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

Posts tagged ‘Lessons’

Overcoming My Reluctance to Pause

https://www.flickr.com/photos/prestonrhea/5236270625/in/photolist-8YHfQ2-4X1dP6-P58XGS-dmtrwi-2pMKC-nC1YD-QxGsf-q4rWqa-8HeDZc-o8pVg-8mXR4g-o7nP7c-8jQqTQ-bPxsQc-dJusGN-78jLU7-98LY1P-dYGYNq-cgtYSu-cgu1F7-7rMJ9R-6z6KQA-6VuMG-6Jfxqk-4bbwMg-dmtxds-9Rf6xQ-v8gDMa-9PqETD-4MsUzv-ptUKap-a2BfLR-4UtU1B-4UtSun-5dBS8k-7eGxtr-7nUbqa-7nUbW8-fBZ3S4-5M1h3P-8DYirc-8E2uBh-6r2V98-7oFgff-7oBon2-7oBpbn-7oBoG6-7oFfRo-vPhUL-jk3BYpWhile working out at the gym (where I seem to do some of my best thinking and get a lot of ideas for blog posts lately) the song “In Between Dances” by Pam Tillis came on Pandora and touched a nerve or three. I jotted it down in my “Notes” app for future reference, then promptly forgot about it (which is why I put it there in the first place). When my electronic memory brought it back to my attention, I knew it would make for an interesting blog post, so here it is. Or more accurately, let’s see where my mind takes it. Her words in the chorus particularly touched a nerve for me:

I’m only in between dances
Sitting it out for a while

I realized being “in between dances” is a lot like hitting the pause button which I’ve done a lot in the last couple of decades. I hit pause while I figured out who I did and didn’t want to be. I took a break from dating (which ended up lasting longer than I’d intended) while I fixed a lot of my broken parts. Most notably, I paused my career and turned my life upside down figuring out where I wanted to go next, after realizing where I was headed was not acceptable any more.

That’s not to say I don’t still go barreling into the next adventure with my flags flying, confident I’ll land on my feet. I’ve learned from experience to stop my mad rush once in awhile, look around, get my bearings, and take a few readings before dashing off, either in the same direction, or more often than not, with a few corrections in my coordinates.

Playing it Safe May Avoid the Slow Downs

I suppose if I took the easy route and never stepped out on the limb upon which I forever seem to be standing, I wouldn’t need to sit out a dance every now and then. I’d also still either be doing a job I’d come to hate, or going from job to job where I’d find the same work, the same toxic environment, and the same unhappy people living for Fridays and holidays. That’s one thing I’ve put on a permanent pause. I discovered rather late in life I deserve better than that.

Sure, I’ve taken some risks, some of which sent me scurrying into my turtle shell a few times along the way. But unlike the endless stream of dead end jobs, when I ventured out again, I made a few course corrections, and dove fearlessly into the next adventure.

As I get older, the pauses might be more frequent. It might take me longer to figure out what I need to change and more importantly, what I need to keep. I sit out more dances than I used to, but often, it’s because I’ve learned to be more open with people and actually enjoy their company now and want to spend time getting to know them; know their stories instead of constantly doing something or going somewhere. Granted, the company I keep is of my own choosing, and not forced on me by whoever signs my paycheck.

What Other People Don’t See

Created with CanvaTo the outside world, it might appear I’m living a life of fits and starts. Nothing could be further from the truth. I may not count my progress in miles or millions of dollars. Instead, I count it in experiences; people I get to know on a deeper level; places I might not have gone had I done what I “should have” instead of what inspired me; lessons I’ve learned because I allowed myself to stumble and fall. It isn’t a direct route to anywhere. I’m on a journey with a destination that continually evolves, and no set schedule. I get to stop along the way or skip over some things entirely, as the mood strikes me, or as I’m inspired.

When I pause, quite often I’m following a new trail or learning about something that tickled my fancy. Heaven knows I’ve gotten lost in the wilds of Google because I found something I wanted to learn more about. I do avoid Pinterest though after losing several hours chasing something I never found. I haven’t gotten the hang of navigating that labyrinth, and I’ve learned I don’t have the patience to add it to my repertoire.

Still, I’m not a drifter. I have dreams and goals. The places I go, the people I talk to, and the research I do is a means to an end. But so are the side roads and detours I take. I believe if I’m given an opportunity to go somewhere unexpected, it’s because it holds an experience I need to have, and lessons I need to learn before I achieve my goals. There’s a nugget of knowledge which I won’t find if I stick to the straight and narrow. I’ve found so many already both by pausing to observe, and by following a path that wasn’t on my road map.

Falling Short, But That’s OK

Looking back at the most recent schedule I set, I see many places where I’ve fallen short. The reasons are varied. In some cases, I honestly didn’t apply myself, but went off on tangents which neither taught me anything new nor accomplished an alternate goal. Getting lost in Hallmark movie hell is one of those tangents. Lately though, I’m looking at where I’m at and stopping just short of beating myself up over what I haven’t yet accomplished.

One lesson I’ve learned while sitting out dances is whatever I did or didn’t do a day or a hundred before today can’t be changed. Spending time berating myself for doing too little is wasting time I can do something about. Why would any rational person make that choice? Yet I did for a very long time. I hope I’ve finally learned to pause mid-castigation to realize there are much better uses for that space of time—like focusing on how the things I have accomplished gave me the tools I need to start moving forward again.

One of those tools is to hit pause when a blog post isn’t flowing naturally without excessive strain on my brain. At those times, nothing I write will look like it’s worth publishing. I’ve regressed into my inner critic and deem every word I write “garbage”. So I walk away.

Knowing When to Move on to Something New

I have enough of a variety in the projects on my Trello boards to move onto something else until the moment passes and the words begin to flow again (read: I get out of my own way). It’s no different than the choice of getting sucked into a no-win argument, or saying, as I try hard to to these days: “I know you and I don’t agree on this, and I neither want nor need to convince you of the validity of my position.” I try to step away before either of us gets wound up and emotional, though sometimes I still stay longer than I should, especially when it’s someone I care deeply about. In the end, emotions might be high for a little while, but we haven’t reached the point where we’re truly angry or worse; feelings get hurt.

After years of drama, both mine and other people’s, I choose to disengage as early as possible. If it means doing something mindless like watching Hallmark movies, or reading a sappy romance novel, so be it. Sitting out the dance doesn’t need to be overtly productive. There are times shutting down and accomplishing nothing visible or measurable accomplishes something much more important. It keeps me from going off on a tangent that will take me so far off course it takes days or weeks to find my way back. I’ve retraced my steps too many times in the last 60 years to want to repeat that exercise in futility, thankyouverymuch.

Finding Endless Gratitude In My Crazy, Unique Life

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful I’ve learned there’s a time and a place to “sit this one out”.
  2. I’m grateful for a life which allows me to shut down when I’m running myself in circles instead of trying to push through to please someone else.
  3. I’m grateful for solitude. Sometimes I need to disconnect from the world so I can find my way back to myself. I no longer see it as selfish.
  4. I’m grateful for a schedule that’s aggressive, but still allows me flexibility. I may not get completely caught up in the foreseeable future, but I can always adjust the schedule to something less overwhelming.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, friendship, opportunities, inspiration, motivation, teachers, lessons, challenges, course corrections, the new and the old and comfortable, a life where shoes are necessary sometimes, health, peace, harmony, balance, 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

Life is Better When I Take Time to Pause

https://www.flickr.com/photos/prestonrhea/5236270625/in/photolist-8YHfQ2-4X1dP6-P58XGS-dmtrwi-2pMKC-nC1YD-QxGsf-q4rWqa-8HeDZc-o8pVg-8mXR4g-o7nP7c-8jQqTQ-bPxsQc-dJusGN-78jLU7-98LY1P-dYGYNq-cgtYSu-cgu1F7-7rMJ9R-6z6KQA-6VuMG-6Jfxqk-4bbwMg-dmtxds-9Rf6xQ-v8gDMa-9PqETD-4MsUzv-ptUKap-a2BfLR-4UtU1B-4UtSun-5dBS8k-7eGxtr-7nUbqa-7nUbW8-fBZ3S4-5M1h3P-8DYirc-8E2uBh-6r2V98-7oFgff-7oBon2-7oBpbn-7oBoG6-7oFfRo-vPhUL-jk3BYpWhile working out at the gym (where I seem to do some of my best thinking and get a lot of ideas for blog posts lately) the song “In Between Dances” by Pam Tillis came on Pandora and touched a nerve or three. I jotted it down in my “Notes” app for future reference, then promptly forgot about it (which is why I put it there in the first place). When my electronic memory brought it back to my attention, I knew it would make for an interesting blog post, so here it is. Or more accurately, let’s see where my mind takes it. Her words in the chorus particularly touched a nerve for me:

I’m only in between dances
Sitting it out for a while

I realized being “in between dances” is a lot like hitting the pause button which I’ve done a lot in the last couple of decades. I hit pause while I figured out who I did and didn’t want to be. I took a break from dating (which ended up lasting longer than I’d intended) while I fixed a lot of my broken parts. Most notably, I paused my career and turned my life upside down figuring out where I wanted to go next, after realizing where I was headed was not acceptable any more.

That’s not to say I don’t still go barreling into the next adventure with my flags flying, confident I’ll land on my feet. I’ve learned from experience to stop my mad rush once in awhile, look around, get my bearings, and take a few readings before dashing off, either in the same direction, or more often than not, with a few corrections in my coordinates.

Playing it Safe May Avoid the Slow Downs

I suppose if I took the easy route and never stepped out on the limb upon which I forever seem to be standing, I wouldn’t need to sit out a dance every now and then. I’d also still either be doing a job I’d come to hate, or going from job to job where I’d find the same work, the same toxic environment, and the same unhappy people living for Fridays and holidays. That’s one thing I’ve put on a permanent pause. I discovered rather late in life I deserve better than that.

Sure, I’ve taken some risks, some of which sent me scurrying into my turtle shell a few times along the way. But unlike the endless stream of dead end jobs, when I ventured out again, I made a few course corrections, and dove fearlessly into the next adventure.

As I get older, the pauses might be more frequent. It might take me longer to figure out what I need to change and more importantly, what I need to keep. I sit out more dances than I used to, but often, it’s because I’ve learned to be more open with people and actually enjoy their company now and want to spend time getting to know them; know their stories instead of constantly doing something or going somewhere. Granted, the company I keep is of my own choosing, and not forced on me by whoever signs my paycheck.

What Other People Don’t See

Created with CanvaTo the outside world, it might appear I’m living a life of fits and starts. Nothing could be further from the truth. I may not count my progress in miles or millions of dollars. Instead, I count it in experiences; people I get to know on a deeper level; places I might not have gone had I done what I “should have” instead of what inspired me; lessons I’ve learned because I allowed myself to stumble and fall. It isn’t a direct route to anywhere. I’m on a journey with a destination that continually evolves, and no set schedule. I get to stop along the way or skip over some things entirely, as the mood strikes me, or as I’m inspired.

When I pause, quite often I’m following a new trail or learning about something that tickled my fancy. Heaven knows I’ve gotten lost in the wilds of Google because I found something I wanted to learn more about. I do avoid Pinterest though after losing several hours chasing something I never found. I haven’t gotten the hang of navigating that labyrinth, and I’ve learned I don’t have the patience to add it to my repertoire.

Still, I’m not a drifter. I have dreams and goals. The places I go, the people I talk to, and the research I do is a means to an end. But so are the side roads and detours I take. I believe if I’m given an opportunity to go somewhere unexpected, it’s because it holds an experience I need to have, and lessons I need to learn before I achieve my goals. There’s a nugget of knowledge which I won’t find if I stick to the straight and narrow. I’ve found so many already both by pausing to observe, and by following a path that wasn’t on my road map.

Falling Short, But That’s OK

Looking back at the most recent schedule I set, I see many places where I’ve fallen short. The reasons are varied. In some cases, I honestly didn’t apply myself, but went off on tangents which neither taught me anything new nor accomplished an alternate goal. Getting lost in Hallmark movie hell is one of those tangents. Lately though, I’m looking at where I’m at and stopping just short of beating myself up over what I haven’t yet accomplished.

One lesson I’ve learned while sitting out dances is whatever I did or didn’t do a day or a hundred before today can’t be changed. Spending time berating myself for doing too little is wasting time I can do something about. Why would any rational person make that choice? Yet I did for a very long time. I hope I’ve finally learned to pause mid-castigation to realize there are much better uses for that space of time—like focusing on how the things I have accomplished gave me the tools I need to start moving forward again.

One of those tools is to hit pause when a blog post isn’t flowing naturally without excessive strain on my brain. At those times, nothing I write will look like it’s worth publishing. I’ve regressed into my inner critic and deem every word I write “garbage”. So I walk away.

Knowing When to Move on to Something New

I have enough of a variety in the projects on my Trello boards to move onto something else until the moment passes and the words begin to flow again (read: I get out of my own way). It’s no different than the choice of getting sucked into a no-win argument, or saying, as I try hard to to these days: “I know you and I don’t agree on this, and I neither want nor need to convince you of the validity of my position.” I try to step away before either of us gets wound up and emotional, though sometimes I still stay longer than I should, especially when it’s someone I care deeply about. In the end, emotions might be high for a little while, but we haven’t reached the point where we’re truly angry or worse; feelings get hurt.

After years of drama, both mine and other people’s, I choose to disengage as early as possible. If it means doing something mindless like watching Hallmark movies, or reading a sappy romance novel, so be it. Sitting out the dance doesn’t need to be overtly productive. There are times shutting down and accomplishing nothing visible or measurable accomplishes something much more important. It keeps me from going off on a tangent that will take me so far off course it takes days or weeks to find my way back. I’ve retraced my steps too many times in the last 60 years to want to repeat that exercise in futility, thankyouverymuch.

Finding Endless Gratitude In My Crazy, Unique Life

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful I’ve learned there’s a time and a place to “sit this one out”.
  2. I’m grateful for a life which allows me to shut down when I’m running myself in circles instead of trying to push through to please someone else.
  3. I’m grateful for solitude. Sometimes I need to disconnect from the world so I can find my way back to myself. I no longer see it as selfish.
  4. I’m grateful for a schedule that’s aggressive, but still allows me flexibility. I may not get completely caught up in the foreseeable future, but I can always adjust the schedule to something less overwhelming.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, friendship, opportunities, inspiration, motivation, teachers, lessons, challenges, course corrections, the new and the old and comfortable, a life where shoes are necessary sometimes, health, peace, harmony, balance, 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

Life is Better When I Take Time to Pause

https://www.flickr.com/photos/prestonrhea/5236270625/in/photolist-8YHfQ2-4X1dP6-P58XGS-dmtrwi-2pMKC-nC1YD-QxGsf-q4rWqa-8HeDZc-o8pVg-8mXR4g-o7nP7c-8jQqTQ-bPxsQc-dJusGN-78jLU7-98LY1P-dYGYNq-cgtYSu-cgu1F7-7rMJ9R-6z6KQA-6VuMG-6Jfxqk-4bbwMg-dmtxds-9Rf6xQ-v8gDMa-9PqETD-4MsUzv-ptUKap-a2BfLR-4UtU1B-4UtSun-5dBS8k-7eGxtr-7nUbqa-7nUbW8-fBZ3S4-5M1h3P-8DYirc-8E2uBh-6r2V98-7oFgff-7oBon2-7oBpbn-7oBoG6-7oFfRo-vPhUL-jk3BYpWhile working out at the gym (where I seem to do some of my best thinking and get a lot of ideas for blog posts lately) the song “In Between Dances” by Pam Tillis came on Pandora and touched a nerve or three. I jotted it down in my “Notes” app for future reference, then promptly forgot about it (which is why I put it there in the first place). When my electronic memory brought it back to my attention, I knew it would make for an interesting blog post, so here it is. Or more accurately, let’s see where my mind takes it. Her words in the chorus particularly touched a nerve for me:

I’m only in between dances
Sitting it out for a while

I realized being “in between dances” is a lot like hitting the pause button which I’ve done a lot in the last couple of decades. I hit pause while I figured out who I did and didn’t want to be. I took a break from dating (which ended up lasting longer than I’d intended) while I fixed a lot of my broken parts. Most notably, I paused my career and turned my life upside down figuring out where I wanted to go next, after realizing where I was headed was not acceptable any more.

That’s not to say I don’t still go barreling into the next adventure with my flags flying, confident I’ll land on my feet. I’ve learned from experience to stop my mad rush once in awhile, look around, get my bearings, and take a few readings before dashing off, either in the same direction, or more often than not, with a few corrections in my coordinates.

Playing it Safe May Avoid the Slow Downs

I suppose if I took the easy route and never stepped out on the limb upon which I forever seem to be standing, I wouldn’t need to sit out a dance every now and then. I’d also still either be doing a job I’d come to hate, or going from job to job where I’d find the same work, the same toxic environment, and the same unhappy people living for Fridays and holidays. That’s one thing I’ve put on a permanent pause. I discovered rather late in life I deserve better than that.

Sure, I’ve taken some risks, some of which sent me scurrying into my turtle shell a few times along the way. But unlike the endless stream of dead end jobs, when I ventured out again, I made a few course corrections, and dove fearlessly into the next adventure.

As I get older, the pauses might be more frequent. It might take me longer to figure out what I need to change and more importantly, what I need to keep. I sit out more dances than I used to, but often, it’s because I’ve learned to be more open with people and actually enjoy their company now and want to spend time getting to know them; know their stories instead of constantly doing something or going somewhere. Granted, the company I keep is of my own choosing, and not forced on me by whoever signs my paycheck.

What Other People Don’t See

Created with CanvaTo the outside world, it might appear I’m living a life of fits and starts. Nothing could be further from the truth. I may not count my progress in miles or millions of dollars. Instead, I count it in experiences; people I get to know on a deeper level; places I might not have gone had I done what I “should have” instead of what inspired me; lessons I’ve learned because I allowed myself to stumble and fall. It isn’t a direct route to anywhere. I’m on a journey with a destination that continually evolves, and no set schedule. I get to stop along the way or skip over some things entirely, as the mood strikes me, or as I’m inspired.

When I pause, quite often I’m following a new trail or learning about something that tickled my fancy. Heaven knows I’ve gotten lost in the wilds of Google because I found something I wanted to learn more about. I do avoid Pinterest though after losing several hours chasing something I never found. I haven’t gotten the hang of navigating that labyrinth, and I’ve learned I don’t have the patience to add it to my repertoire.

Still, I’m not a drifter. I have dreams and goals. The places I go, the people I talk to, and the research I do is a means to an end. But so are the side roads and detours I take. I believe if I’m given an opportunity to go somewhere unexpected, it’s because it holds an experience I need to have, and lessons I need to learn before I achieve my goals. There’s a nugget of knowledge which I won’t find if I stick to the straight and narrow. I’ve found so many already both by pausing to observe, and by following a path that wasn’t on my road map.

Falling Short, But That’s OK

Looking back at the most recent schedule I set, I see many places where I’ve fallen short. The reasons are varied. In some cases, I honestly didn’t apply myself, but went off on tangents which neither taught me anything new nor accomplished an alternate goal. Getting lost in Hallmark movie hell is one of those tangents. Lately though, I’m looking at where I’m at and stopping just short of beating myself up over what I haven’t yet accomplished.

One lesson I’ve learned while sitting out dances is whatever I did or didn’t do a day or a hundred before today can’t be changed. Spending time berating myself for doing too little is wasting time I can do something about. Why would any rational person make that choice? Yet I did for a very long time. I hope I’ve finally learned to pause mid-castigation to realize there are much better uses for that space of time—like focusing on how the things I have accomplished gave me the tools I need to start moving forward again.

One of those tools is to hit pause when a blog post isn’t flowing naturally without excessive strain on my brain. At those times, nothing I write will look like it’s worth publishing. I’ve regressed into my inner critic and deem every word I write “garbage”. So I walk away.

Knowing When to Move on to Something New

I have enough of a variety in the projects on my Trello boards to move onto something else until the moment passes and the words begin to flow again (read: I get out of my own way). It’s no different than the choice of getting sucked into a no-win argument, or saying, as I try hard to to these days: “I know you and I don’t agree on this, and I neither want nor need to convince you of the validity of my position.” I try to step away before either of us gets wound up and emotional, though sometimes I still stay longer than I should, especially when it’s someone I care deeply about. In the end, emotions might be high for a little while, but we haven’t reached the point where we’re truly angry or worse; feelings get hurt.

After years of drama, both mine and other people’s, I choose to disengage as early as possible. If it means doing something mindless like watching Hallmark movies, or reading a sappy romance novel, so be it. Sitting out the dance doesn’t need to be overtly productive. There are times shutting down and accomplishing nothing visible or measurable accomplishes something much more important. It keeps me from going off on a tangent that will take me so far off course it takes days or weeks to find my way back. I’ve retraced my steps too many times in the last 60 years to want to repeat that exercise in futility, thankyouverymuch.

Finding Endless Gratitude In My Crazy, Unique Life

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful I’ve learned there’s a time and a place to “sit this one out”.
  2. I’m grateful for a life which allows me to shut down when I’m running myself in circles instead of trying to push through to please someone else.
  3. I’m grateful for solitude. Sometimes I need to disconnect from the world so I can find my way back to myself. I no longer see it as selfish.
  4. I’m grateful for a schedule that’s aggressive, but still allows me flexibility. I may not get completely caught up in the foreseeable future, but I can always adjust the schedule to something less overwhelming.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, friendship, opportunities, inspiration, motivation, teachers, lessons, challenges, course corrections, the new and the old and comfortable, a life where shoes are necessary sometimes, health, peace, harmony, balance, 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

Life is Better When I Take Time to Pause

https://www.flickr.com/photos/prestonrhea/5236270625/in/photolist-8YHfQ2-4X1dP6-P58XGS-dmtrwi-2pMKC-nC1YD-QxGsf-q4rWqa-8HeDZc-o8pVg-8mXR4g-o7nP7c-8jQqTQ-bPxsQc-dJusGN-78jLU7-98LY1P-dYGYNq-cgtYSu-cgu1F7-7rMJ9R-6z6KQA-6VuMG-6Jfxqk-4bbwMg-dmtxds-9Rf6xQ-v8gDMa-9PqETD-4MsUzv-ptUKap-a2BfLR-4UtU1B-4UtSun-5dBS8k-7eGxtr-7nUbqa-7nUbW8-fBZ3S4-5M1h3P-8DYirc-8E2uBh-6r2V98-7oFgff-7oBon2-7oBpbn-7oBoG6-7oFfRo-vPhUL-jk3BYpWhile working out at the gym (where I seem to do some of my best thinking and get a lot of ideas for blog posts lately) the song “In Between Dances” by Pam Tillis came on Pandora and touched a nerve or three. I jotted it down in my “Notes” app for future reference, then promptly forgot about it (which is why I put it there in the first place). When my electronic memory brought it back to my attention, I knew it would make for an interesting blog post, so here it is. Or more accurately, let’s see where my mind takes it. Her words in the chorus particularly touched a nerve for me:

I’m only in between dances
Sitting it out for a while

I realized being “in between dances” is a lot like hitting the pause button which I’ve done a lot in the last couple of decades. I hit pause while I figured out who I did and didn’t want to be. I took a break from dating (which ended up lasting longer than I’d intended) while I fixed a lot of my broken parts. Most notably, I paused my career and turned my life upside down figuring out where I wanted to go next, after realizing where I was headed was not acceptable any more.

That’s not to say I don’t still go barreling into the next adventure with my flags flying, confident I’ll land on my feet. I’ve learned from experience to stop my mad rush once in awhile, look around, get my bearings, and take a few readings before dashing off, either in the same direction, or more often than not, with a few corrections in my coordinates.

Playing it Safe May Avoid the Slow Downs

I suppose if I took the easy route and never stepped out on the limb upon which I forever seem to be standing, I wouldn’t need to sit out a dance every now and then. I’d also still either be doing a job I’d come to hate, or going from job to job where I’d find the same work, the same toxic environment, and the same unhappy people living for Fridays and holidays. That’s one thing I’ve put on a permanent pause. I discovered rather late in life I deserve better than that.

Sure, I’ve taken some risks, some of which sent me scurrying into my turtle shell a few times along the way. But unlike the endless stream of dead end jobs, when I ventured out again, I made a few course corrections, and dove fearlessly into the next adventure.

As I get older, the pauses might be more frequent. It might take me longer to figure out what I need to change and more importantly, what I need to keep. I sit out more dances than I used to, but often, it’s because I’ve learned to be more open with people and actually enjoy their company now and want to spend time getting to know them; know their stories instead of constantly doing something or going somewhere. Granted, the company I keep is of my own choosing, and not forced on me by whoever signs my paycheck.

What Other People Don’t See

Created with CanvaTo the outside world, it might appear I’m living a life of fits and starts. Nothing could be further from the truth. I may not count my progress in miles or millions of dollars. Instead, I count it in experiences; people I get to know on a deeper level; places I might not have gone had I done what I “should have” instead of what inspired me; lessons I’ve learned because I allowed myself to stumble and fall. It isn’t a direct route to anywhere. I’m on a journey with a destination that continually evolves, and no set schedule. I get to stop along the way or skip over some things entirely, as the mood strikes me, or as I’m inspired.

When I pause, quite often I’m following a new trail or learning about something that tickled my fancy. Heaven knows I’ve gotten lost in the wilds of Google because I found something I wanted to learn more about. I do avoid Pinterest though after losing several hours chasing something I never found. I haven’t gotten the hang of navigating that labyrinth, and I’ve learned I don’t have the patience to add it to my repertoire.

Still, I’m not a drifter. I have dreams and goals. The places I go, the people I talk to, and the research I do is a means to an end. But so are the side roads and detours I take. I believe if I’m given an opportunity to go somewhere unexpected, it’s because it holds an experience I need to have, and lessons I need to learn before I achieve my goals. There’s a nugget of knowledge which I won’t find if I stick to the straight and narrow. I’ve found so many already both by pausing to observe, and by following a path that wasn’t on my road map.

Falling Short, But That’s OK

Looking back at the most recent schedule I set, I see many places where I’ve fallen short. The reasons are varied. In some cases, I honestly didn’t apply myself, but went off on tangents which neither taught me anything new nor accomplished an alternate goal. Getting lost in Hallmark movie hell is one of those tangents. Lately though, I’m looking at where I’m at and stopping just short of beating myself up over what I haven’t yet accomplished.

One lesson I’ve learned while sitting out dances is whatever I did or didn’t do a day or a hundred before today can’t be changed. Spending time berating myself for doing too little is wasting time I can do something about. Why would any rational person make that choice? Yet I did for a very long time. I hope I’ve finally learned to pause mid-castigation to realize there are much better uses for that space of time—like focusing on how the things I have accomplished gave me the tools I need to start moving forward again.

One of those tools is to hit pause when a blog post isn’t flowing naturally without excessive strain on my brain. At those times, nothing I write will look like it’s worth publishing. I’ve regressed into my inner critic and deem every word I write “garbage”. So I walk away.

Knowing When to Move on to Something New

I have enough of a variety in the projects on my Trello boards to move onto something else until the moment passes and the words begin to flow again (read: I get out of my own way). It’s no different than the choice of getting sucked into a no-win argument, or saying, as I try hard to to these days: “I know you and I don’t agree on this, and I neither want nor need to convince you of the validity of my position.” I try to step away before either of us gets wound up and emotional, though sometimes I still stay longer than I should, especially when it’s someone I care deeply about. In the end, emotions might be high for a little while, but we haven’t reached the point where we’re truly angry or worse; feelings get hurt.

After years of drama, both mine and other people’s, I choose to disengage as early as possible. If it means doing something mindless like watching Hallmark movies, or reading a sappy romance novel, so be it. Sitting out the dance doesn’t need to be overtly productive. There are times shutting down and accomplishing nothing visible or measurable accomplishes something much more important. It keeps me from going off on a tangent that will take me so far off course it takes days or weeks to find my way back. I’ve retraced my steps too many times in the last 60 years to want to repeat that exercise in futility, thankyouverymuch.

Finding Endless Gratitude In My Crazy, Unique Life

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful I’ve learned there’s a time and a place to “sit this one out”.
  2. I’m grateful for a life which allows me to shut down when I’m running myself in circles instead of trying to push through to please someone else.
  3. I’m grateful for solitude. Sometimes I need to disconnect from the world so I can find my way back to myself. I no longer see it as selfish.
  4. I’m grateful for a schedule that’s aggressive, but still allows me flexibility. I may not get completely caught up in the foreseeable future, but I can always adjust the schedule to something less overwhelming.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, friendship, opportunities, inspiration, motivation, teachers, lessons, challenges, course corrections, the new and the old and comfortable, a life where shoes are necessary sometimes, health, peace, harmony, balance, 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

Life is Better When I Take Time to Pause

https://www.flickr.com/photos/prestonrhea/5236270625/in/photolist-8YHfQ2-4X1dP6-P58XGS-dmtrwi-2pMKC-nC1YD-QxGsf-q4rWqa-8HeDZc-o8pVg-8mXR4g-o7nP7c-8jQqTQ-bPxsQc-dJusGN-78jLU7-98LY1P-dYGYNq-cgtYSu-cgu1F7-7rMJ9R-6z6KQA-6VuMG-6Jfxqk-4bbwMg-dmtxds-9Rf6xQ-v8gDMa-9PqETD-4MsUzv-ptUKap-a2BfLR-4UtU1B-4UtSun-5dBS8k-7eGxtr-7nUbqa-7nUbW8-fBZ3S4-5M1h3P-8DYirc-8E2uBh-6r2V98-7oFgff-7oBon2-7oBpbn-7oBoG6-7oFfRo-vPhUL-jk3BYpWhile working out at the gym (where I seem to do some of my best thinking and get a lot of ideas for blog posts lately) the song “In Between Dances” by Pam Tillis came on Pandora and touched a nerve or three. I jotted it down in my “Notes” app for future reference, then promptly forgot about it (which is why I put it there in the first place). When my electronic memory brought it back to my attention, I knew it would make for an interesting blog post, so here it is. Or more accurately, let’s see where my mind takes it. Her words in the chorus particularly touched a nerve for me:

I’m only in between dances
Sitting it out for a while

I realized being “in between dances” is a lot like hitting the pause button which I’ve done a lot in the last couple of decades. I hit pause while I figured out who I did and didn’t want to be. I took a break from dating (which ended up lasting longer than I’d intended) while I fixed a lot of my broken parts. Most notably, I paused my career and turned my life upside down figuring out where I wanted to go next, after realizing where I was headed was not acceptable any more.

That’s not to say I don’t still go barreling into the next adventure with my flags flying, confident I’ll land on my feet. I’ve learned from experience to stop my mad rush once in awhile, look around, get my bearings, and take a few readings before dashing off, either in the same direction, or more often than not, with a few corrections in my coordinates.

Playing it Safe May Avoid the Slow Downs

I suppose if I took the easy route and never stepped out on the limb upon which I forever seem to be standing, I wouldn’t need to sit out a dance every now and then. I’d also still either be doing a job I’d come to hate, or going from job to job where I’d find the same work, the same toxic environment, and the same unhappy people living for Fridays and holidays. That’s one thing I’ve put on a permanent pause. I discovered rather late in life I deserve better than that.

Sure, I’ve taken some risks, some of which sent me scurrying into my turtle shell a few times along the way. But unlike the endless stream of dead end jobs, when I ventured out again, I made a few course corrections, and dove fearlessly into the next adventure.

As I get older, the pauses might be more frequent. It might take me longer to figure out what I need to change and more importantly, what I need to keep. I sit out more dances than I used to, but often, it’s because I’ve learned to be more open with people and actually enjoy their company now and want to spend time getting to know them; know their stories instead of constantly doing something or going somewhere. Granted, the company I keep is of my own choosing, and not forced on me by whoever signs my paycheck.

What Other People Don’t See

Created with CanvaTo the outside world, it might appear I’m living a life of fits and starts. Nothing could be further from the truth. I may not count my progress in miles or millions of dollars. Instead, I count it in experiences; people I get to know on a deeper level; places I might not have gone had I done what I “should have” instead of what inspired me; lessons I’ve learned because I allowed myself to stumble and fall. It isn’t a direct route to anywhere. I’m on a journey with a destination that continually evolves, and no set schedule. I get to stop along the way or skip over some things entirely, as the mood strikes me, or as I’m inspired.

When I pause, quite often I’m following a new trail or learning about something that tickled my fancy. Heaven knows I’ve gotten lost in the wilds of Google because I found something I wanted to learn more about. I do avoid Pinterest though after losing several hours chasing something I never found. I haven’t gotten the hang of navigating that labyrinth, and I’ve learned I don’t have the patience to add it to my repertoire.

Still, I’m not a drifter. I have dreams and goals. The places I go, the people I talk to, and the research I do is a means to an end. But so are the side roads and detours I take. I believe if I’m given an opportunity to go somewhere unexpected, it’s because it holds an experience I need to have, and lessons I need to learn before I achieve my goals. There’s a nugget of knowledge which I won’t find if I stick to the straight and narrow. I’ve found so many already both by pausing to observe, and by following a path that wasn’t on my road map.

Falling Short, But That’s OK

Looking back at the most recent schedule I set, I see many places where I’ve fallen short. The reasons are varied. In some cases, I honestly didn’t apply myself, but went off on tangents which neither taught me anything new nor accomplished an alternate goal. Getting lost in Hallmark movie hell is one of those tangents. Lately though, I’m looking at where I’m at and stopping just short of beating myself up over what I haven’t yet accomplished.

One lesson I’ve learned while sitting out dances is whatever I did or didn’t do a day or a hundred before today can’t be changed. Spending time berating myself for doing too little is wasting time I can do something about. Why would any rational person make that choice? Yet I did for a very long time. I hope I’ve finally learned to pause mid-castigation to realize there are much better uses for that space of time—like focusing on how the things I have accomplished gave me the tools I need to start moving forward again.

One of those tools is to hit pause when a blog post isn’t flowing naturally without excessive strain on my brain. At those times, nothing I write will look like it’s worth publishing. I’ve regressed into my inner critic and deem every word I write “garbage”. So I walk away.

Knowing When to Move on to Something New

I have enough of a variety in the projects on my Trello boards to move onto something else until the moment passes and the words begin to flow again (read: I get out of my own way). It’s no different than the choice of getting sucked into a no-win argument, or saying, as I try hard to to these days: “I know you and I don’t agree on this, and I neither want nor need to convince you of the validity of my position.” I try to step away before either of us gets wound up and emotional, though sometimes I still stay longer than I should, especially when it’s someone I care deeply about. In the end, emotions might be high for a little while, but we haven’t reached the point where we’re truly angry or worse; feelings get hurt.

After years of drama, both mine and other people’s, I choose to disengage as early as possible. If it means doing something mindless like watching Hallmark movies, or reading a sappy romance novel, so be it. Sitting out the dance doesn’t need to be overtly productive. There are times shutting down and accomplishing nothing visible or measurable accomplishes something much more important. It keeps me from going off on a tangent that will take me so far off course it takes days or weeks to find my way back. I’ve retraced my steps too many times in the last 60 years to want to repeat that exercise in futility, thankyouverymuch.

Finding Endless Gratitude In My Crazy, Unique Life

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful I’ve learned there’s a time and a place to “sit this one out”.
  2. I’m grateful for a life which allows me to shut down when I’m running myself in circles instead of trying to push through to please someone else.
  3. I’m grateful for solitude. Sometimes I need to disconnect from the world so I can find my way back to myself. I no longer see it as selfish.
  4. I’m grateful for a schedule that’s aggressive, but still allows me flexibility. I may not get completely caught up in the foreseeable future, but I can always adjust the schedule to something less overwhelming.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, friendship, opportunities, inspiration, motivation, teachers, lessons, challenges, course corrections, the new and the old and comfortable, a life where shoes are necessary sometimes, health, peace, harmony, balance, 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

Demons for My Overall Good

Recognizing Demons Are For My Own Good

https://www.flickr.com/photos/jslee/420574961/in/photolist-Dayhr-DaxXz-PH2XRJ-DaxBQ-6wyJCM-Q7Qs-Q7Q7-DaxQs-DaxK6-M5tZS-2etGoi-DaxLj-DayoW-cdfuY-DaxYZ-GRrsjX-Day3S-DZPnx-M5tYf-DaxuR-DaxHd-DaxAv-oPay9M-4VPXSt-56635o-DaxYn-DaxCk-Day1i-71dpo5-Day2u-Y62h-57R1nL-Day9y-6MtkU6-pHSVQ1-DaxqA-Days4-72V4qY-4P9zGm-Dayoh-7M8fgp-ptyCqq-Day4P-DaxRF-oP7HE7-DaxSB-DaxUT-Dayj8-5HDdsX-pttx4xI have my share of demons. They’ve grown out of the lessons I’ve learned and the mistakes I made learning them, my insecurities, and the times I’ve been hurt or slapped down. My mind has magnified some of them so they take on a life of their own when I’m at my weakest. Others are presented to me in technicolor glory when I think I least need to see them. But clearly I’m wrong as I always survive the visit; a little stronger and wiser for the experience.

Sometimes my demons are situational. I’m dumped ass first into a story I have to find my way out of using what I’ve learned previously. It’s a way of testing whether I learned the lesson well enough or I need another spin around the merry-go-round. Typically they come without any long-lasting emotional trauma.

Then there are the demons in human form. They sneak up on me, catching me when my guard is down. They earn my trust under false pretenses and embark on their own sinister game to see how much damage they can do before I figure out the game and pull out of something I can never hope to win. The odds are intentionally stacked against me, not out of malice as much as a test of my awareness and resilience.

A Warning Would be Nice

It would be nice if the demons in human form came with some kind of warning; glowing red https://www.flickr.com/photos/andrewmalone/2356413140/in/photolist-4AeewL-6ES3HA-VTd8P4-nXu85b-fzrS-ens7vC-5BeQL3-8ifuyk-pgu9hJ-9EjD99-WHSruQ-r9V4K1-bBptXU-oqGeq-58LxP-2gzW3S-fZx1ks-6ygo9B-5fQRwQ-cjdHDU-HaMQT-WxzyMz-eq7mdU-95UpbT-bYJXfd-4DMyEY-Tw5biF-8Dz2hm-Y1X5Mj-aEbAo-8cNsDh-Jh2VKF-22caxb5-N1Mzup-239JLXf-4nFd7o-6PrJ3Z-6WVShD-btbGoZ-ACUz-poZLWt-PvoDB-4oMwEC-jkU8qf-Qyf4bn-5QyTmd-6sThN9-n9hV6-gfvMZg-aYTgq4eyes, or maybe a cauldron of putrid slime. Instead, they look like normal people; someone you could trust to treat you right and never pull the rug out from under your feet just when you’ve begun to take for granted you’re on stable ground.

So what have I learned this time? Beware of people who accuse others of narcissism. Some have learned to use it as a smokescreen. As their stories about other people lean more and more toward them being the victim, or someone else mistreating them, look at the whole picture. Who is getting attention? Is it the person they’ve accused, or themselves? Are they hiding in a corner, or a flame surrounded by moths? What happens when one of their moths finds a new flame to follow, or simply wanders off on its own?

For most of us, losing touch with someone is something we take in stride. Life pushes us in different directions; towards some, away from others. It isn’t personal. It’s simply the ebb and flow of life’s tide. Beware those who take it as a personal affront, effecting punishment with either abuse or neglect; or worse, weaving stories in which you’re the latest villain.

Not Everyone’s Cup of Tea

It took me awhile, but I’ve finally learned there will always be people who decide to dislike me; some at first glance, and others after we hit some kind of snag in the fabric of our friendship. I know I’m an acquired taste, and no longer take it personally. Most people, including me sometimes make negative comments about others. I’m not proud of it, nor do I deny my own culpability. It’s neither right nor kind, and is one of those qualities I’m still working on.

Unfortunately, like most people, I’m also influenced to some degree by what the people I like and trust tell me. Like it or not, other people’s actions are colored by the stories I’m told, and not always fairly. Thus, I accept that some people are going to reject me based on what they, themselves have heard. I have to believe in some regard those demons I mentioned are doing me a favor. By making me their villain, they’re ensuring I don’t stumble into the path of more of their ilk. I only have to fight off a single zombie instead of an entire flock of flying monkeys.

This time around I’ve taken several stumbling steps backwards and set some new boundaries along the way. I’m putting more trust in my ability to shield out toxicity, and discovering a resiliency I wasn’t aware I’d developed. I’m finding much of that resiliency from the support of the people I’ve allowed into my world, and who’ve allowed me into theirs. I’ve learned following a runaway train might be exciting at first, but will invariably lead to a choice between jumping off and risking a few cuts and bruises, or flying into the abyss with the rest of the revelers when the whole thing goes down in flames.

Won’t Get Fooled Again…Or Will I?

As I try to avoid beating myself up over misinterpreting the message I saw clearly in the eyes, 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-jSKjmJ“Smiling Faces” by The Temptations runs on an endless loop in my head. Though the pain I saw in those eyes was real (after all, people do hurtful things to others because of their own pain), I allowed myself to overlook the blame attached to the pain which in hindsight was blatantly obvious in every instance. I allowed myself to be blinded to the repeating pattern, and their innocence in every single story because I wanted to believe in goodness and kindness.

Yet as I look back while dusting myself off and getting ready to jump back into whatever life brings me next time, I find the resentment and hurt fading quickly. I’m grateful for the innocence and naivete I’ve retained despite being stomped on over and over for trusting too quickly and believing there’s good in everyone…even demons. Perhaps there’ll be a time when I’ll get to help one find that goodness and release some of the pain they’ve been carrying around, ignorant to their option to put it down. Something in me insists I keep trying and giving the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise.

I’m also grateful for the opportunity to see how quickly I rebounded. Each experience makes me stronger and more resilient. Yet it isn’t making me cynical. In a recent post on Facebook, I wrote:

I will help all I can, but I’ve learned you can’t help someone who does not want to be helped. You can only walk away and save yourself from absorbing their pain.

Still, I leave a piece of myself behind with each person I have to walk away from. I’ll always wish I could have done more, though I understand for them it was neither the right time, nor place. They came into my life for a reason, and we parted ways when that reason had been fulfilled—for both of us.

Something to be Grateful For, No Matter What Cards Life Deals

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful I haven’t allowed life’s lessons to take away my trust, my naivete, or my innocence.
  2. I’m grateful for the lessons I’ve survived and the strength I’ve found with each new challenge.
  3. I’m grateful for the supportive friends I’ve attracted. There was a time I didn’t feel I deserved them, and even now, I’m marvel at all the wonderful people in my life.
  4. I’m grateful for resilience and boundaries. Both have carried me through more than I realize.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, friendship, joy, strength, support, community, opportunities, manifestations, motivation, inspiration, health, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, 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

Changing Seasons and Letting Go

Some Seasons End Quietly, Others Harshly

Created with CanvaPeriodically the Universe sends me a reminder that people come into my life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Sometimes the reminder is gentle as the touch of a feather, while others, it’s a sledgehammer blow to my head.

My latest reminder was the sledgehammer. A series of events had caused me to join a social circle which was not only more active physically, but leaned towards a lot more nights out. It was all well and fine for awhile. I enjoyed going new places and trying different things. But the time came when I needed more quiet time in the comfort of my own home; that the commotion of so many people 4 and 5 nights a week along with my other activities was starting to take it’s toll. 

Instead of recognizing my own needs, I clung to what clearly didn’t fit any more like a lifeline—until that lifeline was severed for me. Needless to say, I fell rather painfully, if virtually on a delicate part of my anatomy. Fortunately, I had a few days and nights of peace and quiet to take a good, hard look at what happened, and to realize I was in a much better place.

Feeling the Feels

One thing I’ve learned from the life lessons I’ve lived is I still have to feel the feelings, and https://www.flickr.com/photos/rkramer62/14408695072/in/photolist-nXfk47-boRM3Y-gLQV6A-7doLzt-pxtazy-fTJNc-pzVZrR-okksBn-bqtiEe-dr1gyZ-b9vxxe-8GNAoC-gLzbZG-damKHJ-7s27dt-CcHHY-o8LekG-rA9NxG-qL4cja-5mxBJk-93xbFt-onA753-76sTY4-bK457V-7zzgeM-7zuCwU-8LUCuH-D9zJJ-doFURv-66BKVv-9GvN8B-q9uw7p-7Gh2sC-5iJYhN-9TKuQx-zMz4S-8VcyBZ-q4VX62-bBfuLa-8M3d4F-q4Uume-5RfibE-mcddtc-cJv1Co-amyxyn-7Ph1TH-d3tMtd-8oPghC-5Jc9SB-n9x4Rnexperience the pain before I can put it aside and move on. It was only when I was reading the Power Path School’s Full Moon Update that it began to make sense. The first paragraph put it all into perspective, and told me what my next move had to be:

This full moon is an active one with the potential to support a final letting go of some sticky attachment that has been plaguing you. This takes courage and aggression in the right direction. Use the aggressive quality of this full moon to take that courageous action and to release some pattern, habit, person, job, routine, attitude, belief, identity, history, object, resentment, resistance, anger, shame, or disappointment. If it is ready to be released, the emotional pain will not last long in the wake of a tremendous freedom of thought, creativity and inspiration as you look forward. You may need to take some personal alone time to process a big release as the people around you may be just as attached to your attachments as you are. It is best not to take things personally as the reactions of others are probably projections of their own resistance.

I’d been resisting releasing people and patterns that no longer served me. These words gave me the strength to finally hit “delete”. The relief I felt once the deed was done made me see letting go was exactly what I needed to do.

Remembering it isn’t Personal

It also made me see everything that led up to my decision hadn’t been personal, though heaven knows there were times it felt like it! The people I ultimately released didn’t set out to mistreat me. They were merely operating from their own needs and perspective. That doesn’t mean I’ll be going out of my way to interact with them in the future, but I can be civil knowing we’ll always have our own perspectives about what changed and why we parted ways.

Ultimately, it simply boils down to the fact the reason or season we’d come into each others’ lives had come to an end. Nobody did anything wrong. No apologies or explanations are needed. It was time for each of us to move on in a different direction. I might, at times miss some of the fun times they showed me, but I won’t miss the drama or the frenzy. I function better when I can get off the roller coaster whenever I need to, and not make any ripples by doing so.

I don’t need to dance every dance, or be the center of attention. In fact, there are times I want to sit on the sidelines unnoticed, taking in the people; the sounds, the sights; without being disturbed. I like being able to fade into the wallpaper and absorb the energy from a distance for a little while. Not that I spend all my time observing. I participate regularly too, but on my own terms. I’d lost sight of that for awhile, and was running on someone else’s needs instead of my own. The sledgehammer, though painful, was necessary to bring me back to awareness of myself and my own rhythm.

Taking Time Out to Replenish

I realized as I started getting back into my own patterns and energies I’d worn myself out tryinghttps://www.flickr.com/photos/prestonrhea/5236270625/in/photolist-8YHfQ2-4X1dP6-P58XGS-dmtrwi-2pMKC-nC1YD-QxGsf-q4rWqa-8HeDZc-o8pVg-8mXR4g-o7nP7c-8jQqTQ-bPxsQc-dJusGN-78jLU7-98LY1P-dYGYNq-cgtYSu-cgu1F7-7rMJ9R-6z6KQA-6VuMG-6Jfxqk-4bbwMg-dmtxds-9Rf6xQ-v8gDMa-9PqETD-4MsUzv-ptUKap-a2BfLR-4UtU1B-4UtSun-5dBS8k-7eGxtr-7nUbqa-7nUbW8-fBZ3S4-5M1h3P-8DYirc-8E2uBh-6r2V98-7oFgff-7oBon2-7oBpbn-7oBoG6-7oFfRo-vPhUL-jk3BYp to keep up with a rhythm that ran contrary to mine. I’m going to bed earlier right now, and sleeping more deeply as my body and mind replenish themselves. This is my rest period after a long, eventful holiday.

Each experience I have with leaving my own pace and following someone else’s teaches me something new. Sometimes, I slow myself down to match someone else’s gait, and others, I push myself into overdrive like I did this time. Either way, it ultimately exhausts me and I have to take a week or two of slower than normal to build everything back up again.

Unresolved health issues haven’t helped. My frustration at another in a long list of non-answers saps my energy too. It’s hard to feign joy and excitement when I’m frustrated and worried. In truth, I was starting to get irritated at little things. Eventually, I’d have walked away on my own as the little things became all encompassing annoyances. Making a clean break now will hopefully minimize any hurt feelings or resentment later.

Learning From Every Experience

Overall, I appreciate the experience, both of high activity and frenzy, and of letting go and moving on. Both have taught me a few more things about being a more social creature. I continue to learn as I step further out of my introverted shell, and for the most part, I’m enjoying the lessons and the results. I’m learning I don’t have to plod along at the same pace all the time. A little shaking up is good for me, and gets me out of old, comfortable ruts. That alone is worth the pain and frustration which can be part and parcel of the lessons and new experiences.

Above all, I know my comfort zone outlived its usefulness long ago. It’s time to try new things. Not all will be a fit, but I won’t really know until I try.

Letting Gratitude Heal the Wounds

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for experiences that take me outside my comfort zone.
  2. I’m grateful for reminders when it’s time to leave people, places, or things. I don’t always let go gracefully, but ultimately, I do let go.
  3. I’m grateful for opportunities to stretch myself beyond where I’d willing go without encouragement.
  4. I’m grateful for down time to refresh and rejuvenate before embarking on my next adventure.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, joy, friendship, opportunities, new, inspiration, motivation, health, harmony, peace, balance, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, 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

Progress is Progress, No Matter How Small

Switching Things Up is Progress

September 11th came and went this year as it always does, along with the memories, the feelings, both repressed and expressed, and the knee jerk reactions. But then again, it wasn’t really the same at all.

In years past, when September 11th came along, I disconnected from social media and crawled deep into my self-imposed cave for 24 hours or more. Apparently, this is the year things were meant to change.

In the first place, it fell on a Wednesday which is a day I usually spend going to the gym and running errands. Sure, I could have moved things around, and probably would have in the past. This year, I didn’t feel it was important enough, so I got out of the house, perhaps a little later than planned, and soldiered on.

Losing Myself in a Crowd

I knew I wasn’t up for the more intimate group of dancers who meet at a friend’s house once a week but instead of slothing it in front of the TV, I got up, got dressed, and went to a larger venue where I figured I’d just blend into the scenery. Wearing uncharacteristic all black, I joined my friends on the dance floor, hiding in the middle, only to be called out by the DJ who’s known me for too long, but didn’t read my “I’m hiding” message in my black shirt and shorts.

The one thing I didn’t do was pretend I was fine. I also stopped saying it was the anniversary of my dad’s “death” in the generic sense. Instead, I said “it’s the 16th anniversary of my dad’s suicide”.

What I didn’t expect was so many have become used to me talking openly about suicide, that it didn’t shock so much as let people know I was feeling vulnerable. No one pushed or tried to be overly solicitous, but it was clear they were all there for me if I needed them. What an amazing and unexpected revelation!

Acknowledging and Releasing Old Pain

Slowly but surely, I’m revisiting and releasing old hurts, letting go of old baggage, and learning a lesson I missed growing up: how to be a friend, and attract my true tribe. Despite events of the last few months which are causing my ever-expanding tribe to gather in smaller pieces at a variety of venues, the emotional and energetic bonds we share are growing stronger. It’s clear to me now, time and circumstances don’t weaken bonds if they’re formed on the right foundation.

It’s become especially apparent as I revisit the rift with my blood family. It may be that “blood is thicker than water” but some blood is diluted by unseen factors. My family showed me unequivocably that they aren’t able to be there for me in times of trauma or strife. It isn’t a reflection on them as human beings. It’s simply the way it is. I’ve learned to not only expect but respect the dynamic—or lack thereof.

I was born into a family, but I see now, I was only there temporarily. It was a brief stopping point while I gathered a few of the tools and a lot of the traumas which would help me become the person I was meant to be. It’s been a long, slow process (I had to get past the desperation to be loved and accepted first), but I can see now it was a necessary step in my soul’s evolution.

Lessons Come in All Shapes and Sizes

Sometimes, I learn what to do and how I deserve to be treated from my various experiences. Other times, I learn what not to do and how I do not deserve to be treated. I’ve had many bosses who’ve shown me the wrong way to run a department or treat employees, just as I’ve had a few who showed me the right way.

Interestingly, it’s from a marketing group I’m in that I’m learning everything in life is about relationships. Even as a writer, I can’t operate in a vacuum. Not only do I get a lot of my topics from interacting with other people, I couldn’t grow my business without clients, and clients are always going to be other people.

Each step I take in dealing with my emotional traumas surrounding my parents’ suicides takes me further into the real issues surrounding my inability to form strong, lasting, functional relationships.

Relationship Building for Love or Money

I’m beginning to see my earliest lessons in relationship building came from my parents and blood family. I learned to hide my true self in what was ultimately a fruitless effort to fit in; to belong. It wasn’t until I endured the ultimate rebuff, and recognized it as such that I realized I was going about belonging in the wrong way. I’ve recently discovered positive indifference is an important factor, not only in whether or not I get a contract, but in establishing relationships too.

That doesn’t mean I go into social situations, guns a-blazing, acting like a jerk. Instead, it means spending time watching the interactions, observing the social protocol, and assessing how it makes me feel.

If it’s an environment where I feel comfortable engaging as my true self, I’ll probably stick around. If I feel like I have to stuff myself into an uncomfortable configuration, I’ll likely say a polite goodbye and move on. I don’t need to belong somewhere enough to pretend to be someone I’m not. 

The Epiphany of Authenticity

Learning there were people and places which would accept me as I am, and not Created with Canvaexpect me to be something I’m not shocked the hell out of me. It turned a lifetime of failed relationships upside down. It never occurred to me I was going about it wrong, trying to make people like me by being what I thought they expected. Instead of gaining the acceptance I craved, I came off needy, desperate, phony, and unapproachable.

People typically want to interact with others who are at least somewhat open and honest. Desperation is typically a turnoff, except perhaps to those who thrive on using other people. Thus, opening up, not only about my parents’ suicides, but about my own broken parts has catapulted me into both social and business environments which, at last accept me for who I am, and actually appreciate that crazy, messy person for her honesty.

Still Sharing Selectively But for the Right Reasons

https://www.flickr.com/photos/erix/66519749/in/photolist-6SW1e-VTKUdm-M1eYnL-242z7nc-oqkg1j-proThx-fsTWuh-6k2FkX-o4wR24-y6Zwr-KfMCGq-SFv9cS-8hfbmZ-bfs4it-SkpXJ5-fTkgBF-SRG43L-oaSpyU-6LELFf-8sY2Wq-65Q84A-4uhkK6-4CwKmQ-21jdqXp-ry5GpM-RHagrR-s7emTJ-b8moxH-pgqTW-GmKEPY-7h7g9p-6tuV9R-r3UHnJ-9kePpX-b1DnC2-9Gv9Kj-RFjn7k-6tuPQR-2b4oHPW-nxaMN8-Kez8E-6tuN7i-dUaLfP-6nXEKq-TiiQCx-nXxmkn-hCDNRa-CFeyn-2YRhRS-9BUEVIt doesn’t mean I “bleed” all over everyone. I’m still selective about what and with whom I share, aside from my writing. I’ve recently discovered I can share more here because it’s still safe. I’m not subject to acceptance or rejection. I don’t feel someone’s distaste or disgust. If they don’t like what I’ve written, they typically won’t read any more, and that’s perfectly fine with me. I’m probably not writing for them anyway.

Those who come back; who read my posts regularly, and often tell me so are the ones I write for. They want to see the parts of me I’m still working on fixing; the imperfect parts I’ve come to accept and even appreciate; the successes when I overcome past traumas and conditioning. Why? Because they’ve been through their own share of crap. They deserve applause for their successes too. Most of all, they deserve to keep the messy, gooey parts they want to keep. And so do you!

Happy to Be Grateful

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for friends who “get” me, and who love me because of my imperfections.
  2. I’m grateful for the small bits of progress. Put them all together, and I’ve come a lot farther than I realized.
  3. I’m grateful for my current work environment. I work without the need to please anyone but myself and my chosen clients, without distraction other than my own monkey mind, and with the co-workers who suit me best; my furry family.
  4. I’m grateful for the support I’m getting as I learn to be more myself and less a facade.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, friendship, support, laughter, dancing, kitty love, perspective, ambition, guidance, peace, harmony, balance, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, 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

When it’s Time to Revisit Boundaries

What’s a Few Boundaries Between Friends?

Everyone has a variety of behaviors they learn to accept from others. Some you feel good about, others you tolerate. Then there are the ones that make you grit your teeth, or even start avoiding certain people.

By the time I reach that avoidance stage, I’m learning I’ve allowed myself to ignore my own discomfort for too long, and need to make some changes. That doesn’t mean dumping friends because, despite the cringe worthy stuff, there are a lot of things I love about the ones I have now. Instead, it means I need to look at the places and times I’m interacting with them, and maybe give myself some space in certain cases.

What I mean is, I need to recognize what circumstances cause them to behave in ways that make me uncomfortable. It could be an activity, or certain people who come into the mix, or even a place. Whatever is causing me to feel cranky is my problem and my job to find a solution I can live with.

Changing Myself Has Altered What I Can Accept From Others

Over the years, as I’ve worked on myself and initiated some much-needed changes, there have been times when I had to take a good, hard look at my associations. I’d like to think I’m making better choices these days, and attracting people who are more in alignment with the person I’ve become. The major purges that left me alone and to my own devices for awhile are no longer necessary. I’ve learned nowadays it often comes down to taking control of my own responses, and reminding myself why I connected with the people in my life in the first place.

Many of those associations…no, let’s put the right word on it. Many of those friendships began through a mutual love of dancing. Though finding a place to gather and share our love was challenging for awhile, it forced us to look at other options and lately, I often have to choose between 2 or 3 amazing options knowing I’ll spend time with at least some of the friends I’ve made, whichever one I choose. (of course, choosing to stay home and veg on the sofa with the cats is always an option, but doesn’t offer the community connection I’ve learned I truly need).

Fortunately, the nights I do choose to stay home are never because I feel the need to avoid someone. There was a time, far in the past now, when that wasn’t the case. I guess you could say the people in my life now, though admittedly wild and crazy in their own way, are far more civilized than many I associated with in what I fondly refer to as “my broken years”.

Getting to the Root of My Anger

I spent many years angry all the time; at myself, at other people, at my job, at my https://www.flickr.com/photos/jobber1/36197048070/in/photolist-X9BkiG-6zNVTx-9WcJ3G-dSakbx-dSammr-9TBa8u-6ezpVp-4BqdWY-VXtGBZ-rmenXX-qCVBCH-ebSPFY-on6uCz-7jht6-n98ro-VTXW6M-a1XWoX-aEZ3ZC-GAd7om-aETqXe-5YRvvk-dSfWbY-KEWxyD-7N2mv7-s8WVRA-97x2ND-9FZG7n-kv3uih-7dAKBM-Usjf3C-emcpAz-3EXMtA-U3SSPP-gQb96B-6QtXTY-o36uJj-iwvCcv-54dBjc-opbQb3-7NxyBo-7G7U6q-cS6eML-9FXQcH-ojrwjj-SUbPcQ-7MNAUc-Ee2qD-jZRnbY-a355px-cS691Nchoices—you name it, and I found something about it that pissed me off. I was so mired in my own misery, I couldn’t begin to identify the source. That skill didn’t come until I broke into a million tiny pieces and had to figure out how to put myself back together, but better this time.

It’s a funny thing about shattering; you never find all the pieces, and frankly, some of them aren’t worth finding anyway. You have to learn to sort the useful from the harmful and be willing to toss out pieces which might go either way. Someone once said to me “when in doubt, throw it out”. Of course he was referring to what was, at the time, a mountain of clutter in my home and office, but I’ve learned it applies to pieces of ourselves too. There are so many things we carry around simply because it’s become habit. They serve no purpose, and all too often, hold us back from accomplishing what we’re both capable of and meant to do.

Once again, I’ve meandered quite a ways from the original topic, but as usual, there is a point. Truly.

Shattering is Often the First Step in Recognizing the Need for Boundaries

created with CanvaShattering so I could rebuild was actually the first step I took in learning how much I needed to set boundaries. The first one I had to set was with myself. I had to let go of the anger and misery and actually face all my bottled up feelings. Let me tell you, it wasn’t a pretty sight when I first started unpacking all of those desiccated, moldy old feelings. Some had been there since childhood and would have been pretty rancid had they not at least partially fossilized. In some ways, I’d have been better off if they hadn’t as it’s been much harder to get past the hard outer shell so I could deal with the soft, gooey parts inside.

Learning to feel anything after a lifetime of wrapping it all in a tight, dubiously impervious ball is not for the weak of heart. If I thought I’d been through hard times before, the process of not only shattering the casings on my feelings, but actually revisiting them one by one, and exposing myself to the lessons they carried was one I truly would not have chosen had it not been utterly necessary.

The truth is, I didn’t enjoy being cranky and miserable. It took awhile to realize it, but I didn’t like being all alone either. I had to learn to “people” on my own terms (this is where the boundaries began to come in), and discover I didn’t hate people as much as I wanted to believe. I learned I’d spent decades attracting people who were, in their own way, a lot like me; sad, lonely, angry, and bitter.

Bitterness Wrapped in Anger is an Unpalatable Appetizer

Only when I admitted to myself that the bitterness was encased in those pent-up feelings did I realize I would attract kinder, happier, more compassionate ones when I found those qualities in myself; albeit buried far beneath my crusty surface.

In the process, I learned we all have baggage, and we don’t have to spend our lives hiding it from the world. Granted, we don’t have to run it up a flag pole and wave it in all our naked glory for the entire world. Once again, we establish boundaries. In this case, it’s more about who we attract with what we reveal.

Those who are put off, or made uncomfortable will avert their eyes. That’s as it should be. Those who can relate, or feel compassion will interact insofar as they are willing or able. Some may approach and get angry, not because we’ve said something offensive, but because we’ve nicked a wound they’re not ready to re-open. They’ll shut the door (another form of boundary) and lock it if they want to continue hiding that wound, or leave themselves an option to re-open it when they’re ready and able.

Seeing New Changes Coming From My Discomfort

It’s made me realize that the behaviors which are currently making me feel uncomfortable have to do with wounds I am not yet ready to re-open, clean out, and cauterize. I have to sit on them for awhile, dealing with others that aren’t quite so painful or raw. The time to re-open those which are currently making me pull back and practice a drastically mellowed hermit behavior will come in time.

The truth is, the discomfort right now means I’ll be re-opening them sooner rather than later. Otherwise, like those I make uncomfortable with my forthrightness, I’d have slammed and locked the door instead of looking more deeply into myself to try to understand my reactions.

Can you relate? Are you finding that certain people in your family or community are suddenly doing things that annoy you? Irritate you? Even piss you off? Try taking a step back and looking at what part of you their actions are bothering. You might be surprised by what you find! If you’re like me, you’ll poke at some of those feelings for awhile before allowing yourself to open them up, deal with them, and ultimately, let them go.

Gratitude Makes Revisiting Old Feelings a More Pleasant Trip

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for the insight I gain from my friends.
  2. I’m grateful for the lessons I’ve learned about kindness and compassion.
  3. I’m grateful for the shattering I underwent. It might have been painful, but it was also healing, and uplifting.
  4. I’m grateful for healthy friendships which make me try to be a better person.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; opportunities, inspiration, love, friendship, supportiveness, compassion, kindness, peace, health, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, 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

Nostalgia in the Air

Drifting on a Wave of Nostalgia

Birthdays make me nostalgic. When another draws near, I seem to spend time revisiting memories, holding some close, releasing others. I listen to music from my younger days—songs that bring back simpler times.

I’ve created a couple of stations on Pandora which let me travel back in time, and let go of the things that stress me out;  things that bring on migraines when I forget to let go. I use the more upbeat “Blood, Sweat, and Tears” station when I’m active; cooking, working out at the gym, walking. But when I want to float on those waves of nostalgia, or find inspiration for my writing, I always turn to my “Simon and Garfunkel” station.

Whether it’s Peter Paul and Mary’s cover of Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” or something more upbeat, I sing along, or simply drift on the waves of music as familiar as my breath. Though I may not have a voice that will move masses, I find joy in singing along to the tunes that defined my youth.

Music for the Ages

If you ask me, the music of the 50’s, 60’s, and early 70’s is timeless, both for the words and the melodies. Even my daughters’ generation embraced the music of the Eagles, and Santana, as well as Queen, making it their own. The lyrics  from those years still have meaning—still move me and made me feel. I think they always will.

What they can’t do is bring back a time when my mom and I weren’t at odds over something. They can’t help me remember a time when we weren’t fighting, and when I ever felt good enough. It makes me sad those years didn’t come until after she was gone; that I didn’t learn to appreciate her or feel compassion until long after she’d left me. Or that I didn’t learn to accept and appreciate myself.

Remembering Old Feelings So I Can Let Them Go

https://www.flickr.com/photos/60740813@N04/34504735502/in/photolist-Uz4MJN-7H8hqz-r2covS-8wbGLH-8wcEVv-8weaum-8wcFMc-r2c6ww-r2iYrg-qmL3eU-8w9Dpr-r2jtjr-riJFWH-8wcT7A-8wcK8r-8wbRuV-8wcj84-8wanQx-8waPPT-8w9c4V-8w97ek-r2j3iV-riCAji-8w8skp-r2cTQq-8wfuwo-8waMUv-8wfDJJ-8wdgXY-qZq9cM-8wd2u3-8wfVzw-8wbq15-8w8bJP-8w9Wdc-8wcQdR-riF3r5-riJvW2-8wbTSq-r2cNH1-8wc6wN-r2d6wG-8wcM6o-r2jiHn-8wdexo-riJBiz-8bQ1eC-8wfeYo-riJJHV-8w9YqrFeelings of abandonment began long ago, when my sister was born. Maybe she truly was an easier child, or maybe my mom had just learned a few things about being a wife and mother. Either way, I became secondary. Though I’ve come a long way in the last few years, the songs make me remember the hurts still haven’t completely healed.

Songs like “Puff the Magic Dragon” still make me want to cry. Somehow, I feel the things I’ve lost more strongly when I hear it, probably because my first memories are listening to it when I was young enough to feel less abandoned and more loved. Before I believed I’d never be good enough; at least for my parents. Even so, the song made me cry from the first time I heard it. The reasons may have changed since then, but the tears still fall.

Opening My Heart and Mind and Recognizing My True Value

I listen to the songs from a different perspective now. I’ve lived through a lot—https://www.flickr.com/photos/gastaum/14490581818/in/photolist-o5u28y-YfsirJ-k8x7MM-bxbe69-W1rTYx-arWoEp-9hSaAd-ahFY4U-dUPFnv-cbTML-9dRrhQ-nNcDz4-W1scJn-6Q5kQB-aPHuVt-dF2PfA-qsan3a-9Q3GD-7puXf-ca3kUb-8Qnh5S-7EPcJ1-9RZQ7L-2jv27s-3ytNAS-4Ax3Vm-7P6ms6-fLeJCZ-9eA4z4-dUzmHi-dJ2ajE-4s4eeJ-9ZWATV-4Ax3K3-6459Qr-r7YPq9-7ZBske-3ypqPa-7yi435-9uRzwZ-kdLtng-2c5brCn-HLfJSP-qTk7jd-oSdAwv-pNeYXi-3fqAZV-5btNtn-72Kth6-V4V7jqjoys and sorrows, wins and losses. I’ve torn down walls I spent nearly a lifetime building, reinventing myself without masks or pretenses. Another birthday reminds me how far I’ve come. And I’m not done yet; not by a long shot.

I was never my mother’s child. By the time I was 10 or 11, I’d stopped trying. I spent years trying to be my father’s child, but failed there too, though I didn’t really accept my failure until recently. That’s when I realized the failure wasn’t really mine.

My dad wanted a son, but my mom didn’t give him one. Instead, his first born was clumsy, awkward, and unable to conform with any of his expectations. I wasn’t good at sports, nor particularly interested in working with my hands except to build sets for theater productions.

I loved to read and write, neither of which were of interest to him. I got my love of reading from my mom. The only thing I shared with my dad was a fierce independence. Right or wrong, I had to do things myself and spent a lot of years feeling like a failure.

Taking the Painful Lessons and Leaving the Pain

Now I can appreciate how much I learned, not only from my failures, but from my inability to fit in, even with my own family. Watching my mother struggle for acceptance from her own family, I didn’t realize I was, in my own way following her example. I tried to be what my dad expected, never realizing it was a lost cause. Worse, I never noticed how often he ridiculed and shamed me; how often he dismissed my efforts.

Somehow, it made me stronger, though it also made me shut down to love and affection. Unconsciously I realized I’d never really get the love and attention I craved from my family, and for years, believed it meant I wouldn’t get it from anyone. But times change. I learned some life lessons, and the biggest was I didn’t need to make anyone happy but me.

Breaking Free of Family Patterns and Finding Happiness

My family didn’t understand me because I was different from the start. But I finally learned I didn’t have to gauge my success or my worthiness by their expectations, or their inability to love me the way I deserve to be loved. The lack wasn’t in me at all. They did the best they could with what they, themselves had been taught. It wasn’t their fault I knew deep down I wanted and needed more.

My family holds on to old pain, to grudges, to anger. I never understood it, and never shared their need to, in essence, allow others to live rent-free in my head for years; even generations. Where they held onto pain, I learned to forgive. Where they had expectations, I learned to accept. Where their idea of love was criticism and abuse, I’ve learned love is building up and supporting the people you care about.

The songs might me sad. They might make me nostalgic. But they don’t make me wish I could go back and do things differently. They remind me of how far I’ve come.

Old Patterns May be Standing in the Way of Your Success

Are old memories and patterns weighing you down? Do you feel like you have to do it all instead of asking for help? You’re not less worthy because you recognize you can’t do it all. In fact, you’re more, because you realize you need to free yourself to do the things you’re best at. Would you like to take a task or two off your plate? Maybe it’s content creation, or perhaps it’s getting your books in order and creating a budget. If this sounds familiar and you’re ready to streamline your life and give your business space to grow and thrive, CONTACT ME and let’s talk!

Something to Be Grateful for Every Day

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for memories, both pleasant and not.
  2. I’m grateful for the lessons I’ve learned, even if I had to learn a lot of them painfully.
  3. I’m grateful for the gifts my parents gave me. In the beginning, it was strength, but in time, I’ve learned compassion too.
  4. I’m grateful I’ve finally learned I don’t need to be something I’m not in order to fit in. I’m perfect just the way I am. I needed to be me before I’d find those who accepted the real, honest me and not some fruitless attempt to be anything else.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, joy, acceptance, friendship, inspiration, motivation, words that flow as freely as a waterfall after a storm, feelings I can now allow to come forth without judgement or shame, health, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, 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 or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward

My Road Map is A Scatter Diagram

Defining a Road Map

Created with CanvaMy Mentor, Linda Clay is a big fan of plans and road maps for reaching your goals. Me, not so much. I’m more of a “set the intention and follow the breadcrumbs the Universe leaves me” kinda gal. Linda insists I really do have a plan, even if I can’t see it in all it’s map-y glory.

It occurred to me today I was looking at it wrong. Instead of trying to see the nice, neat little road leading from point A to point B, I have to look at the dots flung hither and yon and imagine a line connecting them together. It won’t be straight and it won’t head directly to my goal. My map has dozens of side trips and deviations to the original plan because that’s the way I think.

Looking at the Empty Spaces

I used to tease my daughter Heather about solving problem by going from A to Q. She tended to skip a lot of the steps in between because her mind processed them too quickly to mention. Such is the ADD mind, and mine works the same way. But by the same token, we may go off on tangents seemingly unrelated to our goal while we’re in that space between A and Q. People don’t typically see those either because, again, they happen pretty quickly.

But life, though it’s certainly a constant series of problems and equations to solve, isn’t a single one we can solve quickly, then get on with it. Instead, we may be juggling 6 or 7 things at once, and maybe more. While we’re solving one, another 8 are jumping on our backs like a bunch of hungry chimps, each certain it’s the one that should get our attention first.

The Disorderly Mind

To an outsider, or simply someone who requires order, it might look like I’m chasing my tail https://www.flickr.com/photos/jobber1/36197048070/in/photolist-X9BkiG-6zNVTx-9WcJ3G-dSakbx-dSammr-9TBa8u-6ezpVp-4BqdWY-VXtGBZ-rmenXX-qCVBCH-ebSPFY-on6uCz-7jht6-n98ro-VTXW6M-a1XWoX-aEZ3ZC-GAd7om-aETqXe-5YRvvk-dSfWbY-KEWxyD-7N2mv7-s8WVRA-97x2ND-9FZG7n-kv3uih-7dAKBM-Usjf3C-emcpAz-3EXMtA-U3SSPP-gQb96B-6QtXTY-o36uJj-iwvCcv-54dBjc-opbQb3-7NxyBo-7G7U6q-cS6eML-9FXQcH-ojrwjj-SUbPcQ-7MNAUc-Ee2qD-jZRnbY-a355px-cS691Nmost of the time. In truth, I’m gathering data and learning new things with every side trip and switch back I take. Connecting my dots would reveal, not a clean, direct route, but rather a spiral which leaves some things after one visit, but goes back to others time and time again because there’s more to be gained after learning a few more things on my journey.

We aren’t always ready for the lessons life gives us. For some it means plugging away in frustration until finally, something falls into place and it makes sense. My frustration level is very low. I’m more likely to walk away, but experience has shown me that’s often my best option. By walking away, I turn my attention to other things, maybe discovering key components in something entirely unrelated. I clear my head so when I return to the problem or lesson, I approach it with a clean perspective, and often see the solution clearly.

Games Which Stretch Our Minds

I’ve always enjoyed doing logic problems, not because they engaged the analytical part of my brain, but because in a weird way, they didn’t. You’re presented with information that doesn’t seem complete, in pieces and parts that require you to put them together without an actual framework. Looking at 3 of the clues, you might find information to check off a box or two the first time around. But each time you go through the clues, what you’ve checked off previously coalesces to clarify the picture.

My approach to life and especially my goals is a lot like a logic problem. I don’t have all the answers or knowledge I need to get there right now. I have to keep picking up skills and information, then circling back to put a few more pieces in place. Once I do, more clues are revealed or I’m directed to another source of information I need to absorb before I can continue.

Traversing an Unmarked Road of Opportunities

My guides don’t provide flashing neon signs telling me “you need this piece before you can assemble Process Q47H”. Instead, they toss out opportunities to learn something, or people who offer something I need. It’s up to me to decide whether I’m ready to assimilate what’s offered, or even willing to put forth the effort. I might even know the offer is a one-time deal and won’t come back again. That, too goes into my decision to pursue or pass.

I know if I miss one opportunity, it will either return in another form, or it’s something which might have actually confused me and taken me further off course. There are times I have, indeed chosen something that took me far away from my original path. That’s not always a bad thing either.

Each Person’s Road Map is a Series of Choices

At different points in our lives we make choices. We decide how we want our lives to look in X years. But things change. New options become available. Or old options lose their luster for one reason or another. The dreams I have today and the choices I’m making are seemingly light years away from the ones I had 20 or 30 years ago. Even the ones I had 5 years ago when I quit my accounting job are considerably different than the ones I have now (except the house overlooking the beach on a private peninsula. I still want that!).

Why? Because as I’ve pursued the original dream, I’ve learned a lot of things. Some of them are still pointing me in a reasonable facsimile of my chosen direction at the time, but many of them have expanded my horizons—showing me how much broader and more diverse my options are. I didn’t have the knowledge or the experience 5 years ago to see past my personal horizon. I was also locked in a pretty constricting comfort zone.

Growth Occurs When We Leave Our Comfort Zone

In the last couple of years, I’ve taken some giant leaps outside my former comfort zone. It’s https://www.flickr.com/photos/europeanspaceagency/31275407857/in/photolist-PDGD8X-bnbiQa-k7zt6d-6M2nn9-mAAwrU-k7wXWX-nhNH58-k7zDp9-k7xjWk-nJgXGP-nk9CP8-k7tAv4-nziGrM-6ez3RC-nxeRe7-k7zCqf-2fgYi1C-k7B7wo-c411jo-S3dRoP-k7zetH-aubYf9-5u7LHw-cDzxty-5u3mjF-efS9bW-9tURvV-MNVXL-dkbcr9-aMCP28-LFJ8h-HUeD1-87TPHZ-5u3o9k-4t8Czz-5u7Lnq-XBZhbM-Yz4KP7-dJTsqi-YfKzKY-5Xw9Tw-kYuVpf-9GbcYZ-7DuDAu-fkpUYM-zGvsDE-qxEs38-o6g4QL-pJaHTv-mmZ7Ucnow on the far-distant horizon behind me, and before me are endless possibilities. I certainly wouldn’t have considered ghostwriting as the piece to fill the gap between my memoir and novels, and making a living. But here I am, writing for other people and getting paid to do it. The crazy part is, I’m loving doing it! I get to combine my Empathic skills with my writing skills to get inside someone’s head and write as if I were them.

Sure, my insecurities stage a rave every time I take on a new client, but with each new piece they accept and often love, my confidence grows. It will never reach cocky as a little humility, nervousness, and work ethic drive me to offer my best product to each client. But maybe at some point the raves will become more of a line dance floor where common steps are given their own twist by the participants, and I’m more certain I’m at least doing the same dance.

Connecting my dots doesn’t have a single solution. I can connect them in a million different ways and ultimately reach my goal. But I spend less time connecting and more time experiencing because I know that goal will change a few dozen times as I draw closer, and by the time I do reach it, it will more likely be a way-station than a destination.

My Most Powerful Tool Will Always Be Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful to all the people who inspire me with ideas. My blogs are from real life; mine, yours, the world’s.
  2. I’m grateful for disruptive dreams that show me I’m embroiling myself in nonsense and fruitless meanderings at times.
  3. I’m grateful for a new day when irritations fade and perspectives are back in place.
  4. I’m grateful for the plethora of inspirational material available on Social Media. It’s thought-provoking, conversation-starting, or sometimes, what someone really needs to hear.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; opportunities, new clients to write for, inspiration, ideas that come simply by placing fingers to keys, friendship, motivation, support, encouragement, love, healing, joy, peace, harmony, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, 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 or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward

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