90-Day A Better Me Letters Series: Day 67 – Celebrating What Hasn’t Worked in My Life

Letters from A Better Me

90-Day A Better Me Letters Series

Part III: Living the Journey

Making the Now Count: Rebuilding our Lives

Day 67: Celebrating What Hasn’t Worked In My Life

Dear Universe,

I’m celebrating what hasn’t worked in my life. There are so many times I thought I knew what was best for me, and found out I knew nothing. My life is so much better because of all the things that didn’t work, which paved the way for things that have and are working.

  • When I was in high school, I got into my dream college only to find out that I couldn’t cover the financial end of things with no other option than not to go. No other schools had the program I wanted. A marriage, divorce, and two kids later, I found a college that had a similar program. I loved going to school with on-line libraries so that I could spend so much time doing research in the comfort of my own home. I had life experiences that helped me understand the material so much better than I could have as an eighteen year old. The women and men I met at school were awesome because the program I attended was for advanced learners.
  • When I didn’t get to go to college, I thought my life was over. I got a customer service job that turned into a career of being a national sales trainer. I got to travel all over the country doing seminars and training individuals to run thriving businesses. I loved my career and the perks were incredible getting to travel to see family and friends on my weekends off.
  • I was in a relationship that I thought was forever. We thought we would move away together and NOTHING worked out. It ended up being an incredible blessing because as I grew healthier by staying where I was, I realized how toxic the relationship was and got out of it without being tied down to a house away from all my positive support. I also picked what I thought would be the perfect time to leave him, and things blew up at what I thought was the ABSOLUTE WORST time, but it wasn’t the case at all. The timing ended up being perfect in the long run!
  • I wrote a book that no publisher wanted to buy. When I went back to re-read it a couple years later, I was able to use the foundation of it start this series, but I saw how weak the book actually was overall. I also got to see the difference when publishers thought the material was weak, and when the material was strong. Great lessons! I’ve had many opportunities to strengthen my writing and my message.
  • I thought my life would look one way when I decided to have kids and it has looked NOTHING like the picture in my head. I’ve had to readjust, learn, and grow with each stage of development. I’ve learned to fully celebrate all that raising them brings up because it keeps me striving to be the best me possible, so that I can love them in the best way possible. I love growing with them.
  • I remember thinking I knew the exact way my romantic life would look. I was wrong. My romantic life is so much different than what I thought it would be at my age, but it is so much better than I could have imagined, because I’m able to enjoy the man I’m with for the person he is and for the life we have together. It isn’t the traditional set-up, but it is perfect for us right in this moment.

Today I’m Grateful

  1. I’m grateful for my past for leading me to where I am now.
  2. I’m grateful for my failed relationships that helped me to appreciate the amazing partner I have now.
  3. I’m grateful that all my prayers don’t have the answers I expect.
  4. I’m grateful for the surprises in life.
  5. I’m grateful for Divine timing.

So much good has come from the things that haven’t worked out in my life.

With Love and Gratitude,

A Better Me

 

Rachael Wolff ©2019

 

Check out 10 ways you can really celebrate what doesn’t work:90-Day A Better Me Series: Day 67 – Celebrating What Doesn’t Work

 

 

90-Day A Better Me Series: Day 55 – Clarity in Self Discovery

90-Day A Better Me Series

Part II: A Journey of Perspective

What Launches Us Forward: The Stable Foundation

Day 55: Clarity in Self Discovery

“What I believe makes me who I am.”

-Deepak Chopra

When we stop defining ourselves in terms of what we do, what we have, and how we were raised, we open our world up to discovering who we really are. We discover ourselves. The clearer we see ourselves the more capacity we have to shine our light.

We aren’t seeking value outside of ourselves, so our intentions don’t get confused. We don’t do things that go against the person we are. We support and take care of ourselves so that we are able to give to others authentically with no expectations of what we will get back. We project and attract the best kind of life. When our power comes from within, nobody can take it away.

Our relationships are healthier because we aren’t trying to force others to see our value. This includes our relationship with the God of our understanding. We value ourselves. We project our value. We manifest healthy individuals into our lives. Our value is reflected back to us through our relationship with them. If a person’s energy doesn’t match ours, they will fade to the background of our lives or they will be gone. I have learned what an amazing blessing this is. I know the people in my life have a reason for being there. If it’s not a pleasant experience, I say a prayer: Please help me see the lesson I’m supposed to learn so that I can grow and expand from this situation.

If I’m triggered, I do my best to dig deep to figure out what in them is triggering something in me. People are our mirrors, sometimes the ones we have the hardest time with are most like the parts of us that we don’t accept about ourselves. I’m not going to lie; I needed a narcissist and a diagnosed schizophrenic to show me how hurtful I was to myself. I feel truly blessed for all the lessoned I learned about myself in those relationships. I don’t think I would be where I am today if I didn’t go through what I did with them. I truly see all the things that I was once victimized by as my biggest blessings, because those situations are what it took me to move and shift out of my darkness. They showed me clarity in self discovery.

When we have clarity, we aren’t so hard on other people’s imperfections, because we know we have them too. We know that they have the opportunity to grow just like we do. We don’t feel the need to tear someone else down because it doesn’t contribute to our light. We also know that tearing someone else down is us showing our darkness. When we are clear, we want to shine light on the dark, not create more.

With clarity, I can clearly see that it’s none of my business what people think about me. I don’t do things to please others; I do things out of a genuine place of wanting to do it. In my romantic relationship, I am able to communicate clearly and effectively without any underlying feeling of needing him to do or be different than he is. I’m responsible for my feelings, thoughts, beliefs, actions, and reactions and he is responsible for his. I won’t take or accept responsibility for anything that isn’t mine. I don’t give my power away by making someone else responsible for my stuff.

I used to believe I had to fight for healthy boundaries, appreciation, my way, etc. I’ve learned through this process that the more I fought, the more stress there would be in my relationships. The problem was I wasn’t clear on who I was so I would get lost in my relationships with the men I was trying to gain value from. It was a very unhealthy way to live. I remember the constant struggle. I’m so grateful to have learned ways to expand my perspectives of truth to me less painful. Now, I’m secure in the person I am, so I’m so much more at peace.

I love the process on gaining clarity, and it is so much less stressful than how I was living my life before. Being a mom still shows me the areas I need to work on, but it truly is a gift to be able to say something like: Wow, this is really triggering me. I’m feeling an anger inside me and I don’t think it’s because my daughter didn’t do her school work like over the weekend like I told her to. Let me look at this a little deeper: she tried to blame me for her schoolwork not getting done. Blaming me for something that is not my responsibility is still a hot spot. How did I feel when we both started raising our voices? When did I feel the sensation of anger start creeping up in my body? When is the first time I remember feeling that? How can I work on myself to be a better mom to her?

I can see where there is always room to get more clarity. The talk in my head that used to be so unproductive often serves a purpose now. The blessing of blogging is that I can get out the ideas that pop into my head. That way I make room to develop and grow with them.

The more clear we are about who we are, the less people who get hurt by our projection of unworthy self. Sometimes we have no idea how much damage we are doing by putting out our fear-filled energies out into the world. The fear that comes from being unworthy can spin out of control and create a lot of chaos.  None of us our perfect, when we learn from our pasts, every step we took was necessary to get us to the moment we are in right now.

Just for Today

Answer these questions:

  • Are you aware of what living in fear, shame, blame, judgment, self-abuse, and living in the past and the future creates in your life (Days 1-30)?
  • Are you holding yourself accountable for your feelings, thoughts, actions, and reactions?
  • Are you clear on the difference between love and fear (Days 32-35)?
  • Are you in acceptance (Days 36-41) of your past and the unknown future?
  • Do you want to be led by perspectives of truth (Day 42-46) led by love (light) or fear (dark)?
  • Have you chose perspectives of truth that support the life you want to be living?
  • Are you living in a place of gratitude or lack (Days 47-50)?
  • Is how you are treating yourself the way you want others treating you (Days 51-54)?
  • What is your intention on how you want to live?
  • What is your intention on how you want to give?
  • Do you love yourself (Days 56-59)?
  • Is your focus on what you can do today (Day 60)?
  • Are you willing an open to try something new to break old unhealthy patterns (Part III)?

Feel free to read and explore any of the 90-Day A Better Me Series and the 90-Day A Better Me Letters Series that you have missed so far. Thank you for being on this journey with me. Let the love within you guide the way!

 

With Love and Gratitude,

 

Rachael Wolff ©2019

Did you read today’s companion piece? 90-Day A Better Me Letters Series: Day 55 – How I Honor the Person I Am

 

 

 

 

 

5 Ways to Stop Abusing Ourselves: How to Bring Healthy Relationships into Our lives

If you are one of the many people who have wondered what a healthy relationship looks like, more than likely you are guilty of abusing yourself. Why do I say this? Because healthy people don’t have to ask the question, they just have healthy relationships. This isn’t just an outer appearance healthy; this is the healthy that comes from the core. Those of us who struggle with issues of self-worth, guilt, and shame have to dig really deep to even figure out where these insecurities come from and have to do even more digging and work to figure out ways to let these past struggles go in order to move on and have healthy relationships. I will give you some of the tools I used to break the horrible cycle of self-abuse, but I can’t do the work for you. If you don’t do it, you will continue on the same path and continue to ask yourself the question, what do healthy relationships even look like? I don’t know what the result will be for you, but for me…It was AMAZING!!!!!

1. Become AWARE of Your Part

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I know it is so much easier to blame the other person involved, but we are treated the way we project out. What does this mean? Watch how you are talking, communicating, and acting towards yourself. I’ve read so many relationship books throughout the years and whether the author was talking about it in ways I didn’t understand or I was focused on the outward goal that I ignored the inner work. I don’t know, but seriously I didn’t see this clearly until I was taking a college course at 38 years old. A college professor told the class how “We’re as sick or as healthy as our partners.” WHAT????? I didn’t realize my sickness was my feeling of having no value to someone else. I didn’t know that my sickness wanted credit for making other people better. I didn’t realize how utterly unlovable I felt. I was one sick puppy who spoke horribly to myself and treated my body like a giant punching bag.

The way we treat ourselves is like any other habit. Somewhere we pick up an action or behavior. We start repeating it daily. Once we can do it on autopilot, BANG!!! It’s now a habit. Habits of self-abuse tend to hide under rocks, so we don’t tend to see them until we are ready to start looking under rocks to find them. If you’re ready to start, here are some good questions to bring out some of the hard to see habits that have been taking over your psyche:

  • How do I talk to myself when I make a mistake?
  • How do I treat myself when I do something nice for myself?
  • How often do I do something nice for myself?
  • Do I feel guilty about doing something nice for myself?
  • Do I exercise my body and mind so that it can function at its best ability?
  • Do I talk to myself in ways that I wouldn’t accept people talking to my best friend?
  • Do I talk to myself in ways that if a partner, parent, or stranger did it, it would be called emotional abuse?
  • When I look in the mirror, what do I see?
  • When I let other people’s behaviors stir me up, what thoughts about myself are going through my head?
  • Do I take responsibility for other people’s thoughts, feelings, and actions?
  • Do I mentally beat myself up?
  • Does my eating support a healthy mental outlook?
  • Do I criticize myself when I don’t exercise, eat right, or have unhealthy encounters with others?

Be honest and write the answers out. Really become aware of how you are treating yourself. It matters, because if you accept that treatment from the one person you are with from the cradle to the grave, you will make it acceptable for others to take your lead.

2. Accept Responsibility for Your Choices

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If you are anything like me, that list above revealed a lot of not so nice truths about how you treat yourself. Some of them were very well hidden. Don’t use this list as yet another reason to beat yourself up. You are finding your way out, which is something to be celebrated!

The way I started accepting my responsibility is by seeing my relationships as lessons of how I was treating myself. I used a method by Byron Katie called “The Work” (click on it and it will take you to her site). The method consists of four questions and then a turn around. This process REALLY helped me to start to accept the responsibility for what I was putting out there. It helped me see what these partners were latching onto and flinging right back at me.

Now, when I’m being triggered its my sign to look at myself. I’ve accepted that my lack of self-care can lead me to be mistreated by others. My critical eye on myself can create me to have a critical eye on the relationships in my life. If I’m judging others, I’m judging myself worse. One of the questions I used to ask myself was why did I choose him? I even wrote a piece on it.

Every partner we choose gives us great lessons. We just have to open our eyes wide enough to see them. When a relationship is unhealthy, we aren’t healthy. Healthy people don’t attract unhealthy partners. Accepting our contribution to the chaos is the way out of the ugly patterns that keep us making the same mistakes over and over.

Now, here’s the trick: We can’t beat ourselves up over the choices we’ve made to get us where we are now. If we do that, we stay in the cycle of self-abuse. We have to forgive ourselves, find the lessons, and move on.

3. Take Action on Your Personal Journey

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We can’t do this for anyone else. No one can do this for us either. No friend can tell us enough times. No mom or dad can forbid us from getting treated badly again. No therapist can listen to our problems enough to support us not doing any work. We have to do the work. We will stay unhealthy until we decide with all our convictions that we truly want something better than we have right now. Nothing will change until we can look at ourselves in the mirror and say, “I love you exactly the way you are” and more importantly, mean it. If you, like I did, struggle with this part of the journey, Louise Hay recently wrote a book called Mirror Work. She’s been doing seminars on this for decades, but she finally came out with a book that has a 21-day process. It took me a little longer than 21 days to accomplish what I wanted to, but this offers a great start and if you can stick to it, you will start treating yourself better.

We can’t blame anybody else for where we are right now. We all make choices to contribute to our best or worst attributes. We all have the opportunity to make an ugly past into something beautiful or to let it be our excuse to hold us hostage to our misery. We also each get to make the choice of the life we want for ourselves. As long as our actions follow the path of what we want, we can achieve it. As for healthy relationships, we can only attract healthy partners if we become a healthy partner. We can’t tell the Universe we want healthy lungs and then pick up a pack of cigarettes everyday. If we want healthy lungs we need to do a good cardio routine, drink water, and stay where there is good air quality. Take responsibility for your actions. The relationship with yourself has to be fixed before any other healthy relationship is possible.

This is your journey! A couple techniques that may help you commit to taking positive actions are:

  • Practicing Positive self-talk
  • Writing a list of all the positive attributes you would like to see in a partner, then start taking action steps to make sure you yourself are portraying those attributes.
  • Write a story of a positive life you would like to see for yourself. Make sure you are the hero in your own story. Don’t put the power of happiness in someone else’s hands.
  • Make a list of three things you like about yourself EVERY day for 60 days. This is you doing one thing for yourself daily to take care of your emotional and mental well-being.
  • Make a daily gratitude list
  • Walk 10,000 steps a day
  • Get outdoors and just watch nature unfold
  • SLOW DOWN and be Present
  • Meditate
  • Pray

WAIT!!! This list is not meant to be taken on all at once. Pick a couple of things and start there. I like change right now, so sometimes when I start looking at positive outlets for change, I want to take them on all at once. Then the second I fail, I use it as an excuse to get back into the pattern of self-talk that says, I’m not enough. I can’t do it. Don’t go there. Of course if we take on too much it will be too much. Start small, we can’t fix ourselves overnight. A friend once enlightened me on how the process of personal growth takes time. The longer we’ve had these self-sabotaging habits, the longer it will take to unlearn them and replace them with healthier ones. BE PATIENT!

You may experience big changes, then follow it up with a little step backwards in order to take the lesson a little deeper. Remember, we will only be given the lessons we are ready for.

4. Put Yourself on top of Your Own Priority List

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Don’t think I don’t know how hard we can make this one. Believe me, I know and as mom and a partner, I can definitely challenge myself to stay on my own priority list. With awareness, acceptance, and action I get see my progress. Now, I see a lot faster when I haven’t made my needs and myself a priority. I see when my kids are suffering, because I’m stretching myself too thin and making us all crazy for it. I can see it with my partner when I start expecting him to be someone he’s not and resenting him for taking care of his own needs. All signs lead to me not being at the top of my own priority list. My most recent lesson with this has led me to see that I just need to focus on the 24 hours ahead of me.

We don’t need to get caught up in any unknown future that keeps us from being available today. That’s what a calendar is for. Taking on only one day at a time makes self-care possible. The second we get into future thinking, all the sudden our time magically disappears to do anything to take care of our own personal needs. Just today, what are you going to do to take care of you?

Oh the excuses we can come up with to not do this one. Please, stop. If we have the time to do things for others that they can do for themselves; let them do it! They can be responsible for their own stuff; we have to be responsible for ours. If it means we need to get up 30 minutes earlier to do a meditation, exercise, or read a chapter in a book that contributes to the life we want to have; MAKE TIME FOR IT! We may need to use our lunch break or come up with a different routine at bedtime, but whatever it takes. We are all WORTH IT!! If we truly want to attract a healthier lifestyle, our life has to project it. We can only do that if our own life becomes a priority.

5. Be KIND to Yourself!

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Developing self-care, self-respect, self-love, and self-worth are all big tasks for people who have to ask themselves, “What does a healthy relationship look like?” We took a long time to get so down on ourselves that we don’t even know what healthy is anymore, some of us may have never known. We can’t expect anything to change over night. Just like anything else, we have to build up muscles that are weak or have never used before. The only way to keep going in the right direction is to practice, practice, and practice. We are going to make mistakes, but they are there to help us learn what we need to work on. We may go back to unhealthy relationships and be shunned by the people who love us, but if we need to do it to learn, then that is our journey. We may go for a person who is worse for us than any other person prior, but we brought the relationship there for a reason. Maybe, just maybe, we are ready to see what we need to do to break the cycle. Any way if happens, be kind to yourself.

Self-Abuse gets us nowhere and will keep us stuck wondering if we will ever be truly loved. We all get to choose how we will be treated by the people we love. When we love ourselves, we won’t attempt to hurt others or ourselves. We will not attract others who are looking to hurt us. They aren’t even meaning to hurt us. They, like us, are caught in a cycle of self-abuse caused by shame and guilt. Some people’s shame is so deep seeded it causes them to mentally and/or physically abuse others. Most of these people are burying their shame so deep that they have no idea how badly they are abusing themselves. They are projecting hate and rage that is stirring inside of them. It’s very sad to see, but they will only get help when they are ready to change. Our job is to stop focusing on the relationship that is causing us pain on the outside and start focusing on the one that we can change, the one we have created for ourselves on the inside. The first step is start figuring out ways you can be kinder to yourself.

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We will project a person who people respect, because we respect ourselves. We will project a person who inspires love, because we know how to love ourselves. We can’t fake this, if we try, the truth will come out. We will continue to get lessons to help us see the beautiful person that lies within the walls we’ve created. Trust the process! You are Worth it!

If you are in a situation where your physical safety is at risk, PLEASE seek help from an abuse shelter in your area. They are trained to help to keep you safe. If this process is too much for you to do on your own, please seek help from a professional. The key is for you to get the help you need to stop the cycle.

With Love and Gratitude,

Rachael Wolff

Facebook.com/FromALovingPlace

Oh Grief!

I haven’t written for a while, because quite honestly, I’ve been lost in grief. In October my “Gifted mother” (GM) went home to my dad in heaven. So, not only am I going through the grief of losing her, but also because we need to sell their family home, I’ve been feeling like I’m losing him all over again. I have to say goodbye to a home that offered so many loving memories, when truly I so desperately want to hold onto it. I’m financially not in the position to do it. My dad, GM and I talked about me having the house many times because it was my dream home for the kids and I to live. I have pictured them growing up there a million times. So, not only have I lost them, I lost a dream of a life. I know in my heart if I was meant to have the house, a way would have presented itself, but it hasn’t. I have to believe its because that is not the direction I’m supposed to be going, but right now that reality is very hard to swallow.

Every day since I found out my GM was dying has been a struggle. So many thoughts and feelings have been eating at me. I’ve been endlessly spinning. My life has paid the price for being out of balance as I’ve watched my children suffering in their own ways and I’ve watched my joy be tainted with so much questioning. I’ve been watching myself, thank GOD with awareness; I haven’t been able to stop the thoughts from coming, but at least knowing that my natural childlike defenses are on heightened alert.

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I’ve been keeping myself endlessly busy, which is very easy to do as a single mom during the holidays. My goal was to get through the holidays and get a fresh new start in 2017. On December 28th, my 98-year-old grandmother died. She is the last of my grandparents and her and my grandfather have lived in their house since before my dad was born. So, another door closes and once again the house needs to be sold. All the memories of the house will be left to my head and heart. My kids and I visited her on our road trip this summer. Her humor was still fully intact and her love for us was abundant. She was an amazing example of a life well lived. I feel her loss to the core of my being.

In my Intro to Human Development course in college, the book Life-Span Development by John W. Santrock said, “Grief is the emotional numbness, disbelief, separation anxiety, despair, sadness, and loneliness that accompany the loss of someone we love.” Grief doesn’t just surface when people, pets, and living things die. It surfaces anytime someone or thing we have feelings for leaves our lives. When we leave any part of an old life behind, such as: loss of work, divorce, addictions, changes in location and/or lifestyle; we grieve.

Kübler -Ross developed the idea of the 5 stages of gief that came from what was considered originally as the 5 stages of dying. They are the same:

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

I’ve seen this process again and again, but somehow I think I can escape these losses without going through the each stage. When I read through it in class, I could relate, but only as a past tense experience. I keep trying to believe there is some magic way to not experience the feelings of every stage. Now at least, I’m able to slow down and look at the list and go OK, I have to just let it pass through me with awareness. Most days I have to remind myself daily or I forget and spin it into a drama that I don’t want added to my life. I can spend time questioning every detail and letting all of the progress of these past years whirl around me as I’m swept up in this tornado.

Sometimes we forget that grieving isn’t exclusive to adults either. Some cultures have rituals they follow, which I believe helps them stay present to the grieving process. But in other cultures, living in a fast-paced society; the busy doing world of single mothers; teachers stretched so thin they can’t see the whole student; and mental health systems that are too interested in labeling kids quickly; we can miss what grief is doing to the children. I just recently got a taste of how some educators have become numb to a child’s emotional pain. This is not entirely their fault, teachers are stretched so thin that sometimes all they can see is behavior and they don’t find the time to see that a child may be grieving.

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My son has been struggling for a long time, but more than ever this year. Our last six years have been full of losses, but even I missed that some of his acting up may have been because he was grieving all these tremendous losses in his life. We tried therapy but they couldn’t label what they saw in the short time he had covered, so it was missed on all kinds of levels. I didn’t see it until it got so bad that it was impossible to avoid. I started researching how grief comes out in students. The results came out like a checklist of all the behaviors he has been exhibiting in school. This experience has reminded me of how easy it is to expect children to do what we can’t do ourselves. Who acts normal when they are grieving? As an adult with lots of experience with grief, I’m watching myself be totally chaotic and lost at times. How is it an 11 year old, who hasn’t studied it and is only at the beginning of understanding meaning of life supposed to process all these losses like death, divorce, addiction, moving, etc.?

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Grief is something that has been studied and documented for years. There is a formula but it is complicated and not linear. There is no escape from the process. We must face it in order to move through it. If we try to avoid any of the stages we stay stuck. Sometimes we will try to fill the void and we will endlessly fail. Other times we try to cover the void with alcohol, drugs (illegal or prescribed), food, sex, and/or some other form of addictive behavior. Once again staying stuck and digging ourselves into a deeper pit of endless sorrow. I’m deep in the grief process right now and I’m not running, but I feel far from normal. I’m just trying to stay aware of where my head and heart are and doing the next right thing. Today that meant spending 30 minutes reading with my kids before school; taking a long walk while listening to an inspiring audiobook; meditating; having lunch with a friend; and reading and writing about grief. In my research, I found one of my favorite authors, Louise Hay wrote a book with David Kessler about grieving called, You Can Heal Your Heart. I love how when we ask for help and mean it, we find exactly what we need.

With Love and Gratitude,

Rachael Wolff

Facebook.com/FromAlovingPlace

Prepared to Learn: Getting an Unexpected Lesson

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I recently attended the final Hay House I Can Do It conference in Ft. Lauderdale. I was amazed with all the speakers. I took tons of notes and listened to every detail that I could get to stick. I was surrounded by over 1,000 positive and loving people  in one room. The energy of the room lifted me up to amazing levels. I was in learning mode. I expected to get a lot from the speakers over this two-day event. Day One, I was overjoyed with all the powerful information and tools I was getting to take on my day. I was charged…

So, with all of that going on, how could I be attacked with such rage and anger? As my two friends and I were coming in from eating our awesome leftovers from Mellow Mushroom, I was excitedly engaged in a conversation about all the amazing information and inspiration. I had one eye in front of me and one focused on my friend. Our other friend was walking a few steps behind. All the sudden my foot hits a foot in front of me. Baffled and confused, I of course apologize to the usher I tripped on, but I had no idea how I had missed her. I was looking ahead. She instantly jumps into attack mode, got in my face, and started screaming at me at the top of her lungs. “Watch where you are going! Do you think you can just walk all over people?…” My friends and I were in total shock at this interaction. Fight-flight response took over. I went into feeling like a scared little girl being blamed for something I didn’t do and didn’t understand. My friend on the other hand went into fight mode, but luckily with all the great energy we had sucked in, knew it was best to talk to a supervisor and simply say, “Bless you!” Our other friend, who saw the whole thing, just kept repeating, “Do not engage, bless you, bless you, bless you.”

After we walked away,  I was told the woman had sped around me and was aimed at cutting around me but had to walk in my path to avoid the people sitting on the bench. The reason I never saw her is because she cut over into my walking space and I couldn’t catch her in my peripheral because my head was turned to the right. I was in such shock, my nerves were on edge. Every usher I passed made me feel like a scared little girl trying to avoid a dangerous stranger. I walked with complete tension and my heart wouldn’t stop pounding. I couldn’t understand how this could have happened here of all places. I needed this conference. I needed to be filled with the energy to get me out of the grief I’d been facing because of the recent passing of my “Gifted Mom”(my dad’s partner). I just had surgery on my face and needed to stop being so focused on that. How could this have happened here and now?  Haven’t I gone through enough in the last six weeks?

We went back to our seats, and I knew I wasn’t up for reporting the incident. I just needed to get myself out of the trauma and into a better head space so I could enjoy and absorb the rest of the event. I knew if I stayed where I was,  I wouldn’t get what I needed. So my friends went off to report the incident and I sat in silence.

Deep breaths and connect, deep breaths and connect. I know this happened for a reason, I started with a prayer: “Help me to figure out the reason for this lesson, so I can move on from it and stay connected to the energy of love and gratitude.” Deep breaths, deep breaths, I was so grateful I had just heard techniques to get me out of this. Davidji talked about the power of connection and mediation, “Connect to our guardian soul.” was one of the messages I wrote down. He also talked about the fight-flight response and what happens physically and emotionally to us when its happening. He quoted Pema Chodron, “The things you cling to make you unavailable to learn something new.” I knew I had to re-connect and get passed this. The situation with the usher happened after I just heard all this. My friends came back and told me the manager apologized and they would look into it. They were going to meet her again after the next break. My breathing steadied, but my adrenaline was still coming down and had a ways to go.

Kris Carr  was up next, somehow I knew I was going to get the answers I needed. She quoted Louise Hay who said, “It’s only a thought, and a thought can be changed.” My mantra, “Deep breaths, connect, deep breaths, connect.” Mastin Kipp followed Carr.  Kipp said, “Negative emotions are a call to awareness.” YES! YES! YES! My Aha moment arrived. One of my biggest challenges I’ve faced in my life is my connection to being blamed for something I didn’t do. It stemmed from when I was a little girl. This negative exchange took me right back to being that defenseless little girl. I have been dealing with this negative thought pattern for a long time. It had been so long since it was engaged, I buried it. When I was in high school, these thoughts made me suicidal. Luckily, or I should say I was protected because both times it happened I was in places where I could get help immediately. I needed to once again face this fear, but this time with fresh tools to get through it.  I once again was protected and in the perfect situation to get the help I needed.  I will tell you, nothing makes techniques stick better than applying them right away.

After the next break, we found out the woman thought that we were 19-20 year olds. I like to think I look young, but that is a little drastic. She didn’t see us at all. She was wrapped up in her own head feeling walked on by the younger generations. Her reaction had nothing at all to do with me. I knew that logically, but knowing she had no concept of the fact that we were all over double that age, I knew I was looking at a very hurt and wounded woman. I could see her with eyes of compassion and pray for her healing. I could also look at how far I had come from my younger self. I got exactly what I needed, which made me think of something Mastin Kipp said, “What’s the spiritual lesson in this?…This is happening for you, not to you.”

The rest of the day, I continued to get what I needed. Cheryl Richardson asked, “Are you willing to take your own heroes’ journey?” My reply, “YES!!” Gregg Braden was the final speaker. He showed us a technique to help the heart and the brain to work together. The coolest part is it was all based on science. Very interesting findings!! The event was over, I left better than I came and in a very short time, I grew.

How we look at things and deal with the people and events around us is so important. If we are responding negatively to our situation, we are putting that hurtful energy into ourselves then breathing it back into the world. We need to ask ourselves, is this what we want? Are we going to miss opportunities from being caught up in a fight-flight response? Are we getting caught up in negative thoughts that can change to more positive ones? What is my lesson? How can I be and do better to serve myself and humanity?

With Love and Gratitude,

Rachael Wolff

 

When the Pain Is Real

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I have been writing about emotional pain and suffering since I started this blog, but until last week I hadn’t had much experience with the concept of dealing with so much emotional pain and physical pain all at once. I like to believe I’m a very compassionate person, but until I suffered from what I’m going through right now I didn’t know I had ways to open up even more.

In a matter of weeks, I found out my “Gifted mother” (GM) (my dad’s partner of 21 years and too special to consider step or anything less) had stage 4 lung cancer and would not be fighting it. She was ready to be with my dad once again on the other side; a strange foot thing making my foot swell and sharp pains run over the top of my foot; discovering I had a basal cell carcinoma (skin cancer) right above my lip; my book proposal needing to be finished; and my kid’s father stopped paying child support. I showed up for my GM as much as I could, and dealt with my foot issue including having to wear a soft cast on my right foot as I traveled  an hour and a half to go be with my GM as frequently as I possible.

I had surgery on my face that turned out to be a lot more intense than I thought it would be. The worst news I got from my Dr. was that I wasn’t supposed to smile, laugh, or excessively move my mouth for three weeks. I’m a positive person and all I could think about was not being able to help my GM feel comfortable in what could be her last week of life. After leaving my surgery, I get a text letting me know that my GM was unresponsive. I drove right down with a fully bandaged face. Her friend sent me a message saying she was waiting for me, and that she was talking now.

When I got there she didn’t recognize me because I had a bandage covering most of my face. If I had painted a little nose on, I would have looked like on of Dr. Seuss’ Who characters from Whoville. I knew I was where I was supposed to be. She talked and laughed all night passing messages of love and even humor with one of her best friends and I, then later her daughter arrived from a very long drive to get to her. She still was having beautiful moments until I left late that night. I wouldn’t have missed that time for the world. The next morning, I came in and sat quietly across the room as her and her daughter slept. My GM had a rough night and was now on a morphine drip and anti-anxiety  meds. She was so peaceful, we thought we would have a little more time, but at 9:43am, I was holding her hand in my hands as she took her last breath.  All of this happened within six long, never-ending weeks.

I sit here now with stitches still in my face, feeling out of sorts and not quite like myself. I didn’t have any idea of how much of my identity I put into expressing my emotions through my face. I have never stuffed any kind of pain, so to have to constantly restrict what I can do and how my face moves, along with watching my tears because I need to make sure to keep my wound clean, has proven to be more challenging than I thought it would be. I see now how people can feel like they lose their identities when they have an injury or illness that restricts them from doing and acting the way they usually do. I get how it takes time to process the feelings that I never even knew I had inside.

My lesson is one of compassion for others. As I walk by people and they look at me and smile a sympathetic smile, I have to look down instead of smile back, because it causes too much physical pain. I am now more understanding to people who are suffering from emotional, mental, physical, and financial distress, because I truly have no idea what might have happened to that person in the last week, month or year.

On a logical and practical level, I know not to take other’s actions personally, but going through everything I just did in these last six weeks, I finally fully understand it in the heart now. I have had to let people have their journeys and experiences through all of this. Everyone views the end of life journey so differently. My kids had to see me after surgery and get the news that their JoJo passed all at once. I had to understand how scary seeing me stitched up and covered in bandages was for them and that it was also embarrassing in a way. I get that, I still get a little embarrassed, I can’t expect they wouldn’t. I feel like I could talk about it openly and help them deal with the guilt of feeling embarrassed. I could also let them feel the way they needed to about their JoJo, which is still not quite real to any of us yet.

I know there is still a lot of powerful lessons in all that happened over these last six weeks, but I also know how blessed I am. So many showed up and helped me and my kids through this piece of a very big and unfinished puzzle. I’m blessed because all the right things came together for my GM to have the most peaceful journey possible. I’m blessed because though these next few weeks will be rough as I have to control how my feelings release on the outside, I still have my fingers to type and so much love in my heart to continue on and know I will smile again.

I believe the world is filled with Earth Angels and I’m so grateful that so many have crossed my path and helped me to continue to see all the beauty in humanity. Though I’m going through some tough life lessons, I know I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be-Itchy stitches and all. Even when the pain is SO real! The love can still always shine through if we keep our hearts open.

With Love and Gratitude,

Rachael Wolff

 

Blessings Are in the Love We Give and Receive

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Life has a funny way of showing us exactly what we need at any given moment. Sometimes, we don’t like the lessons and fight to keep things covered up, but when we embrace the moment of our deepest feelings, we grow and begin to see things on a whole different level. At least, that’s the way it works for me.

I’m in the midst of writing my first book. I’m faced with the hard-hitting topics of fear, anger, shame, blame, and judgment. Lessons have been popping up to show me, not only where I am, but how I’ve grown. My writing is a cathartic process for me. I don’t ever expect to come out of writing the same person as when I started. I must have needed some reminders about the power of love and compassion as I got through the sections of facing the parts of us that hold us back from experiencing a beautiful life we deserve.

This past month has been overwhelming for me. Some very important people in my life are at a transitional parts of their lives. I have been blessed with welcoming babies and on the other end of the spectrum, experiencing the thoughts and feelings as person I love is approaching the end of their Earthly journey. The circle of life is going on all around me and it has brought me to one very important place, blessings are in the love we give and receive. I have had the privilege of seeing love in action more times than I can count this month. I’m brought to tears just thinking about the outpouring of love and compassion happening around me.

I’m so incredibly grateful to all the people out there who are showing love and compassion instead of embracing the hate out there. I was in a hospital cafeteria recently, frozen in my decision making process. A kind employee took the time to help me find something to eat. Where I was in that moment, I couldn’t bare to make any decisions and felt like I was going to burst out crying at the thought of it. Her act of kindness helped get me through the day. When I came back the next day, the woman saw me and made the time ask and care about how I was doing. Loving energy makes a difference no matter who it comes from, a perfect stranger can change a life in just a small brief encounter. My experiences over a few days in the hospital showed me just how much love is out there. I was presented with opportunities to give love to others and to receive compassion and love in return. The best part was watching people all around me doing the same thing.

We are given so many opportunities where we can choose to show love and compassion or fear and hate. When we choose to focus on the love, we see more of it. When we choose to focus of the fear, we see more of it. Today, I’m choosing to focus on the amazing acts of love and kindness all around me.

Each person who comes into our lives brings gifts, even if they are disguised with a lot of drama, seek out the love and compassion in the situation. Even if where you are meant to show the love is to yourself, it is a beautiful gift. Be grateful for the opportunity to show yourself  the love and compassion that you deserve. None of us are perfect, we will make mistakes and we will grow or hide from consequences of our actions. Those are our choices. When we can see ourselves with a kind and loving heart, we will do the same for the people around us. We will feel the blessings of giving and receiving love.

With Love and Gratitude,

Rachael Wolff

From A Loving Place

The World is Full of Good People: Focusing Our Energy On What We Want

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My daily routine includes scrolling my Facebook feeds of pages I’ve liked. All of these pages are there to surround me with the good energy I want in my life. I love seeing similar messages from different pages that inspire love, positive action, and moving people away from victim thinking. Every once in awhile, I will see messages that promote good people are hard to find… WHAT??!!! No, great people are easy to find if our energy is in the right place. If we appreciate the amazing people around us, more will continue to show up. If we tell the Universe that there are no good people, then we will be constantly seeking out the sick, unhealthy people to prove our point. We have to decide if we want the good people in our lives and acknowledge and appreciate that we have them. From the tellers at the bank, cashiers at check out, friends who reach out, we are responsible for recognizing them. If we are focused on the negative we will continue to get that check-out person who is more insulting than helpful.

This is the same for relationships, if we tell ourselves, there are no good men/ women, we will continue to put our energy into knocking people down, and attracting people to our lives that prove the point we sent out to the Universe. Keep the messages that you send out to the Universe clean. Embrace the feeling that the messages you send out are true. They will be, you choose if it is for your benefit or detriment. This is the Law of Attraction.

If we want better for our lives, we have to change the language we are putting out there. Every moment we spend knocking others down, we are taking time away from our own joy. Search out the good people in the world, put your energy there. They are not hard to find. Some sites are dedicated to showing people in their best lights. When we are ready to see the kindness in the world, it will start appearing all around us.

Most import, be kind to yourself, because you will have a harder time spotting it in the world if you are constantly knocking yourself down. You are worth more than that!!

With Love and Gratitude,

Rachael Wolff

 

Don’t Let Your Thinking Get in Your Way

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What messages are you feeding yourself? We create our realities by repeating the stories over and over. From that, our actions do what are brains say we need to. When make statements that limit us, we convince ourselves they are true and we act accordingly.

Relationships are Hard Work

When I define a healthy relationship, I don’t think of it being hard or work. I see it as an opportunity to grow. We learn so much from other people and intimate partners offer us one of the best views to see ourselves.When we see our partner for the person they are,  let them be that person, and love them without limitation, we are open to see ourselves clearly. When we are so focused on the other person, we avoid looking at ourselves and being true to who we are. Now that is hard work building walls and creating diversions in order not to look at ourselves.  The lessons are in our hands and we will stay in a relationship, healthy or unhealthy until we get the lesson we are meant to get. Relationships don’t have to be hard work. That is up to us. How true are these statements? A better question is how true have we made these statements?

I Have to Work Hard to be a Success

Really? Do we have to work hard or smart? The people who work smart tend to have a life and career. The people who work hard, tend to sacrifice their life for their careers and create an abundant amount of workaholics. Time management is essential to a healthy balanced life, but that is not about working hard. We need to work smart to be successful. We have to know how to take care of ourselves, relationships, and careers. When we hyper-focus on any one, the others get neglected. Finding smart habits and routines helps to keep us open and creative. When I think of working hard, I think of a one track mind. If we convince ourselves it will be hard, then what other choice do we have than to believe it?

I Have to Sacrifice my Happiness to…

This one hurts to say on so many levels. I have a hard time hearing these statements. When we believe we have to sacrifice our own happiness for children, career, family, friends, relationships, spiritual practices, etc. We are missing the point. We can only give what we have inside. If we are not emanating love, happiness, compassion, and joy, we are not helping anyone. Our unhappiness within us comes out sideways to our partners, children, families, co-workers, and anyone else we come in contact with. It trickles down all the way to the check-out person at the grocery store. Did you notice everyone you dealt with today as a person? Did you say hello? Did you smile? When we we sacrifice our happiness we are not contributing to a better world. We can’t make a better world if we don’t live in one from within.

Life is a Struggle

Is this really what we want to create for ourselves. I used to use this phrase and looking back it was exactly what I created. I convinced myself everything was a struggle and that is what I kept seeing. That is where my focus was. I missed so many opportunities because they didn’t contribute to my struggle. I was convinced I had to learn things the hard way. Wow, did that set me up for some hard hitting lessons. I finally broke free from believing what I was telling myself and gave myself some better options, like life is a classroom, I will learn what I need to learn in order to grow. The lessons still come, but I don’t have to struggle through them like I did before.

Nothing Comes Easy

I like to think of the Universe giving me what I ask for, so if I say, “Nothing comes easy”, I imagine the Universe saying, “OK, you got it.” By changing my thinking I have had a lot of opportunities come my way with no effort and no struggle at all. If I start telling myself, “Nothing comes easy” I will actively and subconsciously try to search out ways that this statement is true. My actions will be driven by the internal search for ways that prove the statement.

I have become very careful statements I put out there. The amazing thing is when we start BELIEVING in new messages, doors start opening in ways that they never were able to before. I didn’t realize that my messages to myself were what was keeping the doors locked.

Become aware of the messages that are playing in your head. If they are not helpful, find new ones that align with the life you want to be living. Focus on making the positive statements you say to yourself true. Your actions will follow, and your amazing life will begin unfolding before your eyes.

Don’t forget to keep the inspiration coming by following my blog via e-mail and liking From A Loving Place on Facebook.  All you have to do is scroll down and choose an option.

To all my current followers, thank you so much for your continued support. I appreciate each one of you! Thanks for spreading the love.

With Love and Gratitude,

Rachael Wolff

 

Leaving Autopilot and Becoming Present

image2I used to live everyday in autopilot. I was caught up in the same routine, thinking the same things, doing the same things. The insanity of the situation was I expected different results. I hated the life I was living. I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror. What is scary about autopilot is that we miss A LOT!! I’m not just talking about things in our own lives, the lives of the people around us. We simply don’t see anything outside of our routines.

When we have children, autopilot becomes dangerous. Too many things can happen; sometimes children can give us little subtle hints that there is a problem. If we are somewhere else in our heads; we miss them. Here are a couple of scenarios:

Scenario 1

A young boy comes to his mother and she is texting. He is tells her about how something he saw made him feel uncomfortable. She is not with him; she is involved in the conversation on the phone. Her autopilot response turns on, and gives her son a reply. The conversation is soon forgotten because she was never there. That child develops trust issues and feels completely alone. The boy becomes a man with addiction issues and eventually dies a slow death from drug abuse. He never learned to reconcile his past. He was not able to have healthy relationships with women, men or children. He lived life in a toxic cycle of shame, guilt, and abandonment.

Scenario 2

A young boy comes to his mother and makes a comment that is just slightly off, easily overlooked. By being present, the mother sees there is something very off with that statement. She starts investigating it and finds out the 4-year old boy was sexually abused. The authorities get involved and it is stopped instantly. What the mother didn’t know, what happened to her son is usually just the beginning, that the majority of parents do not catch it this soon. Since the mother had great communication with her son, he felt safe and told her and the police what happened. The assailant was convicted and never exposed to the boy again. The boy grew up communicating with his mother and knowing she was there. When life’s struggles came up, he was able to find tools to work through it. He grew up healthy and having good relationships with women, men, and children. He didn’t feel like he had to use drugs to escape or cover shame, guilt, and hurts from the past.

These scenarios may seem extreme, but they are more common than most people know. The worst part is, scenario 1 is more common than scenario 2. There are little details missed in conversations with friends, co-workers, lovers, and family. We may gain a greater understanding about the people we love if we can give them our full attention. When we are in autopilot our relationships can deteriorate, people get hurt, and we miss out on life. We, without knowing it, contribute to toxic cycles.

Multi-tasking is a way we continue to not be present. Sometimes we have to do too much at once, and that is life, but it is important that we focus on the relationships in front of us. We need to be present. I know I can still get caught up in trying to do too much at once. My children and I had a hard conversation at the dinner table awhile back and I had to take responsibility for my part of the dysfunction in the household. I was on my phone too much while I was supposed to be focused on them and they were feeling it. We had an electronics free week and it was the best thing that has happened to my family. I limited my conversations to the hours they were not with me, and we all started getting along so much better, playing games together, and finding healthy ways to spend our time together. Now that we have our electronics back and we have come out of the crisis that was happening, I am watching old patterns to start to stir up again. The difference, this time I am aware. I can see that there is a problem, and I can figure out a solution because I have accepted my responsibility for the fallback into the old cycle.

One of my old patterns was to go to self-blame and hence self-abuse. I used to take any mistake or misstep and turn it into me being a horrible parent. I would expect perfection out of me, but know it was not possible for anyone else. I had compassion for others, but none for myself. I would have taken the electronics things and reacted in such a way that chaos would plague me and I would feel weighed down with the guilt of not being the parent that my kids deserved. I would feel forced back into autopilot in order to live with myself. Ugh… NOT GOOD! This was such a toxic way to live. Being aware is key. If you know that you have missed a lot from being in autopilot, don’t beat yourself up. Just make an effort to do better now. We do the best we can at any given moment. Yesterday is done, the best thing we can do is learn from our past, and use it to become better. There is no reason to be hostage of something that cannot be changed.

When we are struggling with our jobs, commutes, responsibilities, and relationships with others, it is easy to fall into autopilot to cope with the world around us. We may not be able to get out of it all the time, but every effort we make to live our life being present will improve the quality of our relationships and lives.

Before jumping in, it is important to realize, we are all different. You may like one thing on the list, but something else doesn’t work for you. I have tried a lot of different methods over the years. These are seeds, if they work for you, GREAT! If not, don’t stop looking. I have attempted using techniques that worked great for others, but didn’t sit right with me. What is important is that you tweak things to fit you. Here are some of the methods I use to get more present and turn off the autopilot mode:

Take 3 Conscious Breaths

Three conscious breaths was the first tool I began using on a daily basis that started showing me results. I learned that if I do this throughout the day, I have better days and I am present more than I am not. I started by doing it in the bathroom, then in the car, and finally whenever I noticed my mind was everywhere else but where I was. Do I remember to do it all the time? No. Can I still go into autopilot? Yes, the difference, awareness. Awareness makes it possible to change. By taking three long, deep breaths and concentrating just on that, my mind has time to recalibrate. I have put the effort into slowly untangling the jumbled thoughts and focusing on what is right in front of me. Most of the time it gives me the clarity to see that my mind is focused on the unpredictable future or a past that I cannot do anything about. I create the space to question, how is what I am doing right now contributing to a better life? If it is not, I can see solutions to change it.

Switch-up the Morning Routine

This one can be fun, when things get really bad I put signs in my drawers. One sign says, “Start with a different foot.” I have this in my underwear or sock drawer. The sign consciously reminds me to do things a little differently. I have also put a sign in the bathroom that says, “Switch the order.” I may choose to put deodorant on before brushing my teeth or take a shower and wash my face before shampooing my hair. I don’t know about anyone else, but it is so easy for me to fall into the autopilot routine when I am getting ready. My mind can be in a million different places if I am not careful.

Make Lists

When we make a list, we are getting it out of our heads and putting it down in a practical order. We don’t have to be clogging our brains. When we write out and take one task at a time we can give what we are doing 100% of our attention. I don’t always use lists, but I notice a difference when I do. I know some people who do them everyday and it is what works for them.

Focus On What is Happening Now

One of the ways I let the present moment pass me by was by checking the time constantly. I stopped wearing a watch and started setting alarms on my phone when I needed to be ready to do the next thing on my list. This made it possible for me to be where I was and get out of the vicious cycle of being a slave to time. By simply not focusing on time, I have more.

Get in Touch with Nature

If I can spot nature’s beauty, I am present. If I am in autopilot, I can walk for an hour and miss everything happening around me. When I take the time to look for beautiful scenes in nature, I feel the awe of the moment, and autopilot is cut-off! If I am driving, I make sure to look at nature in a safe way. I will see the clouds, trees, birds, and all the little critters scurrying about. I’m sure many squirrels’ lives have been saved from me being aware of my surroundings.

Set Aside Quality Time

I have certain times where I commit to giving my loved ones 100% of my attention. I learned a long time ago that a meal is a great time to commit to giving my undivided attention. Another time can be at bed-time. I have a routine with each of my children. They are almost two years apart, so I have different bed times. I spend a dedicated half-hour with each of them before bed. If they need advice, cuddles, and/or one-on-one attention, they get it here. I have stopped bringing my phone, so that I don’t get distracted. For couples, date night is very important. Having time away from normal routine is crucial to a healthy relationship. Date night does not need to be out; be creative. Pick a time and a room or outside location to meet where the time is set aside just for each other. Dance in the bedroom, swing on the porch swing, read to each other, and laugh as much as you can.

Put the Electronics Away

When we are having a conversation with someone, we need to be present. Phones, computers, tablets, TVs, and video games are not important when another human being needs our connection. Put it down. We cannot be in two places at the same time. This one has been a challenge for me. My autopilot in doing mode likes to kick in. I notice I need to make a real effort to get out of my electronic world. I don’t believe that we need to give it up completely, but when people are communicating with us it is important to be there. When we are supposed to be having quality time together, we need to give our families, children, partners, and any person we are in contact with the respect and love they deserve. Even the people at the checkout counter deserve your attention. How would it feel to be looked over by most of the people who passed through your life? It can make a big difference to the person you take the time to give a smile to.

Just recently, I was at the store and the woman behind the counter was in autopilot. She was so used to being overlooked that when I gave her attention she was actually startled. After the initial shock, she proceeded to give me tips and ideas. We had a great exchange. By the end, she was smiling and gave a big warm greeting to the next customer. We both left the exchange feeling good. We are all humans; we all want to be acknowledged. We can’t get so caught up in autopilot that we forget we are interacting with other people just like us.

I hope that your autopilot can be turned off for a little longer today and that you get to experience the joy of being in the moment. Give the people around you a little more today from a loving place.

Read my latest article for http://www.yourpositiveoasis.com  “5 Ways We Sabotage Our Happiness” (click on the red and it will take you directly to it.)

image1With Love and Gratitude,

Rachael Wolff

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