Feel-Good Friday Book Series: The Yamas & Niyamas

FEEL-GOOD FRIDAY

BOOKS THAT GAVE ME SEEDS TO THRIVE (Click link for the introduction to the series)

Sometimes we are taken on unexpected journeys. A few years ago, I went on a yoga and hiking retreat in Sedona, AZ. During the retreat, we were given the book, The Yamas & Niyamas: Exploring Yoga’s Ethical Practice by Deborah Adele. Before this journey, I knew the benefits of the breathing and stretching of yoga, but I had no idea how deep the practice actually went.

If I hadn’t gone on this retreat, I wouldn’t have sought this book out, because I didn’t know what I didn’t know. As I read the book, I wrote in the margins, underlined, and highlighted. With one read the book is well marked with inspiration, hope, connection, and faith.

Within the pages were concepts I knew just spoken from a different perspective of truth. Knowing that helped me to open up so much wider. I started to connect so much of what I’ve been practicing into my physical movements, which was a skill I hadn’t yet learned to do. Now, when I do the physical act of yoga, it carries so much more meaning.

As I said, a good chunk of the book is marked up, so for this quote I just went with a powerful message that stood out as I flipped back through the pages.

Favorite Quote from The Yamas & Niyamas

(click on the book title to check out the book for yourself)

“As long as we think satisfaction comes from an external source, we can never be content. Looking outward for fulfillment will always disappoint us and keep contentment one step out of reach.”

-Deborah Adele, The Yamas & Niyamas: Exploring Yoga’s Ethical Practice, p. 121.

Thank you to all the people who have been reading the Feel-Good Friday Book Series. This is the 9th book, and it feels like it’s time to stop. You will still continue to see quotes from the books I love along the way, but I’m being led to do something else now. I urge you to come along on the journey. Make sure you are following via email to get the latest posts and news. Enjoy your journey, and trust the books that come to you along the way. They may just have what you need to give you seeds to thrive.

With Love and Gratitude,

Rachael Wolff

Catch up on Your Feel-Good Friday Book Series Here:

I Am What’s Wrong 

Your Creative Brain

Hope for the Flowers

The Tao of Pooh

A New Earth

The Four Agreements

Healing the Shame that Binds You

Power

Feel-Good Friday Book Series: Power

FEEL-GOOD FRIDAY

BOOKS THAT GAVE ME SEEDS TO THRIVE (Click link for the introduction to the series)

Power: Surviving & Thriving After Narcissistic Abuse by Shahida Arabi was one of THE most important books I ever read to complete my healing from narcissistic abuse. For me, it was the final piece of the puzzle that I couldn’t understand. I had no idea how calculated narcissistic abuse was. She would say thing that were said to me verbatim. All the research studies I read didn’t cover that. I remember listening to the audiobook and just sitting there with my mouth opened as I listened to what seemed like old memories. Arabi helps the reader detach from the part of ourselves that wants to play rescuer, at least that is what she did for me.

After reading this book it was much easier for me to stick to my healthy boundaries and create a healthy distance. When I was coming out of the haze of narcissistic abuse I had a lot of resources I was using to build my self-worth, heal, and find my inner peace. So many of the tools I used were mentioned in this book, which is why I recommend it to ANY person coming out of or still in a relationship with someone who could possibly be a narcissist or sociopath.

Power: Surviving & Thriving After Narcissistic Abuse is available on audiobook and paperback and I have both. If you are the beginning of your recovery, you will definitely want to read this book multiple times. My wish is that people read the book all the way through because there are so many jewels of wisdom throughout and it will help you thrive if you do the work.

There were many passages in this book that gave me seeds to thrive, so picking one quote is very challenging. I keep going back and worth on which one to do. So here’s what I landed on, because this was the piece of the puzzle that was missing from my recovery before reading this book.

Favorite Quote from Power

(click on the book title to check out the book for yourself)

“It’s not that they can’t help it, or that they’re utterly helpless to their disorder—it’s that they selectively choose which victims to devalue and discard, and those victims ten to be loved ones.”

-Shahida Arabi, Power: Surviving & Thriving After Narcissistic Abuse, p. 99

With Love and Gratitude,

Rachael Wolff

Catch up on Your Feel-Good Friday Book Series Here:

I Am What’s Wrong 

Your Creative Brain

Hope for the Flowers

The Tao of Pooh

A New Earth

The Four Agreements

Healing the Shame that Binds You

Feel-Good Friday Book Series: Healing the Shame that Binds You

FEEL-GOOD FRIDAY

BOOKS THAT GAVE ME SEEDS TO THRIVE (Click link for the introduction to the series)

Today I picked a book that got me to the core of my deepest darkest obstacles that were holding me down, Healing the Shame that Binds You by John Bradshaw. I remember feeling so desperate to find out why I kept repeating patterns that kept me in unhealthy situations. I had been reading, studying, going to therapy for years, and I didn’t realize how powerful the shame was that I felt. I didn’t realize it was the shame that kept me sabotaging the good in my life. Reading this book and putting all the pieces together helped me to see how important it was for me to forgive myself and re-evaluate the beliefs that were keeping me hostage to my shame.

I read through the book, then listened to the audiobook probably three times in a row. I wanted to REALLY release the shame that was creating so many obstacles in my life. When we look at the shame, we heal it. The only way shame survives is if it remains a secret. Bradshaw shows the reader how to release the shame and strip it of it’s power. It really is that powerful of a book if you are open to do the work.

Even though I didn’t agree with everything he wrote, it didn’t matter because what did resonate was huge! We each have to decide what feels right and what doesn’t. A person can have perspectives we agree with and ones that we don’t, it’s our job to plant the seeds we want, and leave the rest for someone else if that is what feels right for them.

Bradshaw really did teach me to heal the shame that was binding me, but I could only do that because I did the work using the tools he gave me. If you have toxic shame, do the work. It is worth it! It has benefited my life in so many ways and helped me to establish healthy relationships with myself and others.

Favorite Quote from Healing the Shame that Binds You

(click on the book title to check out the book for yourself)

“Without total self-love and acceptance, we are doomed to enervative task of creating false selves.”

John Bradshaw, Healing the Shame that Binds You, 1988

With Love & Gratitude,

Rachael Wolff

Catch up on Your Feel-Good Friday Book Series Here:

I Am What’s Wrong 

Your Creative Brain

Hope for the Flowers

The Tao of Pooh

A New Earth

The Four Agreements

Feel-Good Friday Book Series: The Four Agreements

FEEL-GOOD FRIDAY

BOOKS THAT GAVE ME SEEDS TO THRIVE (Click link for the introduction to the series)

Don Miguel Ruiz was my voice of reason through many of my dark times. In The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom his writing really did show me a path to freedom. I honestly believe that by planting the seeds he gave me, I am where I am today living an authentic life. It was amazing how many lessons I have applied to my life since the first time I read the book over 11 years ago. The first time I read the book, I wasn’t ready to apply the ideas. The second time, I was so desperate to change for the sake of my sanity. Now, I get to look back and see how far I have come and get some reminders to keep me going. This is a book I will continue to recommend to anyone who wants to live a more peaceful life. He repeats concepts and ideas in multitude of ways. This gives the reader the best chance of being able to absorb the material. The better I am at applying the agreements to my life, the more amazing my adventures become.  

THE FOUR AGREEMENTS

  1. BE IMPECCABLE WITH YOUR WORD
  2. DON’T TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY
  3. DON’T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS
  4. ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST

-Don Miguel Ruiz

There are so many powerful messages  throughout the book.  I hope you will pick it up for the first time or for a re-read. It is important to get the reminders, because we always have something we can work on. It really is so hard to pick one quote, so I will give you two.

Favorite Quote from The Four Agreements:

(click on the book title to check out the book for yourself)

“If someone is not treating you with love and respect, it is a gift if they walk away from you.”

Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements, p. 58

With Love and Gratitude,

Rachael Wolff

Catch up on Your Feel-Good Friday Book Series Here:

I Am What’s Wrong 

Your Creative Brain

Hope for the Flowers

The Tao of Pooh

A New Earth

Dreams Coming True: Becoming the Butterfly

Dear Dreamers, 

I’m writing this today simply because I am beyond excited for what is going on in my life right now. As I reflect on my journey so far, I’m simply amazed at how each and every event in my life has played such an important role in where I am right now. If you follow my writing, you understand that I use nature a lot to make sense of the journey. I want to bring you into my mind’s garden.

My Internal Garden

As a child, my garden was filled with weeds, smuggling vines, and invasive species that tried to kill off any of the beautiful life I would try to plant. So much so that it almost smuggled the life right out of me. It was in 1996 when I realized that I could clear out some of these weeds. That’s when I was launched into a career of public speaking. I planted flower after flower and tree after tree, but what I didn’t realize is that because I didn’t fix the foundation my garden was on, one day I would sabotage this dream come true. 

Those smuggling vines took over my garden once again and I went on a downward spiral. I had so much to learn. Looking back I’m so grateful for all my lessons in my time of darkness. I was living life as a caterpillar that spewed toxic venom because of the environment I created. There were still trees of life and wisdom trying to survive which would lead me to seek help when I was desperate enough to realize that I didn’t like the person I had become. Looking back I was given so many amazing seeds during this time, and it was a message from a pastor that finally led me to really invest myself in not only cleaning up the invasive species from my garden, but to clean up my foundation so that my trees could grow and provide the food that the caterpillar needs to transform into the butterfly. 

His message was that we only allow ourselves as much happiness that we believe we deserve. If we exceed that level of happiness, we will sabotage it. 

You better believe I started getting really dirty in my garden to figure out why I didn’t believe I deserved happiness in my life. As I dug deeper, and got dirtier, the work brought me peace. The more peace I found digging in my garden, the healthier my soil became. I started taking care of those seeds that were given to me. My caterpillar self, started to build a chrysalis. 

I sat for a long time in my chrysalis gaining strength, reflecting, and transforming. In the chrysalis is where I learned the power of letting go and forgiveness. The person I needed to forgive the most was myself. From there, I found away to learn from all the traumas in my life.

What I learned gave me power to plant more amazing trees and let them flourish. I absorbed lesson after lesson of on perspectives to understand how powerful each and every person is at creating their own gardens, and that what others chose to plant was not my business. All I can ever do for someone is to offer seeds in the way that I know best. I also have to take responsibility if I learn that the seeds I’m passing aren’t healthy.

In my chrysalis I found stillness, presence, and mindfulness to keep me in the mindset of maintaining my garden. I realized that any belief that causes me pain doesn’t HAVE to be in my garden, that is a choice I’m making. I have the power to choose my feelings, thoughts, beliefs/perspectives, actions, and reactions. I will learn from each decision I make and I will allow this choice to set me free­— with that, I became the butterfly. My garden now healthy and well maintained provides me with all that I need to keep me nourished, energized, rested, and able to soar. 

This doesn’t mean I won’t need to go back on a caterpillar’s journey again, because each time I do go back, I learn more. I no longer resent the journey, I embrace it, because I know it leads to breakthrough. I gain more perspective, and I become a better version of myself. I just don’t stay in the caterpillar state as long. I move into my chrysalis absorb my lessons and come out more empowered and colorful each time. 

Why Am I Sharing this Journey with You?

I created a program called, “Becoming the Butterfly” that I’m launching at a Dreamer’s Paradise *Now or Never event in St. Petersburg, FL, Oct. 26, 2019. As I’ve been preparing for this moment, I’m flooded with emotion because this will be my first event since 2002. I started my public speaking career in the Tampa Bay Area and now I’m going back there to re-launch my career with so much more to offer. I’m coming home. I’ve been standing up in front of crowds since I was 14-years old. I went on to earn awards in high school for public speaking, English, and guidance, yet back then never knew that it would lead to a path that I loved being on. My garden is exactly how I want it right now. I’m ready to share the seeds that helped me to create it.

This comes in perfect timing as my first book is coming out on February 18, 2020. Make no mistake; there is a reason the butterfly is on the cover. You can read more about it and *pre-order your copy today. 

If you want to start getting dirty right now, you can go to my *90-Day A Better Me Series

Just remember we are the ones who create our gardens.  We have to provide ourselves with the right food to nurture us to become the butterfly. Watching butterflies soar above us, won’t give us our wings. If we want to live the life of our dreams, we can’t just admire the butterflies around us. We have to do the work it takes to become the butterfly. Only then will we soar.

Thank you for being on this journey with me by reading my work. I started writing this blog in 2016 as way to help me maintain my garden. Focusing on perspectives that keep my energy in a loving place has been such an empowering tool. It keeps my foundation filled with love, which is what encourages all the seeds I want in my garden to grow. I am beyond grateful to each individual who has told me how my seeds have helped her/him. I can’t make anyone plant seeds in their gardens and nobody can make me plant seeds I don’t want in mine, so when I know that a person made the conscious decision to do it, I’m truly honored. 

I hope you will join me in spreading the love on social media. The *Facebook.com/FromALovingPlace page offers lots and lots of daily encouragement from pages who have a like-minded visions of  raising our collective energy. You will find all my social media links at on the main page to the left. I hope you decide to work on your garden so that you can be living the life of your dreams. 

With Love and Gratitude, 

Rachael Wolff 

*Links for more information

Read more about my perspectives on cleaning up our internal gardens here.

Feel-Good Friday Book Series: A New Earth

FEEL-GOOD FRIDAY

BOOKS THAT GAVE ME SEEDS TO THRIVE (Click link for the introduction to the series)

The year was in 2008 when I first read A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle. I was just starting to build myself up from the shell of a person that I had become. Things in my life were a mess, and I didn’t know or like who I had become. When I read this book, I reconnected with my life. I became aware of my energy, and I started making positive changes to my life. Then I read the book again in 2009, again in 2010, and then again in 2018. A New Earth is definitely not a one time read.  After four reads my book is tattered, underlined, highlighted, and earmarked with reminders. 

I actually went through my darkest times while reading this book. My family experienced multiple traumas and it was the lessons that this book had to teach me that pulled me up out of my depths of chaos. I found hope in the pages, which created a light that got brighter and brighter within. On my last read of this book, I got to see just how much I have grown and how many seeds I have planted. 

Seeds that were once so beautiful to me in theory became beautiful flowers in my own garden. Tolle connects stories in a way where they truly have the power to resonate in our everyday lives. I can honestly say that this book has helped me to find direction when I thought I would be lost in the dark permanently. 

Oprah and Tolle do a chapter-by-chapter breakdown of the book, which I did when it first came out.  It really did help me to get the most out of the book, especially since that was during a very dark time. Doing that helped me to step back from the story of my life that I was getting sucked up into. The process helped me to see clearer. When we are caught up in our own stories of misery, we are seeing through those darkened and smeared spectacles. Our perception is going to be quick to judge and shut down ideas that could actually be helpful to cleaning them. The course helped me to wipe my lens.  I looked the course up and it is still available.  Click here for the link.  

Now, as far as quotes go, trying to find my favorite is a true task. Just going through the pages and feeling the AHA moments racing back to me is so incredibly empowering with each flip of the page.  Each passage I’ve marked opened my eyes in such a different way. I can’t find that many pages that aren’t marked up.  I picked the one that holds great meaning to me in this very moment. 

Favorite Quote from A New Earth

(click on the book title to check out the book for yourself)

“When the basis for your actions is inner alignment with the present moment, your actions become empowered by the intelligence of Life itself.”

-Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth, p. 199, 2005.

Do you have a favorite quote from A New Earth? Write it in the comments below.

With Love and Gratitude, 

Rachael Wolff

Catch up on Your Feel-Good Friday Book Series Here:

I Am What’s Wrong 

Your Creative Brain

Hope for the Flowers

The Tao of Pooh

Feel-Good Friday Book Series: The Tao of Pooh

FEEL-GOOD FRIDAY

BOOKS THAT GAVE ME SEEDS TO THRIVE (Click link for the introduction to the series)

I’m so grateful that this book was written for multiple reasons. The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff was my introduction to the Tao. As a lover of Winnie the Pooh, Hoff gave me the perfect vessel to understand the meaning of the Tao. Little did I know how much I would need to understand this when it came time for me to read the Tao Te Ching by LauTzu translated by Stephen Addiss and Stanley Lombardo in college. Let’s just put it this way, I pulled out my Tao of Pooh in class multiple times to address my understanding of specific passages. 

The Tao of Pooh takes the reader on a journey that is easy to process and understand in the simplest of ways. The first time I read this book, I was around twenty years old. At the time, I wouldn’t have been able to pick up the Tao Te Ching and see the deeper meaning, but through the eyes of Pooh, I got it. After I read the book the first time, I met someone who had also read it. We raved about the beautiful and simple messages and connected to the pure energy of joy within us.  She got me the figurine pictured above, and it still sits on my shelf of inspiration as a reminder to keep it simple. 

Almost twenty years later, I picked the book up again to read with my book buddy. I could see how much effect the book had on me over the years without even knowing it. The lessons were buried in my subconscious, but they were there guiding me and reminding me that everything is happening exactly the way it’s supposed to. I don’t need to fight what is, because when I do, I’m missing an opportunity to learn from the moment I’m in.  For someone who likes to be in control, this is a REALLY important reminder that I need on a regular basis. When I remember, I’m at peace. And I’m much more productive because my energy is aligned with solutions instead of problems. 

One of the greatest lessons I take with me from the Tao of Pooh is that we aren’t all here to do things exactly the same things. We each have our own journeys, and it is important to figure out and honor our own paths. 

Favorite Quote from The Tao of Pooh

(click on the book title to check out the book for yourself)

“When you know and respect your own Inner Nature, you know where you belong. You also know where you don’t belong. One man’s food is often another man’s poison, and what is glamorous and exciting to some can be a dangerous trap to others.”

-Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh, p.41

With Love and Gratitude, 

Rachael Wolff

Catch up on Your Feel-Good Friday Book Series Here:

I Am What’s Wrong 

Your Creative Brain

Hope for the Flowers

How Beliefs Work to Help or Hurt Ourselves and Others

Over and over, I’m reminded of how many times us as individuals believe something and try to make what we believe true for someone else. Our thoughts about doing it can be well intended. We can think that our beliefs save someone else from themselves or others. We can think that our education gives us the facts on what is real and what isn’t. We can believe that our faith is what everyone else REALLY needs. We can believe we are more and someone else is less or that we are less and someone else is more. Beliefs can cause us great pain to ourselves and other, and beliefs can lift us up, so we can help others lift themselves. 

Here’s What I Know

Beliefs are perspectives. We can each choose to believe a perspective that feels right to us. We will base our beliefs in science, faith, family, education, culture, society, media, social circles, support groups, religion, relationships, political views, history, etc.  In the end, we will each make the choices that feel right for us at the time. NOBODY’S beliefs are 100% the same. They can’t be. Each individual’s experiences will form, change, alter, shift, grow, and expand based on each event that takes place in his or her life. 

That’s Not True

We all get exposed to people sharing their opinions of what is true and what isn’t. We each have a right to share our truths. We will all find our own truth whether someone else believes what we say or not.  I’ve been told that my way of healing from my history of trauma wasn’t true for victims of rape. UMMMMM… if it is true for me, and it is what helped me have healthy relationships with myself and others—How can someone else say that it’s not true? A victim of any trauma can choose to stay in a place of pain or they can find a path to thrive. It depends on each individual’s mindset on what they want the experience to mean for their lives. I do my best to inform people that my views of the world are MY perspectives. If someone takes a seed that I give and wants to plant it in their internal world that is completely up to them.  But does it make my or their experiences any less true? No, because it is what we are experiencing based on the beliefs we have chosen to follow. 

We are a society that is very quick to judge something as absolute, when very little is actually absolute.  When someone says, “That’s not true” or you find yourself thinking it, just try for a moment to say to yourself, “That is what is true for them, why?” Go deeper! If you want to engage with the person, try to find out why she or he came to the beliefs that are guiding her/him. Here are a few suggestion of questions you could ask:

  • Does believing that make you feel better about yourself or about the world? Why or why not?
  • How does believing that help you make good and healthy choices?
  • How does believing what you do limit your ability to change and grow and/or how does is help it? 
  •  How do you find what you say to be true?
  • Do you think this belief helps or hurts your connections with others?
  • Do you think this belief limits your thinking or expands your opportunity to learn?

Every time I hear myself saying that someone else’s beliefs aren’t true, I have to tell myself that is their perspective of truth. Then, I need to determine whether it is worth trying to find out more, leave it alone, or let them know what I believe.  One thing I know for sure is if someone is drinking or on drugs, I keep my mouth shut and walk away. If I care about the person and authentically want to know why they believe the things they do, I ask when they are sober. We each have to make that choice for ourselves. I can tell you I’ve grown and expanded in my beliefs because of being open to learn and listen about how others think.  If I am exposed to a belief that comes from a place of fear, often time I don’t comment, because I know I need to find my own way of expressing my beliefs, hence my blog, articles I’ve written, and my upcoming book. People who want to know what I believe will choose to read my work, follow me on social media, call, text, or email me with questions or asking for advice. Each of us is having experiences that are true for us right now. The quicker we understand that, the easier it will be to authentically connect with someone else. Our perspectives don’t have to be the same in order to find common ground. 

Our Personal Paths

I know that I’m not going to force anyone to change their beliefs or convince them that what they believe is true or isn’t, that’s not my job. I feel my purpose is to share my perspectives in case there is another person out there that can relate or that is looking to change, shift, and grow because they aren’t comfortable where they are, or they simply want to gain more perspectives to help them find their own perspectives of truth that work best for them.  All I ever can offer someone else is seeds from my garden. Not all my seeds will grow into big strong trees, beautiful flowers, or luscious edibles. If I’m sharing out of old belief systems of pain, chaos, confusion, and/or fear, I’m giving seeds that contain weeds and strangling vines that will do damage if planted. I can’t say I’ve never given these kinds of seeds out because I lived my life in a lot of pain for many years. I didn’t mean to hurt someone else, but I was self-abusing and when we self-abuse, the seeds we have become toxic, invasive species. The healthier I got, the more weeds and strangling vines I pulled out of my own garden. When I did that, I limited the toxic seeds I distributed.

We each start our lives with a collection of seeds. Some of them are inherently planted before we are even able to process thoughts. As we travel along our paths we are given seed after seed and we decided whether or not to plant them. Sometimes we have to make space by clearing out an area of our garden that no longer serves us. No garden is the same. All gardens are ever-changing, growing, and expanding. Some are not well kept and are neglected. Others are thriving with amazing life. Then there is everything in-between. 

Our Choices

Many of us limit our power by believing we don’t have any. We convince ourselves that we are trapped (a perspective). We give our power away time and time again by blaming others for the way we feel, think, act, and react. We give away our power by believing someone or something can make us live the way we are living. Nothing outside of us needs to change in order to live a better life. What needs to be worked on is between our own two ears. When we realize how much power we have to internally change our thoughts, beliefs, feelings, actions, and reactions, we open ourselves up to creating a beautiful expansive garden. 

We Are Here to Learn

Anyone who has ever gardened knows that it takes continued maintenance to have a healthy garden— we are no different. The longer we go without self-care and self-maintenance, the more the weeds will grow and spread. Even if we do take good care of ourselves, old weeds will pop-up looking pretty as they invasively spread and take life from our healthy flowers and plants.  We are here in this life to learn. 

We need those weeds to help us see how we can grow and expand in a healthier way,  or if we choose a destructive way. We just want to make sure we don’t let them take over. When weeds take over, we know by our addictions that we use to numb ourselves, along with anything else we do to avoid doing the work to change the things we don’t like in our lives (blaming, shaming, bullying, gossiping, etc.) The more open we are to learn, the more healthy our gardens will be. 

Why Do I Stay Focused on this Topic?

If you follow FromALovingPlace.com, you know that I’ve written about this topic multiple times and in multiple different ways. Each post is different, but carries similar messages. This is part of my self-maintenance. I have to remember these things, because I’m not above being triggered. When I write these posts it soothes me. It helps me to see that a reaction I may have had was just a weed popping up that I need to pull out. Writing is one of the tools I use to pull out the weeds that can grow and spread if I don’t do something. Writing is my something. We all have to decide for ourselves, which tools we want to use, and how to use them. We aren’t here to plant our seeds in other people’s gardens. We can only offer our seeds. Writing on FromALovingPlace.com is how I offer the seeds I’ve planted. It also is helps me to plant seeds I’ve received. I use this blog to spread loving messages that help me maintain, grow, and expand my garden in a way that makes me feel good. If someone chooses to take them and plant them in their garden, the energy of love spreads. My seeds aren’t the only seeds. There are so many seeds that spread love. People don’t have to plant mine. That’s what I love about this process. The ones who offer different perspectives of love help me to expand my garden even more. Staying on this topic helps me to stay open to grow and expand. The more I can see the world through perspectives of truth, the more curious I get about learning from others. As I learned from my time in AL-ANON, I take what I like, and leave the rest.

With Love and Gratitude, 

Rachael Wolff ©2019

Feel-Good Friday Book Series: Hope for the Flowers

FEEL-GOOD FRIDAY

BOOKS THAT GAVE ME SEEDS TO THRIVE (Click link for the introduction to the series)

Today I’m going way, way back. I received this book when I was fourteen years old. I was a teen in crisis.  After getting some help, I was given Hope for the Flowers by Trina Paulus. My counselor told me to hold on to it. As you can see, I did. It’s been almost 30 years now and the book still sits on my go-to bookshelf. Hope for the Flower is the reason why I’m so connected to the butterfly transformation. I pulled the book out in preparation of my upcoming seminar, because sometimes the greatest wisdom is in the simplest of details.  

In Hope for the Flowers, Paulus follows the life of two caterpillars on their journeys. She describes separation and connection so simply that even a child can understand. She talks about finding courage when there is no way to know what is coming next. The pictures and images bring on new meaning for me with every read. For a maybe 20 minute read, it allows the reader to really think about their life choices. And hopefully inspires courage to follow that call inside us no matter how scary it is to go in a different direction. 

After re-reading the book, I saw parts that I never noticed before, or at least didn’t remember acknowledging at the time. We see what we are ready to see, when we are ready to see it. We connect and absorb the material that is important to our journeys right now. I love how this works. I hope you will feel inspired to get your copy. If you do, I would love to hear what you think in the comments below. 

Favorite Quote from Hope for the Flowers

(click on the book title to check out the book for yourself)

“You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.”

-Trina Paulus

With Love and Gratitude, 

Rachael Wolff

Do You REALLY Want to Live Better?

7 Steps to Living Better NOW

1. Living Better Doesn’t Happen in the Future

Living better happens right now in this very moment. It doesn’t start this afternoon, tonight, or tomorrow. If you are not willing to make a change right now, your story of wanting without getting will continue. Right now, you can write three things you are grateful for. Right now, you can change a thought that you don’t like. Right now, you can choose to take a walk, lift weights, eat better, or dance. Right now, you can improve your mindset. Right now, you can make a list of all the things you do right. OH— You don’t have time? Right now, you can take three long breaths in and exhale them completely. We have time to do something better in each moment we are given. We have to make the conscious choice to make the most of the moment. 

2. Take Control of Your Story

We can choose to believe the things that make us feel worse, or we can choose to believe the things that make us feel better. We weave our stories based on our mindset not on the people, events, and/or situations we are in. The same event can happen to ten different people and each person will process the event differently. Even the most brutal situations like the Holocaust can create some to rise and others to sink. It’s not about the events that happened, it’s about the mindset of the people who survived. I always think of the AMAZING Elie Wiesel, author of Night and Viktor E. Frankl, author of Man’s Search for Meaning. They found meaning in the madness, which led them to lead an amazing lives after their experiences during the Holocaust.  They took control of their stories. We all have that power. For me, I didn’t want any of the trauma I experienced to be a crutch. I needed to find meaning in my madness. Everything got better when I took back control of my story and embraced the concept that my experiences were all necessary for me to live my best life. If we are the victims of our own stories, we are living within our own prisons. 

3. Start the Work Within

Nothing outside of you will fix an inside problem. If you don’t do the inside work, all you are doing is wasting time, money, and energy. Things might feel better for short periods of time, but the results you are searching for won’t stick around if you don’t change what is going on inside. If you don’t look at the person you are and know that you are loyal to what’s in your best interests, trustworthy of your own moral code, loving to the person looking back at you in the mirror, and honest about who you are and want to be—You will never find it outside of yourself. NO person, place, or thing, can MAKE you feel complete except for the person in the mirror. Some have argued to me about their spiritual lives, but if we don’t know how to love ourselves completely, we can’t experience the love that the Universe is offering. When we love ourselves, our connection to our spiritual path strengthens beyond the imaginable. The work starts by committing to love the person you are. It took me writing three things I like/ love about myself for 35 days in order for me to truly embrace the person I am. It will take some shorter periods and others longer, but what is important is to commit to the process. Being cruel to yourself doesn’t get you anywhere. When we self-abuse we feed our stories of why we can’t have the life we want and or own victimhood. Make sure you are treating yourself with the love and respect that you deserve.

4. Be Conscious of the Energy that YOU are Inviting In

We have to invite energy in order to let it effect our lives. This is why someone isn’t capable of making us happy or sad. We choose to invite the energy of those feelings in. The power is in our hands. I know this can be challenging, and I’m the last to tell you that I do this perfectly. It’s okay, because I’m aware and accountable when I’m choosing to experience different energies. When my kids aren’t listening to what I’m telling them to do, they are talking back, and/or screaming at friends during video games, I have lots of choices about the energy I’m going to invite in. I know the calmer I am, the more effective I am. In order to be the best communicator, I have to choose the energy I invite in VERY consciously. I won’t remain calm if I let my hormonal teens’ actions dictate my energy. Just like, my partner can do something to show his love to me, and if I don’t choose to feel the energy of his love, I could spin it into something that stirs my energy in the opposite direction. What energy are you inviting in? When you feel something you like and/or don’t like it’s important to be conscious that you have chosen to engage with whatever energy you are feeling. You have more power than you know. When you become conscious of this, life gets better, because you know you can re-write a piece of your story and the energy you invite in will shift along with it. 

5. Conscious Breaths

In order to keep ourselves present and focused on living better now, we have to stay conscious. One of the easiest ways to do this is by remember to breathe consciously by inhaling to the count of ten, then exhaling to the count of ten for a minimum of three cycles. REMEMBER TO EXHALE! When we stress and/or feel pain, we tend to hold our breath. This limits our oxygen, so you can imagine the effects on our entire system. Our brains need oxygen to work at their greatest capacity, so BREATHE!! Just taking the time to consciously breathe can help you find the answers you need in any given situation. Doing this keeps us from reacting from our old stories and gives us time to create a new and better ones. When we respond to life’s challenges from that place, we live better. 

6. Take Action

You are living in the moment, taking control of your story, working within, inviting in energy consciously, and breathing fully. What better time than right now to take action? What are you going to do right now to live better? 

7. Write it Down

Make the time to write down your new story. This doesn’t have to be complicated or take you hours, it is just about taking time to commit to the new story you are writing for your life. You can put a notebook in your bag, write lists on your phone (YES, there are apps for that), create a file on your computer and/or tablet, have a notebook on your nightstand (I do), etc. Just make the time. We can always find time for what’s important to us. If we want to live better, we have to change the old patterns and excuses that keep us from doing it.  Here are a few examples of what writing it down can look like:

  • A daily gratitude list—gratitude is a story of abundance. 
  • A daily intention list—Gives you goals to help guide your thoughts, feelings, and actions throughout the day.
  • A daily accomplishment list—documenting how you chose to make your life better today builds on the positive impact of your new story.
  • Write out today’s story—Choose positive perspectives to write out your daily story. Even if you may not have reacted the way you wanted to in the moment: What did you learn from reacting that way? If something like that happened again, what are some positive responses?

You can do one, or do them all. Just commit to what feels right. There is no place for blaming others or self-blaming here. We simply are taking responsibility for the lives we want to live and doing it to the best of our ability in the moment. When we don’t do it in a way that aligns with living better, we take responsibility and learn from it. If we document these things, we have less chance of needing to repeat the lessons. 

I hope you choose to live better now. This is a one step at a time process. It all happens in the moment of Now. 

With Love and Gratitude, 

Rachael Wolff ©2019 (You can follow me on Facebook)

Are you struggling with digging down to the root of what is keeping you from living better now? Check out my 90-Day A Better Me Series (click the title for the link). The series is FREE and there are no sign-up required. Just sit, read, and take your next step to better living. 

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Whatever you choose to do today, be kind to yourself. You deserve love and respect. Give it to yourself!