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

Posts tagged ‘purpose’

Learning to Be Like a Butterfly

Living in the Moment Like a Butterfly

https://www.flickr.com/photos/jfolsom/5931303869/in/photolist-a38tZP-dmn34H-a7FwQm-antZ2h-bwzwuR-5stPPH-6EsqoX-T4qUgL-4hmxbh-8MJPmb-fEFoSF-kCt71i-2ikr4t-8MF532-WNwMjy-8tMnKX-fEFoGg-fEXXd7-afuD1a-8MEuUF-95Mr5j-dySrRf-bfNhFR-9oSxoh-5WgF4Q-8MHZfC-7VroTL-9PiLGB-oaW3YQ-K4CQFx-8YSrLp-mSLwB-7VqeAh-5hfnTx-KfhXca-e3u44f-99b5UG-7BeZaD-8MHAVw-kAEoL3-6qZ9C6-5thpD3-ai9p7Z-9gCot5-o8bKtB-5W8sPu-85jA66-6PCR9M-bJ7tue-97oqD4Have you ever sat and watched a butterfly fly? They flutter through the air carefree and unfettered, unconcerned by things like updrafts, or whether  their wings will support them. Unencumbered by thoughts of what the next moment will bring. Will I be eaten? Will I catch the perfect wave of air? Will I splatter against someone’s windshield as I whiz through the air in oblivious abandon? Will I meet up with my mates for a game of tag? Or join a game with a bunch of strangers?

Butterflies live for the moment. Heck they’ve managed to go from caterpillar, to puddle of goo, to a lighter than air flying creature, all by simply being themselves—being in the moment. Why sweat the small stuff at this stage of their life?

Humans could take a few leaves from a butterfly’s book. We spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about what’s going to happen in the next bazillion minutes, and when things don’t go as we planned we fret about what we perceive as failures for the next bazillion. To what purpose?

Making Plans and Battling Failure

Are we happy while we meticulously plan for outcomes beyond our control? Do we find joy in rehashing our perceived failures? Do we stop to admire all the beauty around us, or recognize how many things go right when we get out of our own way?

Sadly too many humans focus their attention on the one thing they feel went wrong, ignoring all the amazing and wonderful things going on right around them every single moment. We spend far too little time on all the things in our life that are going right if not downright amazing!

Taking a Tip From the Animals and Insects

I sat on my front porch one Friday night watching cars go by carrying people home from work and into the weekend. Butterflies played tag through the tree boughs while a handful a pigeons pecked the grass for bugs. My outside cats lay amidst the overgrown weeds occasionally wandering over for a skritch. They, like me were more interested in watching the birds and butterflies soaring overhead than interrupting the pigeons’ pecking, for a meal they neither wanted nor needed.

Birdsong filled the air as the sun sank lower and feathered families settled into their nests for the night. But for the occasional whoosh of a car or hoot of a train whistle, it was just me, the cats, and nature settling down for the night. I’d accomplished a few things during the day. Maybe not as much as I could have but enough that in my eyes, the day was a success. Sitting on my porch watching the butterflies darting through the sky, and listening to the birds performing their nightly ablutions was exactly where I was supposed to be. It was exactly when I was supposed to be too.

The Journey is the Purpose

Even for me, moments like this are rare. I’m still learning to appreciate the value of allowing moments to pass without a plan, without an objective, and without a specific purpose. I’m conscious of the need to simply Be, but like most humans, fall back into old habits that insist I must “do”; must accomplish something with each of my moments. In reality, allowing myself to just Be is often accomplishment enough.

When faced with a major project such as the latest revision of my memoir, my first inclination is to grab paper and pen and draw up a plan. Even general wisdom tells me I must draw a kind of map so I’ll know how to get from here to there. Then, without taking a breath or looking around for other options, I have to dive in with both feet and start producing…something.

But sometimes the journey IS the purpose. How and when I get there is what I’m supposed to discover along the way. Yet how many times have I mistakenly assumed responsibly for setting the path, and blamed myself when it all went to hell? My mistake wasn’t in how or where I directed the train, but in assuming responsibility for setting it’s direction and rate of speed in the first place. It’s a mistake I’ve repeated over and over again throughout my lifetime. I’d like to say I’ve learned my lesson, but know sooner or later I’ll go charging in again when my role is really to follow.

Learning to Let the Universe Drive

Perhaps it’s just age which has slowed me down; has made the destinations Created with Canvaless urgent. Perhaps taking the long way around is a bit of a guilty pleasure. Yet I’m finding as I do that. the long way around is getting me where I want to go just as quickly and a lot more easily than when I tried to force things or run the show.

The truth is, every time I tried to force the route, the speed, and the mode of travel, I ended up somewhere I really didn’t want to be. Over and over the Universe said “trust me”, and I replied “me do!” as I grabbed the wheel and drove myself off another cliff. Somehow the bumps and bruises failed to drive home to me where the real problem lay.

These days I have less stuff than most of my friends. I go to less concerts and take fewer trips. But I have something many of them don’t as they continue to chart their own courses and drive their own vehicles.

I have time to sit on my front porch watching the butterflies and listening to the birds with my cats who are far wiser than me in the ways of the world and the meaning of life. And sometimes when I do, a blog post or story writes itself—much like this one did.

Gratitude for Things Great and Small

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful I’m learning to slow life down.
  2. I’m grateful I’m learning I don’t always need to be the conductor of my life and journey,.
  3. I’m grateful for quiet evenings to listen to the birds and enjoy the butterflies at play.
  4. I’m grateful for my cats who love a good snuggle and nothing more.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; peace and quiet, joy, inspiration, appreciation, the little things, plans that make themselves, letting go, enjoying the ride, friendships that make me feel warm and loved, health, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity for all.

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

1,000 Blessings

My Readers Are My Biggest Blessings

In the years I’ve written this blog (and I’m closing in on 8, for those who are wondering), I’ve received my share of feedback, both positive and negative. Thankfully, the negative has been small. The positive, on the other hand has been beyond my wildest expectations and occurs in many forms.

While a few actually leave comments here (and thank you so much for doing so!), more often, I get comments and shares in my social media accounts. But the best of all is when someone walks up to me and says something like “I’ve been reading your blog and it really touched me.”

To understand why this kind of feedback means so much to me, I need to take you back a few years to a time when I had about 20,000 words of Forgotten Victims drafted and, in fact, when the working title was Life After Suicide: Healing and Forgiving.

Inspiration Comes in Many Forms

I’d reached a point where the words had stopped flowing and frustration had set in. I’d been writing regular posts in the Notes area of Facebook, but my propensity for long posts had me running out of room time and time again.

My daughter Heather (one of my two biggest champions, cheerleaders and butt kickers) suggested I start a blog, and, in fact, sat down with me at my computer and helped me set it up. After copying all of the Notes into a post, my journey began.

Now, nearly 8 years later, 3 blogging platforms, and well over 1,000 posts, I find encouragement and inspiration every day to keep writing what comes to mind from living my life with an open heart and a curious mind.

A Need for Purpose

The one thing I told myself back then was that if I touched a single life, gave one person a reason to think and to know they weren’t alone, I’d fulfilled my purpose which I did by baring my soul and sharing difficult experiences.

You, my readers, continue to ensure that I’ll keep writing, sharing, and baring with your constant reminders that I am, indeed bringing useful and needed information to you. I can’t even begin to express my gratitude for the gifts you’ve given me.

Some might call this a need for validation, but to be honest, without the feedback, I’d still find a reason to write. Your comments are to me, more of a confirmation of my purpose; a reminder that despite the side trips, the worries and concerns, the uncertainty about my destination, I am going in the right direction.

Taking that Leap of Faith

The road we travel through life is never a straight shot. There are always detours along the way. In some cases, it’s merely sight-seeing,  in others, a time for us to learn something which will be useful further down the road.

Too often, we’re afraid to follow the unbroken path because it isn’t a sure bet. There are no guarantees it will bring us happiness and prosperity. We’re afraid to deviate from the “shoulds”.

That was me for many years. I went from one dead-end job to another, learning new skills along the way and exposing myself to situations which, all too often, were painful or uncomfortable. Even so, they were necessary. If nothing else, I learned that following a path drenched in responsibility was all well and fine when I was raising my daughters, but continuing to follow it once they were grown was killing me slowly from the inside out.

I knew I was meant for more, but was afraid to take the leap until the ladies in my healing class made me think long and hard about what I really wanted to be doing.

Following the Twisty, Turny Path to Personal Fulfillment

In the three years since I left the rat race, have I achieved the level of success I’d hoped for? No. Can I honestly say I’ve completed anything towards that dream? Again, I have to answer no, though I have several works in progress. But am I happier for it? Have I found success in the lives I’m touching, the purpose I’m fulfilling and the lessons I’m learning? Absolutely.

These days, nearly every day is a lesson. I’m watching and listening more and talking less. I’m studying whatever interests me or is affecting my life so I can both make positive changes in my life and share what I learn. I’ve been part of a critique group with many amazing people and writers who have taught me so much about writing in general and mine in particular.

Heart Lessons 101

Best of all, I’ve learned to let down my hair, both literally and figuratively. I’ve accepted that some people will dislike me on sight for reasons known only to themselves. Or they may come to dislike me after a few interactions. But I no longer let it bother me because I’ve learned it isn’t about me at all.

I myself may feel put off by someone on sight, and more often than not, it has something to do with an experience from my past. I’m having to learn to look carefully at why I’m put off by someone to see whether it’s them or me or a very real red flag I need to heed.

Life isn’t a popularity contest. She with the most “likes” doesn’t necessarily win (though I’m told it does help when you’re trying to establish yourself as an author). I believe we all have the capacity to do something meaningful, and frankly, size does not matter. Whether what you bring to the world is large or small, the important thing is that you bring it.

Helping Each Other Fulfill Our True Purposes

You’ve shown me I’m bringing something meaningful to at least a few people. You can do the same. What are you passionate about? What makes your heart sing? How can you use that to make a difference somehow? It could be art, science, technology, or simple human kindness. They’re all important. They’ll all foster positive changes.

Let me help you find your purpose as you’ve helped me find mine.

Gratitude Smooths the Way

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for my readers and those who’ve taken the time to let me know who they are.
  2. I am grateful for the leap of faith I took 3 years ago, even if the results are not yet what I’d hoped for.
  3. I am grateful for the people who have encouraged me along the way; some with kindness and others with a boot to my stubborn butt. Whatever works!
  4. I am grateful for cold, rainy days. They turn the grass green and make the air smell sweet.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; readers, inspiration, motivation, aggravation, cheerleaders, butt kickers, random thoughts which become blog posts, love, friendship, people who love me, people who hate me, people who are ambivalent, sharing, caring, compassion, kindness, examples set by others, dreams, hopes, peace, harmony, philanthropy and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

February 27, 2015 Obsession

I often wonder: Is it human to obsess over something in our lives?

Do you do it? Do you obsess over something in your life? It could by your job or one you want; your weight or your appearance; your choices; your relationships…or lack thereof; your children, human or otherwise; it’s almost anything you spend too much time thinking about and which often paralyzes your actions and turns your stomach into a churning knot.

For me, it has always been about a man to whom I was attracted or with whom I was involved. In fact, it got so bad and my choices were usually so personally destructive that I finally just stopped putting myself out there or looking at anyone with more than causal interest over ten years ago. For the record, I don’t recommend such a drastic solution to whatever your obsession might be. It is a bandaid solution at best, and in the end, it cures nothing. Because, you see, once again, I find myself obsessing over someone who, in true obsessive fashion, I’ve convinced myself is completely unsuitable; but convincing myself that he’s unsuitable does not now, nor has it ever stopped my obsessing. It also doesn’t put me in a mental and emotional place where I might actually find a healthy relationship should I choose to do so.

Nor does it stop the flutter in my stomach when the gentleman in question happens to be in my vicinity, although, to my credit, I’ve learned from experience that I can and will behave normally should we actually have contact. I also no longer invent scenarios where all is wonderful and rosy between us. The one thing I’ve learned in my extended period of monkdom (assuming monks are non-gender specific) is that I don’t need to feed my obsession.

My admiration goes out to those who are able to swim in the sea and avoid the undertow

On the relatively few occasions when I’m actually among other humans in areas where there are friends, strangers and everything in between, I find my attention caught by the women who can move comfortably from man to man, chatting easily and making whoever they are with the center of their attention, even if it is only for the space of a dance. Even though, to me, it might be clear that a woman is on the lookout for that someone special, they seem to enjoy the process of the search. How do they learn to do that, or is it just an innate talent? Even worse, for me is the realization that there was a time that I was far more comfortable in the company of the male of the species, but at that time, I was also oblivious to any attraction they might have felt as I was quite happy just being “one of the guys”.

I supposed I’m still that person as long as I don’t feel that pull of attraction myself. I don’t know how to read the signs so I’m never certain that attraction is returned. Instead of putting out feelers (assuming I even knew how) I assume the worst and come up with all sorts of reasons why I couldn’t be attractive to the man in question. Yes, in spite of all of the work I’ve done, and the progress I’ve made into loving myself unconditionally, I still have one area in which I’ve yet to overcome my insecurities.

As I near my 60th birthday, which my daughter is taking great joy in reminding me, and see the many years I’ve traveled alone, save for my furry family, I wonder if this is simply the path I came here to follow. I have to wonder if my true purpose, like a writer’s life, is meant to be a solo flight. But then I think again and wonder if it is just that my own self-defense system fails to recognize the ones who attract me with their minds rather than their physical appearance and charisma? The truth is, I’ve been single or essentially single for nearly a quarter of a century and, to be perfectly honest, I’ve settled into this lifestyle I carved out for myself. To find a connection with someone which is powerful enough to overcome so many years of having it my way is going to require something extraordinary. Is there even a possibility such a thing exists? Or that I will recognize it? I suspect that it will take one of the Universe’s biggest and best head slaps just to get my attention. (am I just asking for it now?)

Common sense says that the first step towards curing an addiction (or in this case, compulsive obsession) is to recognize that you have a problem.

If I define this obsession as a simple self-defense mechanism to protect my heart from hurt, is it really a problem, or am I making more of it than necessary? If I acknowledge that it is a problem, does that mean I will ultimately find a cure, assuming a cure is to be found? Or could the real issue be that I’ve learned to love myself so much that I no longer see any reason to share me with anyone else?

Admittedly, I’ve learned to smile genuinely rather than gag when I see couples looking at each other with all of their love spilling out of their eyes. I am genuinely happy for my friends who have warm, loving relationships. But when I picture myself, I see that beautiful 13 acre property overlooking the beach and I have already determined what will go in each of the rooms and which rooms are scheduled to be remodeled to better suit my needs…yes MY needs. Which brings me back to my original question. Aside from the short time in which I was part of a couple and ultimately conceived my daughters, did I choose to ultimately walk my path in this lifetime alone? Is this simply an opportunity for my Spirit to feel completely independent? Are the defense mechanisms I’ve developed simply there to keep me focused on my true purpose?

And what about you? Is there something you continue to obsess about without really understanding how to get past it, or, in truth, why you even need to? Though I walk my road alone, it is always nice to hear that some of the things which challenge me are shared by others and, in fact, I’m not as alone as it might seem.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for introspection.
2. I am grateful for the weeks when I’m busy cooking and refilling my freezer. Not only will I have weeks when I don’t need to cook, but my grocery bills drop dramatically for awhile.
3. I am grateful for long cooking sessions. Chopping and preparing are wonderful times to think about life or work through a rough spot in a manuscript or simply drift along on a lovely cloud of joy.
4. I am grateful for a weekend of sharing the kitchen with my daughter and having my grandpuppy come looking for attention while I’m working in my office.
5. I am grateful for a mind which questions, folds, spindles and mutilates every thought or weird dream which finds its way into the twisty, windy, darkness which connects my mind, my soul and my purpose.
6. I am grateful for abundance: questions, answers, oddities, blessings, challenges, lessons, love, joy, happiness, health, harmony, peace and prosperity.

Blessed Be

And now for some shameless self-promotion:
I’d love it if you’d visit my website at http://www.shericonaway.com which contains a link to this blog and my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel. I’ve created both page and website as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” it or leave a comment! Thank you!

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