90-Day A Better Me Letters Series: Day 45 – Releasing Perspectives that Don’t Serve Me

Letters from A Better Me

90-Day A Better Me Letters Series

Part II: A Journey of Perspective

What Launches Us Forward: The Stable Foundation

 

Day 45: Releasing Perspectives that Don’t Serve Me

Dear Universe,

I’m ready to release perspectives that don’t serve me anymore. Many of my perspectives of truth came from a place of fear. Some weren’t even my fears. They were fears of family before me. Others came from past circumstances that are no longer the case. I also have those perspectives of truth that started as a small fear and developed into life altering nightmares. I really don’t see the need to keep them alive in my life anymore. They are definitely not serving the person I want to be.

I don’t see any reason to keep perspectives of truth that keep me in the place of lack. Whether it’s lack of friends, family, romance, finances, love, direction, profession, adventure, etc.— I don’t need to see the world through eyes of lack and/or not enough. When I believe life is this way I put expectations on others and myself that are damaging. This perspective keeps me from living in the moment and enjoying what this moment has to offer me. This perspective keeps me worrying about the future and feeling anxious that I’m never doing enough. It makes me work harder, but not smarter. It makes me sabotage relationships over fears of what the future looks like. It keeps me from experiencing more. I don’t see a reason to keep this perspective of truth.

I also want to release the perspectives of truth that tell me I’m too nice, too sensitive, too caring, and too compassionate. These beliefs keep me from enjoying the person I am. I sabotage myself by not creating healthy boundaries and not taking personal responsibility for my feelings, thoughts, beliefs, actions, and reactions. When I believe this I’m blaming someone else for not being who I’m expecting them to be when they are just being who they are. Sometimes I begin doing things for others that they can do with themselves. They can take that as me saying I don’t have faith in them or their abilities. Believing these thoughts keeps me manifesting more examples of situations where I let myself be taken advantage of, but it’s not because I’m too anything, it’s because I’ve created these situations by not being conscious of how these beliefs are affecting me. I’m giving my power away instead of empowering myself.

I’m ready to release the perspective of truth that tells me I’m not good enough. When I treat myself like I’m not good enough, I project to the world that I’m not good enough. I sabotage what I do to prove that I’m not good enough. I take failures as proof instead of things to learn from. I feel unworthy of God’s love because I believe I’m not good enough (Day 6 of the 90-Day A Better Me Series). This contributes to me giving myself away time and time again to try to fill the endless hole that I created by believing the perspective of truth that tells me I’m not good enough. I find no reason to keep this perspective. It’s definitely not serving the life I want to be living.

Finally, I’m releasing the perspective of truth that I’m a victim of others feelings, thoughts, actions, and reactions. This belief has created major chaos, sadness, depression, grief, fear, anxiety, resentment, rage, and anger in my life, amongst other things. I have sabotaged my relationships in all areas of my life by taking on the victim role (Day 41 of the 90-Day A Better Me Series). I’ve ripped myself of the power to change myself and the situation I’m in. I keep seeing others as personally attacking me when their views are different then my own. I carry around a tightness in my body and I feel like I’m constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop. I think everything is too good to be true, so if I can’t blame someone else for hurting me, I start taking on the blame myself becoming the victim of self-abuse (Day 29 of the 90-Day A Better Me Series). I have absolutely no reason to hold onto this belief. I see the trail of damage this belief has caused in my life. It was a perspective of truth I once thought I needed to survive, but I see no good reason to hold onto this belief that is literally destroying every good thing in my life.

Today, these are the perspectives of truth I’m looking to release. Divine Spirit, please lead me to new thoughts and ideas that will help me find healthier perspectives of truth. Please allow the perspectives to serve the love within my heart, so that I can serve the love within others hearts. Open me up to see perspectives of truth that shine light in even the darkest of places.

 

With Love and Gratitude,

 

A Better Me

 

Rachael Wolff ©2019

Did you read today’s companion piece? 90-Day A Better Me Series: Day 45 – Releasing Perspectives that Don’t Serve Us

If you are new to the 90-Day A Better Me Letters Series and the 90-Day A Better Me Series, you picked a perfect day to start. The transformation is at your fingertips. Read today’s Installment of the 90-Day A Better Me Series “Releasing Perspectives that Don’t Serve Us”. What are the perspectives of truth keeping you from living the life you want to be living? Welcome to the Journey of Perspective!

 

 

90-Day A Better Me Series: Day 45 – Releasing Perspectives that Don’t Serve Us

90-Day A Better Me Series

Part II: A Journey of Perspective

What Launches Us Forward: The Stable Foundation

Day 45: Releasing Perspectives that Don’t Serve Us

“Same thoughts always lead to the same choices.”

-Joe Dispenza

When we start seeing ourselves (Day 43) and individuals in the world (Day 44) through perspectives of truth—We open our minds to change our patterns that create the chaos of our lives. We can see how expecting different results while continuing the same thought and behavior patterns is the definition of insanity. If we want to live differently, we have to choose to do things differently. That’s why the 90-Day A Better Me Series  takes the journey to see where our blocks are in Part I of the series. If we want to be better, we have to look at what we are doing that keeps us from creating an inner world abundant with light. Remember the Law of Attraction? If we are abundant inside— We manifest abundance around us. Do you want to be creating an abundance of darkness (fear)? I know I don’t! I want to be creating an abundance of love, adventures, passion, prosperity, and connections (light).

If a person has the perspective of truth that tells them self-care is selfish that person’s belief systems are sending energy messages to the Universe that say things like:

  • I can’t take care of myself, so it is someone else’s job to take care of me.
  • I need people to give me value.
  • I’m not worthy of my own time.
  • I will give myself away for whoever gives me attention.
  • I’m a doormat, come walk on me. I like the attention.
  • I’m unlovable if I’m not giving myself away.
  • I’m selfish if I love myself, so you have to fill that hole.

That is just a short list, but it can vary depending on the person. Some people will give themselves away in their romantic relationships, familial relationships, and/or friendships. Others will give themselves away in their jobs and/or places they serve. The self-care is selfish perspective of truth is not putting the oxygen on ourselves first. It is letting ourselves die and sacrificing the care we can give to others. I don’t know anyone who lives a healthy lifestyle who gives themselves away. Self-care represents self-love. We have to have love for ourselves before we can authentically understand it in others.

When we choose perspectives of truth created by fear, it affects how we treat the world and how we interpret the world treating us. We become victims of the world. We become victims of  life. We see the world through the eyes of the victim role. Our perspective of truth tells us we are victims. So if we want to unravel the perspectives of truth that got us here, we have to go back and try to figure out where these belief systems came from and uncover if they are worth holding onto. When we hold perspectives of truth led by fear. Our perspectives will affect feelings, thoughts, actions, and reactions.  It injects fear into every situation. We will treat our reality through the eyes of the perspectives of truth we choose to live by.

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As individuals we have to dig deep. If you’ve been with me since the beginning and been doing the “Just for Today” sections look at the fears (Days 3-6), shame (Days 7-12), blame (Days 13-17), judgment (Days 18-21), hate (Days 22-25), and the mirror (Days 27-30).  If you haven’t been with me and you truly want to stop repeating patterns that don’t work for you, go back and look at these sections. Investigate the belief systems that created these patterns of feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. Do you need them anymore? Which ones are you ready to give up? We no longer can blame the people who raised us or the circumstances in our lives—This transformation is in our hands. We have the power to make today a different day. It all starts with the steps we choose to take. First, we have to release what no longer is working for us. We have to look at what our perspectives of truth have created our realities to look like.

“If you strike without compassion against the darkness, you yourself enter the darkness.”

-Gary Zukav

This process is not a one-day step. This is a process that will take years of weeding through our unstable foundations created layers of old beliefs like I’ve talked about before. Be patient with yourself. With each step we take we become lighter. Show YOURSELF compassion during this process! Otherwise you are going to keep yourself in the dark energy you are trying to shine light on. Just simply choose to do the best you can and if you feel like you were challenged and you failed, learn from what you saw yourself do. Learn from how you felt, thought, and acted in the situation. This is the work. That’s how we get better and live better.

Self-abuse (Day 29) keeps us in the dark. By working on releasing perspectives of truth that no longer serve us is a VERY good place to start. Just imagine the beautiful gardens we can create once we get rid of the old belief systems that are like smothering vines and weeds taking over our beautiful gardens (inner world). We have to weed out what keeps dulling and killing our gardens. We have to give space to the flowers, trees, and plants so they can each see the light that nourishes their growth. We have to take the time to care, love, and nurture our gardens so that the shadows and the darkness don’t overrun them.

“The smallest change in perspective can transform a life. What tiny attitude adjustment might turn your world around?”

-Oprah Winfrey

Since this installment’s post date lands on Valentine’s Day, I know many people struggle with perspectives of truth. Those perspectives can cause unrealistic expectations on partners. People can manifest horrible days by cursing the day. Individuals can create a negative desperate energy around them so that they attract toxic people to their lives. There are other perspectives of truth we can choose on days like Valentine’s Day, whether we have partners or we don’t. Watch where your head goes—Are your perspectives of truth about Valentine’s Day serving you? Which ones are you ready to release?

Just for Today

It’s time to pull out the journals. At the top of each page write a perspective of truth you’ve been choosing to believe that you don’t feel serves the person you want to be. Don’t write anything else on the page. I listed the days you can find each section above to help you easily navigate the areas you might want to look at. Just scroll down on this page and you will see the “Categories” section where you can bring up the entire 90-Day A Better Me Series.

When you are ready to take this step, you will begin to see some beautiful shifts in your life. You might notice things in nature more. You might be touched by more stories of perseverance, strength, hope, love, compassion, and courage. You may meet new people who share your excitement (This is how I met one of my closest friends 11 years ago). Just be aware and pay attention—Miracles are abound!

 

With Love and Gratitude,

 

Rachael Wolff ©2019

Did you read today’s companion piece? 90-Day A Better Me Letters Series: Day 45 – Releasing Perspectives that Don’t Serve Me

 

90-Day A Better Me Series: Day 36 – The Stable Foundation of Acceptance

90-Day A Better Me Series

Part II: A Journey of Perspective

What Launches Us Forward: The Stable Foundation

Day 36: The Stable Foundation of Acceptance

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Acceptance is apart of our journey inward. The more we come to terms with what is, the more open we become to see, access, contemplate, understand, and adapt to other perspectives.  We see opportunities even in the midst of chaos. We create a stable foundation the more accepting we are. One of the slogans that stuck with me when I attended AL-ANON was this too shall pass. Life is ever changing. The sadness will pass, the heartache will pass, the joy will pass, the challenges will pass, and the triumphs will pass. This isn’t a good or bad thing; it’s just the transitions of life. When we accept our ever-changing lives, we don’t get so wrapped up in the little things. This makes us a lot more stable and open to receive the blessing that come with it.

This isn’t about allowing unacceptable behavior, and not doing anything. We will cross that bridge, but not quite yet (in the days to come). I know that is a difficult one for any survivor of trauma. Keep reading! You will get the tools in the 90-Day A Better Me Series. You will have to choose whether or not to use them. If you haven’t read the whole series, got back and start from the beginning. This is a stepping stone process, if you miss a step; the process has less chance of success.

Perspective and acceptance work together. They create a flow to life that opens up door after door. When we are shut down within ourselves, we can’t see the options of either of these things. We might say under a deep sigh, it is what it is, but we don’t mean it. We don’t really accept it. We can’t fake acceptance and get frustrated when getting out of our rut doesn’t work. If you say, it is what it is BUT… That BUT is the resistance. Go deep into the BUT to figure out what needs to be fixed to eliminate the BUT. Your peace depends on it.

Challenges will come up. We will be faced with opportunities to practice our acceptance and see situations from different perspectives. Sometimes we will be able to get to acceptance easily. Other times it will take a great deal of work. Don’t give up. The next few days we will be taking this process step by step.

How we process life changes through the eyes of acceptance. Life becomes softer. The lessons become more manageable. We become better friends, coworkers, partners, family members, and overall champions for life. This is a journey of true awakening.

Just for Today

Look at the areas of your life where you struggle with acceptance. What parts of your life to do feel trapped in belief systems and/or situations? Are there areas where you struggle to forgive yourself or others? Do you struggle with accepting the unknown future? Do you struggle accepting death? Go deep! If you still struggle with any of these areas after this series is over, I invite you to reach out to me. For many if not all, the grip of fear will be drastically lessened by the end of the series. The transformations that come with acceptance are amazing and you will see that the Law of Attraction will REALLY start working with the positive energy you are putting out.

With Love and Gratitude,

 

Rachael Wolff ©2019

 

Read today’s Letter from A Better Me 90-Day A Better Me Letters Series: Day 36 – Opening the Door to Acceptance.

90-Day A Better Me Series: Day 33 – How Love Transcends Fear

90-Day A Better Me Series

Part II: A Journey of Perspective

What Launches Us Forward: The Stable Foundation

Day 33: How Love Transcends Fear

“Even in the darkness it is possible to create light.”

-Elie Wiesel

Yesterday, I talked about The Power of Love. Today, we will expand on how love transcends fear. Many people want to jump to fixing others and fixing the world before they take a look at themselves. We can’t change others so the efforts often will deplete us. Our light (love) is projected from the inside. We have to feel the love inside us in order to transcend the fear within and around us.

Have you ever noticed the difference in your actions if they have the pure intention of love instead of fear? Have you noticed how serving yourself and others feels different in your body based on the intention behind what you are doing? The difference is that deeds completed with love expand us.

Knowing an accurate definition of love is KEY to our understanding of the energy we are putting out there. If you missed yesterday’s post, I hope you will go back and check it out, because honestly, without an accurate definition of love, we can trick ourselves into believing that our fearful actions are because of love. This is a cycle that will only create more insanity and fear. Fearful actions done in the name of love just add darkness and our light gets dimmer.

Once we know our definition, we can measure our feelings, thoughts, actions, and reactions according to that definition. When we do this, our world opens up and love truly transcends the fear just by becoming aware that it is there. It’s like using a dimmer switch to increase the light in the room. Once we notice how our own feelings, thoughts, actions, and reactions are contributing to the light, or adding to the darkness, it makes it possible to see others feelings, thoughts, actions, and reactions clearly. The love in us can serve the fear in them, if and only if, we stay within the light.

Think about parents, often unknowingly, they feel their fear is serving their child to protect them. I’ve fallen into this trap plenty of times. It is very easy to do because we want to keep our children safe. Our fears create fears in them. Then when they become adults, many parents try to use the same approach to their children that they did in childhood, but the adult children react much different. They are more conscious of the weight of their parent’s fears and they don’t want to carry it. The parent’s fears add to their child’s darkness. If adult children are fighting their own darkness, the exchange can become explosive. Both parent and child are fighting  a war using darkness as their weapon.

Now, if a parent uses light (love), the adult child doesn’t feel that defensiveness towards their parent, because they don’t feel attacked. They still might react, but the parent won’t take the reaction personally and feel the need to attack back. The parent will know that the child is responding to their own darkness, and by sending love into the situation, the parent gets the opportunity to truly shine a little light, but in the end the child has to choose to accept it or deny it. When a parent is truly sending love, they are not insisting on their own way. That is ego and fear (darkness).

This scenario can easily be reversed or switched to friend, professional, intimate, sibling, and/or extended relationships. Love can only transcend fear if we don’t succumb to fear. When we feel the fear stir in us, our lesson becomes to be aware enough to take a step back and reframe our feelings, thoughts, actions, and reactions. Don’t think for a second that I’ve mastered this one. I’m not sure I ever will, but I know I learn from my fears, which is sending light to them. I show my fears love and don’t beat myself up over them anymore. I still have to apologize to people when I project my darkness onto them, in turn sending light to the situation. Once again, love transcends fear. It’s a lot easier than a mind spinning makes it. The key is slowing down. If someone responds badly to something we do or say, we can ask ourselves was I acting/responding from a loving place, or were my fears playing into how I was treating the person. When I was being emotionally abused, I really had to dig deep when I was starting to find my way out of the darkness, but it is possible, even in the face of hate being spewed at you.

When we take responsibility for our darkness, we send light to it. In turn, our love transcends the fear. Other people are responsible for their own darkness. They can choose to see our light or turn away from it. That is their journey. When they are ready to let love transcend their fears, they will know where to find it.

Just for Today

Visualize the light of love inside you. Let is permeate through your body from head to toe. One of my favorite places to do this exercise is in the shower. I imagine the water is an all nourishing and loving light touching every part of me. When you do this exercise, feel the difference in your feelings, thoughts, and body. If it worked, love transcended fear. Feel the beauty of that! It may only last for the time you are doing the exercise—Embrace the moment! The brighter we shine, the less chance the darkness has in taking us over.

If you see me repeating messages, there is a scientific reason. In order to re-wire our brains we have to hear the same messages over and over. Just think about how many times you have repeated fearful messages to yourself over and over. I repeat them for me as much as I’m repeating them for the person reading this. If there are messages you want to really stick, write them down, hang them up, and repeat them to yourself until you feel and hear them in your head when you are faced with challenges. This is how we transcend messages of fear into love in our own heads.

Thank you for reading! I hope you are enjoying the 90-Day A Better Me Series and the 90-Day A Better Me Letters Series. My soul is filled when I can share about living life from a loving place. Writing expands the love within me and transcends my fears through seeing what comes up as I write. It truly is an amazing process. I’m so grateful to get up each morning and write with love in my heart. I do remember a day when my words were filled with darkness. Elie Wiesel’s quote above holds so much meaning to me, because by not giving up on myself and letting the fear consume me, I gave myself space to feel and give love in the most authentic of ways.

With Love and Gratitude,

 

Rachael Wolff ©2019

Did you read today’s companion piece? 90-Day A Better Me Letters Series: Day 33 – Converting Messages of Fear into Messages of Love

 

90-Day A Better Me Series: Day 8 – Childhood Shame

90-Day A Better Me Series

Part I: A Journey of Awareness

What Holds Us Back: The Unstable Foundation

Day 8: Childhood Shame

“Shame is the lie someone told you about yourself.”

-Anais Nin

Some of us go through life not wanting to look back on our childhoods. When we do, we may choose only to look at the surface layers of our youth. Some of us look back horrified and don’t wonder why our lives have taken the trajectory that they have. If you have wondered where the shame cycle starts—the answer is childhood. This is why shame is what makes our foundation extremely unstable. Shame makes our internal ground toxic. If we think we are a bad person at the very core, we will sabotage anything that tries to tell us otherwise.

Childhood shame doesn’t have to come from the home, though it often does. It is in our schools, churches, youth groups, after school programs, daycare, and entertainment. We are surrounded by shame and shaming from the time we can comprehend body language and words.

Before I get into the meat of childhood shame, I feel it’s important to state that not all adults use these tactics, but many have and do. The ones who don’t aren’t the majority. A person has to be EXTREMELYaware and have an understanding of psychology to understand what most of these tactics do to a child’s way of thinking. The majority of people didn’t mean to hurt us at the core of our self-worth. Just like we don’t mean to attack others at that level. It is so easy to fall into manipulation, guilt, and shame tactics to get what we want. Most times it’s a person’s own lack of self-worth trying to say: Hey I’m important. Why don’t you want to do this for me? Why do you think I’m not worthy of being listened to? Why do you not care about me?

We also have to remember that it is what most of us were raised to do as a form of communication. It doesn’t make people bad for using these techniques. We don’t know what we don’t know. We can only do the best we can at any given moment. Reminder Part I is “A Journey of Awareness”. Try not to criticize others for their imperfections during this series. Write out all the things that are coming up. I will give you tools to process what you see.

We don’t have to come from abusive homes to have been shamed. Shaming has been used in parenting for generation after generation. When a parent is frustrated with a child for not doing what they’ve been asked to do it is so easy to jump to shame and guilt tactics to get a child to do what is wanted of them. The underlying message of guilt tactics to a child is if you don’t do it you’re not a very good person. When a child is questioning doing the task, they feel like they are a bad person if they don’t do it. When they choose not to fall into a guilt tactic, they are internally accepting that I guess I’m not a good person because I don’t want to: clean up my toys, stop the rough play, clean my room, do my laundry, do my chores, and the list goes on and on.

Side Note:

Some of you may be thinking how this has been carried into your adulthood already. If you are shaming or blaming yourself right now, STOP!!! Even when we know about shaming it is difficult to stop using the techniques in our lives because we’ve been using them so long that it is in autopilot mode. Just be AWARE! The more you can get through this series just being aware of yourself, the more open you will be to change behaviors that no longer serve you.

Teachers and daycare providers may use shaming tactics to get children to do things too. They call out kids who they know are choosing poor behavior and try to shame them into submission. They can force kids to get up in front of the class who don’t feel worthy enough to be there, so it creates extreme anxiety. They can shame kids for not completing assignments, which an underlying problem may be a learning disorder. A child can feel like there is something inherently wrong with them because they don’t understand why things are such a struggle for them when it seems easy to everyone else. I won’t even begin to go into what paying teachers for test results can do the shame cycles in children or making standardized testing pass/fail does to a child’s sense of worth. I have personal experience with that and it has been one of the most challenging processes I have had to face as a parent, and I have had my share of traumas, but I have to keep re-exposing my child to testing over and over which the challenge a very long and awareness demanding process to help him through it.

Churches and religious practices sometimes will use shame techniques to get there congregations to behave the way the expect them too. Have you ever heard someone say, “I’m a God fearing…”. Why would a person fear God? Because they are scared of not being worthy of God’s love. They question whether their thoughts and actions make them a good enough person to be valued by the Being who is supposed to love them the most. I will tell you GOD didn’t tell them to fear him, a human using shame tactics did. This can be true in any sector of religion, but even within the same sector, shame may not be used as a tactic. Love can be used and often is. Love has no place for shame. Shame comes from fear. When we serve religion out of fear, we are saying we aren’t worthy of our Creator’s love.

I remember being a small child sitting in church and hearing how unworthy I was to get to live this life as a “sinner” and how I was responsible for Jesus dying on the cross because of my lack of worthiness. I’m sure those weren’t the words used, but as a child that is what I heard. I was responsible for a man being killed. I must be a horrible person to let someone die for me. God must hate me for being responsible for his son’s death. So as I grew up and bad things happened to me, I actually felt like I deserved it and that I was being punished by God. It took me a LOT of years, spiritual quests, education, and healing to stop believing that. I spent years self-sabotaging myself with the underlying thought that I wasn’t a good person and that God hated me.

Entertainment, advertising, and overall is riddled with shaming tactics for a child’s viewing demise. Messages continuously come across the screen saying, you’re not good enough the way you are. You need to be this or have that in order to be a worthy human. TV shows exhibit people shaming and/or being shamed because it is how most us have learned to communicate so it just perpetuates the shame cycle in a child’s head to question their own worthiness. People may be portrayed as villains and the child has thought some of those same thoughts the villain did, so does that make them a villain too?

I’m not going to spend too long on trauma-filled childhoods, but you can only imagine that if in a generally healthy family environment shame is used, the extent of the damage when there is abuse, rape, incest, addiction, abandonment, mental illness, and/or suicide. I will tell you that seeking trauma therapy, which can include a variety of techniques such as EMDR, have done wonders to help individuals break-up the toxic messages and patterns we learn from being raised in these environments.

Shame tactics aren’t going away. The best we can do is being AWARE of them, catching ourselves from using them, and teaching the generations that come after us that how others behave is their own stuff. We don’t have to make their messages of lack ours. We are all worthy of being here and getting the opportunity to make mistakes so that we can grow and learn. We will all have thoughts that aren’t healthy, but if we are aware enough to question those thoughts we will grow from them. We aren’t bad people because we sometimes make poor choices. We are all humans and we have our own journeys and opportunities to be and live the best we possibly can. No other human can tell us if we are a bad person. If that is what they choose to see that is their choice. We don’t have to live according to any other person’s choices of thought or behavior. This is our own life and we will choose to live it the best way we can in any given moment.

There is ton of support when it comes to healing and transmuting the messages we were raised with. I’m offering the 35-Day A Better Me Boot Camp, which is an intense program to help re-wiring ourselves to see our own value and worth.  If you are interested, you can read more about the program by clicking the link below or there is tons of other support in therapy, 12-step programs, spiritual groups, seminars available on line, and books. Brené Brown is a powerful voice with her work on shame. Just remember, even people who are meaning to help us can use shame tactics, but that isn’t about you. That’s about them. Being aware when you see yourself and others using them is a huge step in the healing process.

35-Day A Better Me Boot Camp

Just for Today

Write down how childhood shaming has affected your life today. If you need to cry— CRY! See those tears as cleansing your soul to be open to experience life differently. Drink A LOT of water today because if this piece affected you, toxic build-up is being shifted and released inside of you. You need to flush it out.

 

With Love and Gratitude,

Rachael Wolff  ©2019

 

Today’s companion letter 90-Day A Better Me Letters Series: Day 8 – Bringing Awareness to My Childhood Shame is to help us heal from our experiences with childhood shame.

Are you following FromALovingPlace.com yet? Make sure to follow by scrolling down until you see the place where it says, “FOLLOW BLOG VIA EMAIL” or if you use Worpress you can follow me there.

 

 

90-Day A Better Me Letters Series: Day 1 – Welcome to the Journey

Letters From A Better Me

90-Day A Better Me Letters Series

Day 1: Welcome to the Journey

Dear Readers,

Welcome to the journey of A Better Me. This letters piece of the journey is about connecting to the material in the 90-Day A Better Me Series. One of the things I’ve learned in my experience is that if I can’t make the journey personal, it’s not my journey. I won’t absorb the material in the same way as I do if I’m truly connected to it.

Since I’ve re-written my own story again and again using letters, I wanted to pass on one of the most essential tools in my own tool box. I’ve been amazed at what writing letters has done in my life. This helped me more than just journaling because writing a letter to myself or someone else gets me to engage deeper. The letters become personal contracts to live better.  I fully commit to feeling through whatever is going on inside of me at the time. I found that to be an AMAZING healing and transformative tool. Writing letters helps me to remember that I’m writing my own story. I need to commit to being the leading role.

Part I of the series is meant to stir up your emotions. If the program is working, you will get triggered. You will see yourself more openly. You will have opportunities to make better choices today. This journey is a process. In Part I, I’m peeling back the layers to expose the toxic muck that is keeping you from living your best life. In Part II, I help you to heal and strengthen. In Part III, you will get tools galore on how to grow and expand y to be the best version of yourself. Your relationships will shift and change as you take this journey. Trust the path!

I hope that if you stick to this journey, you will get what you need to become the best version of yourself, the program opens you up to see signs, guidance, teachers, and/or students. This is just the beginning. If you need extra guidance, I have a program that acts as a supplement to any personal development program you are using and/or want to start using. You will see a little more about that throughout the series. For now, enjoy this 90-Day journey. You can read it daily, like a book, or pick and choose what you need. This journey is yours. Just go to CATEGORIES to have direct access to both series.

Remember each day comes with a companion piece on the 90-Day A Better Me Series. Don’t forget to read and follow on long in order to get the most out of the experience. Read today’s here: 90-Day A Better Me Series: Day 1-A Commitment for 2019

 

With Love and Gratitude,

A Better Me

Rachael Wolff ©2019

 

 

 

The Mama Bear: The Lessons in the Calm and the Claws

I will be the first to tell you, I’m not perfect. I make mistakes, but I do my best to do right by my kids. I have strengths, and I have weaknesses. My brain is not going to work in exactly the same way as ANY other mother’s and/or caretaker’s brain. Some people will agree with some of my parenting tactics, methods, decisions, and techniques—but no one will agree with them all. Sometimes MAMA BEAR comes out.

Parenting is not an easy task. It is not for the weak-hearted. It will test every thought, belief, and perspective that a person has. There are so many decisions to make from the second a baby is born…and EVERYONE has an opinion on the RIGHT way to do things. Mama Bear 101: There is no ONE RIGHT WAY! There are so many perspectives, but that is what they ALL are—perspectives of what is true for the person speaking. We don’t have to buy into ANYTHING that doesn’t feel right. Bring on Mama Bear!

I’m an understanding person. I get that people are going to parent different than I do. I have my own unique perspective and it is what works for MY family. When I want help, I’m not afraid to ask for it. I reach out to doctors, schools, therapists, healers, pastors, professionals, and people I trust. That being said, I trust other people are doing the same. They might not have the same support system I do. They might not have the same perspectives on what it means to be a good parent. I’m definitely not going to attack other parents who I know are trying their best to do the right thing even if it’s not how I would do it. My job is to protect and serve my kids the best I can. This is me in the MAMA BEAR calm.

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So, when my parenting is attacked—I might have a reaction. If I’m centered and present (Mama Bear calm), I won’t take the event personally. I know it is just another person with another perspective different than mine. I might learn from their opinion, or I may just see it as a way that I don’t want to be. Either way, I won’t have an emotional reaction. Mama Bear is calm, strong, and can walk away tall knowing people can have different opinions.

Now, if I’m not centered or have been going back and forth about the right thing to do and finally made a choice that I felt was right and someone attacks—Well, the claws can get exposed and my defenses go up ready to fight back. In those moments, I act first and think later. Oh, and boy do I think later! I’m reacting to fear with fear. When Mama Bear emerges with her claws exposed: my stomach is tight, limbs tingling, and nerves standing on edge. This doesn’t feel good. It doesn’t feel safe, and I don’t trust the situation at all.

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Has any other mom felt this way?

As centered and peaceful as I can be in the rest of my life, parenting is my greatest teacher in love and fear. Watching my reactions to other parents and opinions and judging myself and others based on parenting style and techniques shows me so much about who I am. My Mama Bear claws show me where I still have fear and distrust. My Mama Bear calm show me when I trust and respect my choices, my perspectives and myself as a parent.

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I’m grateful for the lessons I’ve learned and my growth as person by becoming an active parent in my kids lives. I’m grateful for people’s different perspectives because they show me where I am in mine. I’m grateful to have my eyes and heart open to look into areas I question and be open to change perspectives that no longer work for me. I’m so grateful to my inner MAMA BEAR, because I learn so much from her claws and her calm.

With Love and Gratitude,

Rachael Wolff ©2018

From A Loving Place

The Calling of the Soul

Sedona Calling

Years ago I lived in Phoenix, Arizona for a little less than a year. Within that year, I went to Sedona, AZ three times. Sedona is known for its beautiful scenery, vortexes, spiritual pull, red rocks, and so much more. At least, those are the qualities that pulled me in. Sedona is a place that remains close to my heart even around twenty years later. The pictures I took on those three visits have been up in every place I’ve lived in. The pull for more Sedona has never gone away.

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Somewhere around 2003, I made a five-gallon bucket change jar covered in pictures from Sedona. My goal was to fill that jar and go back. Over the years the jar got heavier and heavier. I felt Sedona calling my soul back over and over. A hope and belief that I would get back there filled me. I didn’t know how or when, but it was a calling of the soul.

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Around ten years ago, I met a woman who became my soul sister. We have stayed on similar spiritual journeys, and we have helped and supported each other’s spiritual development through the years. From very early on in our friendship, we started talking about going to Sedona together. I wanted her to feel the energy and the spiritual and cleansing pull there. If any of my friends could understand my pull to Sedona, it would be her. No matter who came and left from my life, I knew she was the one. She would understand the pull for me and not try to lessen or taint it. She would get it!

Letting Go

Time ticked on and the Sedona trip felt farther and farther away. Now, a single mom I would remember the clarity I felt when I would go there. I wanted to feel that again. I needed to feel that again. A couple of years ago, I gave up. My beliefs on being a single mom and not ever being able to get away to go across the country took over. I figured it would have to wait until my kids were grown. I decided on finding places to go within my reach. I couldn’t even begin to imagine getting the time alone.

I got creative and started to see the draw of taking my kids on some natural adventures. I saw the benefits in my kids experiencing the wonder of the mountains, waterfalls, caves, and nature in areas north of West coast of Florida. I planned a six-week road trip (which you can read about here). I emptied my 5-gallon bucket and there was enough in there to cover all our hotel costs, since they didn’t want to camp alone in the woods with me (LOL).

We stayed on the road, with family, friends, and finally camping in the mountains with another friend and her daughter. The trip was amazing and it led to a trip the following year with a lot more mountains, waterfalls, and camping. My soul has been refreshed, but my soul’s call to Sedona was still there.

The Call Awakens

Last June, I saw a glimmer of hope that I might be able to find a way for a Sedona trip to happen. Things didn’t work out, and I just let it go. Right before Christmas, I get a call. My friend’s husband asked if I would be available to do a retreat with my friend over the summer. I so wished I could say yes. It wasn’t Sedona, but I would at least get to go on a spiritual adventure with my friend. Being a single mom, I definitely couldn’t commit to being available in the summer.

He decided to get her a trip to Sedona for a yoga and hiking retreat in March. I was so happy for her, but wait he says she can bring a friend. This is not a spiritual man. He is a very good husband who honors her spirituality by doing things like this for her. He had no idea we had been talking about this trip for a decade. When she asked me about going, I talked over the dates with my mom to watch the kids. My mom, stepdad, kids, and I all live very busy lives, so the timing would have to be just right in order to make this work. We literally looked at the schedule together and it was THE ONLY WEEK that would have worked!!

Was this really happening? My mom once came with me to Sedona, so she knew the power it had over me. She told me I had to go. The trip was in the making. As time went on, I started getting into nature more and practicing yoga regularly. I was feeling good, but there was a nagging sense of unhappiness in me that just wouldn’t go away.

I wanted to go to Sedona to feel the calling again that got me moving in a very positive direction in my life. I knew it would help me pinpoint this pit in my stomach that made me feel on edge during every parenting moment. I needed that space where my 100% focus wasn’t on being a mom and doing all the daily to-do’s that kept me distracted enough not to have to investigate this pit inside me. It’s not like I have a bad life at all. I have an amazing life. A life filled with so much to be grateful for. This is why the pit was really bothering me. I needed to figure this out. I kept trying different things, and I couldn’t get to it. Somehow I knew Sedona would be the answer.

Getting to Sedona

The middle seat, am I really going to start this amazingly wonderful journey in the middle seat? My friend is flying stand-by and I am assigned a middle seat. We get to the gate and they instantly announce that it is a full flight. Full flights don’t tend to be a good sign for stand-by fliers. We really want to believe she is going to make it on this flight, but whatever happens we are going to trust it is what is meant to be. She’s called up to the counter, and they issue her a boarding pass. We are ecstatic! Even better, she gets an isle seat in the last row.

We sit back down and decide to wait until the end to board. When we get in not only does she have an isle seat but the isle seat across from her is open too. The flight attendant lets me change my seat. The best part, both middle seats are open. On a full flight with only four middle seats open, I enjoyed reading and shifting comfortably on our direct flight to Phoenix. As I flipped through the pages of A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle, I could see how far I had come since 2009. The first of the three times I had read it through. The Last time I read the book was in 2011, it was right after I left my marriage. Perfect read to start this spiritual quest.

Driving to Sedona, I am in absolute AWE. It has been so long since I lived there, I forgot about the magic feeling that comes when seeing the brown bland colors turn to these amazing red rocks. I’m transcended; I feel no time. Every moment is one spectacular view after another. The AWE just doesn’t stop. We have a nice relaxing night enjoying our view; I’m here. My soul feels at peace.

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Yoga and Hiking Retreat

I really didn’t go in having too many expectations for this part of our journey. I knew it would be an adventure no matter how it turned out. What I didn’t realize is that I would meet an amazing group of 22 women and one man who would become such a special part of the journey we were on. I felt instantly part of the group even though this was the first time we had ever met. They were a beautiful group of people from Wisconsin. Now, how my friend’s husband found this retreat over the countless others, I have NO idea. This was my tribe.

On this part of the journey, I got to experience how transformative yoga can actually be. Through every breath and every stretch, I became more alive and open to experience the fullness of my being. My body could handle the tough climbs up the mountains with very little consequence. All the areas where toxins like to build up in my body got to loosened. Pressures of past hurts and toxic walls lightened in every movement between the hiking, breathing, and stretching my mind and body from the core. I could feel the calling of the soul. I knew I was exactly where I needed to be.image2

The conversations I had during this time were real and full of substance and discovery. I could be present for other people as much as I was for myself. I could hear their souls calling to be in Sedona too. I was fortunate enough to hear some of the amazing stories that brought them into the moment at hand. Connecting with strangers has never felt so fulfilling. I can’t not speak for any of them and because this is about my journey, I won’t mention direct encounters, but I will say each of these women had a special place in my journey from making me laugh to making me cry. The man on the journey showed me what I could do every time I didn’t need his assistance climbing into some more difficult spaces. I experienced all of me.IMG_2217.jpg

As the retreat went on, I was able to go deeper into meditations and my mindless chatter seized. I didn’t even know that was possible. Now, I finally got the importance of all the steps together. Yoga, nature, meditation, and physically challenging myself helped me release and be free.

On Our Own Amongst the Vortexes

In Sedona there is a lot of talk of energy vortexes. From my understanding, they are like little tornadoes of energy concentrated into a particular area. Twisted trees are one of the known markers for this phenomenon. In spiritual circles, people find this concentration of energy to be very powerful. May even cause miracles.

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When I was in my twenties, I went to some of the larger known vortexes in Sedona. I remember being in awe and feeling at peace. Looking back from a memory standpoint, I received a great deal of clarity while I was there and it sent me on quite the adventure in the years to come where I got to experience life in a very full way through my career. In my dream of going back with so much more experience, spirituality, and knowledge, I had high expectations of what I would feel. After going to a few and being present with the moment, I realized it wasn’t what I felt in the moment that transformed my life but what I came out the experience with. Once I figured that out, I opened my soul up even more. I gave up my expectations and could just use the time in the vortexes to pray and meditate.

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Moving on from the yoga retreat we ventured into the past. We attempted to visit places I went to on my journey before. We kept hitting roadblocks, and when I say roadblocks, I mean literal roadblocks. A clear sign that this journey was not about going back to the past but experiencing the present. We pushed on to find an amazing valley and an area known for their vortex. Amongst other things, it had a creek that ran through it, along with a beach called Buddha Beach. How could we go wrong?

Even though there was no mountain to climb, the path was not easy and there were no clear markings of the right way to go to get to the area across the creek that looked like a great place to lie down and meditate. We even took off our shoes and crossed the very cold water to accomplish our goal. Let me remind you, we are Florida girls. Cold water plus Florida girls is quite the laughable experience. We worked our way to a nice quite spot and set up our mats. Just like that, I was gone. I sunk into a meditation that took me into a place of oneness with nature. I didn’t feel any of the pulls from my body. I was an extension of the rock I was lying on.

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The next two nights we stayed in an RV. The property was known to have vortexes and it also had a labyrinth. We decided that the labyrinth was a great place to bring out our childlike selves. Being silly was needed after so much intensity. In a very clear moment, a message came through me. “Don’t let your beliefs on what you can do limit your life.” I saw how this could definitely be true, but I had no idea the revelations that I was about to have. In the next couple of days, ideas for books and blogs started filling me with such excitement that my friend (who is also my agent) and I got goose bumps. My creativity was open and running free. I wasn’t feeling any lagging negativity or walls. I slept in that RV better than I have in a long time.IMG_2302

The Final Climb: Bell Rock

I didn’t have any real expectations of our last journey. We were both really laid back about going. I figured my friend would let me know how much she was able to do and enjoy whatever the adventure brought us. The rock felt so far away from the beginning of the trail. As we started our journey, we walked and talked enjoying each moment. Before we knew it, we were at the rock.

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In a very short time, we decided to begin to climb up. There was no marked trail, so I would scout the area to see what way would be the easiest and less stressful on my friend’s and my bodies. Slowly, we kept getting higher and higher hugging the mountains side to find which spots looked the most doable. As we got higher, we would check in with each other and decide where to go from there. At one point, she knew she was done. We weren’t far from the top. There was just one more spot I really wanted to get to.

It wasn’t a hard climb and it wasn’t far from where we were. Just a steep rocky path up and I was there. She rested in her snug space next to the massive rock and I climbed quickly up to the spot I knew I had to be. I made it! I spun around in complete awe. I could see the top of the rock from where I was, but I knew I was exactly where I needed to be. I spent a few minutes there soaking it all in. Seeing Sedona from that angle was breathtaking. This was the first climb without the group. The first time I didn’t depend on someone else’s direction. This used to be the way I lived life when I was traveling the country doing seminars, but somewhere along the way of becoming a wife, mother, then single parent, I lost my confidence. I forgot my own determination and fearlessness to be me. In this moment, she was standing with me as one. I found her on the top of that rock embracing the life within me. I was amazed at how quickly the transformation happened. I was reminded, one moment in time can change your life forever!

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The trip to Sedona brought out a part of me I buried. I excitedly moved down to meet my friend with lightness under my feet, and we worked our way down. After going down a couple of dicey places, we looked over to see a marked trail. As we followed the marked trail down the rock, I realized I succeeded in finding my own way. It didn’t have to be the path that the majority of people took. It was the path I created and it took me exactly where I wanted to go. I didn’t have to follow anybody else’s journey up. I can do and succeed at whatever I put my passion into. We finished our hike then road back to Phoenix feeling a sense of peace and accomplishment. I got exactly what I needed from Sedona.

The Ranch

IMG_2381The last stop during my Arizona experience was a ranch out in Scottsdale, AZ. Even though I had lived in Phoenix and worked in Scottsdale, I didn’t have any clue this area existed. We weaved our way back through dirt roads passing horses, ponies, donkeys,  and cows along the way. Once we got to the ranch we enjoyed seeing the birds and rabbits because we hadn’t seen too many while in Sedona.

On the ranch, we got a chance to reflect a little more on the Sedona experience while enjoying a different kind of AWE. When we had originally arrived in Phoenix the mountains didn’t touch me like the Red Rocks, Appalachians, Blue Ridge, and the Great Smoky Mountains. Somehow the time in Sedona changed how I saw these mountains now. When we got to the ranch I felt the complete AWE of them. Just like I did while experiencing the rest. They were more beautiful than I had even remembered from just a week earlier. After one night at the ranch, it was time for me to go home.

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Getting Home

Getting home was quite the adjustment; back to life as a single mom. I felt so at peace in Sedona. The experience was like a time warp. Every moment was a moment to be embraced and cherished. Time, as a whole didn’t exist. In a very short time back at home, I felt this unhappiness and negative pull eating at me. How could this happen? I wanted to come back with the tools to be at peace even as a single mom. After a couple of days of feeling the chaos of parenting and pet-care, I picked back up A New Earth. Chapter three is all about the ego.

OH shit!!! The message I got in Sedona is tied directly to this moment. I really did get exactly what I needed in Sedona. The clarity in this moment became crystal clear. What was holding me back and draining me of all my spiritual energy was my attachment to my ROLE as a single mom. To clarify, when most of us hear “single mom” a bunch of thoughts, beliefs, ideas, conceptions, judgments, and feeling come into our heads. I never wanted to be a single mom, so along with all the preconceived labels and beliefs there was also resentment for having to be a mother and father; disciplinary and nurturer. I felt defeated every time something didn’t work out to give them the life I wanted for them. The chaos and messiness made it easy for me to blame being a single parent. This was the one ROLE I didn’t yet let myself be released from. Tolle says,

When you are completely identified with a role, you confuse a pattern of behavior with who you are, and you take yourself very seriously.

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Talk about pressure! I had no idea how lost I got in the role. I forgot how to just be me around my kids. I was always working and doing for them that I spent little time just being there; 100% there. I let my beliefs of being a single mom create a void inside me. The guilt of having the void made me work harder and not smarter.

The awareness I’ve gotten since then is way too much to put in this piece, so I expect you will be reading about that at a later time. All I know is in the awareness of that moment, my life has took a turn for the better at home. I’m enjoying the process more and not letting the stressful moments contribute to my “story” of being a single mom. I’m raising two amazing children the best I can. That is what matters. The rest is just a story that creates stress and unhappiness. Eckhart Tolle wrote,

To end the misery that has afflicted the human condition for thousands of years, you have to start with yourself and take responsibility for your inner state at any given moment. That means now. Ask yourself, ‘Is there negativity in me at his moment?’ Then become alert, attentive to your thoughts as well as your emotions.

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The calling of the soul led me to realize the only thing standing in my way is me. My attachments to beliefs that don’t serve me are what keep me from being my best. The awareness of this sets me free to live the best life possible.

Thank you to all the people and miracles that contributed to this enlightening trip.

With Love and Gratitude,

Rachael Wolff © 2018

 

Struggle: A Mom’s Tale

As a follower of love and an inspired child of God, I can reach some wonderful places inside myself. I can be a light for friends and strangers. I can show love in ways that many people just don’t understand. Being able to do all this doesn’t mean I’m perfect. I struggle. Most of all right now my struggle comes from being the best mom I can be to two kids entering into puberty and trying to find solutions and tools to combat their emotional and mental struggles that range from a hard past to a hormonal present. Having a degree in Human Development may seem helpful, but when it’s your own kids, their and your own trauma, the degree doesn’t quite work in my favor. Sometimes it seems harder because I know too much about all different mental/emotional issues and I get completely overwhelmed in questioning everything.

As a mom, I don’t want my children to hurt. Yet, they are hurting so much. I didn’t cause the pain, but I’m left here trying to figure out how to help them overcome their past, deal with a broken school system, and finding joy in their lives. I thought things would be different for them since I’m well versed in overcoming, but a child going through puberty doesn’t want to hear how their whole life can change if they just could choose to look at things differently. I thought since I taught them from an early age that their thoughts, reactions, feelings, and actions are their personal power that they wouldn’t go through blaming everybody else for the way they are feeling, boy was I wrong.

I’ve tried strategies from courses I’ve taken in using positive discipline, counting, and play therapy, none of them seem to have made any great impact on what is happening on a daily basis. I have personality quirks that don’t always align with the self-discipline some of these parenting practicing take. I’m also a single mom who does all the parenting herself. I don’t linger too long there, or I can sometimes get resentful. On most days, I’m grateful.

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Being a single mom with kids who have been through trauma has it’s own unique challenges. This doesn’t mean married couples don’t have similar challenges, but not having a partner who takes equal responsibility for a child comes with the added bonus of abandonment issues. This can happen even if both parents are active, but not together. I learned that in couple’s therapy years ago. I had and sometimes still struggle with an over attachment to time and schedules. I used to actually miss out on a lot of quality time with people due to being so attached to time, I was constantly looking at my watch and recalculating when I had to leave, what I was doing next, and how I was going to get from point A to point B. The therapist told me my obsession with time was about having something I could control. Now with my children, I try to take into account if a situation makes my kids feel unwanted, rejected, unimportant, or abandoned. I can go through tons of scenarios in my head because of my education of how each thing can affect them. Oh it is just so much fun (Laughing hard)!

I’ve met so many amazing moms and dads along my path. I’ve seen how healthy family dynamics create beautiful atmospheres for kids. I’ve also seen no matter how great a family is, no family is perfect. This is what keeps me from feeling like a failure when things don’t go how I thought they would. We are all here doing the best we can do with the information and situations we have. Parenting can be a struggle, especially the more aware we are.

One thing I try HARD not to do is judge other people’s parenting. My belief is that we are all having the exact experiences we need to fulfill our purpose. I’ve seen kids who have grown up hard become amazing advocates and voices for change. I’ve seen people who grow up privileged help and/or hurt others. No matter how a person grows up it will create lessons and blessing for the people who cross their paths. I need to focus on my part. What can I do? How can I contribute? What seeds are important for me to pass on?

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This piece is just a reminder that no matter what path we are on as a parent, we all will have times of struggle. It’s not healthy to beat others or ourselves up for not being perfect, because no one is. Our children have to have things go wrong. That is how they get tools for life. As a parent, we simply can do the best we can to protect, love, and honor their journey. I know one of my struggles is remembering it is their journey. We are here to give them all kinds of seeds and see what they do with them. We can watch them create their own garden. They may have to do some heavy weeding and even lose some of their best flowers and trees, but they will learn.

I want to teach my kids that the lessons are a necessary part of life. The trick is to learn from them and don’t become a victim of fear and pain. My hope is that they keep taking chances, making mistakes, and trying new ways to find the path that is right for the life they individually want. There is no time limit, just keep moving in the direction of a positive and rewarding life. I want them to learn not to attach to the fears that hold people back.

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I recently needed the reminder, so I thought I would put my thoughts down on paper reminding me to give myself a break, keep moving in a positive direction, don’t judge what others are doing, and I’m a good mom. I love my kids.  I’m doing the best I can, struggles and imperfections included.

With Love and Gratitude,

Rachael Wolff ©2018

 

 

Hurricane Irma: A Single Mom’s Unplanned Road Trip

Growing up in Southwest Florida, I’ve experienced quite a few hurricanes. I lived in Naples during Andrew, the one that did so much damage and the reports keep comparing Irma to, saying this one is much worse. In my early twenties, I lived in Oak Island, North Carolina. I stuck around for a hurricane coming right over us, my poor family had to watch and wait in panic. As a mom, I decided category three or higher; we leave.

When Hurricane Irma turned into a Category 5, I watched her very carefully. The long term projection showed where I live now on the West Coast of Florida might see the ugliest side of her; the north east corner. My exit strategy started forming, but I gave her a little time. As she came closer, the projected path started to turn east. This is when my mind started really spinning. I couldn’t stop thinking about Hurricane Charley. The models showed a landfall more north, then it took a sudden turn and many people were unprepared for a direct hit. Hurricane Andrew hit Homestead, but Naples had plenty of damage. Another hurricane came through as direct hit on the SW side then passed through and did a lot more damage in Ft. Lauderdale then where we were. Do I stay or do I go? I left when Katrina passed over our waters and watched intently because my ex-boyfriend and his family lived on the coast of Mississippi. I remember desperately searching the Internet to find out they were all safe. His dad and stepmom were those people who were always prepared. They had a hurricane room that looked like a convenience store. In the end, it didn’t matter. Katrina stripped her to the foundation. They didn’t live that close to the water. It was at least a five to ten minute drive from what I remember. Should I stay or should I go? I knew I needed to get calm and make a decision. Florida is not like many other states. If you live anywhere in the southern half, you need to make a decision fairly early. It takes me five hours or more to get to the border of Florida. When I was in Naples it took around six and half on a good day. Now add evacuation traffic; NIGHTMARE!

On Tuesday, I really was confused whether to stay or go, but staying was causing me so much anxiety. Not because of the storm itself as much as the aftermath. Flooding, food, and transportation were stuck in my brain. Now, I’m very fortunate to have a friend who lives close to Atlanta, Georgia that the kids and I stay at every summer. I knew I had a place to go outside of Florida. Some people would say, “It’s probably going to hit there too.” Yes, it is, but from where I am. I can go in any direction to escape Irma’s path. I don’t have that option in Florida. In Florida, she will come in as a category 4 or 5, but in this area, at most a category 1. That’s a BIG difference! I spent Tuesday and Wednesday studying traffic on an app for my phone. I watched accident after accident pop up on my screen. I checked on traffic through out the night on Tuesday to see if I leave in the middle of the night, could I avoid a lot of the evacuation traffic. Luckily, the answer was yes. Gas was out all over the state, so the fear of not being able to get any came into my head. I needed to get my head on straight. Stop getting into the fear and make the best decision for my family.

I struggle with decision-making when there is a lot of chaos going on. I spoke with a friend, the more we talked, I realized my gut wasn’t telling me to stay, despite many people telling me I would be fine where I was. I needed to get quiet and pray. I sat in my closet (safe from interruption), got still, and asked a direct question, “Should I leave?” I got my answer, a very loud and solid YES! A calm came over me and I knew I made the right decision. I figured there were three options:

  1. Irma would come into the Gulf of Mexico and hit us with her worse side.
  2. She would go up the middle and get all of Florida.
  3. She would go out to the Atlantic and hit somewhere further up the coast.

Being, I really didn’t like options one or two, I asked myself would I regret leaving, the answer a resounding NO. I put my thoughts in a less stressful place because I needed a clear head while I was driving. I decided I was going to go on a road trip to see friends. Wednesday, I packed the kids, our cat, and myself up and I was good to go. I went to sleep early and set my alarm for 1AM. We were on the road by 1:30AM.

The first few hours were easy. I even could set my cruise control. I saw traffic coming up so I pulled off at a full rest area. I slipped into one of the few spots. I’m so glad I did because all the rest areas after that were packed well beyond capacity with cars and trucks lining the highway. Many travellers were taking sleep breaks because they had been traveling so long. Tears filled my eyes as I thought about all the people leaving their family, friends, and homes. As a category 5 hurricane our lives as we know it may change very quickly.

Going through Georgia took the longest because it was daytime and the majority of travellers were on the road. So many unnecessary accidents along the way because people wouldn’t give each other space to slow down. I stayed next to the shoulder and had to use it to avoid an accident two cars ahead of me.

I have lived in Florida for a good chunk of my life. I lived in Naples multiple times starting when I was in fifth grade. My children were born there. I worked there. Most of all, many of my closest lifetime friends are there along with my boyfriend and his family. I knew many of them were staying and most of them were hoping the track was going to keep shifting east.

Now, as of 5:00AM Saturday morning this massive storm is going to hit at the least as a category 4 and a possible 5. Now, my home that I share with my mom and stepdad is also going to get a major hit as a 3 or 4, along with St. Petersburg area where I went to Eckerd College and met so many amazing people. This means a huge portion of my children’s and my family and friends are now going to be on the worst side of this massive storm. As grateful as I am that I got the gut instinct to leave, and that I could keep my calm on the road because I had a familiar place to go with my kids, my nerves are still on high alert.

I am doing my best to stay present, but I’m not going to lie, my head is in so many places and with so many of the people I love. I don’t know when the next time I will be able see any of them is. I don’t know how the roads will be or how long it will be before I can get home to my family and get my kids back to their normal routines. If it will even be an option.

We didn’t take much with us besides clothes, important paperwork, our electronic devices, and a handful of sentimental items. When I was looking around at what to pack, I thought this is all just stuff. If it all goes, it won’t matter. What will matter is what happens to all the people I love.

I’m happy I don’t have to make that last minute decision wondering if it’s too late to leave and will there be enough gas to get out, but my heart, mind, and soul are there with the people I love. I will be praying and hoping that I hear from them all once the storm passes. Be safe my friends. I love you.

I have been blessed with SO MANY AMAZING people in my life. I know I’m not alone. There are no right ways to feel right now. We all experience watching an event like this from our own personal angle. Our strengths and weaknesses may be exposed, but through these traumatic experiences we grow as a global community. I am not alone. My friends and family are not alone. I just watched so many people come together to help with Hurricane Harvey. I’m watching the best of humanity come out to help with the earthquake that just happened in Mexico and the fires in Oregon, Montana, and California. Even if the media hasn’t covered some of them, good people still will show up in whatever way they can; even if it is prayer. Every piece of positive energy matters and that is what needs to be focused on. Please stay compassionate and non-judgmental towards the people in it. They are all doing the best they can with what they have. It is much easier looking at a situation from outside the box. I’m guilty of doing it and I’m reminding myself as much as I’m telling you. We don’t know what the best answer is for anyone else’s situation, and we don’t have all the cards. So please, keep the energy positive and loving.

With Love and Gratitude,

Rachael Wolff ©2017

P.S. If you are new to the blog, pictures on this blog are from my personal adventures and taken by me. This featured Image is in Venice, FL. I really hope the pier is still there when I get home.

I apologize to any grammar police. This piece is very raw. I couldn’t focus on proper grammar.