Differences between Taking Responsibility and Blaming

Learning the differences between taking responsibility and blaming was one of the most powerful tools I’ve learned to live a fulfilling life. Now, I’ve been getting lessons on this one since I was a teenager. I think my mom’s favorite lines were, “I can’t make you do anything.” Along with, “I can’t make you feel anything.” She helped me to see (while fighting, dragging, and clawing to hold onto blame) that I have more power than I was giving myself. What took me a lot longer to figure out was the difference between taking responsibility versus self-blaming. I would self-blame relentlessly to the point of suicide attempts. 

For someone in the stage of contemplating suicide knowing the difference can mean life or death. For someone who is so full of rage over someone else’s poor choices, it can be what gives them the power to rise above and take care of their own energy, so that they are not dragged down to respond with violence. 

We can’t MAKE anyone do anything to serve the highest good, but we can choose to be responsible for what we are doing. Our thoughts, beliefs, actions, and reactions matter, so taking care of those can and will make a difference in how we CHOOSE to live our lives. Being able practice this tool means first understanding the differences between responsibility and blaming.

Here are some of the differences:

  • Taking responsibility opens our minds to possibilities of solutions and change. Blaming creates wars both internally and externally while focusing on the problem instead of the solution.
  • Taking responsibility takes down defensive walls, while blaming builds them.
  • Taking responsibility empowers us to be human while celebrating it and learning from it. Blaming disempowers us.
  • Taking responsibility is healthy, which includes healthy self-talk and healthy communications with others.  Blaming is unhealthy and can include abusive thinking and/or actions towards ourselves and others. 
  • Taking responsibility involves aligning with positive energy. Blaming buries us in our own darkness.
  • Taking responsibility focuses on what we want. Blaming focuses on what we don’t want.

Taking personal responsibility involves being aware of how our thoughts, feelings, actions, and reactions affect our choices. Once we become aware of our part in any choices that had a negative outcome, we open ourselves up to make better choices in the future. We give others a tool on how to work with us better in the future, even if the future is within minutes away. Taking responsibility takes the toxic weight of blame and shame out of the room. 

Blaming is the foundation of toxic problem-solving. When we use the negative energy of blame to come up with solutions, our energy is working against us. Our focus is in the problem, which tends to create more problems. This works the same inside us as it does outside of us. When we hold onto negative energy of someone else’s choices, we are responsible for that energy. We are responsible for feeding the beast.

Taking responsibility doesn’t mean it’s all your fault, it just mean you see where you can do better. There is no self-abuse. 

Sometimes we just have to ask ourselves

  • What perspectives, thoughts, and beliefs am I holding that are contributing towards and energy I don’t want?
  • How can I change what isn’t working?
  • What actions can I take to remove myself from unhealthy people making unhealthy choices?
  • How do I stand up for what I believe without putting my energy into what I’m against?
  • What did I do to confuse this situation? What can I do to fix my part?
  • What can I contribute to a positive solution?
  • What choice in actions will make me feel better about what happened?
  • How do I keep my side of the street clean?

What other people do is there business. You only have to consider the energy flowing through you and what you want that to look like. Nobody else’s poor choices are worth us going down internally with them. Our minds, bodies, outlooks, and beliefs can be empowered or disempowered and the choice is ALWAYS ours. 

With Love and Gratitude, 

Rachael Wolff ©2020

38 More Day Until the Release of Letters from A Better Me!

#PerspectiveChallenge: Love Hurts

PERSPECTIVE: LOVE HURTS

I hear this one a lot, and at one point in my life, I would fully agree. First, I want you to think about what your definition of love is where you can say that love is what hurts you. I’m going to get personal with you here because this is obviously a topic that is at the heart of everything that I write about.  

My definition of love used to be so warped that it would include me putting up with unacceptable behavior because I believed it was done out of love. I was in my thirties before I saw that fear is what led all the behaviors, actions, words, thoughts, and feelings that I was or felt hurt by (there is a difference there too). 

I was at my lowest point when I finally heard the call to look up the definition of love. This is what came up:

Love is patient; Love is kind; Love is NOT envious or boastful OR arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; It is not irritable or resentful; It does not rejoice in Wrongdoing, But rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, Hopes all things, endures all things.

—Corinthians 13.4-13.7

What about that definition has the potential to hurt? Everything that is mentioned about what love isn’t definitely has the potential to hurt. All of those things stem from fear. With that, my perspective that LOVE HURTS shifted to FEAR HURTS. It has even shifted more since those dark days, but the first step for me is giving love back the power it so much deserves. 

Now my definition of love is what anchors me and gives me a measurement of where my thoughts are in the moment. It shows me whether I’m living according to fear-based perspectives or love-based perspectives. We can choose either at any given moment, but if we don’t have a solid definition of love, we can get quickly confused between the two.  

When this perspective shifted, my life started changing. That is when I realized that in order to really live by this definition, I had to treat myself that way. That is when EVERYTHING changed for me. I was FINALLY able to break so many of the old patterns that came with my warped definition of love. Love Lifts is what I believe now. Love connects, and fear separates is what I believe. LOVE HURTS is just fear trying to use love as a cover-up. 

TODAY’S PERSPECTIVE CHALLENGE 

Write down all the reasons you believe that LOVE HURTS. Then use the definition above to see it is really love that is making you hurt. Write out as many perspectives of love that feel more true for you than LOVE HURTS. Check-in with your body to see what perspectives feel good and what ones don’t. The shift can feel extraordinary when it really sets in. 

Have a perspective-filled day!

With Love and Gratitude,

Rachael Wolff ©2020

43 More days until the release of Letters from A Better Me: How Becoming an Empowered Woman Transforms the World

#PerspectiveChallenge: Money is Evil

PERSPECTIVE: MONEY IS EVIL

If anything guarantees you a horrible relationship with money, it’s telling yourself and the Universe that money is evil. If money is evil, anytime you have money you will sabotage it staying in your life. If money is evil, you make excuses for some people’s poor choices and look past others kind and loving choices that involve money. 

  • Is money evil or is some people’s relationship to money evil?
  • Do some people who have money give themselves the excuses to do evil because they believe that money is evil
  • Is the reason you resist being financially successful tied to your belief that money is evil?
  • If the reason why you can’t seem to hold onto money because you don’t want to let it’s evil rub off on you? 
  • Is the belief that money is evil hiding a bigger set of destructive beliefs?
  • These are all questions to ponder when we challenge the perspective of thinking that money is evil

TODAY’S PERSPECTIVE CHALLENGE

Investigate your relationship with money. Get personal with yourself to discover your beliefs around money. Do the work to heal any negative perspectives you hold that could be keeping you from having a healthy relationship. I can promise you—money won’t do anything to you, it’s a piece of paper. You are the only one that holds the key to healing any relationship you have with it. Whatever energy you put into it, you will get back. What energy do you want to put into that piece of paper?

  • What comes up for you when you think the thought money is evil
  • How is your relationship with money?
  • Does money always show up when you need it?
  • Do you have everything you need to survive this moment?
  • Do you focus on the choices that unhealthy people are making and blame it on having too much or not enough money? 
  • Do you do things in fear of not having enough money?
  • When you think of money, where do you feel it in your body? Do you feel light or heavy inside?

Have a perspective-filled day!

With Love and Gratitude,

Rachael Wolff ©2020

46 Days until Letters from a Better Me: How Becoming an Empowered Woman Transforms the World can be delivered to your door. 

Upcoming Events

Speaking – “Becoming the Butterfly” (1 of 6 speakers)

Dream Con/ St. Petersburg, Florida on February 29, 2020

Book signing 

Phoenix & Dragon Bookstore/ Atlanta, Georgia on March 15, 2020 from 4-6pm

#PerspectiveChallenge: I Hate Mondays

Perspective: I Hate Mondays

One of the greatest ways to find peace is to find where our own perspectives are going against the peace we want to feel. Here is a prime example in a perspective that sets many of our weeks up for challenge and struggle. 

I hate Mondays can also be referred to as: 

  • Mondays Suck
  • Mondays are the worst
  • Can’t we just skip Monday
  • Well, it’s Monday…

When we believe these thoughts, we open ourselves up to focus on everything bad about Mondays. When we focus on everything bad, we attract more bad. Where is the peace in that?

When we become aware of how we are working against ourselves, we become open to make new choices in our thoughts, beliefs, feelings, and actions. What you choose right now can set a whole new chain of events in motion, and it all begins with what is happening between our own two ears. 

TODAY’S PERSPECTIVE CHALLENGE

Today’s #perspectivechallenge is to write down at least 5 positive perspectives about Mondays. Then EVERY time you find yourself thinking a negative Monday thought: say, write, and/or sing three positive perspectives. 

Feel free to share some positive Monday perspectives in the comments section.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Mondays are an opportunity to introduce something different in my weekly routine.
  • Mondays give me an opportunity to serve my community.
  • Mondays offer me new learning experiences.
  • Mondays are for finding ways to make work fun.
  • I love Mondays!

With Love and Gratitude,

Rachael Wolff ©2019

Don’t forget Letters from A Better Me: How Becoming an Empowered Woman Transforms the World is available for pre-order! Order your copy today from one of your favorite book retailers.

Feel-Good Friday Book Series: The Four Agreements

FEEL-GOOD FRIDAY

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

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

THE FOUR AGREEMENTS

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

-Don Miguel Ruiz

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

Favorite Quote from The Four Agreements:

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

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

Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements, p. 58

With Love and Gratitude,

Rachael Wolff

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

I Am What’s Wrong 

Your Creative Brain

Hope for the Flowers

The Tao of Pooh

A New Earth

Dreams Coming True: Becoming the Butterfly

Dear Dreamers, 

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

My Internal Garden

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why Am I Sharing this Journey with You?

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

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

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

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

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

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

With Love and Gratitude, 

Rachael Wolff 

*Links for more information

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

Feel-Good Friday Book Series: The Tao of Pooh

FEEL-GOOD FRIDAY

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

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

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

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

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

Favorite Quote from The Tao of Pooh

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

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

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

With Love and Gratitude, 

Rachael Wolff

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

I Am What’s Wrong 

Your Creative Brain

Hope for the Flowers

How Beliefs Work to Help or Hurt Ourselves and Others

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

Here’s What I Know

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

That’s Not True

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

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

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

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

Our Personal Paths

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

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

Our Choices

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

We Are Here to Learn

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

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

Why Do I Stay Focused on this Topic?

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

With Love and Gratitude, 

Rachael Wolff ©2019

Feel-Good Friday Book Series: Hope for the Flowers

FEEL-GOOD FRIDAY

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

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

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

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

Favorite Quote from Hope for the Flowers

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

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

-Trina Paulus

With Love and Gratitude, 

Rachael Wolff

Breaking Toxic Patterns: Why Do I Keep Doing this to Myself?

Why Won’t These Seeds Thrive?

Trying and Failing to Make My Internal Garden Thrive

I lived in the darkness for a long time pretending to love, but I wasn’t capable. I read book after book, went to multiple therapists, and would even go to seminars trying to find the help I needed. I kept searching for an outside source to fix an inside problem. I could live motivated for short stretches, but deep down I was living the fake it until you make itapproach, but the make it just wouldn’t come. I thought I had it, then bang! I would sabotage my happiness once again. I thought I was ready to plant all the amazing seeds I would get, but my ground wasn’t fertile enough for the seeds to thrive. I would try, but I didn’t know how to feed, nurture, and sustain them. They may have looked pretty on top of the ground for a little while, but the roots were weak, so they just couldn’t survive on my toxic foundation. Something lurking underneath was killing every flower and tree I was trying to plant. I needed to figure out why.

Just like the internal garden I was trying to create, my outer self could look great on the surface for short periods of time, but because my roots weren’t strong, I would eventually begin to crumble. I would move before others could see my decent into madness. In my new location, I once again would plant the seeds I had picked up along the way. Then would sabotage myself again. 

Toxic relationships were my drugs of choice for a long time. They were the way I could keep myself right where I was comfortable. I didn’t know it at the time, but the chaos was my comfort zone.  I knew that if I could see why I kept repeating this pattern, I would find the source of this toxic muck corroding my foundation.

If you are noticing the definition of insanity in my words, you are getting the message. I kept trying to do the same thing, and I expected different results because I was in a new location. Some refer to this as a geographical cure—An outside fix trying to repair an inside problem. 

How Do I Plant these Damn Seeds to Make them Thrive?

Digging Into My Own Toxic Muck to Fix the Problem at the Source

I was in my thirties before I started to change my patterns to create a new reality. It took me becoming a shell of a person before I would be ready to fully surrender to get better. I couldn’t just plant the seeds, I had to fix, repair, and nurture the ground. I needed to come face to face with the woman in the mirror looking back at me and dig down to see where the source was for this toxic muck. The digging took years; not days, weeks, or months. This didn’t mean there wasn’t progress. My life was definitely changing for the better the more I was willing to REALLY face myself and clean up my own mess. The more I did this, doors would open and others would close. I was on the path to making a garden that would thrive.

My path led me to a college that couldn’t have been a better fit. I learned so much about myself in the 4-½ years it took me to get my degree. The experiences I had with the classes, professors, and other students would help me to have the energy to keep doing the work to fix my foundation. I received more and more seeds I wanted to plant. 

It took a lot of lessons for me to find out the answer was to dig further down into this toxic foundation. I had to find out why I kept attracting men and getting into relationships with individuals who were unhealthy. I needed to look at why I wanted to rescue them. I had to dig deep to get to the bottom of this toxic root. It was the weed that kept strangling all the beauty I would try to grow in my garden.

What Will I Find at the Source of These Toxic Patterns?

Through the Layers of Digging

  1. I saw that I wanted to feel needed.
  2. I learned everything I could about co-dependency.
  3. Digging deeper, I saw that I wanted to feel needed because I lacked self-worth and had a horrible self-concept.
  4. I began to look into the mirror and figure out what I didn’t like about myself.
  5. Going down even deeper, I found that I felt unlovable.
  6. I had to face why I felt unlovable, and that was digging down to the core of my toxic foundation. I found the source, which came from the shame that was buried and hidden under all the layers of guilt, anger, rage, resentment, fear, hate, chaos, confusion, and separation. 
  7. I started doing the work to have a loving relationship with myself.

What Did I Discover?

I’m Happy I Decided to Get Dirty and Do the Work

Digging down to the core took years, but as I faced layer after layer, life would improve and seeds would start growing into flowers. As my energy became aligned with the garden I wanted to create, I understood what I needed to feed and nurture the seeds to make them thrive—LOVE!

This wasn’t about receiving love from the outside world. This was about understanding that I had to feed the seeds my love, and I only could do that by loving myself. Anytime I spoke to myself in a disrespectful way, I was pouring poison onto my land. When I chose to focus my energy on forgiving and loving myself, my land became fertile ground. My garden began to thrive and I started attracting more sources to nurture and feed my garden. I was finally capable to fully love others authentically, because I could love myself. I stopped laying down for people to walk on me. I stopped accepting unacceptable behavior, because I love myself enough to know my value. I live abundantly in my internal world, and I do the work daily to stay there.

Who Is Attracted to My Life Now?

Appreciating the Individuals Who Cross my Path

The people who are attracted to the garden I’ve created aren’t looking to steal from it, they are asking for seeds, which I lovingly give out. People also come into my life offering new seeds. Some I accept lovingly, others I may realize are strangling vines, so I say no thank you and move on. No one can plant a seed in my garden without my permission. If I mistake a strangling vine for a flower, it’s my job to dig the seed up from the root to find out why it found a place to grow in my garden. If we waste energy blaming, we will avoid finding the solution, because blame is just an excuse to stop digging.

Are You Looking for a Seed?

Just like me, others have to go on their own journeys of learning what it will take to let their gardens thrive the way they want them to. If you are reading this looking for a seed; the best advice I can give is to be open to go deep and pay attention to the signs along the way.  Keep praying for help in seeing signs and learning the lessons to uncover the answers. You are worth it! Be prepared to get dirty. We all have what it takes to create beautiful gardens; we just have to be willing to do the work.

With Love and Gratitude, 

Rachael Wolff ©2019

If this journey resonates with you, I hope you will explore FromALovingPlace.com and check out my upcoming book, Letters from A Better Me: How Becoming an Empowered Woman Transforms the World. When we become our best selves, we change the world around us for the better.