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

FEEL-GOOD FRIDAY

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

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

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

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

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

Favorite Quote from Healing the Shame that Binds You

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

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

John Bradshaw, Healing the Shame that Binds You, 1988

With Love & Gratitude,

Rachael Wolff

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

I Am What’s Wrong 

Your Creative Brain

Hope for the Flowers

The Tao of Pooh

A New Earth

The Four Agreements

Feel-Good Friday Book Series: The Four Agreements

FEEL-GOOD FRIDAY

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

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

THE FOUR AGREEMENTS

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

-Don Miguel Ruiz

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

Favorite Quote from The Four Agreements:

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

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

Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements, p. 58

With Love and Gratitude,

Rachael Wolff

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

I Am What’s Wrong 

Your Creative Brain

Hope for the Flowers

The Tao of Pooh

A New Earth

Feel-Good Friday Book Series: A New Earth

FEEL-GOOD FRIDAY

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

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

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

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

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

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

Favorite Quote from A New Earth

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

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

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

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

With Love and Gratitude, 

Rachael Wolff

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

I Am What’s Wrong 

Your Creative Brain

Hope for the Flowers

The Tao of Pooh

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

Do You REALLY Want to Live Better?

7 Steps to Living Better NOW

1. Living Better Doesn’t Happen in the Future

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

2. Take Control of Your Story

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

3. Start the Work Within

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

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

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

5. Conscious Breaths

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

6. Take Action

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

7. Write it Down

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

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

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

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

With Love and Gratitude, 

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

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

If you’re a woman and you like what you read on this site, check out my new book available for pre-order HERE

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

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

New Series Starts September 20, 2019

Hello Friends, Followers, and Visitors:

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

Why am I Doing This?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With Love and Gratitude, 

Rachael Wolff ©2019

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. 

Remembering Trauma

How we use are minds to go through the remembering process of trauma can be a powerful tool to help launch us forward, or a cruel weapon to keep us down. What many don’t understand is the choice is ours. Our perception is our power. We can use it to lift ourselves up or to beat ourselves down. We get to choose thoughts of love or fear as we travel back in time. This is no easy task when the trauma is severe. Processing through the lens of love doesn’t mean that the memories won’t make us cry. The difference is when we process the memories through a lens of love—the tears ignite our souls. When we process the trauma through fear—we run into our darkness. 

How We Live is How We Remember

When we choose to live in our darkness (fear), we immerse ourselves in the fear, anger, rage, hate, resentment, greed, envy, and separation within us and in the world around us. Our energy attracts like energy, so we are drawn to seeing the darkness in others. We act as magnets because we need to keep pulling in examples of why the stories are valid. We live in a place of separation from ourselves, others, and the Universe. 

When we choose to live in our light (love), we immerse ourselves in the love, compassion, empathy, joy, forgiveness, wholeness, and inclusion within us and in the world. We connect to the best in humanity. We attract the light in others. We are making the stories we are telling ourselves valid and we are connected to ourselves, others, and the Universe. 

Can we fake it? On the outside, yes, but our magnetic pull comes from deep inside us. When we are not honest about seeing our own darkness, we may attract the wolves in sheep’s clothing (narcissists, abusers, sociopaths, etc.). We are running and we will be handed lesson after hard lesson to try to help us to move into the light, but as long as we keep telling ourselves to live in the fear, we stay in the dark.  

Why is How We Remember Trauma Important?  

The stories that play in our heads about our past experiences are more powerful than most people realize. Our memory of trauma can ignite buried feelings of shame, guilt, and fear that internally contribute to feelings of unworthiness, abandonment, and separation. There is a piece of us that may feel completely unlovable from the shame attached to an unhealed trauma. When we engage and swim in those feelings, they will permeate into our everyday lives and affect everything we touch. One unhealed trauma can lead to a life filled with resentment and separation, which often times leads to unhealthy addictions. Remember, like attracts like. When we hide from our own darkness, we are living in our shadow. We are caught in that dark tunnel of our minds. 

Here’s the awesome part, all it takes is one seed of light to come in and spread in order to help us start lighting our pathway out. That seed can come from a person, book, posting, place, event, video, story, meditation, therapy session, church service, tree, flower, etc.? That one thing can help us see more light. Eventually if we keep taking one step at a time out of our own mental prison, we become the light.

When we can look back at trauma without feeling the dread and hopelessness, but instead see what we learned from experiencing the trauma without the blame, guilt, and shame—we stop paying the steep price of living in the dark. We start finding hope in what was once madness. We see the strength in the survival. We begin realizing that we are not the traumas we survived. Our worth was there before learning the important lesson in life that the trauma taught us. Now, WE RISE in LOVE. This is where the best solutions come from. Remembering the trauma becomes a tool to help us live better and wiser. With that, we become the light. 

Getting Help

This isn’t an overnight process, and some of us may need a lot more help than others. There are plenty of tools and people out there to help. If remembering past traumas feels like a weight, here’s my suggestion to you:

Get out a Post-It, 3×5 card, or a piece a paper. Write down: “How do I become the best version of me?” Keep this question close to you, and be open to see, feel, and hear the answers. If you hear the same advice multiple times, you can guarantee the Universe is trying to help you.  Pay attention if people recommend specific books, therapists, practices, exercises, videos, articles, meditations, mindfulness practices, gratitude journals, courses, church services, foods, etc.  Just be open! Our worst enemy is a mind living in fear. Our greatest ally is a mind living in love. Be conscious of where your mind is. 

With Love and Gratitude, 

Rachael Wolff ©2019

How Do I Make Them Stop?

If anyone has ever had an addict, abuser, narcissist, or someone with mental illness in your lives, you may have asked, prayed, and cried over this question. If the person above is you, you may have asked, “How can I stop…?” Then, “How do I make them stop?” can be the question that follows trying to make the problem someone else’s. Either way, How do I make them stop, is a trap that weaves us into an unhealthy spiral. The answer is, we can’t change another person. We can only better ourselves so we stop making ourselves responsible for others and making them responsible for what is going on inside of us. 

Is This Person Capable of Changing the Way I want them to?

Understand that the person may not be capable of helping himself/ herself without getting intensive support from trained professionals, and that can only happen if he/she is open and willing to receive it. No one can force another person to change. A person can’t get better for another person. I know his is a VERY hard pill to swallow. I’ve been down this road time and time again, and I stayed sick because of it. We can’t MAKE, threaten, or condemn a person to change for us. A person’s unhealthy patterns could have started from the moment they were brought into this world. The willpower a person has to have in order to change behavior and thought patterns that feel normal to their reality and survival isn’t easy. These thoughts and behaviors can be so imbedded that they have created neural pathways to support the unhealthy behaviors.  It takes intensive work to change any neural pathways and when your thoughts are fighting to keep what feels normal alive, it is a very long and painful process.

How Easy Is it to Change What Isn’t Good for ME?

I want you to think about all the things you tell yourself you should do to live a healthier life:

  • I need to exercise more.
  • I need to eat better.
  • I need to stop attaching myself to unhealthy people.
  • I need to drink more water.
  • I need to get out of my head. 
  • I need to spend more time with my family. 
  • I need to spend more time on self-care.
  • I need to make time for meditation.
  • I need to drink less. 

Those are just a few examples. Can you instantly add/do everything that is good for you? Do you still choose to do things that aren’t benefitting your mental, spiritual, and physical health? Let’s just make sure we keep that in mind when we are expecting someone else to change. In order to make lifestyle changes, we have to fully commit. If any of us are struggling with ANY kind of low self-esteem, self-image, and/or self-worth, like I’ve mentioned in my previous posts, we will sabotage ourselves and our progress. Take time to imagine the person who is so imbedded in their unhealthy patterns, we don’t get that way if we are positive and healthy individuals. Healthy people who have a healthy self-concept, along with healthy patterns of thought and behavior, don’t hurt others or themselves intentionally.  Most of us at one point or another let our own unhealthy patterns take control. If we are willing to look and take responsibility for our thoughts and behaviors, we have the power to get better. Some people with severe mental illness aren’t psychologically capable of taking responsibility and/or they don’t have the willpower it takes to make the changes we want to see in them at the moment we want to see them. If we are dealing with people in extreme cases, they may not be capable of making the changes we want to see. The best thing we can do for ourselves and them is not blame them for this, but make the necessary changes in our lives to put our self-care first. We are the ones we will live and die with.

How Am I Choosing to Live My Life?

If we are under the assumption that it will take someone else changing in order for us to be happy and healthy, we have our own work to do. We aren’t capable of rescuing someone else from his/ her own unhealthy patterns, but we are capable of rescuing ourselves. Just like them, we have to be willing and open to see and take responsibility for our own unhealthy thought and behavior patterns. Some of our own patterns have been imbedded since birth, so it can take some intensive work to see them. Just the expectation of someone else needing to change for us to be happy, is a thought pattern that we use to hurt ourselves. We put the power in their hands, just like they may be doing to us, when they use us as an excuse to behave like they are. We can’t make them act and think like they do, and we can’t make them responsible for thinking and acting like we do.

How am I (Rachael Wolff) Qualified to Talk About This?

People who know the dark place I was in ask me how I got better, and the answer is that I invested in myself. I fixed the one person that I could. I’m not a do as I say, not as I do kind of person. I’ve spent thirty years working on breaking my unhealthy patterns. I’ve gone down some long treacherous rabbit holes in search of feeling lovable and happy and I came out on the other side of my own darkness.  I write about how I got myself out of toxic situations, how my education in psychology, human development, sociology, and cultural anthropology have assisted me in being able to put my experiences down on paper in away that can assist others on their paths. I’ve tried and failed at so many attempts to change myself and others, until after a myriad of lessons, I found the path that changed my life—The path to me. I’ve had plenty of help along the way.

The Path of Self-Discovery

When we stop asking and praying for the answer to “How do I change them?” and start asking, “How do I become the best version of me?”— We gain the power to transform our lives. 

We get sent sign after sign of ways to better ourselves. How do I know this will happen? How do I know that this works? Because it’s the path I took and still take daily. Here are just a few of the AMAZING benefits of taking the path of self-discovery: 

  • I learned to say, NO, without needing to apologize for it. 
  • I’ve established healthy boundaries with unhealthy individuals.
  • I’ve learned how to assess when and how long to stay in relationships and situations in order to learn what I need to learn.
  • I’ve learned that the people who wander onto my path are supposed to teach me something or learn something from me.
  • I found my authentic joy in nature.
  • I’ve found what grounds me, inspires me, and lifts my spirits.
  • I’ve learned how to live connected to Divine love. 
  • I learned that the only person that NEEDS to love me—Is me!

Do I Want to Help or Enable?

You are free to keep asking questions like:

  • How do I make them stop?
  • How do I make them happy?

It took me at least fifteen years on the path to begin to stop going to these questions, because they were my autopilot response to other people’s unhealthy choices. I can still slip into asking myself these questions when it comes to my kids.  From time to time, when I see them suffering from things out of my control, it hurts and I want to make it better. It’s still not the right questions. What I learned is the best thing we can do for anyone else is to be our best selves, so that is what we project onto others. Our positive energy that we exude may be what helps them to make better choices for themselves. It’s not about preaching or telling them what they aren’t doing right. We simply show them what it looks like to make positive choices for ourselves. I’m amazed how quickly someone who is trapped in their own unhealthy patterns can spot us in ours. The opposite is true too. When we are healthy and another person is trapped in their own darkness, they will either be attracted to us because they are seeking to change, or they will feel a force driving them away from us because they don’t want to or are not capable of making healthy changes in that moment. I’ve talked about this before in previous posts.

When we do things for the wrong reasons, we will start enabling instead of really helping someone else be responsible and accountable if they are capable of doing so. Most us are capable and are just stuck in unhealthy patterns.  We can’t make anyone else feel, think, or do anything. How they respond to us is based on the messages that are swirling around in their heads. What we can change is what is swirling around in ours.

Self-Discovery Is Not a Quick Fix

Self-discovery is not the easy path. There is no pill or quick fix on this path that will help us. We have to be willing to dive deep. We can’t hide from ourselves if we want to discover how to heal ourselves. We can’t numb our guilt and shame. We have to face it and heal from it. The path of self-discovery is worth the challenges we will face. One of the greatest rewards is we question our thinking when we ask the unanswerable questions and start getting solutions from a healthy place. We gain the power to stop the unhealthy thought and behavior patterns as we make better choices. 

With Love and Gratitude, 

Rachael Wolff ©2019

If you are ready to dive in, check out the FREE 90-Day A Better Me Series

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3 Ways to Remove the Clutter that Self-Abuse Creates

3 Ways to Remove the Clutter that Self-Abuse Creates

Self-abuse is one of the many ways our self-hate, low self-esteem, lack of worth, and negative self-image manifest themselves. We create clutter both inwardly and outwardly when we don’t become self-aware of how we are treating ourselves. This doesn’t help us lead productive lives. This doesn’t help us stay away from the chaos and drama that surrounds us. The more we hate ourselves and treat ourselves with disrespect, the more chaos and drama we will attract to our lives. The clutter in our minds is fuel for the fear, hate, shame, guilt, and violence that is spreading in and around us.

If we want things to get better around us, we have to start within us. Our energy that we put into the world comes from the energy we are feeding ourselves daily. If we want to stop the abuse, we have to stop creating a space where we are apart of the problem. Self-abuse is not helping us or anyone else! When we self-abuse we are showing others that it’s okay to disrespect us, walk on us, and treat us as if we have no value. Many times people don’t even know that that is the way we feel, because our own behaviors have led them to believe that what they are doing is acceptable.

For years, I wanted to be the victim of my own thinking. I found a sick pleasure in being the doormat, but what I didn’t want to see is that I laid down in front of the person who chose to walk across my back. I was trying to find my value because I hated myself so much that I just gave myself away over and over expecting someone to see what I couldn’t. Our lack of value clutters our minds and distorts our realities into believing that we are trapped and that we can’t stop what is happening to us. Just the thought is self-sabotaging and attracts more of what we don’t want.

When my mind is cluttered, it spreads into my personal spaces. I’ve had my bed so covered in stuff that I have barely been able to fit on it to sleep. That’s when I know I have some real cleaning to do. The last time my bed was like that I dove head-first into figuring out how and why I kept sabotaging myself. It was time for me to look at how I was treating myself.

Here are three ways you can help yourself:

1. Become Aware of the Clutter —INVENTORY NEGATIVE MESSAGES

  • How do you talk to yourself when you are looking in the mirror?
  • What do you think about all your features?
  • What do you think about the person you are?
  • How do you feel about how your life looks to you when you look in the mirror?
  • How do you talk to yourself when you make a mistake for the first time?
  • How do you talk to yourself when you’ve repeated a mistake?

This inventory won’t be done in one sitting. As life situations come up, see how you are talking to yourself:

  • Are you calling yourself names?
  • Are you criticizing yourself?
  • Are you beating yourself with an emotional 2×4?

Just to give you an idea, life situations can still hit me off-guard from time to time and I go back through these steps in order to keep my headspace clean and clutter free.

2. Cleaning out the Clutter—INSIDE AND OUT

  • Start a self-love Journal —Pick a number of days you will commit 35, 45, and/or 90 days. Each day write a minimum of three things you like about yourself. Here’s a hint, if you spot certain positive qualities in others it’s usually because you have them yourself. Do your best not to repeat, especially in the beginning. As you see more and more things you like about yourself, then you can start reusing ones that you are really connecting to.
  • Clean up your physical clutter—Start with a drawer and just keep going. Throw away what you don’t need. Pitch, sell, or donate the things that are just taking up space in your life. Make space for what you want more of in your life. Remember, clear space is peaceful space.

3. Keep the Space Clean—STAY AWARE OF WHERE YOUR MIND GOES

  • Living in gratitude is the best way to keep your space clean. Anytime our minds go to lack, deprivation, fear, hate, blame, etc. we are creating more clutter.
  • Watch your reactions to people. I find this one entertaining. If  a person’s actions work you up: First question your own thinking about what is happening to see if you are fully aware of where your reaction is coming from. Second, I imagine the person saying or doing whatever it is to themselves. Our negative behaviors start from how we are treating ourselves, so we can gain clarity about the situation if we are not taking the person personally. This doesn’t mean we have to accept unacceptable behavior. We just don’t add our own clutter. How someone treats us shows us their love or fear that they are internally dealing with. How we respond to them shows us where we are.
  • Stop the Cycle of abuse. If you see, hear, or feel abusive thoughts about yourself come up, correct them and clean up your self-talk. Treat yourself with love, respect, loyalty, honesty, and compassion. We have to have it inside us before we have a chance of cleaning up what’s around us.
  • Give from a Loving Place. This means you are giving because you want to, not because you think it will make you worthy of someone else’s time, affection, love, respect, etc.

Side effects of these steps are: sleep better, eat healthier, enjoy self-care, kinder thoughts, less judgmental towards others, more compassionate, attract healthier people to our personal and professional lives, more opportunities to do good in the world, appreciate peace, and so many more. 

With Love and Gratitude,

Rachael Wolff

Did what you just read resonate with you? I hope you will explore FromALovingPlace.com and keep reading. I’ll be bringing a new series to the blog starting September 1, 2019. If you are not following along, make sure to sign-up below.

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