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

Posts tagged ‘social distancing’

First Wave or 64th: Does it Matter?

One Wave Merges Into the Next

negativity and turmoilEverywhere you look these days, there’s a graphic, a chart, or a link to an article about COVID. It got pushed to the side for maybe a minute when another worthy cause leapt to the front of our awareness, but frankly, what’s more important to the general public than their health, their livelihood, and whether or not they can get a haircut, or drink in a bar with their friends?

Still, people continue to believe what they want to, whether it’s that wearing a mask will suffocate you while doing nothing to protect anyone, or the numbers are coming down and the government is lying to you. My pet peeve, failure to fact check, is alive and well right now with people posting arguments “proving” all sides of the question. I finally had to put an end to the barrage by keeping social media closed most of the day when it became clear avoiding the news wasn’t going to be enough.

Let me state very clearly, I put my trust in science. I do NOT trust anyone who’s in it solely for the money. I trust less those who attempt to besmirch the reputation of someone who not only has money, but an altruistic bent, and is actually trying to help the situation rather than simply using it to their own ends. Not everyone who has a hugely successful business empire is a selfish, egotistical bastard. (Bill and Melinda Gates, and Warren Buffet are at the top of my personal list. In case you’re wondering, Elon Musk is near, though hardly at the bottom).

Keeping My Distance Voluntarily

In any case, I refuse to become one of the frantic lemmings running from one “absolutely true” article or news story to the next, wringing my hands in distress because I can’t get a haircut or massage, and have spent all my grocery money on a garage full of toilet paper. My freezer and shelves might be slightly better stocked than normal, but more because I shop less than half as often as I used to, and make fewer stops when I do go out. The preponderance of people eschewing masks, and getting too close for my comfort are discouragement enough.

For the most part, I keep my contacts limited because, unlike many, I believe we’ve barely started into the first wave, and there will be more, as more people demand access to goods and services because they still believe God, or some nebulous deity is going to protect them. Good luck with that! My heart goes out to those who are being forced to return to work, or risk losing both job and unemployment benefits because some nitwits have made enough noise, and big businesses are feeling too pinched to have to continue operating at lower capacities, and under tighter restrictions.

I’d love to get all of those people into a room and ask: What happens when someone close to you sickens or even dies? How will you feel when that hairdresser or manicurist falls ill despite their own precautions, and the infection is traced to you? Believe me, the odds point to it happening at some point. But I know they’re too deeply entrenched in denial to even hear my words, much less, understand the implications.

Picking Your Level of Risk

In some ways I’ve become as selfish as they, but at least in so doing, I’m not endangering others. I keep my distance, and my expectations of others low. I appreciate the delivery drivers, but make no attempt to get close, instead standing a respectful distance away until they’ve delivered my latest order. They have families themselves, and deserve as much protection as I can give them. I know not everyone is offering them the same consideration, and some are being less cautious than they should as well.

I’m not one to avoid risk, but I am very selective about where and when to assume it. As such, I take the charts showing levels of risk for various activities very seriously. I read news reports of increasing numbers where cities have allowed business to resume as normal with both an open mind, and a critical eye. I recognize the pandemic has offered ample opportunity for those who seek to control the masses to indulge in rampant propaganda flinging. This is a time to push emotions to the background and engage an analytical and skeptical mind.

One thing I do believe is, whether or not you choose to abide by CDC’s recommended guidelines, you do not have the right to endanger other people for your convenience. I’ll continue to speak out for the rights of people who offer personal care services, whether it’s insisting on making customers wear masks, or, if adequate precautions aren’t viable, refraining from offering those services. I also support financial assistance until such time as their health can be effectively protected. Is that really too much to ask?

The Battle for Power Has Deadly Consequences

The way politicians and business owners are tugging at people’s emotional hot buttons, not because they care about the population, but because they care about their own pockets sickens me. They’ve created more anger and hate where cooperation and compassion are desperately needed. In the process, they’re further endangering people as fear and stress levels continue to rise—and weaken immune systems already heavily compromised. If they want to cull the masses, they’re heading in the right direction, but risk culling themselves as well.

The worst part is, many go willingly, like lambs to the slaughter; putting their trust in the hangman who wears a smiling mask to cover the putrid, mouldering face of greed and avarice that feeds on the ignorant. It pains me I can’t make people see they’re being used, abused, and tossed aside by those who see them as pawns who are only important while they’re useful. Otherwise, they can be tossed into the rubbish heap with the hordes of other nameless, faceless souls who’ve been replaced by the next batch of disposable ones.

We’re Not Interchangeable Cogs in the Wheel of Commerce I was working for larger corporations, I used to hear the oft-repeated phrase: “no one is irreplaceable”. It was a kind of mantra for the constant shifting and shuffling of bodies around the cube jungle. If one happened to leave, whether voluntarily or not, it was often met with a shrug of the shoulders. Why try to make a difference and do the best job you could with that kind of attitude? Some people did, truly believing they could climb the corporate ladder and make a difference. Most eventually left the company in search of a place where their efforts might be appreciated and recognized a little more.

In many ways, I think that attitude is mirrored in many sections of society. If one worker unit breaks down, you replace it with another of equal skill-set and rank. Now, the stakes are much higher. If one worker unity catches COVID, you can’t just toss them aside because chances are good by the time anyone notices, they’ve already infected dozens of others.

If you ask me, our society cannot sustain the true potential for contagion opening the cities too soon will  unleash. Yet numbers coming out of Arizona, Texas, Georgia, and Florida are falling on deaf ears, or worse, denial. As for me, I’m settling in for the long haul, and awaiting similar reports from San Diego and Los Angeles with more than a little trepidation and grief.

Recognizing the Blessings That Allow Me To Isolate

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful I’m able to remain isolated and in relative safety for the time being.
  2. I’m grateful many are still choosing to avoid adding to the masses taking their lives and those of many others into their hands.
  3. I’m grateful I can exercise mind, body, and spirit without endangering myself or others.
  4. I’m grateful for those who continue to make dance nights and lessons available to those of us who don’t trust the premature openings, even of our beloved hangouts.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; common sense, compassion, consideration, caution, adaptability, strength, hope, love, health, harmony, peace, 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

Cementing Healthy Habits During Quarantine

Healthy Habits Old and New

I’m finding the healthy habits I established both pre- and post-quarantine are becoming engraved in stone. I might think to myself, I’ll skip something like cleaning  up the kitchen, or brushing my teeth before bed, or washing my face and brushing my teeth after breakfast before doing my Facebook Live for the day, but it seems I can’t do it any more. I can’t undo the habits I’ve been performing diligently for so long.

Heaven knows there are days I’ve tried. I’ll walk into the kitchen late at night and think: I’ll just leave this for tomorrow. There isn’t very much. Every time I even think about leaving dirty dishes in the sink over night, I’m overwhelmed by the feeling I get when I see a clean kitchen both before I go to bed, and when I get up in the morning. Needless to say, the task gets done every time.

It isn’t just the big things either. I was having trouble remembering to defrost a cup of blueberries for breakfast the next morning. I discovered if I refilled the little bowl right after I emptied it in the morning, I was more likely to remember than if I put it off until I did dishes at night. I was forgetting to take my second round of supplements until I incorporated it into my night time teeth brushing/face washing routine. Habits are more effectively solidified by a slight tweak rather than by beating myself up for forgetting yet again.

Establishing a New Normal

The first month of quarantine I let a lot of things slide. I realize now it was a kind of grieving Created with Canvaprocess for things that were no longer available, and that I wouldn’t get back for an as yet unspecified amount of time. It wasn’t unlike the much longer process I went through after leaving my last full-time job.

I have a habit of wandering around aimlessly for a little while when something in my life changes drastically. It isn’t that I don’t like change. In fact, I embrace it. But I have to go through a kind of transition period between one lifestyle and another when, apparently, I don’t get anything done for a little while as I adjust to the changing demands (or in some cases, no demands) on my time. In both cases, I essentially had to reinvent myself and set my own priorities because there was no one in the outside world who was setting them for me.

Not only were trips to the gym removed from my schedule, but so were regular dance nights, running errands once a week on the same day, and even my daily walks. The last was a personal choice because there are too many people walking the streets in my neighborhood, and I don’t feel comfortable around that many potentially germy people right now.

Changes for the Good

It hasn’t been entirely bad so far. I spent the better part of one week binge reading seven Mercedes Lackey books on Kindle. My friend parked her motor home beside my house (my property has RV access) instead of where she’d originally planned on the street near her condo, because she works in a hospital and needed to distance herself from her significant other to protect his health.

The addition of a roommate, even if we’re not actually sharing the house has actually had a major positive impact on my life overall. It’s given me someone to talk to many nights, albeit from at least 6 feet away, I’m using my patio and porch more than I have in years, and we get a small group of people together once a week for dinner and some line dancing. In short, we’re making lemonade with the lemons life’s thrown our way (and I’ve even gotten a small Meyer lemon tree for a recently cleared area of my yard.

Speaking of yards, my friend and her S/O pulled some yard equipment they’d been storing in her mother’s garage since she moved to a condo, got the lawn mower fixed, and gave me the tools I needed to regain control of my badly overgrown yard. It’s a process that isn’t going quickly, but not only do I have the tools I need, but some help in whacking it all down and taming the persistent weeds and trees that were doing their best to return my yard to it’s natural state.

If Not This, Then That

Gym visits have been replaced by yard work, heavy house cleaning, and, just recently, twice-weekly ballet classes. There again, I’m surprising myself. I would have told you even a week ago that balancing on one leg was something I simply couldn’t do. The classes give me a chance to wobble around in the privacy of my own home (mostly) but to also discover that by following the instructions from my teacher, I can actually succeed where I was certain I’d fail.

My arabesques and other one-legged stances may not be anything close to perfect. I can’t raise my leg as high as it’s supposed to go, nor straighten my leg out all the way yet. Each session sees some improvement, and I’m left with not only a feeling of accomplishment, but a little more strength, balance, and flexibility. I can’t tell you how much those things are improving my self-image. An added bonus has been an end to persistent lower back pain I’d come to accept as part of my aging process. Whodathunkit?

Opportunities abound for those of us determined to maintain the exercise regimen we’d established, or even to start new ones. Whether it’s online yoga classes, line dance gatherings, or other forms of movement, all you need is the desire, and a little determination to stick with it even when you’re tired, or out of sorts. For myself, those are the times it’s most important to tell my inner child to shut up and get moving.

Acknowledging the Small Things

There are days I still feel like I’ve accomplished nothing, yet if I look back on the day honestly and uncritically, I always find something I took off my plate, or something good I did for myself. Sometimes, it’s just washing my face, brushing my teeth, taking all my supplements, posting daily gratitudes and doing a Facebook Live but there was a time those things didn’t get done every day, and it wasn’t so long ago. More often than not, I get some writing done, or an administrative task crossed off, or another area decluttered.

Whatever it is I’ve done, I make sure to acknowledge it and compliment myself on the achievement. Some people will spend the quarantine continuing to work their old job, but from home. Others will spend it sitting around and feeling unmotivated. There are those who, like me, see it as an opportunity to try new things and stay relatively active (many are doing far more than me). It’s important you don’t compare yourself to anyone else. One person’s self-care isn’t a good fit for the next person.

If sitting around is what you’ve chosen, look closely at what you’re doing. It is as much a type of self-care as anything else. It’s entirely possible you’ve burnt yourself out running in seventeen directions at once. Your body, mind, and spirit are taking this opportunity to recharge. It may have only taken me a few weeks to find my stride, but I wasn’t overly stressed out by life. If it takes you longer, it’s because you need it. Be kind to yourself and allow yourself to find your own new version of normal. There are no wrong answers.

Feeling Grateful Every Day

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for new opportunities to indulge in self-care and self-improvement.
  2. I’m grateful for all the instructors and teachers who have embraced technology to bring me classes and dance events that keep my body active, and even more limber than before.
  3. I’m grateful for long, quiet days when I can read, write, or do whatever I feel I need to do with my time alone. It’s all good.
  4. I’m grateful for friends who share inspiration and motivation and encourage me to do the same. Being there for others is the greatest kind of self-care I know.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; friendship, silence, opportunities, inspiration, motivation, books to read, small gatherings with friends, new experiences, completion of old tasks, peace, health, balance, harmony, 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

Weathering the Solitude

The Solitude of Social Distancing’m thinking about the hours, weeks, and days that stretch ahead, alone in my house with my cats. Don’t get me wrong. I love my furballs, and they’ve always been a great source of comfort. But face it. People need people, and much as I might try to deny it, I’m no exception.

Over the last couple of years, I put a lot of time and energy into creating a new normal which included leaving the house three days a week to go to the gym, and running errands afterwards on Wednesdays. The first week of my self-imposed retreat left me wandering the house, unsure what to do with myself. The first couple of days were actually spent resting though. I’d absorbed a lot of energy from people and places that left me utterly drained.

I got up in the morning, later than I was used to, only to wander from couch to couch, and often ending up on the guest room bed for a couple of hours, yet still sleeping in the next day. I realized I had worked myself up about my final Wednesday shopping trip and 2 doctor’s appointments I had scheduled later in the week, and was driving myself crazy. Lavender candles and essential oil plus what would become a nightly tea habit brought me down a few notches.

Finding My New Normal

I didn’t truly start to settle until after the first of what would be regular Thursday night line dances via Zoom. After that, I went into an almost manic state; cleaning, doing laundry, even vacuuming the garage. In my defense, I’d spilled some cat litter while transferring it from the bags it came in into more easily accessible buckets. Once I revved up the shop vac, it kind of pulled me along, sucking up grit and rubble that had accumulated on the garage floor around my car.

Slowly, the days have started taking on a new kind of normal. I rise earlier every day; getting closer to the time my Fitbit goes off. Morning pages are, of course, still the first thing I do after getting up, followed by making the bed, putting in my contacts, feeding the cats, and then myself. At least some things haven’t had to change.

I’m still playing with the rest of the day, though. Sometimes, I’ll go out on the patio and do some freehand writing. Sometimes I’ll pull up one of my writing projects and start working on it. when I do, the day seems to get away from me, and it’s late in the afternoon before I meditate (another non-negotiable), and eat what often becomes both lunch and dinner. But I also feel like I’ve actually done something productive. In my head, cleaning doesn’t count. And heaven knows I’ve been doing more cleaning than usual too!

Idleness is No Longer a Comfortable Place

Created with CanvaMy cats are becoming more spoiled than ever as they’re getting excessive lap time and tummy skritches with me home 24/7. That will slow down as I am compelled to spend more time at the computer or on the patio writing. I do, however, carry on long, deep conversations with them. If only they could contribute to the conversation instead of it being a long monologue. At some point, I might even run out of things to say.

TV got boring within the first few days. It’s all I can do to sit still and refrain from channel surfing. Nothing holds my attention for more than a few minutes, even if I’m playing games on my phone. And even the games aren’t holding my interest for long any more. Since I’ve moved my computer into the dining room to accommodate the Zoom dancing sessions, the TV may soon become occasional background noise, and nothing more.

Somehow, I’m slowly finding my way. Motivation and inspiration are starting to increase. After sitting at the computer for hours, I’m itching to move, so the house is slowly getting cleaned, and lightbulbs that have been out for weeks are now getting replaced. I do miss my friend Jesse who is so tall he doesn’t need a step ladder. I’d call him when I needed bulbs changed, and he’d have it done quickly and easily without having to drag the ladder all over the house. Guess I need to be more careful about saying I want to be self-sufficient, huh?

Dancing for Sanity and Connection

I know the one thing that will save my sanity is the Zoom-based dance nights being set up by our dance instructors and DJ’s. At this point, there are nights when I’ll even have to choose which event to attend! Even line dance lessons are continuing, which, if you ask me, is nothing short of amazing! The Borderline family and the Country dance community as a whole have been through hell and back the last couple of years, yet, like a phoenix, we keep rising to whatever occasion we have. We’ve danced in malls, barns, and parking lots. We’ve found new places where we were welcomed with open arms. Now, we dance in our own living rooms, garages, dens, and kitchens. But we’re still dancing.

Even the technologically challenged are learning how to use Zoom, Facebook Live, and other tools many of us once used only for marketing or productivity. I’m grateful I was ahead of the curve and already knew how to use them.

I’ve had to temporarily ditch habits like going to the gym and meeting my friends at BL Saloon or Oil Can Harry’s for some dancing. At times, I feel completely disconnected and lost. If the last couple of years have taught me nothing else, it’s how to create habits that make me more efficient, more motivated, and healthier. I’m nothing if not creative, so finding temporary replacements is merely a matter of pointing my nose towards what I need and figuring out new ways to get there.

Finding New Ways to Keep Myself Healthy and Fit

Whether it’s the cup of tea I’ve added to my nightly routine, the new regular dance nights, or finding exercise videos that will keep what I’ve achieved through strength training intact until I have access to heavier weights and machines again, I’ve learned my mind and body are used to a certain level of exercise and stimulation. I might need more rest at times because the energies are heavy right now. Ultimately, I need to move more than I realized, and I will find ways to get what I seem to have lost, albeit only until I figure out a workaround.

I’ve specialized in workarounds ever since my career path started requiring computer proficiency decades ago. What I learned about software and making it produce what I wanted works just as well for exercise and work routines. In all honesty, I’m looking forward to tackling the latest challenge the Universe has added to my life. In hindsight, I was falling into a rut, and though I wouldn’t exactly ask for a pandemic to change that, I did need something to boot me in the butt. As usual, the Universe pushes me out of my comfort zone in ways that guarantee I can’t return to where I’ve been.

The Healing Gift of Gratitude

One of the changes I’ve made during what I’m calling my retreat is to post daily gratitudes on Facebook; a practice I began years ago with my blog posts. Sometimes, expanding on an old habit is the only change needed to make something new and effective.

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful to be part of a community which ensures we all stay connected.
  2. I’m grateful for friends who call to check up on me.
  3. I’m grateful I’ve learned to be kind to myself while settling into a new normal.
  4. I’m grateful for a strong, healthy body that demands I do more than sit on the couch watching TV for hours.
  5. I’m grateful for a large, essentially private yard where I can sit and write, or just hang out with my outside cats Max and Cinders.
  6. I’m grateful for abundance; love, friendship, health, motivation, inspiration, healthy, precooked meals, solitude, peace, balance, hope, 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

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