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

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

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

Feel-Good Friday Book Series: Your Creative Brain

FEEL-GOOD FRIDAY

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

Your Creative Brain: Seven Steps to Maximize Imagination, Productivity, and Innovation in Your Life by Shelley Carson, PhD was a game changer for me. I read the book in college for a creative processes course. I’ve written about this book once before in a post called, I’m Not Stupid After All: School Testing and Self-Worth. I have this book in hardcover and audio, and I needed both! There are self-tests and quizzes to help readers assess where their comfort mindset is, which if you truly want to understand how your brain works is a VERY powerful tool.

Shelley Carson is a Harvard professor. You’re Creative Brain is the science behind how our brains process what is in front of us. It helps us get a true view of what and where our strengths are and how to work on areas that aren’t as developed. Carson reminds us that we are all creative in different ways, and that understanding our mind’s comfort zones is key to seeing our true potential.

I used to think something was wrong with me all growing up (You can read more about my personal struggles in the link above). If I knew that I was a divergent thinker, I may not have beat myself up so much. Carson says on page 124, “Divergent thinking is a type of cognition in which you see many possible answers to question and problems. In fact, you will risk becoming overwhelmed with possibilities for creative innovation!”

The current school system can treat divergent thinkers as failures, but if they looked a little closer, they could see they are our innovators. I didn’t learn I was an divergent thinker until I was almost 40 years old. I can’t tell you how much it’s helped me knowing it. I’ve been faced with so many challenges and opportunities where I finally understood how to use my mind’s strengths.

There are so many amazing jewels this book has to offer. You definitely need a physical copy of the book to get the most from it, simply because some of the tests you need the book to do. This book won’t just help you understand your brain, but it will help you be able to see how different people feel comfortable functioning from other mindsets. It helps us in our schooling, careers, personal relationships, communities, and our inner world. When we know how our brain works, we gain understanding of how best to help ourselves succeed. We gain access to solutions and research that can help our world become better and stronger by focusing on the strengths each of us inherently have.

If you are anything like me, you will gain understanding about why it is so important that we allow people to develop their strengths, because each way of thinking is valuable. If we understand that the person in front of us is coming from a different mindset, we are more likely to ask questions than make judgments. We improve the quality of humanity when we gain understanding about ourselves and others.

Favorite Quote from Your Creative Brain:

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

We are all creative. Creativity is the hallmark human capacity that has allowed us to survive thus far.”

-Shelley Carson p. 9

With Love and Gratitude,

Rachael Wolff

If you are looking for doses of daily feel-good you can follow me on social media.

Feel-Good Friday Book Series: I am What’s Wrong

FEEL-GOOD FRIDAY

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

I am What’s Wrong by Sheila M. Burke is where I will begin this Friday Feel-Good Book Series.  I’m starting here for one main reason, I am What’s Wrong gives the reader tools they can use right NOW in this very moment to take steps toward a better life and a better humanity. This book definitely contributes to keeping my passion for life pumping. 

I read the book at the beginning of the summer, and I was excited to share the tools from the book with my two kids. The book is a quick, yet powerful read. As a person who wants to do good in the world, I know that sometimes I can get caught up in thoughts that I’m not doing enough. Sometimes those kinds of thoughts can eventually take people to thinking thoughts that get them to stop making any efforts to better the world. Those kinds of thoughts are dangerous and destructive, not just to the world, but to ourselves. How we treat the world is a reflection of how we treat and think about ourselves. 

When we feel separation within ourselves, we project separation out into the world. Burke writes, “Unity is understanding that even though I do something differently than you do, we can both want world peace, a healthy planet, or respect for all mankind.” She shows us how differences don’t have to mean separation. No one is going to think or do things exactly like we do, so why not see others as a learning opportunity instead of having to start the negative cycles that the feelings of AGAINST stir up inside of us. 

The part that makes this book so good for families is all of the convenient lists. I’ve had some wonderful conversations with my kids about the lists within these covers. I leave the conversations feeling excited and inspired. We all leave the conversation with concrete ways to live better. 

I am What’s Wrong is a great book of reminders for me. The first thought that came into my head when I got into the lists was, I need to pull this book out when I’m feeling defeated by the negativity and violence in the world. It’s definitely a book that helps humanity thrive. 

Favorite Quote from I am What’s Wrong

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

“Within each of us is the power to heal the world—simply by sharing ourselves with others.” 

– Sheila M. Burke

With Love and Gratitude, 

Rachael Wolff

Friday Feel-Good Book Series: Books that Gave Me Seeds to Thrive

New Series Starts September 20, 2019

Hello Friends, Followers, and Visitors:

I’m starting a new series! I decided Fridays was a good day to tell you about the books that gave me seeds to thrive. Each Friday, I will tell you about a book I’ve read on my journey and why I would recommend it. The books will not be in any particular order. Just know that every Friday, until I feel like I’m done, I will share one of my treasures with you. It will be your choice if you decide you want to plant one of these seeds in your garden. I encourage comments, insights, and sharing the books that helped you. You never know what book I will feel energetically pulled to read next. I tend to have a good two to three books going at a time. Just remember the name of my site, comments should come from a loving place, or they won’t be posted. If there is a quote from a book that inspires you to live better, you can share it along with the author name, book title, and the page number the quote is from.

Why am I Doing This?

I’m often asked about the books I read. For those who don’t know me, I’m an avid reader of ways to make life better. I started my love of reading about this over thirty years ago. Here are a few of my favorite topics: self-help, spirituality, personal transformation, mindfulness, meditation, yoga, healthy living, brain studies, human development, sociology, psychology, religion, and cultural anthropology. Reading all these books has helped me see the person I want to be, ways (not one way) to get there, and be open to see what could be holding me back. They helped me discover my strengths and weaknesses, along with what I was ready for and what I wasn’t. I also have read about plenty of ways I don’t want to live. 

In every book I’ve read, I’ve discovered there are no new concepts, just different ways of presenting them. If the writer is viewing a concept through a place of fear, I look at how that affects their view of interpretation. If a writer is seeing a concept through a place of love, I look to see how I’m connecting to their beliefs about the topic before I consider their perspective of truth. No matter what, I know and understand that every writer is speaking from his or her own place of truth. I understand that just because they believe a certain way of doing things is the right way, it’s up to me to decide what is the best way for me. In the end, only I can decide the perspectives of truth that I will form my reality around. No one can force us to have a belief that serves or doesn’t serve us living our best lives. We have to be open to see how our own beliefs are affecting our reality and make a choice on whether or not to keep our energy believing what we do. 

I believe I can learn from EVERYTHING I read. If I feel an energetic pull to read something, I know there was a reason I was meant to read it. I look for the lessons. There hasn’t been a book in the categories I listed above that I got nothing from. There are some that I put down, because when the energetic force stopped pulling me to read it, I knew I got what I needed. Being a reader of this kind of material, it’s good to trust the journey. We don’t know where it’s leading us. 

When I read A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson at fourteen, I had no idea the journey I was about to go on. I’ve read the book at least four times now and I find something new and different that resonates EVERY time. My fourteen-year-old self wasn’t ready for a lot of what I was reading, but it gave me seeds. I could see I wanted to live from a loving place. I just would have to go through a lot of life experiences before the material would truly sink in. 

I picked up The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle three times throughout a period of five or six years before I was ready to grasp his voice. I would make it through a couple of chapters, then put it down. I actually ended up reading A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle first. I did the Oprah course she had on it. After doing that, when I picked up The Power of Now again, I got it and loved it! I read it right when I needed to and right when it was important for a big step in my journey. 

The point is, when we are invested in this type of material, TRUST THE JOURNEY! Don’t beat yourself up about what you should read, or what you should do. You are ready when you’re ready. If you feel pulled to read something, GET THE BOOK! If you’re reading and all the sudden you stop—It’s okay! You read what you needed to for now, or you would have felt pulled to read more. Don’t get rid of the book! Sometimes you will find that it’s years before you’re ready, but it’s good to have so that when you are ready for it, you can open it and just start reading.  I can’t even begin to tell you how many times this has happened to me. 

I hope you are excited to get on board! The fun will begin soon. See you back here Friday!

With Love and Gratitude, 

Rachael Wolff ©2019