90-Day A Better Me Series: Day 67 -Celebrating What Doesn’t Work

90-Day A Better Me Series

Part III: Living the Journey

Making the Now Count: Rebuilding our Lives

Day 67: Celebrating What Doesn’t Work

“Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.”

-Garth Brooks

I’m not going to lie— This step takes some work! Celebrating what doesn’t work is a testament of our faith. It is us realizing that we don’t know what is best, and that is a VERY hard pill for many of us to swallow. I’ve talked about this multiple times in the series. If we were meant to be anywhere then where we are right at this moment, we would be there. There is something to learn from the moment we are in—

No matter what that moment looks like. As soon as we open ourselves up to learn instead of wishing things were different—We grow! Wishing things were different just keeps us stuck in the hamster wheel. We won’t get anywhere! So, if we are praying for things to change, a more productive prayer would be:

Please show me what I need to learn from the moment I’m in. Help me  move past whatever is blocking me.

There maybe a much better plan for us than we could imagine, but if we don’t learn what is necessary to get us there, we will just stay in the hamster repeating the lesson over and over. We may leave one relationship and move into the next, but the same patterns show up. We may leave one job for the next and the same patterns keep repeating themselves. We think our prayers are being answered for getting us out of one toxic situation only to find ourselves in another one. Where our thoughts and prayers go matter to the energy we are putting out into the Universe. We can’t escape or pretend to be somewhere we are not, energy is energy. It’s not judging us, it just is. So, even in the moments we are not getting what we want, we need to find away to celebrate.

“Remember that sometimes NOT getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.”

-Dalai Lama

If we have faith in a Creator who is the encapsulation of love, why would we think what we were going through isn’t a necessary step to help us achieve love’s full embrace? Why would we think a Being who represents love is punishing us? The only one punishing us is ourselves and maybe other humans are trying to, but they can’t break our soul. They can’t destroy the love within us, no matter what hate they may throw at us. Our love is ours. Only we can lock it up in the dark and make it our prisoner.

IMG_7400

My perspective of truth is that I’m being led to be able to love to my full capability. Everything I experience is a stepping-stone to build my love for myself, for Source, for loved ones, for strangers, for the environment, for animals, for the planet, and for the Universe. Each lesson I get, I can choose to learn from or repeat. My kids are definitely able to show me the ones I need to repeat. I also get to see where I’ve healed and how I’m breaking generations of unhealthy patterns. Little steps, that’s all there ever is. So I’ve learned to surrender, sometimes with tight fists at first, but eventually, I remember—I’m loved more than I can humanly imagine. Everything is happening exactly the way it needs to for each person to learn what he or she are meant to learn in this life.  We have to become aware, accept, and then we get to take action. That is where we celebrate!!

How do we celebrate what doesn’t work, the big NO, the drama, the chaos, the illness, the pain, and the struggle?

9 Ways to Celebrate What Doesn’t Work

  1. Have a dance party! Make a playlist of music that gets your heart pumping. Know that no matter what the challenge is, it is leading you where you are supposed to be. Honor the love in your heart. If you are grieving, know that you are grieving because of your capability to love. If a partner left you, or you needed to leave them, dance because it wasn’t the right relationship for you to experience your best love story. Celebrate the cancer, illness, or disability because with it you have an amazing tool to teach others love and compassion while learning how to embrace the love within you on your journey through the pain.
  2. Go do something you love. Have that amazing dinner, explore somewhere new, visit with friends, take that walk, ride, or run; drive to the beach, mountains, or desert. We will be covering this more in the days to come.
  3. Get down on your knees and pray. Stand-up, with your hands in the air, and pray. Lie down in your bed and pray. Just pray in gratitude to learn from the lesson in front of you, and be grateful for the love that lies behind it.
  4. Write out a gratitude list for everything that the “not getting” is teaching you. Write about how grateful you are for the mistakes, the lessons, the failures, and the challenges because they are giving you opportunities to learn about perspective. We make the choice how we want to view anything in our lives. We don’t have to be victims of anything that we don’t choose to. Gratitude is a perspective that says, I’m bigger than anything that happens to me. I’m the love inside me and for that I will celebrate and be grateful.
  5. Create a spot in your life for peace. It can be the bathroom, a closet, a room, a bench, a tree, a chair, etc. Wherever it is, make this your spot to go to when you need to feel peace when you thought you knew what was best for your life and it didn’t work out the way you thought it would. This is the place that reminds you that even your trials are part of the master plan. This is the place where you embrace the love within you to feel at peace with what is happening around you.
  6. Find a plant, tree, flower, and/or animal that makes you feel AWE. Celebrate the simplistic AWE of life, of creation. You are here! You are alive! That is something to celebrate. If you aren’t where you want to be, make sure you are taking a step on your path in the direction you actually want to be going. Celebrate the AWE inside of you.
  7. Create something beautiful! I personally love word collages (click here to see more) and writing, but this can also include things like gardening, painting, drawing, photography, knitting, stenciling, needlepoint, etc. Just be creative and use your energy to create something beautiful. IMG_3371
  8. Hug someone you love. Not just a few second hug. Hug them for a whole minute. Feel the life of someone you love in your arms. Listen to her/his heartbeat and yours.  Take deep breaths and match your breathing with hers/his. We can celebrate what doesn’t work by embracing what does—LOVE!
  9. Play and laugh! Bring out the childlike energy within yourself and find a way to play and be joyful in the moment. If you have an animal play with her/him. My kids and I play the try not to laugh or smile game while watching funny videos on YouTube. Appreciate the moment you are in. Laughing yoga is a fun way to release tension and play. Just play! What doesn’t work matters a lot less when we appreciate what does.

Be real with yourself. If you are feeling like the victim of something that is happening to you, be there with the feelings. Then, look at different ways you can choose to look at the situation. When you are ready to open yourself up to the possibilities of seeing things differently— Celebrate that! Don’t beat yourself up for your bad mood or dark feelings, just know that is where you are in the moment and when you are ready to move out of that moment, you have choices. That in itself is a reason to celebrate. I love seeing the world through the eyes of perspective because I’m never trapped. I can ALWAYS choose to see things differently. I can be the person who is grateful for the rain or who dreads it, the choice is mine and it’s yours too.

 

With Love and Gratitude,

 

Rachael Wolff ©2019

Don’t forget to read today’s companion piece: 90-Day A Better Me Letters Series: Day 67 – Celebrating What Hasn’t Worked in My Life

 

 

90-Day A Better Me Series: Day 66 – Quieting the Mind for Conscious Creation

90-Day A Better Me Series

Part III: Living the Journey

Making the Now Count: Rebuilding our Lives

Day 66: Quieting the Mind for Conscious Creation

“Only in quiet waters do things mirror themselves undistorted. Only in a quiet mind is adequate perception of the world.”

-Hans Margolius

Quieting our minds can be one of our biggest challenges, but if we do the work— It comes with the greatest rewards. In a quiet mind we can separate all the clutter and distractions. We hear and see messages clearly. We create consciously. You know those signs we ask the Divine Creator for? We only can see them when we slow down our minds.

“A quiet mind is all you need. All else will happen rightly, once your mind is quiet.”

-Sri Nisaradatta Maharaji

We actually have the ability to change our neural pathways when we are able to calm our minds on a regular basis. This means those unhealthy messages that have been feeding us and forming the way our mind behave can be changed to create new and healthier connections in the brain. Scientists have been studying the effects of regular meditation on the brain— The results are incredible. So all the mindfulness, meditation, and quieting of the mind messages have scientific proof of effectiveness.  We are literally retraining our brains to operate on a higher level. I find that pretty amazing. This is proof that we have choices that will make things better for us, and it starts with our mindset. We have to choose not to be a prisoner of our thoughts and beliefs that keep us trapped in an inner life we aren’t happy with.

“Quiet the mind, and the soul will speak.”

-Ma Jaya Sati Bhanagavati

Some people think of quieting the mind as meditation, and instantly the walls go up saying I can’t meditate. We’ve talked about the word, can’t. It’s an excuse not to keep trying. The word can’t is a choice to be stuck where we are. There are plenty of ways to quiet the mind that are building the muscle to be able to meditate and/or keep the mind quiet for longer time periods. I’ve brought some of these up in different parts of the series, but they are worth repeating.

10 Techniques to Quiet the Mind

  1. When you are using the toilet, take the time to be conscious of your breath. Make it a practice that every time you use the toilet you take three long inhales and three long exhales… This is what I did to start MAKING the time for quieting the mind.
  2. When you’re in the shower, be conscious of your breaths in and out. Then imagine the water touching you is the love of the Divine cleansing and clearing all the chaos and clutter away. Feel the love washing over you in your silence.
  3. Take a walk in nature or spend time in with the Earth in some way. If you can keep your mind on what you are seeing and feeling, you can help quiet the clutter in the mind. Really look at the nature and feel the energy coming from the Earth. Let your mind be focused on what you are looking at and touching. Embrace your senses.
  4. Lie on the ground and really look at the sky. Do you remember trying to figure out what animals clouds looked like? Or connect the dots with the stars? Focus on breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth and be childlike in your exploration. You will notice the more you can focus on this, the clutter in the mind dissipates.
  5. When you are exercising, focus on your breathing and being one with your body as you move. Pay close attention to your form and make sure your breaths are even as you move. NO holding your breath. Pay attention to the flow of your body during transitions in movement.
  6. Consciously drink a whole glass of water. See, feel, taste, hear, and smell the water moving with each sip. It helps me to add  a little flavored vinegar, lemon, cucumber, herbs, or essential oils to help me stay fully conscious of the experience.
  7. Get a meditation application, CD, YouTube, etc. on your phone and start practicing. If one doesn’t work for you, try another. Start slow if you are challenged. What time did you start and when did your mind start moving into the clutter. Then find meditations for that length of time and work your way up. Don’t beat yourself up over your mind drifted. You can see the thought come up in your mind and watch it float by like a balloon and release it. Don’t try to force your mind not to let the thoughts in, just simply let them pass by and visualize them floating off.
  8. Free writing is one of my favorite techniques. There are many names for this type of writing. Here is the method that works best for me: Set a timer for 20-30 minutes. Ask the Universe a question, say a prayer, write down a quote that inspires you, or give your mind a topic and just start writing. Don’t think or plan what you are going to write, don’t edit any words that are coming to the page, just write without trying to steer your thoughts. Keep writing until your timer is up or just keep writing if you are in a flow that the words are just coming to you without any effort. Once your mind starts trying to control the writing after the timer goes up, stop! The more you do this kind of writing the more you will be consciously creating. Many of my blogs are written like this. I actually do my best writing when I let my conscious energy flow. I only edit when the whole piece is complete.
  9. Doodle, doodle, and doodle some more. If you struggle with meditation, try listening to meditation music or a guided meditation while you doodle. Simply focus on breathing and letting your hand be led to just create the shapes and words that flow into stream of consciousness. Doodling has been scientifically proven to help focus the mind (the research is easily accessible on-line, just in case you ever have a teacher complaining about your child is doodling).
  10. Create a free mind; free flow art piece, creative movement, and/or musical masterpiece. Like the writing, set a timer. Give yourself a minimum of 20-30 minutes. Ask the Universe a question, say a prayer, look at a picture that inspires you, listen to a song without lyrics that inspires you, and/or just take three long deep breaths in and out. Now start creating without any thinking, planning or editing. See what comes up. You may be amazed in what you create. Some of the most mesmerizing music and art was created in free flow energy.

When we allow ourselves the time and space to quiet the mind, we start consciously creating new ways of thinking, believing, living, choosing, processing, expressing, loving, visualizing, experiencing, flowing, being, problem-solving, and on and on the list goes. The possibilities are endless once we quiet the mind for conscious creation. Now, if you are truly interested in changing your life, take one to three of the items on the list and do it for a minimum of 45-Days. You will be SHOCKED at the results. Like I’ve said before, transformation takes commitment and work. We have to consciously choose to MAKE the time.

 

With Love and Gratitude,

 

Rachael Wolff ©2019

Don’t forget to read today’s companion piece: 90-Day A Better Me Letters Series: Day 66 – Quieting My Mind

 

 

 

The Break-Up Playlist

IMG_1851

Introduction

I wrote this piece in April 2014. In a Creative Non-Fiction Workshop at Eckerd College, I was surrounded by a group of amazing writers. Me, a Human Development major who was NOT used to writing creatively. My college experience was full of technical writing and was pretty stiff. This piece came from a VERY constructively criticized piece about cathartic writing. After getting a C- on the paper (I had never even gotten a B on a college paper before), I had the chance to re-vamp my paper and took it in a different direction following excessive notes. I was very happy that the professor liked the new direction. Here was the end result.

The Break-Up Playlist

Sitting in my car at a stoplight, my ears tune in to the song on the radio. I reach over to turn the music up to the point where it is louder than I can sing. I start belting it out. My hands are motioning as if I’m telling someone off; my facial expressions reflect my utter disdain, annoyance, and anger then go to complete joy when the line says. “We are never ever ever getting back together. We are never ever ever getting back together…”; my eyes open wide and then squint on the verse; and my left leg is stomping along to the beat with the power of a drummer pounding the base petal. Every nerve in my body reacts to the release of emotions emanating from Taylor Swift’s lyrics saying she has had enough. The song ends, I turn the music down to a relaxing decibel and move on as if nothing happened, catharsis. This song was number one on my playlist for about six months after leaving my husband. I reached empowerment through a pop star.

Music can be a powerful tool when going through a break-up. There are songs for every feeling of the five stages of grief. A person can pick songs to reflect the denial/fear of the relationship being over, the anger of getting screwed over, the bargaining to win the relationship back, the depression left from the empty space, and the acceptance/empowerment from moving on. There are some songs that engage all the different stages at once. I know where I’m at in the grieving process by the music that triggers my emotions.

After my next break up, I am back at that stoplight, but the song changed. This time “Roar” by Katy Perry blared through the speakers. “You held me down, but I got up, get ready ‘cause I had enough. I see it all, I see it now…” The lyrics bring me to the point of acceptance by moving me through my anger. The message that I will persevere and come out stronger has a lasting effect. The song even brings in the visual of having “the eye of the tiger.” Now, whenever I see a tiger, I connect it to being a champion of my life. It is amazing what a song can do. This song even made it to my ringtone for about a year. Every time the song comes on, I feel empowered and ready to prove something to myself and to all the people who hurt me.

IMG_1886Katy Perry has mastered the art of creating empowerment anthems for the broken heart. “Roar” and “Dark Horse” reached number one the Billboard charts and “Wide Awake” was number two. These are songs that are playing somewhere in radio land all the time.   Her creative team has it down. The second any of these songs come on the radio, the volume goes up and I am physically, psychologically, and energetically moved.

I know this isn’t just me that this happens to. Facebook links to YouTube videos are a popular past time for some. Others choose to share their songs with friends who are currently going through the break-up process. One of my friends made me a CD of her favorites. Since heartbreak is a common thread through humanity, there are break-up songs in every genre of music. Nobody is left out.

Taylor Swift, has crossed multiple genres and age groups. She can touch listener from early childhood with her catchy melodies to mature adults with her authentic experiences. Many fans are intrigued to know who she is referring to in her songs about love and break-ups. This fascination always brings me back to Carly Simon’s song “You’re So Vain.” Questions pondering who it is about still appear in random conversations. Though, some may find Swift whiny, she is honest. She is vulnerable, and she uses her writing as a form of catharsis. For these reasons, her music will continue to touch people during those emotional times.

When I’m going through break-ups, I have a reoccurring conversation in my head. It starts with statements, which include “Do you really think…”, “How was I so stupid to trust you…”, and “You made the biggest mistake by letting me go…” My body tightens up and my eyes squeeze shut with anger, as I use my hands as an outlet for my rage. If I’m having the conversation in a public place, the only thing that’s seen is my hands tightening into fists or my leg zipping back and forth like it is a helicopter trying to lift off. Swift and Perry play out the conversations. Music is the acceptable way to express my reaction publicly.

The break-up playlist is an important tool for dealing with a broken heart. It can remind a person that he/she is not alone. Playlists are the new mixed tape. They are much easier to change, edit, and/or delete. A person can pick songs that fit their mood best. They also can find a place to work through their emotional turmoil in the privacy of their own ear buds, car, or home. Break-up playlists are great for working out. Cardio is a good place to work through the denial, bargaining, and depression stages, while weights are a powerful place to work through anger and acceptance. Each person is different. People need to find the playlist and environment that best suits their processing strategies.

I had a lapse in sanity (more than once) and kept trying to fix an unhealthy relationship. My friends had no option, but to sit back and watch this train wreck over and over. After watching the same event three times, my friend asked me, “What is on your playlist to help you stay away from him?” I created an empowerment playlist. “Roar”, “Wide Awake”, and “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” were the top three songs. I listened to the playlist while I deleted all his pictures and his phone number. When I reach the point of being done, I’m completely done!

IMG_3047

Katy Perry rides along side me as I move into a different phase of my journey. This time it is about knowing who I am and what I want in my next relationship. I realized how different people are and for a while I thought that something was wrong with me because I can’t casually date. I tried, but it doesn’t work. I’m either a man’s friend or I’m completely involved. I don’t like kissing men I have no emotional connection to, and I don’t want to go any further with someone who isn’t committed to me. So, when “Dark Horse” started playing on the radio, I turned it up and started belting it out. Juicy J has a line in the song, “If you get the chance you better keep her. She’s sweet as pie but if you break her heart, she’ll turn cold as a freezer…” a reminder that I don’t have to settle and there is nothing wrong with being an all or nothing woman.

 

I hope you enjoyed seeing my beginning attempts at creative writing.

With Love and Gratitude,

Rachael Wolff