Dancing outside my comfort zone

Posts tagged ‘peace’

Peace Makers in a Volatile World

Keeping the Peace Behind the Scenes

My personal peace makerThere are people in our lives who willingly accept the role of peace maker. They’re the ones who seemingly sit quietly in the background, stepping in to extend a gentle hand when our emotional campfire threatens to explode into a full-fledged forest fire. They bury their own needs in favor of those of the people around them just to avoid arguments.

Most of the time we don’t even recognize what they’re doing, much less appreciate it. We don’t see how often their own wants and needs aren’t met just so they can keep everyone else happy. Worst of all, we don’t see what it costs them to consistently occupy this place in our lives.

It isn’t that they wouldn’t like to have things their way once in a while. They just value peace and quiet more. They’re typically extremely sensitive so arguments and unrest upset them terribly.

So they allow a sibling or friend to have it their way all the time. They back down from an argument though they know they’re in the right. They agree when they’d rather stand up to someone and make their point without being shouted down. Yet deep inside, the resentment and frustration build to what we’d consider staggering levels; levels we’d not tolerate in ourselves, yet silently expect them to endure all the time.

Peace Makers in Volatile Families

I don’t think my daughters ever knew a time when there wasn’t some kind of tension in our household. At first, it was between their father and me, but eventually, my daughter Jenni and I filled in the gap when he was no longer a part of our lives. Meanwhile, Heather did her best to stay in the background, letting Jenni have the limelight and make all the choices I asked them to make together. Jenni learned Heather would give way rather than risk the wrath of her red-headed virago of a twin. That left me to manage the explosions. In hindsight, the kindest thing I did was to give them separate bedrooms when they were about 11. It gave Heather the sanctuary she desperately needed, even if it was just a thin door between herself and the near-constant volatility of our household.

As children do, my girls grew up—Jenni still believing creating a category 5 storm would make us bend to her will, and Heather allowing her resentment towards her sister to surface and grow. I regret to say she fed my own annoyance with my youngest child until it no longer hurt to sever the relationship.

The truth is, both of my girls are hard-headed and stubborn. They’re both quick to anger but Heather lets hers go more quickly. Jenni seems to hold her anger close like a security blanket. As if as long as she gets her way, she’ll be happy, and yet, I don’t think she is. I think she’d like to have her real family back, but believes she’s gone too far to come back.

Releasing Pent-up Anger and Resentment

On the bright side, since Jenni chose to remove herself from our lives, Heather and I have grown closer. But better than our closeness, she’s learned to release some of the anger and frustration that built up throughout her childhood. She’s no longer living in the shadow of a sister who’d willingly throw her under the bus if it meant someone would like her. I often wonder if she sacrificed her relationship with her sister for nothing. Nobody ever thought better of her for turning her back on her sister. People remember her for her bright red hair, but they remember Heather for her kindness and helpfulness.

Every group dynamic has at least one peace maker. It might be you or someone else. Whoever takes on the role sacrifices a great deal of themselves in order to fulfill the weighty obligations it entails. Some may hold the role for a lifetime while others will find a way to allow their own wants and needs to be met.

Sadly, the resentment which builds up is often left to fester, unspoken and without release. It might manifest itself as broken families like ours, or as health issues, or even interpersonal ones. A peace makers ability to love and be loved is thwarted and misguided by constantly subverting their own needs for the sake of peace in their environment.

Being a Peace Maker Whether We Like it or Not

I also believe that we are all the peace maker at some point in our lives. We all find ourselves in situations where it’s better to just keep silent and go along because someone else is so desperate to be right that they simply shout the rest of the world down. I can think of several occasions where I worked for someone like that and in my own way, became the peace maker. However, as it was so contrary to my normal state of being, the silence with which I tolerated the situation was anything but peaceful inside myself.

The unrest and resentment I carried around while exposed to what I realize were merely desperately insecure narcissists is really what made me realize what the real peace makers must be carrying around inside. Well, that and what I’ve seen break loose in my daughter, Heather since the split with her sister. That resentment hurts my heart, but I know anything I do or so would, if anything, just make matters worse. Like the place I hold for Jenni should she decide to re-establish our relationship on more mutually satisfying terms, I hold the same place for both girls to reach some kind of understanding and acceptance. They are very different people with divergent values, they share a bond of twin-ship only another twin would understand.

Give your Peace Makers a Break

My purpose behind writing this article is to raise awareness of the people around us who keep life on a more even keel. But it’s also to acknowledge those of you who have taken on the role yourselves. The peace makers need and deserve to be heard. They have opinions and a unique perspective which just might bring solutions we’ve never even considered. They also need to be allowed to step away from the role, whether forced on them or self-imposed. They carry a lot of our tension and stress so we can function as reasonably normal human beings. It isn’t an easy job and is often a thankless one as well.

It’s time we acknowledged our peace makers and helped them drop their burden. It’s time to allow them to shine unencumbered by everyone else’s shit.

Remembering to be Grateful

My gratitudes tonight are:

  1. I am grateful for the peace makers who have made my life easier, and who have shouldered my crap at those times when I neither noticed nor appreciated their sacrifices.
  2. I am grateful for the outpouring of love I’m getting while trying to figure out what’s ailing my sweet boy, Toby.
  3. I am grateful for the gift of writing which has helped me work through the challenges in my life pretty much since the time I was able to write complete sentences.
  4. I am grateful for the understanding I’m getting from my more outspoken friends as I quietly break my silence over our current political climate. There will be no soapboxes. I’m still a behind-the-scenes kind of girl.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; health, happiness, beauty, communication, joy. inspiration, new clients, lessons, challenges, harmony, peace, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

You can find the original video about peace makers here.

 

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. She believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She is available for article writing and ghost writing to help your website and the business it supports grow and thrive. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information.

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February 15, 2015 Putting off posting for the wrong reasons

My name is Sheri and I’m a blog-a-holic

It has been four days since my last post, and my only excuse is that I allowed myself to be overwhelmed by a task. I was nominated for a Liebster award which is essentially designed to help folks like me boost their blog traffic. Unfortunately, the current version going around requires that I tag 11 other bloggers, and I just got stuck on that as either those I visit with regularly have already been nominated or I need to go back into my archives to see where I’ve commented. With accounting work to catch up and pieces to critique, I just shoved the whole thing to the back burner.

I realize that pushing a project to a back burner is about as effective as using alcohol to get rid of worrisome thoughts, I’m still guilty of…what’s that onerous word? Oh, yes, procrastination. That insidious pastime has had me playing stupid computer games again instead of working on my writing, and made me sigh with relief when my critique group’s next meeting was pushed out to March, giving me time to gather all of the versions of my children’s book together to see which one or ones I need to merge to make a reasonably presentable submission for my turn as the critiquee.

Thankfully, all bad things must come to an end

Yet, the writer in me says “thou shalt write, read or pursue activities related to such on a regular basis lest thee fall into the dreaded depths of ennui.” So I start with my sadly neglected blog and move on to one of my other projects.

At yesterday’s Inklings meeting we were again discussing how some of us can have several projects going at once (or, in my case, several books being read while pursuing several different projects). Part of it is the ADD/ADHD nature of many of the writers, part of it is that some of us have learned to turn off the logical/editorial part of our brains, but for me, most of it is simply that I have the time to do so now. Granted, I have always needed multiple projects to keep my brain happy, but actually pursuing all of them with any success is far easier when I don’t have a boss breathing down my neck and actually expecting me to show up for work every day! I am free to spend the daylight hours going to the gym, running errands and even on rare occasions, meeting a friend for lunch, because I seem to be happier working late into the night. This past week, I either read, worked on client accounting, critiqued or wrote until well after midnight nearly every night. (Two of those nights turned into mornings, barely an hour or two before daylight!) Frankly, some of my most productive writing sessions started after 10PM and ended around 3 or 4AM. Maybe that’s why I dream so vividly. Those stories really want to come out in the hours typically given over to human dream time. Maybe I was a cat in a past life?

I’ve read a lot about finding the time you work best, and know that mine is late at night. These days, even dancing doesn’t interfere as my peak hours are after I’ve finished my twice weekly (and sometimes more) dose of aerobics and socialization. Sure, some weeks are more productive than others, and sometimes, the need to research and study becomes more important than simply getting words on a page. One of the things I’ve learned after many years of self-therapy to rid myself of the counterproductive habit known as ‘beating myself up’, is that there are many forms of productivity and each is necessary at one point or another. To berate myself because I spent twelve hours reading instead of writing is not only pointless, but hinders further productivity while I salve the ego I bruised with self-flagellation. Sometimes age actually does bring us wisdom!

A feeling a peace and relief now permeates my being

This simple act, this writing of a blog post is what I needed to get back on track. As a junkie needs a fix, I need to post, to write, to share my convoluted thoughts and observations in order to maintain my equilibrium. In part, it is because I am not constrained by following a plot line or making my characters dynamic and believable. This, then, is the brain dump I used to do on the nights I couldn’t sleep. It’s the social connection I am so clumsy about in person. I speak to you and hope that sometimes, what I say makes a connection and causes you to think as well, to find what best works for you and allows you to pursue the things which feed your soul.

My gratitudes today are:
1. I am grateful that I was given the gift of gab, at least in print, to help align my thoughts and fulfill my needs.
2. I am grateful for the company of my cats as, despite my loner tendencies, I would not do well completely alone. I can do without humans for a long period of time, but not without company.
3. I am grateful for beautiful, sunshiny winter days when I can open the windows and let the cats chirp at the birds.
4. I am grateful for the re-opening of the children’s story I wrote for my daughters. I now face the challenge of pulling all of the versions together into a cohesive whole.
5. I am grateful for abundance: love, life, health, happiness, joy, writing, friendship (even if I’m a difficult friend at times), opportunities, inspiration, productivity and prosperity.

Namaste

January 6, 2015 Music: It really is everywhere

You can find music in the most extraordinary places…

It’s easy to recognize the music in birdsong or a train whistle; a fire truck siren or a doorbell. But if you listen…really, really listen, it’s in everything

When the wind is whipping through the trees howling out it’s melancholy song of life ended too soon or lost loves or loneliness, then finds that almost imperceptible crack in your carefully built house and the howl becomes a slightly more joyful whistle. When your cat curls up on your lap and begins to purr contentedly (or in my case when a second one joins in and you really hear the highs and lows in their throaty voices). When the water zings out of the shower head to plip plop on the floor of the tub, singing a merry tune as the droplets dance to music of their own making. When fresh vegetables hit the oil sizzling in the bottom of a wok, their voices higher or lower, louder or softer depending on the density of the vegetable.

These sounds, this music is what I’ve become incredibly attuned to lately. I’m hearing something beyond just the sounds. There’s a melody which runs through our lives, through our world, which usually goes unnoticed.

Don’t just stop and smell the roses. Also, stop and hear the music!

In our world of fast cars, faster computers, electronic everything, I believe we lose sight of the simple wonders all around us, patiently waiting for us to tune back in. I’m sure we noticed them as children, but like the baby in Mary Poppin’s who grew up and could no longer speak to the birds, we’ve simply forgotten. It’s time to reverse the process.

Start with something easy.

When the wind howls, moans and whistles, listen. Try to hear the melody in it’s song. When sirens pass nearby, listen to the rise and fall, the melding of voices as each vehicle’s siren makes a slightly different sound. Stop and enjoy the sound of birds chattering back and forth, mocking the cats in the window or cursing the one who raided their nest.

When you hear the easy ones without effort, push yourself.

When you’ve retrained yourself to hear the obvious songs around you, push a little harder. Hear the music in the water pulsing out of the shower head and dancing in the tub. Explore the different tones the vegetables make as they hit the hot oil or listen to the meat and vegetables sizzling as you prepare chili or pasta sauce. Tune into the cadence of a helicopter or a diesel engine as it idles.

Now that you’re hearing the music all around you, what do you do with it?

I know, it’s all well and fine to hear the music in everything, but we can’t just stand around listening, right? Of course not! Once you can hear it again, you need to rebalance yourself, tune back into that rhythm and follow it…be that rhythm; be that music! If we could all tune back in, I’m convinced that there would be no more wars; no more abuse; no more mistreatment of Mother Earth and in it’s place, love and respect because, no matter what our beliefs, we would be in harmony. Harmony brings acceptance, even appreciation of our differences because without harmony, we would just be a single note, alone and uninteresting.

If you ask me, Barry Manilow had it right all along while being way ahead of his time.

One of my favorite Barry Manilow songs of all time, maybe favorite song period of all time was “One Voice”. I never really knew why, but it always made me feel joyful. I realize now that it also makes me feel connected to everyone and everything; every person, every animal, every freaking blade of grass and every rock! I realize now that the connection is the music in everything around us and the music inside of us. But more, it is our ability to recognize that music if we just retrain ourselves so we remember that wonder we had as a child but were taught to ignore. It’s still there! Pull it out. Examine it. Feel it. Own it.

If a single voice sings its song loudly and confidently, but nobody listens, will the song be wasted?

Frankly, I don’t think it’s possible for even the smallest song, the weakest melody to go unnoticed by someone. We just need to get away from all of our electronics long enough to hear those tunes without amplification, without dubs and remixes, but in their purest, most elemental form, because when we do, our own voices will join in harmony of their own accord. There will be no thought to whether we’re on key or sound right. We’ll simply do what we’re meant to do: blend with the music and add our voice to the fundamental, elemental, universal song.

My Gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful to have been shown the reason I’ve been hearing the music in everything.
2. I am grateful that I have a place to share the things I learn.
3. I am grateful for the loving energy I’m feeling after writing this post and listing to “One Voice”.
4. I am grateful for, and humbled by my part in the harmony of the Universe.
5. I am grateful for abundance: harmony, cooperation, love, music, joy, friendship, peace, health and prosperity.

Blessed Be

July 24, 2014 Learning new things

The world wants more drama! Who knew?

Over the last few days, I’ve published several posts, but the one which got the most attention, hands down, was the one in which I went completely out of character and addressed a controversial issue. Granted, I did it objectively, providing facts and figures to support my statements, nonetheless, it received more attention than any other post since I moved to this platform.

This phenomenon distresses me, if only because my purpose lately has been geared towards love and acceptance. I left my rabble rousing, rebel self behind and have grown unaccustomed to stirring the pot until it boils over. I sincerely hope that it won’t be necessary to bring back anger and strife just to woo readers. If so, I may have to rethink my current goals!

When I began this blog about five years ago, the purpose was two-fold. First, I wanted to be more compassionate about my parents’ suicides, and second, I wanted to share my healing journey with others who might have had the same experience. Part of the journey towards healing is to accept and forgive, unequivocally, everyone and everything.

We see examples every day of people who carry around unimaginably heavy burdens of anger, guilt, blame, self-recrimination and other self-inflicted packages which, if they are not released, will ultimately bury them under health problems and emotional misery which could have been avoided by finding a way to let go and bring joy instead of misery into their lives. I say this, not from the point of view of someone who stands outside looking in, and passes judgement over whether someone else’s problems are heavy or not, but as someone who, for years, held onto blame and anger and negative thinking; and was much the worse for it.

It wasn’t until I found a way to not only let go and forgive, but accept everyone else’s choices that I found my burdens lessening. As I emerged from the hole I had created for myself, I found that the world was really a place where people could find joy in spite of the challenges life might put before them.

My first “Aha moment”.

And then I learned something really amazing! Those challenges with which we are constantly presented aren’t put there to try to bury us! Quite the contrary! They are there to teach us how to be stronger, or more forgiving or more patient…the choices are as endless as the lessons we humans came her to learn! So, instead of complaining about how everything kept going wrong, I learned to be grateful for the lessons and for the fact that, each and every time, I found a way through it! Instead of coming to the end of the latest challenge and asking “OK, what’s next?” I learned to say: “Hot damn! I figured another one out and added another tool to my virtual tool box!”

I have to say that it’s a darn good thing that tool box is virtual because I’ve added so much to it in the last few years that it would take someone of gargantuan proportions to actually carry it otherwise!

Once again, I’ve rambled off into unforeseen territory, but I will always revert to my ADHD run amok style in the end. I’ll be the one dancing through the halls throwing imaginary heart shaped confetti while the doom and gloomers continue to argue over who has more right to this piece of land or whose killing of other humans is more justified.

If you want things to change, change where you’re directing your energy.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…and again…and again. Emotions are a very powerful energy source. With our emotions, we can either choose to fuel a war or help forge a peace. I’ve chosen to don my Pollyanna attire and, whatever the situation, send love and compassion to ALL parties involved. I don’t care if it’s the guy who shot up a bunch of people or the families who have to mourn someone who died too young. I don’t care if it’s the suicide bombers or the families of their victims. Both sides deserve our compassion and love because both sides have reason to feel hurt and abandoned. Please don’t think that means I feel that the actions of the perpetrators were justified. I simply feel that they deserve compassion for the situations which led to their actions.

Think about it for a moment. If I send anger and hate to those who killed innocents, what am I really doing? I’m fueling them. I’m giving them more energy to do more harm. But if I send them love and compassion, it’s not only completely unexpected, but it sucks the energy out of their harmful actions and plans.

I’ve always had a problem understanding the phrase “fight for peace”. If you’re fighting, how can you be peaceful. I’m hoping for a time when human beings cease to find it necessary to have power over other human beings and can, instead, live together in harmony, sharing their strengths and honoring someone else’s weakness as an opportunity to give of oneself.

As I meander back to the original topic of this post, I just can’t bring myself to use this forum to generate conflict. I may, on occasion, spur a debate, but I will always expect the participants to be respectful of each other and their right to a different opinion.

Stepping off of the soapbox now.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the diversity of my friends. Without it, I’d be a lot dumber!
2. I am grateful for a sweaty night of dancing with a bunch of like minded people. When we’re all sweaty, there’s nothing wrong with sharing a sweaty hug!
3. I am grateful for air conditioning. Without it, I’d be melting!
4. I am grateful for my own little place in the world to share my opinions, asked for or not.
5. I am grateful for the opportunity to spread a little joy and maybe, just maybe, make the world a better place!

Love and Light.

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