t even imagine my parents having the kind of relationship I have with people my daughter’s age. Even as adults, we were always just kids to them.

I’m not saying we do all the same things or hang out together regularly, but we share ideas and opinions, challenges with our businesses, and we support each other’s activities. I’m also not saying that the age-defying outlook my friends and I enjoy is applicable to all Baby Boomers or Millennials. But the fact it exists at all is for me, compelling.

Finding Common Ground

I’m not blind to the fact that there are some from both generations who blame the other for their woes. I guess that will always be the case when the subjects of jobs and social security come up. I realized, though that one of the best ways to work our way through the quagmire of misinformation and fake news really lies in our ability to cooperate inter-generationally. Our being at odds serves someone else’s purpose—someone who does not have any of our best interests at heart.

Choosing to emphasize our similarities and downplay our differences seems like a pretty good idea to me. I’ve never been a fan of placing blame anyway. I saw enough of it in the workplace, and it’s only real purpose is destructive. Far better to take the position that we agree something is broken and between us we can come up with the best way to fix it.

Learning From Each Other

Frankly, we can learn a lot from a generation which grew up with cell phones, instant messaging, and social media. One of my biggest pet peeves has always been communication, or lack thereof. In some cases, there might be a bit of over sharing, but for the most part, it’s more of an asset than a liability. Millennials are accustomed to getting immediate answers. By getting those immediate answers, they get things done faster too. Good news since instant gratification with communication has created a culture that’s used to constant stimulation and when that stimulation wanes, boredom sets in. To be honest, I relate to this myself, but my career path led me to embrace technology early on. Anything to get away from the drudgery of writing everything down in big, dusty ledgers, totaling up dozens of columns on countless pages with nothing more than a calculator, then moving all of the figures to the proper accounts. All-in-all a painstaking process which spreadsheets and accounting programs rendered obsolete. Others might have complained as they didn’t like the changes, but I was overjoyed.

More to Come

But I’ll leave the results of my research on the topic for another day. What started with a single article is escalating out of control as it is, but believe it or not, that’s a good thing. I can write on the subject from a number of different angles which gives me yet another niche. Not bad for my first day’s work with a plan!

Was I ready to take this step 6 months ago? Probably not. I needed to gain more clarity on what I truly wanted, and that has occurred in the last few weeks. Will I get it in gear before the next 5 months races by? I can only hope and put the work in. The rest is just going to have to resolve itself as my plan and its potential unfold. Stay tuned!

Remembering to Be Grateful

My gratitudes tonight are:

  1. I am grateful for epiphanies which move me forward on m path.
  2. I am grateful for the tenacity which, though little used lately is still there when I call upon it.
  3. I am grateful for the support and advice of my friends. They help me find clarity and the courage to continue moving forward.
  4. I am grateful for my writing. When I’m lost and confused, it helps me sort things out.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; lessons, resources, friendship, love, joy, dancing, inspiration, kicks in the butt, encouragement, support, peace, harmony, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

Advertisements

Adventures on Horseback: Riding Outside My Comfort Zone

Sometimes I Feel Like the Universe’s Private Play-Toy

Last weekend was a roller coaster ride in the truest sense of the word. After an especially challenging hike on the beach, I treated myself to opening weekend of Beauty and the Beast. Leaving the theater with a happy song in my heart and a tummy full of food which would surely thwart my plan to reach bathing suit size by summer, I walked to my car with thoughts of froyo and the excerpts I needed to critique forcing the library-to-drool-for out of my head.

Unfortunately, as it often does these days, the Universe had other plans. When I reached my car, the minor problem I’d been having with the driver’s door was suddenly no longer minor. In fact, I couldn’t open the door at all. What might have been a slight inconvenience turned into a gymnastics act requiring me to climb into the bucket seat on the passenger side and maneuver around so I could close the door behind me while executing a rather awkward back flip over the center console into the driver’s seat. Froyo was out of the question as I was unwilling to perform the maneuver anywhere else where there might be witnesses. Instead, I drove home where I closed the garage door before executing the move in reverse, to the amusement of my garage cats.

I said a thousand thank you’s when I discovered the service department at the dealership was open on Saturday, and promptly sent off a message rescinding my reservation for the critique group meeting Saturday morning. Though a couple of people offered me a ride, it would only have solved the immediate problem, and still left me essentially without transportation for the rest of the weekend. I opted instead to take the car to the dealership where I knew they’d give me a loaner.

And the Horse You Rode In On

The crit group meeting was long over by the time I’d dropped off the car, so I stopped to run an errand. That’s where my weekend took a major right turn for the better. A friend texted me asking if I wanted to go horseback riding with her. She has two horses and enjoys some company when she takes them out for a ride, even if that company has not been on a horse in decades. Fortunately, her mare, Catania, is a sweet lady who more than compensated for my lack of skill.

Catania

We spent an incredible two hours wandering the trails in a gorgeous park nearby. Although I’d hiked it’s trails on one side of the mountain, the area where we rode was entirely new to me…and incredibly beautiful. Everything was emerald green from the recent rains and the horses forded several streams swollen to unusually high levels and flowing over moss-covered rocks. Although treacherous for the unwary, the horses knew exactly how to get safely across. They wanted a dunking no more than we did!

Catania and Cambiano

Catania was really good about being on a lead rope behind her son, Cambiano, knowing instinctively that her inexperienced rider was best NOT left to her own devices. I did, however, release my death grip on the saddle as I became accustomed to her rhythm.

By the time we got back to where the trailer was parked, my tush was more than ready to leave the confines of the unfamiliar seat. I’m not ashamed to admit that my dismount was about as graceful as the earlier gymnastic performance required to get in and out of my car, but it did the job and I reached the ground in one piece. Isn’t that what counts?

I got home with just enough time to eat a quick dinner (thank goodness for my freezer meals!) and get ready to go dancing. I did have to endure a thorough sniffing from all of the cats to whom the smell of horse was entirely foreign, but a few skritches assured them the woman beneath the unfamiliar smell was still their loyal servant.

Memories of Trails Past

The next morning when I attempted to sit at my desk, I discovered an oddly pointy spot in my chair which I’d never noticed before. It was situated directly under a very delicate part of my tush necessitating the strategic placement of a large pillow to cushion my nether regions. Though the pain soon dissipated, I discovered that the after-effects of one’s first time in the saddle after a decades-long hiatus are a traveling circus of aches and pains. One area stops hurting but the aches just move on to the next spot.

When I sat on the floor to do my post-workout stretches, it took everything I had to not moan loudly when I tried to stretch my outer thighs. The only thing that saved me from embarrassing myself is the lengths I go to to keep a low profile while I’m at the gym. It never was and never will be my idea of a social club. I put my earbuds in my ears, crank up Pandora and move from machines to free weights to the stretching area being careful to avoid eye contact. When all else fails, I peer intently at my phone where I’m diligently recording exercises, weights and reps on MyFitnessPal. It’s actually proving to be useful for reminding me what I did the last time, and when I need to increase the weights I’m using.

Today the aches are all but gone and I’ve done laundry so my jeans no longer smell horsey. More’s the pity, really as I can understand why people find it so addicting. Horse smell is like no other and speaks of outdoors and freedom, even if only for a few hours. We covered far more ground in less time than I could possibly have done on my own two feet, and trust me, I wouldn’t have been fording those streams! Some of them were pretty darn deep! And to be honest, I experienced far less discomfort afterwards than I expected!

Giving the Comfort Zone a Much-Needed Boot

Stepping outside your comfort zone can take many forms; quitting a job to follow a dream with no idea how you’re going to continue paying the bills when the resources dwindle, hiking in unfamiliar places, making new friends, even opening up a heart long held safe inside a protective box. This time, it was getting on a horse for the first time in ages. I’m learning that with each step I take outside my comfort zone, the next one gets easier. I’m starting to look forward to the next adventure, whatever that might be.

Finding Gratitude Around Every Corner

My gratitudes tonight are:

  1. I am grateful for the courage to take those leaps of faith.
  2. I am grateful for friends who offer new experiences.
  3. I am grateful for adventures yet to come.
  4. I am grateful for the lessons, experiences, and opportunities that make life interesting, challenging and even a little scary at times.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, challenges, new experiences, a healthier body, increased strength, opportunities, lessons, friendship, peace, harmony, joy, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

Speaking of Girl Friends

Being a Loner is Never Your Happy Place

long-hairMost of my life, I eschewed the close company of other women because most people of my gender with whom I came in contact tended to be whiny, petty, and catty. It took me a lot of years to realize the women in my world were exactly what I was attracting, much like the unfortunate choices I’d made where men are concerned.

The sad fact is, by the time I reached my 40’s, I could really have used the support of a network of women, but had never learned to develop such a network.

After the Northridge earthquake, I became friends with a woman across the street from me; another single mother with a son a little older than my girls. She taught me a lot about having and being a girl friend in the years we spent hanging out, with kids and without. But as these things often do, we drifted apart when she re-married and subsequently moved away. Though we still keep in touch, we’re definitely not part of each others’ women’s network any more.

Growth Means Opening Up to What You Don’t Know as Much as to What You Do

Fast forward about 15 years and I’m not the woman I was even then, but I find myself wanting and needing that network even more. One thing I’ve learned along the way is in order to be accepted into such a sisterhood, you have to be willing to expose at least some of your vulnerabilities.

The fact is, the women I attract now are all strong, intelligent, self-confident, and empathetic to some degree. The last thing they feel comfortable with is a woman who is all bottled up and trying unsuccessfully to convince everyone she has it all together. Because not one, single, blessed one of us has it ALL under control at any given time. Otherwise, we wouldn’t want or need those networks of women friends.

In fact, the years when I had everyone convinced I was most in control of my life were actually the years when I was a hair’s breadth away from collapsing into a puddle of goo. As I open up to other women, I find I’m not alone in this regard. So many of us became strong because of years spent holding ourselves together with duct tape and baling wire. In other words, life tested our mettle in order to give us the tools we’d need later in life to achieve our dreams.

Learning to Let Go of Worn Out Beliefs

Building a network consists of a couple of main activities. The obvious one is to reach out to other women with whom you feel an affinity. But the one to which I was probably oblivious until recently was recognizing when another woman is reaching out to you, and not just because she needs something! I’m finding that women reach out to me in simple friendship, something I never noticed before. No expectations, no demands, just an offer of their heart. At first, I didn’t know what to do with such a precious gift!

I knew I was oblivious in my younger years when the occasional man showed an interest in me. Who knows? I might still need to be hit over the head with a sledge hammer should someone of the male persuasion want to know me better than the space of a dance or casual conversation between songs.

I had no idea until recently that my oblivion extended to making friends with women as well. Maybe I just needed to learn to appreciate the ones I attract these days first. Then I needed to learn that I was indeed worthy of their friendship.

Hiding the Pain Behind a Wall of Humor

I used to joke about “Ladies who Lunch” or “Girls’ Night Out”. They do say humor hides our true feelings. That the people who spend most of their time making jokes and getting laughs are the ones who are probably hiding serious internal pain. In retrospect, I envied those ladies and girls because they were a tangible representation of the huge hole in my own life.

Those holes can be filled, but how we fill them will dictate whether we heal or wallow. And I know from experience that ignoring them simply gives them room to expand.

My mom tried to fill the holes insider herself with charity work and social events. She sought to immerse herself in doing good for others, but ignored the one person who needed her most; herself. When she needed to take something for herself, those who could have, who should have given to her had already turned their backs after years of mixed signals, masks, and demands we didn’t feel like meeting. By her own actions, we never saw the sad, lonely little girl who wanted to be loved but didn’t know how to go about it.

Vowing to be different from her, I demanded nothing and drew into myself. But that behavior is equally damaging. Telling yourself you don’t need anyone or anything is a lie of the hugest proportions, and that little girl inside us will shout louder and louder until she’s heard: It’s all a lie! You’re lying to your own self and it won’t end well!

Giving Our Inner Child Her Say

My inner child yelled long and loud. I tuned her out for far too long, but she’s finally being heard. She’s grown pretty wise through all of the years she’s been stuffed down inside, observing but not affecting. Now it’s her turn. She’s coming out to play, making new friends, and most of all, having her say.

She learned a lot about balance by watching me teeter over the edge. She learned a lot about work ethic by watching me juggle side jobs along with my 9 to 5 (or 8 to whenever, if truth be told) in a sometimes vain attempt to give my daughters the life I thought they deserved. And she learned that sometimes you just have to follow your passion, even if there are times when you feel like you’re going to go under for the third time financially while you’re trying to figure out where that passion will lead.

She hasn’t made me fearless, as you won’t find me zip lining or bungee jumping any time soon. But she did help me find the courage to do what makes me happy instead of stressed out. She’s still helping me, and the biggest gift she’s giving me is learning to be part of a network of women. She’s helping me love myself enough to know when it’s time to give help and when it’s time to accept it.

Accepting help doesn’t make me weak or helpless as I once believed. In fact, it makes me stronger because I expand my resources to allow the strengths of others to help me over those humps life tends to give us from time to time, I’d swear, just for the Universe’s amusement.

I’ve been doing good things for my body for the last year or so, and am slowly adding even more to my routine. But now, I’m doing good things for my heart and soul as well. Thanks to girl friends.

Letting My Gratitude Flow Freely

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m thankful for the wisdom of my inner child.
  2. I’m thankful for the women who waited patiently for me to wake up, wise up, and notice they were there to give as well as receive.
  3. I am grateful for expansion. The more I open my mind, the more I see, hear, and feel.
  4. I am grateful for love in all it’s forms. And I look forward to discovering more of those forms in the years yet to come.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; friendship, love, new experiences, challenges, lessons, faith, hope, peace, harmony, prosperity, and philanthropy.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

Acknowledging our Loneliness is Healthy

Acknowledging the Demon Within

This morning I woke up with my gut in a tight knot. I was supposed to go to a critique group meeting, but all I wanted to do was curl up into a ball on my bed, surrounded by my cats. So I did.

A couple of hours later, I got up and started the day (read: fed the cats), feeling well enough to drink coffee instead of the tea I thought I’d be reaching for today. As has been my habit for the last few weeks, I sat at my desk, pulled a turquoise pen from my jar of colored pens and began to write my three pages (at least it wasn’t a black pen kind of day!). Three pages turned into four, and feelings fell like teardrops on the page.

The nice thing about the morning pages is that I can admit things to myself I won’t typically admit to others. But they also force me to be brutally honest with myself. Today’s burst of honesty took me deep within, to where what I call my gooey marshmallow center resides. It was there I discovered that, try as I might, I’m still very much alone. I have not allowed myself the pleasure of making friends I can comfortably seek out when I need to drag that marshmallow center out, knead it, massage it, and otherwise get it to let go of a lot of pent-up crap.

Do We Starve or Feed our Loneliness?

Cuddling with my cats is wonderful, and I will always cherish the time I spend with them. I can tell them anything, cry on them, or just stroke their soft fur while they purr. It never fails to calm me. But it doesn’t help me let go of things I no longer need, nor does it help me put things in perspective, sometimes with brutal honesty.

Writing helps some. Especially now that I’ve rediscovered writing in longhand. But it still doesn’t give me the outside perspective I sometimes need to see past the weeds to the garden waiting to be tended and nurtured. For that, I need an actual human (did I really admit that?) who can tolerate Sheri not-at-her-finest. Who is willing to listen to me whine a little, then tell me in no uncertain terms to pull up my britches, get off the fence I’ve been riding and actually commit to something.

I can honestly admit that I, alone have deprived myself of that luxury. By hoarding my solitude, I’ve built an almost impenetrable wall around myself. If someone does get close, I’m sure to do something especially stupid, thrusting a particularly evil thorn into their kindness and good intentions which convinces them their efforts would be better served with someone less prickly and moody.

Being Brutally Honest With Myself: The First Step

The writing helps me see that not only do I do this to other people, but I do it to myself as well. I make it painful to break away from outmoded beliefs and habits. I snuggle close to my solitude yet fail to use the time alone to improve my life, myself, or my circumstances. It’s as if I decided long ago that I don’t deserve love, success, happiness, or friendship. Why would anyone do that to their worst enemy, much less themselves?

As painful as it might be to admit all of this publicly, it occurs to me that there are two very good reasons for doing so. First, putting something in writing releases the bound up energy contained within the thoughts and makes them less powerful. Second, I’ve learned in the last few years of blogging and sharing my foibles that what I’m feeling even now is not unique. Someone out there might just benefit from seeing the words and knowing as alone as they’ve allowed themselves to become, someone else out there gets them.

Cutting the C.R.A.P.

The Neurogym programs I’ve been following have something they call the CRAP board. To quote Mark Waldeman, the creator of the CRAP board,

C.R.A.P. stands for Conflicts, Resistances, Anxieties, Procrastination and any other problem you think you have.

The premise behind it is, as I’ve already stated, by putting things which hold you back into written form, you take away at least some of their power. Mr. Waldeman advises writing all of your negative thoughts on a piece of paper, then meditating on them. In my mind, it’s as if you’re transferring all of the crappy, self-limiting thoughts inside your head onto a piece of paper, leaving your mind clear of the rubbish.

So in a way, blog posts like this are my CRAP board. I’m dumping all of the negative thoughts which are causing my stomach to churn onto the page and letting them go. I’m taking away their power to hold me back. Of course, this isn’t a magic pill. The feelings of powerlessness, loneliness, procrastination, neglect and a host of other self-limiting patterns can and do come back, at least for awhile. So the process has to be repeated as needed.

Welcoming the Inner Child of our Minds

But taking the mind on a little field trip like this gives it an opportunity to forge better patterns; take more scenic routes, so to speak. In my case, it reminds me to stop spending so much time going within and put more effort into connecting with other people. Sure, it’s hard, scary and fraught with perils like <shudder> getting hurt! But how can those potential hazards even begin to compare with love, joy, friendship and caring? When did one hurt, no matter how monumental it seemed at the time counteract the flood of warmth from a single, heartfelt hug?

My little marshmallow is still peeking shyly out from behind my protective walls, but with a little coaxing and a few minor successes, I’m sure she can be convinced to venture further from the safety of her haven. My job is to stop protecting her so closely and allow her to touch other humans. I promise most of them won’t bite!

Gratitude: It Heals All Ills

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for my morning pages.
  2. I am grateful I can freely admit to my imperfections.
  3. I am grateful I’m able to see that, in most cases, it’s me getting in my own way.
  4. I am grateful for the lessons which continue to fall in my path because they remind me I’m still a work-in-progress.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, knowledge, lessons, charity, goodness, kindness, compassion, honesty, hope, dreams, peace, harmony, philanthropy and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

Evolving Vision, Evolving Life

beach front property with gazeboSeveral months ago, I found a piece of property which almost perfectly matched my vision for my future. It happened to be on the coast between Ventura and Santa Barbara, so it was still within reach of the places I know and frequent. At the time, that was important to me. But things change.

Out with the old, in with the new

It’s been a couple of weeks since I went dancing at what was my usual hangout. In part, it’s because I was at my daughters for a few days, but I’ve been back for over a week and have no real desire to visit a place which, for many reasons, is no longer the home I used to feel so comfortable and welcome visiting.

Friends turned out to be acquaintances. Management no longer feels any sense of loyalty to regulars who’ve been there through good times and bad; some for decades. So I’m adrift. I put together a list of dances with the songs I like to dance them to with the idea of pulling up the songs on YouTube and keeping my hand in. But I have yet to put on my dancing shoes and tear up my living room, to the amusement of the cats. Instead, I’m looking for other amusements to occupy my time.

Learning who I’m meant to be

Sure, a couple of people have noticed and might even miss my smiling face, but I’ve come to the realization that, like so many others, I’m expendable. As I struggle to find my purpose and make a go of my passion, it’s a little disconcerting to find I’ve made such little impact. But then, maybe that’s not where I’m meant to make an impact in the first place.

On a conscious level, I know purpose doesn’t come from others. It comes from within. So I turn my attention inward, seeking a germ, a morsel of something which makes me feel that I matter. I ponder my options. Some look viable but don’t really feed my soul. Others feed my soul but I have yet to figure out how to make them viable.

Still, I haven’t come this far or weathered so many storms to stop searching for the rainbow. This isn’t the first time I’ve felt almost entirely alone and directionless. I’ve just found myself in a clearing which has no clear roads leading outwards.

One thing is clear, though. I no longer need to confine my dreams and aspirations to this one, tiny corner of the world. There’s nothing to hold me here aside from my home, and soon, I’ll be in a position to make my home, my living, my way wherever I choose; without borders, without boundaries.

The time has come to shed old people, ways and paradigms

It makes me think this is not a down turn at all, but a new kind of freedom, without the need to stay in a pattern which no longer serves me. When access to people and places is no longer important, my world opens up to possibilities I hadn’t even considered.

Yes, I want to live near the beach, but there are coastlines everywhere. The perfect place for me was hidden behind all of the things I thought I couldn’t leave behind. As they fade from importance, my horizons simply broaden and with that broadening come new opportunities, the magnitude of which I’d never even considered.

Once again, the Universe is forcing me to break free of old patterns and ideas. It’s forcing me to look at other possibilities which couldn’t occur as long as I was hanging onto things which had outlived their usefulness. I face the coming days with a new sense of excitement because I can now consider possibilities beyond the limits of my current geography.

It’s freeing, but a little frightening as well. The butterfly is truly emerging from her cocoon. Time to see how far these new wings will take me.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the freedom of my solitude.
2. I am grateful that I’m learning to recognize the difference between friendship and friendly acquaintances.
3. I am grateful for the new opportunities and possibilities coming into my life.
4. I am grateful for the new people and places I will be experiencing, though I can’t help but be saddened by what’s disappeared with the rose-colored glasses.
5. I am grateful for abundance: love, friendship, joy, health, philanthropy, prosperity, family, writing, publishing and expanding horizons.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

Putting it All in Perspective

Challenge or Opportunity?

A couple of months ago someone came back into my life who had been a brief but painful interlude during a time when I was making a lot of poor choices and spending a lot of time struggling; a time before I learned to think positive thoughts and allow. He showed up at a place where I go to be social, to hang with my friends and follow one of my passions, dancing.

At first, I was polite, but tried to make it clear he was my past and not particularly welcome in my present. Though he seemed to take the hint at first, his efforts to regain my attention were pitifully awkward, much like the man himself. Eventually, when I had resorted to simply ignoring his presence, he went away again, leaving me heaving a sigh of relief.

Yet, the incident has been on my mind. Why am I suddenly being forced to confront a very painful, best-forgotten time in my life? Last night, the answer came when I least expected it, and this morning, more answers came, unprovoked. When I left it to recede to the back of my mind, it seems I allowed the answers to come.

The epiphany last night was both comforting and inspiring because I was reminded that though the times were tough and I did some really stupid things, I got through it, played the cards I was dealt to the best of my ability and became stronger for it. I also found “The Secret” and “Laws of Attraction” not long afterwards and started changing my life for the better.

The second epiphany came this morning and followed a train of thought which began last night. A couple of new men have wandered into Borderline in the last week. One is a little geeky and awkward but adorable in his geeky-awkwardness. He can’t dance a bit, but that doesn’t stop him from trying his best, and I have to applaud him for it. Watching him talk to people and generally interact with the room, he reminds me of a cheerful, clumsy puppy who’s never met a stranger. I look forward to watching him blossom and smooth out some of those klutzy edges.

The second one is more self-confident on the outside, yet he stands on the sidelines drinking his beer and hardly interacting with anyone at all. My initial guess is that he’s in that group of men who are either recently divorced, in the middle of a divorce or recently out of a long-term relationship. In other words, wary and gun-shy, but fair game for those women who are aggressive, needy and don’t take no for an answer. I hope for his sake that one of the confident, self-assured type befriends him before that happens; someone who, like me, is comfortable in their own skin and doesn’t need someone else to validate them, but who, unlike me, can just walk up to a strange guy and start a conversation without being awkward.

Which really leads me to the actual epiphany. Between the 3 completely disconnected men and their entry into my world, albeit from afar, I realized that though my self-confidence and self-esteem have improved greatly, I’m still awkward around strangers, both men and women alike. In that regard, I’m too much like the man from my distant past; pitifully awkward.

One Plus One Equals Ninety-Seven

If I put the two pieces together, I realize that the message is a sort of encouragement. A kind of “You’ve got this, girl” with an added “Don’t be afraid. What’s the worst that could happen? And what’s the best?” kind of affair. I’ve even been given the opportunity to start slowly because the geeky awkward one will be an absolute joy to encourage. In the years I’ve been country dancing, I’ve seen my share of guys who started out clumsy and unsure and ended up being great dancers and a lot of fun to boot (pun intended). Call me a sap, but I find a guy who’s not afraid to make a bit of a fool of himself oddly endearing.

The other will be hard for me to casually approach, though I know I can count on some of my friends to smooth the path if he keeps showing up. There are a couple of women, one of whom I’ve known for over 20 years who simply have a knack for welcoming new people and making them feel comfortable. Once they’ve smoothed the way, I find it easier to be friendly and easy too. And yes, I know I need to get past that before my first book comes out. Getting out into the world and talking to strangers has to be more comfortable for me by then.

Fewer Blog Posts, More Lessons

This has been a week of getting out into the world, learning new things and getting some of the tasks I had handled and off my plate. My writing has suffered some. This is only the second post this week for me, though I wrote 2 for a client. But I’ve met with some people about possible work, gotten up-to-date on client work and even managed to edit a couple of chapters of Sasha’s Journey. And my own journey continues with surprises around a few turns. It keeps life interesting if nothing else.

So How Are You Going to Step Outside Your Comfort Zone Today?

My gratitudes today are:
1. I am grateful for the lessons the Universe sends me and the little prompts it gives me until I see the whole picture.
2. I am grateful for opportunities to step further from that comfort zone I wallowed in for so many years.
3. I am grateful for my friends and the examples they set.
4. I am grateful for dancing as it has helped me breach that comfort zone with a common bond I share with many others.
5. I am grateful for abundance: love, music, dancing, money, friendship, joy, lessons, opportunities, challenges, health, harmony, peace, philanthropy and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel and https://www.facebook.com/HLWTAccounting . Please also drop by my website, http://www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

August 1, 2015 Holy Crapapillar! Is it August Already? I’ve Been So Busy Dancing, I Didn’t Notice.

Dance: The Ultimate Medium for Healing, Joy and Community

I was talking to one of the newer dancers tonight, and it really hit home how much of a community we are. Even if someone is gone for awhile, when they return, we pick up right where we left off. Sure, if they’re gone long enough, they may not be up on any new dances we learned during their absence, but those only account for a small part of the evening, and that leaves time to chat and catch up.

Another thing occurred to me on the way home. For the most part, we’re a pretty accepting bunch. As long as a person follows the unwritten rules of the dance floor (and frankly, most of those are just good, common sense and respect for other people and their property) the rest of us are happy to help and encourage and welcome them into our happy little circle. But it’s a lot more. When we walk through the door, our mindset is on dancing and having a good time; maybe even escaping our troubles for a couple of hours. It doesn’t make our troubles go away (and dancers, as a rule, are not big drinkers) but it gives us a break from them and in a lot of cases, gives us some perspective which makes resolving them less painful.

Share Dance, Share Life

Over the last few years, we have shared the whole gamut of family events: births, marriages, deaths, divorces, children moving away, illness and recovery. We’ve shared life changes, cheering each other on the whole way. No matter what happens, we know there’s always a place we can find a warm hug and an understanding shoulder. Yet, while we’re dancing or waiting for the next line dance, couples dance or two-step partner, we can share without wallowing because we know that each of us has life experiences which allow us to relate.

I believe that the two best things I’ve gained by being a part of the dance community are the pure joy and stress relief dancing offers and the opportunity to both uplift and be uplifted, as the situation requires. As it was so beautifully portrayed in the movie ‘Inside Out’, without sadness, we wouldn’t need to comfort or be comforted and without comfort, we can’t develop compassion, nor can we feel needed.

Whether I’m sharing a warm hug with Cheryl who understands what it’s like to lose a parent in the most tragic of ways or verbally sparring with Ron who is the brother I should have had; ooh-ing and ahhh-ing over grandbaby pictures or commiserating over having kids further away than we’d like, as they go on with their lives as adults; or one of my favorites, joking with Ralph while we do an easy two-step around the floor until I get my feet all mixed up because my mind is more into the silliness of the conversation; it’s all good, it’s all healing and it’s all uplifting.

When my daughters were younger, I used to dance 5 and 6 nights a week in a different location with different friends. Though the joy and uplifting were a mere shadow of what I enjoy now, I used to joke that my ex still had all of his body parts thanks to the dancing. But in all seriousness, dancing has always been my touchstone, second only to my writing, where I can lose myself in pure pleasure and let go of things I might otherwise chew on until they achieve far more importance than they deserve. My mom gave me dance lessons because she thought they’d help my klutziness. I’m still a klutz; still walk into walls, trip over my own feet and drop things incessantly, but the gift she actually gave me was a lifelong love of dance and the people who do it for the love of it. We don’t look for perfection; heaven knows we all mess up the dances pretty regularly; we don’t do it for recognition; there are far better dancers out there who put hours and hours into being perfect and being noticed. We do it because it is the most fun we can have in a public place with dozens of our friends. We do it for our sanity and we do it because moving is always a good thing.

Still more benefits to being a regular dancer

Learning new dances stimulates our brains and has been proven to slow or even stop the development of Alzheimers. Replacing brain cells keeps you younger. I can’t even count the number of times I have heard “That’s impossible” when people find out my chronological age. Sure, part of it is genetics, but I can guarantee that an outsider would guess an age at least 10-15 years lower than that of any of my dance friends. One of the regulars is getting really close to 90, but you’d never know it (and boy, does she have gorgeous legs!).

So if you’re feeling blue or the job is pushing you over the edge or your kids are about to drive you to drink or your parents are getting on your nerves, this is my advice to you: Grab a couple of friends and find a local watering hole with a decent dance floor. If you don’t know the steps, find out when they have lessons. If you do, why are you still sitting around??? I guarantee your stress level will drop and with regular applications, you’ll soon look and feel at least 10 years younger. Tonight I danced for the better part of 4 hours, then came home and scooped litter boxes and cleaned up the kitchen before I sat down. Oops, I guess I forgot to mention how much it boosts your energy too!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the gift my mom gave me at the tender age of 5: the love of dance has gotten me through some of the toughest times in my life.
2. I am grateful for the progress I’ve made this week on several projects, and look forward to diving in again tomorrow.
3. I am grateful for the friends I’ve made in the dance community. They’re a diverse bunch, but some of the most loving, compassionate, giving people I’ve ever been fortunate enough to know.
4. I am grateful for a couple of quiet days at home to complete a few more projects.
5. I am grateful for abundance: dancing, friendship, health, energy, love, joy, compassion, peace, harmony, prosperity and philanthropy.

Blessed Be

I’d appreciate your taking a moment to visit my Facebook pages at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel and https://www.facebook.com/HLWTAccounting . Please also drop by my website, http://www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: