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

Posts tagged ‘intention’

Essential Acts of Self Love

Making Self Love a Daily Practice other day I was thinking about words in the English language which not only signify destructive ideas and feelings, but at times, cause them as well. In his song “Kill a Word”, Eric Church sings about words he’d like to see stricken from the language, though in his case, the words are linked to a failed relationship. Words like never, good-bye, regret, heartbreak, temptation, and evil tell a tale of love gone wrong.

Some of the words he and I would like to see die a slow death are the same, though for different reasons. Words like evil, hate, vile, and wicked are, I believe universally known to bring unpleasant feelings, and too often, actions to the surface.

The words I’d love to kill off are words that crush a spirit, or keep a person from loving who they are, and blossoming into the beautiful being they were meant to be. Words like should, or responsibility, or useful. It’s not so much the words themselves, but how they’re used, or in truth, misused.

Words Not to Live By

How many shoulds have made people question themselves? Have caused to do what they believed someone else wanted instead of what would make them happy? Or have caused resentment as they grudgingly did what someone said they should rather than trusting themselves and risking the ire of a parent, partner, friend, spouse, or boss?

I look back at all the times I did what I’d been told was the responsible thing instead of following my heart or even my gut. I’ve put my nose to the grindstone day in, day out, doing things which were considered useful but were slowly killing my soul and spirit. From the stories I’ve read and the people I talk to who dread Mondays, and live for Fridays, I know I’m not alone.

While we’re on the subject, when did we start believing we had to live for weekends as a reward for spending 40 plus hours a week doing a job we might not hate, but certainly didn’t love? How did I buy into the lie that it’s OK to be miserable 5/7ths of the time?

Living A Life Worth Loving often, I see employment referred to as a J.O.B. Clearly it’s not a positive thing. Why do so many people live their entire lives that way? Why did I give 30 years of mine to it, not to mention the years I spent pursuing a degree in something I’d come to loathe? Don’t get me wrong. I truly love doing accounting work when I can choose the people I work with and the kind of work I’m doing. Unfortunately, I kept ending up in jobs where neither of these were true.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence so many people end up in jobs they hate, working for people they can’t even respect, much less like. Like many, I set low expectations, and of course, always got what I expected. I worked for a long string of men whose wives ruled the household. They came to work with a gigantic chip on their shoulder when it came to women in management, and blinders as to the value a woman could bring if she wasn’t hobbled by misconceptions. Many of these men had trust issues, either because a former employee (ironically, always male) had stolen from them, or because of an ugly divorce or two.

Still, I could say I chose these bosses and positions unconsciously because of my own attitude, biases, and prejudices, and because of the things I’d come to believe because of the shoulds and responsibles I bought into, often because I mistakenly believed it would keep the peace.

Seeing the Intention Behind the Words

Words have power. They can build you up, or they can shatter you into a million self lovepieces, too often willingly, or at least with no resistance. I know I’m not alone in having fallen victim to master manipulators who use words to intentionally elicit emotional responses and behaviors. Once I recognized the patterns I’d fallen into, those words made me distrustful too. I’d hear certain words and immediately write the speaker off as someone I needed to avoid.

What I didn’t realize, but have since learned is it’s not so much the words, but how they’re used, and the intent behind them. Erring on the side of wariness isn’t a bad thing either. I had to learn not to take the wariness too far and shut down completely. Instead, it’s an opportunity to tread cautiously until the speaker’s intentions are made clear. I leave space to put up the walls if their intentions truly are self-serving or malicious.

Not every dog wants to bite. The same is true of humans. Some are as wary as I am until they feel safe. Some will cast a net around themselves, intentionally making others keep their distance until they prove trustworthy, or at least benign. That leaves the rest to either be too trusting no matter how many times they get bitten, or who believe in trusting no one.

I spent a lot of time in the last category; enough to refrain from recommending it. To trust no one with or without justification leads to a lonely existence. Even the most casual of relationships cannot survive without a certain amount of trust, even if it’s simply trusting you won’t be intentionally mistreated. I’ve learned most people are unlikely to cause another person pain on purpose.

Relationships Cannot Survive Without Trust, it is human nature to put up walls after a major betrayal or hurt, limiting close contact until there’s sufficient proof history isn’t likely to repeat itself. I know of few humans who haven’t been hurt by another by the time they reach adulthood; many several times; some of those, severe.

I’m learning to recognize those hurts in the way someone talks about their life, themselves, and people from their past. Those who are most sensitive, or have been hurt deeply by other people, circumstances or both are most likely to give reasons or excuses for remaining single. All share one common attribute: the reasons and excuses are meant to convince themselves, not anyone else. In fact, anyone who truly cares about them sees it as a smokescreen or self-protective dialogue; nothing more.

Too often, that internal dialogue includes the destructive, limiting words like should, useful, or responsibility. If it worked for people on the outside, it’ll be equally effective when administered from the inside, right?

I’ve discovered the hard way when those words are self-administered they’re even more destructive; more limiting. In the first place, they’re lies. In the second, the worst lies you can tell are the ones you tell yourself.

Paying Attention to Self-Talk

As usual, I’ve talked around in circles a bit here, and exposed a few of my own wounds and scars in the process. Using artificial limitations, whether verbally or by actions begins as self-defense after a bad experience. When it becomes a lifestyle, you’ve allowed the experience to negatively impact your entire life. In the end, you’ve given away power over your own life to someone or something that doesn’t deserve the right at all.

It’s taken a lot of soul-searching, writing, opening old wounds, and tearing down rotting walls for me to discover how important it is to keep my self-talk positive, my actions towards self uplifting, and my self love unconditional. I’ve learned it’s the least anyone deserves. Only by loving myself did I learn to stop trying to please anyone outside myself. If nothing else, it’s a losing battle, both because other people don’t always know what they want, and because doing so means losing a part of myself. Why would I willingly cut off a finger or an arm? So why did I cut off part of my soul for decades?

The answers don’t matter now. What matters is recognizing and eliminating self-destructive behavior going forward. As many philosophers and spiritual practitioners remind us, you can’t change the past. It’s over. All you can change is the moment you’re in. I choose to fill mine with compliments, love, and self-care. How about you?

Finding Reasons to Be Grateful, Even for the Small Things

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for the lessons I’ve learned, the pain I’ve endured, and the healing I’ve effected.
  2. I’m grateful for inspiration from music, friendship, and lessons.
  3. I’m grateful I’ve learned to be gentle with myself, especially when I don’t meet self-imposed expectations. I know deadlines can be pushed without the world exploding.
  4. I’m grateful for the compassion and love I found not only in my immediate world, but all around once I stopped hiding from it out of fear and self-defense practices which had outlived their usefulness.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, inspiration, friendship, joy, dancing, cat love, intentions, motivation, energy, peace, health, harmony, 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

30 Minutes a Day to Retrain Your Brain

Finding 30 Minutes at the Beginning of My Day

Lately I’ve discovered if I hit the ground running first thing in the morning, I get a lot accomplished. This may sound counter-intuitive to you morning people out there, but my normal day has, for the last few years, run from 9 or so in the morning to anywhere from 1 to 3 the next morning. But as my productivity window seems to be changing, I figured I need to change my sleep schedule as well. I’m learning it’s not as easy as it looks.

I started by setting my alarm for 8 after having spent nearly 4 years rising whenever I felt like it, and leaving the alarm in the off position where it almost didn’t want to leave. That worked OK for a while, and I even trained myself to stop hitting the snooze a bazillion times. Finally, I was getting pretty consistent about getting up between 8 and 8:30 so I thought OK, that worked. Let’s try for earlier.

Trial and Error to Effect Change

I’d like to say I’m happily rising between 7:30 and 8:00 consistently, but I seem to have shot myself in the foot. My brain says, oh, don’t worry. Your clock is 20 minutes fast, so it’s barely 7:00. You have plenty of time! Unfortunately, “plenty of time” has meant sleeping until 9 the last two mornings, at which point I fly out of bed scattering cats and pillows hither and yon, trying to make up the lost hour or so I lost when I outsmarted myself.

Sometimes, we need to do more than try to fool ourselves into changing our habits. Before a habit can truly be changed, we have to want to change it, not just consciously, but to the depths of our subconscious too. Clearly I missed the boat on this one.

Working With Our Natural Resistance to Change Instead of Against It

Never one to give up without a fight, especially when it’s with my own change-resistant brain, I’m taking it back to the drawing board. First, I have to recognize all the advantages of getting my day started earlier.

  • There’s more day in which to get things done (psychologically speaking)
  • I get to the gym earlier and often find it less crowded which means I get my workout done quicker. Voila! Even more day!
  • More day means more inclination to take time to make healthier meals.
  • Starting earlier means I’ve gotten more done in time to get ready to add another night of dancing.
  • Many of my potential and current clients are out of state, and would appreciate earlier con-calls.

All in all, I can see no real disadvantage to starting my day at 8 instead of 9. I know I use up the first hour feeding the cats, writing my morning pages, putting my contacts in and fixing my regular blueberries and yogurt breakfast. It still puts the earliest possible call at about 9:30, but for east-coasters, it’s still morning, if barely.

The Power of Intention

Intentions are powerful things. In fact, when we set a good one, it’s awfully hard to ignore. When I’ve truly wanted to get up early, I’ve had no trouble doing so (though it gets tougher when it’s still dark when I want to get up). Like other habits I’ve set and kept, the secret is in the intention setting, more than anything else.

Sure, I break my pattern now and then, like skipping back and shoulder day so I can actually vacuum and mop the entire house instead of just the rooms where the cats make pigs of themselves. I still end up making up the gym day about 95% of the time, if for no other reason than Jewish guilt.

Did I mention how effective Jewish guilt can be, even with ourselves? I can honestly say I’ve guilted myself into a fair number of better choices simply by asking “do you really need to do that?” Sure, it’s only effective part of the time as I long-ago trained myself to be somewhat resistant. (An overbearing Jewish Mama will send you one of two ways. Into a life of angst and guilt, or one of independence and guilt resistance. I chose the latter.)

Still, like anything else, we need to pick our battles, even with ourselves. This one however, is one I’m determined to win. My evidence lies in those days when I do jump out of bed by 8, and am at the computer working by 9. My productivity levels are unreal on those days, and I truly want more of them.

Adjusting Our Expectations to New Circumstances

My plan is to use the morning hours for client work, then after lunch and meditation, jump right into my own writing; not only these blogs, but the much-delayed completion of my Life Torn Asunder re-write. I was going great guns for a while, but lost my momentum. I believe getting myself on a better daily schedule is the solution to that particular weighty problem. And believing is the first step to manifesting. my alarm to gain 30 minutes might seem a small thing, especially to the people I know who are up at 5:30 every morning (the night owl in me shrinks from rising at that hour as if I’d  looked in the mirror and seen a shriveled, ghoulish face instead of my own). Yet for me, it’s a giant leap out of the comfort zone I established after leaving my day job.

Setting our own hours is a luxury for the work-at-homers. But it’s easy to fall into habits of sloth and procrastination. That’s what happened to me, and it’s long past time to reverse the process. I may never be up at 6:30 or 7 on a regular basis again, but I also have no commute. I can still be working at my desk by 9, and even at my slothiest, I can’t call that a bad thing.

Several Small Steps Equal One Giant Leap

I mention baby steps a lot because most of the grand accomplishments in our lives take time. We obtain a degree in our chosen field one class at a time, and one semester (or quarter) at a time. We learn new skills step-by-step. And we change habits little-by-little. It’s far easier to set and reinforce a small change than a large one, and easier to fake out the change resistance in our brains if we don’t make the first few leaps too grand.

Once we’ve made the mind feel comfortable, and maybe even complacent with the changes we’re making, we can take a few of those bigger leaps. Then again, maybe not. If we’re getting where we want to go with the small ones, and we can make 5 or 10 small ones in the same time and with less effort than 1 giant one, is there really any reason to leap when we can step just a little further than comfort allows?

Knowing When to Leap and When to Build a Bridge

Don’t get me wrong. There is a time and a place to suck it up and jump off that cliff. But after you take that giant leap, you need to regroup and take smaller ones for a while until your brain stops whimpering and cowering like a beaten puppy.

What small steps can you take to gain an extra 30 minutes in your day without cutting out something important or sending your brain into a tizzy?

Finding Gratitude Every Step of the Way

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the lessons I’ve learned which help me adapt to change more easily.
  2. I am grateful for slowly adding more productive time to my day.
  3. I am grateful for the freedom to find my productive sweet spot, and capitalize on it.
  4. I am grateful for the support and encouragement I’m getting these days, just by showing up and asking.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; freedom, joy, encouragement, friendship, an expanding social life and network, newfound marketing skills, peace, health, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. 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

Empaths and Intentionally Attracting

Giving Myself Permission to Engage in Intentionally Attracting

One of my biggest challenges as an Empath has been learning to trust my feelings when I think someone is interested in me. I’ve had too many opportunities to lose my confidence in this regard. Too often, I’ve projected my own feelings on the situation and seen something that wasn’t there and taken clumsy action, only to walk away with egg on my face. Ultimately, I took things to the opposite extreme and denied the possibility that anyone would be attracted to me, even in friendship.

Though I’ve overcome the distrust of attraction on a friendship level, I’ve yet to learn to trust someone might find me attractive on a more intimate level. Yet it wasn’t until recently I recognized the armor I’d been wearing to keep from looking the fool.

Whereas I might find myself initially attracted to someone, usually after talking to them a while and finding we had an interest or two in coming (typically dancing or writing), but sometimes because they stood out from the crowd for some reason. My favorites are people who don’t fit the mold and thus, are something of an enigma. I simply can’t resist a good mystery!

Setting the Right Intentions

The trouble is, if I don’t get an immediate response or feeling from them there’s at least a modicum of mutual attraction, I tend to shut down and even block their energy for fear I’ll do or say something stupid and make a fool of myself. My knee-jerk reaction isn’t unfounded. I’ve made a fool of myself often enough when I thought I saw mutual interest where none existed. Unlike some of my friends, I’m not the type to walk up to a man and ask point-blank if there’s any spark. In some ways, I envy the ones who are able to, and can walk away with their head held high if the answer is no.

In recognizing this rather glaring defect in my character, I realized a couple of things. First that I’d love to meet someone who enjoys dancing as much as I do, and that a non-dancer was a show-stopper for me. Experience has proven I’m happier alone than with someone who doesn’t share my passion for dancing. Second, that I’ve unconsciously set an intention to attract a conscious Empath or HSP. I’ve specified “conscious” as someone who has neither recognized nor accepted their abilities will either be unaware of the attraction, or will, as I so often do, deny its existence and move on. I also have my parents’ examples of how destructive it is to be an unconscious Empath (or so I believe).

The realization of my subliminal intention came as a result of my thoughts about setting blocks. I realized doing so would, if there was actual interest, not go unnoticed by an Empath or HSP. Someone sensitive to the energies and emotions of others would immediately notice if someone who was previously open had blocked their emotions and energy.

Keeping Lines of Communication Open

In a perfect world, they might approach me and question the change, but the reality is most would let it go if they didn’t already know me well. I sure wouldn’t walk up to someone I’d never met or barely knew and ask why they were suddenly blocked. So why would I expect it of someone else?

I realized I’ve taken to shutting down too soon and failing to allow the person sending the signals I think I’m reading to come to their own realizations and conclusions. By shutting down before they’ve been afforded the time to do their own processing, I’m killing the seed before it has a chance to settle in and put out a root or two. If they are an unconscious Empath, staying open will likely result in avoidance anyway, as I saw not long ago.

The Voices in the Heads of the Unconsciously Empathic

I think unconscious Empaths recognize someone who sees more than they want to reveal. They’re self-protective mechanisms enable them to put up blocks or, at the very least, implement behavior which diverts attention away from the parts they don’t wish to share. I, myself am put off by someone who drinks excessively. They don’t end up hiding those feelings so much as overwhelming me with everything they’re carrying around. I’ll shy away and leave them alone just to avoid the overwhelm. The process is akin to hiding something in plain sight or a magician’s sleight of hand. Too much information, at least for an Empath is enough to mask what’s really going on, unless of course they’re willing to wade through the muck to get to the real issue.

Unless it’s someone I’m close to or already care about, I’m not likely to push past the wall of noise. Frankly, it’s too painful and disorienting to try. Though in at least one case, I wish I’d tried, even though I know in my heart I wasn’t meant to. None of us are truly meant to interfere with someone else’s life path. We can offer love and compassion, but they still have the choice to accept or reject it. If we see the walls and masks, we can only be there offering a hand. Their choice to turn away, or mask what’s going on is still in their own hands.

It reminds me of a question I recently saw on Facebook about draining yourself trying to heal others. In my mind, we can never heal anyone but ourselves. What we can do is to act as a facilitator for someone to find their own healing. Whether it’s helping them find the hidden wounds or offering an energy boost so they can work through a particularly tough time, we’re never more than an amplifier for what they already have, and quite often, far less.

Consciously Choosing Whether to Attract or Repel

Getting back to the original question, I realized blocking was a pointless and unnecessary effort unless of course my intention was to repel someone (and yes, there have been times!). Blocking everyone and everything was the me of 20 years ago. It was a lonely, sad existence and one I choose not to revisit. Instead, I must honor my more open, honest nature.

That doesn’t mean projecting all my emotions like some of those who use alcohol to mask the pain, while instead spewing every emotion they carry out into the world, thereby bombarding every Empath and HSP in the vicinity. It does mean continuing to allow the absolute joy I feel while on the dance floor to project outward and connect with the energy of those who either dance with me or enjoy the floor show without expectations or thoughts of reward.

I’ve taken the first steps towards attracting the right person; accepting I deserve them, and refusing to shut myself down. The rest is up to the Universe. And I’ve gone from believing I neither want nor need a companion to realizing I want the right companion and knowing I’ll settle for nothing less. For some, that might be a no-brainer. For me, it’s a gigantic leap of faith.

Gratitude, Gratitude, and More Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the revelations and epiphanies I find in my Morning Pages.
  2. I am grateful for the lessons I’ve learned about the masks I used to wear. Just because it’s an old habit, doesn’t mean it’s what’s best for us.
  3. I am grateful for aha moments.
  4. I am grateful for my cats who’ve added dragging me out of bed in the morning to their job descriptions.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; ideas, intelligence, wisdom, epiphanies, connections, relationships, intentions, freedom, peace, love, health, prosperity, and philanthropy.

Love and Light

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She specializes in creating content that helps 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

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