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

90-Day A Better Me Letters Series: Day 63 – Benefits of Practicing Mindfulness in My Daily 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 63: Benefits of Practicing Mindfulness in My Life

Dear Self,

Today, I spent my conscious moments being where my feet are. I was amazed in how much more productive I was throughout my day. My mind felt clear and unobstructed by all the clutter. I handled each task as it came into my life, and didn’t feel the need to put my energy where it didn’t belong.

I noticed more of good stuff in and around my life. I paid attention to the beauty in nature, the kindness of strangers, the blessing of having my limbs, the passion for my work, and the love from the people and animals in my home. I just had to slow down enough to appreciate it all.

Since I can be a pretty reactive person, being able to slow down helped me to take that breath before I responded to a stressful moment. I could finally hear the question—How important is it?If my response isn’t bringing peace into the situation, I haven’t worked through it yet, and I need to give myself the space to find my peace before responding. I’ve waited through so much chaos and conflict to get to the point that told me that silence was the right reaction in this moment. All because I’ve slowed my mind down enough to pay attention to what my body and emotions were doing before I reacted unconsciously. I know that the more I practice my mindfulness, the more often this will happen.

I’m committed to practicing mindfulness in all my daily routines. The more I can get out of autopilot, the more life I get to actively live. I will live as many moments as I can to enjoy the life I’ve been given. I want to fully appreciate the people, animals, adventures, nature, showers, warm air, cool air, rain, and luxuries that I’ve been blessed with along with my full use of my senses. Life is too short to be living it in fast-forward.

Mindfulness practices are my loving action towards peace inside and outside of me. I know how much peace I want by my willingness to MAKE time to be mindful.

Today I’m Grateful

I’m grateful that my mindfulness practices helped me to manage my inner peace enough to bring me outer peace.

I’m grateful for the blessing that come from staying in the present moment.

I’m grateful for the sound trees make when the breeze hits the leaves.

I’m grateful for the taste of chocolate as it softens and melts in my mouth.

I’m grateful for my ability to touch, taste, smell, hear, and see, because there are so many incredible gifts that come with each sense.

 

With Love and Gratitude,

 

A Better Me

 

Rachael Wolff ©2019

To check out some ways to add mindfulness practices to your daily routine read today’s installment: 90-Day A Better Me Series: Day 63 – Practicing Mindfulness

90-Day A Better Me Series: Day 63 – Practicing Mindfulness

90-Day A Better Me Series

Part III: Living the Journey

Making the Now Count: Rebuilding our Lives

Day 63: Practicing Mindfulness

“The spirit in which you do something is often as important as the act itself.”

-Mark Williams and Danny Penman, Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World, pg. 114

In preparation for today, I pulled out my copy of Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic Worldby Mark Williams and Danny Penman. I haven’t touched this book since I read it in school. I opened the book to the page above and read the quote. The energy we put into whatever we are doing affects us. It also affects the energy of the situation we are going into. Then our energy moves with us coming out of the moment and moves into the next. Mindfulness helps us to be conscious of what we are bringing in and what we are taking out of any situation.

Now, there are tons of books, articles, YouTube videos, seminars, and practitioners who teach mindfulness techniques. We are just scratching the surface with today’s topic. My hope is that you will take the seed and find ways to make it grow into something amazing in your life. Mindfulness is an essential step in the path to inner peace.

Today, I’m focusing on mindfulness practices you can do as a part of your daily life. The more we can stay in the moment we are in, the more we will be able to come in and out of situations while staying conscious and in-tune with what is going on inside and around us.

We do many things operating in autopilot, which is like fast-forwarding life. Our minds aren’t where we are. We open ourselves up to being hurt physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually by moving too fast for our feet. Slowing down to be where are feet are is a way we can practice mindfulness. I will give examples of exercises throughout the day to help you add more mindfulness practices to your life. Like I said, these are just a jumping off point. Let these exercises be the spark for more.

Morning Mindfulness Practices

  • The moment you wake-up, take a deep long breath in through your nose for ten seconds. Hold your breath for three seconds. Then release the breath for ten seconds. Do this three times. Make sure you are counting the seconds. This will help you from getting distracted by those thoughts waiting to come in.
  • When you get out of bed, feel the sensations running through your body. Enjoy the feeling of a stretch as you get out of bed. What does that feel like? Take your time to greet the day. If your mind starts going into your to-do list, slow down and just focus on connecting to the way your body feels after being in a resting state.
  • While you are in the shower, focus your energy on what the water feels like as it touches your skin. Feel the pressure of the water and when you are lather up the soap and putting it on your head, enjoy the sensations of the head message. I like to use shampoo and conditioner with mint in it because it makes the sensations very apparent. That is my reminder to stay in the moment. Make sure you like what your products smell like. It will help you want to connect to the moment.
  • As you get dressed, pay attention to the way you put each item of clothing on your body. What arm do you put your shirt in first? Do you put the shirt over your head before you put your arms in? What foot goes in your underwear first? What shoe do you put on first? What does it feel like as you move to get ready?
  • While you are drinking your morning beverage, take your time with each sip that goes into your mouth. Smell the beverage as it goes under your nose. Feel the fluid move around your mouth, to the back of your throat, and through the swallowing process. Be conscious of all the sensations.
  • Take time to savor your breakfast. Before the food even touches your mouth—Smell it. Enjoy the different smells as they interact together. Then feel how the utensils you have to use feel against your hands. Pay attention to the way your body moves to get the food to your mouth. Then as you put the food in your mouth take time to chew it and feel the sensations as the food sits on your taste buds.

Transportation

Stay away from your distracting electronics!
  • While walking outside, look around to take notice of your surroundings. Pay close attention to what is on your path. Look up and see what is around you. Pay attention to nature as you walk. Be right where you are. Enjoy the moment you are in. Acknowledge the life that is around you. If a person walks by, look them in the eye and greet them. If you see an animal, watch them as they watch you.
  • If you are riding bikes, motorcycles, golf carts, etc., feel the sensation of the breeze. Pay attention to how your legs and arms feel. Feel your heart pumping. Keep focused on whatever you are seeing, smelling, feeling, hearing, and if applicable tasting. Use every sense you can.
  • In the car, pay attention to what you hear inside and outside of the car. What does the seat feel like against your skin? What does your foot feel like as you touch the gas and/or brake? What is going through you if someone cuts you off? Did you give yourself enough space? Are you letting another person’s energy affect yours while you are driving? What is keeping you present driving? What is distracting? What does the weather look like? How is the weather affecting the sensations you are feeling in the car?
  • You get a lot of opportunities if you are in a train, taxi, subway, Uber, Lyft, etc.  Take it all in! Use all your senses to stay in the moment and be aware of everything you are seeing outside of you and feeling inside of you. Take the time to look around and see the nature around you. Pay attention to the buildings, sidewalks, people, cars, etc. See if you can get through the whole ride being in the moment. Even if that moment is talking to others, be with them in the conversation. Pay attention to their voices, body language, words, and practice active listening.

Daily Duties

  • At work, practice using all your senses to get you from one point in the day to the next. If you use a computer and your mind starts getting overwhelmed. Pay attention to what your fingers feel like on the keys. If you are constantly interacting with people make sure to take deep breaths and be in the conversation with them. Listen, many times people are telling us important details that we miss if we are thinking about what we are going to say or trying to find ways to end the conversation. You can find mindfulness anytime you engage your senses.
  • Shopping is a fun way to explore your mindfulness. Use your senses as you go through the store. Look up and smile at individuals. Enjoy the experience of smelling, tastings, hearing, seeing, and feeling. Be conscious of what you feel inside as you interact with people and/or things. Acknowledge to yourself what you are feeling. If you don’t like the way you feel, ask yourself what are other feelings you could feel by interpreting the situation differently. Give yourself space to explore other perspectives. If you have a thought that feels better, sit with it for a few seconds. Notice that shift as you move into the next moment.
  • When you going to the bathroom, slow down! Enjoy this break from all the doing and just enjoy the being. Take this time to practice breathing slowly. Bathrooms can be a very peaceful place if we take advantage of the space to just breath and do what our body needs us to do to release what doesn’t belong there anymore.
  • As you’re cooking or being cooked for, smell, taste, touch, and look at each item you are putting into your dish. Pay close attention to the colors, texture, and sensations that move through you as you clean, cut, chop, drop, each item into the master plan. If you are at a restaurant, pay attention to each bite of food.
  • When you are washing dishes feel the water running over your hands. Feel the softness of the soapy bubbles touching your skin. Listen to the noise of the water moving and the dishes clanging. See the how each item comes in and out of your path.

Bedtime

  • Writing in a gratitude journal is a practice in appreciating your mindfulness throughout the day. As we are more mindful throughout the day we appreciate each of our moments in a fuller way. We begin projecting, manifesting, and attracting abundance by hearing, seeing, touching, tasting, and smelling more consciously throughout our day. We become more mindful of our interactions with others as we write about our experiences through the context of gratitude.
  • Put on your nightwear being fully conscious of every decision you are making. Just like putting your clothes on in the morning, be conscious of what limb is going where. Pay attention to your motions and the inner sensations as each item touches your skin.
  • Turn off all electronics and just sit, listen, feel, smell, and breath. Give yourself time to actively release your day before you shut your eyes.

 

Mindfulness is a practice. The more we practice, the better we get. Be patient with yourself. The people who feel our lack of mindfulness most are the people we are closest to. We not only serve ourselves with our mindfulness, we serve all the lives we touch.

Peace on the inside will create peace on the outside. We will benefit from our mindfulness practices as we proceed with the rest of Part III.

 

With Love and Gratitude,

 

Rachael Wolff ©2019

Don’t forget to read today’s companion piece: 90-Day A Better Me Letters Series: Day 63 – Benefits of Practicing Mindfulness in My Daily Life

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

90-Day A Better Me Letters Series: Day 60 -Right Here and Now I’m Free

Letters from A Better Me

90-Day A Better Me Letters Series

Part II: A Journey of Perspective

What Launches Us Forward: The Stable Foundation

Day 60: Right Here and Now I’m Free

Dear Self,

Right in this moment I’m feeling my toes tingle under the wind from the fan above me. I’m hearing the roar of the air coming on and the coolness touch my toes. My thoughts are with my fingers as the words are coming out on the page. Right hear and now I’m free. My mind is a blanket canvas to create whatever reality I choose with each story I decide to believe and follow. I can choose to be conscious and or unconscious with each thought and step I take. I can choose to put my feelings about my spirituality in a container, or I can be in awe of how expansive Divine energy is. I can choose to see each moment as a loving gift from my Creator or a hell on Earth. I’m FREE to choose whatever perspective of truth I want to believe in this very moment and whatever I choose will move me to the actions that go with that.

Right here and now I’m free to be silent, pray, listen, receive, give, and to move in a way that will contribute to the way I tell myself is right for the moment. I’m responsible for the choices I make. The more I listen to the moment, the clearer of an understanding I get for what I need to step into my next moment. Thinking about this process in slow motion is pretty amazing. Right here and now I’m free and I have an abundance of choices, but the choices aren’t overwhelming, because I have peace knowing I’m free.

I still feel my toes tingling. I’m conscious of the noises that are coming from tapping the keys on the keyboard. I feel my dog’s presence up against the side of my leg as she peacefully sleeps. The words are coming out of me as I hear them and I can hear no background clutter in my mind at this very moment. I can feel the sensations in my nose as oxygen comes into my body. I can feel the moisture on the tips of my fingers as they move across the keys. In this moment I feel AWE of all I’m experiencing without the distractions and clutter that come with the stories of the past and the future. I’m free.

Today I’m grateful

  1. I’m so grateful to experience this present moment
  2. I’m grateful for the freedom to choose where my mind goes in this moment
  3. I’m grateful to be free of story in this moment
  4. I’m grateful for all the sensations I can feel to keep me in this moment
  5. I’m grateful for the feeling of AWE that brings tears to my eyes and fills my soul with love

 

With Love and Gratitude,

 

A Better Me

Side note: I’ve chosen to not edit this letter because I want it to be authentic to the moment I was in writing it. When we write letters to ourselves they don’t have to be perfect. My letter writing in this series is to allow you to see vulnerable parts of me. How you judge them reflects your perspectives of truth inside of you. Be present to what goes through you. Our responses to other’s vulnerability have so much to teach us about where we are in the moment whether it is in love or fear-based thinking. It also helps us to see where we do and don’t want to be. When we consciously see that, we can choose our next step wisely.

Rachael Wolff © 2019

Don’t forget to read today’s companion piece: 90-Day A Better Me Series: Day 60 – Right Here and NOW

90-Day A Better Me Series: Day 60 – Right Here and NOW

90-Day A Better Me Series

Part II: A Journey of Perspective

What Launches Us Forward: The Stable Foundation

Day 60: Right Here and NOW

“Enjoy the moment, not the end result.”

-Lee Ann Womack

Today is the day to redefine our lives. Nothing before today or after today is real—It’s a story. Everything is how we define it to be. It doesn’t matter what the story of our past is or what the dreams of our future are if we are not living in today. We actively destroy the good stuff from coming into our lives by focusing on anywhere but RIGHT HERE AND RIGHT NOW.

Take the lessons from the past, but leave the story behind. Have goals for the future but leave the attachment to your happiness behind. What we feel, what we think, what we believe, how we act, and how we respond and/or react in this moment will dictate each step that falls after that. This is not the time to be going into autopilot.

What are you going to choose to do today to contribute to you living your best life right now?

Most of us (including me) aren’t going to do this perfectly, so don’t put that expectation on yourself. What will make the most difference is doing the best we can in each moment we are conscious. The more we practice to bring ourselves back to the moment, the longer we will be able to stay in the moment.

What are the things that connect you to the present moment?

We want to have touchstones that remind us to pay attention to what is going on right now, such as spotting things in nature, a specific daily time to read, meditate, pray, exercise, walk, etc. It’s not about what I do to get me into my present moment; it’s about picking the things that touch your life.

I know I’ve talked about this before, but this is so important that it is worth mentioning again, especially knowing that even if you have read this entire series, you will probably retain about 10% of the material, and it will be the parts that you associate most with right now. That 10% is the seeds you decide to plant. You will have some seeds you hold onto for later that will all the sudden pop up in your mind out of nowhere. They usually will come up in a moment of presence. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been out walking and all the sudden remember something I saw, read, or listened to that is the perfect tool to use in my current situation. When we are quite, we leave space for our prayers to be answered—Seeds appear. There will also be plenty of seeds in my work that don’t fit into the beautiful foundation that you are creating for yourself. You may give them to someone else or toss them aside. This is your life. The more we can live in right here and right now, the more connected we will be to the choices we make.

We want to make sure we are putting our energy where we want it to be. We can only do that if we stay present. If we don’t work on our practices in presence, which we will talk more about in Part III, we will continue to be swept away by fear-based ways of thinking. When we practice presence, we start to see things as they are building up inside. We may start noticing when we are triggered after we already yelled back in a fear-based way. Then with practice, we might catch ourselves mid-scream. With more practice, we start catching it the moment before a scream is about to leave our mouths. With even more practice, we start spotting it as the feelings start stirring inside us. Here’s where the practice gets really awesome! We will start noticing another person’s energy as they begin to engage with us. We will be able to see if they are coming from a place of love or fear. We’ve slowed down enough to start asking them questions to see their own perspective clearly, then we can respond to them from a loving place to allow them the opportunity to see our perspective without telling them we are right and they are wrong. This may take years for some especially if we come from a childhood where screaming was a normal occurrence.

The more we connect to the present moment, the less attached we become to the stories that keep us hostage to our pasts and prisoners of our unknown future. We begin to authentically interact with the people in front of us. There is a reason I have chosen each day of this journey to represent what it does in this 90-Day series. This is a process and not one we will get fully the first time we read through and start practicing. We have a lot of undoing in order to start re-building. Presence makes it clear what in us we need to work through to be in the best place to create the lives we actually want.

Just for Today

  • What choices are you making right now to live better than you did yesterday? Be conscious of your feelings, thoughts, beliefs, stories, actions, reactions, responses, and where your feet literally are in this moment.
  • How is what you are doing right now working for or against you? Now, decide to do something better in this moment.  Anytime you catch yourself, just slow down and make a choice to do something right now that will make things better for the moment you are in.

NO BEATING YOURSELF UP for not doing things perfect. We talked about the detriments of that in Part I.

The more we can focus on the person we are being in this very moment, the more successful we will be at achieving abundance in our lives.

Tomorrow, we are moving into Part III: Living the Journey. I hope you will continue to transform with me. Enjoy today!

 

With Love and Gratitude,

 

Rachael Wolff ©2019

Don’t forget to read today’s companion piece: 90-Day A Better Me Letters Series: Day 60 -Right Here and Now I’m Free