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

Posts tagged ‘release’

Learning When to Let Go

A Time to Love Enough to Let Go

Above my computer I had a picture of my daughter Jenni in a Popsicle stick frame, taken when she was in maybe 2nd grade. It’s been there so long, I’d ceased noticing it there until today. A similar one of Heather was moved to the bulletin board long ago. Today, I took the picture of Jenni down and threw it face down in the bottom drawer of my desk. I’m still purging her last act which finally forced me to accept she doesn’t want or need me as a mother, or really, as anything else in her life.

I was barely included in the birth of her daughter 10 years ago. She only called for me when they told her she needed a C-section, and her surrogate mother hadn’t had the experience. Even so, I got to see her for a minute before they wheeled her away, so rushing to her side proved pointless.

When she learned she was pregnant again in early 2019, I received a few texts until I said something (inevitably) to piss her off, effectively ending what amounted to a conversation for us. Four months later, I received another series of texts telling me she was having twin boys and giving me a due date of November. She seemed certain she’d make her due date, but as one who gave birth to twins, I knew it was more likely she’d give birth 3-4 weeks earlier.

In late October I received a text saying she’d given birth the day before, and learned indirectly that though her father had been at her side, she couldn’t be bothered to inform me until after the fact. Needless to say, I realized the past 14 years I’d spent hoping we could eventually get at least a little closer to the relationship we’d had when she was younger was pie in the sky. In short, I gave up the dream, and closed and locked the door.

Oblivious Until Necessary

So noticing her picture still hanging above my computer wasn’t even a painful reminder. It was just a reminder that I’d mentally given her permission to seek her maternal support elsewhere since it’s clearly what she wants anyway. I still admit to having given birth to twins, but at this point, I only have one daughter, and the children borne by the one no longer mine…they’re someone else’s grandchildren, not mine.

To an outsider, this might sound cold, and perhaps it is. But we all do things to protect ourselves first and foremost, even if it doesn’t always seem like it. In fact, it’s one of our greatest acts of self-love. Continuing to claim a child, albeit fully grown, as my own is an exercise in futility, and in the long run, will only cause more pain. I’m not into masochism so I take the easier path.

An old Jewish tradition involves spitting on the ground to indicate someone living is dead to you. I’m not inclined to go that far, maybe because I don’t wish her dead, nor do I deny her existence. I simply cut the cord that tied her to me as a child of my womb. At some point, I’ll box up the few things in my house which are hers in one way or another (pictures, Christmas ornaments, drawings, etc.) and send them to her, or have her sister do it. I want no reminders I had a child, or that she had someone who might have called me Grandma had we not drifted into entirely different universes.

I wish her well in the life she’s chosen, but the door I’d left open in case she decided she wanted a healthy relationship with me is not only closed but sealed over. My wall-building skills, while dormant for the last few years are still alive and well when the need arises.

Allowing Feelings of Loss

I won’t lie to you. I feel loss. I feel an emptiness where I once had a sweet, loving child. Maybe there’s even a little anger there, but it won’t live long. It’s soothed over by acceptance. She has a right to choose her own life and the people in it just as I do. Not everyone we choose will choose us. That’s life.

I look at my bulletin board now, and see other things that will come down in the weeks to come. It’s a time to purge what no longer works for me, and memories of someone who doesn’t want me in her life is one of those things that needs to go. The energy holds me back and might even block someone who’s waiting on the sidelines until I’m ready to welcome them in. Cutting a door in another spot is a lot easier than walling one up. But first I have to seal up all the cracks in the old one.

It’s funny though. As I type the words that fill this page, I’m not feeling a whole lot of anything. Maybe relief that I don’t have to keep propping that door open. Or that I don’t have to walk on eggshells if and when she contacts me. I’ve blocked the only means she’s used lately, and she’s living in another state now, rather than a mile or so away. I think I can safely say she won’t be getting in touch in the foreseeable future.

Feelings Need to Be Felt, Then Let Go

I’m not completely blind though. I experienced similar feelings of relief when my mom took her life. I’d no longer have to hear from her or deal with her criticisms. Granted, I had no choice in the matter, or any way to re-open that door. I doubt I would have as I only gained perspective decades later when I could write about it and her without her influence—at least not directly.

Like my mom, Jenni will always be in my heart. Unlike my mom, the box that holds Jenni and her memories will be locked from the outside, and buried in the file cabinets of stuff I no longer access. I still have to feel those feelings and release them, but the contents of those file cabinets are allowed out little by little, unlike the things I’m ready and able to see the lesson they taught me. If there’s a lesson in losing a child’s love and respect, I’m not ready to see what it is. I honestly don’t know if I ever will be.

So I stash away the memories, both physical and mental. If I reach a point where I am ready to see what they came to teach me, I’ll pull them out. If the Universe deems me ready, I’ll pull them out too, but a lot less willingly. I don’t have so many of those events these days, and I don’t miss them. The ones I enter into unwillingly invariably cause more pain and disruption in my life than I want or believe I need.

I guess the lesson here is we don’t get to choose our lessons. They’re given to us for a reason, even if we don’t understand the reason until decades later…if at all.

Grateful for the Experiences and the Lessons

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for the lessons, be they willing or unwilling.
  2. I’m grateful for the few years I had with my daughter Jenni. For awhile, she was both a joy and a trial. She made me laugh, she made me cry, and she made me scream with frustration; sometimes all at the same time.
  3. I’m grateful for my daughter Heather who may not always see eye to eye with me, but who teaches me so much about living a life of compassion and love.
  4. I’m grateful for friends who understand what it means to lose a living child.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, friendship, compassion, acceptance, forgiveness, peace, health, harmony, justice, freedom, 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

Recognizing Stress for the Fears it Masks

Self-Imposed Stress Inducers

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-cS691NHoliday stress. It affects each person in different ways, and for different reasons. For me, like most people, it’s a combination of things, but not what you might expect.

Cleaning stresses me out. My house is never pristine, and though I keep up with things like the kitchen and cat boxes, I am lucky to vacuum and mop once a week, much less, the two or three times my house needs because of my messy little fur balls. I’m not as bothered during the normal course of the year, but while getting ready for my annual Thanksgiving Feast, I pushed myself pretty hard to get floors and bathrooms scrubbed. As a result, my weekly cleanings suffered for a little while after as I recuperated from the frenzy; more mentally than physically.

Maintaining my writing schedule, while a labor of love can make me a little crazy during the holidays too. After Thanksgiving, it took me a couple of weeks to get back to my schedule of three weeks ahead. By then, Christmas week was looming, I had wrapping to do, and plans to make for the trip to my kids’ house. Still and all, I managed to get the wrapping done and all the paraphernalia stowed away for another year with about four days to spare; a new record!

Recognizing My Worth Via Someone Else’s Eyes

Leaving home for a few days stresses me out too. I know my home and cats are Created in Canvain good hands while I’m gone, but I do miss waking up to my own furries, especially Dylan and Pyewacket who love to sleep on my head, and wake me with kisses.

My biggest stresser, 6 years and a month into my self-employment journey is still marketing. Both my daughter and I have a hard time talking about ourselves, our strengths, and our accomplishments. She’s figured it out a little better than me, though. She roughed out what she needed for her grad school application, then sent it to me to, in her words, “fluff it out”.

What it really meant was I took what she wrote and added in some more of her relevant experience and accomplishments which triggered her to expand on them herself. It made me realize maybe I need to draft something to promote myself and give it to her to “fluff out”. She certainly sees me through more generous eyes than I do.

Learning to Focus on My Qualities

The question is, what might that be? I’ve put my second pass through LeadsLab on hold for the moment, while working on getting back on schedule with my writing projects. Maybe when I get back to it, I should write something up, then pass it on to her to inject some of the me she sees?

I admit I’m my own worst critic, and am least able to recognize the things I do well. I annoy the crap out of my daughter when I dismiss her assertions about what she thinks I’m good at. In the first place, I do her a huge disservice by dismissing her perfectly valid and objective opinions. In the second, I short-change myself. I’m not sure which hurts her more, to be honest.

Letting Go to Move Forward

The Tower from the Spiral TarotIn the weeks leading up to the New Year, I wrote a lot about changes I want to make for the new decade, and goals I want to accomplish. I think it’s also important to focus on what needs to be released. Here are a few of mine which really need to go:

  • False modesty
  • Disrespecting people by dismissing their positive opinions regarding my work and talents
  • Fear of disappointing anyone, including myself
  • Procrastination
  • Quitting before I give it a genuine, heartfelt effort
  • Letting one person’s opinion stop me in my tracks
  • Submitting to the distractions of Social Media and email

This list might be short, but each item is holding me back in many ways, and it’s time I stopped allowing excuses, fears, and outdated beliefs to stand between me and the greatness of which I’m capable.

Self-Motivating

Some say you have to either get angry enough or desperate enough before you’ll fight for what you truly want. I can see the truth in someone like J.K. Rowling who was in dire straits when she fought to get her first “Harry Potter” book published. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not asking for an external reason to get my butt in gear. It motivates some, but it doesn’t mean everyone needs an external force.

I look back over my life and see how many things I’ve accomplished on my own. I also see I could have done so much more if I’d learned to ask for help a whole lot sooner than I did. I was taught not to by a long line of ancestors. It’s been my daughter who’s helped me see what I was taught was probably my biggest self-limiting belief.

Old habits are hard, but not impossible to break. I’m still learning who and what to ask when I need help. I don’t always recognize I’m doing something which could be greatly simplified if I ask for help from the right people. I’ve also asked for help from the wrong people at times, which made me a little gun shy. Not to mention the many times I asked for help in the wrong way. Small wonder I didn’t get the results I’d hoped for, and I’ve no one to blame but myself.

Using Other People as a Mirror

https://www.flickr.com/photos/nhoulihan/4038592452/in/photolist-79SQQm-TfUffd-pgu9hJ-qfYXYE-pDVWDB-6UQgZM-KFog6C-TFYhqd-29TMHM-fP6i28-j73ZT5-atsnGd-C4HxXs-5eRdT5-YoKVff-24PBcMS-28G1ckh-AqrzL-haocsM-o1RCfj-4iigfF-6hbQxG-TCfZem-qVx4n8-U63bC7-dCTxQg-amkKyF-eiY1qF-Ct5hqm-hSGXpV-BcaCh-8c2bVB-27RWaS2-eQjYy1-cJWTgw-ehKQWJ-AJSt63-ay4RXc-cxa1zW-UFe9Vq-aC3EP1-pkL1fr-ehKSrs-qxMMJj-bvMGyV-VG1fkR-ay4Sgv-aDNaMx-aE1tNY-h7171rLife is one long learning curve with switchbacks, dead ends, and the occasional sharp, steep drop that lands you on your ass in a pile of rubble. I’ve learned the hardest part of those falls isn’t getting up afterwards. It’s finding the lesson and not giving up. It’s far too easy to say: Doing that made me crash and burn. I guess it means I’m not meant to succeed. I used that worn out excuse too often myself, and have likely missed a few amazing opportunities.

Yet I’ve learned by watching my daughter that sometimes we’re supposed to miss a few opportunities so we have time to build our confidence and get ready, not for an amazing opportunity, but for the amazing opportunity.

In spite of it all, I’ve always told my girls that when things seem to be falling apart the worst, be it a lost job, lack of opportunities, a few harsh realities smacking you in the face; if you hang in there, things always turn out better than they would have been had you not been booted out of a comfortable, if uninspiring place. My words have not proven false yet.

Timing Isn’t Everything. Starting Is.

It’s taking me a little longer to find my footing this time, but until lately, I really wasn’t putting forth a lot of effort. I wasn’t expecting much of myself. That all changed a couple of months ago, though it’s taking me a little while to hit my stride. Perhaps making major changes just before the holidays wasn’t my best choice of timing. I do, however, work best under pressure. I had to learn how to do it when the only real pressure came from inside myself.

I’d say it’s working if my jumpy stomach and anxiety over catching up on missed deadlines is any indication. At the moment, there’s absolutely no one breathing down my neck or having expectations of me. I have no one to satisfy; no external deadlines to meet.

What I do have is a Trello board full of deadlines for my own work:

  • Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday blog posts
  • Edits and postings of chapters of “Sasha’s Journey”
  • Re-writes of all but 4 chapters of “Rebuilding After Suicide”
  • Research into publishing options
  • Learning to write an effective query letter
  • Learning to create a synopsis for non-fiction
  • Publishing both books

Recognizing and Acknowledging My Support Team

https://www.flickr.com/photos/rbh/4549085259/in/photolist-TBE2Nw-p4EDEt-TtPDPz-T6fYRE-WessCa-5aopSw-7VZfyt-ihp3jf-ekkzYU-dmX7yH-9XZhkA-5aooT5-TdHezm-b2Jtm4-ekkCk7-e2akL2-ekeVB6-k52jg-W218xN-5ahpwJ-9WoYHJ-d8ZSaC-9WVckM-dmX7a8-5a2rPt-bAkTRr-5aoogS-eQjvsU-fKHzgW-VeN9y3-5aimQk-5fy8qh-e2aadv-5anCeQ-ekkB5Q-W9ExL4-9mo7Zz-VZfQY7-fKraHx-aFayE2-ekkDFA-Sn7nK9-55Kh4v-ekeSRt-bk1R1Y-9DZ7ZJ-dmX9XU-RZ7W4o-chvcYj-qwtAJXI have at least two people who’ve been kicking my butt to get these things done. One has even implied I’m depriving a lot of people of my work by failing to complete the re-write and get the darn thing published. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’m still trying to wrap my head around that one. I may have had a few experiences with people benefiting a little from the words I wrote, but not enough to make me believe my words and experiences could actually help a lot of people.

Looking back at that last paragraph, I realize it’s partly a lie I keep telling myself. I wouldn’t be driven to keep writing and sharing my own struggles if I didn’t truly believe they might help someone else who’s having a tough time. If I’m lying to myself to hold back from rushing headlong for some of the goals I set 6 years ago, it’s because I’m allowing fear to take the wheel. I talk a good story about letting fear have a voice but no voting rights and no driver’s license, but my words have no meaning if I don’t live them myself.

I think the theme for 2020 and beyond is not so much facing my fears, as living my truth.

Gratitude to Chase Away the Fears

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for the reminders to put fear back in the corner.
  2. I’m grateful for the people in my life who push me to be my best, and remind me of my worth.
  3. I’m grateful for the challenges I’ve set for myself, and how I’ve been able to rise to and even above them.
  4. I’m grateful for the physical reminders that I’m on the right path, even though it’s often scary as hell.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; supportive friends and family, topics to write about, motivation, inspiration, love, joy, productivity, health, peace, prosperity, harmony, balance, and philanthropy.

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

People, Places, and Things

Negative Attachments to People, Places, and Things

I was recently reminded how past experiences can attach themselves to people, places, and things coloring our perception without realizing it.

Since my usual dance club has been closed I’ve had to explore other options. One has been the club where I danced when my daughters were in elementary and middle school. For some reason, I’ve found a million reasons to either not dance, or go somewhere further away. Talking to a friend who goes there regularly, it finally dawned on me why.

The years I spent dancing there were tumultuous at best. My divorce, mom’s death, multiple job changes, a couple of really weird dating experiences, and a long-distance relationship. Through it all, I was angry, lonely, and depressed. In hindsight, what passed for friendships reflected the state of withdrawal I kept myself in, ostensibly to keep from getting hurt. Needless to say, going in there brings up all the old toxic waste even if I don’t realize it. Thus, old feelings of discontent and unworthiness come back to bite me in the butt.

While talking to my friend I realized it’s long past time to make new memories in an old place. And it’s time I let all the toxicity I didn’t realize I was hoarding go too.

Behavioral Memories Carried By People

I’m also discovering that new people can bring back old, painful memories. I’m particularly sensitive to the ones who thrive on drama, and even after a long hiatus, have once again attracted and unwittingly fed another one. Of course, they wear different disguises, so it takes me awhile for deja vu to kick in and tell me I’ve been here before. Still, each time it happens I seem to rebound more quickly and with less damage to my own psyche.

I recognize my own patterns. I’m attracted to someone who seemingly needs temporary emotional support. Ultimately I discover it’s an insatiable need they’ll feed, even if, as on previous occasions they have to cause me pain to feed it. This time though my red flags started waving and alarm bells started sounding more quickly. I recognized the pattern and have taken a giant step (or 10) backwards. The current production will be played out without me.

Ending My Role as a Drama Addict’s Buffet

I’ve created a peaceful life for myself. I am alone when I want to be and with friends when I want company. Most of my friends have the usual ups and downs. But occasionally someone who thrives on drama slips in and has to bounce around doing a little damage before I wise up and do emergency surgery to remove the cancerous body, preventing engagement of a tentacle or two.

I suppose I’m a rich feast for drama addicts, having been well-seasoned by my youngest daughter and quite a few others over the years. I’ve been sucked in by my own need to be helpful—to be accepted, all too often failing to recognize the tell-tale signs of someone who lives for the drama they cause. Fortunately, I do eventually learn as this particular lesson never ends well. Invariably, I’m the one who gets hurt, though I’m usually left thinking it was somehow my own fault.

I’m happy to say things are finally changing for the better. I might still play the stooge for longer than I should, but I’m learning to recognize when I’ve climbed onto another hamster wheel. I’m able to take a good, hard look around, realize I’ve been here before and say “I’m done!” But more, I’m able to mean it. I no longer need to repeat my assertions multiple times to convince myself.

Seeing the Message in the Lesson

Perhaps this time, the first step was recognizing how I’d connected a lot of painful memories with a single place, even though, in the years I spent there, it was a refuge and a sanctuary. Somehow, I managed to leave echos of the pain and frustration which colored those years in the very walls of the place without even realizing it. Now that I’ve made the connection, I can start banishing the memories so I can put an end to what’s been preventing me from joining my friends and doing what we all love most—dancing our way into joy and letting all life’s crappy parts pour off us like water off a duck.

As for the rest, I set my boundaries. I’ve learned in the last few years I have a right to expect my boundaries to be honored. I’m neither afraid nor unwilling to take rather drastic action should someone fail to respect them. I don’t see myself going there this time, but know I am able, if necessary. If nothing else, even the drama lovers in my life have more redeeming qualities these days.

People Are Constantly Entering and Leaving My Life

https://www.flickr.com/photos/rbh/4549085259/in/photolist-TBE2Nw-p4EDEt-TtPDPz-T6fYRE-WessCa-5aopSw-7VZfyt-ihp3jf-ekkzYU-dmX7yH-9XZhkA-5aooT5-TdHezm-b2Jtm4-ekkCk7-e2akL2-ekeVB6-k52jg-W218xN-5ahpwJ-9WoYHJ-d8ZSaC-9WVckM-dmX7a8-5a2rPt-bAkTRr-5aoogS-eQjvsU-fKHzgW-VeN9y3-5aimQk-5fy8qh-e2aadv-5anCeQ-ekkB5Q-W9ExL4-9mo7Zz-VZfQY7-fKraHx-aFayE2-ekkDFA-Sn7nK9-55Kh4v-ekeSRt-bk1R1Y-9DZ7ZJ-dmX9XU-RZ7W4o-chvcYj-qwtAJXI go through life forming some attachments and breaking others. Some are meant to last only a short time, others, for longer. All are meant to teach me something, even if sometimes, it’s how to walk away. Some of the lessons return over and over in different forms. I see it as a test to determine whether I’ve  truly learned the lesson, or only learned it for one set of circumstances.

I’ve been faced with drama addicts in so many different scenarios, I’ve lost count. It’s taken me a long time to learn to recognize the signs, and I still fall victim for a little while, every now and then. The difference now is figuring it out and extricating myself long before I suffer any real pain or damage myself. Maybe I’ve learned to withhold the part of myself that is most likely to get hurt until I am certain it’s not another lesson? I can’t really say. I just know my drama meter is becoming nearly as sensitive as my BS meter now. And for that, I’m grateful.

I Still Love the Drama Lovers in My Life, But Cautiously

There will always be people who feed on drama: their own, yours, mine, ours, https://www.flickr.com/photos/philleara/7246573430/in/photolist-c3mzPd-djJiUe-oajKtQ-djJjmv-djJjLR-oapGkZ-djJjb9-djJj5F-cntb2u-7Y2xWm-cntayf-c3mLB3-n329S-7XYhYD-cntbhs-TCrSUz-gg7DZE-gg7XMV-6Ak5ks-9a2C7g-djJjz6-cntb85-rCKS6-cntag1-azBhou-3oXQYc-cnta8q-cntaL7-ocbPjv-oa7hn8-fJm576-baRPgp-7Y2xp7-8ommnm-bA1QHR-cnt9j1-dmywKj-7Y2x7b-4vwAew-aAPJwq-oa7iJB-cnt9xu-2FtNgi-gunWiW-hLgWLK-e4kv6P-2FtPvB-9GPQLh-4vsuDF-baRMyvthe world’s…whatever they can get. They’re not bad or evil per se. They simply need a particular type of high. For some, it’s extreme sports. For others, it’s volunteering their time to help someone less fortunate. For these folks, it’s drama.

I’ve learned to love and appreciate a peaceful life. That doesn’t mean there aren’t ups and downs, but I’ve lived my share of extremes, and my slopes are smoother and less drastic these days. Just the way I’ve come to like it. But there are people who need extremes. I suspect there were times in my life I needed them too, to remind me how to feel. Or more accurately, to break through my miles deep walls so I could feel; something, anything, good or bad.

I need no such reminders now. What I do need is to purge those old, battle worn feelings from the places I used to go. As I’ve said in other posts, there’s a time to cut out old reactions and responses and replace them with happier memories—not only inside ourselves, but with people, places, and even things.

Gratitude Will Always Be the Most Effective Tool in My Toolbox

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for opportunities to improve on myself.
  2. I’m grateful for epiphanies which help me direct my energies better.
  3. I’m grateful for friends who help me figure out my blocks.
  4. I’m grateful for tests which help me see where I still have a lot to learn, or where I’ve come far.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, friendship, hope, joy, inspiration, motivation, health, harmony, peace, 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

Healing Through Laughter

Finding New Ways to Heal

Created with CanvaAfter spending an evening with friends playing a rather raucous game of Mexican Train, it occurred to me, especially in light of recent events in our neck of the woods, that we all need more laughter. I didn’t even mind being a last-minute addition to the party. The company was warm and loving, and the banter kept us all laughing and playing along. I left feeling warm, loved, and most of all, uplifted.

Of late, I’ve been feeling especially worn out, fatigued, drained, and even short of breath. I’m sure a lot of it has to do with handling the emotional trauma both within and around me. Some gatherings seem to be more of a chore to stay positive and upbeat, and I can see how others around me are forcing more than allowing. I feel it as a drain on my own energy, and haven’t been good about protecting my own space. I want to help those around me, but realize I’ve let my own resources run down.

The answer is more time spent just being, and finding humor in the little things. Laughter, after all is the greatest healer.

Continued Support From Our Community

For my extended family, dancing has been our happy place, with some of us, for decades. We are still dancing and hugging and sharing, but deep down inside, we all feel it; it’s not the same. Our home is unavailable and we’re, as one woman put it, always the visiting team. Some wonderful people have opened doors and arms to us, and we’re extremely grateful to them for their generosity. But as the weeks stretch to months, the feeling is unanimous. We want to go home.

It still remains to be seen, if, when, and even where that might happen. In the meantime, a couple of clubs have been opened up to accommodate two of our regular nights. The Sunland Winery, which welcomed us in December is on our schedule once a month (though many of us wish it were more). Road trips to more distant venues are planned and well-attended. Larger and larger groups are making time to go to a smaller local club to line dance and even get in a little two-stepping and West Coast Swing.

Small, Intimate Gatherings Speed the Healing

But I think the ones which help the most are the smaller, more intimate gatherings which seem to be gaining in popularity. They’re times when we seem to allow ourselves to feel whatever we’re feeling, express our hopes, doubts, and concerns, and care about each other unreservedly.

They’re nights filled with laughter and good humor. With listening to each others’ struggles and offering support. Even a few light-hearted matchmaking attempts are starting to surface. It all expresses the love and caring of a family that’s been torn asunder by tragedy, but refuses to be kept down.

As I type this, I’m thinking about scheduling a night of my own, and of course, my mind flips over to the menu. (I do love to cook for friends). At a recent event, the fare was simple but delicious; a chicken and noodle casserole, garlic bread, salad, and garlic sauteed green beans. I particularly liked the idea of something in a pan, and my mind turned to lasagna.

The recipe I use typically takes a couple of days as the sauce has to be made first, but it’s been a long time since I made it, and wouldn’t typically make a pan just for me. It’s a great excuse to do something I love for the people I love, and to host an evening of laughter and companionship. Thought becomes things, and by the time this publishes, the event will have been scheduled, come, and gone. The details and the laughs will likely prove fodder for another post.

Sometimes, You Just Have to Make the Effort

I’m trying hard to get out more, even if it’s to places I’m not especially fond of. It’s really not about the venue right now, but about the people and of course, the dancing. I’m finding I don’t even mind standing on the sidelines, listening to the music, chatting with the people nearby, and only dancing a couple of dances. I just need to be out being, doing, living.

Still, there are days when I need to stay inside with my cats, away from people and the energy they emit. I’m still tiring easily, and I know part of it is my screwed up dance schedule. But some of it could simply be what we all struggle with: letting go of what no longer serves us.

Sometimes, You Have to Let Go

We had a beautiful lunar eclipse with January’s full moon. It left me thinking about what I need to release (after a night of crazy, disturbing dreams). I guess I should be grateful the night was overcast so the moon didn’t keep me awake half the night. Typically, with the full moon, I have to turn and sleep with my head at the foot of the bed because the brightness shines through my window and makes my eyes pop back open every few minutes.

With regard to current circumstances, here are a few things I can release which are getting in the way of my happiness:

  • Dependence on a specific place to dance to be happy just dancing
  • Unwillingness to go out on nights which weren’t my regular dance nights
  • Excessive concern over inviting people into my less-than-perfect home
  • Resistance to cleaning
  • Laziness in general

It may not seem like a lot to many, but they are things I know stand in my way. There are plenty of other things I need to release regarding my writing and my business, but that’s not the reason for this post, so I’ll leave it for another (and heaven knows, I need ideas for February now that January is “in the can”, to borrow a line from old movie speak).

Making the Most of Our Opportunities

Releasing anything which keeps us from finding joy in laughter, companionship, intimate and not-so-intimate gatherings, and even embracing change are essential when we’re dealing with circumstances beyond our control. We need to accept that we can’t return to what we know, at least for the moment, and do our best to create new spaces, new activities in which to find the joy, laughter, and exercise we currently lack.

I’m grateful for two of the dance instructors who’ve opened their homes to us in the last couple of months. Without them, we’d have had many more dance-less weeks in those immediately following the shooting at Borderline. They’ve kept us together in mind, body, and spirit at a time when we all needed it most.

We’ve celebrated many occasions inside the walls of Borderline; birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, births; and those memories won’t fade away. But when we put it all together, we’ve created a family who is strong and resilient, and will find ways to stay together, not only for the short time we’re scattered to the winds, but for the long haul as well. We have so much more laughter, joy, hugs, and dancing to give and do. And maybe we needed to get shaken out of those four walls to discover how much we truly have? (though it sure could have happened in a less horrific way!)

Facing Each Day With Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the family which is finding new and unique ways to stay together.
  2. I am grateful for the friendships I’ve formed which fill me rather than draining me.
  3. I am grateful I’ve learned that being myself is far more attractive than trying to be someone I think people would like.
  4. I am grateful for all the people who are keeping the love, laughter, and dancing going during a truly difficult time.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; joy, laughter, dancing, loving, health, harmony, peace, inspiration, motivation, energy, synergy, 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

Obsessions Born in Childhood

Where Are Our Obsessions Born?

created with CanvaMany of us have something in our lives we can’t seem to get enough of, but did you ever stop to wonder why?

One of the things I find myself stockpiling is comforters. When I was young, my mom believed in bedspreads, but never comforters. I love snuggling into them on cold nights, or sleeping on top of their fluffy softness when it’s warmer. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I even had a bedspread on my bed! I seem to have passed this and a few other obsessions on to my daughter. Often, we’ll exchange comforters on Christmas (when she isn’t adding to my custom blanket collection!).

Years ago I had a friend who said his mother only let him own a couple of pairs of underwear and socks, while she spent thousands on beauty products for herself. As an adult, he had one of the largest underwear and sock collections I’ve ever seen in a man, and was always buying more.

Feelings of Deprivation

My mother also believed the only thing a girl needed was white bras. She herself might have created with Canvahad a couple in beige and black, but my sister and I only got white ones. Like my friend the underwear fanatic, I have a drawer full of bras in a rainbow of colors, but maybe one in white and another in beige for those rare times I buy a shirt that isn’t a bright color itself.

Whether or not my friend or I were actually deprived as kids, or just believed we were is immaterial. The fact that we believed we did without to the point of overcompensating as adults is what matters to us now. I may have slowed down acquisitions in recent years since you can only use so many comforters at once, or wear so many bras in a week. But it doesn’t mean I don’t browse the Kohl’s ads when those things go on sale.

Recognizing the Resentment Behind Our Obsessions

Underlying our obsessions is more than a fair amount of resentment towards, in both examples, our mothers. In my case, it was probably a large part of why I took so long to allow myself to grieve her death. As long as I held onto the resentment, I didn’t acknowledge or accept my need or even my right to grieve. The resentment justified my initial relief that she’d no longer be nagging or making me crazy with her suggestions to improve my life.

Those nagging, hurtful, helpful comments still give me pause. Looking at myself in the mirror at the gym the other day, I noticed my face was looking dull and mucky. It brought to mind a visit to mom’s house. She looked at me and said:

“Your skin looks muddy. Go in the bathroom and wash your face.”

Although I followed her instructions, I spent the rest of the visit like so many others; resenting her interference and her unkind observation. I know now she meant to be helpful, but she didn’t seem to know how to communicate kindness to me, nor did I know how to hear it from her.

Healing To Release Both Physical and Emotional Baggage

created with CanvaAs with everything else, letting go of old hurts is a process, especially when those hurts began before you were even old enough to remember. With each chink in my armor, each bit of mortar I remove from my walls, each brick I finally break loose, I find more pieces of resentment, hurt feelings, deep-seated emotional pain, and trauma. With each new discovery, I have to restart the process of accepting, acknowledging, releasing, and forgiving which I’ve learned is  the only way to truly expunge the old baggage holding us back from achieving the dreams we imagine.

Those resentments and hurts are like sandbags on a hot air balloon. In order to lift from the ground, you either need more hot air or less sandbags. Sometimes it’s a toss-up as to which is easier to accomplish. Some of those sandbags have been part of our lives for so long, they’ve practically fossilized. In some cases, we even mistakenly believe we have to remove them intact.

Gently or Roughly; Only We Know How to Make Changes to Ourselves

Breaking our fossilized baggage into more manageable chunks is often the more practical solution. But emotions and feelings are rarely something we approach with practicality as the motivator or key guideline.

In some cases, we want to rip off the bandage or cut off the offending part as quickly as possible with no concern for the pain and upheaval removal by force will cause. In others, we prefer to remove past events with surgical precision, making sure we keep the damaged piece intact as if we plan on displaying it in our personal museum.

Neither method is right or wrong. You won’t make peace with yourself more quickly with one than the other. Most of all, it isn’t for anyone else to tell you how to get the job done, or even when it’s time to release another piece.

Learning to Look Without Reacting

https://www.flickr.com/photos/dainec/3687658810/in/photolist-bEPm7E-934mpF-6fYkU-e4uZVD-e4AAXW-e4AAV3-6BSduj-3gGWHE-qeDbXE-qeGvKg-Embmi-pXhj22-4azrtU-pwagx-7HXhbQ-z5BPMY-z5BJvW-s12vnBIt’s kind of like looking at the Kohl’s ad, then looking at the pile of comforters in my closet, reminding myself I no longer need to add to the collection. Or opening my overflowing drawer of rainbow-hued bras and realizing I don’t even wear the ones I have often enough to wear them out since I spend my working hours 10 steps from where I sleep, making them superfluous unless I’m going out.

It’s looking at a drawer full of matched and mis-matched socks, knowing it’s time to weed out some of the accumulation and make room for better things I’ll actually use, or at least allow me to see what I have that’s still useful. Sorting through our old baggage is much the same. One day, we look at the closet and realize there’s clutter. We’re finding it difficult to find what we’re looking for because we have to dig through a lot of stuff we haven’t used in ages, and no longer need.

Clear the Physical Along With the Emotional

At that point, we begin cleaning out our emotional cupboard, sorting through things which Created with Canvahave outlived their usefulness and are holding us back from the greatness we deserve. We decide which ones we’ll rip out like a loose tooth, and which we’ll untangle carefully, making sure we don’t damage any of the pieces as we work out the knots.

Sometimes, we need to clear emotions which have become entangled in those knots or woven into the fabric of our life as we go. Those are the ones which require delicacy because they’ve wrapped tendrils around things we want to keep; feelings which make us smile or feel all warm inside.

Asking for Help

Our main concern is knowing when it’s time to let things go, and doing whatever we need to. It may be talking to a friend or a coach. It might be giving yourself a retreat of some kind where you spend time alone in self-reflection. For some, it’s physical activity like hiking, dancing, cycling, or lifting weights. For others, a quiet stroll through the forest or burrowing into a pile of blankets with a good book and their pets.

Wherever you find yourself on this continuum, please, let yourself release some of the crap you’re carrying. Allow time to dig in and see what you’ve finished with and need to let go. Reach out for help if you need it, and even if you think you don’t. You don’t realize sometimes how much you’re holding yourself back until you take an honest look at why you’re standing still.

Above All, Know You Are Worth the Effort

I, myself battle with huge insecurities regarding my writing. I admitted to my coach I’ve probably written over a million words in the last 9 or 10 years, but still struggle with believing in myself as a writer. From where she sits, it’s hard to believe, but here, behind all my own demons, both exorcised and not, a few remain who don’t have to work too hard to convince me I’m unworthy. At least I’ve reached the point where I know they have to go, and can start taking the necessary steps to identify and eradicate those who are still getting in the way of me and my dreams.

How can I help you start identifying and releasing your own demons? I’ve learned a few things in the years I’ve been working on mine, and would be happy to share some of the things that worked—and a few that didn’t. Don’t hide. Leave me a comment and start getting out of your own way.

Gratitude: The Strongest Tool in Our Arsenal

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful I discovered I could combine my love of writing with the road to achieving my dreams.
  2. I’m grateful for friends who’ve opened their hearts, shared their experiences, and helped me heal.
  3. I’m grateful for my coach, my daughter, and numerous friends who are continually making me see I am worthy, I am talented, and I do have expertise in an area or two.
  4. I’m grateful for the inspiration which keeps me writing 3 posts a week for myself, and helping others express their true, vulnerable, beautiful selves as well. This truly is living my dream.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; inspiration, motivation, love, friendship, dancing, community, demanding furballs, persistence, 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

Random Thoughts While Waiting for the Start of #Nanowrimo2015

Remember to Allow

With NaNoWriMo only hours away, I was becoming rather frantic as I had no story, no characters and no idea how I was going to come up with 50,000 words about nothing. I turned to the many inspirational messages I find on my Facebook news feed. Though not 100% successful, I’ve managed to attract more positive affirmations than anything else lately.

The first message which caught my attention recommended relaxing and not trying so hard. Check. Stop freaking out about not having a story. I went into my meditation focusing on staying in the moment and being true to myself. Not 10 minutes in, the story idea hit me right between the eyes. It was so vivid and alive I wanted to start writing then and there, but knew I had to wait. So I let the meditation continue and the story development went on, giving me a plot, some back story, the main character and a supporting one. It also gave me several scenes in rough form to be fleshed out later as my Muse sees fit.

Later in the day, I ran across a post which talked about thinking of yourself as desirable. I wish I’d re-posted it so it would show on my own page as I can no longer find it. The gist of the post was that you will attract others to you when you believe you are desirable, likable or any other -able which will ultimately draw the kind of people you want to be with and, in fact want to be.

I was already feeling pretty good about dancing tonight because Thursday was unusual in that there were more single men than usual and less single women to take up all the dance partners. Needless to say, I danced until my feet were too sore to keep going and was extremely grateful for such an amazing dance night.

Somewhere between reading about thinking of myself as desirable and the glow from Thursday night’s dancing, the Universe was listening and gave me another night of particularly excellent dancing. I even got to do my favorite couples dance with a partner for a change!

In Conclusion…

From where I sit, this was a day when I attracted exactly what I wanted and needed. My blessings are accumulating so rapidly, all I can do is sit back and enjoy the flow of positive, beneficial energy. It isn’t every day that things fall into place so neatly, nor would it be healthy if they did. The most valuable lessons come when we have a little adversity, a little challenge in our lives. Being given the opportunity to rise to the occasion is a blessing unto itself and I wouldn’t trade the pleasure I feel from overcoming adversity for all of the easy days in the world.

I am at least as grateful for the days when things seem to come together effortlessly as I am for the days when I have to push past the frustration and the failed attempts until I reach the attempt that works. By the time I do reach that point, I’ve learned to discern between something which simply works and something which adds to the stability of my foundation. I’ve learned that the best answer may not be the easiest nor the first one you find that works. You have to be willing to ask the tough questions and to fail again and again until all of the cogs line up and the system is stable enough to survive an 8.2 earthquake. Only then will you have arrived at the answer which will yield the results you really want and still be flexible enough to adapt when the inevitable happens and the world changes around you.

Be Good to You

It’s so easy to get caught up in the challenges in our lives, whether it’s our family, money, a job, a relationship…the list is endless. The way to live rather than merely surviving is not. Make it a point to look yourself in the eye whenever you’re near a mirror. Whether you’re washing your hands or brushing your teeth. Combing your hair or just passing through, take an extra second or two to say something nice to yourself; to tell yourself how beautiful, special, talented, desirable, sexy, lovable…worthy you are. You are all of these things and more, and deserve to hear it every single day. Give yourself this gift and you will see miracles.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for all of the blessings in my life.
2. I am grateful for all of the challenges I have overcome, and those which I have not yet discovered.
3. I am grateful for the advice which made me relax and allow my Muse to do what she does best.
4. I am grateful for the Inklings who convinced me to do another NaNo even though I thought I wasn’t ready.
5. I am grateful for abundance; dancing, friendship, joy, laughter, inspiration, motivation, peace, harmony, allowing, releasing, accepting, health, philanthropy and prosperity.

Blessed Be

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

Taking Control of Obsessive Thinking

Turning the Tables on Obsessive Loops

I am an obsessive thinker. I see something that interests me and I think about it constantly. I imagine myself having it. I create conversations. I develop entire scenarios, all the while telling myself that because I’m making such a big deal about it, it isn’t really meant to be. I’m especially bad when it’s a person I’d like to meet. I’m my own self-fulfilling prophecy of failure.

This may be surprising coming from someone who walks the Laws of Attraction walk. I’ve made it work in so many areas of my life, but there are a still a couple where my in-bred insecurities take over. The most prominent is interpersonal relations. While I’d like imitate some of my friends who’ve never met a stranger, I’m more the “the world is a scary place!” kind when it comes to other humans.

Moving my Brain into a Quieter Place

It has been said that the best way to cure an addiction or, in this case, an obsession is to recognize the problem. During today’s meditation, that’s exactly what I did. After giving my current obsession a few minutes to spin itself around, I pressed the mental pause button. Then, I tried a few words to see how they made me feel. The first word was ‘Accept’. As soon as it formed in my thoughts, most of the tension in my body released. The second word was, coincidentally, ‘Release’. Again, I felt some of the remaining tension fade away. Finally, I gave my easing mind the word ‘Allow’.

As the last of the tension left my body, I smiled as I listened to a bird chirping loudly on my patio. I drifted on the winds I could hear stirring the leaves on the tree in my front yard. And I sank into the sounds of Scrappy Doo purring on my lap and Toby snuffle-snoring on the other end of the sofa.

My entire being was saying I like this place of accepting, allowing and releasing. It’s much nicer than that other place whose name I dare not utter lest I break the peace we’ve created.

Have I stopped my obsessive thinking for good? Have I ended the self-limiting thinking? Probably not. What I have done is given myself a tool to use when those thoughts start creeping in and gumming up the works. Like any healthy habit, it will take practice and repetition, but the memory of the change it wrought in just one application will motivate me to continue.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for met deadlines.
2. I am grateful for progress on several projects today.
3. I am grateful for the company of my kitties.
4. I am grateful for continued healthy eating and food tracking.
5. I am grateful for abundance; productivity, health, peace, harmony, love, friendship, motivation, prosperity and philanthropy.

Blessed Be

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

 

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