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

Posts tagged ‘gratitude’

Perpetuating Abandonment Issues

Early Onset of Abandonment

https://www.flickr.com/photos/basykes/7340397856/in/photolist-cbDsxJ-fzRXJH-fzRU3V-GFFVME-87C3ro-epfT1v-6ixEeJ-HRLxVG-58xPj2-Xp8vtU-pXs6to-QHDGiW-t6dtT-6bsVU6-9SurWh-Wdj1Qd-odAC7i-ubQRAd-apXuRr-nJMGvb-9sCtdA-51wq2C-4KXrym-dJLEXx-dfGd8s-6yz6qi-22c7xXE-4KXt7A-219zYfG-Y6ugwd-aokdtX-WXZF7J-8k4FAh-219zYkm-rqFwgT-2gqYSkX-pKNDEY-fngxkg-2rBixn-cAMBNL-6yEkh5-cAMnRj-9Axjsh-WXZF8W-HU8RCu-E72ZqC-8nkuaw-bDCtyG-22eMwC4-64vyhJ

Photo Credit – Bev Sykes via Flikr

I’m the product of a lifetime of abandonment issues that began, I believe, when my sister was born. I started believing I was no longer necessary, no longer lovable, no longer wanted, though for years, I looked for love in all the wrong places. After getting knocked on my ass, or kicked in the teeth enough times, I became the perpetuater of of my own solitude.

Tired of being rejected, I learned to sabotage anything that gave me too much of a sense of well-being; of belonging. In my twisted brain, breaking things off first was the only way to protect myself. The only relationships I allowed to continue were with my cats, and even there, each death I couldn’t prevent was, in and of itself, another kind of abandonment.

It might seem, from what I’ve written so far, that I like it this way. Nothing could be further from the truth. The trouble is, I don’t really know how to change 60-odd years of self-protection, and conditioned responses to perceived threats. I’m a cross between a cornered badger and a possum, lashing out in anger, and playing dead so everyone will go away and leave me alone.

The Pain of Rejection

There was a song I sang in childhood that went something like this:

Nobody likes me. Everybody hates me. I think I’ll eat some worms. Long, thin slimy Created with Canvaones, short, fat juicy ones, itsy bitsy, teeny weeny worms.

In a lot of ways, I came to believe the words of that song, and incorporated them into the way I lived my life. It isn’t, and never was what I wanted. Like my mom before me, I desperately wanted and needed to be loved without reservations or judgement. Yet deep down, I was convinced I didn’t deserve it either. So I continued to sabotage relationships one way or another.

In my lowest moments, I consider how my parents left, and wonder if it’ll eventually be my exit strategy as well, though long ago I vowed to never put my children through the same horror and pain. For now, I hang onto the belief my cats need me, so I promise myself I’ll stick around as long as they do. After that, I can’t make any promises, but will make sure my affairs are in order so no one has to clean up my messes.

Buffeted by the Winds of Change

Mary Poppins promised the Banks children she’d stay until the wind changed. Perhaps what I’m promising is I’ll stay as long as at least one feline friend still needs me. I can’t see any further down my personal timeline than that right now, much less, when or how I’ll make my grand exit.

Without real, strong, convincing connections, life is pretty empty. Alone is fine, but lonely is like a creeping cloud of poison that slowly engulfs not only the body, but the soul until any residual bit of individuality succumbs. I’d like to believe it matters to someone, but have learned it isn’t that simple or clear cut. I’ve allowed no one to play that role for me, and I’m not sure I even know how to open myself up to all that entails. Heck, I don’t know what it means to be completely open to another soul without finding another excuse to panic and shut down.

Sure, the need is still there, but it’s overshadowed by the more powerful belief that trusting is dangerous, can be used against me, and whoever I trust will ultimately leave, and with them, another piece of my battered, bruised, and broken heart.

Overwhelm Passes

As I write, the rain is beating on the roof, and dripping from the patio overhang. It seems a fitting counterpoint to what is, to many out there, nothing more than a pity party. Maybe it is. I’ve miscommunicated often enough. But from where I’m sitting, it’s simply recognizing there are times I feel like I’m broken beyond repair, and have reconciled myself to my brokenness…to my aloneness.

I know from experience the feeling passes. I crawl out of the dark place where I retreat when I feel overwhelmed. Over time, it’s grown easier, in part because I’m not as isolated as I want to believe. Daily gratitude posts and Facebook Lives are read and watched by more people than I realized. When I enter a period of radio silence that lasts more than a day or two, it no longer goes unnoticed whereas in the past, I could disappear for a week or so and no one was affected but me.

People reach out. Compassionate souls who believe whatever’s wrong in my world right now can be fixed; that everything in life is temporary, even pain and disillusionment. I’m truly grateful they think I’m worth the trouble. I may believe for a moment I was raised to be abandoned, and to stand alone on the mountaintop looking down at the world, the communities, the people who know how to give and receive love unreservedly. I realize now I never learned how to do that, but over time, I’ve gravitated towards people who do, and who can teach me what my birth family couldn’t.

The Path to Healing is Rocky and Crooked

https://www.flickr.com/photos/nhoulihan/4038592452/in/photolist-79SQQm-TfUffd-pgu9hJ-qfYXYE-pDVWDB-6UQgZM-KFog6C-TFYhqd-29TMHM-fP6i28-j73ZT5-atsnGd-C4HxXs-5eRdT5-YoKVff-24PBcMS-28G1ckh-AqrzL-haocsM-o1RCfj-4iigfF-6hbQxG-TCfZem-qVx4n8-U63bC7-dCTxQg-amkKyF-eiY1qF-Ct5hqm-hSGXpV-BcaCh-8c2bVB-27RWaS2-eQjYy1-cJWTgw-ehKQWJ-AJSt63-ay4RXc-cxa1zW-UFe9Vq-aC3EP1-pkL1fr-ehKSrs-qxMMJj-bvMGyV-VG1fkR-ay4Sgv-aDNaMx-aE1tNY-h7171rI talk a lot about healing, and have healed wounds acquired later in life. It’s the deepest, darkest, oldest ones that live on, and have wound themselves so tightly around my being that removing them scares the living daylights out of me. Yet deep inside where my inner child often cowers, there’s a glimmer of light; of hope there’ll come a time when those old wounds will be brought out into the light where they’re not as frightening as the darkness makes them seem.

I hope those who are doing their best to reach out and teach me to not only be compassionate with others, but with myself will stick around long enough to shine their light and guide me on my stumbling, fumbling path towards healing what I’ve carried around for far too long.

I can honestly say I’m not yet ready to say good-bye; to throw in the towel on a life that’s given me an unhealthy share of grief. Surprisingly, I’m not yet ready to give up and stop learning whatever lessons I have left to learn. I’m fumbling my way through some setbacks, but in time, I know I’ll realize some things are meant to be released, even if the initial break hurts like hell. It simply means I have an ability to care that exceeds my own expectations.

I am ready to stop trying to exercise muscles that are no longer pliable enough to grow and change. I’ll try to stop hurting anyone by words, actions, or deeds. I’m ready to disengage from anyone else’s healing process before I short-circuit the progress they’ve made. If it means letting go of people I’ve loved too much, maybe that’s what we both need. Maybe I was smothering their own need to grow and heal.

Keeping the Gratitude Flowing

My gratitudes today are:

  1.  I’m grateful for the people who’ve tried to help me break old patterns.
  2. I’m grateful for the lessons I’ve been allowed to learn.
  3. I’m grateful for my cats who give me a reason to get up in the morning, and actually do something with my day, even if it’s just cleaning up after them.
  4. I’m grateful for another day, knowing they aren’t guaranteed.
  5. I’m grateful for people who’ve shown me deep abiding love is possible, even if I can’t experience it myself.

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.

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

Take Back Your Energy

Monitor Your Energy Levels Regularly

You’re an energetic being, first and foremost, yet all too often, you’re giving your energy away, and forgetting to replenish it. You find it exhausting to do the simplest of things, but don’t understand why. Sometimes, depression sets in when the business of life becomes one, long, uphill climb.

Most of the time, you give it freely, and to people who truly need help. Every so often, you encounter what I call energy vampires who suck you dry, sometimes with your knowledge and approval, but often surreptitiously. In some cases, it’s even someone you thought you knew, and could trust.

Energy vampires are becoming more cunning as Empaths and other energetic, compassionate beings learn to communicate with others, and educate themselves so they can minimize energy drains and protect themselves from burnout. Some are unbelievably patient and tenacious, even willing to invest a large amount of time earning your trust before launching their subtle, intricately devised plan to suck you dry.

Pay Attention to Energy Leaks

recharge

Photo by Preston Rhea via Flikr

Admittedly, even with all the experience I’ve had with broken trust, I occasionally drop my guard, and trust too easily and quickly in certain situations. I may be on alert with strangers, but not so much with people who’ve been in my life for years. I have to keep reminding myself my gut doesn’t lie. If something feels off, I need to figure out what it is before my energy is siphoned off without my knowledge or consent. I need to take note when I’m feeling unusually exhausted despite getting plenty of sleep.

In the first place, sleep isn’t necessarily rest, no matter how deeply I might be sleeping. My dreams will often tell such vivid, insistent stories that instead of restoring energy, they’re depleting it further, and will continue to do so until I locate the true source of my energy leak. Sometimes it’s as simple as needing my own space; my particular level of openness, my own bed, and my cats. Other times, I need to find the source, or remove myself from a situation entirely.

Learning from Each Experience

Recently, I had an experience where I was away from home, and woke up one morning knowing

attack

Photo Credit-Spiral Tarot

without a shadow of a doubt I had to leave, and to leave immediately. The feeling was so urgent, I hit the road with a cup of coffee, a bottle of water, and a few slices of cheese I didn’t even think I’d want. I did end up nibbling on a couple of pieces, more because I knew I needed energy than from hunger.

When I got home, I was still highly agitated, and had to unpack and put everything away before I could even fix something to eat, much less sit down and relax. For the next week, my sleep pattern was turned upside down. I was staying up until 3 or 4 in the morning every night, and sleeping until 10 or 11 the next morning. Thankfully, experience had taught me not to fight it. My body was slowly restoring it’s energy, and needed to do so at it’s own pace, and in it’s own manner.

Familiar surroundings and routines allowed me to look back and locate the source of my energy drain, or at least a large part of it. The source and intensity were what came as an enormous, unpleasant surprise, making it harder to regain my equilibrium and address the problem rationally rather than emotionally.

Naturally, my first reaction was anger, both because I felt attacked, and because I’d allowed myself to miss all the signs over the years. Clearly, if I’d been paying attention, I’d have put protections in place long ago. But this energy vampire was a breed I hadn’t encountered, so I had nothing in my personal arsenal to either shield, or protect myself from the sudden, vicious attack to my energetic self.

Focus on Resilience, Not Perfection

armor

Photo Credit-Author

It’s experiences like these which have given me the armor I amassed over the years, but this one taught me I still have a great deal to learn, and that as I get smarter, so do those who seek to tap into my energy field, and to take advantage of Empaths in general for what we too often give away without question.

Giving, helping, healing. They’re all part and parcel of an Empath’s or other sensitive person’s nature. It’s only through painful experience you learn to be more discerning, and to hold back until you are convinced the protections you have in place are sufficient for the situation you’re in. Yet time after time, you get blindsided because greed doesn’t take a holiday. You’re learning to recognize energy vampires, and others who’ll abuse your trust, but those who thrive by draining other peoples’ energy don’t stop learning either.

Each time you succumb, you’ll promise yourself you won’t get fooled again, but as much as you need to recharge regularly, the energy vampire needs to drain you and others like you. They don’t know how to recharge themselves, and must depend on the naive, the unsuspecting, and the unwilling to fulfill their needs. Sadly, they don’t lack for victims and flit from one to another like a bee to flowers. Which flower doesn’t matter to them as long as it yields the desired sustenance.

Support Yourself to Support Others

But why are they willing to take the time to cultivate some while ignoring others? What qualitiessupport yourself lead them to believe the reward will be worth the effort, and the patience? Who or what is meeting their energy needs while they wait?

They’re questions I’ve yet to figure out, though I’ve fallen for the scams more than once in this lifetime. At times, I’m only collateral damage, and am doubly frustrated because someone I care for was the primary target, and there’s nothing I can do to support or protect them. The truth is, the best you can do is support and protect ourselves, learning from each painful lesson, and holding space in support of others who are healing from lessons of their own.

You can’t support others unless you’re healthy and strong yourself, which makes it doubly important to not only learn to recognize when your energy is low, but establish regular and consistent practices to restore and recharge.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to make time for yourself; to meditate, garden, cook, sew, or anything you can do alone that brings you peace. The key is to remove yourself from anyone and anything that drains you so you can refill your own well of energy in your own space and time. Only then can you follow your natural inclination to love, support, and heal.

Grateful for All Lessons That Come My Way

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for the lessons I’ve learned, and the tests my trust has endured. They all temper the original being I was, making me both strong and resilient.
  2. I’m grateful for friends and family who understand my need for regular solitude.
  3. I’m grateful for healthy practices that allow me to recharge and restore my own well of energy.
  4. I’m grateful for the lessons I’ve learned that have taught me how to protect my own energy. I may still have a lot to learn, but I’m no longer a free-flowing source for anyone who comes along.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, joy, friendship, lessons, change, experience, peace, balance, health, harmony, 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

Victim Mentality is an Insidious Symptom

Every Victim Brings a New Lesson

Photo Credit-Spiral Tarot

Nothing sets my teeth on edge like someone who exhibits a victim mentality. I enter judgement mode without a nanosecond’s thought when someone launches into a diatribe about how co-workers, higher-ups, and everyone else they interact with in their work environment picks on them, holds them back, or otherwise abuses them. It doesn’t matter how many times they change jobs, the story remains the same.

It’s not only their jobs, but anyone who doesn’t give them what they want whenever they want it. Ultimately, this personality type will find someone who believes all their stories, and sympathizes no matter how outrageous and repetitive those stories become. The person becomes, if not an ally, a co-dependent dumping ground for all the woes they invent to support their own inability or lack of motivation to excel.

I realize it’s my own fault when I engage with them, whether I sympathize or judge. I spent a lot of years playing both parts, though without the afore-mentioned supporter. When I was the victim, I suffered alone, in a brooding silence which ultimately made people see me as angry and unapproachable. If others are a mirror into our own psyches, there’s clearly an element of that old victim mentality lurking inside me, waiting to be exhumed and exorcised. Meeting and reacting to someone else with those qualities is clearly a reminder to dig a little deeper, and make a few more incisions to ensure the demons of victim-ness are adequately expunged.

Another Narcissistic Game

Looking back, I can see how I allowed myself to act like a victim to offset the anger I felt but

Photo Credit-Enot91 via Flikr

couldn’t express; anger at myself for not achieving more, but also anger with my parents for encouraging the belief I wasn’t enough. I didn’t know how to express the anger in the right direction, nor did I know how to change my own perceptions. That took time, experience, and some major internal excavations before I found the answers. My judgemental reaction to those who follow the same path is evidence I still have a lot of work to do.

What I’ve finally learned to do is two-fold. First, I put the perception back on the one playing victim, forcing them to choose, even if their choice is to do nothing. Second, I resist prolonging engagement when their ire over being thwarted spills onto me. I also learned I have to refrain from sympathizing when they, or their supporter launch, once again into a litany of the mistreatment and unfairness they’re suffering at the hands of co-workers and, in fact, the rest of the world.

Sadly, the behavior is somewhat insidious, and reminiscent of narcissistic behavior when it involves someone they’ve managed to lure to their side. It reminds me of the years I actually believed my alcoholic ex’s lies about his ex-wives, co-workers, and bosses which even included my own father for a time. I supported him, and believed his lies far longer than I should have. When I finished my degree and started getting better jobs I ultimately woke up to the dangerous game he was playing with my psyche. Even so, it took me years to start repairing the damage, and begin moving forward again.

Switching from Judge to Observer

As I watch people playing that game with others, I have to tell myself to lock down my judgemental tendencies even tighter, especially when the supporter is someone I care about. I know they wouldn’t thank me for pointing out what’s going on, nor would they believe me any more than I would have taken such information myself when I was in the mental and emotional clutches of, not only my ex, but others before him who recognized my need to please, nurture, and feel valued even if I didn’t. It’s a lesson each of us has to learn on our own, and in our own right timing.

Thus, my intolerance was born from learning to recognize the hidden agenda beneath the victim mentality. I learned the hard way that someone playing the victim can be one of the most self-serving, insidious creatures on the planet, and their prey of choice is Empaths who have not yet figured out all the tricks and ploys a Narcissist will enlist to have someone in their power.

In a weird way, most Empaths need to go through this rite of passage. We have to learn how to recognize the red flags that alert us to another Narcissist trying to suck us dry. The experience is never pleasant, and often brings out our own worst tendencies in the process. That isn’t such a bad thing, though. How else are we going to clear our own mental, emotional, and often physical closet if we don’t bring things out into the open to sort through, and discard what’s no longer needed?

Practicing Patience

My patience is taxed when I encounter another person who’s a victim in their own mind. patiencePerhaps therein lies the lesson I’m supposed to learn as patience has never been my strong suit, even if I’ve learned to exercise it more in recent years. I know I have a long way to go to perfect the quality.

One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in this journey called Life is every experience that upsets or irritates me contains a lesson I need to learn or perfect. As long as things keep bothering me, I know I have more internal work to do. As long as I have more internal work to do, I know my job and purpose are not yet complete, so I appreciate the reminders that I have a long way to go.

I may not always enjoy a leg of my journey, but I’ve learned there’s a reason behind each one. They all become clear if I keep moving forward, even when forward is a series of switchbacks, and even a few setbacks before my path gets smoother for a little while.

Grateful for Opportunities to Learn

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for the twisty, turny paths my life has taken.
  2. I’m grateful for the journey, even the unpleasant parts. Every step has taught me something useful.
  3. I’m grateful for supportive friends and family who have made my journey more pleasant.
  4. I’m grateful for the roads I’ve yet to travel, and the mysteries and surprises I’ll unfold along the way.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; lessons, challenges, setbacks, successes, friendship, love, joy, happiness, kindness, compassion, forgiveness, peace, balance, health, prosperity, and philanthropy.

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

Addicted to an Uncluttered Life

Uncluttered is My New Normal

jobs removing clutter

Photo Courtesy of Elana Centor via Flikr

Once upon a time, I was an utter and complete slob. I cared little about maintaining a clean, uncluttered environment. Little did I realize at the time, my entire life reflected the lack of care I put into my personal space. It wasn’t until my space was, once again all my own that I started to make changes

Suddenly, I no longer felt comfortable in a pig sty. “Organized chaos” was simply chaos. I had far less control over what happened around me than I’d believed. In fact, my environment controlled me more than I controlled it. Slowly but surely, I’ve been changing the dynamic. No longer do I tolerate an ever-growing pile of papers on my desk, laundry sitting in the dryer or laundry basket for days, or a kitchen that looks like a bomb exploded.

Now, laundry is put away as soon as it’s dry, papers are filed when I’ve finished with them, whether they go into a cabinet or what my dad used to call the “circular file”. Even more miraculous for a lifelong slob like me is the kitchen gets cleaned up every night before I sleep. I run the dishwasher late at night, and by the next, it’s emptied and the day’s dirty dishes are stowed safely inside. I even have a loose schedule for laundry and other repetitive chores.

Letting Go and Moving On

The more I’ve cleaned and organized, the easier it’s become to let go of things I no longer use. Some I leave butterflyon a slab of bricks at the corner of my driveway. Others I put up on either a “Buy, Sell, and Trade”, or a “Buy Nothing” site. Either way, I’ve released another piece of stuff that was contributing to clutter and collecting dust.

My daughter is where I used to be; feeling like every single item in her house and garage will be needed at  some point. Rooms and halls are piled high with boxes, containers, and miscellany. The only things she insists on organizing are her books and the babies’ room. Since it mirrors the environment in which she grew up, I can’t say much. I had to discover my own need for order, and so will she. It’s not for me to decide.

It is, however, uncomfortable and confining to be in her environment for long periods of time without respite. Whether it’s a walk around the neighborhood, or moving my temporary office to her front patio, my soul needs to escape the physical clutter, if only for a little while. Knowing I’ll return to my less cluttered life soon enough also helps. Yet it’s the lessons in forgiveness that taught me so much about acceptance which take me further, and keep me from getting swamped by overwhelm.

Change Happens When You’re Not Looking

CleanIt’s made me realize how addicted I’ve become to order. Not the order of some of my friends who keep immaculate houses, decorated like a page out of Better Homes and Gardens. I may have found my way to a less cluttered life, but my world will never be House Beautiful unless I engage someone else to make it that way, and ensure it remains so without a lot of effort on my part. As that would mean having strangers in my house, I don’t see such a drastic change in the foreseeable future. Then again, I didn’t foresee my escape from a world filled with clutter either.

I do like my life the way it is now. Organized to a point, but not to a fault. Clean enough, but not squeaky. The floors get swept fairly regularly, but vacuuming and mopping require a great deal more effort and determination. I’ve learned to share the yard work so it doesn’t get out of hand. The housework is another story. I may, at times envy a friend who has a regular housekeeper, but not enough to hire someone. To me, it’s an invasion of space I’m not willing to endure. Long years of living with people who cared even less about my environment than I did, and a brief, unsatisfactory experience with a cleaning lady have left me oddly reticent to engage anyone other than a friend to help me manage.

I clean my office space more frequently now, and de-fur the furniture every month or two. Cat sand is no longer allowed to decorate my floors. If nothing else, I pull out the Swiffer every couple of days and collect the errant grains. My daily schedule includes scooping the sandboxes, and, at least every two days, sweeping around the boxes. On the rare occasion I find myself wanting to skip a step, be it sandboxes, cleaning the kitchen, or any of the other tasks I’ve made regular, something inside me refuses to allow the lapse, perhaps remembering what happened when I didn’t keep a regular cleaning schedule before.

Updating the Comfort Zone

Days spent at my daughter’s remind me how uncomfortable I felt, despite it being an environment of my own creation. I know I’ll get home and immediately start putting things back in order. Which is another change I’ve noticed in the last few years. Once, I’d get home from a trip and leave my suitcase packed until I slowly removed clean clothes as I needed them. Only the dirty ones would get into the laundry basket. Now, I unpack my suitcase as soon as I get home, get the dirty clothes into the laundry and the clean ones put away, and stow the suitcase in the garage.

It doesn’t matter how late it is, or how tired I am. Tasks get done before I sleep, whether it’s weekly laundry, nightly kitchen cleaning, or unpacking a suitcase. I’m off-balance until the deeds are done. Is it any wonder my life was so chaotic and off-balance before I figured out how much I actually hated my clutter?

Grateful for An Organized Life

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for the discoveries I’ve made, and learning what I was wasn’t what I was meant to be.
  2. I’m grateful for opportunities to experience what does and does not make me comfortable, so I know the difference, and understand why.
  3. I’m grateful for time with my daughter, son-in-law, and grandbabies. I’m learning their world isn’t mine, but I can find ways to adapt temporarily.
  4. I’m grateful for the healthy habits I’ve developed over the last few years. Not all involve taking care of my body. Many of them are simply good for my soul.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; clutter-free spaces, love, joy, family, friendship, adapting, health, harmony, peace, balance, hope, forgiveness, acceptance, 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

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

Giving Myself the Credit I Deserve

I sell myself short—a lot! No matter how many times I surprise myself with a skill, talent, or ability, I downplay it 9 times out of 10. I couldn’t even begin to tell you why or how I developed a self-deprecating manner which extends to how I see myself, but it’s reached the point where I’m annoyed with myself for perpetuating the lies and lack of appreciation for what I’ve learned, and the bridges I’ve crossed.

It might be something relatively small like believing I’m going to suffer a great deal of pain after doing an especially rigorous dance class, or working in the yard for a couple of hours. No matter how many times I wake up feeling fine, and expressing immense gratitude for being pain free, my expectations remain low the next time a similar situation arises. Granted, I could stand to stretch more, and use the dreaded foam roller regularly, but for the most part, I’m feeling darn good, not only about the effort I put in, but the way my body bounces back.

There was a time when my gloomy prophecies would manifest, but with the gym habits I set before the pandemic, and the ballet classes and line dance marathons I’ve replaced them with since going to the gym became untenable due to health concerns, I’m in as good or better physical shape than I was 20 years ago, and I’m definitely stronger. I’ve proven to myself over and over again that I’m strong, resilient, and able to push myself without lasting effects these days. So why can’t my mind catch up?

Unsubstantiated Unworthiness

potentialI face similar issues with my careers. Friends used to tell me how smart I was, and would come to me with technical questions all the time. I’d try to flip it back on them, claiming their success was greater than mine. What kind of claptrap is that anyway? I thought I’d stopped the irrational need to compare myself unfavorably to anyone, yet it comes back time and again to rear it’s ugly head, whether I’m talking about my accounting skills, or my writing.

I think it boils down to what so many of us battle; an unsubstantiated unworthiness. I know mine came in part from my inability to meet even the smallest of my mother’s expectations growing up. In the first place, that was decades ago, and in the second, she’s been gone since 1993! It’s about time I let go of what I know is nonsense, and allow myself to expect the best instead of the worst from myself, be it physical, intellectual, creative, or emotional.

Old habits might die hard, but this is one I’d as soon jettison. In fact, I keep thinking I’ve flipped my perspective and left the old, unworthy me behind, only to have it come back and bite me in the butt when I’m not looking. Then I’m back to square one, reassuring myself I’m strong, smart, worthy, and capable, while a small voice inside me whispers, no you’re not! I know the voice lies, but its words still hurt, and sometimes, draw blood.

Replacing

I’ve put many things in place to shut that voice down; daily gratitudes, affirmations, reminders credit for new activitiesof my successes, and supportive friends. For every time those things fail me, I’m sure there are at least 10 where they don’t, and probably many more. It’s the painful ones I remember though; the times I fail to shut the evil, whiny voice up.

I realize the voice gets louder when I try something new, or push myself past what I’ve done before without stopping to weigh all possible consequences against what I gain from jumping in and doing it. My voice is as averse to change as the next guy’s, and I’ve given it a lot of reasons to scream in abject fury these days. The sameness it craves is, despite working from home and seldom leaving the house, notably absent from my life right now.

Whether it’s the thrice-weekly ballet classes, all the rearranging I’ve done to my house, garage, and yard, the weight I’m slowly releasing, or the new habits I’ve initiated in the last 7 months, the part of me that craves my old sedentary, wallflower of a life is suffering. It knows it can beat me up, threaten my security, and show me the darkest possibilities, and I won’t turn back. I suppose the only thing that brings it pleasure right now is to shake my confidence and push the old buttons that bring back memories of failures and pain.

The Blessings of Stubbornness and Tenacity

Photo Courtesy of David Goehring via Flikr

What it’s not counting on is a pair of traits that drove my mom bonkers; a rebellious nature and a stubbornness that go into high gear when anyone tells me no, or promises dire consequences if I follow my heart. It doesn’t matter if that someone is myself, a friend, someone I trust, or someone I abhor. My response is the same. Watch me!

Though it’s frustrating to hear that irritating voice trying to rain on my parade, and minimize my successes, be they large or small, I’ve reconciled myself to the fact I’ll never completely silence it, but I can make it clear it no longer affects my choices. Warn me if you will, but once you’ve finished the oft-repeated gloom and doom speech, I invite you to take a seat in the corner while I surpass myself once again. Not out of spite, but because I need to do it for me.

I need to continue proving to myself that my aversion to ruts is justified. I must keep moving forward, climbing new mountains, and conquering new fears. I’ve learned I suffer more when I stagnate; when I fail to learn and progress than I do from anything those negative, buzz killing voices might devise to try to halt the changes I’m making in my life, in my heart, and in my spirit.

Gratitude Quiets the Dissenting Voices

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for the stubbornness that drove my parents crazy. It’s gotten me past a lot of obstacles I needed to clear from my path.
  2. I’m grateful for affirmations which have helped me shut down the negative voices on so many occasions.
  3. I’m grateful for tenacity. There was a time I thought I lacked it, but the last few years have proven otherwise. I may not have a lot of successes under my belt, but I continue to put forth the effort, and that’s a success in itself.
  4. I’m grateful for all the opportunities that have crossed my path. They may be opportunities to learn and grow right now, but I know, in time, they’ll be what prepared me for the big ones that truly change my life for the better.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, friendship, tenacity, joy, strength, stubbornness, inspiration, motivation, persistence, peace, balance, health, harmony, 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

Healing Energy: The Power of the Purr

A Constant Source of Purr Therapy

In the middle of my meditation, Scrappy Doo climbed into my lap, curled up, and began to purr. I realized I was feeling some cramping in my lower abdomen, and gave myself up to the purrs I knew would ease them.

While enjoying Scrappy’s melodious ministrations, I thought to myself, “How does he know?”. He doesn’t sit in my lap very often, but when he does, it’s as if he senses I need him, no matter where in the house he might be when he gets those “mom needs me” missives. He’ll do the same on nights when sleep eludes me. I’ll be lying in bed willing my body to relax when I hear his deep, loud purr coming from the foot of the bed. It isn’t long before I relax and fall into a deep, healing slumber.

He’s not the only one. Many times, Dylan will drape himself across my chest, or curl around my head knowing I need that special kind of energy only a cat can offer. Mulan presses herself against my leg as soon as I get comfortable on the couch. Each in their own way knows what I need, be it comfort, healing, or simply companionship.

Appreciating the Attention and Love

Just as many people use meditation, reiki, energy work, and other mediums to heal, bring peace, and invigorate, our pets are a constant, unflagging part of the process, yet many overlook their input as it’s often subtle, or such a regular thing, they take it for granted.

Unlike many, I don’t take any of my cats’ efforts for granted. I know they’re in tune with my moods, and with my body’s rhythms. They know when I’m off, whether it’s physically, energetically, or emotionally, and lend their support without question, sometimes when they, too need some support.

In Munchkin’s final days, I was saddened by the fact she was no longer able to purr. Hers had comforted and healed me through many rough days and years, and I sorely missed it. As she grew weaker, and it grew closer to the time when I’d have to make the hardest decision a pet owner faces, she began to purr again as she lay curled in my arms, struggling for breath. I know it was in large part to comfort herself, but it brought me a lot of peace to hear her purrs one last time before I had to let her go. It was as if she was telling me it was OK, and that she was ready.

Yes, it still breaks my heart I’ve had to make that choice so many times in the last few years, but I’m also filled with gratitude that those who remain are happy, healthy, and supportive. Dylan will be 16 in March of 2021, and even with the IBS he’s had for a couple of years now, remains frisky, well-groomed, and as demanding as ever. Even the vet says he looks and acts like a much younger cat. Still, I’m ever-watchful in case he shows signs of being in any kind of distress so I can get help before it escalates.

Love and Support Without Asking or Expecting

My daughter sees the same thing with her older 2. Throughout her pregnancy, both her dog, Gwen and her older cat, Arthur have stuck close to her wherever she might be in the house, and get upset when she leaves, or even steps outside. They’ve taken responsibility for her health and well-being, and take their jobs very seriously. My cat, Missy did the same when I was carrying Heather and her sister, all those years ago. I’m convinced they can hear the babies sloshing around, and like to get close so they can listen, and maybe even communicate with them.

I’ve had at least one cat in my life since I was six. Even when I was in apartments or dorms, or even on my honeymoon I managed to adopt one of the cats who roamed the area keeping the place rodent-free. It wasn’t unusual for one to find its way to my room for a visit and a treat.

I’ll be the first to admit I’m often more comfortable in the company of animals than people. I’ve learned I’m even less comfortable around people who don’t love and appreciate what animals offer. If you want to lose my trust in a heartbeat, simply make it known that you have no love for animals, nor would you want one in your life. I’m unable to fathom that mindset, and seriously question the capacity for kindness and compassion.

Choosing to Go Where Kindness and Compassion Flow Freely

In recent months, I’ve become even more acutely aware of where kindness and compassion do and do not exist. I’ve strengthened my shields to filter out their unpleasant counterparts even more thoroughly, erring on the side of over filtering. The global exhibitions of hate, cruelty, and disregard for other inhabitants of this planet are increasingly exhausting, and send me scurrying for the peace and solitude of my home and my cats.

All too often, I’ve left social media for hours or days because the outflow of sadness, fear, and misery became too much to bear, especially when it erupted in anger and hate. While I can’t change other people, or convince them to look at other perspectives, I can prevent myself from adding to the ugliness with knee-jerk reactions, or responses to posts I’m better served to ignore, or better still, hide.

I’m even getting better at leaving a conversation before it turns into a case of tossing bombs at each other’s walls. I no longer see any purpose in sharing my views with someone who is passionately attached to their own. I’m better served to write out my feelings here, or better still, go snuggle with a more-than-willing cat.

Keeping the Peace

https://www.flickr.com/photos/22896868@N05/37793838064/in/photolist-ZzHikE-6CLwBp-PyxN8-ANdzYM-SSM2A-6Qk9hs-69XAJ-9MdXjn-uvM4e-5eEek1-B2g413-dfkzCM-3mvMPJ-sy5eXJ-6yqFqt-aMJyV-8PvV75-ex6FWc-dhhyHa-2gY3Afr-8PtSRX-d8oLd7-ex9Tbw-xL1LrQ-dbHZaf-ca4FGu-iRYLu-ecb2N3-dn657c-SjQ7Hr-bfBYr-ex9TuE-5ezLqM-5t7ew8-kTbbqe-feiC3p-DnH61-KqTHNu-5qAV2d-ex6Fyn-5Tgzt4-8mGSbW-8mGPjs-8mGSpS-8mGQ6Y-GCWsgx-8mDHWt-8mGRyY-Dt1i4M-8mGTs9Life always gives us choices, even when it seems we have none. Not all choices are in our best interests, nor do they help us be better people. Still, we often have to choose anyway, and making no choice is still a choice. You’re just letting circumstances choose for you. I do believe stepping away is a valid choice, though I’ve suffered my share of abuse for exercising that option.

Some people are looking for a fight, and resent it when you don’t give it to them. The older I get, the more I realize I prefer the peace, serenity, and company of my cats over any human who wants to use me to vent their fear, anger, and frustration. Frankly, those people will always find someone who’s willing to engage. Taking myself out of the mix isn’t going to leave them alone and without a target for long.

In this crazy, mixed-up, fear-filled, angry world, I’ve learned when all else fails, emulate my cats. Curl up somewhere cozy, have a snack, and purr quietly until the ugliness fades away.

Grateful for All My Furry Blessings

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for the comfort and company of my cats.
  2. I’m grateful I’m learning to stay out of conflict.
  3. I’m grateful for a more peaceful, stress-free life.
  4. I’m grateful for friends who understand and love their animals, and appreciate what huge contributions they make to their lives.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, comfort, joy, solitude, friendship, cat love, purrs, inspiration, motivation, peace, health, harmony, 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

Rejection is Part of the Game

Each Rejection Makes Me Stronger

Although I’ve done little more than share the first chapter of my novel “Sasha’s Journey” at a writer’s conference, and make an ill-fated attempt at having “Rebuilding After Suicide” edited, I’m no stranger to rejection these days. In my other guise as an Accountant, I’ve submitted proposals on a couple of projects; both of which I lost. While it’s disappointing to repeatedly receive negative responses, it’s neither the end of the world, nor a time to throw in the towel.

Hearing the word “no” is something you have to expect at least part of the time when you’re brave enough to put yourself out there, no matter what your area of expertise. You have to appreciate the fact that the potential client has expectations you can’t possibly be privy to, no matter how well you might do your due diligence. As I see it, those nos aren’t meant to discourage you, but to encourage you to keep trying. As someone said to me recently “every no brings you closer to a yes”.

While the courage to submit so much as a short story, much less one of my longer projects has been noticeably absent thus far, getting used to accepting a rejection and moving on in an area where my confidence is greater is essentially a good thing. I get to thicken my skin and learn those nos are never personal long before I submit something that contains a piece of my heart and soul to the hard, cold world.

Choosing the Longer Road

Meanwhile, minor wins like being asked to write for a couple of publications on Medium are https://www.flickr.com/photos/nhoulihan/4038592452/in/photolist-79SQQm-TfUffd-pgu9hJ-qfYXYE-pDVWDB-6UQgZM-KFog6C-TFYhqd-29TMHM-fP6i28-j73ZT5-atsnGd-C4HxXs-5eRdT5-YoKVff-24PBcMS-28G1ckh-AqrzL-haocsM-o1RCfj-4iigfF-6hbQxG-TCfZem-qVx4n8-U63bC7-dCTxQg-amkKyF-eiY1qF-Ct5hqm-hSGXpV-BcaCh-8c2bVB-27RWaS2-eQjYy1-cJWTgw-ehKQWJ-AJSt63-ay4RXc-cxa1zW-UFe9Vq-aC3EP1-pkL1fr-ehKSrs-qxMMJj-bvMGyV-VG1fkR-ay4Sgv-aDNaMx-aE1tNY-h7171rbalm to the wounds I try hard to shake off. Sure, I’ve put some pressure on myself by promising a small reward should I win a contract. Thus far, I continue my streak without rewards, but in reality, I owe myself a couple for simply continuing to jump into the fire over and over again. If I allowed the losses to discourage me, I’d have long ago gone in search of another salaried position. Yet I continue to insist I will make a go of this, and I keep showing up.

I know I’ve chosen the longer road by insisting on building relationships, not only because it takes longer to find and establish myself with my tribe, but because I’m still learning how to build those relationships after spending a large portion of my life as a loner and an outcast. I suspect I’d go further faster if I were willing to invest thousands of dollars in a coach or mentor, but I tend to take the longer, harder route wherever possible, and ultimately learn greater lessons as a result. My innate stubbornness insists I make my own mistakes rather than learning from the trials and tribulations of someone else. Perhaps it’s not the wisest path, but it’s the one I choose to tread.

Maybe I’d see less rejection if I gave someone else’s methodology a try, but I run the risk of feeling less authentic, and settling for something that doesn’t fit me right. I love loose, comfortable clothes, but when it comes to clients, I want to be able to bring real value to them, and to love doing it. Call me crazy. Tell me I’ll never get rich with that attitude. The truth is, it doesn’t matter. I spent too many years not loving what I did, or who I did it with. Part of the reason I set off on my own was because I knew that pattern had run its course. I was ready for something new and was willing to accept any and all associated risks.

Rewards are in the Eyes of the Beholder

Has it been a smooth path? Not even close. Has it had its share of rewards? I guess that depends on what you call rewards. Financially, it’s been more miss than hit. Emotionally and mentally, it was the best gift I could ever have given myself. I’ve been free to write when, where, and what I want. I’ve done 3 NaNo’s, finished the memoir I started in 2009, written thousands of blog posts, not only for myself, but for other people.

I get up when I want to, and go to bed when I decide it’s time. Sometimes, I sit in front of the TV binge watching a sitcom or Hallmark movies, and sometimes I pound away at the keyboard until the room grows dark, losing track of time, barely aware of the cats wandering through demanding attention (they aren’t especially happy about those times, but at least I’m here with them, and that counts for something).

Though I’ve always taken advantage of home delivery for a lot of things, I’ve done more since the pandemic began. I still go out to fill my water bottles and pick up groceries, but I’ve gone from weekly to semi-weekly, and even bought another 5-gallon bottle to stretch out the time between trips. I exercise at home via Zoom instead of going to the gym, and dance in my living room every Thursday night.

Learning from the Losses

Life overall isn’t perfect, and I’ve had to give up a lot of the things I love, at least temporarily. So what’s a little disappointment over a rejected pitch or proposal? The wheel will turn. New opportunities will appear. Some of the things I enjoyed doing will be back, and some may either change or disappear. Like the rejections, I can either dwell on what’s lost, or shake it off and move on to the next one.

There was a time I’d spend days mourning the losses, and mere moments celebrating the successes. I’ve come to realize I had it all backwards. I know it sounds weird, but I celebrate the losses as stepping stones. I learn, I let what I can’t control go, and I keep moving forward. What’s gone is gone. The past can’t be changed, so why dwell on it? Why mourn things that are, in the general scheme of things, inconsequential. The successes are fleeting, and don’t really teach me anything new, but they do break up the monotony a little.

I think about how hard it would be if I didn’t have any losses to learn from. It would mean I was still hiding in my little rut, scared to take any chances and put myself out there. Fear of falling and earning a few bruises would keep me from living a full life, and frankly, I’d be a lot more miserable than a loss or two will ever make me.

So bring on the opportunities. Give me more chances to earn rejections because eventually I’ll nail the formula and connect with the right people, and when I do, I’ll be Golden!

Expressing Gratitude for Every Little Thing

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for the losses that are teaching me how to win.
  2. I’m grateful for supportive friends who know you have to dive back into the pool many times before you learn how to swim with the big fish.
  3. I’m grateful for my tenacity and persistence even when it seems ill-advised.
  4. I’m grateful for a strong, resilient spirit that’s learned rejections aren’t personal.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; opportunities, tenacity, inspiration, motivation, joy, love, friendship, relationships, health, harmony, peace, 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

Fear of Flying is My Albatross

https://www.flickr.com/photos/philleara/7246573430/in/photolist-c3mzPd-djJiUe-oajKtQ-djJjmv-djJjLR-oapGkZ-djJjb9-djJj5F-cntb2u-7Y2xWm-cntayf-c3mLB3-n329S-7XYhYD-cntbhs-TCrSUz-gg7DZE-gg7XMV-6Ak5ks-9a2C7g-djJjz6-cntb85-rCKS6-cntag1-azBhou-3oXQYc-cnta8q-cntaL7-ocbPjv-oa7hn8-fJm576-baRPgp-7Y2xp7-8ommnm-bA1QHR-cnt9j1-dmywKj-7Y2x7b-4vwAew-aAPJwq-oa7iJB-cnt9xu-2FtNgi-gunWiW-hLgWLK-e4kv6P-2FtPvB-9GPQLh-4vsuDF-baRMyvShake Off the Fear and Fly

Many people don’t try to break free of sameness because they fear failing. I’m learning that isn’t me. In fact, I’ve taken a lot of risks fearlessly without even weighing the odds, counting on my own indomitable spirit to support me through many a leap of faith. It’s when I get close to success my fears kick in, turning my stomach to a tsunami, and my nerves to high voltage wires.

Interestingly, I don’t focus on anything in particular about the ramifications of success. It seems to be a combination of factors running the gamut from fear of letting someone else down, to how success might change my life. I wouldn’t even call it fear of change, as I’d never take those leaps of faith if change caused me anxiety. Instead, I’d be like so many who cling to sameness long after stopped retaining any beneficial qualities, or even showed it was still a viable contributor to the life they envisioned.

Those butterflies and tidal waves start inhabiting my stomach at what I consider the most inopportune times:

When I’m ready to edit one of my books

When I need to submit a proposal to a new client

When I’m writing for a new publication

And many more which are hiding in the depths of my brain at the moment. I start questioning everything from whether it’s the right move for me, to my ability to deliver, to my own intelligence. I know every single argument is unfounded, and yet, the part of my mind that still seeks to convince me change is bad, and anything outside my small, insular world will bring disaster shrieks loudly in protest.

A Time to Tell My Gut to Shut Up

I’d prefer not reacting to the internal battle physically, but as a swirling stomach has long been https://www.flickr.com/photos/40litres/7343613222/in/photolist-cbVWn5-u4MMU-6aVB1b-6aPWsX-6Ek1dd-6aU3qh-6EfSXP-6aQ3XM-6EfLdB-6aUxFo-6Ek9mS-6aPWTZ-6EjSKo-6aQ33v-2GzuMZ-6aQ5b2-6Ek5xb-6TPuoy-6EfFpx-6TKrxi-6EfXJc-6sEerV-7gFCUs-84Sj6i-99MKuh-4Riwhv-4VcHB1-6NjEte-6EjYgb-6EjWKJ-9zcdXd-9z9dwR-oNS2SE-6aU5Lw-6aQ1wr-akT8wZ-6aUbGN-akT8Pg-6NWnB8-6aPXoM-6aU2rN-5YTgXS-6aU1Y9-6aQnup-6aQ4zB-6aUa8d-SeHmuk-6aQ3wg-baVK6R-6aPUbxone of my early warning devices, it’s typically the first place that reacts to a mind being dragged into madness. It gets worse when the change I’m contemplating involves someone else, and I have to wait. I’ve never been good with anticipation, and it doesn’t matter if it’s for something amazing, or something terrifying (or both). My stomach dances the same frantic jig, perhaps because I’m simply lousy at waiting for anything. I’m of the “just rip off the band-aid and be done with it” point of view.

It isn’t that I expect bad news. I truly don’t. I’d rather have an answer of no than to have to wait. But in most cases, I’d rather hear yes, and feel horribly let down when I don’t get the answer I want. Though I’ve been training myself in positive indifference for awhile now, it doesn’t mean I don’t feel let down. It doesn’t mean I don’t run all the alternate scenarios through my mind, or ask what I did wrong. If nothing else, I try to learn from the nos as well as the yeses. But it’s often harder to figure out why someone chose another person over me than it is to see why I was the one chosen.

I have learned the best way to survive the anticipation, the anxiety, and even the subsequent internal questioning is to keep busy, and in cases like this, write out those fears and anxieties. Many people experience the same feelings, and putting it out there not only helps me, but might resonate with someone else, and help them get off this merry-go-round and move forward themselves.

The Choices You Make

butterfly“Forward” is relative, too. At any point in time you stand at a crossroads where there are several options as to where to travel next. Each will take you in a different direction from which you might or might not be able to return. Yet in most cases, you can always return to the crossroads and choose differently should you hit a dead end with the choice you made.

You can only see so far down each road. Even the safest ones eventually fade into the distance, leaving the future uncertain. It’s up to you how much you need to know before setting off. If you feel you need more guarantees, you might choose a road that allows you to see further ahead, or that perhaps offers a smoother path. More guarantees might mean less risk, but they also mean smaller rewards. You have to be willing to engage patience and persistence to reap greater rewards, and those rewards aren’t limited to financial gain.

If your crossroads includes choices to launch your own business, or accept a relatively lucrative job offer that gives you stability, benefits, and a regular paycheck, you might choose the short-term gain. However, you give up a lot of freedom, flexibility, and above all, the satisfaction of building something yourself. There’s no right or wrong answer. It’s a matter of determining how much risk you’re willing to accept, and which factors are most important to you.

Life is a Constant Series of Changes

When my daughters were growing up, I chose the path that allowed me to provide for them embrace your fearwith as little risk as possible. That didn’t mean I wasn’t trying to be my own boss, or that I didn’t have periods of unemployment. It meant I was willing to accept things like less time with my daughters, dancing to the whims of a boss who might not always make the most ethical choices, and taking jobs that were close to home, but a terrible fit. In hindsight, I paid a high price for that choice, but in the end, it allowed me to finally leave the rat race and take my time building my dream. It also meant re-envisioning that dream when I could bring in the non-financial factors.

That’s the beauty of dreams. They’re allowed to evolve, and you’re allowed to change your mind, or follow a new path when things change in your life, or in your mindset. You’re only stuck on the same road if you choose to be. You can take a side trip, or even a whole new road any time you want, as long as you’re willing to accept that doing so means you’re subjected to unseen factors and challenges. It means trusting in yourself, or any outside force you believe in to get you safely to the other side…eventually.

First you have to decide, though. Are you more afraid of falling…or flying?

Gratitude Eases the Pain and Smooths the Path

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for the time and inclination to do some soul searching to determine where I’m really getting in my own way.
  2. I’m grateful for people in my life who understand and support me when I’m struggling to figure things out.
  3. I’m grateful for opportunities to spread my wings and fly even when my anxiety tries its hardest to ground me.
  4. I’m grateful for a life full of experiences, obstacles overcome, and proving to myself I can land on my feet in any situation if I give my world time to re-right itself.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, joy, opportunities, confidence, knowledge, wisdom, supporters, community, friendship, health, peace, balance, harmony, 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

Instill Kindness Into Honesty and Sarcasm

The Twisted Path of Honesty

https://www.flickr.com/photos/nhoulihan/4038592452/in/photolist-79SQQm-TfUffd-pgu9hJ-qfYXYE-pDVWDB-6UQgZM-KFog6C-TFYhqd-29TMHM-fP6i28-j73ZT5-atsnGd-C4HxXs-5eRdT5-YoKVff-24PBcMS-28G1ckh-AqrzL-haocsM-o1RCfj-4iigfF-6hbQxG-TCfZem-qVx4n8-U63bC7-dCTxQg-amkKyF-eiY1qF-Ct5hqm-hSGXpV-BcaCh-8c2bVB-27RWaS2-eQjYy1-cJWTgw-ehKQWJ-AJSt63-ay4RXc-cxa1zW-UFe9Vq-aC3EP1-pkL1fr-ehKSrs-qxMMJj-bvMGyV-VG1fkR-ay4Sgv-aDNaMx-aE1tNY-h7171rHonesty is a word you see tossed around a lot these days. It’s being used to justify all sorts of inhumane, unconscionable behavior. Like sarcasm when it’s misused, honesty can cut and wound more deeply than a surgeon’s scalpel, and with more lasting and debilitating results.

Think about the parent who continually berates their child for failing to measure up to their expectations. Maybe the child is falling short of some imaginary mark the parent sets. Perhaps that mark is well beyond the child’s current capabilities. Either way, it’s honest to say the child failed, but at what cost? Will the child keep trying to please the parent and reach every higher, or will they become discouraged by the lack of acknowledgement for their efforts and stop trying? How many of you were that child, and grew up believing it wasn’t worth trying because you’d never be good enough?

I, for one wasted a lot of productive years because a toxic cocktail of sarcasm and honesty without compassion taught me to believe I’d never reach my goals if I couldn’t even reach the ones my parents had set for me. Pardon my language, but what a crock of shit!

Children Are Taught to Fail or Succeed

As children, you might see your parents as almighty gods who set expectations for you; when to potty train, when to feed yourself, when to crawl, when to walk, when to contribute to the household by doing chores…the list is endless. At what point do your expectations become your own instead of someone else’s? For some, the answer is “never”, while others take control over their lives much sooner. I’m one of the lucky ones who finally figured it out, though releasing the shackles of my upbringing took a lot of effort, and no small amount of pain.

It’s painful to learn the people tasked to love, guide, and encourage you left out some serious components. While they guided you to the best of their abilities, tacking their own expectations to your psyche with the subtlety of a staple gun, they did so without concern for your growth and ability to ultimately be your own guide—set your own expectations. And they failed to encourage you when you didn’t hit the mark on the first or second try. You never learned it was OK to fail a few times, but to recognize with each try you were going a little further; reaching a little higher.

While it was true you’d missed, and they weren’t wrong in saying you had failed, the constant failures and resulting honesty (or sometimes sarcasm) caused so much pain it was easier to give up entirely than suffer each time you tried and missed. Unfortunately, even when you left their direct influence, those failures and the pain stayed with you, holding you back from exposing yourself to cruel remarks and sneers if you tried and failed again.

A Society of Blamers

https://www.flickr.com/photos/goosmurf/426541487/in/photolist-DG8Vz-aj7drL-7qTUTm-bUZPKf-5UAF2U-6UnKch-4otLcg-6UiHya-75yzm-atwpet-4yCU8H-5nfnR-76Lzw1-6Ugcxa-7Q3md4-eib8UU-HfpTbN-Nxr3k-jTu6n1-5PSApx-etyaXr-4yCTT2-bRGkTc-bRGkGZ-e4RcXr-bwqg74-4ZLzc9-5fjXUt-7ogfMQ-ETXURp-ppVJ8D-rewk6c-6DAK7j-9APZid-Kpntb-9BoSUh-pTQTuk-atmgv4-qpKtSA-5xcdi7-oACc4f-66hZkp-8WPNFN-6tvQCx-ag4U2Z-8WPL5h-8WLJUp-8WLEKx-8WLKTV-aDXK3PGranted, not all children grow up in an environment that stifles their willingness to continue to try, and come back fighting after each failure. But our society has evolved to mimic the kind of parents who see all the failures, and ignore the efforts. It highlights, and even mocks the times you fall down, and never once recognizes or applauds the times you get back up, much less when you do succeed. Instead, it raises the bar just before you reach it, and mocks you for another failure.

No wonder so many are angry; so quick to accept a suggestion that blames someone else for their failures. You have to win once in awhile to be willing to keep playing the game—unless of course you’re a masochist! You need to hear a word of praise every so often so you’ll see your efforts are worth the struggle and the pain. Else, why bother?

But is blaming someone else really being honest with them? With yourself? How can anyone else be responsible for your failure to reach your goals, or worse, the goals that someone else assigned to you, and you didn’t have the guts or the strength to challenge? Parents might affect your first experience with conditioning and goal setting, but there comes a time when you’re in charge of your own life. Whether or not you accept that responsibility makes it no less true. Allowing your parents, or some other authority figure to continue to set your expectations makes you no less responsible for your own future. Perhaps that’s why many relinquish that responsibility to a controlling mate.

Are You Letting Yourself be Controlled?

I suspect some find it easier to both relinquish control and assign blame as it takes the desperationresponsibility off themselves—or so they believe. In truth, they still have the responsibility, but choose to deny it so they can blame someone else when they ultimately fail. What they’re really doing is making little to no effort because the goals they’re reaching for aren’t what they want. In a sense, they’re predisposed to failure, and may even like it that way. At the end of the day, they can hide behind an assertion that “it’s not my fault”, and blame someone else who had the audacity to take responsibility for themselves, and overcame the same basic odds.

They can feel justified, and even self-righteous in claiming others took away their opportunities when in reality, they took them away all by themselves by giving up long before success was even on the horizon. It’s a lot harder to admit you’ve stood in your own way than it is to blame your stagnation on blacks, or homosexuals, or Muslims, or Jews, or Women, or whoever your scapegoat du jour might be, than to admit you failed yourself.

History is full of people who raped, pillaged, stole, and otherwise grabbed what they believed they deserved from those they’d decided didn’t deserve the fruits of their own labor. Our society is rife with those who still believe the dangerous lies they not only tell themselves, but which are being substantiated, not by those who wish them well, but by people who’ve learned how to press a few hot buttons to manipulate the herd mentality into doing their bidding.

Buying Into Rhetoric While Relinquishing Responsibility

https://www.flickr.com/photos/moonjazz/4322051067/in/photolist-7zVDcR-5HMRtL-WXwZ4x-5HwZ1W-W8gjMg-cmRixy-6QT7w5-644Ln2-aqnYV4-t3u4Vo-a3fPm8-96X9E-661V8k-7imNtn-dyL2X1-pqPPxB-8ZBwzC-6aTwUf-8X7nVL-98Xpyp-91GcS5-8QFSZ3-8QCL54-8QCLjR-fD8pbT-fke9kC-8rt4if-6eLvkB-2fF3nDE-8QFRwq-8VvhHg-39jdZK-fjZ1WZ-fjZ1nc-fjZ1JR-6jPBns-TCH7H7-dKE42n-GhN8P-21yUcgH-d5ogN-616Soq-7L5RSL-fjZ1PX-94tRCT-fjZ1AB-fke9Qh-SZrAL7-5ZFHzH-jSKjmJThat’s what happens when you have a large portion of society who believes they’re not responsible. They’re easily led because they want someone to tell them what to do; how to believe; and worse, who to blame. And you end up with lemmings who are willing to turn a blind eye and accept rhetoric like this:

You see Trump’s arrogance, I see Trump’s confidence. You see Trump’s nationalism, I see Trump’s patriotism. You hear Trump’s unsophisticated words, I hear Trump’s honesty. You see Trump’s racism, I see Trump’s words being misconstrued and twisted by the media daily to fit their narrative. You see Trump as a Republican, I see Trump as a Patriot. You see Trump as a dictator, I see Trump as a leader. You see Trump as an Authoritarian, I see Trump as the only one willing to fight for our freedoms. You see Trump as childish, I see Trump as a fighter, unwilling to cave in to the lies. You see Trump as an unpolished politician, I see Trump as a breath of fresh air. You think Trump hates immigrants, I know Trump is married to an immigrant. You see Trump putting an end to immigration in America, I see Trump welcoming immigrants to America LEGALLY. You see Trump’s cages at the border, I see Obama’s cages at the border. You see Trump with a struggling economy, I see Trump with an amazing economy until the Democrats shut it down. You see the violence in the streets and call it “Trump’s America”, I see the violence in the streets of Democratic run cities who are refusing Trump’s help and call it “Liberal America.” You want someone more Presidential, I’m happy we have someone who finally doesn’t just talk the talk but actually walks the walk. You and I? We see things very differently.

Do we really see things differently, or are these the words of someone who wants justification for abdicating responsibility for their own future, and a reason to be hateful, cruel, and unkind without remorse or consequences? You decide. But before you do, I suggest you do a little research into the dialogues in Germany as Hitler rose to power. If you’re not shaking in your boots afterwards, you might be allowing someone else to take the lead.

Every Grateful I’m Responsible for My Own Destiny

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for opposing viewpoints, as long as we can communicate with kindness and compassion.
  2. I’m grateful for my quiet place where I can go to refresh and recharge, even if I know it’s at risk right now.
  3. I’m grateful for my ability to express, even when my opinions aren’t popular or even well-received.
  4. I’m grateful for being able to move my body when my brain is spinning out of control.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, communication, compassion, friendship, balance, peace, harmony, joy, health, acceptance, 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

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