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

Posts tagged ‘leaps of faith’

Why I Write: Version 957 (or something like that)

I Feel so Blessed if I Touch But a Single Heart

I try to be as open and honest as possible here when sharing my own hopes, dreams, successes and tragedies. I know that though my experiences may be unique to me in how all of the pieces come together, the basic framework; the components which join together to create my personal mosaic are shared by many. They may put the pieces together in different patterns, add a few I missed, delete a few which don’t fit the picture they’re portraying. But in the end, we share a common bond.

Especially in tragedy or in the things over which we struggle, it is somehow comforting to know we aren’t alone and that there is someone out there who understands. For some, even those day to day struggles can become overwhelming, and a tiny glimmer of hope might be enough to open up a window in their dark room.

Sometimes when I share, I strike a note and people say Oh, yeah! I can relate. I’ve been there too. Other times, like with my last post, one of the people who inspire and support me turns around and challenges me.

Getting in Touch with Ourselves

Essentially, I was challenged to investigate my own particular perceptions. I was asked whether I knew when I saw someone that I would be attracted to them, whether or not getting to know them better furthered the attraction or not, didn’t I at least know if I had a smidgen of interest?

Let me preface my answer by saying that I’ve learned to fight back those niggling little attraction gremlins for a couple of reasons. First, the last time I allowed myself to let them have their way, I was in a mucked up emotional place. I was unhappy, angry, negative and a bit self-destructive. Needless to say, I wasn’t attracted to anyone who might actually be good for me. Or if I was, my interest wasn’t returned because they only saw the broken, messy part of me I was showing the world at the time. Second, I have a terrible history of making an ass of myself over someone to whom I was attracted. As a result, I’ve taught myself to discount the feelings and run the other way before I once again embarrass myself.

Being the friend and the strong honest woman she is, I wasn’t allowed to prevaricate. With each lame answer I gave, another question, another challenge came. So this post is for Lorna who has, on more than one occasion, forced me to take a good, hard look at who I am, what I’m doing and what I truly want. I am so grateful for her tenacity even when she makes me look at a part of myself that isn’t very pretty. She is truly in my life for a reason because, left to my own devices, I’d probably just allow those hard truths to molder inside me, tainting everything good I’ve managed to accomplish.

Her first comment about my post was:

So this made for interesting reading but was safe and “over there”. My question is do either of the last two men interest you personally?

I’m not going to include the entire conversation here, but you’re welcome to follow it on my Author page on Facebook (referenced below) if you’re interested in all the gory details. Suffice it to say, I sidestepped her question a couple of times, but like a bulldog, she wasn’t about to allow me to get off that easily. I admit, I never completely answered her question, nor her later remark: I bet you know what you like.

Knowing When it’s Time to Face Our Fears

I know a lot of my lack of response has to do with fear: fear of making the same mistakes, fear of rejection, fear of making a fool of myself…and the list goes on. But as was pointed out by another friend recently, we cannot let fear control us or keep us from doing the things we want to do like completing projects or developing deep, enduring friendships.

In order to face those fears, I’m going to answer her question here. Without further ado, here are the things I like and which would lead me to feel attracted to someone. This applies to both men and women as they are things I find attractive in my friends. I also believe that to have a strong, healthy relationship of the romantic kind, friendship is essential, and must be there before anything else can develop.

  • Sense of Humor
  • Wit
  • Positive attitude
  • Comfortable in their own skin
  • Humble
  • Intelligent
  • Supportive
  • Strong-willed but not dictatorial. Someone who has an opinion and won’t let go of it just to please someone else.
  • Young at heart
  • Responsible
  • Dances
  • Compassionate

I could add a lot more to this list, but I think this covers most of it. Anything else would just be overly picky or icing on the cake. I’ve heard different points of view about making lists of the character traits of someone you’d like to attract. That’s not my purpose here. I’m simply answering a question and maybe, just a little, giving myself permission to find someone with a few of these traits attractive, if only on a visceral level. Whether or not I’d act on my own feelings of attraction would depend on whether I manage to overcome those fears and manage to keep the attraction at level where there are no expectations other than a new friend/acquaintance and someone I might dance with now and again.

I’ve learned that sometimes, putting my fears down in black and white somehow takes some of the power out of them. Looking at them as the formless, insubstantial beings they are makes me realize they are no more than a figment of my imagination anyway; even those I’ve experienced at some distant point in my life. I just have to keep reminding myself: that was then, this is now. I’m not the same person I was 10 years ago. I’ve grown, I’ve developed, I’ve made changes and I’ve done a whole lot of soul searching. With other people, I give credit where credit is due. But with myself, I have a bad habit of minimizing my accomplishments. I think the cold, hard truth is that we have to learn to love ourselves but we also have to learn to treat ourselves like our own best friend.

What Fears Are Holding You Back?

We all have them. A part of our life where we aren’t giving ourselves the chance to be everything we could be. A place where we’re allowing misplaced fears to call the shots. Sometimes, it’s cathartic to share them with others, so feel free to do so in the comments. When all is said and done, we’re in this together; we’re all a part of the same whole.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for friends who expect me to be honest with them and myself.
2. I am grateful for the challenges in my life and the fears I’ve already let go.
3. I am grateful for the gift of writing which has, so many times, allowed me to work through a problem, a fear, a trauma…and come out whole and stronger on the other side.
4. I am grateful for perseverance. Each day, I get more and more accomplished and each day, I feel that much better about myself.
5. I am grateful for abundance: friendship, lessons, challenges, productivity, intelligence, imagination, love, joy, harmony, peace, health, philanthropy and prosperity.

Blessed Be

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

February 20, 2015 The good, the bad and the ugly

Delayed reaction to my own unkindness

Tonight as I sat here working on the Holly Lisle writing course I began this week I was reading about how feeling can be a hindrance as much as it is a help to a writer, when my mind started to wander. Where it wandered now makes me cringe as in all of my efforts to be kinder, I failed myself last night. I can justify my behavior until the cows come home, but when the dust clears, I still failed myself and treated someone unkindly. My reasons might have seemed justified at the time, but there are many other ways I could have handled the situation rather than rude behavior and trash mouthing the woman. Some of my reasons certainly had to do with the way I’d been treated, but most had to do with the treatment of others.

What I realized as I tried to focus on the words in front of me was that I am not responsible for the feelings of my friends. I can care about them and be there to listen if they need someone to talk to while they work through their pain, but I can’t fix anything for them, and being rude to someone on their behalf, or in my twisted belief that it’s on their behalf is, to put it simply, stupid. It only makes me the small, nasty person.

More and more, my lessons smack me right between the eyes

I am in a bit of a quandary as to how to calmly explain to this person that I am really not interested in friendship, but my reasons would be filled with my own perceptions, which she is certain to attempt to refute. She is also an expert at playing the victim (another part of my reading tonight) and I have a knee-jerk reaction to victims which, again, is anything but kind.

So I’m doing what I often do when faced with a problem I can’t find the solution to: I’m writing about it. Granted, in the past, my mental gymnastics occurred in the privacy of a Word document stored on my personal computer, but I’ve learned that quite often, something which challenges me has challenged others as well, and though they might not have a solution for me, simply sharing my humanness shows others that maybe it is OK to be human and make mistakes and do unkind things now and then. Maybe it’s OK to not be perfect and to fret over things we can’t really change, or that are truly somebody else’s problem instead of ours. And above all, it is OK to care about our friends and take issue when we believe they’ve been treated badly. Even if it turns out that we’re completely wrong in how we see a situation, it’s simply part of being human and learning as we go.

My Lamaze teacher told us “Baby’s don’t come with a manual. You just have to learn as you go.” I think this applies to life in general. Our parents and our teachers try to give us some tools to help us along the way, but in most cases, it is up to us to exercise the trial and error method until we find what not only works, but what feels right to us.

Not everyone will set themselves a goal to be kinder, and it is not necessary for everyone to do so. Someone who is here to experience life as a murderer or a pedophile isn’t likely to count kindness as a necessary attribute.

I know I may lose a few people here so let me just qualify this by saying that everything I write in my blog is from my own belief system. I am not trying to convince anyone that my way is the right way, much less the only way. It is simply the one which works for me.

Our goals and aspirations change throughout our lives (or I hope they do!). I know that I could have cared less about kindness as I was trying to make my way up the corporate ladder, back when I actually believed that it mattered and that it was what I truly wanted. If you are lucky enough to have an epiphany at some point in your life, though, you can expect your goals and aspirations to change, at least somewhat, because that epiphany is going to change how you look at things forever more. Mine in particular made me take a good hard look at my career and ask myself “Why am I really doing this? Is it fulfilling in any real way? Is it feeding my soul?”

When the only answer I could come up with was ‘Well, it pays the bills and allows me to have more stuff’, I knew it was time for a radical change. Admittedly, I was fortunate enough to have some resources to carry me through for awhile, but there’s nothing like a dwindling bank account to make you think and rethink a radical life change.

But I leapt in with both feet and a heart filled with Faith in a positive outcome, and though I’ve had a million second thoughts, I have not yet looked back and asked “What was I thinking? Why did I do something so stupid and reckless?”

What I have said on many occasions is “I’m so glad I had the guts and the resources to make a dramatic change in my life and follow my passion. Life may not be perfect but I am so much happier with myself and everything in my life right now, that if I were to have the chance to go back, I’d make the same choice again.”

Each lifetime is a work in progress

I look at each day as an opportunity to do better, accomplish more, be a little kinder and add another goal to my list. I don’t expect to get it all right the first time, but it’s not really about the destination anyway. It’s about the people we meet and the mistakes we make and the lessons we learn and the adventures we take which really makes it all worthwhile. The fact is, before I dove off the deep end, my life was dull and bland. I took no risks and followed the same old pattern week after week. Now, every day is an adventure, and a clean slate upon which I can write, both literally and figuratively.

Adventures are amazing. I recommend them highly. Don’t wait until you’re too old and tired to test your own limits!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the mistakes I make. Without them, I would never learn anything.
2. I am grateful for adventures with no guarantees. It is me who makes them succeed or fail, and if I do fail, I do so gloriously and dramatically.
3. I am grateful for chocolate. Sometimes, it just makes things all better.
4. I am grateful for my weird schedule. I am not a morning person so I do all of my fiddling and fussing during the day to leave my nights clear to write and study.
5. I am grateful for abundance: mistakes, lessons, differences, successes, failures, adventures, inspiration, crazy dreams, friends, kindness, love, joy, happiness, health, peace, harmony and prosperity.

Blessed Be

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