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

Posts tagged ‘reminders’

Detaching from Other Peoples’ Drama

OP Drama is Exhausting!

https://www.flickr.com/photos/prestonrhea/5236270625/in/photolist-8YHfQ2-4X1dP6-P58XGS-dmtrwi-2pMKC-nC1YD-QxGsf-q4rWqa-8HeDZc-o8pVg-8mXR4g-o7nP7c-8jQqTQ-bPxsQc-dJusGN-78jLU7-98LY1P-dYGYNq-cgtYSu-cgu1F7-7rMJ9R-6z6KQA-6VuMG-6Jfxqk-4bbwMg-dmtxds-9Rf6xQ-v8gDMa-9PqETD-4MsUzv-ptUKap-a2BfLR-4UtU1B-4UtSun-5dBS8k-7eGxtr-7nUbqa-7nUbW8-fBZ3S4-5M1h3P-8DYirc-8E2uBh-6r2V98-7oFgff-7oBon2-7oBpbn-7oBoG6-7oFfRo-vPhUL-jk3BYpFor the last few days I’ve felt lazy, withdrawn, and disinclined to make even the slightest effort to clean, complete tasks I’ve set myself, or even move. Instead, I’ve felt a need to connect with the Earth physically and at length to the point where I’ve moved my daily meditation from the couch in my living room to a blanket spread on the grass in my backyard.

I couldn’t figure out whether I was being affected by malaise, moon phase, or geomagnetic storms. Ultimately I realized that while any or all may be factors, the simple truth was I’d allowed myself, once again to be drawn into someone else’s drama. I know better. I tell myself every time to run the other way when I see drama looming. But friendship and a misplaced sense of responsibility always get in my way.

Revisiting Our Lessons

I suppose the lesson keeps repeating itself because I haven’t mastered it yet. Hell, I haven’t even gotten past elementary school with this one, if truth be told. But my energy body knows and has initiated a shut-down, preventing me from making plans away from home or doing more than thinking, meditating, or napping until I get this sorted out.

Part of the sorting will be posts like this, some will be meditation, and some will be as simple as cleaning the house and doing some self-care. Yet interestingly enough, as soon as I recognized the problem and began writing about it, I felt a burst of energy and started getting some of the things done I’d been neglecting since this bought of “drama flu” came on.

Finding My Cure in Nature

I’m grateful the weather has cleared, at least temporarily, allowing me to lay out on the back lawn, work with the window open, and watch, hear, and smell nature at her finest while I work. For the last couple of days, I’ve been delighting in the feel of the wind playing with my hair, the sight of painted lady butterflies passing through my yard in their usual meandering way, and feeling the sun warming my skin. The resident raven is taunting the cats from his perch in the tree outside my office window.

Interestingly enough, my normally noisy neighborhood is unusually lacking in sounds like lawn mowers, leaf blowers, revving engines, and air tools. Somehow, everything is aligned for me to free myself from the web of drama and do things useful, creative, or both.

Reminders to Detach and Reconnect with What Matters

It’s not unusual to get not-so-subtle reminders of a lesson which has yet to be learned. But Created with Canvararely have I noticed circumstances aligning quite this well for me to gather my resources and focus on the lesson. The cleaning I still need to do is perfect for getting some thinking done as it’s automatic and mindless. The weather is perfect for reconnecting with the Earth. My schedule has nothing in it which must be done in the next 2 days.

I’ve seen how the drama affected some of the people concerned with illness and fatigue. I neither want nor need to take myself down that far. It did take me through a couple of days of less-than-healthy eating. This morning, my weight and blood pressure gave me a pointed reminder I needed to get back on track, though I’d figured it out last night and made a big healthy salad. (of course, by the time you’re reading this, it’ll be a couple of weeks after the fact, but sometimes it’s hard to write in the past when it’s Now).

Catching On More Quickly These Days

It’s taken a lot of years and many painful reminders, but now I’m liable to respond to subtle hints long before I reach the point where a Universal head slap is required. I may be slow, but I am averse to pain. Hit me enough times over the same thing, and I’ll start paying attention. I may still fall into the same old pattern and need reminders, but at least I don’t need the ones that lay me out flat, rubbing my poor, bruised head and wondering what I did this time.

The truth is, I care deeply about my friends and hate seeing them get hurt or abused. But in the last few years, the friendships I’ve built have been with strong, resilient people like me. They don’t need me to absorb any of the negative energy or take on any of the drama they might be temporarily immersed in. They can take care of themselves, with perhaps a little moral support. In fact, I’m probably doing more harm than good by letting myself get sucked in.

Giving People Credit for Their Own Strength and Resilience

Sometimes, the best thing we can do is to step back and let things unfold without our Created with Canvaobservation or influence. As I tell my cats sometimes “go find something else to do for awhile”. Like them, I’m more in the way and hindering progress right now, though my friends may be too kind to tell me so outright. If I stop trying to fix things, I’ll realize they’re pulling back and sharing less with me right now; a subtle reminder my help isn’t needed a this point.

They’ve got this, and I’m not helping by worrying and fretting, nor by getting annoyed at the person they’re managing quite well on their own. In short, it isn’t my problem to solve or boundaries to set, it’s theirs. If I keep trying to make it mine, I’ll end up making an ass of myself and having to step back and regroup anyway, so I might as well do it beforehand. Truth be told, I have enough going on in my own life. I don’t need to take on anyone else’s anyway.

Even if I could, they are far better suited to handle what comes their way than I am. They’ve traveled the pathways which gave them the tools they now carry just as I’ve walked my own. (Yet another lesson I’ve yet to master?) Maybe I need another affirmation for my ever-growing collection:

I will attend to my own life and stay out of other peoples’ drama

Stepping Back and Being Grateful

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for Universal reminders which come without head slaps.
  2. I am grateful for a loving heart to give to my friends and family, but also grateful I can limit what I give and what I allow myself to take on.
  3. I am grateful for a lifestyle which allows me time to step back and regroup.
  4. I am grateful for choices.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; a life well-lived, inspiration, friends, family, joy, laughter, wit, a strong sense of humor, motivation, energy, love, 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

 

Viewing Mom’s Suicide From Dad’s Point of View

The Man I Didn’t Know, the Point of View Not Considered

For the last few years I’ve written at length about my own healing journey following the suicides of my parents, the familial wounds it brought up and the processes I’ve learned to not only cope, but reach an understanding of mom’s life and reasons for leaving when she did. I thought I’d come to terms with dad’s more obvious reasons (health-related) until recently when other aspects of our relationship rose up and bit me in the butt.

What I never considered was how dad was coping in the 10 years between his and mom’s deaths—until now.

In the back of my mind I vaguely recall him getting a prescription for anti-depressants. To be honest, I had enough problems of my own between my divorce, my 6-year-old daughters who’d just lost their only grandmother, and trying to at least appear to be a normal, functioning adult. Once the details of the funeral were worked out and I’d helped clear out my mom’s clothes and a large part of her kitchen, I left my dad in the hands of his close friends. At least he had some.

We Often Hide The Most From Those We Love

Aside from finding his wife’s cold, dead body in the bed they’d shared for over 40 years, I’d have said dad was in better shape to cope with the aftermath than his eldest daughter. He had close friends who didn’t run away or have vapors over losing his wife to suicide. To my knowledge, the only ones who asked stupid, insensitive questions were the same family members who removed themselves from my life for over two decades.

I know dad stayed in contact with some of them for awhile, but as I wasn’t making an effort to keep in touch, didn’t see a reason to ask him about them. I was neither ready, willing, nor able to defend my mother or her actions to them. I certainly didn’t need to listen to people speculating or drawing unkind conclusions in my presence.

Living With Constant Reminders

Looking back now from a place where many of the demons have been put to rest, I realize I’m https://www.flickr.com/photos/chrisyarzab/40513877112/in/photolist-24J5dbC-xLBnC-qDMybP-8uuvzF-er1tf-8S5Btn-5NYfwV-LihYBt-g4kBQ-S442nL-ceYb9U-g5JpWL-jTQZz6-cfHP9u-fauq5P-ahCCN2-isiMDz-6ViLeY-2EJXG4-HC2MUT-BU26S-5jegSL-VYGMA1-5j9Xzn-eB4adY-nBPSrp-5j9ZhH-dkoQLa-nbdfPZ-4FD4L1-dZ3Vjx-mbSGYM-dsW4Bs-6w75Kx-7sZRqK-8KRTG2-Mysc7N-LM2cLA-eXrUyD-faz3Az-dAR84B-8S8Fa7-7hKbWd-pYwhq-z2MhH-6jxdb7-261SwZS-ee4Pp7-vv8vw-8TKhq3guilty of abandoning my dad when he probably could have used my support. And yet, by his very nature, he’d taught me not to offer. So I ignored the cries for help as they came from a place so rusty with disuse, they were barely audible to the most sensitive of ears. Where my dad was concerned, mine had long been desensitized at his insistence. He didn’t know how to reach out to me any more than I knew how to recognize a need and reach out to him.

Still, I wonder how he was able to remain sane while living in the last house they’d shared, and sleeping in the bed where she’d died. Mom’s presence in everything he saw and touched were a constant reminder of what he’d lost and where he most likely believed he’d failed.

I suspect for awhile it was touch and go and he spent a lot of sleepless nights either in his recliner, on the couch, or in the guest room where my daughters used to sleep when they visited. None of the options could have been comfortable for him at 6’1″ but the bed he never saw fit to replace had to be more uncomfortable, if for different reasons.

Coping in the Only Way He Knew How

Dad had always consumed his fair share of alcohol, and smoked heavily except for one brief attempt to quit. I know he buried his pain in both, self-medicating alone and with his friends. I’m pretty sure at least the cigarettes contributed to his declining health, though he kept me blissfully unaware. Never one to share his troubles, though, dad got harder and harder to be around as time went on.

Some of it was his deteriorating health; emphysema, a botched eye surgery, and ultimately the lung cancer which contributed to his decision to end his own life. He covered it by complaining about people and occasionally the eye surgery. His teasing took on a harder edge though it took me a lot more years to recognize the cruelty in his taunts. I’d learned to accept his unkindness towards me as affection, never questioning or expecting anything more.

A Distorted Kind of Love

Sure, it bothered me he treated others better than he treated me, but growing up with a skewed and broken version of love, I took my pain and buried it deep, just as I’d been taught. My dad was a true master at hiding his misery. As far as I know, the trait ran back many generations in his family.

Looking back, the trait didn’t serve him very well in the years after mom died. Everything he buried ate away at him, until dis-ease ran rampant in his body leaving him wracked with constant, inescapable pain. He dealt with it in the only ways he knew how; drinking, smoking, and complaining about other people’s behavior.

By then, I was starting to turn my life around. I was letting go of a lot of ugliness, including many of the people in my life. I was learning to love myself and appreciate who I was, warts and all. Being around dad drained me and had me thinking judgmentally when I no longer wanted to. How was I to know it was the only way he knew how to connect with me?

Blinded By His Negativity

https://www.flickr.com/photos/augustbrill/5025448773/in/photolist-8E5JQv-bj2Q3-buZES-NosS3S-bE9C2-8NP6x3-oKBJYc-7yxvUJ-4eRexw-28mE1ch-5tW6Kf-f2JEoo-acCwSd-eajL56-paxFhz-4cv8b7-7yxvw5-7D7azC-ofd2U1-4jX86v-cLpNW-7yxvPb-7yxvS7-6hKsj7-7ytH5n-6ZkEpv-nxKqWs-pz4SNk-8HDCce-gT2U3W-7AkeTX-5hzA7T-5hDXEh-fjpMeq-ceoQ2-5hzAiF-51qGYK-ceoza-51qFRM-9vkmV9-5v6EqD-ceoGA-51uTs5-51uSJo-8NP6zA-51qEZx-7zy4Hg-ceoKc-ceorH-w9TTqI’ll never comprehend the hell my dad went through in the last 10 years of his life. I expended more effort avoiding his dark outlook and unrelenting misery, not because I didn’t care, but because I had no idea how to help, or make things better for him. And because it took so much out of me to spend time with him.

I suspect he went through many of the same emotions I did; blame, guilt, shame, grief. I’m reasonably sure he tried to drown them in a bottle without much success. With no idea how to deal with anyone’s emotions, much less his own, he probably let them fester for awhile, just as I did, falling deeper and deeper into his own personal pit of despair.

He functioned for awhile until things had broken down enough to make him feel it was no longer worth the effort. Then he ended it in the only way he knew how, with an apology to his girlfriend, while leaving the resulting mess for his daughters to resolve. I guess he felt he didn’t owe us explanation or apology because we never realized he might need us. In his cancer-riddled body and mind, I think he believed we’d failed him.

Years of Emotional Rejection Can Be Reversed

I can’t speak for my sister, but I honestly believed I was giving him exactly what he wanted; what he’d taught me to give. I’m incredibly grateful I eventually learned there was more to life and love than what he and my mother were able to share and teach.

Jumping off from where my parents’ lessons ended, I’ve gained so much, not the least of which is a circle of friends who accept me for my own actions and don’t judge my by anything my family might have done.

Feeling Incredibly Grateful

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the lessons my parents weren’t able to teach me.
  2. I am grateful for the ability to temper the anger and hurt I’ve recently discovered with compassion and understanding.
  3. I am grateful for finding the rainbow in every storm cloud.
  4. I am grateful for an amazing, supportive, compassionate circle of friends who, until the last couple of years, I had no idea I even deserved.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, opportunities, joy, friendship, harmony, peace, health, positivity, inspiration, motivation, 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

January 18, 2015 What is decluttering, really? Expanding my scope and simplifying my life.

Learning to think outside my cluttered box.

Today was a new adventure. I ventured into my LinkedIn account and started looking at the companies and groups I’ve been following. ACK! I’d spent the last year reinventing myself as a writer, yet over half of my LinkedIn groups were still about Finance, Accounting, Contract Management and Government Contracting. Time for a purge! If I want to be seen as the writer I am, I need to stop hanging with the counters of beans, even virtually.

Between the cracked pipe joint and subsequent re-flooding of the garage when I discovered, albeit belatedly, that the plumber had neglected to put the drain hose from the washing machine back into the laundry sink, the floor is now squeaky clean and much of the debris has been swept away. Even the kitchen floor, with its own share of the broken pipe flooding is rather the better for the experience. All of this flowing water made me realize that there is still much that I need to wash out of my life; much that needs a good purge, or maybe just a flush. (love these water references!)

I’ve discovered that our physical clutter is simply a physical representation of how we sit energetically.

There are times it would be nice to be able to just pull a plug and flush away all of the crap in our lives. We could let all of the unwanted detritus we accumulate through day to day living just spin down the drain and into some cosmic recycling plant. All of the emotional baggage we just can’t seem to part with; all of the hopes and dreams we never manifested and, in fact, found weren’t what we truly wanted; all of those crazy thoughts which fill up our brain but serve no purpose other than to take up space and make it difficult to retrieve the important things quickly. Those are the things we gather close to us and reflect in our outer environment.

Sure, cleaning up the outside is important, and it is not my intention to belittle the process. But just as the Universe steps in when we need to fix something in our lives, it can also do so subtly (or what it might consider subtly, given its inclination for head slaps!) by moving things around in our physical lives. If we pay attention, we’ll understand that this is a sign that we need to do some energetic and emotional house cleaning as well.

The last week or so has brought me a variety of reminders. I got flooded floors. I got a grumbly stomach which may or may not approve of what I’ve been eating. I’ve gotten days in a row when I needed to get up and moving more quickly than has been my usual. I even got some work I wasn’t expecting. But it all served to accomplish one thing. I need to get things out of the way before the real floodgates open. I need to get any bookwork that’s still hanging finished in the early part of this week (accounting stuff, that is) as I’m going to need the rest of the week to focus on what is truly important these days: writing and revising.

I’ve also committed to reviewing someone else’s children’s book and cleaning up mine for her review. Then, there’s the writers’ group I joined.  I need to clean up a chapter or two from “Sasha’s Journey” so I can submit that for critique! And if that wasn’t enough, I figured out a new angle for my book on suicide, and it, too, is clamoring for attention. Yet, today, I had a leisurely breakfast and finished up laundry. Not much more than that. OK, so I’m getting this post done early as I expect my creative brain to go gangbusters on my latest book tonight. Yes, I’m clearing the way in grand fashion. That can only mean one thing.

The Universe is gearing up to kick my butt into next September.

I can see it coming. I know what I have to do. The excitement is building in the pit of my belly. A launching is coming and I’m the vehicle. Yee Haw!

The good news is, I won’t be riding this monster wave alone. Rumor has it I’ll be in good company so I hope you’re doing your own clearing and have a very strong seat belt ready to fasten. Disney has yet to develop a ride that will compare to the one we’re about to take. When things finally slow down enough for us to catch our breath, we will have accomplished some wondrous deeds, indeed.

Guess there’s nothing left but to leave you with tonight’s gratitudes.
1. I am grateful for Universal head slaps and butt kicks.
2. I am grateful for the increased space in my head and home as I continue to organize and purge.
3. I am grateful for new opportunities which I might never have even considered without the aforementioned head slaps.
4. I am grateful for new friends, new people with new ideas, and new experiences.
5. I am grateful for abundance; clearing, cleaning, organizing, creating space, loving, writing, teaching sharing, encouraging, harmony, peace, friendship, health, inspiration and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I’d love it if you’d visit my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel. I’ve created this page as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” it or leave a comment! Thank you!

January 12, 2015 Five Promises I Make to Keep the Flame I lit in 2013 Burning

Gentle reminders to keep the dream alive.

As I work through the doubts and fears which have tied my hands of late, I find it necessary to reiterate some of the promises I made back then, and add new ones I’ve learned along the way.

1. I will write.
2. I will not sign up for any more “quick fix” classes.
3. I will praise myself regularly.
4. I will hold my dream aloft as a beacon when my spirits flag.
5. I will love myself and everything I do and am.

I’ve learned that when a writer comes out of the closet, we become easy prey for the piranhas.

Piranhas come in many shapes, sizes and colors, but rarely do they assume their true form. Instead, they wear pretty disguises and throw promises of help around like candy falling from a pinata. In boxes are filled to the brim with everything from get rich quick schemes: “You too can earn six figures a year!” to help navigating the dangerous world of editors and publishers: “We’ll help you avoid these rookie mistakes.”. But every one comes at a price.

Some are better than others, of course. My own recent experience tested a money back guarantee which proved completely true, and quite simple to invoke. Like anything else, though, there are plenty who are simply going to bilk the uninformed and really leave them with more questions which they can get answers to…for a price.

If you do sign up for one of the classes, webinars or blog subscriptions, be prepared to be inundated with still more classes and publications you MUST have to be a successful writer. Even though I did a fair bit of picking and choosing, I still strayed from my original path for the better part of a year before it dawned on me that the offers of help at this stage in the game were really hindering rather than helping.

After a year of wasted time and seriously impaired productivity, I’m going back to basics.

To be fair, not all of the classes and publications I paid for were a waste of time or money. I’ve started a fairly decent personal library of books to help me clean up my work once the first draft is penned and revised. I also have volumes acquired when I took some creative writing courses. All together, they give me at least a few resources to both help me improve what I write and present it, should I choose to go that route, in a professional manner.

For now, though, even those are distractions which are better left in their spot on the bookshelf until such time as I’m ready to go from creative to critical.

For now, my time is best spent letting the creativity flow, making lists to keep myself on track and doing things to keep my body healthy.

For everything I mark off of my perpetual To Do list, I’m finding that I add two or three more things. In fact, I have a separate one just for my website. It seems, the further I go, the more the tasks pile up. Some, like trash and scooping sandboxes cannot be put off. After a brief hiatus while my back stopped being unreasonable, I’m back to my gym routine, and healthy eating is much easier with my weekly produce box. Both provide the extra energy needed to write into the wee hours and do chores during the daylight hours. All in all, a reasonable tradeoff. In fact, I found myself thinking as I finished cleaning three litter boxes, vacuuming the entire house and mopping floors that I am pretty darned grateful that, at my advanced age, I can do all of that after going to the gym in the morning and still feel terrific. I’ve even learned to find a little joy in what was one of my most hated tasks; housework. Admittedly, it’s a lot different when it’s only me and the cats. I’m not cleaning up someone else’s messes, and what I clean up stays cleaned up for the most part, unless it’s something my furry darlings get into or knock over. (Dylan and Scrappy Doo are particularly fond of digging to China and tossing cat sand all over the room.  I think they just like to watch while I sweep it up.) That is a small price to pay when Dylan follows me from room to room and lounges on my desk while I work. The others take turns wandering in, sitting on the desk to rub their faces against mine or head bonking my leg to get my attention.

Some might call my life lonely, but as an introvert, the less mental and emotional chaos I encounter, the better. The only place I’m comfortable with it is in the pages I write. And quite honestly, company which only demands a few skritches and a warm body to snuggle with at night means I am the furthest thing from lonely. I am loved.

Cats or any pets don’t care if we brush our teeth or dress up or put on makeup. If we spend two days straight in our pajamas because we’ve been reading or writing, they’re not going to nag us to get in the shower. They don’t require conversation, though I admit, I talk to them quite a bit. They understand that their company is all I really need. In short, they help me with number 5 on my list. When several pairs of eyes look at me adoringly every day, it’s pretty hard to lose sight of the fact that I am, indeed, lovable and worthy.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the times I lose my way as it serves as a reminder when I finally find my way back.
2. I am grateful that I may be over half a century old in years, but I’m still able to take care of myself, whether it’s cooking a meal, hefting 40 pound containers of cat sand or cleaning my house. There is nothing more precious than self-sufficiency.
3. I am grateful for my companion animals. They ensure that I am never, ever lonely.
4. I am grateful for the habits I’ve formed over the last year or so. Daily meditation, regular visits to the gym, fresh, locally grown produce every week, and respecting my body and brain’s need to write late at night are giving me the life I want and need. And it is good.
5. I am grateful for abundance: writing, reading, love, inspiration, healthy meals, exercise, friendship, harmony, peace and prosperity.

Blessed Be.

And now for some shameless self-promotion:
I’d love it if you’d visit my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel. I’ve created this page 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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