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

Posts tagged ‘Simon and Garfunkle’

Nostalgia in the Air

Drifting on a Wave of Nostalgia

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

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

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

Music for the Ages

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

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

Remembering Old Feelings So I Can Let Them Go of abandonment began long ago, when my sister was born. Maybe she truly was an easier child, or maybe my mom had just learned a few things about being a wife and mother. Either way, I became secondary. Though I’ve come a long way in the last few years, the songs make me remember the hurts still haven’t completely healed.

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

Opening My Heart and Mind and Recognizing My True Value

I listen to the songs from a different perspective now. I’ve lived through a lot— and sorrows, wins and losses. I’ve torn down walls I spent nearly a lifetime building, reinventing myself without masks or pretenses. Another birthday reminds me how far I’ve come. And I’m not done yet; not by a long shot.

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

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

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

Taking the Painful Lessons and Leaving the Pain

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

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

Breaking Free of Family Patterns and Finding Happiness

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

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

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

Old Patterns May be Standing in the Way of Your Success

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

Something to Be Grateful for Every Day

My gratitudes today are:

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

Love and Light


About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws , of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward

Put Down Your Phones and Share Your Stories


Recognizing What We’re Losing

Hello Darkness, my old friend.

I’ve come with talk to you again.

More and more often, Simon and Garfunkel’s timeless words enter my world in a way that makes me stand up and take notice. Especially the lines:

People talking without speaking,

People hearing without listening.

And every time those words circle around in my mind, I look around to see people engrossed in their cell phones instead of the people around them. The prophecy of the song has come to be in ways we didn’t even imagine in the 1960’s when Dick Tracy’s vid-watch was pure fantasy.

Taking the Detour

The other night my daughter and I had tickets to a play at the local Cultural Arts Center. We were looking forward to seeing an actor in the lead role who we’ve enjoyed on many occasions. But the Universe seemed to see things differently.

We stayed overlong at a Turkish Food Festival, putting us in the middle of L.A. traffic coming home. We were an hour late getting to her grandfather-in-law’s house for a promised visit. I didn’t want to hurry the visit as he is an incredible story-teller with a very colorful life; 50 1/2 years of which he spent with his wife who recently passed.

But we needed to eat something before the play and finally left with about 90 minutes to get home, change, eat and get to the theater. When we were almost home, my daughter’s phone rang. It was her grandfather-in-law. It seems I’d left my purse, something I never do!

Accepting the Change of Plans

I changed my clothes and told my daughter to drive as I didn’t have my license. Though she lived in this area for years, learned to drive here and knew every way to get in and out of our town, she missed a critical turn. Yet neither of us even noticed until we’d gone a couple of miles out of our way. By the time we reached the house to retrieve my purse, it was too late to get back for the play, much less dinner so we asked him to join us.

Instead, he fixed us something to eat and we remained for another couple of hours, looking at old pictures and listening to stories of his life with his wife. During that time, neither of us touched our cell phones once.

It was one of the most enjoyable evenings I remember spending in many years. No interruptions, stories of a life lived to the fullest, and a man who was privileged to be on the cutting edge of things we now take for granted.

Taking Time to Listen to Their Stories

I don’t have much contact with the older members of my own family, but I’m sure they, too have stories to tell, if only we would listen. But I will say that the next time I have the opportunity to spend time with someone and listen to their stories, the cell phone will either be turned off or tucked into my purse with the sound silenced. I want to truly listen to the stories they tell; the places they’ve been, the people they’ve met…even the food they’ve eaten.

I will start hearing AND listening right now. That art must not be lost because we’re addicted to our electronics. Those electronics are quite good at holding our messages and calls until we are ready to pick them up. The world won’t stop if we’re unavailable for a few hours. But the stories and the people won’t be there forever. The lessons we might learn are fleeting. Human memories fade or get distracted and thoughts are lost.

And it’s not just the old people who have stories to tell. Let’s give everyone we connect with the gift of our full attention. I know we won’t be sorry we did.

Infinitely Grateful

My gratitudes tonight are:

  1. I am grateful for Universal interference.
  2. I am grateful for the opportunities which find me.
  3. I am grateful for the stories people have to tell.
  4. I am grateful for the “off” button on my phone.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, joy, sharing, stories, opportunities taken, side roads, detours, time well spent, peace, harmony, broken barriers, 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, 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!

Photo courtesy of Sander van der Wel via Flickr

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