© 2021 Sheri Gaynor

February Newsletter 2022

Thirty-one days ago, I made a decision to change my mind

I made a conscious decision to disCONNECT from the toxicity that is our news cycle and political landscape. 

I made a decision to reCONNECT to what I lost these last five years which was my deep belief in the power of intention and the gifts that come when we are connected to self and Source. 

I made a decision to reWIRE my brain and reDISCOVER my deep sense of spirituality and what I truly believe about hope, possibility, and creating intention in my life. 

On January 1st, I turned off the negativity dial, leaped into the void, and went on a journey to find myself. The effects of the poison living in my mind had become disturbingly apparent. 

I was drowning in a cultural tornado of anger, rage, and negativity

For those of us who are empathic and Highly Sensitive People (HSP), we deeply feel and experience energies around us. Truth be told, I take in enough collective energy just going to the supermarket, without engaging in the daily barrage that is our current media cycle. 

I won’t lie, there was much to wrangle with in taking this step for my mental health and wellbeing, including a ton of guilt and shame.  I recognized I was immersed in a dark night of the Soul and had been for some time. 

The day I made this decision, my HEROINE archetype wanted to let me know how much she disagreed. Just a few of the questions she demanded I investigate were… 

“Am I now part of the problem?” 

“Am I turning away from the suffering of our country and our world?” 

“Am I so entitled and privileged that I can afford to disconnect?”

Her demands elicited a lot of discomfort, inviting me to step into this decision with a degree of thoughtfulness. What I uncovered during this inquiry was that as much as I thought “doom scrolling,” writing letters, making phone calls, and making “them” the villains was keeping me informed(aka “doing something”), it really wasn’t doing anything at all to change the cultural landscape. What it was doing was filling me with toxic energy, anger, and righteousness, while also causing me to feel terrified, anxious, and extremely hope-LESS.  

What I came to understand is this: in the decision to disconnect for 31 days, I was not turning away, I was turning TOWARD the ways in which I could truly make a difference and tangibly see and feel its effects! 

To be completely transparent, it hit hard at about Day 20. It’s not that I missed the news, I didn’t. But what has been unearthed is the truth of what was driving all that distraction, and most of it centered around a constant buzz of low- to high-level anxiety. 

With this decision, I am now deeply aware of the emotions and feelings that are passing through me each day. I have renewed my personal commitment to use creative processes and writing as vehicles to dig through the layers of authentic emotions that are being revealed. 

Here is the good news…this conscious action is working. My mind is clearing, and even with the challenging feelings that are surfacing, my outlook has completely shifted in 31 days. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some days where I fell off the horse in terms of how I was handling these feelings, but I got back in the saddle, knowing it’s all about the PROCESS not PERFECTION. 

That’s why we call it PRACTICE.  

During this month of clearing my mind and opening my heart to possibility, one of my hopes came to fruition.  I received an email with the news I’ve been waiting for since August 2021. It’s an intention I’ve been holding since presenting a visual journaling workshop to graduate students in the University of Denver’s social work program.. Following that workshop, I approached DU about a potential collaboration, as I was seeking to offer accredited certification for my program. I was invited to submit a proposal for their continuing education program – that in itself was an incredible opportunity. 

I was just informed that my proposal was accepted! I will be teaching Introduction to Creative Awakenings Expressive Arts Visual Journaling, as a certificate program. I am over the moon and so incredibly grateful for this opportunity to partner with the University of Denver. We are now working out the details and the schedule, so stay tuned for future updates.

This opportunity reflects what I believe about manifesting: it’s a balance of holding our intentions in the deepest place of our hearts and taking action toward our dreams. Once we have taken action, it’s important to hold the intention lightly and not grasp the outcome. TRUST – this is often the tricky part. 

And patience is key. 

Today I am feeling that I can once again be part of the solution. I’ll be committing to another month of this process. 

In 31 days, I have shifted my mindset from hope-less-ness to HOPE-FULL!. 

Each year I choose a word that will inform my daily practice and intentions. The word was revealed to me while listening to a Loving Kindness guided meditation, with Rabbi Jill Zimmerman. I have never followed my family’s religion of Judaism, but that is a much longer story for a different time, but this meditation had called to me. It was the third time I had played it, yet suddenly a word leaped into my heart. It was the word Teshuvah. Rabbi Zimmerman describes it as “the Hebrew word meaning to turn, to return.” This is my word for 2022. It speaks to me of the journey of returning to my deep authentic spirit. It is the perfect word to hold in my heART as I move forward into this new year. 

If you are struggling to find light in the darkness, perhaps it is time for you to tune out and TUNE IN…

Here is my current process. I hope this helps you to ReCLAIM SERENITY + ReCONNECT TO YOUR TRUE NORTH

Begin Here
Create a daily practice that feels doable. It doesn’t have to be 30 days. Baby steps are fine. If we overreach, we are likely to feel overwhelmed and we are more likely to give up our practice. 

In my book Creative Awakenings, I recommend a practice of Daily Bliss. If you’re not ready to take a huge deep dive, that might be a place to begin.

Here’s what is working for me. Feel free to use my process as a place to start:

• Disconnect for 30 days from the news cycle in all ways

• Moving my computer off the kitchen table and into my studio workspace

• Guided meditation with Insight Timer before getting out of bed in the morning (Yes, it’s okay to lie down and meditate)

• The phone is set on Focus/ Do Not Disturb mode until at least 8  a.m. 

• No email or any social media before 8:30 a.m.

• Morning reflective, free-range, non-judgmental writing in my journal to clear my mind and become conscious of the thoughts that are present 

• Pull a morning guidance card from your favorite Deck of Transformation

• Time on social media is reserved only for business and “real” friends for very brief periods of time (10 minutes or less, twice a day)

• I let friends know what I am doing and ask for their support in not sharing negative news of the world (though I was grateful to be informed of Thich Nhat Hanh’s passing)

• Acknowledge and move my feelings through creative process without judgment

• Engage in Recovery Dharma meetings online in community

•Meditate before bed using Insight Timer

At first glance, this may feel overwhelming, however, the benefits I have received in this decision have been worth every moment. I am feeling more positive, clear-minded, hopeful, creative, and excited about my future. The reflections mirrored to me by those who know me are now my deep connection to stay on this path. Hearing their feedback is a reminder of where I was and where I am now.  

Join me for your own 28-day dive into ReTurning.

Wishing you all the best as we Dream BIG Dreams!